A/N: Happy Christmas to all of you! I've only finished this today and so it is un-betaed and pretty much just thrown out tere. But I hope I can still give you a little Christmas joy with this. :)

To my ever faithful and loyal Sundance - Merry Christmas, Carolyn!

Chapter 27 - Home

Harry woke slowly, sluggishly, the cobwebs of half-forgotten dreams clinging to him with an underlying anxiety that didn't quite match the warmth and comfort he was slowly becoming aware of. He was in a cocoon of something soft, and plush, pressed against something solid but warm, and for a moment he froze because his senses signaled a contentment his brain had difficulty to believe. He was swamped with disorientation, not only struggling to recall where he was or how he had come to be here, but also unable to judge the danger he might be in.

There was a second of panic when a strong hand came to rest on the back of his head. But when it began to gently stroke over his hair, the familiarity of the gesture started to sink in. The weight and feel of that hand was neither foreign nor alarming. And then, with a rush of relief, everything came flooding back. Sirius. The hospital. How he had sneaked into the room of his godfather. The fear at finding him so still and pale. But now...

Suddenly an overwhelming hope filled him and, with his heart beating wildly, he pushed himself up, blinking in the gloomy light of morning.

And it was true. It was really true. Sirius was awake. Sirius was alive and back and he was smiling at Harry, broadly and fully, with his whole face creasing up. He didn't say a word at first, just let Harry look his fill for what felt like the blink of an eye and a very long time.

And Harry needed to look. He needed to just watch that smile, directed at him, to believe it was true. Finally Sirius' rough palm stroked tenderly over Harry's cheek.

''Hey, pup,'' he murmured. ''It's good to see you. I've been so scared for you.''

Harry pressed his face into the touch. ''I've been scared too,'' he whispered, through the huge lump in his throat.

''I know,'' Sirius said ruefully. ''And I'm so sorry you had to go through all that. But it's over now, Harry, I promise you that. Nothing and no one is going to take you away from me again.''

Harry looked at Sirius, at his smile, tired but open, and without the tension that had lingered around the corners of his mouth for so long. He was sure he wasn't dreaming but he still struggled to comprehend what his godfather was saying. He wanted to smile, but at the same time he felt icy fingers clawing at his chest. There was something rising up in him, like a huge black wave, like the tides, all that had happened.

He'd been so afraid for so long.

And all the time he had tried to hold himself together, had tried to be brave. With the Weasleys and the trial and the strange things happening at the manor. There had been one lifeline, one comfort, and he had repeated it to himself in the lonely nights, trying to not lose his faith.

That Sirius wanted him. That they were going to be a family. That he had promised.

But it had become harder and harder. There had been moments when Harry had almost believed that it was all wishful thinking, just like his fancy daydreaming back in the cupboard at the Dursleys. And now... was it... could it... really be real? Finally, truly, without any 'but's and 'if's? Without anything else waiting to take it all away again?

''Is it... will you... can I really stay with you now?'' Harry finally asked with a wobbly voice, blinking back the tears that threatened to rise.

Sirius looked over Harry's shoulder, and it was just now that Harry realized Remus was standing next to the bed, looking tired but happy.

Sirius studied Harry for a moment before he cupped his face with both his hands. He looked him in the eye, sure and a little fierce, and said, ''Yes, pup.''

There wasn't a trace of doubt or worry in his voice, just conviction. His piercing gray eyes became tender, as he stroked his thumb over Harry's cheekbone. ''I am a free man now. And you know what I told you. We are a family.''

He pulled Harry close again and Harry's hands clawed into Sirius' robes with a death grip. A long moment passed before he was ready to loosen his hold and push himself away a little again. ''And you are alright now?'' he asked still worried from seeing his godfather in the state he had been.

''I'm fine,'' Sirius reassured him with a grin. ''And as soon as Remus here finds me some trousers we are going home. Okay?''

He winked at Harry and ruffled his hair, and with that the small boy finally dared to give into it, this feeling of relief and joy, that had wanted to bubble up inside of him ever since he woke up. He couldn't have stopped the smile that burst forward if he'd tried.

''Okay,'' he whispered, sagging back against his god-father.

There were things he wanted to tell Sirius, things he wanted to ask, but he couldn't find the words in the jumble that were his thoughts and emotions. So for right now he just held on, held fast, to this feeling and to Sirius, enjoying the warmth and the weight of his god-father's hand, stroking his hair.


