Title: Look After You
Summary: When Ginny time traveled back to her original time, leaving behind the Marauders and Lily, she knew life wasn't going to get any easier. Torn between her desire for Sirius and love for Harry, Ginny fights to survive in a world she forgot about. Sequel.
Disclaimer: I only own the plot.
Back and Forth
February 6, 2003
The air was cold, biting at the bare skin of his face and making him wonder yet again why he didn't go inside by the fire. Instead he sat in a metal chair that he had to brush snow off of on the balcony, overlooking a dark backyard where absolutely nothing was happening. He could hear the snapping of branches off in the woods, whether from forest creatures or snow too heavy to be held he did not know. Snow on the floor of the balcony dampened the thick socks he wore and the long sleeved shirt he was wearing did nothing to protect him.
But he could not leave.
Ever since he was a child, Sirius was use to the quiet. When he wasn't pissing off his mother or brother or father, Number 12 Grimmauld Place was an extremely silent house. No one would know of the hatred that lurked within the walls, of the restlessness of the house guests. While Sirius was a naturally loud child, he found that when he was most upset, when he could not think properly, he just liked to be in the dark and to be where no one could hear or see him.
Then he went to Hogwarts and there was no such thing as quiet. There was just James and Remus, Peter and Lily… and Ginny. There was Quidditch, where he was allowed to curse and scream as long as McGonagall or any other professor didn't hear him. There was the Gryffindor common room, where not one student understood the meaning of the word tranquility. There was the Great Hall and there was laughter and kissing and warmth.
After Hogwarts, Sirius felt like his whole world had become more silent. Ginny was gone. Voldemort was on the rise. Everyone had secrets. But Sirius was use to the quiet and secrets and being suspicious of everyone. His family had raised him like that. And he needed the lack of noise to keep James, Lily and Harry safe…
Azkaban was silent too, except for the random screams of the prisoners. If it weren't for the silence of Azkaban, Sirius never would have thought of how to get to Peter.
And now, like many other times, Sirius sat in the silence to try to think straight. He felt a bit sick still though and it was distracting him. There was a pounding right behind his right eye and a rolling sensation in his stomach that made him vomit more than once on his trip to Remus' cottage. Putting his head in his hands, Sirius closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Ginny was losing hope. He was losing hope. It had been five years, five very long years, where Sirius had tried time and time again to fix whatever curse the Veil had put on him.
But he couldn't imagine a life without Ginny. Even now his clothes smelled of her and he had a flash from only hours ago of his fingers tracing her freckled skin as she lay next to him in her bed. The smile on her face was one like no other he had seen and it filled every inch of him with such light, with such freedom, that it made it hard for Sirius to breathe. He thought of her hair and her small hands and her large eyes. He thought of the stubbornness in her voice whenever she said no and the way her lips curved when she cried out yes… He still couldn't believe the lengths Ginny had gone to for him, for the sole purpose of bringing Sirius back from the Veil. She had risked her life for him when she had no reason to do so.
A shiver ran down Sirius' back and he lifted his head out of his hands to look out at the yard again. They'd been fighting to be together for five years and sometimes Sirius just wanted to give up. After her trip to see him in Florence, when the curse hit him and he had been too sick to move, after seeing the devastation on her face when she found out the secret he had been trying to hide from her…
"Bloody hell," Sirius cursed softly, his words causing a puff of fog to appear in front of his face.
"Bloody hell is right."
Sirius jumped, swinging around to see Remus shutting the door to the balcony and stepping outside. Remus glanced at Sirius from the corner of his eye before walking up to the railing.
"Are you mad?" Remus asked, shaking his head at Sirius.
His eyebrows perked at Remus' question.
"Tonks would have your head if she found out you left that balcony door open for however long you've been out here."
Sirius' eyebrows went higher before he let out a bark of laughter. Remus started laughing too, leaning against the railing to hold himself up. Their laughter echoed in the night and Sirius got up to stand next to his friend. Putting his elbows on the railing, Sirius put his chin in his hands, a smile tugging at his lips.
"I find it hard to believe my own cousin would worry about a thing like that," Sirius said in response.
"You were probably furious," Sirius continued.
Beginning to laugh again, Remus turned to look at Sirius. The laughter gradually died as he took in the sight of his best mate.
"It's still not working?" he questioned.
Making sure to keep his eyes off Moony, Sirius gave a sharp nod.
"What did the Unspeakables say?"
He cleared his throat, feeling the burning at the back of it. As comfortable as Sirius was with the quiet and as comfortable as Sirius was at being the creator of mass chaos, Sirius hated the moments when he had to say what he didn't want to say, when he had to admit to what he was trying to pretend didn't happen. Remus had always been able to see through Sirius and James' exteriors when they were upset and it was a skill he used whenever he wanted, like now. Though Sirius had always leaned so heavily on James when they grew up, he found Remus had wonderfully and selfishly stepped in to be Sirius' crying shoulder.
"I haven't talked to anyone yet. Came straight here."
Both men were wordless for a beat before Sirius cleared his throat again.
"They're running out of options. Abigail, the witch in Florence, she couldn't do anything… you know what she told me?"
Sirius licked his lips as Remus remained still. Well here goes nothing, Sirius thought to himself.
"She told me to go back into the Veil-"
Remus' shout startled Sirius, and possibly anyone in a ten mile radius. As Sirius's head snapped up in surprise at the yell, Remus' hand moved quick as lightening and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, yanking his face close to Remus'.
"Padfoot, you will not go back into the Veil."
The amber in Remus' eyes burned bright and there was such protectiveness, such fierceness, that Sirius was left speechless. Remus' grip tightened on his shirt.
"Padfoot, you cannot go back into that Veil. We will not lose you again. That witch is wrong."
Sirius nodded silently. Remus' eyes narrowed.
