Disclaimer: I do not own anything Harry Potter.
The room was dust packed making Harry sneeze with every opening of a box, but it had to be done. The Black house had been put in Harry's name after the death of his beloved God Father and by orders from his wife, Ginny, Harry was to clean it up. He was given seven months to complete the task – four months ago. He found mostly books and letters between Death Eaters within the Black family. On occasion he would find a photo or two and would promptly destroy them; he did not want anything to do with the Dark Lord in his house. He had been defeated more than a year ago but Harry still detested everything to do with the Dark Arts. He pulled yet another dust covered box onto the small table and pried it open. Harry took out the top layer of books to reveal a layer of photographs. He pulled them out and smiled at the laughing students running within them. They were of The Marauders with some of them including his mother. He lovingly ran a finger through the dust on the glass near her face, wishing for the millionth time that he could have known her. He reluctantly put the photo down and pulled out the last frame. He wiped the glass clean, unsure if the dust was playing tricks with the picture; it was not. His heart ached as he watched a younger Sirius laugh and smile, hugging the girl standing in front of him. She was laughing as well, her blonde hair falling in to her green eyes. She seemed to clash with the dark tones of Sirius but they matched at the same time. They smiled and laughed then Sirius put a finger under her chin to lift her lips to his in a deep kiss. Harry stared, lost in thought trying to recall who she was or if Sirius had ever mentioned having a girlfriend, he didn't notice Remus walk up behind him and look at the picture too.
"I remember when that was taken." He said, startling Harry.
"What?" Remus took the picture from Harry's hand and looked at it closer. He sighed and sat in one of the large armchairs. He glanced at Harry and gestured for him to take the other chair. Harry sat and Remus handed him back the photo.
"This was taken the week before you're parents' wedding." Remus mused, pointing his tea-filled mug toward the frame.
"Who is she?" Harry asked quietly.
"That, Harry, is your God Mother."
X x X x X x X
"God Mother?" Harry stared at Remus with wide eyes.
"Yes, her name was Lauren. Your parents appointed her and Sirius your God Parents." Harry looked back at the photo and watched as Sirius kissed the girl yet again.
"But Sirius never mentioned her. He never mentioned anyone." Harry said half to himself. Remus sighed and sat back in the chair, crossing his right leg over his left knee.
"You never talk about Mr. Digory," Harry's heart fell, "Some things are just too painful to mention, Harry." Remus held out his hand and Harry gave him the picture.
"Can you tell me about them?" Harry asked. Remus looked over the picture and smiled.
"You have to understand that Sirius was a bit of a playboy in our time at Hogwarts. He never stayed with the same girl very long, got in to a lot of trouble with pranks, and wasn't one for expressing his emotions." They both smiled and Remus set up the frame on the small table beside him.
"It was our sixth year at Hogwarts and we were on a weekend outing to Hogsmeade. It was me, your parents, and Sirius together in a booth drinking butter beers and joking around. I remember it clearly because I had never seen face light up like it did when he saw her."
X x X x X x
"Who do you suppose that is?" Sirius suddenly asked the group, interrupting their laughter. They looked over at his sudden interest and rolled their eyes. A group of girls had entered and Sirius was staring at the one closest to them. She was laughing with her friends, brushing her straight blonde hair from her eyes.
"That's Lauren Grauss. She's in our year." Lily stated. Sirius ran a quick hand through his black tangles, something he always did before he did something foolish. Remus attempted to grab his friends arm but was inches short. Lily and James turned in their seats to get a better view as Sirius strut with square shoulders up to the girl and began talking to her. Her friends giggled behind her as he continued to speak, getting no reaction out of the intended girl. Finally she spoke, not very much, and Sirius turned around and headed back to his friends. They stared at him and waited for the play-by-play. When Sirius continued to stay quiet and fiddle with the coaster under his glass James burst out laughing. Remus soon followed suit, realizing what was funny.
"What?" Lily asked them innocently.
"He was shot down!" James laughed, holding his sides. Sirius glared at him then returned to messing with the coaster.
"Oh, I'm sorry Sirius! I should have warned you, she's a Slytherin." Lily said, reaching for the wounded boy's hand. He pulled them away and sat up straight, returning to his normal self.
