A/N: Sirius may be a supporting character in my R/T series, but he's top dog in one-shots. :D A Dog's Life, Sirius in the Moonlight, A Moment Like This, Spring Fever, and Off the Leash aren't required reading for this story, set OotP, parallel to Moonlight and Shadow, but if any reader decides to read other stories after this one, I'll be happy as a dog with two tails.
Special thanks to mon-ami-runa for asking about drabbles and inspiring me to write this story instead!
It's not being in love that makes me happy. It's being in love with you.
Two weeks before Valentine's Day, Sirius told Cami that making dinner for him was all the present he needed. When she promised that he wouldn't get a hex for being honest, he confessed that February the fourteenth was one of his least favourite days of the year.
The holiday, in his opinion, was a commercialisation of feelings that should be expressed every day, and he didn't have fond memories of any other Valentine except her—and maybe Tesia Wronski.
Cami was amused by the story of an eight-year-old boy who met the nine-year-old daughter of the visiting Polish Head of Magical Games and Sports in the park, and agreed to be her Valentine for the price of two Chocolate Frogs. Sirius laughed when she said Tesia got a sweet deal. He said the girl might disagree, having only received a peck on the cheek in return.
His unrestrained, infectious laugh was one of the things she loved about Sirius. Cami had been on the verge of telling him so when she was struck by an idea. What if she wrote down the things she loved about him and put them in his card for Valentine's Day?
She couldn't jot ideas down during the evenings they spent together at Grimmauld Place, so during lunchtimes, while her colleagues left the Blue Moon enquiry agency, she ate at her desk and tried to find the right words to express her feelings.
As the days passed and her list grew, Cami began to wonder if she couldn't make dinner more special by dressing for the occasion. She could buy Sirius a tropical shirt printed with hibiscus to go with the Polynesian theme. As for herself, there was a costume shop off Diagon Alley that the agency receptionist, Bubbles, recommended highly.
On the Wednesday before Valentine's, she gathered her nerve and visited the shop during her lunch hour. Fancy This had costumes of a knight and a medieval lady adorning mannequins in the front window.
The blue velvet of the dress was a shade Cami thought would look well with her pale skin and brown hair. She could imagine herself wearing it, with a beaded snood covering a braid coiled at her neck. Sirius would be the Black Knight, either her rescuer from robbers in the forest, or the beloved enemy who stormed her father's castle and claimed her as his greatest prize.
She had just decided that she would prefer to be ravished than rescued when the shop door opened.
"I'm closing early today, so if you're interested in a costume, come in s'il vous plais," said a women dressed as Marie Antoinette. Her towering wig was topped with a French sailboat, and her pink dress had skirts so wide, passers-by had to step off the pavement to go around her.
Cami, embarrassed to be caught daydreaming, nodded and followed the petite woman into the shop. She stopped just inside the door. There were no costumes on display, just a chaise lounge and a dressing area behind tall, silk-upholstered screens. "I—I wanted to hire a costume," she said in confusion.
"That's why I'm here," the woman said brightly, reaching into her headdress to pull out a wand. "What's your fancy?"
"A Polynesian dancer outfit," Cami said hurriedly, feeling her cheeks grow warm. Merlin only knew what the woman thought she wanted it for.
"Oooh, are you making coconut shrimp for Valentine's Day? I love coconut shrimp."
The woman's voice and big, round eyes reminded Cami of someone. "Coconut chicken, actually," she said, "and by any chance are you related to Bubbles Shearman?"
"'Course I am. She's my cousin." The woman put her hand against what looked like a pink diamond pendant. "I'm Sadie."
"Cami. I work with Bubbles."
Sadie beamed. "The one with the dog!"
"Yes, that's me." Cami laughed a little. The one with the Animagus partner would have been a more accurate description, but she loved Sirius as Snuffles too.
"Go behind the screen, I've fixed you up with my Blue Tahiti number."