"Sirius, you must promise me you will not go back there. Imagine Harry, imagine Ginny! After everything she's done for you, for you to go back into that Veil because some bloody witch told you to- For Merlin's sake, think of Teddy! He loves you. We all do-"
"I'm not going back in!" Sirius cried out, his hands coming up and gripping onto the wrist of Remus' hand that held his shirt. "I don't want to lose any of you either."
"Sirius," Remus' tone was warning but whatever he was about to say was cut off by the balcony door opening.
Both men turned to see Tonks standing there, hands on her hips. Her eyes were sparkling, however, and it was clear she was trying to conceal a grin.
"Are you lot about to kiss?"
Remus dropped his hand in shock and Sirius grinned, reaching up and massaging his neck where the shirt had rubbed his skin wrong.
"Imagine when I tell everyone about what I just stumbled in on," Tonks continued, giggling a bit as Remus approached his wife.
"We were not about to kiss," Remus said, pressing his lips to Tonks' head.
"Seriously, we weren't-"
"Seriously," Sirius repeated, laughter coloring his words.
Tonks rolled her eyes.
"Get inside, boys; Teddy wants you to say goodnight before he finally goes to bed. And let it be known if you two snogging out here is the reason that boy is awake the rest of the night there will be hell to pay."
Sirius smirked, following the couple back into the cottage and shutting the door behind him.
June 26, 2003
"I feel sort of horrible leaving Hermione at home."
Ginny rolled her eyes affectionately, reaching over to mess up Ron's hair.
"Hey! Watch it!"
"Stop being a prat and trying to find a way out of this," Ginny said as she poked him in the chest.
"I'm exhausted too but we need this."
"You don't understand, Gin," Ron said, his blue eyes wide. "She's gone 'round the bend. Her back hurts, her feet are huge and she keeps mentioning all this really gross stuff that I'm sure will give me nightmares."
"Too much information, Ron," Ginny cut him off, laughing. "She's pregnant. What do you expect?"
Ron sighed through his nose.
"An easy nine months would be too much to ask?"
"Yes!" Ginny couldn't stop laughing. "You're such an idiot."
"Oh, sorry. Butterbeer?"
Neville, who had nearly spilt his own drink on Ron and Ginny, offered up the two other Butterbeers he held in his left hand. Both Weasleys took one, smiling at Neville as he made his way over to Luna and Blaise by the kitchen.
"Shouldn't you want to get out of the house anyway?" Ginny continued the conversation, taking a sip of the drink.
"I just know she wanted to come."
"Now you're just lying," Ginny rolled her eyes again. "Hermione hates going out to pubs, she hates the crowd on the dance floor and she can't stand all the questions you ask her about Muggles when we're out in Muggle London."
"What! You're evil-"
"Hey Ron, Ginny."
Dean Thomas had just entered Ginny's flat, making his way over to the host and placing two bottles of Firewhiskey on the table in front of her.
"I present this alcohol to you as a token of my appreciation for letting us all meet here before we head out," Dean said, dramatically waving his hand around the whiskey.
Ginny smirked, standing up to hug Dean. Ron stood also, clasping hands with Dean before running a hand through his hair.
"Is this what tonight's going to be like?" Ron asked warily.
"What's that suppose to mean?" Dean grinned, stealing Ginny's Butterbeer to take a sip.
"Ronald is being a baby about going out without Hermione," Ginny supplied sweetly, batting her eyes at Ron when he scowled at her.
"That is not true!"
"Well, Weasley, you're about to have a real baby running around so you better grow up and be a man!" Dean patted Ron's shoulder, his grin widening when Ron shrugged his hand off.
Handing Ginny back her drink, Dean made his way to the kitchen, where Ginny was sure he was grabbing some shot glasses. She watched as Blaise and Dean exchanged nods of the heads, Dean wrapped an arm around Luna in greeting before Neville and Dean started laughing about something she couldn't hear. Harry, who was talking to Pansy by the kitchen sink, jumped at the sight of his fellow Gryffindor. Doing a quick count, Ginny realized they were only missing a few more people before they could head out.
"Might as well join the party," Ron mumbled, sitting back on the couch and opening one of the bottles of whiskey.
It had become a bit of a tradition, this get together that was happening in Ginny's flat. They were all grownups now, as strange as it was, and had hardly any time to get everyone together at once. So they tried to aim for once a month, or perhaps once every two months, where everyone got together for dinner or a night out on the town. And, over the years, the group had transformed itself.
Initially it had just been Ron, Hermione, Harry and Ginny. But then came Neville and Luna, who Ginny wanted to keep in contact with as much as possible. They became a permanent fixture of the group and Ginny was reminded insanely of her fourth year, when they gone into the Department of Mysteries. Not too long after Dean and Seamus had stumbled upon the group when they were out at the pub once and ordered they be invited out also from then on. Fred, George, Angelina and Hannah randomly joined as well.
Then Harry and Ginny broke up. Harry began dating Pansy and instead of the Slytherin refusing to be apart of the mostly Gryffindor hangout she opted to join them. She even brought along Blaise Zabini, whether for moral support or the fact that he was the most obnoxious Slytherin any of them had ever met Ginny didn't know. And soon the group hangouts of four had expanded to over ten.
"Gin, you're out of toilet paper," Seamus' voice snapped Ginny out of her thoughts.
She looked up irritably and he chuckled, holding up his hands in surrender.
"Joke, just a joke."
"Where're Fred and George?" Neville was surprisingly heard over the voices and laughter of everyone in the small flat.
She heard Ron curse and turned to look at him.
"Ah, right, they'll be meeting us at the pub!"
Ron shrugged sheepishly at Ginny's narrowed eyes. She couldn't help but laugh as Dean made his way back to the couch, carrying more than enough shot glasses.
" Ev'ryone, over here!" Dean shouted.