Unfortunately the quiet reunion did not stay undisturbed for long. Only a few minutes had passed when the company of three was startled by a female voice, near hysterics, booming down the corridor outside.

''How can you not know where he is? He is supposed to be in bed! You are supposed to keep watch over him!''

Remus and Sirius exchanged an alarmed look over Harry's head, who seemed to have gone slightly tense again in his godfather's arms.

''Molly...'' a male voice, trying to appease, was heard then, quieter but nearer.

''No! I've had enough! I am as good as that boy's mother, and I will -''

The door was ripped open, but Remus and Sirius never heard what Molly would do. They were left staring at the red-haired woman, standing like an avenging angel in the door, her mouth still open in mid-rant. Sirius was half raised in the bed, holding onto his godson with a grim face, while Remus placed himself, more or less subtly, between them and the door.

For a moment, Molly just stood there, blinking, before her eyes settled on the little boy in the bed and her features softened to a relieved smile.

''Harry,'' she said, rushing forwards, ''there you are, sweet-heart.''

In the middle of the room, though, she was stopped short by Remus, who was blocking her way with a determined face.

''Molly,'' he said with a strained smile. Their last meeting hadn't exactly gone very well after all. ''How good to see you. As you can see, Harry is perfectly alright.''

Molly, coming barely up to Remus shoulder, floundered a little, obviously torn between her compulsion to rush to Harry's side and her unwillingness to barrel over Remus in the process.

''Yes...,'' she said after a moment of hesitation. ''It seems so. We were just all really worried when Harry wasn't in his bed this morning. After all that has happened...'' she trailed off, but of course Remus knew very well what she was referring to.

''Yes, well, he hasn't been kidnapped, if that's what you mean,'' Sirius said bitingly from the bed, and, Remus knew, there was a world of subtext. It had, after all, only been a few days since Molly had accused Sirius of having done exactly that, not once but twice. ''He is just where he belongs. And where he wants to be.''

The words were an open challenge, but to Remus surprise Molly did not raise up to the bait, instead she faltered a little, taking a step back. ''Yes. I suppose...,'' she said a little awkwardly.

''You surely won't fault him for trying to reassure himself of my health,'' Sirius continued, and his tone made it clear, that he wasn't sure about that at all.

Molly, obviously hearing what Sirius wasn't saying as well, harrumphed. ''Yes. No. Of course not! Like I said, I was simply worried because Harry appeared to have vanished.''

A tense silence settled when Sirius refused to say anything further and just regarded Molly with cold expectation through his narrowed eyes.

''I... ehm... also wasn't aware that you are awake already, Mr. Black,'' Molly finally broke it. ''Are you feeling better? The healers were quite worried about you. We all were.''

Sirius eyebrows crept towards his hairline at Molly's words. And the expression on his face nearly made Remus snort out loud. But he felt for his friend, he too couldn't quite believe his own ears. Was Molly implying that she had been worried about Sirius?

Remus eyes searched out Arthur Weasley, who had come to stand just inside the door, and looked at his wife with fond exasperation. Remus knew that feeling quite well, Sirius used to inspire it in him a lot as well. Just the next moment, in fact.

''Forgive me, if that claim seems a slight incredible to me,'' Sirius said, with a dubious look but a hard edge to his voice.

Molly harrumphed again. ''No,'' she said looking around the room for a moment before she dared to meet Sirius' eyes. ''I guess I can hardly expect anything else.'' She took a deep breath. ''Mr. Black,... Sirius. I wanted to apologize to you for... for my doubts. Sometimes our own fears and... and our own grief... make it hard to see the truth. But I can admit when I have been wrong. And it seems very obvious that I have been wrong about you.''

Sirius frowned at her. His face didn't soften, yet. He was not a man to be swayed by pretty words. And he was not a man to forgive and forget quite so easily.

''Does that mean that you don't oppose my guardianship of Harry any longer?''

Remus pressed his lips together in an effort to hide his smile. Trust his friend to come straight to the point.

''Well, I guess... if you can assure us that you can provide for him... and if Harry still wants to stay with you'' – Harry, who hadn't made a noise since Molly had entered, nodded eagerly at that – ''there probably wouldn't be a reason to object to this. Of course he is always quite welcome at the Burrow,'' she rushed to assure, looking at Harry this time with a big smile.