Cami walked into the secluded area to find a bright blue strip of fabric with a leaf print and what looked like a white grass skirt with a band of thick blue tassels encircling the waist.
"The mo-re—the skirt—is made from the bark of wild hibiscus trees," Sadie called out. "Feels silky, doesn't it?"
Cami touched the ankle-length, woven strands. "Yes, it does." The material was surprisingly heavy when she lifted the skirt to put it on.
"The heavier the skirt, the better the swaying." After a pause, the proprietor said in a helpful tone, "The pareu will knot itself if you drape it across your chest."
A little unnerved by the way the woman answered her questions before she asked them, Cami followed Sadie's directions and jumped when the fabric jerked out of her hands and tied itself in a knot between her breasts. There was a lot of cleavage showing.
"Don't worry. Like the skirt, the top won't fall off unless you want it to," Sadie said cheerfully.
An image popped into Cami's mind, of Sirius giving her a heated look across the dinner table—and her clothes sliding to the floor.
"Really, really want it to," the woman amended.
The vision changed to the two of them dancing slowly towards his bed. Imagining Sirius' roguish grin, Cami smiled as she walked out from behind the screen. "Does the skirt come with any spells?"
Sadie's eyes twinkled. "Pull the slightly longer tassel on the left."
She pulled. Tropical music filled the air. In response to the beat of the drum, Cami's hips began to shake energetically. Her eyes widened.
"Hold your arms out, elbows bent, that's right. Now you only need one more accessory to look like a proper vahine." Sadie bustled over, skirts swaying. She held a hair pick in her hand. "The flower is jasmine, and smells just like a real one." With a smile, she placed the 'stem' of the pick behind Cami's left ear. "Shows you're taken."
"Thank you." Cami glanced down. "How do I disengage the spell?"
French sailboat listing to port at the top of her wig, Sadie reached out to pull the longest tassel. "There. Gives you quite a workout, doesn't it? I've got a Can-Can dancer costume that will turn your legs to noodles, and a belly dancer—" She broke off. "Here's me nattering on, keeping Louis waiting. I'll box up the costume, shall I?"
While the white box containing the outfit remained on the floor of Cami's wardrobe until Saturday afternoon, out of sight did not mean out of mind. She kept thinking about it, and Sirius' possible reactions to seeing her dance. Sometimes, she'd smile in anticipation. Other times, she wished that she had never seen the costume.
Although her lover was bold, she was more the quiet, reserved type—at least in public. In intimate situations, her tendency to think too much was channelled into finding ways to love Sirius, which she knew he loved.
Unfortunately, they weren't eating in his room, in private. He wanted to eat up on the roof. Just the thought that Kreacher might spy on them gave her the shudders. The old house-elf despised her, and if she didn't feel the tiniest bit of pity for his warped soul, the feeling would be mutual.
Cami had heard too many stories of Sirius' childhood to want to do more than give the elf a wide berth. He was malicious and twisted, muttering "Mudblood harlot" if his master wasn't around.
When she arrived at Grimmauld with a hamper of food and the costume, thoughts of the house-elf led to her ask, "Would you order Kreacher not to leave the kitchen tonight?"
Sirius, looking handsome in a red hibiscus shirt, glanced at the white box. He slowly grinned. "Got something in there for my eyes only?"
He said loftily, "I shall speak to the staff at once," before winking and heading immediately downstairs.
She changed in the bedroom. It didn't take long. Cami was sliding the jasmine flower behind her left ear when the handle to the door started to turn.
"Is there a particular reason why you locked the door?" Sirius asked from the other side of the panel.
The laughing tone made her smile, even as she said in a small voice, "Yes."
"Care to share it with me?"
Sirius sounded closer, as if he was leaning a shoulder against the door. She walked over and placed her fingers around the handle. "I'm...in costume."
There was a brief silence. "If you were trying to turn me on, you've succeeded."
She had to laugh. "I'm a little self-conscious about my appearance."
"I'm about to turn into Snuffles and start howling if you don't open up."
