It had been two long months since Domenica and Sirius were able to spend any time together. The war had picked up and missions for the Order of the Phoenix were a regular occurrence. They were constantly being sent separately. When they were able to find some time to be together, they were reduced to stolen moment in dark shadows because they had not yet told their friends that they were indeed an item.

The time that they were being forced apart made it more and more desperate for Domenica to speak to Sirius as soon as was possible. She arranged for them to have a few moments alone before her birthday party. She had told him to come near two hours before everyone else.

Sirius had been miser able the last couple of months. One night, he w as in heaven, and the last two months, he had been in hell. He didn't know how much longer he could live without seeing Domenica more often. His hair had been growing long, which was typical of him when he was in a depressed mood. He missed Domenica. He had even managed to keep his flat c leaner for her. Nothing seemed to work out, and he was getting frustrate d and angry at the Death Eaters and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for interfering with his love life.

Tonight was going to be different though or at least Sirius hoped it would be different. He silently swore that if the Death Eaters and/or Lord Voldemort messed up Dory's birthday party, then Sirius himself would go and destroy them all single-handedly. He was happy that Dory had him coming a little bit before the party. He cut his hair and dressed sharply in some of his best clothes. He also had a lovely bracelet he had bought. The bracelet was gold l inks with red rubies spaced out along the gold. There was also a gold lioness charm on the bracelet. As soon as he saw the bracelet, he knew that it would be perfect for Domenica, and he hoped that she would like it.

Glancing at the time and checking his reflection in the mirror once more, he disapparated from his flat and apparated outside where Domenica's party would be held. He knocked on the door and waited for her to appear.

When Domenica opened the door to Copperstone Manor, her parents' estate, and saw Sirius standing there, a rare smile lit up her face as she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply. "You are the best gift I could receive." she exclaimed as she hugged him.

Sirius grinned as he saw Domenica. He eagerly returned the deep kiss and held onto her. He chuckled a bit when she said that he was the best gift she could receive. "If I had known that, I wouldn't have bothered getting a present," he gently teased her. He pulled out the slim velvet box which was wrapped in a bow. "You can go ahead and open it, if you wish." Since no one knew about their relationship, he was uncertain he wanted everyone to know that he had gotten Domenica this bracelet.

"You didn't need to do this," Domenica said with a smile as she took the gift. "But since you did, I guess I really can't keep you waiting." she teased as she opened the gift. Her breath stopped when she saw the bracelet sparkling before. "Sirius, this is beautiful," she gasped as she took it out of the velvet box. "And makes what I want to say so much harder to say," Domenica added as her tone changed from joy to one tinged with a bit of fear. "Can we talk for a moment before everyone else gets here?"

Sirius waited as patiently as possible while she opened the velvet box. He could tell that she did like the bracelet, but he was confused about what she said next. "Yeah, we can talk. What's wrong?" he asked as he had the sudden fear that perhaps she didn't want to see him any more. They really hadn't much time together and maybe she change d her mind. If she did, he would try to act all cool about it, but he was worried and concerned. You know you can tell me anything," he added.

Domenica gently took Sirius' hand and led him up to her bedroom so they could have some privacy without prying ears. She motioned for him to sit down as she tried to gather her courage up for what she was going to say. "I guess there is really no easy way to say this so I guess doing it quickly like pulling off a bandage is best." she rambled out. "I'm having a baby."

0A Sirius went wit h Domenica. He didn't know what they were planning to do up in her room, although he had some ideas on what he would like to do. He sat down when she motioned for him to do so, and he waited as patiently as possible. What he heard was not what he was expecting at all. His mouth fell open, and he had a fish-out-of-water appearance. "W-what?" he managed to stutter out.

At his reaction, albeit expected, Domenica's eyes welled up with tears as she gently took his hand and placed on her still flat belly and put her over top of his as she let out a long shuddering breath before finding the strength to speak again. "We...are having a baby," she whispered softly as tears slipped from her eyes. ; "I am not expecting anything though. I love you no matter what and I thought you should know no matter what y our decision is."

Sirius didn't want her to cry, and seeing Domenica's eyes well with tears snapped him out of his surprise to some extent. "Oh, don't cry, love," he said in a soothing tone as he wrapped an arm around her. It took another moment to pass before the fact that he was going to be a father sank in. "I'm going to be a dad," he stated, although it had a hint of a question in it. He didn't doubt what Domenica was telling him. She wouldn't lie about something as important as this. He was still just surprised. Slowly, he smiled. "I'm just surprised," he told her. "It wasn't something that I was expecting to hear, but it's a good thing. Isn't it?" He was already wondering if he should have gotten her a ring instead of a bracelet. "You don't have to be alone in this. I'm not going anywhere." He gave her one of his goofy doglike grins.

Domenica couldn't breathe for a moment when Sirius' words registered in her mind. Words could not express how she felt at the moment as she flew into his arms and hugged him before kissing him deeply, hoping he would get her great sense of relief and love at that moment. "We have another problem though. We will actually have to tell every one now or the baby will do that for us."

Sirius wrapped his arms around Dory when she flew into them. He was still not sure he was prepared for all of this, but he would do his best. Her next words caused him to pale slightly. He had forgotten that they had to tell everyone, and it was even worse now, since she was pregnant. "Do you think we could hold off a bit or something? I'd rather not come to your birthday party and then be killed by James and your dad." He gave a slight laugh, despite the fact that he thought that they might kill him.

"My Dad isn't going to kill you," Domenica stated bluntly, noting that she said nothing of James. "In fact, after my mother found out and then told him, he was actually sort of happy to be a grandfather. He did ask who the father was and I said I had to tell the father first before he was allowed to know and he went for it. Trust me; my Dad is not the one you need to worry about."