''And of course,'' Arthur Weasley interjected from the door, ''it is not our decision to make, after all. You'll have to take that up with the Ministry, Sirius, but I think we can both tell you that we won't fight you over this. In fact, we would even support you.''

The last was directed at his wife, who squirmed a little, but nodded.

Sirius seemed truly baffled now. But he was not going to question a good thing. ''If that is true, I shall be very grateful,'' he said carefully.

There was another awkward silence, full of wary glances and fidgeting on Molly's part. Remus coughed a little glancing between Sirius and Molly.

''Yeah, well,'' Sirius said at last. ''Assuming your worries have been lifted, I would ask you to excuse us now. I was just about to get dressed.'' He looked at Remus. ''Moony, where are those trousers I asked you for?''

''Dressed?'' Molly exclaimed, shock evident in her voice. ''Surely you can't mean to get up already? You've been in a coma for days! Has a healer even been in yet to check on you?''

''Why don't we go and tell them that Sirius is awake and give those three a little privacy for the moment,'' Arthur murmured soothingly while pulling her towards the door.

''What!? Oh...Yes. Yes, all right.'' Molly looked between them uncertainly. ''But make sure he stays in bed,'' she admonished Remus over her shoulder before the door fell shut behind them.

''What. The fuck?'' Sirius asked into the ringing silence, lifting a dubious eyebrow at Remus.

''Padfoot!'' the werewolf scolded him with a mild look and a glance at Harry. ''Language?''

''Yeah.'' Sirius nodded. ''Sorry. What. The ever loving fuck?''

This time Remus couldn't help but laugh. It didsum up that conversation pretty well after all.

''Seriously, Remus, am I still on the good drugs, or did I just hear Molly Weasley apologize for doubting me and all but agree to let me raise Harry?''

''If not, we have strangely matching hallucinations,'' Remus said dryly.

''Huh.'' Sirius cocked his head. ''Quickly, take a look out of the window!'' he said, waving his hand in the general direction. ''I am sure there must be stocks of pigs taking flight this very moment.''


There had been no sightings of flying livestock over London after all, but Sirius wasn't about to take any chances.

He had guessed, rightfully, that it would take Molly and Arthur only a few minutes to alert the healers and nurses to his changed condition, who had then rushed in in a hurry and started to wave their wands about him and talk to each other excitedly. Pretty much ignoring Sirius himself for the first minutes. It didn't help to endear them to him. Apparently he was a small medical miracle, and shouldn't have woken up at all, or at least not yet.

''I'm so sorry if this is inconvenient to you,'' Sirius remarked acidly to that.

''Oh, no, no,'' one of them, a young healer with a pimply face, rushed to ensure him. ''It is utterly fascinating.''

''Is it?'' The two words barely managed not to drown in sarcasm.

''We are of course very happy to see you awake and alert, Mr. Black,'' a, well, girl, said almost breathlessly, and the way she blushed while fluttering her eyelashes made Sirius draw back from her and his urge to run out the door this very minute even more imperative.

He had managed to get into some trousers at least but, while never being overly modest before, couldn't help but feel vulnerable facing what amounted to a bunch of kids half naked.

Finally there was a loud cough coming from the door and an older man with a clean cut graying beard looked at the lot of them with slightly disapproving eyes.

"Ladies and gentlemen, no need to manhandle the patient. While I can relate to your excitement, I shouldn't have to remind you that your first action should have been alerting the overseeing healer.'' He earned some guilty blushes, but at least one covered eye-roll for his words. ''Now, step back and observe while I examine the patient.''

Sirius scowled. ''Actually, the patient would like to release himself.''

The older healer looked at him, almost seeming startled that he had spoken at all, and shook his head with the same disapproval he had just shown to the flock of healers in training. ''Don't be silly, Mr. Black. You are in no condition to walk out of here.'' He stepped forward, directing his wand at Sirius' chest and moving it in a quick and precise fashion.

Sirius' eyes narrowed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Remus wince. Then he met his eyes and warningly shook his head. He got the message loud and clear. Don't you dare.

Sirius smiled sweetly.

''I am pretty sure I am not a prisoner any more, so I can't imagine what should stop me.''

