Author's Note: Okay folks, here it is, the missing time from "Bound". I will be posting this story in ten parts in ten days. Yes, the last chapter of this fluffy, yet at points angsty, romance. It's rated T for Sirius' penchant for swear words and for discussions of things that have happened in the past. The seed for this story came from a reviewer who asked why it took so long for Sirius to do anything about his feelings for Anwen, here's the reason. Deep thanks to my beta, Arnel, who has lived with my strange capitalization issues as of late and who has also been betaing her butt off so that the chapters are ready for posting. I hope you enjoy and please, let me know what you think. Mutt
Ten Ways How Not To Get The Girl Of Your Dreams
A lost period of Anwen and Sirius from "Bound"
by Mutt N Feathers
I woke up the morning after I finally figured out that I was in love with Anwen to a feeling like I'd never known. I didn't realize what love was before this, even though it had been around me for almost five years, I was too dumb to figure it out. It wasn't like my parents had shown me all that much of it. Sure, when I was little it was there, sort of. I doubt that either of my parents would have been parents if it wasn't that they had to be parents. I thought back over that sentence trying to decide if it made any sense. I guessed it did, but it was one of those round-about things that Anwen would say that often made me scratch my head.
Anwen...Even her name was beautiful to me. How appropriate that her name means beautiful.
"Anwen," the name rolled off my lips. "Anwen Llyn Hodgson," the sweet syllables dripped like honey. "Anwen Llyn Black." I moaned when I thought about it and I was surprised that part of my anatomy was pretty excited by it too. Where did that come from? You've always said you were completely against the idea of being saddled to someone. Marriage wasn't happy. Marriage wasn't good. Marriage was people yelling at each other, slaps across the face and tears in the night. That isn't something that I would ever want for my sweet girl. And yet...who says that marriage with her would be like that. In all the years that we've lived together the worst argument we ever had was about my not picking up after myself, and even then, she was just sitting on the bed laughing at me because she'd levitated all my dirty clothes and stuck them to the ceiling. Once I learned that I needed to be honest with her, we didn't fight anymore.
Then it hit me, I had a huge problem. I had no idea how to get Anwen. I'd kissed her last year at the Yule Ball, and to be honest it was the best kiss I'd ever had. It scared the shite out of me. I wasn't supposed to like kissing her. I was just supposed to do it and then it would be over and it would be the end of this date thing we were on because there wasn't anyone else who was good enough to go with her. I was shocked when I could feel the kiss all the way to my feet and it made my heart race. I couldn't believe how the softness of her lips lingered on mine long after I'd walked her back into the Great Hall and we were dancing again. I could taste her still, her lips tasted like strawberries and vanilla and not some fake strawberry taste of that horrible lip gloss that some girls used. She just naturally tasted like the real strawberries she bought from the market.
Getting girls to snog had never been an issue. Getting a girl to do more really wasn't a problem either, but I had some rules to it. One, when they get clingy or start talking about 'relationships' that was the point that they had to go. Two, never let your guard down around them. I never slept in the presence of any of conquests - too vulnerable - and I never shared a bed, couch, chair or other bit of furniture or floor. I learned that growing up. When you're asleep you can't be prepared for what might happen. I shuddered remembering how I needed to charm my bedroom at my parents' house after I came home that first summer. My father would come to my room after he'd been drinking... I shook my head, trying to forget the memories, replacing them with thoughts of Anwen and how beautiful she is when she sleeps.
The only girl who had ever spent the night in my bed or I in hers was when Anwen and I would simply talk until we were asleep. I suppose that should have been my first clue that she was something more. She was the only one that I'd spend the night with. She was the only woman that I had ever truly trusted. Even Lily and Eva, as close as they were to the other guys, they never saw the darkness that was inside me. Anwen had seen it all, and had called me a righteous man anyway. She amazed me.
I got up and went to get myself dressed and headed downstairs. Moony was still asleep so I put the kettle on and grilled up some bread and bangers. I was thankful that Anwen had finally taught me to make the most basic of foods this summer. I was an awful cook, but face it, I'd never been allowed in the kitchen at home and we had house-elves at Hogwarts. I wouldn't starve now, and I didn't need to go to the pub for every meal. I read through the Prophet while I ate, and other than three more disappearances and a murder there wasn't any news of note. It made me thankful that at least my little one was safe at school. There was nowhere safer than Hogwarts, especially with Dumbledore there. As I was cleaning my dishes and putting them away, something else that Anwen had insisted on over the summer, her tempestuous owl flew in through the window in the mudroom that we kept open for it. I gave him a bit of bread and he flew over to the nest that was on the top of the pantry cupboard. Winnie's letters always made me smile
I'm sorry that I didn't get to say goodbye to you yesterday, I really did need to get up to the hospital wing and let Madame Pomfrey heal my hand. Three broken knuckles, but Regulus was worse, I busted his jaw and snapped off two teeth. Because of the healing spells, we both had to spend the night in the Hospital ward. It wasn't the most pleasant night I've ever spent there. Don't worry, nothing happened - I pulled the privacy curtains around me and then charmed the floor to whistle if he came too close.