Sirius felt relieved to hear that her father wasn't going to kill her. "Well, we can tell them then," he said. He did think that they should tell someone, and if they already knew she was pregnant, then it wouldn't hurt to tell them that he was the father. He was even considering proposing to her, but he was afraid she might take it the wrong way. Plus, he didn't have a ring either. He should at least do something right! He had also noticed her lack in mentioning James. "Maybe we should hold off telling James a bit. I love my best mate, but I'd rather not see him kill me in a fit of rage." James was like a brother to him, but since James was an only child, he knew that he felt like Domenica was more like a sister to him than just a cousin. He might not take the news well that his best mate had buggered his cousin and gotten her preggers.

"Then we had better come up with an acceptable story real quick." Domenica stated. "Because they will all be here in five minutes and we can't hide for much longer."

Sirius slowly nodded. "Yeah, I guess so. Er...let's just hold off telling James tonight at least. It'll give us one more night of peace. "He didn't know how James would react, but he was worried that it could turn out very bad. "I suppose we could quickly tell your parents though," he said. If they had a few minutes, they could do that.

"They know my end already. T hey may just want to hear yours. Do we want to do this together or do you want to prove your Gryffindor bravery against Charles Knight?" Domenica said with a smile as she took his hand.

Sirius considered his options. It would be easier to do it with Domenica there. Her parents would be less likely to be furious with him with her the re, but this was perhaps something he should do on his own. "I'll talk with you r father," he said. He had already made up his mind. He would do right by Domenica and his child, and he might as well admit to what happened and ask permission to marry her. He did love her too. It was just a logical step. He stood up and gave Domenica a kiss. "All will be okay. I promise," he told her as he moved towards the door. "Know where I might find your father?" he asked. He was actually feeling pretty good about talking to her father at the moment. Charles Knight was a much better and nicer father than his own father ever was. It couldn't be too bad, right?

Domenica nodded with a smile. "He's up in his office...debating on whether he should crash my party or not." she replied. "It's upstairs...second door on the left."

Sirius took a deep breath. "I'll be right back." He gave Domenica another quick kiss before he left the room. He went up to the second floor and found the second door on the left. He paused there for just a moment before he knocked on the door and waited to be admitted to the room.

Charles Knight was quietly reading the evening edition of the Daily Prophet when he heard a knock at his door. He ran his fingers quickly through his graying brown hair and straightened his tie to make him mo re look like the lawyer he was rather than three sheets to the wind Gryffindor he used to be. Once he deemed himself presentable he flicked his wand to open the door. A small smirk fell upon his lips when he saw Sirius Black standing there. "I had a feeling it was you." he said in a calm but knowing tone as he waved the boy in.

Sirius swallowed hard when Charles Knight said that he had a feeling it was he. He hoped that it was just who was at the door, but he had a feeling it was more than that. "Hello, Sir," he said more formally than norm al as he entered. He didn't shut the door behind him. "Domenica told me about her...er. ...condition and I thought I should mention that I...well, that I am the father." He stayed near the door and felt like he should bolt for it, but he kept up his Gryffindor bravery. "Er...I do love your daughter. It wasn't just about...you know...we do love each other, and I plan to do right by her and our child. It's why I ask permission to ask her hand in marriage," he said rather quickly and in a rambling manner. He looked young and nervous as he stood before Domenica's father. He then realized that he should explain further. "I do want to marry her. I just thought we might have a bit more time and all..." he trailed off. "I'm sorry," he blurted out. He thought a lot of Charles Knight, and he just didn't want to ruin things any more than they might have been ruined.

Charlie smiled at Sirius' and raised his hand to hush him and to stop him from rambling. "I had figured it was either you or Remus and I knew my assumption would be proven when one of you came to me." he said calmly as he offered Sirius a seat. "Sirius, I can somewhat understand where you are coming from since I was somewhat of a playboy in my day before meeting my wife. I am not angry because my daughter is happy. You are the reason why she is happy. Before I give you my decision, I would like to ask you a few questions...if that is alright?"

Sirius slowly sank down in the offered chair. He was slightly offended when Charlie said that it could also be Remus, but he also knew that he had a point. It could have been Remus instead of Sirius. After all, Sirius really had never seemed interested in Domenica that way before, but everything had changed. He did love Domenica, and he wanted to do right by her. He took a deep breath and blew it out lightly. He was feeling a little bit calmer. No one had killed him yet. It was a good sign. "Sure, of course, you can. Ask away," he said as he got back a little bit of his normal swagger.

"How long have you and Domenica been you and Domenica?" Charlie asked as he poured himself some fire whiskey and offered some to Sirius to try to ease the boy's nerves a little bit more.

Sirius took the glass of fire whiskey and drank half of it before responding. It looked rather bad that the first night that he and Domenica had done anything was the night she had also gotten pregnant. "Well, it's been two months or so," he said. They had always been pretty close and great friends, but nothing had happened until they got to that bar and relaxed. Everything changed that night.

"How much does the rest of the group know?" Charlie said with a smile as he downed his own glass. "I am sure James may not be as understanding as me."

Sirius was concerned about James finding out. Peter would be happy for them. Remus would likely understand or he hoped he would, but he didn't know how James would react. There was one good thing about it all. He knew that Lily would understand, and she was very close to James. Perhaps she could hold him back. "As far as I know, no one else knows about Domenica and me. I haven't told anyone, and she talked like she had only told you and Mrs. Knight. They don't even know that we've been seeing each other."

Charlie laughed and poured Sirius another drink. "You're going to need the liquid courage then, my boy." he laughed. "James is so much like his father was and so much like me as well. If you need help with that one, let me know." he added as h e leaned back in his chair. "Domenica didn't tell us right out. My wife figured it out and told me and then Domenica told us." he corrected. "Now, I have a more serious question that you may also get from my daughter. Would you still be marrying her, either now or eventually, even if there was no baby?"

