DISCLAIMER: I, sadly, cannot admit to owning anything remotely related to Harry Potter….

The Price of Love

Beta: Raspberri13

Chapter 9

Hermione sat outside on the park bench where her and Sirius had sat on her last day of teaching before they had fought. She idly kicked her feet back in forth while she pulled a string on her right side of her sweater, and then the one on the left.

Back and forth… back and forth….

A cold breeze swept by her and she paused in her fussing. The harsh November wind was striking full force tonight, chilling her to the bone, but she paid it no heed. She needed the outdoors to think.

It had been three weeks since the party, and three weeks since she had found out about her true heritage.

True, it had shocked her greatly. She would be lying if she said it hadn't. After all, her late parents had never once said that she was adopted. Of course she really wouldn't of expected them to- she was their daughter to them, no one else's.

However, when she really stopped to think about it, she could detect evidence during her childhood that proclaimed the fact that she had been adopted. It was really rather obvious, especially when she thought about her magical ability.

"You'll get a chill sitting out here."

Hermione stiffened at the sound of the intruder, her hand pausing in their task of pulling the strings of her sweater. "Nice of you to be concerned."

Sirius came around the bench and sat down beside of her, his hip lightly brushing against hers as he reclined slightly, folding his hands behind his head.

"I am a bit concerned," he informed her in that neutral voice of his. "Didn't you cast a warming spell on yourself or something?"

She shrugged while mentally berating herself. Why hadn't she thought of that? Maybe Severus was right- she had heaps of book smarts, but when it came to common sense, she had none whatsoever.

"I'm fine."

He turned his head and his grey eyes pierced hers. "Hermione, you're shaking."

It was true, she was.

She patted her pockets for her wand, only then realizing that she had left her wand back at Severus'. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

"Here." She found herself enveloped in Sirius' thick jacket as he gently placed it around her shoulders. She thanked him softly, realizing that he probably noticed her momentary lapse in good sense.

"So," he drawled as the seconds slowly ticked by on life's eternal clock, "what brought you out here at this time of night?"

She raised a brow. "I could ask you the same thing."

He smirked at her and casually rested his arm across the back of the bench, his hand lightly brushing against her shoulder. "Yeah, but I asked you first."

"Oh that is so childish," she teased, shaking her head.

He shrugged. "Maybe, but it still holds." He leaned a bit closer to her so that she could feel the warmth radiating from his body. "So, are you going to answer?"

"I was…," she paused, "thinking."

"Thinking?"

"Yes, thinking."

"About….?"

She looked at him as the corner of her mouth tilted up. "You didn't ask that. Therefore, my question has precedence over yours."

He leaned in closer. "I thought mine should be obvious. I'm here because you are."

Only by looking into his grey eyes did she know that he was completely serious. He didn't move away, but he didn't move forward either. He merely sat there, staring at her in that annoying and yet endearing way of his.

"Sirius…"

He leaned back and let out his breath. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. I'm finding out that I shouldn't say a lot of things around you."

She smiled and leaned over to grasp his hand. "I was going to say that I was sorry. What I said to you, what I asked of you, was completely wrong. You were one of my only friends during that time and I threw all of that back in your face."

He smiled as he traced a finger down her cheek. "It's alright, Hermione, we were both wrong. Let's just put it behind us and forget about it, alright?"

She smiled. "Alright."

He drew her to him and wrapped his arm around her. They sat like that for a while, neither voicing the thoughts racing through their minds.

As the wind picked up, Sirius looked at her and said, "Walk."

Like before, he stood and offered her his hand. This time though, she was aware that he didn't let go, and she also knew that she didn't want him to.

They laid down in the exact same place as last time, only this time there were different constellations to look at. She rested her head on his chest over his heart, listening to its gentle rhythm.

She pointed to the stars, directing his gaze towards one that twinkled high up above them. "Look, there's Sirius," she said, smiling up at him.

He returned her smile as they lapsed back into the comfortable silence as they both stared up at the stars. She closed her eyes as the gentle feel of his hand running over her hair.

"So," he finally expelled, "I heard you have your own place now."

"Yeah, well, actually I'm just renting it. Dad said that he would help me pay for it if I didn't want to get a job right away," she informed him.

"Dad?" he questioned, the corner of his mouth tilting in a sexy grin.

She smiled up at him and playfully hit his chest. "Yeah, dad. Do you have a problem with that?"

"No problem," he replied casually. "Actually, I must admit it is sort of hard to tell a guy, whom you've spent your whole life hating, that you want to marry his daughter."

Silence.

Then, "What?"

She pushed herself up and stared down at his calm form, much to calm for her nerves at the moment. "What did you just say?" she repeated.

He looked up at her with that infuriating little grin of his as he replied oh so casually, "You heard what I said- I asked Snape for your hand in marriage." He lowered his eyes in thought for a minute. "Actually, that came after the hour long lecture I received from him on how I have been treating you horribly, and that if I didn't apologize, he was going to hex my… er… manly equipment off."