I have detention on Saturday afternoon with Professor McGonagall. She's right of course, throwing punches is no way to solve problems. Privately though, I think that she was happy I didn't stand there and take it from him. I know that I was supposed to go to London this weekend to see the Opera School director, but I'll have to put it off for another day. I'll write Lily to make alternate plans. Professor Dumbledore has also said that he can take me, since he is my guardian.
I hope that you're well and it would help my mood if you were to write me back. I always smile when I get your letters. I'll see you when I come home for the Christmas hols and my concert series. Try to stay out of trouble.
I reread her letter and it made me smile. No, hitting people wasn't her style, but at the same time, my brother had no business calling her a whore. If I could get hold of his scrawny neck and ring it thoroughly I would, but that would just get me into more trouble with my family - not that it mattered - I just figured I wouldn't give them further reason to curse me when I saw them. I also knew from talking with Lily that Regulus had ended up with two straight weeks of nightly detention as well as having to sit through a lesson from Professors McGonagall and Slughorn about the appropriate things to say about female students at the school. That sounded more painful than having your fingernails plucked out one by one. I walked into the sitting room and sat down at the small desk we had there for Winnie to do schoolwork when she was home and replied to her letter.
My sweet Winnie,
I'm not upset at you for not seeing you. I tried to catch up to you as you went into the school and up to the medical wing, but Lily kept me back. She said that you just wanted to be alone, I hope that was true.
I'm glad my loathsome brother didn't cause you any more problems yesterday. I would have stayed with you last night and watched over you, if you'd have let me. It seems, however, that you have again proven just what a resourceful and bad-ass witch you really are. Ingenious, charming there my little one.
Do you honestly think that you won't see me again until the Christmas hols? I'm up at Hogwarts to see Dumbledore all the time, and he always allows me to stop and stay with you a while. I don't think I could go a whole two months without seeing your beautiful face and radiant smile. I miss you so much when you're away at school; the house is very empty without you and the lightness you bring to it in every way is missing.
Let me know when you need to go into London. If Dumbledore can't take you, surely you know that I will. Maybe we can even sneak in a trip to the music store! I can't wait to see you again. I have something very important to tell you. Winnie, never forget that you are the most important person in my life.
I reviewed the letter and then tied it to Midnight's leg and let her fly away. It was amazing that I got away without having that ruddy bird peck my fingers. She had the worst constitution of any owl that I'd ever known. Moony woke up shortly after bird left and while he was eating his breakfast I slid Anwen's note over to him. He sighed at her having to spend the night in the hospital wing with Regulus and then again when he read that she got detention for it.
"I somehow don't think that she'll be spit polishing the cauldrons in the Potions classroom," he muttered, remembering one of our least favorite detentions.
"True, and I doubt that McGonagall will make her pick up all the feathers in the Transfiguration class room floor after the fourth years begin their bird transfigurations and then having to sort them by color and then by size," I added as I recalled an equally awful detention. Silence fell between us which Moony finally broke.
"So, now that you figured out what the rest of us have known since fourth year, what are you going to do about Anwen?"
I slumped back into the overstuffed chair that I was sitting in, recalling how Anwen always curled up in it to read, and sighed loudly. "I have no idea. How do you go about getting a girl to date you?" Remus laughed at me.
"Man, you have more experience with girls than the rest of us put together. What have you done in the past?"
"Nothing," I confessed. "Look, I could smile at a girl, she'd come over and that was it. I mastered the ending part, not the starting part. This is different. I don't want just a quick shag with Winnie, I want..." I paused, not sure what it was that I wanted. "I want what we have now, but I also want to be able to hold her, kiss her, make love to her. I want her to know that she is the most important thing in my life, period."
"Tell her that," he suggested. I scoffed at him.