The healer frowned distractedly, not meeting his eyes. ''You might be in an actually quite surprising good physical condition, regarding the circumstances. Which means we expected you to be half-dead and you are not. But we have no idea of the effects this all had to your magical abilities. This will need thorough testing. At least a few days, maybe a week or two...''

Sirius gaped at him. ''Yeah... no. Really not. Thank you very much, but I will be going now.''

And with that he turned away from the still moving wand, and went to the cupboard on the far side of the room, rifling through it until he found a set of robes that actually seemed to be his own. Thankfully Remus always was prepared.

''Mister Black! You really can't...''

Sirius blanked out whatever it was the healer was telling him. Thankfully he had become quite adapt with the years at lalala-ing in his head when ever anyone started going on about what he couldn't do. He really had no time for that. And no way in hell was he going to stay in this sorry place, being prodded at and talked over, when he was finally free to take Harry home.

He stepped behind a screen that had been put up for decency, and shrugged into the robes. If the voices he could hear coming from the other side were any indication, the people in his room seemed to have multiplied in a few seconds. Molly and Arthur were back, and so was Albus. There were more nurses and healers and other people Sirius knew neither identity nor occupation of.

"We will keep him here under watch for at least three more days..."

"The burns are as good as healed, but his magical abilities and his overall constitution..."

"Harry will of course stay with us for now..."

"Yes, that would probably be for the best. There will be a hearing set by the Ministry in regards to the guardianship issue, but there is no need to rush..."

Sirius calmly buttoned up his robes, while Remus was hovering nervously to his left, holding on to Harry and throwing worried glances at his friend . Sirius hoped the cause for that was the conversation going on on the other side of the screen without him, if very much about him, and not the distinctive shaking in his legs he was trying to suppress.

Fully dressed, Sirius squared his shoulders and stepped out from behind the screen, planting himself in the line of view of most of the group and assessing them with a cool and confident look. Within only a moment the group had fallen silent, those looking in the other direction turning around towards him.

When Sirius was sure he had their undivided attention he let a moment pass, and then another, before he spoke.

''I have no idea who half of you are, and I don't really care. But apparently all of you know who I am. So I will make this short. I am going to take my godson now, and then he and I will go home. Should anyone of you harbour the idea that he can stop me, I invite him to try.''

With that said, Sirius picked up Harry, who wrapped his arms and legs around him and buried his face in Sirius' shoulder.

''Mr. Black, you can't just leave. You need further rest, and...''

''Sirius, be reasonable,...''

''Harry should come with us for the time being until the issue of his guardianship has been resolved officially...''

''No.'' Sirius voice was ringing loudly, over the havoc. ''Let me make this clear. I am neither a child, nor am I a prisoner any longer, and I am done with people telling me what I can and can't do. I am releasing myself, and then I am going home, or, well, to Remus', and I am taking Harry with me. If I need any further medical care I know where to find it. Now get out of my way, or I swear you'll regret it.''

Sirius was a tall man, and he stood proud and determined, finally free of either collar or shackles. Remus glimpsed the old Sirius in this man, the one who, however much he hated his ancestry, was a Black by blood and the fear and respect that family evoked in equal measures had been no idle circumstance. The crowd parted like the sea, and Sirius stepped through like a king bearing a crown.

But Remus knew this Sirius better than anyone, and so he rushed after him, less he collapse somewhere down the corridor, ruining this glorious performance.


Sirius did not collapse, but it took a lot more effort than he was willing to admit. He was almost all the way down to the elevators when he heard rushing footsteps behind him and he turned around with a glare on his face, ready to shoot down anyone who dared to get in his way. He came face to face with none other than Remus though, who held his hands up placatingly.

''No need to rip my head of, I didn't come to stop you!''

Sirius looked at him sheepishly. ''I know, Moony. I thought you were one of those so-called healers.''

Remus opened his mouth to reply, but Sirius cut him off. ''I know. I know you don't think I should do this, but I can't stay here any longer. I have been prodded and manhandled and talked over enough to last for a lifetime. I won't stand for it a moment longer. And Harry can't stay here for weeks either. A hospital is no place for a kid and I won't send him away. I will never send him away.''

Remus face softened. ''I know, Padfoot. You don't have to vindicate yourself. I know. So... let's go home, okay? We can sort everything else out later.''

