This is the fic that has had me tearing my hair out in my free time, because of the fact that I had started it before my laptop wiped, and I had to restart it. So I've been writing this since about October 2011, and I have to tell you now: THIS FIC IS COMPLETE! I just need to upload all the chapters, which I will do once a week, on a Tuesday. During the week (Wednesday to Monday), I will be editing the chapter I am about to upload, so that it is as perfect as I can get it for you.
DISCLAIMER: This is going for the entirety of the fic, so I'm not gonna stick it on every chapter - you don't wanna see it. I am no the almighty J.K. Rowling, I do not own Harry Potter, the characters (except the ones I have created) or settings, etc. and I am not making any money from this.
Sorry for such a long A/N, I'll let you enjoy now.
I remember it like it was yesterday. That midnight that I walked into the kitchen in number 12, Grimmauld Place in a vest and shorts to get a glass of water. I remember seeing him sat at the kitchen table, drinking a Firewhiskey. He spat it out when he saw me stumble in, because little did I know, my vest had ridden up to just under my boobs, so my hips and stomach were quite clearly on show, until the waistband of my sleep-shorts. I'd smiled at him sleepily and said hi, and he'd just stared at me.
"Sirius? I said hello." I said. I shook myself then, and worry filled my mind. Oh Merlin, I've not come down naked, have I? I thought, mortification already filling me and I looked down, scared of what I might see. Nope, not naked, thank Merlin. What Merlin's name was he staring at then? He coughed a little. My gaze flickered downwards and I realised how much skin I had on show, so I quickly righted my tank top so that a lot less skin was on show. I looked up at him and smiled, blushing. The corners of his lips twitched upwards in a very small smile and despite his twelve years in Azkaban, he was gorgeous.
"Er, hi Ginevra."
"Ginny." I replied irritably. I hated the name 'Ginevra', thought I noted that it sounded almost pleasant when he said it.
"What?" Sirius looked confused, and his gaze kept flickering down my body, even though I'd covered myself up a little more. He knocked back the amber liquid and poured himself another glass before drinking more slowly.
"Never mind. Are you okay?" I asked quietly, gazing at him intently. His liquid silver eyes gazed back, daring me to say something about his drinking. I swallowed nervously, but didn't lower my eyes.
"Yeah. What are you doing down here? It's quarter past 12 at night. You should be in bed," said Sirius. His deep, beautiful voice had taken on a curiously overprotective edge. I wasn't ashamed to say that I smirked, ever so slightly.
"I was thirsty, and it woke me up, so I came down to get some water. I'll be out of your way in a minute, don't worry." I said, walking over to the cupboard and stretching up on my tiptoes to reach for a glass, before filling it with ice cold water. As I stretched, I heard Sirius' breath hitch and I frowned.
"No, you don't have to go, it's fine. Here, put my cloak on though, it's cold down here." Sirius smiled and patted the seat next to him. I grinned back, despite myself, and sat down with my water. He shook his onyx hair out of his grey eyes and handed me a dusty black cloak, which I gratefully put around my shoulders. I sniffed it inconspicuously and smiled to myself. The thick material smelled like him; Firewhiskey and Paprika. I looked up at Sirius, took in his pale face, slightly hollowed cheeks (even after my mum's cooking) and his stubble. Though he was only in his thirties, his hair was starting to turn silver. He was still as beautiful as his twenty-year-old self, though it was in a more mature, haunted way. He was like one of those tragic characters from one of Hermione's Muggle 'classics'.
"So how comes you're down here then?" I asked Sirius with interest.
"Couldn't sleep. Nightmares."
"Ah." I said, not quite sure how to reply. Sirius and I had never spoken outside of the same old 'hi' and 'bye' conversations. The sort of conversations you have with people just to be polite, because there's no one else around to talk to or distract your reluctant conversational partner.
"Ginevra, how old are you now?" Sirius asked. I had the distinct feeling he was fishing for something different to talk about. I dropped my gaze to the ebony table and spotted a tiny carving in the wood. Forgetting about the man beside me, I peered at the table a lot more closely and upon inspection, I realised that the carving was a tiny name: Sirius. Tracing the name with my fingertips and feeling the jagged edges of the writing, I glanced back up at my companion with a wide grin on my face and his expression was expectant, even as a small smile lit up his face. I thought back to what he'd asked me.
"Oh! Fourteen in a month," I said glumly, my smile fading from my face. I was always the youngest, no matter where I was or what I did. I flapped the cloak a little, because it was actually rather hot, but considering that Sirius had requested I wear it, I did as I was bid.
"So young," said Sirius with wonder. His eyes were apparently drawn to my hot cheeks and I self-consciously raised a hand to brush at my left cheekbone with my fingertips. "What's that on your nails?"
"Pardon? Oh! It's some nail paint that I got Hermione to buy for me. A couple of the girls in my dorm are Muggle-borns, and they are constantly putting it on and taking it off. I thought I'd give it a go and see what all the fuss was about. I rather like the colour, don't you?" I said, splaying my fingers out to show him the deep burgundy I had painted my nails. Hermione had encouraged me to grow my nails out, and I absolutely loved them.