Pansy was the first one over, though Ginny had a feeling it was to make sure the two girls were standing next to each other. They shared a slight smile and Pansy leaned close to her.
"I despise when Thomas does this," Pansy said softly, so that the boy did not hear her. "I hate shots."
"You say this every time," Ginny pointed out. "And every time you take the shots."
Pansy folded her arms across her chest. Taking a second to look at the woman, Ginny found she was still surprised by how Muggle Pansy could make herself look. Her hair was pulled into a high bun and she wore shorts and a slightly baggy shirt. Despite her sharp features, which Ginny liked to think every Slytherin had, Pansy could very well pass for a Muggle and not the pureblood Slytherin she is.
How times have changed.
"Here you go, and you- hey! Don't take it yet, Seamus! Luna, here, pass that Zabini- Luna! Don't dump it in the plant!"
"But Firewhiskey helps prevent-" Luna's dreamy voice began, though it was cut off by Blaise's snickering.
Ginny jumped a bit, startled by how Harry had managed to get so close to her and Pansy without her noticing.
"Hey, Harry," she smiled at him.
Her eyes couldn't help but watch as Pansy uncrossed her arms from her chest in order to slip her hand into Harry's.
"Ron okay?" Harry asked, using his free hand to push his glasses up his nose.
Ginny smiled at Harry as she shrugged. They shared a look before Harry leaned towards his best friend.
"Everything alright there, mate?"
Ron dramatically sighed.
"This shot's for you, Harry," Ron responded, handing Harry one of the shots Dean poured.
Soon they each had a shot in their hands and, with a cheer, clanked them all together and consumed the alcohol. It burned down Ginny's throat and she fought the urge to gasp, instead shaking her shoulders as if this would help it go down.
"Ah!" Seamus cheered. "Round two, yes?"
Muggle London was definitely an interesting place. None of them were recognized, which made for a carefree Harry, though Ginny believed it made them all more rowdy. After going through two pubs, the group decided on a pub that had loud music and a packed dance floor.
Ginny wasn't sure how long they'd be in the pub before someone was kicked out. Dean and Seamus had gone on the dance floor, jumping around as if they had been hit with a jinx. Harry and Ron were seated at the bar, heads bent close as they discussed something in their slurred words. One of them would randomly shout out something every five minutes in anger or joy. Pansy was leaning against a wall, her eyes glossy, as she listened to Hannah Abbot, Neville and George talk. Angelina and Fred were challenging the people around them to beer chugging.
Everyone was smashed.
"What are you doing?"
Ginny turned, blinking to focus. Blaise Zabini stood in front of her, smirking as he took in her disheveled sight.
"Taking a moment to collect myself," Ginny responded.
"Not dancing?" Blaise asked.
Ginny shook her head.
"I lost the beer chugging contest to Fred and Angelina," Ginny told him, shaking her head slowly. "Twice."
Blaise' smirk grew and he leaned close to her. He smelled of mint and clean clothes. Ginny squinted her eyes. She supposed that was because his clothes were only the best brands. Even if Blaise and Pansy hung out with Gryffindors now they still made to show off their wealth.
"Want another drink?"
Blaise nodded down at Ginny's empty drink and she looked up at him with a smile. The Slytherin had taken a while to come around once Pansy forced his entry into the group. He had never been as bad as Malfoy had been when they were all at Hogwarts but he liked his snide comments and he liked making a point to piss off the boys. He had come a long way.
Nodding again, Blaise walked towards the packed bar. Ginny bit her lip before turning her eyes to the dance floor. She tried to find Dean and Seamus in the crowd. The lights were making her eyes hurt though and after a minute of no success Ginny gave up. Turning from the dance floor, Ginny heard Fred's loud cheer and started when someone took her hand.
"Come now, Gin, time to dance!"
Seamus tugged her hand and she stumbled onto the dance floor.
"But my glass-"
Seamus didn't let her finish, taking her empty glass and putting it on a random seat. Ginny giggled as Seamus made a show of spinning her. Suddenly Dean was beside them, doing some odd dance moves with Hannah. Hannah was red faced and throwing her arms in the air.
The music was different than Ginny was use to but the Muggle music always was. She never knew how to dance to it and opted to just bounce on her feet Copying Hannah, Ginny threw her arms into the air and spun in a circle. She closed her eyes, smiling when she heard Seamus and Dean laughing through the music, and continued spinning. But it was becoming too packed to keep spinning so Ginny stopped, swaying to the music and making a face at Neville as he made his way toward the group.
"Bloody brilliant!" Neville shouted as he began jumping up and down.
And it was then, in the rush of stopping spinning and bodies pressing together and the smell of sweat in the air, that Ginny saw him. She gasped, her hand flying to her chest as she tried to look around Dean to make sure it was him.
"Sirius," she whispered.
Ginny pushed away from the group. Sirius was making his way to the back of the pub and Ginny knew that's where one of the exits was… or maybe it was the toilets but either way she had to follow him. She tried not to stumble when someone bumped into her, keeping her eyes on Sirius. Sirius, Sirius, Sirius.
She hadn't seen Sirius since February. They weren't writing as much but they have always randomly gone through dry spells with writing. Apparently he had left Florence, though Ginny didn't know where he had moved to. And now he was in London, at a pub by her flat. Ginny passed by Fred and Angelina, who were snogging in front of all the losers of the beer chugging contest.
Sirius turned his head slightly, as if knowing she was behind him, and she sped her walk. His hair was longer than before so she couldn't see his eyes and now, more than anything, Ginny wanted to see the grey of his eyes. Ginny felt herself smiling and, with a jolt, she realized her hand was shaking as she reached out to grab him by the shoulder.
"Sirius," she breathed.