Sirius nodded, relieved, and together they stepped into the elevator to travel down to the main hall. What neither of them expected was the mop of people that met them as soon as the doors opened, brandishing cameras and magical microphones.

''Mr. Black! Are you really innocent?''

''Are you already healed? And how were you injured in the first place?''

''What will you do now that you are a free man, Mr. Black? What will be your next actions?''

''Will you apply for guardianship for Harry Potter? Is it true that the Potter's made you his godfather?''

''What can you say to the rumours about you suing the Ministry? Are you out for revenge, Mr. Black?''

''Mr. Black! Will you run for office now like your father did?''

Sirius stood stunned, facing the wall of people, yelling and waving and even smiling at him. He had faced such a storm before, on the way to his trial, but back then the people had oozed hostility, had insulted and damned him and wished him to hell. Now the main emotion seemed to be excitement. Like he was a celebrity. Although some of these men and women were probably the same who, only days ago, had told him even Azkaban was still too good for him. All Sirius wanted was to apparate himself far away but, like most official buildings, had non-apparition-fields in place.

''No comment,'' a calm but firm voice suddenly came from behind his right shoulder, and Remus stepped around him, once more placing himself like a shield. Against his better judgment it made Sirius smile.

The flashes of the camera erupted with a new frenzy, and the voices became almost more high-pitched and excited. But Remus just held up his hands and started walking forwards, parting the crowd and blazing a trail for Sirius and Harry. His little boy had his face buried in Sirius shoulder, like he was trying to hide, and Sirius simply held his head up high and didn't meet anyone's eye, his own firmly planted on the ginger-blond mob of Remus' hair.

They made it outside, and the Cold and the Grey of a London side-street felt like a shock to Sirius' system. The lone old man walking his dog across the street, the litter on the curb, fluttering in the breeze, and the pigeons ogling him for a moment until they lost interest, too mundane to belong to the same world, he had been inhabiting for so long. His eyes found Remus' and for a long, silent moment they just looked at each other. And Sirius could read it all in his friends' eyes, the same joy and relief, laced with still a little worry and the struggle to really comprehend that they had made it. That they had reached this point.

Remus reached out his hand and Sirius, still wandless, took it. They still looked at each other when Remus apparated them away.


Coming back to Remus' cottage should not have felt so much like coming home, after all, it had been a prison for him ever since he had first arrived. Had that really been only two weeks ago? But when Sirius now stepped into the lingering warmth of the living-room, it was an entirely different feeling which wrapped himself around him like a scarf on a cold winter's day. It was Remus' place. A place he was and always would be welcome, that was soaked in everything that was his friend. His eyes swept over the couch and the arm-chair, the fire-place and the large windows leading out to the back garden. Absently, his hand touched his bare throat where the collar had been fixed.

Things seemed larger now and less confining. He could breathe easier. He went up to the large double doors, and his hand shook a little as he reached out and opened them. He regarded the treshold contemplatingly for a moment, then he took a big step and closed his eyes, breathing in -'the earthy scent of the wet fields, the sharp scent of the pine trees from the forest.

A small warm hand wrapped around his own, and then Harry's warm weight settled against his side. Sirius put his arm around the little boy's shoulder and pulled his god-son closer. For a moment they just stood like that. United.

''Sirius?'' Harry finally asked quietly.

''Yes, pup?''

''What's going to happen now? Will we stay here with Remus?''

''Do you want to?''

Harry bit his lip. ''I don't know. I liked the cabin. I had my own room there, and a tree-house, and a broomstick. It was our place.''

Sirius smiled. He felt the same way. The cabin had become their home when they both had needed one. It was small and a little old, but it was theirs. He missed it too.

''Then we will go back to the cabin. As soon as the guardianship is settled. And I will go to the Ministry about that first thing in the morning, okay?''

''Okay.'' Harry hesitated. ''Sirius?''


''When I live with you and you are my... my guardian,'' Harry trailed off and Sirius looked down at Harry's black mop of hair, while the little boy studied his feet.

''Yes? What is it, Harry?''

''You know how Mrs Weasley wanted to adopt me?''

''Yes, I know.'' Sirius wasn't really sure where this was going, but we was glad Harry chose to speak up.

''Would you... would you do that too?'' Harry asked quietly. ''When you are my guardian?''

Sirius didn't answer immediately, but waited until Harry looked up at him with uncertain eyes. ''Would you like that?'' Sirius asked then.

