Author's Note: I know, I'm two days late. It's been a long week. Let's just say the after-effects of the flu have been atrocious. I've been left with a horrid headache, which I went to see the doctor about (it's all sinuses), which in turn gave me a worse headache. Flat in bed for about 30 hours from it. Anyway, I only got up and showered a few hours ago. Enjoy, this is a chapter for the grown up's, the kids will be back on Feb. 19. MNF

Chapter 21:

iachÃiu (Welsh)/

To Heal (Modern English)

Potter Cottage, Ireland

Late Evening, 14 January 1996

"Well, I think they're happy about their courses," Remus remarked as he sat down next to Klytië on the love-seat.

"Oh, they are," she replied with a knowing tone. While she couldn't see their faces, she did feel their excitement and see their auras glow. "I can't believe the change in Harry's aura since I saw him last. At Yule it was strong, but rather dull. Now it's bright and vibrant. He's so much more alive, and the glimpses of his future are quite remarkable."

"What do you see regarding Voldemort?" Sirius asked as he and Maggie entered, levitating four mugs of steaming coffee and a platter of chocolate biscuits. He awaited the answer, even as Klytië took her mug and drank down a long pull.

"He will definitely face him, and he's usually victorious, but I can't tell you how or why," she confessed. "I do think he's correct in saying his friends are important to his success. There's something about him in the vision, however, which troubles me."

"Like what, hon?" Maggie asked.

"Every once in a while, I get a flash of his future which makes no sense. The images are very dark and foreboding," she explained, furrowing her brow.

"Is it his surroundings or something else?" Remus prodded.

"Both, in a way. It's difficult to explain." Remus wrapped his arm around her, and she burrowed into his side. Maggie smiled at Remus, happy at their show of intimacy; Sirius smirked and made a lewd gesture. Causing Maggie to pinch him on his side.

"Ouch," he complained. "Why did you do that?"

"Because, Sirius, you were acting like a thirteen-year-old boy," Klytië remarked. "I might not have seen what you did, but your aura changed, and this one," she nodded her head to indicate Remus, "began blushing furiously."

"How did you know I was blushing?" Remus asked.

"My forehead is next to your cheek, dear. I felt it."

"Oh," Remus said rather blankly. With all her special skills, sometimes he forgot she was just a normal woman, with normal nerve endings.

"Back to our more pertinent conversation," Maggie said, turning the talk back to Klytië's visions of Harry. "Is it related to his duel with Voldemort, maybe where he faces him?"

"I don't think so," the seer explained. "It's more like the same emotion. It makes me uneasy too, although I can't say it's anger or frustration or loathing. It's far to complex to put a name to it."

"Tell me, when you see him facing the snake, please say we are with him?" Sirius implored.

"I don't see the specifics of who is with him, but he's definitely not alone," she replied, not making any of their group happy.

The quartet sat lost in their own thoughts for a few minutes. A different voice broke the silence.

"So, Remus, are you ready to teach again?" Lily asked from the small frame on Grandma Prudence's table.

"Absolutely," he answered proudly. "Do you realise this is the first job I've had where I got it all on my own. Nobody pulled any strings or used their influence. It's not in the Muggle world, but in the Wizarding one. Even my furry little problem isn't a hindrance, it helped me get the job. I don't even have to worry about it coming out, because no one cares." His enthusiasm built as he was speaking, making his friends smile deeply.

"I am so proud of you, Remus," Lily spoke. "You could've just given in and not tried for all these years. Instead you refused to be seen as the worst part of you, and strove to make the rest even better. You even got the girl in the end. Perhaps you'll follow James and me and make your relationship permanent. Marriage is a wonderful thing."

Remus sputtered his coffee all over his lap, surprising himself and Klytië. She had a knowing smile on her face, one which Maggie and Lily caught. While Remus was cleaning himself up, Maggie indicated they should move to the classroom. Taking Klytië's hand, they walked the few steps to ensure some privacy. Maggie put up a Silencing Charm; this wasn't a discussion for the men.