Merlin, she hadn't realized she missed him this much until just now-
Ginny felt her face flush. The man in front of her wasn't Sirius, though he looked so much like Sirius she briefly wondered if they could have been related. But, no, the man in front of her had big hazel eyes and a rounder nose. They were the same height and had the same hair so Ginny knew why she thought he was Sirius in her drunken state.
"Sorry? Can't hear you, it's so loud in here!"
Ginny blinked as the man kept talking to her. She should say something. She definitely should say something.
But the disappointment was hitting her like a brick wall. And there wasn't an exit in the back of the pub, just the toilets like Ginny thought. And he wasn't Sirius. Ginny took a step back than another before completely turning around. She pushed her way through the crowd, past Fred and Angelina again. Her eyes searched for the exit and she found it. Harry and Ron, still seated at the bar, didn't notice when she rushed pass them to leave the pub.
But the warm air didn't make Ginny feel any better. She gasped, trying to calm her breathing. Her eyes burned and her hands were still shaking but for a different reason now. It wasn't Sirius.
"It's okay," she muttered to herself, pressing a hand to her chest again. "I'm okay."
But her own words made her face crumble. Ginny brought her other hand to her face, covering her eyes as if that would stop the tears. Falling against the brick wall of the pub, Ginny slid to the ground. There were random people outside the pub, drunk and hardly taking mind of the fellow drunk girl crying.
Her body shuddered with suppressed sobs.
It still wasn't any easier. Whenever Ginny thought it was finally okay, that she was finally okay, something would happen. He would write her, saying he missed her. She would hear Teddy talking about him. Harry would mention some joke that Sirius had told him.
And, Merlin, she missed him. Even after months of not seeing each other, even knowing the pain they caused each other, she still missed him. She missed everything about him. Did it make it worse that it seemed like everyone else around her was paired up? Probably. After all, Ron and Hermione were about to have their first kid. Not that Ginny wanted kids anytime soon but it was such a big step, such a big commitment that Ron and Hermione decided to take on together...
Who would Ginny ever want to do that with except Sirius?
As soon as the tears stopped and Ginny could breathe easy she wiped at her face with the back of her hand. She couldn't go back in there now, not when she knew her face was bright red and her eyes puffy. Not if that man who looked like Sirius was still in there.
Ginny looked up, surprised when she saw Blaise leaning out of the pub, squinting his eyes to make sure it really was her sitting on the sidewalk. When Ginny just continued staring at him, Blaise decided to leave the pub. He sauntered over to her, pursing his lips.
"Are you crying?"
Ginny sniffed, wiping at her face again.
"Usually Hannah is the one who starts crying when she's drinking," Blaise told her. "But she's getting her moves on with one of your brothers."
Biting her lip, Ginny sighed.
Blaise, who was still standing, had his hands in his pocket and an eyebrow raised.
"You look like a fool down there, now get up. I have a drink in the pub for you that I've been holding for about twenty minutes and if I go back in there alone I'll be the fool."
When Ginny didn't move, Blaise checked his surroundings before squatting down next to her.
"I'm not joking. This whole you-crying-thing that is going on is making me uncomfortable. You are not the crier. Now let's get back to having a good time."
Blaise stood up straight and, after another moment of silence, offered Ginny his hand. She took it without thinking twice and let him pull her to her feet.
September 29, 2003
"I don't do well with babies," Sirius admitted.
He felt Remus and Tonks look at him as he tried to avoid their gazes.
"You do realize you're holding both my children right now?" Tonks' voice was amused.
Sirius shrugged. In his right arm was Minnie, her head laid down on Sirius' shoulder as her chubby fingers picked at the buttons on his jacket. And his left hand had a firm grip on Teddy's hand. Teddy looked up at his godfather at his parents' words and he shared a smile with Sirius.
"But Teddy and Minnie are your children," Sirius said.
"Of course I'm going to be okay with your children, Moony."
"I'm sure you'll be fine seeing Rose then," was all Remus said before he knocked on the door.
Nerves were getting the best of Sirius and he glanced over at Tonks. She seemed relieved not to be holding either of her kids and shot Sirius a wink when they made eye contact.
"If anything, you holding both the kids will make Hermione more comfortable with handing Rose over to you."
Sirius blanched but before he could do anything the front door swung open. Today was one of the few days Sirius had to spare to see his loved ones before he went back to work. As always, the work the Unspeakables and him were doing was never ending. Despite thinking just months ago that there was nothing else to be done to help him the Unspeakables came up with more possible solutions.
So today he was to see Rose, Ron and Hermione's first child. She was born about a month ago, in late August. After stopping by Remus' to pick up the Lupin family, they all headed over to the new parent's house.
"You've made it!"
Ron, lanky as always, had the tired look on his face that most new parents had. Dark shadows hung under his eyes and his hair looked like it hadn't been brushed in a while. But at the sight of his friends a large smile spread across his face.
"Come in, come in! Hermione can't wait to see you! Oh, hello, Teddy."
Teddy had let go of Sirius' hand to hold Ron's hand instead.
"Is the baby a girl, Ron?" Teddy asked, his eyes wide.
Ron smiled and nodded.
"Yeah," Ron ushered the family in and shut the door behind them. "Her name is Rose."
Teddy scrunched his nose as he let go of Ron's hand to run further into the house. Remus watched warily beside his wife as Teddy began picking up anything he could grab.
"When is someone going to have a boy?" Teddy asked, picking up a picture frame before putting it back down. "There's only baby girls, no boys, I want a friend."
Ron laughed and offered a shrug.
"No idea, mate. Ask your dad and mum that one."
Sirius began to laugh also at the eye roll Tonks gave and the fact that Remus began to shake his head. He wondered how many times Teddy had complained about being the only boy in the group of friends. It was true though, Sirius realized. Bill and Fleur had Victoire a few years back. Remus and Tonks had baby Minnie and now Ron and Hermione just had Rose.