Cami opened the door.
Sirius' gaze was warm and admiring. "No Tahitian vahine could ever look more beautiful."
"Mauruuru, thank you," she said softly.
His smile of delight gave her the confidence to swing her hips as she walked forward to twine her arms around his neck. "I looked up some Tahitian phrases." She stood on bare tiptoes to kiss him. "Ua Here Vau Ia Oe."
"I love you too." His hands drew her closer while his lips caressed hers, teasingly, and then passionately. The heat of his touch and kiss stirred her senses until she didn't need a spell to move her hips. The motion came naturally, even if it wasn't to the right and left.
The sound of the doorbell caused her to stiffen and the knot of her pareu to tighten instead of continuing to work loose.
"That'll be Tonks and Remus," Sirius said. "I have a surprise for you, so go up to the roof and I'll be right there." He gave her a quick kiss and then bounded down the stairs.
Cami retrieved the hamper of food and made her way up to the attic. She climbed the ladder to the roof, glad that Sirius had promised to use a Warming Charm to ensure the air on the rooftop was balmy, since February in London was nowhere near tropical.
She was delighted to find the air warmed and a table set for two with white linen and a single red rose in a crystal vase. Wondering if Remus had purchased it or if Snuffles was up to old tricks, nicking flowers, she removed stasis-covered dishes and placed them on the tablecloth.
"Looks delicious," said Sirius. His voice startled, since she hadn't noticed him walking up behind her. He put his hands out to keep her from falling against the table and inadvertently pulled the longest tassel.
Tropical music filled the air.
Sirius' face lit up when her hips began to shake. "That's brilliant!" he said, watching her shimmy.
She pulled the tassel. "It was supposed to be a surprise for later."
"It was a wonderful surprise, and I want to see more, but first, I have a surprise for you." He held up a stone block with a face carved into it.
Cami blinked. "You've taken up sculpting? It's—really unique." She smiled. "Thank you."
Sirius gave a bark of laughter. "I've only been creative when it comes to mischief, not art. This is on loan from Dung. Watch." He set down the block and said, "Abda."
Sand poured out of the open mouth of the block, pale and shimmering. Cami watched the roof become a beach and hugged her partner. "It's lovely!" She gasped when he tugged the magicked tassel.
"Let's dance," he said with a grin, showing remarkable dexterity as he imitated her motions.
Cami held out her arms, keeping her elbows bent slightly as Sadie had directed. Sirius seemed hypnotised by the shaking of her hips. She was just as riveted by the way he moved, and didn't notice that the sand had risen to her ankles until she tried to take a step toward him. "Sirius!" she said, alarmed.
"Quift!" Sirius chuckled as he looked around the sand-covered rooftop. "I wanted to give you romantic atmosphere to match the food."
She waded through the sand to hug him. "You did." Her face lifted, seeking his kiss. His lips found hers, warm and giving, taking her love and returning it in a way that made her knees weak.
"Shall we feast?" he murmured, when his mouth lifted.
Heat swept her body. The sand was soft, and if they had something to lie on... The knot of her pareu began to untie.
Sirius' eyes fell to the loosening fabric. "I meant to feast on dinner, but now I'm hungry for something I crave more than food." When her skirt fell to the sand, he bent and pulled the tassel. "Mood music," he said, tugging Cami into his arms, swaying to the beat in a way that had the slip-length pareu unfurling like a towel upon the sand.
When they finally got around to eating the coconut chicken with Polynesian rice salad and pineapple, Cami wore only the pareu while Sirius lounged, bare-chested, dressed in the mo-re. While re-packing the hamper after dinner, she couldn't resist telling him, "Most men would look ridiculous in a skirt, but you look incredibly sexy."
"You say that because you're hoping I'll dance for you."
His teasing loosened her tongue the way wine used to. "And because you're not wearing knickers."
Sirius burst out laughing.