"You've already seen something, haven't you?" Lily excitedly asked.

"I have seen a great many things," she replied coyly. "If you are referring to one Mr Remus John Lupin, only time will tell if what I've witnessed comes to be."

"That is so not fair," Maggie pouted.

"I will say this, we aren't the only couple in the house who have a very bright future." The knowing smile and too sweet tone of voice continued.

"Not Sirius and me," Maggie retorted coldly.

"What's the matter, Mags?" Lily asked. "He's head over heels in love with you. We all can see it."

"Maybe, but there's so much he won't talk with me about. He's seeing the healer tomorrow to set up the full treatment plan. I only found out about the appointment by accident, because Harry said something." She slouched back against one of the desks, the sadness inside her deflated her, making her tall frame look much smaller.

"He and Harry are exceptionally close," Lily attempted to excuse Sirius' behaviour.

"No, it's not that Harry knows, Lils, it's that he didn't bother telling me. I just can't get a read on him. One minute, he's all over me, hands under my blouse and kissing me to within an inch of my life, the next he's moody and withdrawn. He's giving me whiplash. Not to mention how I like the amorous adventure which is Sirius, but I'd prefer it were private. At my age it's embarrassing to be caught in a full frontal snog by teenagers! We're supposed to be setting the example. I know it's only been a few weeks since we found one another again, but at my age I can't afford to be hanging around waiting to see if relationships are going to turn to love, marriage and children."

"You might be barking up the wrong tree if you're looking to Sirius to settle down," Lily suggested and Maggie nodded.

"That was a horrible pun," the Irish witch retorted, causing all three to laugh. When they'd calmed down, she asked; "In all seriousness, though, am I asking too much? Should he be allowed to keep these secrets?"

Neither woman spoke while they pondered their thoughts. It was Lily who broke the silence first.

"Maybe you need to confront him about what you're feeling and how his actions are making you feel, but I'd wait until after the appointment tomorrow. I think you should tell him you want to go with him, help him through whatever he might find out."

"And, if he's not willing to change his attitude?"

"Then whatever happens next is your choice. I can't speak for Klytië, but regardless of what you do, Jamie and I are here for you. However, if you aren't here to teach the defence tutoring lessons, James will. The man is quite out of practice. It could be dangerous for the students."

"She speaks for Remus and me, too," Klytië added.

"Okay, then," Maggie said pushing herself off the desk. "How did we get from a conversation about how serious your relationship with Remus is to the problems with Sirius and me?"

"Talented at deflection," the seer said with a wink and the women laughed together as if they were girls. Maggie lead Klytië back to the lounge where Remus was still the colour of a tomato and it lead Maggie to wonder exactly what the gents had been discussing in their absence. Lily looked at the trio and knew it had to be sex; she'd spent far too many years in the Marauders' presence and recognised the look on Remus' face. They'd teased him in school over his relationship with Klytië. It appeared they still were.

"Leave him alone, gents," she chastised from within her frame. "Just because he knows how to woo a woman and treat her like a lady is a lovely thing. Wooing is a lost art."

"I wooed you," James retorted.

"Yes, you did, dear," she said in a somewhat patronising tone. "However, you also yelled at me across the Great Hall, begging me to go out with you for over three years. Screaming at me isn't wooing; it's embarrassing."

"You did finally go with me," James reminded her, snaking his arms around her waist and standing behind her, nibbling on her neck.

"Yes, when you stopped yelling," she said with a mischievous grin of her own.

"You two are still as lovey-dovey disgusting as when you were alive," Sirius groaned.

"No, we were worse then," Lily countered. "I wouldn't straddle his lap and make out with him anywhere public now. I had no qualms about making out in the common room then."

"Young hormones can be all consuming," James agreed. "We now leave our embraces for the privacy of...well, portraits in storage or hanging in empty rooms."

"See," Maggie said quietly to Klytië, "even in death James is a gentleman."

"I never see you complaining," Sirius said, his voice laced with both injury and indignation.

