To my surprise, we made it back to Grimmauld Place without any problems. When we walked inside, Sirius quickly changed back into himself, acting as if we had been there the entire time. I quickly ran upstairs, hoping Harry hadn't noticed my - I looked down at my watch - three hour absence.


When I reached Harry and Ron's room though I found it full of much more people than I was expecting.

"Oh, I'm sorry for interrupting. I'll leave," I said, backing out of the room slowly.

"Don't be ridiculous," Hermione said, grabbing my arm and pulling me into the room. "We were just telling Harry how stupid he's being, hiding up here away from everyone."

"Sounds exciting," I said, sitting beside Harry. "I'm just in time for the slandering."

"Very funny," snapped Harry, turning away.

I punched him in the arm.


"Oh, stop feeling all misunderstood," said Hermione sharply. "Look, the others have told me what you overheard last night on the Extendable Ears -"

"Yeah?" growled Harry, his hands deep in his pockets as he watched the snow now falling thickly outside. "All been talking about me, have you? Well, I'm getting used to it. . . ."

"We wanted to talk to you, Harry," said Ginny. "But, as you've been hiding ever since we got back -"

"I didn't want anyone to talk to me," said Harry.

"Yeah, except her," Ginny said, sending a snide look at me.

I rolled my eyes, "Green isn't a good color for you Weasley," I said simply, lying down on the bed.

"Listen, Harry, Voldemort hasn't possessed you. Ginny said you wouldn't remember what you had been doing, and you do, right?" Hermione said.

"Yeah, but that dream I had about your dad and the snake, though -"

"Harry, you've had those dreams before," Hermione said. "You had flashes of what Voldemort was up to last year."

"This was different," said Harry, shaking his head. "I was inside that snake. It was like I was the snake. . . . What if Voldemort somehow transported me to London -"

"One day," said Hermione, sounding thoroughly exasperated, "you'll read Hogwarts, A History, and perhaps that will remind you that you can't Apparate or Disapparate inside Hogwarts. Even Voldemort couldn't just make you fly out of your dormitory, Harry."

"You didn't leave your bed, mate," said Ron. "I saw you thrashing around in your sleep about a minute before we could wake you up. . . ."

After a couple of seconds, Harry grabbed a sandwich and began eating, a look of relief on his face. "Hey," he said, looking at me. "Where have you been?"

"Emily, are you awake?" A voice whispered in my ear.

"No," I murmured, shoving at whoever had just sat down on my bed.

"Come on, it's Christmas morning, and I want to give you your Christmas present," Harry continued to whisper, kissing my cheek softly.

I groaned, but sat up. "Fine, just give one second to get yours," I said, bending over the side of my bed to grab his gift. "Let's go downstairs, maybe the fire will still be going." I said, hugging myself to keep warm.

Thankfully, the fire was still going, and I sat down in front of it, leaning against the back of the couch.

"Here, you go first," I said, handing him the box as I curled up, bringing my knees to my chest. "And you better like it, because it took forever to pick it out."

Harry grinned at me as he opened the box, then a brighter smile showed on his face as he saw the watch. "Emily, this is great, I really needed a watch. Mine hasn't worked since the second task. Where did you get it? I've never seen one like this before."

"A witch never reveals her secrets," I said, relief flooding my stomach at how excited he actually seemed.

He snapped it around his wrist, and it magically readjusted itself to a length comfortable for him. "Thanks Em," he said, leaning forward to kiss me on the cheek.

"You're welcome," I said, suddenly feeling much warmer at his touch.

"It isn't as good as yours, but here," Harry said handing me a velvet box, the universal sign of jewelry.

I slowly opened the box to find a gold necklace with two hearts entwined with each other. The first heart had Harry's name and an emerald stone on the edge, the second one had my name and an aquamarine stone. I bit my cheek.

"It's beautiful, Harry," I said, stroking the hearts with my finger.

"I'm glad you like it," Harry said, relief coming across his face as well.

"Well?" I said, staring at him playfully, and handing the necklace back to him. "Are you going to put it on me?" I asked.

He took the necklace out of the box and took my shoulders and turned my back to him. "Hold your hair," he told me, and I took it all into one hand, shivering when one of the cold chains touched my neck.

"Thank you," I said when his hands slid down my neck to wrap around my waist, pulling me against his chest. "Hmmm…" I mumbled, cuddling into him, "you're warm," I said, closing my eyes.