The joyful sound reminded her of the Valentine card in the hamper. Cami gave it to him. "This is for you. I made it myself."
He smiled over the Newfoundland dog on the front of what had been a blank, red note card and then opened it, waving his fingers at the illumination orb floating over the table in order to increase the glow.
"I love more than ten things about you," she said. "That was only how many fit on the card."
He looked up. "I'm glad you love my laugh."
"I meant what I wrote." Cami leaned toward him. "It's more than the way you sound, it's the way it makes me laugh with you—especially on bad days, when I think about taking a drink, or when I'm down and want to cry."
"I love the way we laugh together, too."
"And I love your smile," she said. "The way it lights up your face, the way it lights up a room, and everyone who sees it smiles with you."
Sirius reached across the table to take her hand. "I love the way you smile when you walk into a room and your eyes meet mine, or when you wake in the morning and see that I'm beside you."
Cami glanced down at their entwined fingers. "This is why I wrote that I love your touch, whether you're holding my hand or holding me in your arms."
His hand tightened gently around hers. "Your touch gives me the truest comfort, and the most pleasure, that I've ever known."
She smiled. "I listed your eyes as one of the things I love because they're beautiful and show your emotions, with an openness I've never seen in anyone else."
Sirius was silent for a moment. "I've never been able to share my feelings so honestly before," he said. "I don't have to pretend to be happy when I'm not. You accept me for who I am—the bad and the good."
"You're not bad," Cami said with a shake of her head. "But you are bold, and I love that about you. You act on your convictions. You fight for what you want."
Sirius gave a half-smile. "You do what's right without getting up in arms about things. It's one of your strengths."
She looked away. "I'm not strong. Not like you are. The strength it took to live all those years knowing everyone believed you guilty and yet remain determined to escape and protect Harry is something I wouldn't have had. I would've given up and died."
"No you wouldn't, because you always think of others before yourself." He laughed shortly. "Being a selfish bastard, I enjoy the rewards of your thoughtfulness."
Cami's hand now clasped Sirius' more firmly as she gazed at him full on. "You aren't selfish. You're generous. You share everything you have—your house, your money. I love that you share your life—the happy memories and your dark ones—with me."
"I'm grateful that you want me to share them." His lips curved. "The memory of tonight will rank among my happiest." He winked. "Sexiest, too."
She moved out of her chair and onto his lap. "I love your playfulness," she said, after a lingering kiss. "You always know exactly what to say or do to lighten my mood and brighten my day."
"Not always," he said. "I have days when I feel trapped in this house, when I avoid everyone because I'm afraid I'll take out my black mood on those who don't deserve it. You keep me from wallowing in self-pity for too long."
Cami brushed back his hair and caressed his face. "You can be godlike, but I'm glad you're human, and I love your imperfections." When he shook his head, she cupped his cheek. "I do. They're part of who you are, and if you were perfect, you couldn't love me, because I'm not perfect—I've got flaws."
Sirius' lips brushed hers. "Lovable ones."
"That's what I love most about you," she said, taking his face in her hands. "Your heart. After everything you've been through, your heart isn't consumed with hate and bitterness." She had to take a shaky breath to keep from crying.
He slid his hand into her hair, drawing her down for a kiss so achingly tender, her eyes welled with tears that spilled over.
"Don't cry," he whispered, before catching her lips again. "I never want to make you cry."
She leaned into the kiss, needing to show him that her tears came from joy. Her hands stroked the planes of his chest while he deepened the embrace. There was a tension in his muscles that mirrored hers. Cami shifted, glorying in the way his arms tightened around her, even as she drew her lips away. "Let's go take a bath."
His smile was thrillingly wicked. "I'll make sure no sand remains to chafe any part of your skin."
Later, after a long bath that drenched the tiles and caused Buckbeak to chirp enquiringly on the other side of the door, they returned to Sirius' room.
He drew her into his arms.
Swaying with her lover, Cami didn't need "mood music." All she needed to hear was the beating of his heart.