"I can't tell her that. She'd laugh her arse off at me. She'd think it was some stupid prank, and I couldn't bear that. Nope, gonna think of a brilliant way to let her know that she's the one for me."
"Sirius, man, just go with the honest words. You know darn well if you try to do some big huge thing with spells and surprises the thing will backfire. It always does, and then...well Anwen doesn't like to be the butt of the jokes we play. Just talk with her. Trust me, this is a sure thing Padfoot, she is totally in love with you," he told me but I shook my head at him. I knew I was right about this; I had to know her better than he did. I reviewed the calendar, looking for the right date. Halloween night was only two weeks away. That was it, I was going to do something very sweet for my angelic witch.
Turns out that Dumbledore wanted some extra people out on patrol watching the castle on Halloween night, so I gladly volunteered for the duty, as did James, Lily and Remus. It didn't take much persuasion to convince Dumbledore to let Remus and me take the inside vigil. There were mumblings that Voldemort wanted into the castle. That little bit of intelligence, coupled with the fact that there were children of at least three known Death Eaters currently at the school, having a little extra protection on the grounds seemed sensible.
Once all the students had been taken down to the Great Hall for the feast, we had our jobs to do. James and Lily, along with Edgar Bones and Dorcas Meadows did an exterior sweep, looking for anything unusual on the grounds. Moony and I checked the interior of the school, especially the catacombs beneath the school, the hidden passageways in and out of Hogwarts and the unused classrooms. We were surprised when we stumbled upon a passage that we'd never seen before. A rather ugly tapestry of a Goblin band had been moved aside and there was a steep spiral staircase that led down. Without speaking to each other, we decided to check it out. It led to a music room, a grand piano in the middle.
"It smells like Anwen in here," I told Moony. "How did she know where this room was when we didn't?"
"Remember, Lily told us she knew someplace secret. I'm guessing this is that place. Makes sense, it's a music room. I could see her escaping to be alone, playing the piano to relieve some stress," he told me. I nodded, surprised that I could still find out new things about her.
I took in another deep breath, reveling in the scent that was hers alone. She smelled to me like strawberries and vanilla, mirroring her taste, but there was something else. Sunshine or a summer breeze? I couldn't quite place it, but it made me feel content and at peace. All I knew was that was Anwen and what her being in my life did for me.
"Come on, we've got more ground to cover," Moony reminded me and we ascended the stairs. We checked the rest of the castle and when all seemed clear we headed to the Great Hall. When we arrived the students were finishing up with their eating. I immediately found my brother across the way at the Slytherin table and we exchanged glares. I still wanted to punch him for what he'd said about my Winnie at the Quidditch match, but I knew it would anger her and I didn't want an angry Anwen tonight.
The school chorus was up performing - one of the three times a year that the other students heard them. What surprised me was there in the front row was Winnie. She'd never sung with them before. I leaned against the doorframe, crossed one leg over another and watched. I knew the minute she saw me, her smile widened and her eyes twinkled. When the song ended, she pulled her bottom lip between her teeth and looked at me, blushing. She then stepped forward and another student came up with some hand drums behind her.
He started playing a lively tempo and Anwen got the rest of the student body - save the Slytherins - to clap along before beginning to sing the "Souling Song". It was a very old Halloween song about the time when children didn't collect candy on Halloween, but rather soul cakes or fruit. It was a familiar tune and soon, she had many of her classmates singing along. She was happy and animated and knew how to command attention. I'd never seen her like this, but it was refreshing. It was like someone had uncorked this part of her and it was just bubbling out.
When it ended there was uproarious cheering and clapping, and both Moony and I joined in. I could see in my mate's eyes that he was proud of her too.
"I knew she could sing and act, but that was very impressive. She really is a force of nature there, Padfoot. You sure you're man enough to contain her?" he teased.
"Doubt it, but I wouldn't want to anyway," I replied, which caused him to laugh even more. Professor Flitwick dismissed the chorus and they headed back to their house tables, all except Anwen, she walked right past her roommates and headed to where Moony and I were standing. I watched as their eyes followed her, and then they started giggling and whispering at the sight of me. They'd been teasing her about us dating, and she'd been denying it. I hoped that after tonight she be denying it no longer.
Winnie hugged Moony first and then she threw herself into my arms. I held her tightly and lifted her right up off the ground, relishing how good it felt to have her there again. I put her down and I was ready to just kiss her right then and there, but she started talking.
"What are the two of you doing here?"