"Ah, what's one girl?" He said casually with a shrug. Remus and James rolled their eyes and they all took a drink from the butter beer.
X x X x X x X
"He wanted us to think he had let go of her but we knew better. We weren't at all surprised when the next weekend he approached her again, with the same fate. Instead of coming back to us and claiming it was nothing he declared that he was going to win her over, one way or another. After that he was making plan after plan of how to get her attention and how to get her to agree to go out on a date with him. He was very interested in her but he also enjoyed the challenge. Girls fell at his feet but not this one, and Lauren was worth chasing in the end, Sirius knew that." Remus said. Harry couldn't help but smile at the idea of it all.
"So what did he do?" Harry asked, eager for Remus to continue.
"Well, he started out with the usual tricks of sending her enchanted notes in the form of birds or flowers that bloomed out of her books when she opened them. He wasn't one for subtlety. The most memorable of his antics was the day she was leaving for Christmas break. He enchanted a song to play in the Great Hall during our last supper. Your parents and I almost fell over laughing."
X x X x X x X
Lauren Gauss, why will you not be mine? It is the season of cheer, the season of giving, and the best time of the year! Why will you not take my hand? It is the season of cheer, the season of giving, and the best time of the year! I can show you tricks to bring you cheer, if you will only give me your hand, and it will be, I promise you, the best time of the year!
"I hope you didn't write that!" James sputtered through howls of laughter. Sirius shot him a look then turned back to Lauren, awaiting her response the song that rang loudly through the Great Hall. When it had finished everyone stayed silent, looking from Lauren to Sirius. Slowly she stood and bit back a laugh.
"Thank you for that, Sirius. The thought was kind but the answer is still a rather large no." The hall erupted in laughter and Sirius' mouth fell open in surprise.
"Why didn't that work?" He whispered. Remus clapped him hard on the back then held on to his arm to keep from falling off the bench onto the stone floor.
"I'm not sure, but it might have had something to do with that pathetic noise called a song!"
"I didn't write it. I paid some third year who said it would work." Sirius mumbled. That ignited a new round of laughter from his friends.
"That was bloody terrible!" James managed.
"I'm sorry Sirius, but it was pretty bad." Lily admitted. Sirius stared at the food on his plate, the gears in his mind working in overdrive.
"I will get her to go out with me." He said sternly and gained more laughs from his friends in return.
X x X x X x X
"We stayed at the castle for winter break and by the time classes were starting again Sirius was back to his old self. He didn't seem to be thinking of Lauren anymore until Valentine's Day. He was determined." Remus chuckled; thinking back on how much Sirius made a fool of himself and didn't care.
"He didn't pull out the fireworks or Cupid's arrow did he?" Harry laughed. Remus shook his head and took a sip of his tea.
"No, no. Looking back, it was actually quite the romantic gesture, but when you add the Sirius flare it seems like a big mess." Remus smiled and set down his mug, "He took a thousand miniature paper hearts and put them in an envelope that contained a letter he had written to her. He sent it by owl so she would receive it in the Great Hall. Everything went well, until she read his letter. See, he had made is so that when she opened the envelope those tiny hearts would stream out gently and circle around her, in essence 'surround her with love'." Harry nodded in approval.
"She and her friends were fascinated but when she pulled out the note she only laughed. She never was mean to him over anything, all the more reason they belonged together."
"What did the not say?" Harry pressed.
"Oh, yes, the note; He had written:
I would very much like you to stop running away and except my invitation for a date with me. I like a chase as much as the next guy but you don't know what you're missing by playing these games.
Harry couldn't help but burst into laughter.
"He sounded full of himself!"
"He was." Remus said playfully.
"So what did she do? Refuse, I presume." Remus nodded and took another sip of his tea.
"She did the same thing as before break, stood up and thanked him then told him the answer was still no."
"What did Sirius do?"
"Well, he stewed on it for a couple days then finally asked her what he had to do for her to say yes."
X x X x X x X
"Look, there she is." Sirius whispered, swatting Remus on the arm for his attention. Remus followed his friend's gaze until it landed on the un-gettable Lauren sitting in the courtyard with her friends.