"They are beautiful." Sirius said reverently, and I blushed even as I beamed at him.
"So, do you want to talk about anything in particular?" I asked tentatively.
Sirius frowned. "If you don't want to stay, you are more than welcome to go back to bed. It is stupidly late."
"No!" I exclaimed quickly. A little too quickly for my own liking if you asked me, and as I blushed an even darker red, a sexy half-smile played at Sirius' lips. I swallowed nervously. "I just meant that if there were something bothering you, you could always talk to me about it. I'd never tell a soul. I'm good at keeping secrets, as I learnt the hard way."
Sirius had looked surprised at the dark, bitter tone my voice had taken on. "I thank you for the offer, and perhaps I will share all of my troubles to you one day, but tonight is not the night. I am curious to know what secrets you've got so closely guarded, though."
I smirked at the older man and rolled my eyes. "I said I was good at keeping secrets, and trust me, I don't lie. Maybe one day, when you want to tell me your troubles, I'll tell you mine. As much as I would like to tell you, I'd prefer if there was a mutual level of trust between us."
"Touché, young Ginevra. You're a lot more mature than one would expect. For a girl of thirteen, you're very wise and witty." He raised his glass of Firewhiskey in a mock toast to me and knocked it back. I smiled sardonically and rose from my seat beside him.
"Yeah well, thank you. And as much as I would love to sit here and watch you get drunk off your ass, you are right – it's late. I'll be heading back to bed now. Good night, Sirius, and thank you for talking to me." I said, and gently squeezed his shoulder, which my hand had been resting on.
"You are more than welcome. Sleep well, Ginevra." Sirius replied, tipping an invisible hat to me before turning his attention to the half-empty bottle of alcohol on the table. I had shaken my head and gone upstairs to bed, where I had promptly fallen asleep with a small smile on my face.
The next day, Hermione arrived at number 12, Grimmauld Place, and I was thanking Merlin that she had because I felt almost suffocated by men in the house. The moment she had put her stuff in the room next to mine, she had knocked on my door.
"Gin, are you in here?" Hermione's voice asked from the other side. I was reading Standard Book of Spells, Grade 4 (a hand-me-down from Hermione herself) on my bed, trying to learn some of the spells before I got to school – a very Hermione trait, I thought to myself – but I threw the book aside carelessly to make a mad dash to the door and yank it open.
"Oh thank Merlin you're here! I've missed you. What's been going on in the Muggle world? How's Harry? Ron's not telling me anything, you see, and after Cedric..." I trailed off there. Cedric Diggory's death had had a profound effect on not only Hogwarts, but the entire Wizarding World. Most of the World was believing the crap that Fudge and the Ministry was saying – that Cedric's death was a 'tragic accident', and that Harry (and therefore Dumbledore) was lying about Tom Riddle being back. I hugged Hermione again, and smelled her blueberry scented shampoo when her frizzy, yet significantly tamed hair tickled my face.
"Oh, Ginny. Harry's not too good. He's losing patience with Dumbledore, and with Sirius. Ron told me a little about the Order in his letter, but I want to find out more. Dumbledore found out that I knew, of course, and he's forbidden everyone from telling Harry a thing. I have the utmost faith in Dumbledore, but I really don't think he should be hiding this from Harry. Harry more than anyone has a right to know what's going on after what happened to Cedric in that graveyard. Nothing much has been going on in the Muggle world really, but I did tell my parents what happened. They didn't want me to come back, but I told them that safest place I could possibly be right now is at Hogwarts. But how are you?"
"Okay, I suppose. We've been trying to make this place liveable, you see. It doesn't look like much, but when we first arrived, it was awful. We came here three days after we came home from Hogwarts. Mum was surprised that school ended early, but honestly, what did she expect. A student hasn't died in Hogwarts Castle for over fifty years, and I'm the last one that came close. Anyway, pretty much the only thing we've done is clean. Have you seen Sirius yet?" I asked, when we were both sat on the bed.
"Nope, there's a meeting going on. Your mum is pretty much the only person I've seen, except Remus, who brought me here." Hermione said, popping the 'p' on 'nope'. She looked around. "So what is this place then? Who does it belong to?"
"Funnily enough – Sirius." I replied, grinning at the look of sheer disbelief on her face.
"Sirius owns this house? What? But if he had a house, why didn't he just-"
"Hide here? I'm not sure, to be honest, but I think that his ownership of this house was in question. Not to mention that he hates this place because it's his childhood home. But he is the very last of the Black family. We're related to him, as is Harry, because all of the pure-blood families are interrelated, but he is the very last of the Black name." I said quietly. I had only recently found out about it myself, after some small exploration of the house. There was a room with a magnificent tapestry in it, and it was a family tree of sorts. I was fascinated by it.
"How do you know?" Hermione asked.
"I'll show you tomorrow." I said, smiling, before we began to discuss at length everything that had happened last year at Hogwarts. After about an hour, Sirius popped his head round the door.
"Hello, girls. I've-"
"Sirius!" Hermione cried, and she launched herself into his arms, laughing. I watched as my closest girl friend hugged the fugitive tightly, and I smiled when he shot me a bemused look, though he hugged her back anyway.