"Dumbledore has some of us here on watch tonight," I told her. She already knew that we were up here doing things for Dumbledore because of the problems Voldemort was causing. She'd figured that much out on my last visit to the castle. The bright light in her eyes dimmed and she nodded her head. She was more perceptive than she should be. I was afraid that it was going to get her into trouble one day.
"I was surprised to see you up there singing," I told her, keeping my arms anchored at her waist. She'd slid her hands down so they were resting on my arms. My flesh felt like it was on fire where she was touching me. It was the most wonderful pain that I'd ever experienced. She shrugged.
"When I first got here, I didn't want anyone to know that I could sing. I'd figured it would be like the Opera school and I would just become my voice, and not be me anymore. By my third year I knew it wouldn't be like that, but I didn't really have the time. Something about cleaning up messes for my best friends ..." she trailed off, her lip cocked up on one side in a goofy smirk.
"Yeah, yeah, our personal reversal squad," Moony teased back, knowing it was true.
"Anyway, this year when Professor Flitwick asked, I didn't have a good reason to say no. They only meet twice a month so it isn't taxing and I get to sing just to have fun."
"That's groovy," I told her, enveloping her in my arms again. Anwen laid her face against my heart and I wondered if she could hear how hard it was beating. Her hands moved from my arms and wove their way around my middle and rested on my back. My left hand remained at the small of her back while the other went to twine in her long brown hair that was just hanging free tonight.
"I'm going to uh, find James and Lily," Moony said. I nodded, still holding my girl in my arms even as I heard him walk away.
"Do you think you could sneak off to spend some time with me?" I whispered in her hair, then taking in a deep breath. Her scent filled me and I smiled.
"Sure," she answered, "the gossip can't get worse than it already is." With one last squeeze I let most of her go, just keeping the hand on her back.
"You're still getting teased?" I asked her, knowing that it had bothered her immensely when I'd seen her in Hogsmeade a few weeks ago.
"Sirius, the Professors thought that you'd proposed to me. The Professors. I've just decided to go with the flow," there was sadness in her voice, but also resignation. This could work in my favor. "So, if Professor Dumbledore wanted extra security around the castle tonight, I take it that there were specific threats made?" Way too perceptive, I thought, wondering how I would ever keep her and her inquisitive nature safe.
I pulled her into an empty classroom down the hall. It was one that we often spent our Friday nights in, it felt like familiar territory for us and it made me smile, thinking about our mischief-making nights together. I quietly shut the door and pulled her over to the far side of the room, away from the door and transfigured a desk into a large wingback chair and sat down, pulling her down with me. As my arms wove around her waist I couldn't believe how right it felt to be holding her this way. I couldn't help but imagine how different things would have been if I'd had enough courage to do something about it years ago.
"Sirius," Anwen said snapping her fingers in front of my face, "hey, you in there?"
"Huh?" I brilliantly answered. "Oh, uh, sorry, lost in thought."
"Obviously," she drolly said. "I asked if it were just a general concern or if a specific threat was made against the school."
"Anwen, please, don't get yourself involved in this. Just, remain blissfully ignorant while you're at school." I couldn't let her know how things were really getting out there, how scary it was becoming for witches and wizards like her. James was terrified for Lily's safety, especially since she'd joined the Order as well.
"Sirius, I'm not ignorant, blissfully or otherwise," she told me plainly. "I read the Prophet every morning. I know what's going on. What I can't figure out is what you have to do with it. I won't ask you, but promise me, when you can tell me, you will?" She wasn't going to press me now, but she would expect answers someday. I could promise someday, a long time away, when I knew that she was completely safe.
"Someday, my sweet little one," I told her, bringing my lips to her temple, "someday." She snuggled in closer to me, and laid her head against my chest again. I knew it was time, I needed to talk with her about this. I'd thought up an ingenious way of telling her, using some fireworks.
I'd always relished the quiet times that we shared. The fact that we didn't need to fill the empty spaces with meaningless talk was a blessing to me. Anwen didn't realize how little time to just "be" I'd had before I met her. I was always moving as a kid to keep from having to think about what my father had done to me. It was only when I met her, learned to be silent with her that I learned about peace. My father never touched me, even in my memories, when she was with me.
My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing as I slid my wand from my pocket. Anwen could see what I was doing and before I could cast the spell, her little hand was holding onto the top of the wand.
"What are you up to?" She asked.
"I have a surprise for you, remember?"
"Oh, no, no surprises. You try to surprise me and I end up with spots or covered in soot or singed hair. Nope, I do not need any surprise that you could give me enough to risk that. I'd rather not have to draw eyebrows on myself again while I'm waiting for mine to grow back in," she wouldn't release my wand.