Poor lad, to be surrounded by so many women. At some point in his life, though, he would probably be grateful to not be related to any of them.
"Sirius! Uncle Sirius, come here!"
Handing Minnie to Remus, Sirius shook off his jacket and followed Teddy into the kitchen. Teddy had just managed to learn to say Sirius' name without replacing the r with a w and was quite proud of himself. Sirius wasn't sure he had ever heard someone make an effort to say his name out loud as much as Teddy did. Sirius glanced around the clean kitchen as Ron, Tonks and Remus had made their way into a different room; from the sounds of it, Hermione and Rose were in there.
"Thanks for not Flooing in… the noise has been driving Rose insane, she cries every time she hears it…"
Teddy turned to his godfather, smirking, as soon as the voices of the other adults faded away.
"There're cookies!" Teddy whispered, pointing to the counter. "Can I have one?"
Sirius started chuckling again and bent down beside his godson. It was odd to look at Teddy and see Remus. The boy was undoubtedly his father's son, despite having Tonks ability to change appearances. Whenever Teddy was in a relaxed state he had shaggy brown hair and wide, hazel eyes. He wasn't clumsy or quiet though. Instead he seemed to inherit the sliver of a mischievous side of Remus, with a bit of feistiness from his godparents. At the thought of Ginny, Sirius' smile faltered.
"Your parents probably won't want you to have one. We haven't even had lunch yet."
Teddy's face scrunched up in confusion.
Sirius let out a bark of laughter.
"How 'bout you go ask Hermione if you can have one. If she says okay, me and you can split one."
Teddy gave a determined nod and was about to offer Sirius his hand before he spied something else. Tilting his head, Teddy put a finger to his lips to make sure Sirius stayed quiet before tip toeing and peering under the table in the kitchen. He looked back at Sirius in excitement.
"Crookshanks!" he cried out, grinning. "Crookshanks is under here! Come here!"
Sirius squatted down beside the boy and looked under the table also. Indeed, underneath was Crookshanks. The large orange cat, which had begun to shy away at the sight of Teddy, immediately stopped and made his way over to Sirius.
" 'Ello, old friend," Sirius muttered, running his hands through Crookshanks' fur.
It seemed that, finally, time was beginning to take its toll on the creature. Crookshanks' normally bright orange fur was beginning to become patchy and there was gray fur around his mouth. Sirius sighed at the sight. He could remember when Crookshanks was Ginny's kitten back when he was just a student at Hogwarts. And how could he forget how much the creature had helped him when he was trying to get Peter…
"Why does he like you so much?" Teddy asked, hesitantly reaching out a hand and petting Crookshanks tail.
The cat looked back at Teddy with a haughty expression and Sirius smiled.
"We've known each other a while."
Sirius nodded just as Tonks called from the other room.
"Sirius? Everything okay?"
"Time to go, I think," Sirius whispered to Teddy, standing up from his spot on the floor.
Teddy nodded in agreement. Clasping the little boy's hand, Sirius and Teddy made their way out of the kitchen and into the other room. As soon as Hermione saw Sirius she jumped out of her spot on the couch and threw her arms around him. Her fluffy brown hair tickled his face but he chuckled, hugging her back.
"I'm fine, just fine! Sirius, I am so happy you could make it, I just wasn't sure- Come, come here and see Rose! She'll be so happy to meet you!"
Sirius didn't have any choice but to follow Hermione, but not before looking at Remus. Remus grinned cheekily at the panic that must have shown on Sirius' face. Hermione led Sirius to a cradle and, looking inside, Sirius saw the tiny form of a baby. She had a shock of red hair on the top of her head but that was all Sirius could see for she was sleeping.
"Oh, she was just awake!" Hermione sighed, reaching out to tuck the blanket around Rose. "She'll be up soon, I'm sure."
"No worries," Sirius wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "I would think you'd want her to sleep."
Hermione looked at Sirius with big eyes.
"Rose is a pleasure, really. She's such a good baby-"
"She can be a right pain," Ron interjected, having thrown himself on the couch beside Remus. "Just you wait till she wakes up. Never heard something cry like that in my life."
Hermione sent Ron a shocked look.
Sirius squeezed Hermione's shoulder but couldn't stop laughing.
"Hermione you don't have to impress anyone," Tonks told her, settling next to Remus and running a hand through Minnie's thick hair. "If we didn't have Sirius, Harry and Ginny I'm sure I'd have been driven insane by now. I don't know how Molly did it."
"Children are hard," Remus admitted. "Minnie took ages to sleep through the night."
Hermione sighed, running a hand over her face. Ron reached for her and she went to him, letting him press a kiss to her knuckles before pulling her close. He rested his head on his stomach as she stood beside him. The act of affection caused Sirius' heart to squeeze and he looked away… to Teddy who was now peering into the cradle.
" 'Ey!" Sirius hissed, snapping his fingers.
Teddy jumped, though there was a grin on his face.
"Sorry!" Teddy skipped over to Sirius. "Babies are so boring."
"You were a baby once," Remus informed him.
Minnie giggled, grabbing onto Remus' ear. Remus grimaced when she gave it a sharp tug.
"I am not boring," Teddy declared.
"You've got that right," Tonks laughed.
"Want some tea? And cookies? I made a batch before everyone got here, in case anyone was hungry-" Hermione began anxiously, snapping out of her moment with her husband.
"Cookies!" Teddy cried out, bouncing on his feet. "Please, yes please!"
Sirius began walking with Hermione to the kitchen.
"I'll help you bring it out."
Hermione nodded, putting a kettle on the stove once they got to the kitchen before opening some cupboards. Sirius helped her reach a few cups on the higher shelves when she struggled.
"No magic?" he asked, setting the cups on a tray she had out.