Sirius had finished his first drink and was glad for the second. He would need all the courage he could muster to tell James. Perhaps he should tell the others and Lily first and then tell James. He would definitely need backup. "Well, you still found out," he commented about the baby. They would have had to tell them eventually, and he realized that. It was probably better for them to find out first. It prepared them a bit more to find out about his being the father. He thought about the serious question, and he searched for the truth of the matter. He was crazy about Domenica. He was depressed when she wasn't around. He knew the answer. "I would have eventually married her. Baby or no baby. I do love her." He gave a slight laugh. "I might have taken things a bit slower than jump into marriage, but it would have been the end result." If Domenica would have him...

Charlie approved of the answer and his smile proved it. "Then if my daughter agrees, you have my blessing to take her as your wife." he said as he offered his hand to Sirius to welcome him into the family.

Sirius let out a sig h of relief. "Good," he said as he took Charlie's hand and shook it. "I won't do it right away though. I want to find the right ring...do it right and all." He would propose soon though. "I suppose that we should try telling our friends and hope that James doesn't kill me," he said with a laugh, although a bit of his nervousness crept back into his voice. He dreaded telling James. He didn't want to die, but even more than that, he didn't want to ruin James and his friendship.

"If you would like my advice, it is better to tell them and get it over with rather than dealing with the aftermath of them finding out from another source." Charlie stated. "Domenic a will not let James kill you. She ha s a damn quick wand and a nasty fireball and she'll have James on his arse before he gets a shot off. But don't you think he would rather hear it from you two and not on the rumor mill among the Aurors?"

Sirius knew that Charlie was right, despite the fact that he still dreaded telling his best mate that he had knocked up his cousin. "I don't plan to let it get that far. I suppose we'll have to break the news later tonight before the truth comes out." He finished off the last bit of the fire whiskey in his drink. He needed it. He still thought that they might want to take Lily aside and speak to her first. She could control James just as well as anyone else. He suddenly thought of something strange too. He was getting the family he always wanted (if Domenica did accept his marriage proposal). "So, does this mean I can call you dad soon?" he asked with a dog like grin on his face.

"You can call me dad as soon as you like." Charlie said as he pulled Sirius into a strong hug. "As long as you don't hurt my daughter."

Sirius grinned and returned the hug. "You don't have to worry about me. I'm a loyal old dog, "he said, although there was much more truth in the dog part than most people knew, since it was his animagus form. "I wouldn't do anything to harm your daughter," he said quite seriously and honestly. He then smiled warmly. "I already like you much better than my real dad," he stated with a laugh. It was the truth because Sirius didn't get along with his parents, so it wasn't hard for him to like anyone better.

Charlie patted Sirius on the back and released the hug. "No offense lad but your father was a first class git in every sense of the word and I enjoyed knocking his arse to the ground on more than one occasion." he said with a Gryffindor smirk. "Shouldn't you be getting back to the birthday girl? I am sure the others will be here shortly."

Sirius laughed. "None taken and my mum is even worse than he is." He hated his mother much more than his father. His father may be mean, but his mother was mean and crazy. Sadly, he thought that his parents might slightly approve of the marriage. The Knights were along standing pureblood family like the Blacks. His family couldn't ask for a better pureblood match. He nodded about getting back to Domenica. "I better get back. If I don't return soon, she might come looking for me." She hadn't thought that her dad would kill him, but the longer he was away, she might worry. He gave Charlie a smile and a nod. "Thanks," he said before he left the room and quickly found Domenica. "Happy birthday again," he said as he kissed her on the lips. He definitely was in pretty good spirits, despite being worried about James.

Domenica smiled and returned the kiss when Sirius returned before resting her head on his shoulder as her arms wrapped around his waist. "I was beginning to thin k my Dad was cross examining you. I am assuming by the smile that everything went well."

Sirius wrapped his arms around her and chuckled. "I was pretty worried there, but things went well. He thinks we need to tell the others though. I think we should mention something to Lily first before we make the huge announcement." Lily could help gauge things with James. They would need her help, and she wasn't likely to tell before they told.

James waited as Lily put on some earrings. "Do you really think Dory will like the gift?" James asked. He thought he knew his cousin very well, but Lily had decided that she would get Dory something a bit more feminine instead of the broom servicing kit that James wanted to get her.

Lily laughed. "I think she will love it. It'll go lovely with her hair." They had gotten her this lovely dark red cashmere sweater that had flecks of deep gold in it. It was very Gryffindor, but it was also dark, which made it work more for Domenica Knight. She then put on her cloak. "Let's go, James," she said as she gave him a peck on the cheek. The two of them had been dating since their seventh year. Lily had always liked James to some extent, but she didn't really start to fall for him until he grew up a bit. Now, they were pretty much inseparable.

The two of them disapparated and appeared at Copperstone Manor. James gave Lily a kiss on the cheek as he raised his hand and knocked on the door. The two waited for someone to answer the door, so they could enter.

Domenica jumped slightly when she heard the knock at the door. "I guess it's time to put our game faces on." she told Sirius as she gave him one last kiss and then went to get the door. "Lily! James!" she cried out loud enough for Sirius to hear. "Surprisingly, you two are not the first ones here this year." she exclaimed as she let them in.

James gave his cousin a hug. "Happy Birthday, Dory," he said. He glanced over to Lily. "Lily was taking forever to get ready," he said as he ran his fingers through his hair, which made it messier looking. "Who beat us this year?" he asked as he hadn't seen Sirius until he stepped inside. "Ah, you are here early, mate," he said to Sirius.

Sirius could barely look at James when he and Lily came in. "Yeah, I decided to stop in early," he told his best mate. Everything had changed so quickly in the past hour since he had been at Copperstone Manor. He didn't know how in the world he was going to tell James the truth.

Lily glared slightly at James when he said she was the reason they were late. "Well, if James had just wrapped the gift as I asked him fifty times, then we would have been here earlier," she said with a slight huff before she gave Domenica a hug. "Happy Birthday," she said warmly to her.