She grimaced at what he was suggesting before quickly reverting back to the topic at hand. "You… you want to marry me?"

He chuckled lightly. "You seem to be having trouble grasping the concept. Funny, I never would have thought that possible of the Hermione Granger."

She frowned at him as she lightly hit his arm. "Sirius, be serious for a moment."

"Oh love, I'm always Sirius," he replied teasingly. "It's not that easy to change a name, you know, though Merlin knows I have tried with my last name."

Dark chocolate narrowed angrily and he knew that she was about to blow her top. Grabbing her, he rolled her beneath him on the cloak so that he was looking down on her.

Kissing the tip of her nose, he said, "Hermione Jane Gra…er…Snape?…no, that doesn't sound right." He cleared his throat and smiled. "Hermione Jane Granger, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"

She smiled, allowing his sensual lips to tempt her for a moment before she pulled back. "Sirius…I can't…"

He jerked back sharply as if she hit him. "Why the bloody hell not?"

"Because you've had things ripped from you your whole life, mainly family. You deserve a family of your own now more than anything and if…," she took a deep breath as she held her tears at bay, "if I were to say yes to you then I would be depriving you of that."

He grinned down at her as he slowly moved down her body, pressing a light kiss to her midsection. "Hermione, don't you realize that you are my family- you and Harry. As long as I have you, I don't need a child."

"But Sirius…"

He placed a finger on her lips to silence her. "No, no but's Hermione. I don't need a child, but I do need you, I know that now. I have tried desperately to erase you from my mind, but you just refuse to budge. Turns out, I don't want you out of my mind… or my heart."

His lips lingered against hers as he whispered, "As long as I have you, I'll be the happiest man on this planet."

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Four months had slowly turned over after that night, the night Hermione had whispered yes, the night she had told him that she loved him.

She stood now in front of the mirror at the small muggle church near her father's home. She had attended this church often during the time she had lived with her former Potions Master, and had quickly made friends with the priest.

He, of course, knew what she was.

Yet he never judged her which was probably one of the reasons she cared for him so much. He had been the one to confront her with it actually after spotting the piece of enchanted wood in her pockets shortly after she had moved.

She had told him the truth and then had packed up her wand shortly afterwards.

He had remained her friend. Over the years they had conversed on a wide range of topics, usually about the wizarding world. He confessed that he had a distant relative that was a witch, but he really didn't know them all that well.

It took her about three months before he was finally able to open up to him about her infliction and the reason for her retreat from her world. She had managed to tell him everything, every last single detail, without shedding a tear.

Funny how one could open up to a priest…

She remembered how he had looked at her with a compassionate smile as he told her that God often worked in mysterious ways, and that angels did exist.

She didn't really believe him then, but she was beginning to now.

She lifted her head as the door opened and the man who she was currently thinking about stepped through the doorway. He was in his robes and held a bible in his hands. He was smiling brightly, his wrinkling skin making him appear more friendly.

"Hermione," he said as he strolled forward and took her hands in his, "you look beautiful."

She felt a blush start to form and admonished herself. She was too old to blush. "Thank you, Father."

He took a seat beside of the dais she was currently standing on and gazed up at her. "So, do you think you are ready for today?"

She smiled as she stared into the mirror at her reflection.

The change. She had felt it but she hadn't paid it much heed. Since Sirius had entered her life, she had slowly been changing from the introverted girl she had become after the war to something more…something extraordinary.

No longer was she afraid of her own faults.

No, Sirius had taught her that as long as they were together, the small things no longer existed. She had pushed aside any negative thoughts she had, and mainly concentrated on the positive.

No longer was she afraid of living.

She now had more than she could ever possibly dream. Once she had been scared of never being able to have a family, but she hadn't realized that a family didn't mean having kids. Family was those that you love and she had more than most. She had a father, a fiancée, two best friends, and a nephew on the way.

No longer was she afraid of loving.

Sirius entering her life had taught her many valuable things. Having him beside of her each morning as she woke up and each night as she went to bed filled her with more pleasure than anything she had ever experience. She wouldn't trade those little moments for anything in the world.

She also knew that miracles could happen. Sirius coming back from death was a primary example of that… and the tiny form that grew in her stomach now was also proof.

She turned back to the priest, her white gown brushing against her legs as she did so. "Yes, I'm more than ready."

And as the doors opened up and she spotted Sirius at the end of the aisle waiting for her with that irresistible grin on his face, she knew that she was ready…

Ready to live her life with him from this moment on as husband and wife.

A/N: That's the end folks :D…lol… Big thanks to Raspberri13 for beta-ing… I'll be posting another short story called DARK HEART when I get back from break...Thanks for reading and reviewing...

Much Love,

MiZZ AmAyA