"Sirius, please, not in front of everyone," Maggie sadly pleaded. She looked into his grey eyes and implored him to stop. For his part, Sirius was frustrated, he didn't need this pressure on top of everything else he was dealing with. Her words spurred something in his brain, and one by one the pieces began to fit together.

"Is this why you've been acting so strangely? Why you've distanced yourself, physically. You've been off since we visited the Irish Academy with the kids."

Maggie glared at him, hurt by his words and his inability to ever make anything private. Yes, she'd talked with the girls, but she didn't relish James and Remus knowing everything about her personal life.

"I haven't been off, Sirius, I've been acting like an adult!" she yelled the last part.

"What? I'm an adult too, and you don't see me running away and hiding," he harshly replied. "You've barely let me touch you, and you haven't spent the night in over a week," he wined.

Maggie stood, barely able to control the tears which were threatening to fall. "Do you really want to finish this here, surrounded by our friends?" Her embarrassment had her ready to break up with him on the spot and flee the house. She'd figure something out about her tutoring the kids.

Sirius looked from her bright hazel eyes dark with sadness and resignation to the faces of his friends surrounding him. Each seemed to struggle to make eye contact and appeared chagrined as well. Apparently, privacy was the way to go.

"I'll be back for supper tomorrow," he said before grabbing Maggie's hand and Disapparating on the spot.

"That's liable to be one uncomfortable conversation," Remus remarked, the Potters and Klytië agreeing.

"It could go either way," she stated. "They really are well matched, and if he can get over his self-loathing, they could be wonderful together, but he's got to let her in. If he denies anything is wrong between them, he will lose her for sure."

"Paddy has always been immensely private, however," Lily added. "I can see both sides of the argument. There are things in his past which he doesn't want to remember or burden anyone else with."

"But, he told you," James said as he kissed his wife's cheek. "You're is Petal."

"Yes, he told me, but only because I dragged things out of him for his own sanity," she retorted. "Well, the ball is in his court now. All we can do is be there for both of them if there's fallout. Now, my love, I'm getting quite tired. May we call it a night? I so enjoy the privacy of the forest floor." There was a slight wiggle of her eyebrows and James nodded, lifting her hand and kissing her wedding ring.

"We bid you goodnight, and we will speak in the morning," he said, before taking her hand and leading her out of the frame.

"Are you ready to leave, my sweet? I'm sure I can leave the kids long enough to Apparate you home," Remus said softly.

"Actually, the house seems quiet and peaceful. If you're not completely worn out, there's something I've been dying to do since I arrived this afternoon," Klytië confessed.

"Oh," Remus replied, surprised. "What would that be?"

"This," she stated, before leaning in and sweetly kissing his lips. The surprise Remus felt was quickly over and he placed his hands around her waist. Klytië had no qualms about deepening her kiss, and tentatively slipped her tongue between his lips. They hadn't been this intimate since their Hogwarts days; but regardless of how out of practice they were, it all flooded back. Remus pulled her closer and she let her one hand grab hold of his neck, while the other rested on his chest. Remus took a moment for them to catch their breath, although he didn't break his hold on her, and pulled his wand to close the door and lock it, then he put a Silencing Charm. It would seem a good snog was in order for the professor.

LPOW LPOW LPOW LPOW LPOW

The landing at Stargazer's Summit was far less graceful that Sirius would have liked. He barely caught his own balance, and was utterly useless in helping Maggie maintain hers.

"What the hell was that about?" Maggie asked when she righted herself before looking at the large structure before them. "Where the bloody hell are we?"

"Welcome to one of my homes, Stargazer's Summit. We're on the Isle of Man. You wanted privacy, we'll have it here." Sirius spoke with a dull affect and grabbed her hand and pulled her to the front door. He placed his hand on the door knocker and within moments they were walking into the opulent home.

"I thought your cousin and her son were living here?" Maggie asked as she looked around the entrance way of the house. As if on cue, Narcissa emerged from the formal drawing room, needlework of some sort in her hands.