James gave Lily a sheepish look when she mentioned the wrapped present. He had 'forgotten' to do it. It was just easier for Lily to fix it up, and it looked much nicer.

"Thank you both," Domenica said as she took the gift and returned the hugs. "Don't you know never to trust the boys to do anything? I doubt either one of them would have made it out of Hogwarts without a little help." she said with a laugh to Lily. "Remus might have been able to do things on his own though."

Lily laughed. "You're welcome, and I should have known, but I was just trying to get him to help with something." She winked over to James who stuck out his tongue at her playfully. "I swear he is never going to grow up," she said with a sigh. She didn't completely mind if James grew up. He could be very serious about some things, and he could be playful about others. It would work out.

James gave a mock offended look to his cousin. "I can do things, but Lily is much better at the gift-wrapping, don't you agree?" Dory had seen his attempts at gift-wrapping. They were pretty pathetic.

"Yes, I have cousin and I must say that this was one of your better attempts since usually you just throw a bow on it and call it wrapped in the bag that you bought it in." Domenica stated with a smirk.

James looked to Lily. "See, it's not a bad idea, and it takes a lot less time."

Lily rolled her eyes and tossed her long red hair over her shoulder. "That's why I had to fix it." She shook her head and looked over to Sirius. He looked strangely nervous tonight, although she doubts that James would notice anything. She moved closer to Domenica. "Is everything okay with Sirius?" she whispered to her, so James wouldn't overhear or Sirius for that matter.

"He's fine...probably just a little bit tired since Dumbledore has been keeping him bus with the Order and all." Domenica whispered to Lily, hoping that it sounded convincing enough rather than the truth. "Why do you ask?"

Lily wasn't certain if she believed Domenica or not, but she also had no real reason not to. She shrugged. "He just seems a bit quiet tonight," she commented as she looked over to him once more. Sirius was generally more boisterous, but he appeared almost awkward around them tonight. It was just odd.

Sirius noticed that Lily glanced over to him. He wondered if Dory would tell Lily what was re ally going on. He still thought that they should tell Lily first, but he was worried about telling anyone a t the same time. He sighed. What a mess he had gotten them in! He decided that he should try not to act too quiet any more, so he grinned at his best mate. "So, you going to tell me what you got Domenica?" he asked James in a conspiratorial tone.

James grinned at his best mate in the entire world. "We didn't get what I wanted to get her," he stated. He leaned in and whispered in Sirius's ear, "We got her a sweater. Boring, I know." He moved back and laughed. "I wanted to get her a broom kit." He shrugged slightly. "So what did you get her?" he asked Sirius.

Sirius laughed. "I'm sure a broom kit would have gone well, but you know how women like clothes." He rolled his eyes as h e thought it was silly at how much time most women put into their appearance. Domenica wasn't quite like that, but he didn't think much of giving clothes as birthday presents. However, when James asked Sirius what he had gotten her, he didn't know what to say. "Oh, it was nothing much. Just something I picked up and thought she might like," he said, although he still didn't quite answer the question, and he hoped that James wouldn't realize it. "So, when is Remus coming, so we can start this party?" he asked.

James didn't realize that Sirius hadn't answered his question, although he completely agreed with his best mate over the broom kit and then women and clothes. He was distracted when Sirius asked when Remus was coming. "I'm not sure. I'm surprised he isn't here already." He looked over to Dory, who was talking to Lily. "When is Remus coming? And, is Peter coming too?" he asked his cousin.

"Give him time. The party's just getting started and Remus hasn't arrived yet." Domenica said reassuringly. "I am sure he will perk up."

Lily did notice that Sirius was acting a little more normal now as the two friends seemed to be conspiring. "Yes, I suppose so." She gave Domenica a smile. "So have you had a good birthday so far? Have you gotten presents from your parents yet?"

Sirius looked aw ay from James and over to Domenica. It was still hard to believe that she was carrying his child, and he smiled faintly at the thought. "Yeah, when is Remus coming? And Peter?" He assumed Peter would be coming, but to be honest, he didn't know all of the people Domenica invited.

"So far, it's been fairly uneventful." Domenica stated. "My parents got me a few things. The best was a crystal rainbow maker from Italy since they claimed we needed a little brightness in these dark times." she explained as she checked her watch. "Peter said he wasn't coming but Remus should be here any second. He did floo me earlier saying that he might be late."

Lily smiled warmly. "Oh, I bet that crystal rainbow maker is lovely," she said. She had seen them before in a shop window at Diagon Alley. They only had the one, which they had gotten from Italy as well. "We could all use a little brightness these days," she agreed.

Remus had been running frantically all over Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley to find the perfect gift for Domenica and in the process had ended up incredibly late. He found her a locket which he put the Knight Coat of Arms on it for it and had it wrapped before he apparated to Copperstone Manor and knocked on the door before walking in. He practically lived at this house when he was a boy so walking in was not out of the ordinary. "Sorry I'm late. Happy Birthday Dory." he said breathlessly as he gave her the gift and kissed her on the cheek.

"No worries, Remus. It was James and Sirius that were getting antsy." Domenica reassure him as she flicked her wand to turn on some music.

Lily smiled when Remus entered and gave him a hug. "The boys don't seem to know what to do without you," she said with a laugh. She was so glad that Remus could make it, although she was a bit surprised about Peter. He often didn't seem to belong in the group, and she was worried about him. "Did Peter give a reason for not coming," she asked Domenica quietly.

James grinned when Remus came in. "We were thinking you weren't going to make it, Moony." He laughed. "Did you wait until the last minute to find a gift?" h e asked as he playfully nudged his friend.

"No, it took me this long to find something fitting for her," Remus stated in his own defense before his gaze shifted down a bit out of embarrassment. "Then I had to find the money to pay for it."