"As easy as it is, it's exhausting after having Rose," Hermione admitted reluctantly. "Mrs. Weasley said that's normal, though. Either way, I like doing things the Muggle way. It's how I was raised. And I want Rose to know magic isn't the only thing out there…"
She trailed off, gnawing at her lip as she kept her head bent. Sirius stopped moving, tilting his head as he watched her. He had known Hermione since she was thirteen and had become close with her after returning from the Veil. After all, she was Harry's best friend and had helped his godson survive in the Final Battle. She also reminded Sirius a bit of Lily and he found he liked that, that Harry would have someone like his mother in his life.
So it wasn't a surprise that Sirius found it easy to read Hermione. She had never been good at concealing her thoughts and now wasn't an exception. Hermione wanted to ask him something.
"Alright there, Hermione?"
She looked up at him, using a hand to brush back some of her bushy hair.
"Oh, yes," she paused. "I just wanted… to talk to you. I figure this will be the only time and…"
She gnawed at her lip some more before finally relenting.
"You haven't talked to Ginny in a while."
Sirius froze. He should have known it had something to do with Ginny. It always did, didn't it? And it was true. He hadn't written to Ginny in over two months. Even before then it had been hard to write to her. After their last meeting in February he realized how tired she was and how tired he was. They were just so tired of fighting for each other. And even though he missed her so much it hurt he knew that until the Unspeakables figured something out he couldn't keep appearing randomly in her life. She was still so young…
And what if the Unspeakables never figured anything out?
Sirius shook himself of his thoughts and gave Hermione a crooked smile.
"She told you, eh?"
"You didn't write her for her birthday," Hermione said softly.
Sirius ran a hand through his hair, shaking his head.
"I don't know what I can say," Sirius responded slowly. "You know I would love if this was easy between me and her but it's not."
"Yes, of course. And I think she understands too."
At Hermione's words, Sirius focused more sharply on her.
"Is she okay?"
Hermione avoided his eyes but nodded.
"Hermione, what aren't you telling me?"
"Nothing! Here, take this tray, I think the water is heated enough now-"
"Hermione," Sirius' tone was abrupt.
Hermione nervously turned one of the cups on the tray several times before making eye contact with Sirius again.
"I've always supported you and Ginny," Hermione told him. "And I want this to work out between you. And I know it's hard... But…"
"Is she seeing someone else?"
It was a question Sirius didn't even realize he was thinking about till he had already asked it. He waited and saw Hermione's cheeks flush.
"Well, I'm not positive. She hasn't really told anyone. And I'm one of her closest friends but she won't say. And I've been so busy with Rose. But I… think so. I can just sort of… tell," Hermione finished lamely.
Sirius felt his world tilt and he closed his eyes tightly. Of course Ginny would be seeing someone else. And hadn't he wanted that for her? Wasn't it time for her to… to what? Move on? Move on without him? His thoughts were so conflicted he felt a bit ill. It was Hermione's touch to his arm that made him open his eyes again.
"I don't want you to lose your chance."
With a sharp laugh, Sirius shook his head.
"What chance? What chance do I have if I can't even be around her without-"
"Hermione! Where are you?"
Ron's shout startled both Hermione and Sirius. Looking over his shoulder, Sirius realized that everyone was still waiting for the cookies and tea. Turning back, he saw a frown on Hermione's face as she set up the tray.
"Teddy's starving out here!" Ron continued to say loudly, laughing.
"Starving!" Teddy's voice added.
"Skin and bones, basically, this child-"
And then Ron was cut off by the loudest shriek Sirius thought he ever heard. Rose was awake. Hermione dropped one of the teacups and it shattered as she took a deep breath.
January 5, 2004
"What's that you're looking at?"
Ginny couldn't stop staring. It had been the second time in a month that he had appeared in the papers. The first time had been because of a Ministry sponsored ball he had gone to with Harry. Harry was always in the papers so Ginny hadn't thought much of it. After all, it had only been Sirius' name that she saw in the article. But this was much different.
"Hello? Anyone there?"
Ginny jumped at the touch of Blaise's hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, forcing her eyes from the picture. The image was burned in her mind's eye though and even as she looked at Blaise she saw Sirius and that woman.
"You look a bit like a zombie right now, what's going- Is that Sirius Black?"
Clearing her throat, Ginny looked back at the paper, which now had Blaise's attention. Indeed it was Sirius. With a woman. Kissing her.
"Didn't know you were much for the gossip section of the paper," Blaise said, snatching the paper from the desk in front of her.
"I'm not," Ginny agreed softly.
She felt sick to her stomach.
"I cannot believe they're following this murderer around like he's a celebrity. And printing it in the paper!"
Ginny rolled her eyes and stood up from the desk. Folding her arms across her chest, Ginny crossed the bedroom and looked outside at the snow covered grounds. It was still early morning and she had just woken up. One of Blaise's house-elves had left some hot tea and biscuits on the desk, along with the day's paper. The smell had woken Ginny up and as she ate the biscuits she had looked through the paper, unaware of what she was about to see.
"He's not a murderer."
Blaise made an amused sound in his throat.
"I remember the stories I heard of him as a kid. Remember that year he broke into Hogwarts to kill Potter?"
Ginny leaned her head on the window, fighting the urge to roll her eyes again.
"He was cleared of all charges, Zabini."
"Yes, well, I still think it's mad that you lot all hang out with him."
"He is Harry's godfather," Ginny pointed out.
She watched as a flock of birds flew overhead, making the shape of a V.
"Potter goes on about him like he's a saint."
"I wouldn't go that far," she responded. "He's a good man, though."
She heard Blaise take a seat and begin to pour himself some tea.
"A good man whose shagging, ah, what's her name? How does he even get these women? He was in Azkaban for ages, he's most likely a nut."