"We are," Narcissa answered. "Sirius, is everything alright? I wasn't expecting to see you until Tuesday for Draco's lesson."

"Nothing's wrong, Cissy," he answered while walking over and kissing her forehead in a protective manner. "Narcissa Malfoy, this is Maggie O'Lachlan, my girlfriend. Maggie, this is my cousin, Narcissa -"

"-Black," Narcissa said as she put out her hand. "One of the parchments I had you deliver to my barrister was the divorce decree and a change of name filing. I have no desire to keep his name. I can't get Draco to give it up, yet."

"I remember you from school," Maggie stated as she took the other woman's hand. "You are as beautiful as you were then. I envied your straight hair."

"You're quite kind, and I wish I had some of your curl. Sirius is the one who got the beautiful waves. Why such good hair was wasted on a man I'll never know," she jokingly sighed.

"Definitely, although it does go well with the long lashes. Perhaps he was destined to be a lass and came out a lad?"

"Hey, hey, enough with the teasing," Sirius put his hand over his heart, mocking as if he were hurt. "We're staying here tonight, need some privacy."

"I would think a house full of teenagers would make privacy hard to come by," Narcissa remarked. "Will you be at breakfast tomorrow?"

"I have to be at my healer's by eight," he explained. "I'd say it's doubtful. Perhaps brunch when it's over?"

"I look forward to it, Siri," Narcissa said with true happiness reflecting in her face. "Have a good night." The woman turned and returned to her spot by the fire and her embroidery.

"Come on," Sirius said, taking Maggie's hand. "I'll give you the grand tour some other time." He walked her past the set of staircases which were off the vestibule of the house and through the hall to the grand staircases in the middle of the house. The marble steps were original to the house, or at least the 'old' section, now the middle of the mansion. The east and west wings were added later, and had their own sets of stairs.

The master bedroom was on the first floor, just beyond the stairs. The room was immaculate, and looked as if a man had decorated it. Mahogany furniture was in both the sitting area and in the sleeping chamber. While the sitting area was done in gold and reds of satin and velvet, the bed was covered in a deep green coverlet with the walls in a lighter shade of green. Originally, it had all been in a Slytherin style, with black accents and snakes on lampshades and the pillows. Sirius had liked the colour, but loathed the motif. He'd left the decorating to Birony and was pleased with what she'd done. There were even small gryphons around the room. He noted the embroidered Black family crest which now hung above his bed, no doubt a gift from his cousin.

"I assume this is private enough for you?" Sirius asked, a slight sneer in his voice.

"We could have stayed at Harry's house," Maggie retorted as she sat down on a deep red chintz fainting couch in the sitting area. Sirius flopped down in the leather wingback next to her.

"I was afraid someone might have seen us coming out of my bedroom there. Wouldn't want to appear childish."

"Would you stop it, please? This is exactly what I'm talking about. You don't get your own way and you pout and act like a spoiled toddler. Sirius, we're in our mid-thirties, not fresh out of school. We need to be making more permanent plans, settling down. I shouldn't be finding out about your medical appointments from your godson."

"All of this is because Harry knew I was seeing my healer tomorrow and you didn't?" Sirius couldn't figure out how she was calling him immature when she was throwing a tantrum because he'd forgotten to tell her something.

"No, Sirius, it's not because of the appointment. Yes, I wish you'd told me, but I know you're hesitant about sharing too much of what happened in Azkaban. But Sirius, what happened deeply affects us and our future. I'm supposed to be your partner. Remember, I was there at the initial appointment. I didn't see all of your scars and I have no idea what they might have found on your internal exams, but I saw enough."

"I know, love," Sirius admitted. "I honestly just forgot about telling you. It's been rather difficult to connect with you this last week. You haven't been at the house much, and then when you were, you physically distanced yourself."

"I know, and it was on purpose. They all know you and respect you and your title, I still need to earn that level of respect. Sometimes it feels like you just want me around to cuddle and snog. That was fine when we were in school, but we aren't in school now and we haven't been for a long time."