James patted Remus's shoulder. He knew that his friend had a lot of money woes, especially since no one wanted to hire a werewolf. "You know you could have just borrowed some money. I wouldn't have minding giving you some," he said quietly to Remus. James was rather wealthy, and he would do anything to help Remus out. In fact, he would have just given Remus some money, if he thought his friend would take it.

Domenica shook her head. "He just said he had something do to and left it at that." she sighed as she stole a glance over at Sirius, something that did not go unnoticed by Remus.

Lily slowly nodded. "Okay." She was worried about Peter. He seemed more distant to them since they had graduated.

The glance over at Sirius definitely caught Remus' attention and then he looked over at his best friend who seemed a bit tense. "Padfoot, you seem a bit off. Something we should know about?"

James didn't noticed Dory's glance to Sirius, but he did chuckle a bit. "Padfoot has been like that all evening," he commented to Remus as he looked over to his best mate. Something was definitely off with Sirius, but he didn't know what it could be.

Sirius caught Domenica's glance. When Remus asked if there was something they should know about, he burst out wit h "No!" Then, he realized how suspicious that sounded. "Oh, it's nothing really. Just been thinking. "He didn't know what he could possibly be thinking about except what Domenica told him, but he suddenly came up with something. "Regulus contacted me a couple days ago. He said there was something really important he had to tell me, and I told him to get lost." He shrugged. "Just been thinking about it. Reggie rarely ever tried to contact me before." It wasn't a complete lie. His brother, the Death Eater, did contact him. He just hadn't thought anything about it until now, and it was a good excuse for being a little off.

James was surprised to hear that Regulus had contacted Sirius. "You haven't really talked to him since you moved out. Did he say anything more than that it was really important?" he asked. Sirius had come to live with James and his family during the summer after Sirius turned sixteen. He hadn't been back home since, and he wondered what was going on with Regulus for him to contact him. It seemed like a trap to him. No one could trust them.

Lily didn't know what to say about Regulus contacting Sirius again. She thought that Regulus might have a change of heart, but she didn't know. Her relationship with her sister had been strained, but she still tried to keep in touch with Petunia as much as possible. It was even worse though since her sister had married Vernon Dursley. He was one of the worst kind of Muggles, and her letters to her sister hadn't been returned in months, since they were married. It was a shame really when family couldn't get along.

"Maybe he has seen a new light," Domenica said as she swallowed hard. Something in the air was upsetting her stomach and she was doing her level best not to get sick but quickly lost and had to excuse herself as discretely as possible before her secret was out in the open for everyone.

Remus wasn't entirely convinced with Sirius' answer. It seemed like he was fishing for something and things escalated a bit more when Domenica left the room. Remus' keen senses, thanks to being a werewolf, picked up quickly why she had left by sound and a slight smell. "Someone better go check on Dory because if I'm right, she just got sick."

Sirius shrugged. "Maybe, but I doubt it." He really didn't want to give his brother a chance. "And, he didn't s ay anything else. Just that h e had some information." A look of concern passed over his face when Dory left quickly. He started to move to go check on her, but he realized that it wasn't something he would typically do. He couldn't let them know quite yet. "Why don't you check on her, Lily? You're a girl," he said. He really did want to go check on Dory, but he felt tied to the lie that nothing was going on between them.

James didn't think that Regulus could ever see the light. He was wit h Sirius on this one. "He probably is just trying to get information on the Order of the Phoenix or something sneaky like that. You can't trust a Slytherin." He watched as Dory ran off, and he frowned. He hoped she wasn't getting the flu. It was horrible to be sick on your birthday.

Lily rolled her eyes when James s aid that you couldn't trust a Slytherin. She actually trusted Severus Snape, who had been her childhood friend, but she had to admit that things had changed in their friendship, since she married James. "I'll go check on her," she said as she left the boys to go check on Domenica. She went to the bathroom and tapped on the door before opening it. "Are you alright, Dory?" she asked. "Do you think you have the flu?" She put her hand on Dory's forehead, but she didn't think she felt feverish.

The look of concern that washed over Sirius' face and how he nearly jumped out of his seat when Dory ran off was unmistakable. Remus leaned forward in his chair while Lily and Dory were out of the room, looking Sirius dead in the eye as he spoke to him. "There is something going on here and if you lie to me about it again...I swear to Merlin, Padfoot...I will drag your arse outside and beat the shit out of you." he said quite seriously with not hint of a joke. "What is going on between you and Domenica?"

Sirius didn't know what to do. He was seriously considering just letting Remus beat him up. It would be much better than telling the truth. He glanced over to James, hoping to the gods that he wasn't catching on to anything. He tried to think of some answer, but Sirius just couldn't, and he shrugged slightly. "I don't know what you mean, Moony. Is it your time of the month? You seem more moody than usual." He tried to laugh it off, but he also glanced off to where Domenica had gone, and he seemed anxious for her to return. He also was doing his best to avoid James, and it was completely not like him.

James missed Sirius's concern for Dory. He was concerned about his cousin as well, and he was looking after to where Lily had gone off after her.

After she had thrown up, Domenica wished that Sirius had come to her but knew he could not just yet. She pulled a bit roughly away from Lily when she checked for a fever but then apologized. ; She was more used to having guys as friends and had to often prove that she could hold her own with them. "No, just something I had didn't quite agree with me," Domenica said as she washed her mouth out with some water. "I'm sorry I jerked back. Thanks." she offered as she held on to the sink to stand up and steady herself a bit to regain her composure before going back out to the guys.

Lily blushed with embarrassment when Domenica pulled away from her. "It's okay," she said. "I'm just concerned." She laughed lightly. "You're not the type to run off and get sick often." She knew that Domenica tried to hang out with the guys, and it made her tougher and slightly less feminine at times, but Lily was used to her by now, and she was still concerned. For some reason, Lily didn't know if she completely believed Domenica. "Are you sure it is just something you ate? We'd all hate for you to be sick for your birthday."

"No, that was last week, Padfoot," Remus snapped. "Usually you remember because usually you are there but this time..." Remus snapped back. "It still doesn't escape the fact that you are avoiding my question."