Her face flushed and Ginny turned away from the window to face Blaise. He seemed unaware of how close Ginny was to cursing him. Though Blaise had no idea about Ginny's past relationship with Sirius, or at least she thought he knew nothing of it, she couldn't help but be stung by his insensitive comments about Sirius.
"It was just the other week I saw him with some other witch, quite pretty too."
"What are you going on about?" Ginny snapped.
Blaise looked up at her, his dark eyes taking in her anger.
"I never said I didn't read the gossip section," he said slowly, eyes narrowing as he leaned back in his seat. "There's not much else to do when I'm not shagging you."
Ginny folded her arms across her chest. Blaise and Ginny had been shagging for months now, it was true. He was bored and so was she. Zabini's mother hated the idea of her only child working and so she gave to Blaise one of the several manors she received after the death of her many husbands. Along with the manor came a monthly allowance that was more money than Ginny could comprehend. There would be no point soon when Blaise would need to do anything with his life.
And after he saw her breakdown months ago they had grown close. Ginny knew her and Blaise were never going to be anything more than shag-buddies but she did consider him a good friend, in the way she considered Pansy a good friend. Though they were clearly very different and he was still very much a Slytherin at heart, they got along. And on the random occasions that the whole group would get together they would basically ignore each other till everyone was too smashed to notice their interactions.
"He's been in the paper a lot?" Ginny asked.
Blaise made a noise of agreement.
"Apparently being a convicted felon really can get you some attention with the press-"
"He is not a felon," Ginny cried out, throwing her hands in the air. "Stop calling him that. He's not a nut either."
Blaise's eyebrows perked in amusement.
"Yes, I'm sure you're right," he agreed sarcastically before pausing. "However you do seem to be the crazy one right now. What do you care if he's in the paper or not?"
Ginny brushed some hair from her face as she tried to think of an answer. There were many excuses she could give Blaise but none of them seemed to be coming to mind.
"I don't care."
"Clearly you do."
Walking over to a large lounge chair in the corner where she had folded her clothes the night before, Ginny avoided Blaise's eyes.
"He's a friend-"
"I've never seen you get this worked up over Longbottom."
"Bloody hell, Zabini, let it be."
Ginny took off the shirt Blaise let her sleep in and put on her own. She felt his eyes on her but when she turned to look at him he was staring at the paper.
"Pansy once let something slip about you and Black," Blaise said softly.
He lifted his eyes to hers, a smirk curling on his lips.
"I didn't think it could actually be true. Merlin, he's old enough to be your father!"
Her face flushed as she yanked on her pants. Spinning around, she held out a hand.
"Don't get into territory you know nothing about."
"Did he break your heart?"
Ginny tensed and Blaise noticed. His mouth dropped in astonishment for a moment before he composed himself.
"Really? Someone managed to break your heart?"
"Zabini, stop," Ginny hissed.
Blaise stood from his seat and approached her. She stilled in her effort to put on her cloak.
"Why did you love an old fool like that?" he questioned, his voice a low murmur as his fingers brushed her cheek.
She kept her eyes on his, feeling the anger boil in her stomach. He knew nothing about her and Sirius. He knew nothing about Sirius plainly. Who was he to judge?
"Fuck off," Ginny snapped.
He scowled at her and sat on the end of his bed.
"You're going to leave because I teased you about that madman?"
"I'm leaving because you're an ass."
"Now, now, Mother doesn't approve of ladies using such language."
Ginny pocketed her wand and tugged on her shoes.
"She also won't approve of you having fucked someone who spent half his life in Azkaban. When, exactly, did you and Black even get into a relationship? As long as I've known you it's always been Potter or no one at all-"
"Blaise," Ginny's voice was soft. "Say one more word about me or Sirius and I'll blast your into oblivion."
Blaise watched as Ginny walked towards the fire. Without looking back at him, she threw in the Floo powder and left.
As soon as Ginny got back to her flat, she went to her desk and opened one of the drawers. Inside it was filled with letters, letters she had kept for years. Reaching in, she grabbed a handful of the letters before sliding to the ground. It was always so hard, always. Even when she was with Blaise she thought of Sirius. Even though his letters had stopped ages ago she still dreamt of him. She could still hear his voice. She saw him in random things Teddy did. She could feel him when she was with everyone, as if he were a natural part of the group that was missing.
She stilled loved him and it hurt so badly.
April 10, 2004
The Death Chamber.
That's what they called the room with the Veil in it and as Sirius sat on one of the stone benches he understood why. There was nothing comforting about the large, dimly lit room. And the sight of the Veil made his stomach clench.
Sirius licked his lips and stared at the archway. The last time he had been in here, after Ginny rescued him, he didn't remember. He had returned from the Veil unconscious. Severus Snape had saved his life. He scowled a bit at the thought. The time before had been right before his blasted cousin cursed him and he fell through the archway. And now he was here again. There was no battle this time though. And no rescue.
He was only here to attempt something extremely stupid. Sirius put his head in his hands, closing his eyes tight. Abigail, the witch from Florence, had told him time and time again the only way to cure him of the curse the Veil put on him was to reenter the Veil. But it was mad and even the Unspeakables didn't want him to do it. To escape once was a miracle. To reenter willingly a second time and plan to somehow escape was unlikely.
And Sirius had ignored the temptation to follow through with what Abigail told him to do. What if he stayed trapped in the Veil forever? What if he never saw Harry or Remus or Teddy or Tonks or Ginny again? And then he had realized he'd never see Ginny again either way if he didn't reenter the Veil.
He had thought he could move on after he found out Ginny was seeing someone else. Sirius had tried dating, he had tried kissing girls and pretending everything was okay. It worked for a little while. He felt good for a little bit. But at night when it was quiet and he was able to properly think he only thought of Ginny. After all these years he only thought of Ginny. And, somehow, he knew she was thinking of him too.
