It was May, and Sirius felt restlessness welling, a fever of anticipation that only had one cure: his lover. He yearned to see her again. As he patrolled the boundaries of Hogwarts in Animagus form, a thought looped constantly in his mind.
She'll be here soon, Cami will be here soon.
The great black dog halted when a familiar scent drifted upon the air. Hagrid was coming that way. The canine dropped to the ground and scooted forward, concealed by the underbrush. Soon, the half-giant came striding out of the Forbidden forest. He was holding what appeared to be a miniature winged serpent in his hands. A furious shriek rent the air.
Hagrid said, "Shhh! Yeh got ter stay quiet, or 's back ter the borogrove. Dumbledore hasn' approved of yeh being added ter the curriculum yet." A smile split Hagrid's huge face. "Course, I s'pect he'll say yes. Who wouldn' wan' ter study a jabberwocky?"
The little monster's claws flailed as it tried to rend its captor's flesh. Its jaws flexed, trying to break the confines of a muzzle. Sirius wondered how Hagrid could look into eyes that flamed with malice and chuckle. He would've wrung the thing's neck.
The creature made whifling and burbling sounds as Hagrid carried it across the grounds toward his hut. Sirius couldn't imagine the Headmaster allowing such a dangerous creature to be studied, but then again, students had been allowed to care for Blast-Ended Skrewts, hadn't they?
Patrol continued smoothly. In the months since he'd returned to look after Harry, Sirius had taken pride in standing watch. He'd constantly roamed the perimeter of the school, guarding the boy as best he could.
It was the least he could do.
Rustling in the forest brought the dog on full alert. He bounded into the woods, hunting the sound. In a clearing, he came upon a stag. The sight caused a pang. How many times had he and James run through these woods? While the stag continued to flee, the dog slowed to a stop and watched it go. A howl tore from his throat, a sad, futile calling for the pack he'd lost and could never rejoin.
A breeze carrying the scent of wildflowers reminded Sirius that his lover would be arriving in Hogsmeade that afternoon. He needed to clean up. Living as a dog kept him warm, but it didn't make him smell like flowers. Cami's wizard-made tent had a functional bathroom, and if Remus and Tonks weren't coming to visit, he'd be tempted to wait and drag Cami into the shower with him. He'd done it before, when the weather was foul. Washing clothes as well as body used a lot of soap, but he considered them suds well spent.
His gums drew back from his teeth in a smile. Memories kept him warm during his cold plunge into a burn. The stream was icy cold, but Hogwarts Lake always left his coat smelling dank. The lake also had a giant squid that surfaced every time he stepped a paw into the water. He'd been stalked by girls a time or three at school, and the squid gave him the same cold chill. Avoidance was the best policy.
Back at the cave, Sirius transformed and double-checked the time before taking a tin of brushing/flossing mints from its hiding place. He chewed contentedly, knowing he'd put his fresh breath to good use soon.
After using a Cleaning Charm on his tattered robes, he shifted to Animagus form and trotted down the hill. He stopped beside the same stile he'd waited at to meet Harry. Out of the corner of his eye, Sirius saw a patch of flowers. He dropped and ran to snap one of the long stems off with his teeth. The sight of Cami hurrying toward him brought an urge to bark in greeting. He felt his heart leap the way it had months ago when he'd first met Tonks's friend while in Animagus form. Sirius repressed the bark. He didn't want to drop the flower.
His love gave him a peck on the mouth, despite Tonks muttering about dog germs. "A Scottish bluebell, how lovely!" Cami said, sighing in a way that made him want to make her sigh again in private.
He gazed up at hazel eyes that appeared grey, wishing that dogs weren't blind to the colour green. After barking a greeting to Remus and Tonks, he and Cami led the way to his cave.
An illumination orb made the inside of the cavern bright as day to canine eyes. Sirius transformed and pulled Cami into his arms. "I missed you," he said, before kissing her to show how much. In Azkaban, he'd grown inured to the lack of human contact. Now, however, satisfying as it was to watch over his godson, the nights were lonely without the soft warmth of his lover's arms holding him tight.
Conscious of their guests, Sirius slowly pulled back from the kiss. He shook Remus's hand and hugged his cousin, placated her concerns about his welfare and headed straight for the food.
Because of the risk, he refused to allow Cami to leave gear or supplies in the cave. In between her visits, he stayed in dog form and ate whatever he could find.
Sirius took a bite out of a green apple, savouring the tartness. He and Remus chatted about Buckbeak and set out dinner things while the girls set up the tent. A chicken leg staved off the worst of his hunger, although the sight of so much food caused his mouth to water. He didn't know whether it was Pavlovian conditioning through semi-starvation or the law of contiguity that stated if two things commonly occur, the appearance of one will bring the other to mind, but it was amusing.