"I'm sure. There's nothing to worry about." Domenica said convincingly as she walked back into the living room to catch the tail end of Remus' tirade in Sirius' direction. "Leave him alone," she said with a strong forcefulness behind it.

"I'm just trying to get an answer and he's avoiding the question." Remus protested since he was usually able to sway Domenica to his point of view.

"And I said drop it." Domenica reiterated.

"That has never worried you before." Remus stated. "You're getting very protective of Padfoot recently...almost like you two were in a relationship..."

Domenica didn't say anything at first. This was not how she wanted them to all find out but she couldn't continue lying to them. "Well, they always said you were the smartest out of all of us."

James was slowly realizing that something was going on. It wasn't that he was stupid. It was just that the thoughts that Domenica and Sirius could both be hiding something from them just never would cross his mind. "So what is going on?" he asked as he looked at his best mate and his cousin.

Lily followed Domenica out from the bathroom. She still thought something was going on. No one had been the same, and there was this strange tension or something going on between Sirius and Domenica. When Remus mentioned that the two of them were in a relationship and Domenica practically confirmed it, she gasped and her eyes grew wide. She knew what was wrong with Domenica. Only another woman would pick up right away why Domenica was ill, and it had nothing to do with the flu or food poisoning. "You're...." She then suddenly shut up as she looked at James. She quickly moved over to him and grabbed his right hand firmly. It was his wand hand, and she was no fool. James wouldn't like the news if she was right. "You should tell us what is going on," she said gently.

Domenica sighed deeply, hating being cornered like this but she had to face it. "Sirius and I have been seeing each other for the last two months." she said simply and hoped that she did not lead them on to the other part of their secret.

Lily still felt like there was more to the truth, and she kept a tight hold on James's hand.

James was shocked when Domenica confessed that she had been seeing Sirius. He didn't want to believe it. In fact, he hoped that ' seeing each other' just meant that they saw and nothing else. He wasn't that naive though. "How could you?" he asked, and he would have grabbed Sirius or done a number other things if Lily wasn't cutting off the circulation to his hand. "You're my best friend, Sirius...like a brother. It's just wrong," he said in a betrayed tone.

Sirius was relieved when Domenica came out of the bathroom, but his jaw dropped op en when she flat out told their friends that they had been seeing each other for the past two months. He felt worse when it came to James's reaction. "I'm sorry, mate. It wasn't planned. It just sort of happened," he said lamely. He didn't mean to fall in love with Domenica. It had just happened. "We were going to tell you. We just didn't know how to bring it about." He gave a slight laugh, trying to make light of this situation. "It's not like I'm your actual brother, James. Dory and I are no relation." Well, they might actually be distant relation s. The Blacks did sleep with a lot of purebloods, and there was a limited gene pool there, but it wasn't like they were close cousins or anything.

Domenica was furious at James' reaction and her wand was pulled as she crossed the room to stand beside Sirius. "How could he?! How could you?!" she roared as she slapped James hard across the face. "Both of you." she spat as she included Remus in this. "We were going to tell you but we needed to find a way in which you wouldn't over react. Turns out that doesn't exist!" she spat in her cousin's direction. "WE made a choice and I would expect my cousin and my best friend to be happy for us."

"And what about us?" Remus chimed in.

"What about us? You said long ago, probably when we were eleven, that there was no future with a werewolf since every moon could be the last. My brother is proof of that." Domenica ground out as she turned back on James with a fury as she stayed put next to Sirius. "Now, the two o f you have a choice. You can either accept Sirius and I and we can move on or you can reject it and then we are no longer family and I swear on Merlin's wand that I will kick your arse from here to the Pacific and back and I assure you that I don't necessarily need my wand to do it. So what will it be?"

James was shocked when Dory slapped him. It was a good thing Lily was there and that Dory was his cousin and a girl. He would be half tempted to hit her back. "Perhaps we wouldn't have overreacted if you hadn't kept it such a secret," he blurted out. Deep down, he felt betrayed. When he fell in love with Lily, he told Sirius and Dory. They were the first two he told. When Lily finally agreed to going out with him, he told his friends. He never kept Lily a secret. He just wouldn't suspect his cousin and his best mate to keep secrets from him. "So, what else are you keeping from us?" he asked suddenly, not knowing that there was something else.

Lily didn't like it when Domenica slapped James. She thought it was uncalled for, despite the fact that James and Remus did overreact a bit. "James, don't," she said softly. "Dory and Sirius have a right to be together. You know that. They never acted like that with us, and you know they could have." She laughed gently at her own expense. "I never was very kind to you all those times you asked me out," she reminded him. She wasn't kind to him during the times she hated him or thought she hated him. "They should be happy together," she said gently as she tried to calm him down.

James shook his head. "It's different between us, Lils." He looked to Domenica and Sirius. "Is there anything else you want to tell us?" he asked again.

"How is it different?" Domenica asked, the rage gone out of her voice and it was replaced with a deep sadness. "How is any of this different?" she asked again as her voice cracked with the tears that were welling in her eyes.

James sputtered to try to think of why this was different. He was throw n off by the sadness and the tears in her eyes. His cousin had cried only a few times that he could remember, and he was unnerved by it. "It...it just is. You're my cousin, and you're my best friend," he said to each in turn. "You should have told me. I should have known sooner."

Lily felt horrible for Dory. It was her birthday, and they shouldn't be fighting like this over something so trivial. "We shouldn't be doing this today," she said gently to all of them. "It is a surprise, but it's not bad. I know I am very happy for you two," she told Domenica and Sirius. She meant it. She wouldn't have expected them to end up together, but she was happy for them.