"I'm done with this cat and mouse." Sirius said firmly. Squaring his shoulders he walked over to his mouse and tapped her shoulder lightly.
"Oh, Sirius, how are you?" She asked in a friendly tone.
"I want to know what I have to do to get you to say yes." He was quick and to the point, clearly over their game. Lauren's smile fell and she took his arm, leading him out of ear shot of her friends.
"I am flattered by your tricks and games, but that's not someone I would date. If you seriously want a try with us then you need to stop with the extravagant humor." Sirius raised his eyebrows and huffed.
"I don't think so."
"Only for two weeks. If you can be normal for two weeks I will go out on a date with you…if you can't then the answer will always be no." Sirius thought for a moment then agreed, shaking hands to seal the deal.
X x X x X x X
"Did he succeed?" Harry was at the edge of his seat, hoping for the best for Sirius. Remus chuckled and drew another sip of tea from his mug.
"He tried. He really did try, but it wasn't in him to stay so still. He managed to stay out of mischief for an entire week before his self control weaned and he played a prank on a Slytherin student. We found it hilarious and from where he stood he found it to be completely harmless. But at the end of the two weeks he went to Lauren and she refused to speak to him. He tried for a few more days before her friend explained that they knew about the prank, they were in Slytherin after all, and the answer will forever be no." Harry frowned for his God Father.
"Well obviously he did something right." He said, pointing to the picture next to Remus.
"Well, after her friend explained to him why she wouldn't speak to him something changed. I don't know what but some switch went off inside him and he became…calmer." Remus continued.
"He would still joke around with us and toss out the inappropriate comments now and again but for the most part he was a different person. He started paying attention in class, completing assignments, would hang out in the library in his down time – he was very smart when he applied himself. He tried dating other girls but found them all too dull for his time. I was debating kicking sense into him when he started to stare at your parents and become jealous of their relationship. I knew he would have slapped himself if he had been in the right mind."
"So how did she finally say yes?" Harry asked.
"It was a few weeks after the 'switch' went off when she finally spoke to him again."
X x X x X x X
Sirius sat in his usual spot at the table farthest in the back of the library, reading and rereading the same paragraph half hoping to just absorb the information miraculously. The research was for an essay in Alchemy and he just didn't understand any part of it. He was about to slam the book shut when someone sat next to him, bringing with them the smell of lavender and soap. She set out her book and opened it to the marked page and began reading. Sitting straighter he started to read the chapter over. After a while of reading in silence she cleared her throat and glanced at him.
"I'm proud of you." She said softly. Sirius couldn't mask the surprise he felt and just stared at her.
"I'm proud of you for growing up," She turned her face to him and smiled, touching his hand lightly with hers, "This is a Sirius Black I would date." They held each other's gaze for a few more seconds before she closed her book gently and stood to leave. Sirius caught her wrist as she stepped away.
"Saturday?" He asked in such a confident tone he surprised even himself. She turned to him and smiled wide.
X x X x X x X
"And, as you can see, the date went rather well. After that they were inseparable. When this photo was taken we were at the park taking a break from the wedding planning and stress. They were going to get married." Sadness washed over Remus' face as he stared down at the photograph of his late friend.
"What happened to her?" Remus took a long drink from his cup then held it tight between his hands.
"A few days before He killed your parents He killed her. Pettigrew was behind it, no doubt. That combined with the loss of your parents drove Sirius to hunt Pettigrew down with the intent to torture then kill him." Harry felt chills run down his back.
"I would have liked to know her."
"You would have liked her. Harry, I want you to miss them, as much as feel you need to, but do not dwell on what you didn't get to know. Yes, that sounds harsh," Remus scoot to the edge of his seat and looked hard into Harry's green eyes, "You need to focus on what you are doing and the stories you are creating. Always know that your parents and Sirius loved you very much and they will always be a part of you, but so is young Ginny and that child of yours." Harry smiled at the thought of his beautiful wife with her rounding stomach bumping in to things in the kitchen downstairs. Remus pat his shoulder and left him to his thoughts. Harry smiled at the picture again then wrapped it in a towel and placed it gently in the box from which it came.