"Hi there, Hermione. You alright?" He asked her, gently disentangling himself from her.
"Yeah, I'm fine. And you?" She asked. His only reply was to pull a face that looked like he'd just sucked on a lemon, and Hermione and I both giggled.
"Your mum says that dinner's ready, so if you two want to come down, I'll get the boys." Sirius said, smiling at us before leaving the room and heading up the stairs. I shrugged at Hermione and we went downstairs to dinner.
Two nights later, Harry Potter arrived in the Black family house, and I only knew that because about seven people had been assigned to getting him here safely, and the fact that about three minutes after he arrived, he started trying to shout the house down. The shouting stopped when the unmistakable sound of Apparition rang out, and I decided that perhaps it was safe to go downstairs. I left my room and crept down a floor where Ron and Harry were sharing a room.
"What's got your wand in a knot, Harry?" I asked, pushing open the door.
"Nothing," replied Harry curtly. "I hear this is the headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix."
"You're well informed."
"Took long enough," said Harry bitterly, but he smiled at me anyway, for the first time in over a year. "How are you, Ginny?"
"Not too bad, aside from the fact that my fingertips feel like they've been burnt to the bone. You'll understand tomorrow, when we get set on the drawing room." I said, and everyone else in the room except Harry groaned.
"What are you on about?" He asked.
"Cleaning," said Fred and George together, before they Disapparated from the room.
"Ginny, will you stop flicking Doxy eggs at me?" Ron snapped angrily. I laughed, as did my twin brothers, Fred and George. Harry caught my eye and smiled softly while he liberally sprayed the curtains. He and Hermione had both arrived within the week, and I had snuck down to the kitchen twice more to talk to Sirius in the middle of the night. He was still drinking quite heavily, and not really to my surprise, the conversations were becoming more and more personal. However, I increasingly found that I was counting down the minutes to my next meeting with the handsome fugitive; though I couldn't seem to work out why. Perhaps it was the way both our lives had been tainted by Tom Riddle.
I turned my mind back to the task at hand just in time to spot a Doxy flying at me. Before I could spray it, though, it fell to my feet, unconscious. I whirled around and saw Sirius wink at me as he continued spraying the angry, fly-like creatures as they flew out of the curtains in the drawing room.
"Thanks," I said to him, and he nodded his agreement. We continued spraying glumly, and laughed while Fred and George cracked jokes to try and speed up the time. After a while, no more Doxies flew out of the folds of the curtains, and they hung silent and damp. We all trooped out of the drawing room and walked downstairs, where Mum had dinner already on the table. Naturally, she was stuffing Harry with more food than he could possibly eat, and as he tucked in to a ridiculously large slice of treacle tart, I let my mind stray to the man sitting next to me... Sirius Black. It seemed that I just couldn't stop thinking about him, and just as I was thinking about how soft his lips looked, he smirked down at me, making me jump and blush.
"You look guilty, Ginevra," observed Sirius wryly. I shrugged nonchalantly and broke off a forkful of treacle tart. I thought about my actions and wondered if I should perhaps give him a show. He seemed to be interested, and he was constantly flirting with me, if I wasn't misreading the situation. I waged an internal battle against myself, really and truly wondering whether he'd realised he was being flirtatious or whether it was just an accident. After a few moments, I made up my mind, so knowing he was watching, I slowly raised the fork to my lips and pulled the bit of tart off. I heard Sirius' breath hitch in his throat again, the way he had done a week ago when I'd stretched up to get that glass... I smirked when I heard Sirius clear his throat and felt him fidget next to me.
"Definitely guilty," I muttered, and he choked on his wine. I looked at him mock quizzically, while the rest of the table stared at him and he shook his beautiful head. After seeing that he was fine, everyone else returned to their conversations, though Harry kept darting worried glances at him. "Tell me later?" He nodded.
"Right, everyone, it's time for bed. It's late and we've got to finish clearing out the drawing room tomorrow. Good night." Mum's voice was kind but firm, and we knew she meant business, so Harry, Ron, Hermione, Fred, George and I stood and went up to bed as slowly as we could without being obvious. Fred and George suggested trying the Extendible Ears again, but I shook my head.
"I told you, it won't work. Mum's put an Impervius Charm on the door. I've been trying to flick all sorts of things at it for the past week. She's definitely caught on to what we were doing. Bloody Crookshanks made sure of that." I muttered. There were groans all round, and I could have sworn that Ron said "that bloody furball!"
"Hang on, how do you know there's a Charm on it?" George asked.
"Because Tonks taught me how to check. I keep flicking things at the door, and they fly away, as if they're repelled by it. Try it sometime and you'll see what I mean. That's why the Ears aren't working, you see?"
After we all split off to go to our respective rooms, I spent nearly an hour preparing myself for 'bed', including washing my face meticulously, brushing my teeth and brushing my hair until it was poker-straight. I even re-painted my nails, because they'd gotten chipped when I was flicking Doxy eggs at Ron. After I had done all that, I sat in a chair in the corner and counted down the hours until I could sneak downstairs to see Sirius.
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Til next time!