He placed his chin on top of my head. "You can go to sleep now; I'll take you back up to your room." Harry said.

"You don't have to do that, I can walk," I said sluggishly.

Without another word, he put his arm under my knees and lifted me off the couch.

The next thing I know, a pillow is being thrown at my head. "Ouch! 'Mione! Was that really necessary?"

"Yes! I want to see what Harry got you," Hermione said, jumping on my bed.

I groaned, but sat up, checking Weasley's bed to make sure she was gone before reaching under the neck of my t-shirt and pulling out the chain then the charm and putting it into her palm.

"Oh! That's gorgeous! I can't believe he picked out something that good!" Hermione said with wide eyes, turning it over in her palm.

"You mean you didn't help him pick it out?" I asked.

Hermione shook her head.

"Wow, now I'm even more impressed," I said, looking down at my necklace.

Hermione laughed, "Did he wake you up to give it to you?" She asked.

I nodded.

"Awww . . . And thank you so much for your present! I'm afraid I don't know how to use some of it though . . ."

I smiled at her. "I'll show you, don't worry, you have a girl friend to do girl stuff with now, remember?"

She smiled at me.

Once we were dressed, Hermione in a black and gray sweater with a ruffled jean skirt I got her, and myself in a light purple, pleated, long sleeved top and a mid thigh length, black, silk skirt, we met the boys on the way downstairs.

"Thanks for the book, Harry!" Hermione said happily. "I've been wanting that New Theory of Numerology for ages! And that perfume is really unusual, Ron."

"No problem," said Ron, who seemed to be slightly distracted by the amount of leg Hermione was showing. "Who's that for, anyway?" he added, nodding at the neatly wrapped present she was carrying.

While Hermione explained about the present, I gave Harry a hug. "Happy Christmas," I whispered in his ear.

"Happy Christmas," He replied, kissing my cheek. "You know what else today is?" He said, moving back to meet my gaze.

I raised my eyebrows, thinking for a moment before a smile crossed my face. "It's been a year already?"

Harry nodded.

I was about to give him a kiss when Ron cleared his throat loudly. "Are you guys coming?" He asked, raising his eyebrows.

A slight blush crept onto Harry's cheek as we nodded. "Where are we going?" He asked.

"Kreacher's bedroom," Ron replied, shaking his head in disbelief at Hermione.

"What bedroom?" said Harry, dropping his voice to a whisper as we passed the portrait of Sirius's mother.

"Well, Sirius says it's not so much a bedroom, more a kind of – den," said Hermione. "Apparently he sleeps under the boiler in that cupboard off the kitchen."

Mrs. Weasley was the only person in the basement when we arrived there. She was standing at the stove and sounded as though she had a bad head cold when she wished us Merry Christmas, and we all averted our eyes. Apparently, according to Fred and George, Ron's other brother, Percy, had sent his Weasley sweater back.

"So, this is Kreacher's bedroom?" said Ron, strolling over to a dingy door in the corner opposite the pantry which Harry had never seen open.

"Yes, said Hermione, now sounding a little nervous. "Er . . . I think we'd better knock . . ."

Ron rapped the door with his knuckles but there was no reply.

"Okay, he's not here, can we go?" I asked, impatiently.

"He must be sneaking around upstairs," Ron said, and without further ado pulled open the door, "Urgh."

We all peered inside, and I gagged as the smell hit me. I quickly withdrew my gaze and backed away from the door, holding my nose.

"I think I'll just leave his present here," said Hermione, laying the package neatly in the middle of the depression in the rags and blankets and closing the door quietly. "He'll find it later, that'll be fine. . . ."

"Come to think of it," said Sirius, emerging from the pantry carrying a large turkey as she closed the cupboard door, "has anyone actually seen Kreacher lately?"

"I haven't seen him since the night we came back here," said Harry. "You were ordering him out of the kitchen."

"Yeah . . ." said Sirius, frowning. "You know, I think that's the last time I saw him too. . . . He must be hiding upstairs somewhere. . . ."

"He couldn't have left, could he?" said Harry. "I mean, when you said 'out,' maybe he thought you meant, get out of the house?"

"No, no, house-elves can't leave unless they're given clothes, they're tied to their family's house," said Sirius.

"They can leave the house if they really want to," Harry contradicted him.

"Dobby did," I said. "He had to punish himself afterwards, but he did."