"Please, I promise, nothing like that will happen. This is something I really want to give you," I pleaded with her. She sat up more and looked at me.
"What is it? Tell me and I'll decide if I trust you enough to do this spell of yours."
"It's a message, spelled out in fireworks..."
"Nope, the word fire was in there and no, no fire from your wand is getting anywhere near me," she was shaking her head. "Tell me whatever message you have to give me just with words. I don't want the whiz bangs, I don't trust them."
This isn't going at all like I'd planned. I groused. Worse than that, Moony was right, which drives me crazy when that happens. He's always so smug about it. Words, huh, just gotta tell her.
I suddenly felt her small hand on my face, and it drew me back from my thoughts.
"Whatever it is, Sirius, we'll deal with it together. I can tell you're frightened, and that's scaring me. Please, just spit it out, it can't be that bad."
"It's not bad," I started talking. "Really, it's quite good actually. See, I, err, well, it's like this...I have noticed that when I'm around you...I err, well you see, you're very special and..." I stopped and she looked at me with her brows furrowed in concentration.
"Do you know what I mean?" I asked, hoping that I'd gotten enough out.
"Not a clue." Oh, I hadn't said enough. I would have to try again.
"When I'm with you...well, you make me happy. When I'm not with you, I'm not."
"I feel the same way," she said quietly. "But we already knew that. I figured it out my first year."
"Yeah, but see, it's more than that. I think that, well, what I mean is I think that we should, yes, it would be best if we did." She was staring at me, just blinking. I still hadn't done this. It was one damn sentence. I just needed to ask her if she wanted to date me.
"I was wondering, uh, the next Hogsmeade Saturday..."
"Oh, yes, I've already blocked it off to spend with you. I figured we could celebrate your birthday. I've spoken with the house-elves and they're going to let me into the kitchen and I'm so excited to give you your gifts." That did not go at all like I'd planned. I knew we were spending the day together, I just wanted to take her out, not have her make me lunch.
"That sounds great, but, I was wondering if you'd rather go to ..." Before I could get Madame Puddifoot's out, a stag galloped into the room. Prongs always did have rotten timing.
"Problem out by the lake, we need you." His Patronus dissolved and I hung my head down.
"Dumbledore's been working with him too, huh?" I nodded even as she was sliding off my lap. "Let me guess, Peter's looks like a rat and Remus' looks like a wolf?" I nodded yes. "At least all of you are predictable. Go on, you're here to do a job, and I'm getting tired."
"Before I go, I really need to talk with you about Hogsmeade."
"No, you don't. My day out is yours and yours alone. Go take care of what you need to, I'll write you tomorrow," she told me as she gave me a quick hug and then headed toward the door. "I'm getting sleepy anyway and I've got Runes first thing in the morning tomorrow."
Anwen had to basically drag me to the door. This wasn't working out the way that I wanted to, but I was suddenly helpless against this five foot, eighty pound girl. She took my hand and we went back to the main hallway. She kissed my cheek and bid me goodnight and then she was gone.
I hung my head and tried to figure out how I let a perfectly good opportunity pass me by even as I was going down the stairs and out toward the path that led to the lake.
When I got there it turned out the emergency was nothing more than a first year who was convinced to come out to the lake by some upper classmen and attempt to skinny dip. They'd then stolen his clothes. This was something the prefects could and should have been dealing with, not us. We got the small boy back to the Hufflepuff common room and making sure that the Head Boy knew what had happened, we headed back down the path to Hogsmeade to Apparate home.
"So," Moony asked, "are you and Anwen together? Did you tell her?"
"No, not exactly. I went to do the spell that I came up with, you know the fireworks, and she wouldn't let me. Claimed that when I surprised her, she usually ended up spotted or singed or something with her eyebrows."
"Told you that she'd never let you do a charm like that around her," Lily said smugly while the others laughed.
"Yeah, yeah." I dejectedly replied.
"So, why didn't you just tell her?" Prongs asked.
"I tried, but I couldn't seem to make anything I was saying make sense to her. I never got to ask her out for the next Hogsmeade Saturday, but we're spending the day together anyway. She's going to celebrate my birthday then. I didn't want her making lunch for me; I wanted to take her out. It's all wrong." I kicked a rock and shoved my hands into my pockets. The others just continued to laugh.
"Why do I think that this is just going to take a really long time for those two to get together?" Lily posed but no one chose to answer.