Sirius leaned over and ran his hands through his hair. He understood what she was saying. The guys had pretty much rammed it into his head that being in the supervisory role for the kids meant he had to live a different life. They also reminded him that he lost Maggie once before; they challenged him to imagine what would happen if he lost her again. Drowning himself in Firewhisky wouldn't be prudent, considering how many people relied on him for their safety and well being.

He turned his body to look at her and reached for her hands.

"Margaret Mary Catherine Imelda O'Lachlan," Maggie couldn't help but smile at the way he'd said her full name, poor Irish accent and all. "I'm sorry for being an arse. You may flog or hex me at your leisure." Her smile turned into a full on, girly giggle.

"Oh, Sirius, it' your arse-ish tendencies which make you loveable," she admitted. "It's only been a month since you stumbled back into my life, but it's been the best month I've had in years. I want to be with you. I want to share everything with you. I just need to do it in a more acceptable fashion."

Sirius stood and lifted her before settling himself on the Victorian era couch and then settling her in the 'v' created by his legs. His arms surrounded her, and she laid her head back against his chest. "You're right, on all counts," he said with humble calmness. "My entire life I've run away from emotions. They were dangerous to have as a child. My father delighted in using them against me. In Azkaban, the Death Eaters lapped up any hint of a thought or a memory. Showing them a hint of emotion made them giddy and depraved. I'd learned much about being emotionless from my father, but being with those loons in prison nearly drove all emotion out of me. It was only when I was changed over into Padfoot that I allowed myself to remember happiness and friendship and love.

"I want to let you in, sweetheart, but it's so very hard. I can't even talk with the guys and Petal easily, and they already knew about what my father had done to me. How do I share all of it, especially when it's something which was ten times worse than what you already saw? And you, you're so beautiful and energetic and just so ... Blimey, when you were made they broke the mould, love. How can I tarnish something so perfect and pristine with what's happened to me?"

"Oh, Sirius, that might be the sweetest thing you've ever said to me," Maggie announced through her tears.

"It's all true, love," he continued, a lone tear escaping from the outer corner of his left eye. He raised his left hand to her face, and stroked along her cheekbone and lower lip.

Maggie closed her eyes and relished his touch. If she were honest with herself, she wanted to stay with him, to grow old with him, maybe even have his children. The last one was a true question, not because of desire to have a family - secretly she suspected he'd wanted a child of his own since Harry had been born - no, the question was if he could father a child. The spirit was more than willing, but the flesh was damaged and weak. She had loved him at Hogwarts, it only took days for her to realise she was still in love with him. He had the power to shatter her, and he didn't even know. This made her cry all the harder.

"Siri...us," she eked out, splitting his name with a sob, "you won't...darken me. If you don't...trust me...we won't...last." She was sniffling greatly and feared she'd need to resort to using her sleeve. As if he could read her mind, Sirius withdrew a handkerchief from his trouser pocket.

"How do you always know what I need?" she asked rhetorically, but he decided to answer her.

"Because, er," he stumbled over his own words then laughed nervously. "Because I still...I still..."

"You still what?" Maggie enquired, her heart beating a million beats per minute. She suspected what he was going to say. Perhaps it would be easier if she said it first. "Do you still love me as much as I love you?"

"Yes!" Sirius cheered before kissing her. "Yes, I love you, Maggie. I don't want to live without you. I can't lose you again, I would be without a reason to live," he professed.

"I love you, too, Sirius. I felt it weeks ago, but didn't want to say anything to scare you off," she explained. They fell into a passionate snog which went on until the air in their lungs had been used up. Panting heavily, Maggie laid her forehead against his cheek.

"Sirius, we need to talk about how we're going to behave at the house and what we're going to do if I want to spend the night. Having me do the walk of shame in the morning, eating breakfast or preparing for work in the same clothes I was in the night before, won't work dear," she explained. "I've tried transfiguring them, but it doesn't last long enough, or worse, the kids just transfigure them back." It was a truly mortifying issue for her.