Sirius didn't know what to say. He put his arm protectively around Domenica. He wouldn't tell James or Remus to leave, but Domenica had the right to do so. At least Lily was on their side. "Thanks, Lils," he said softly. He hadn't always been overly fond of Lily, but it was because he was afraid that she would take James away from him. It all worked out, and he had very fond thoughts of his best mate's girl. She was a good person. He then turned his gaze to James. He thought about what James asked. Was there anything else they were holding back? There was, and he suddenly didn't feel like keeping it secret. "There is one other thing. Domenica and I are having a child," he said in a tone that suggested that there was nothing they could do about it. "Her parents know, and it is time for you to know. We didn't want it to come out like this, but there it is. That's it." He wasn't going to mention that they were getting married. He hadn't asked Dory yet, although he planned to as soon as he could get a ring.

Lily smiled at Sirius. "No problem," she said. She did mean it when she said she was happy for them. She cared a lot about them. They were the only true family she had left since her parents had been killed. She had her sister, but they rarely spoke. Petunia had always been so jealous of her magical powers, and that beast she married was one of the worst Muggles she had ever known. She wasn't too surprised either when Sirius blurted out that Domenica was pregnant. Lily knew as soon as Domenica had gotten sick but wasn't sick. "Congratulations," she said as she moved in front of James to keep herself between James and Sirius. She didn't want another blow up to begin.

James was shocked by the news. He thought that there might be something else, but he never would have guessed that this could be the news. "Pregnant?" he said as he moved forward to actually attack his best mate. Fortunately, Lily was in the way, and she stamped on his foot hard, which caused him to yelp slightly and hop back. He wanted to say many more things, but the death glare Lily gave him shut him up, and he just mumbled a bit. "I'm not happy about this," he did manage to s ay as he crossed his arms and glared at them. He was even a little tiffed at Lily for being on their side about this. Couldn't she see how wrong it was?

Remus stepped back as everything unraveled in front of him but as soon as the words that not only were Domenica and Sirius an item came out but she was expecting his child, he snapped. "You son of a bitch!" he growled as he reeled back and hit Sirius hard straight in the jaw with a quick right hook. "You're unbelievable...totally unbelievable. I can't even stand to be around you right now." he said with utter disgust at Sirius.

Sirius was pleased that Lily had a handle on James, but he quickly realized that they should have figured this out better on what to do about Remus. He was shocked when Remus punched him right in the face, and he stumbled backwards a couple of steps and rubbed his jaw. "It wasn't like we planned any of this. It just happened, and if I had to do it again, I would," he said with the hint of a dog growl in his tone.

"When will you learn to think before you act?!" Remus growled. "This isn't just something you can brush aside here. This is a baby. Have you even thought about how you and Dory will raise it?"

Domenica couldn't stand this any longer. Tears were burning at her eyes that she was fighting with anger to not let fall. She didn't want to have anyone seeing her cry right now but she was not about to hide in her room right now. Without saying a word, she pushed past the rest of them and went out to her parents' balcony while the rest of them fought it out over something that only concerned one of them.

Lily watched helplessly as Dory ran past them and upstairs. She was torn between going up there to console her friend or berate her other friends and husband. She figured that she could give Dory a minute, and she rounded upon James and Remus. "How dare you two!" she said harshly and yet she did not raise her voice. "Dory and Sirius are your friends. You act like Sirius stole your favorite broom or something." She looked to James. "Dory is your cousin, James. She is a grown woman who can decide for herself who she wants to be with." Then, she turned on Remus. "And, you, Remus. You should be ashamed of yourself. I know you are hurting that she didn't pick you, but she and Sirius have decided to be together. They are having a child together, and all you and James can think of is how it affects you when it really doesn't. It is between Sirius and Domenica, and we should be their friends and stand by them in whatever they decide. We are all adults here...or did you forget that?" she said. Her green eyes were blazing with anger, and her cheeks were a bit red like her red hair.

James was beginning to feel a bit embarrassed by how he was acting. As much as he hated to admit it, Lily had a point. What was done was done. They couldn't change it. "I'm sorry, Lily," he mumbled.

Lily rolled her eyes. "It's not me who you should be apologizing to," she told James, although she could tell him tonight that she wasn't happy with him, and he best like sleeping on the couch.

James glanced over to Sirius. He hesitated, since he didn't exactly want to apologize to him. He was still mad at him. "You should have told me, Sirius," he said. "But I guess nothing can be done about it now," he said, which was about as much of an apology as Sirius was going to get from James at the moment.

Remus watched as Domenica went out to the balcony and stopped himself. "Go after her Padfoot before she blows us all up or I will." He stated seriously.

As Sirius left, Lily turned to James and Remus. "Perhaps we should leave the gifts, say happy birthday, and leave them alone." The party was pretty much ruined. She definitely didn't know how to save it. Plus, she needed to speak to James more on how he was=2 0acting. It wasn't right. Dory was his cousin and Sirius was his best mate. He should be happy for them.

James slowly nodded. He knew that he was in the doghouse as far as Lily was concerned. "Yeah. Perhaps we should go," he said as he glanced over to Moony to see if he was going to leave or not.

"Some how leaving just doesn't seem like the right thing to do." Remus sighed. "The lot of us haven't been together in one place at one time without a battle going on for months."But staying without putting all of this behind us is just going to bring on the potential for another fight. I don't know exactly what we should do."

Lily looked over at James. Remus was right. They hadn't had a chance to be together or even celebrate anything since they graduated. The war was quickly getting worse, and they were outnumbered. Anything could happen to any of them at any time. She knew that a lot, since her parents were murdered. "We really should stay, but what happened as to be put behind us. We really should be happy for them. They are our friends...our family." She truly did consider them family. Soon, she would be married to James and have Dory as a cousin by marriage. As far as she was concerned, Remus and Sirius were family as well. Despite the fact that she still had her sister, they were more her family than Petunia was or ever would be. "Please. We should make the best of this," she pleaded.