Sirius looked concerned for a moment, and then said, "I'll look for him later, I expect I'll find him upstairs crying his eyes out over my mother's old bloomers or something. . . . Of course, he might have crawled into the airing cupboard and died. . . . But I mustn't get my hopes up. . . ."

"So are you going with the Weasley's to St. Mungo's?" I asked Harry later as we settled down to lunch.

"Yeah, you can come with us, you know," He said to me.

I shook my head, "I don't know him that well, it would be too awkward. Plus, I'm not family."

"I'm not family either," Harry said.

"You're as good as," I said simply. "You saved his life."

Harry groaned, "I wish people would stop saying that," He said.

"Well, you did, so you might as well get used to hearing it," I told him.

"So, what are you going to do while we're gone?" Harry asked, changing the subject.

I took a bite of the delicious turkey in front of me. "Probably finish up my Arithmacy essay, and then read a little. What time do you think you'll get back?"

"Around five probably, after that I'm yours for the rest of the night," Harry said.

"You promise?" I said.

"I swear," He said.

"So, how did Harry like his Christmas present?" Sirius asked me while tossing Buckbeak a rat.

"I think he really liked it. Thanks for helping me pick it out, Sirius," I said. "I swear I'll pay you back for it as soon as I can."

"Don't worry about it, I've never really cared about it much and since you are hopefully soon to be my 'adopted child', you can take as much as you like," He replied.

I smiled, "Thanks."

"How did you like your necklace?" Sirius asked with a small, knowing smile.

I raised my eyebrows at him. "How did you -" It took a second for it to click. "Ah, I knew Harry never could have picked out something that beautiful by himself."

"I didn't help much. He picked out the necklace. I basically just had to help him decide what gems to put in." Sirius said.

I shook my head with a small smile. "Great minds think alike, I suppose," I said.

We stood in a silence for a few minutes, only broken by the sound of Buckbeak munching on the bones of the rats. "I can't wait to get out of here," Sirius said throwing the hippogriff one last rat.

"It is rather depressing," I said, looking around, "Reminds me of my house, a little bit dirtier of course." I slid my finger across a desk, looking in disgust at the dust on my finger before wiping it off on the edge of my shirt.

"Now you know why I want out," Sirius said, looking around. "Where do you want to live?" He asked me.

I shrugged, searching back through my memories to when I was happiest. "I've always loved the beach. My parents took us once, after third year. Something about the ocean is just so calming, you know?" I smiled slightly. "What about you?"

Sirius smiled, looking out the window. "I don't know. I just want to go somewhere I haven't been. The beach sounds nice though. I can't remember the last time I've been out in the sun."

"I can't imagine being stuck in this house. I would go insane," I said, looking around.

"Most people seem to assume I already have," Sirius said with a smirk.

I laughed. "I've lived in the same house as Death Eaters. I know what insane is, and you are definitely not it, maybe a little confused," I teased.

"Hilarious," he said sarcastically.

Suddenly, there was a small knock at the door, and Harry's voice whispered, "Emily?"

"Yeah, I'm here," I said.

The door opened and Harry stuck his head through the opening. "Come on, I'm kidnapping you," He said with a grin.

I gave him a weird look, "Okay . . ." I said. "I'll see you later, Sirius," I told him.

Harry could barely hold back his eagerness at trying to get me out of the room. "In a hurry, are we?" I asked as he practically shoved me down the stairs.

"I want to get there before Kreacher messes it up," He replied.

"Messes what -" He opened a darkly lit room and pulled me inside, shutting the door behind me.

The room was covered in candles and in the middle there was a blanket that had a picnic basket sitting on it.

"Harry, this is too much," I said. "You didn't have to do all this. You didn't have to do anything actually."

"Yes, I did. It's our one year," He said, pulling me over to the blanket and sitting down. "It's not much, but at least it's something."

I sat down in his lap wrapping my arms around his neck. "You are officially the best boyfriend in the whole entire world."

He wrapped one arm around my back and the other on top of my knee, rubbing it slightly. "Do I get a reward for that?" He asked with a small grin.

"Depends on how good the food is," I replied with a smirk.

A/N: Sorry this took forever, but I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks to my BETA MaraudersLiveOnAsAnimagus for correcting this chapter. Thanks to everyone that reviewed the last chapter, and I need at least five more reviews before I start working on the new chapter. P.S. "the Sharpest Lives" now has a Facebook page! Please go and like it, here's the link. .com/#!/pages/The-Sharpest-Lives/114502391953235