It hadn't been hard for Sirius to get into the Ministry and to the Department of Mysteries. After all Sirius almost had Unspeakable status, what with how long he's been working alongside them. He had been determined as he entered the Death Chamber. The sight of the Veil stopped him though. And he could hear the whispering despite the distance he had from the Veil.
He didn't know how long it took for him to get up and walk to the Veil. Ten minutes, an hour, a whole day. But he did, eventually. Sirius brushed the hair from his face as he got closer.
"I should have said goodbye to Harry and Teddy," he whispered to himself. "I should have tried to see Remus…"
Sirius shook his head and stopped a few steps from the Veil. It flowed as if there was a breeze but Sirius didn't feel one.
The whispering seemed to be getting louder.
"I should have…"
Sirius' voice trailed off as he stepped up to the Veil. The whispering was loud but he couldn't understand what any of it was saying, what any of it meant. He leaned forward, trying to figure out why one voice sounded so familiar to him, to figure out what the voice was saying. Because out of all the words being whispered by all the voices he knew he recognized one. It made his blood stir and he leaned forward even more, so close to the Veil now that he could easily enter.
"It's okay, Padfoot. Everything will be okay."
And, with a brief moment of certainty, Sirius reentered the Veil.
"Ginny? Ginny, wake up."
Ginny groaned, pressing her face further into her pillow.
"I'm sleeping still," she muttered.
If she just kept her eyes closed she could easily go back to sleep. It would be so easy if James would just stop bugging her.
"Ginny, wake up."
"Stop being such a bother, James!" Ginny pulled her covers up to her chin, squeezing her eyes to keep them for opening on instinct.
"Ginny, go find Sirius. He needs you."
Throwing her blankets off of her, Ginny sat up in her bed angrily, her eyes flashing.
"James, leave me alone!"
She stopped, the anger leaving her as she stared around her dark, empty bedroom. Ginny mouth opened in surprise and she grabbed her wand to light the room. She had been so sure James had been talking to her, as though he had been whispering directly in her ear. For a moment she had thought she had been in Hogwarts again, with the Marauders bugging her over some nonsense.
Ginny got out of her bed, eyeing the room. She truly felt as if James were in there, hiding. But that was impossible. James was dead. She must have been dreaming. But still…
"James?" she whispered. "James, are you… are you here?"
Ginny took a step forward than stopped. She could hear something right outside her room. Gripping onto her wand, Ginny slowly opened her bedroom door and peered out. She screamed when she saw two figures standing in front of her fireplace.
"Remus! Harry! What in Merlin's name are you doing here?"
Harry and Remus both looked hastily dressed, their eyes bright despite the late hour. Remus rushed forward, his hands gripping onto Ginny's arms.
"Ginny, are you okay?"
Ginny nodded, confused at the anxiousness in his voice.
"Of course I am, I was sleeping," Ginny looked past Remus at Harry. "What are you both doing here? What time is it?"
Perhaps them Flooing into her flat had been what she heard, not James. Ginny allowed Remus to lead her towards Harry.
"This is going to sound crazy," Harry began slowly. "But…"
He stopped, running a hand nervously through his hair.
"I heard my mum talking to me."
Ginny froze, her eyes widening as they connected with Harry's. He had heard Lily?
"I know. I just… It was so strange, I was dead asleep and then I heard her… She was waking me up, telling me to go get Remus."
Harry paused again before shrugging helplessly.
"So I did."
Ginny turned to Remus, her eyebrows furrowing. Remus shrugged also.
"When he told me what he heard the first thing I thought of was you," Remus said. "I thought you were hurt or that something had happened so we Flooed here from my cottage."
"It was probably some weird dream I was having. But she sounded so urgent, you know," Harry trailed off, running his hand through his hair again. "And with my history with dreams I just knew I needed to get Remus. And he wanted to come here, to check up on you."
Rubbing her arms, Ginny turned away from Remus and Harry. Harry had heard Lily tell him to go get Remus? And both men appeared here, in her flat, just as she woke up to James' voice.
"I heard James," Ginny softly admitted. "Right before you got here."
"You heard my dad?" Harry's voice was tight with emotion and Ginny turned to face him.
She nodded, biting her lip.
"What did James say to you, Ginny?" Remus asked, surprise coloring his words.
Closing her eyes briefly, Ginny tried to remember. He was trying to wake her up because… because he wanted her to go find Sirius.
"Ginny, go find Sirius. He needs you."
With a jolt, Ginny rushed into her bedroom. She was just beginning to change out of her pajamas into a shirt and pants when Remus walked in, Harry close behind.
"What are you doing?"
"Ginny, what did James say?" Remus asked again sharply.
He grabbed her to stop her from moving. She didn't realize how hard she was breathing, the fear in her eyes, till she looked at Remus.
"He told me to find Sirius. James said Sirius needs me."
Remus' face dropped and he took a step away from Ginny. He looked panicked and Ginny found herself nodding in agreement.
"Where is he? Where's he living?" she questioned, angry that she didn't know the answers herself.
"He's been staying outside of London," Harry began. "Let's go, I know where his place is!"
"No, no," Remus was shaking his head. "Oh no."
Ginny and Harry, who were already heading out of the bedroom, stopped. Ginny felt her stomach squeeze.
"What?" she stepped towards Remus. "Remus, what?"
"He's in London," Remus said softly, his voice weak. "I'm afraid I know exactly where he's at. We must be quick."
Before Remus could move past her, though, Ginny stopped him. She felt nauseous as she stared at her friend. Because, deep down, she knew exactly where Sirius was. Something in her gut was telling her exactly where he was at right now…
"He went back to the Veil."
Author's Note: Well I actually really liked writing this chapter. I apologize for any mistakes. I'll try to get the next chapter out soon! Review, let me know what you think!