James didn't know when the next time they could get together again, except perhaps he and Lily's wedding, unless Dory and Sirius got married before them. Dory and Sirius getting married. It just didn't sound right, but he was sure in time he could accept it. He really didn't want to fight any more with his best mate and his cousin who was like a sister to him. He sighed. "You're right. I'm willing to put this behind us. What do you say, Moony?" He would be on his best behavior. Perhaps they could salvage the party, and if Domenica wanted them to go, then they would obey and not argue.

"I say we stay unless Dory and Sirius ask us to leave." Remus stated firmly. "Given the fact that no hexes or fireballs have been thrown yet, we still may have a chance of salvaging this evening. I think Prongs and I will need to take our feet out of our mouths and offer a proper apology t o them."

Sirius listened to Lily go off on James and Remus. He was glad that she was on their side. Lily was always the more reasonable one. He accepted James's apology, and he supposed that20Remus had given him one as well, since he told him to go find Dory. "I'll get her," he said as he was considerably happier at the moment than he had been once they started to yell at him for dating Dory and getting her pregnant. He quickly ran upstairs to the balcony where he found Domenica standing there. He put his arms around her. "I think our friends are coming around. You should have seen Lily yelling at Prongs and Moony." He lightly kissed her on the cheek in hopes to calm her down.

"Some of them should be lucky that they are not charcoal by now." Domenica ground out before resting her head against Sirius' shoulder. "I doubt there is any saving to this party now. So what do we do now?"

Sirius thought about what they should do as he wrapped his arms around her. "It could have been worse, I suppose. At least we had Lily backing us up." If Lily hadn't been there, he really thought James would have gone off the deep end. It was bad enough that Remus had punched him. It still smarted, and it would likely bruise before the night was over. "W e could ask them to leave, but they are our friends. We could at least have some dessert and send them on their merry way, if they are willing to be civil."

"We should test the waters first; see how they are handling things while I get some ice for that nice bruise Remus gave you. If they can't act like adults, then we ask them to leave and then I am going home with you...if you want that." Domenica stated.

Sirius thought briefly about that idea. He did want Domenica to come home with him tonight. He had even cleaned since she had last been in his flat, and it was quite nice now. "Sounds like a plan," he said as he grinned at her. The grin caused a slight pain in his face where he had been punched, and he winced. "Remind me not to get punched by Moony again," he said with a light laugh. He really hoped their friends could get over this. He didn't want to lose them.

Domenica summoned a wash cloth with some ice in it and held it against the dark bruise that was forming on his face. "He may look sickly but he is anything but," she reminded him. "Let's face the music here."

Sirius winced slightly when Domenica place the cloth against his cheek. "Yeah, I know. I just didn't expect him to punch me," he said. He would have been more prepared if James had done it, but Lily had managed to keep him in check. "Yeah, let's go," he said as they left the balcony and went back to their friends. He thought that =2 0James and Remus looked calmer. "Hey," he greeted them as he prepared to dodge another punch or spell.

James glanced over when Sirius and Domenica entered the room again. He gave=2 0his friend a sheepish smile. "That's quite a shiner you are getting there, mate," he said in attempts to be friendly. He glanced over to his cousin and gave her a shier, sheepish smile. "Sorry that we overreacted, Dory."

Lily noticed that James was trying to behave, and she smiled. "Congratulations! We are happy for you...or some of us are getting there," she said, adding a tinge of warning towards Remus and James to behave themselves.

"Thank you," Domenica said. "I just hope you all get used to it before the baby comes or there may be more issues." she said with a smile as she sat down. "Of course, I have to miss most of the action now."

Sirius did smile, and he was thankful that James seemed to be handling the situation a bit better. "What about you, Moony?" he asked as he kept his guard up just in case his friend wanted to slug him again.

"I would be lying if I said I was totally happy about this but I will offer my congratulations." Remus said a little shortly now that he was staring at Sirius again. "You hurt her and I swear that not even your dog form will protect you from what I will do."

Sirius smiled and tried not to wince from the pain in his cheek. "Point taken and I have no intentions on hurting Domenica ever." He laughed. "I think she would hurt me before you would get a chance, mate, if I did," he said quite honestly.

"Especially because I don't need to wait for a full moon to do it." Domenica added in. "Now, enough depressing stuff. I thought this was supposed to be my birthday party."

Sirius grinned. "That's right. So, where's the food and booze?" he said. He was starving, and he felt better that the truth was out in the open. He looked to Dory. "There is going to be food and such, right?" He hadn't eaten before he came, and he had a bottomless stomach at times.

Domenica pointed to the kitchen where a whole spread was set out. "I am surprised you didn't smell it and attack when you got here."

Sirius laughed. "I've been a bit preoccupied," he said. He then turned to their friends. "What do you say we get something to eat and get this party started off right?" It had almost been a complete disaster, but he was glad that they were finally getting along.

Lily smiled warmly. Things were working a lot better now, and she was glad that all were behaving. She gave Domenica and Sirius each a hug. "I'm so happy for you," the redhead said genuinely. She giggled a bit about Sirius's love for food. "Even distracted, I'm surprise he forgot about food," she told Domenica as she gave Sirius a playful grin.

James laughed. "We'll let's get something to eat. I'm famished as well," he said as he headed into the kitchen and began to pile up a plate with food. He still wasn't over the shock of finding out that Domenica and Sirius were not only together but also having a child, but he was willing to behave for now.

Sirius laughed. "I know, I know. I don't often forget about food, but there are some things that are more important." He glanced over to Domenica and gave her a grin. He did love her more than h e thought he could love anyone, and he was getting used to the fact that she was having his child. He then quickly made a beeline for the food, so they could get this party properly started.

Domenica blew a kiss to Sirius as he attacked the food and the party finally got started. As the festivities continued through the night, she reflected on another birthday and another life changing one at that. Her life hadn't been this exciting since getting her Hogwarts letter. Even with the rough start, things smoothed out and their friends proved something again. They could always be counted on when the chips were down.