Dinner was even more entertaining. The four of them got along like they'd been best mates for years. They talked and joked with an ease Sirius realised he'd never experienced with James and Lily. To be fair, he'd never had a partner like Cami before. In younger days, he'd gone for looks over substance. He smiled, thinking Lily would agree that in Cami he had both.
On the side of the cave furthest from the tent was a small pit. After dinner, Remus conjured a small magical bonfire for them to enjoy. Sirius waited a few minutes, then leaned down to whisper in Cami's ear, "If I don't get a kiss and cuddle soon, I may start howling."
She rose with flattering speed. Sirius frowned when she invited the other couple on a walk and smiled when Tonks declined. He teased his cousin about wanting to snog by the fire.
As they walked away, Cami murmured, "You couldn't wait until later?"
When they were out of range of the cave, he said, "I could wait—seems to be all I do these days—but I saw the way those two were looking at each other and decided to do them a favour." He stopped and drew her close, kissing her deeply before asking, "Aren't you proud of me?"
She turned her head to the side to give him better access to her throat. "That's what I love about you. You're so selfless and giving."
He tucked a strand of silky brown hair behind her ear and nipped her earlobe. "Keep talking like that and I'll give you something right here."
Her fingers clenched in his hair, bringing his mouth down to hers.
In the end, a combination of rocky terrain and midges led the couple to head back to the cave for what Sirius laughingly called a gift exchange. Struck by a thought, he continued to snicker quietly.
"What is it?" Cami asked with a smile.
He said, "Prongs and I use to wonder if Moony's testosterone got used up during the change every full moon. He was so controlled around his girlfriend." Grinning, he pulled her hand to walk faster toward the cave. "Bet you he's not in control right now."
"Oh my," Cami said when they neared the couple stretched out beside the fire.
Sirius cleared his throat. Tonks glared like a true Black when he commented innocently that she looked happy. She flounced off to the tent, ignoring his cheerful goodnight.
"You shouldn't tease her," Remus said.
"Why not? She teases you," Sirius shot back.
Remus shook his head and looked away. Sirius rolled his eyes. "Goodnight, Moony, old man. I'm glad you're here."
"I'm glad to be here, Padfoot, you old dog."
Sirius grinned and took Cami's hand in his. When they reached the tent, he said, "C'mon, I need my back scrubbed."
"Just your back?"
He pulled her into the lavatory. "Wash anything you like, love."
After exhausting the hot water charm, they wrapped in towelling robes and snuck into their room in the back of the tent. Sirius flopped on the bed. His eyes fell on the wall dividing their bedroom from the other couple's room. He laughed.
Sirius saw Cami's disapproving frown and said, "I shouldn't laugh, but I can't help it. The contrast between the way he used to be, so proper…and this…gods, it's hilarious."
She thought Remus and Tonks were sweet, but Sirius thought they were frustrated. It was funny, yet disturbing, to see Professor Lupin lust after a sweet young thing and for his little cousin to kiss Moony the way Cami kissed him.
Cami asked, "What's wrong with that? I—"
"When you're naked."
Her lips covered his in a kiss that obliterated all thoughts of the other couple, until his lover asked if he'd engaged the privacy wards.
Sirius couldn't remember.
Boldly covering uncertainty, he said, "Of course. You don't hear Tonks shouting for me to shut the hell up, do you?" He chuckled. "I'll do it again, just to ease your mind." Before he was finished, Sirius felt a tingle that told him the wards were engaged…and that they hadn't been previously.
To distract Cami, he loosened the tie of her robe. "You only got the kiss half-right, love."
Her eyes sparkled, even as she said, "Whatever do you mean?"
"You're not naked. I have to insist upon nudity when you kiss me like that."
She slipped out of her robe and kissed him again.
Later, Sirius lay awake in the darkness, rubbing a strand of Cami's hair between his fingers, content to feel her hand on his chest, her breath washing over his skin. He felt her stir and asked, "Do you know what I love about you?"
He heard the smile in her voice and held her close, pretending he never had to let her go.
A/N: If readers who haven't read my other stories want to read more Cami/Sirius one-shots (A Dog's Life, Sirius in the Moonlight, and A Moment Like This, or my Tonks and Remus series) I'll be a happy writer. This story was inspired by chapter ten of Promise of a Spring Moon. As for Hagrid's prospective addition to the Care of Magical Creatures' curriculum, I don't know if the Forbidden Forest has a borogrove with a whifling, burbling, jabberwocky in it, but I don't think Lewis Carroll would mind if there was. :D