Harry swallowed. ''I want to be your son,'' he mumbled shyly after a moment. Then he pushed out his little chin with a stubborn tilt that reminded Sirius so very much of James. ''And I don't want anyone ever to take me away from you again.''

Sirius sank down to his knees and wrapped his arms around Harry's small frame. ''I don't want that either. And you are my son, what ever happens. But if you want to, Harry, I would love to adopt you. And you will be my son and I will be your Dad and no one can say differently.''

''Can I call you Dad then?''

Sirius had to bli8nk against the moisture that rose up in his eyes, seeing the hope and the trust in Harry's face. ''I would be happy and proud if you ever want to,'' he croaked.

''I do. I want to have my own Dad. That's all I ever wanted.'' Harry pushed back and the smile on his face was so broad it was like watching the sun. ''And I want it to be you, because you will be the best Dad in the world. And if I can have that, then I would never want anything again, ever!''

Sirius laughed. ''It's okay. You are allowed to want other things too, pup. In fact, I did promise you that we would have our very own Christmas, didn't I? Don't you want your Christmas presents?''

Harry hesitated. He had never had any Christmas presents after all. ''I think I would like a Christmas present,'' he said after a moment, carefully. ''But can I have the adoption first?''

''Yes,'' Sirius laughed. ''What ever you want, Harry, I promise you that. And what ever it takes.''

A small tab against the frame of the doors caught their attention, and when they both looked up, it was to see Remus standing there with a smile on his face.

''I made hot chocolate. Is there anyone who might be interested in a cup?''

''Yes! Yes!'' Harry cried, jumping up and down, and then he took of running towards the kitchen.

Sirius watched him go with a fond smile on his face. ''He will be alright, won't he?'' he asked.

Remus held his hand out and pulled Sirius up when he took it. ''He will be fine, Padfoot. Now that he's got you, he will be perfect.''


After all the hot chocolate had been drunk and Harry had stuffed himself with Remus' biscuits, he had fallen asleep on his godfather's lap and they had put him upstairs in Sirius' bed. Now, as the sun was quickly descending behind the treetops, the two wizards sat in front of the fireplace, side by side on the sofa, each holding a sparkling glass of fire-whiskey in their hands.

Sirius stared into the flames, apparently lost in thought, but Remus watched his friend instead, from the corner of his eye, watched the flickering light playing over Sirius' still a little gaunt features. He simultaneously looked young and vulnerable, and older than his years. Remus heart ached a little, understanding that his friend would never be the same again, even though all his ordeals were over now. The outside signs might fade with time, but the long years in Azkaban had left their mark deep in Sirius' soul. He would never be the easy, care-free boy again. But then Remus remembered how much Sirius had always hid behind his attitude. He sighed. Maybe Sirius wasn't so different after all. He fully turned towards the other man, pulling his feet up on the cushions, and waited for Sirius to catch his eye. After a moment Sirius' silver gaze found his, regarding him expectantly. And Remus asked the question that had been sitting on the tip of his tongue for the past hours.

''How are you really feeling?''

Sirius raised his eyebrows. ''I'm free,'' he said, ''and I am here with you and Harry, what do you think? I'm feeling great.''

Remus looked at him with fond exasperation. ''You know that's not what I mean.''

''Then what do you?'' Sirius asked, looking away, back into the flames. But Remus wouldn't let him evade again. He leaned forward, searching out Sirius' eyes again.

''What about your magic? Is it back? Can you use it?''

Sirius stared into the his glass, swirling the amber liquid around silently.

''Sirius?'' Remus asked again, worry and fear gripping his heart again. ''Have you tried a spell?''



''...it worked.''

Remus inhaled deeply through his nose. The implications... oh, the implications.

''What are you not telling me?''

Hearing the way Remus' voice shook, Sirius finally met his eyes again, looking at him apologetically. ''It didn't work very well,'' he admitted. ''Or very quickly. And it took quite some effort.''

''Sirius...'' Remus swallowed.

''I know,'' Sirius cut him off before he could say anymore. ''I will call Pomfrey in the morning. Just... lets just enjoy this evening, okay? Let me have this?''

There was a pain in Remus' chest, that threatened to rip him apart, but he managed to smile. ''Yes,'' he said, blinking a little. ''Okay. Let's enjoy tonight.''


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