"I promise we can discuss it tomorrow afternoon. Right now, may I please snog you some more? Maybe we'll even go past the snog?" he wiggled his eyebrows in his trademark way, causing Maggie to giggle.

"Fine, but you can't weasel out of the discussion. You don't talk with me tomorrow, no snogging for three days, and my breasts will stay hidden for a week!"

"Bullocks, you are one bitchy witch, but I love you!" he exclaimed before kissing her again. She only allowed it to go on for a minute.

"And about your appointment tomorrow?" she asked.

"I want you to go with me, and stay for everything. Merlin knows I'll need you to keep whatever the healer prescribes straight or I'll never take the shite," he honestly answered and she laughed so hard she snorted.

"Lovely," he drolly said with a laugh. "This is the woman who I want to spend my life with." The comment took Maggie by surprised, but in a very good way.

"For as long as you'll have me," she confessed. "I love you."

"As I do you," he replied. "May I suggest we move this little 'entanglement'," he said seductively, his hand indicated the way their clothes were askew and legs twisted together, "to the bed?" Maggie said nothing, but stood up and offered him her hand.

LPOW LPOW LPOW LPOW LPOW

"Well, Lord Black, your scans were quite intriguing to look at," the primary healer at the magical hospital in Killarney said to start the appointment. "Truthfully, I don't know how you've done it for the last few years."

"That bad, huh?" Sirius asked.

"You've got trauma to both kidneys, your heart and lungs have been weakened and there's extensive scarring on your intestines. Your spine has been broken, twice; once correctly repaired and once not. Your shoulders appeared to have been pulled out of their sockets and poorly righted. Your brain shows signs of severe concussions and I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the loss of sight in your right eye," the healer rattled off the laundry list of aliments.

"Didn't even realise it wasn't right," Sirius said sadly. "There were so many times I couldn't see at all, because of how they'd beat me. I'm assuming there's more to add about the other injuries?"

"Do you want me to discuss them in mixed company?" the healer asked, offering Sirius privacy if he wanted it.

"There's no secrets," Sirius replied. "She's my girl, if anyone is as affected by this, it's her."

"Well, we can't magically replace what was taken," he stated. "However, we can return your other testicle to its proper position and hopefully, its function. There will be some potions which you'll need to take before intimacy. Also, if you're considering fathering a child, we will have other potions which will be required. There could be potency issues, but it's too soon to say."

"That's better than I expected," Sirius said, sounding pleased. "I was convinced the other one would need to be removed. One is better than none." Maggie wasn't sure what to say, although she was compelled to laugh. Instead of making a scene she simply smiled at him and held his hand.

The healer began to list the potions and salves he would need to use and how often each day. Sirius' mind wandered away during the discussion, and thankfully Maggie paid close attention. She'd relay the information to Mrs Potter and Lily, and they'd keep him straight.

The first thing to be dealt with would be his eyes. While he could have simply worn glasses, he didn't think he could do it. James' were often a nuisance and he didn't want to look any more like his best mate than he already did. A simple spell would right his sight, although he had to lay still for two hours after to ensure he'd completely heal. He'd need to be spelled to keep him still that long.

The skeletal issues would all be repaired with in one long surgery. His back would be repaired by straightening it, putting his vertebrae back into place and then removing the arthritis which had collected around the deformity. His shoulders would be repaired as well, the ligaments and tendons again stretched correctly. The recovery time and therapy required after would be extensive. It was a good thing Sirius didn't need to work, and had nearly unlimited funds at his disposal. He'd already decided a workout room would be created at Stargazer's Summit.

Once his back was healed, some of his internal injuries would be healed. Thankfully magic would be used, so no cutting into his body would be required. The scar tissue would be removed from around his intestines as well as on the skin of his abdomen and lower back. A series of potions and spells would heal the damage to his kidneys.

Sirius would use a special machine to push a mist of healing potions deep into his lungs, and medications for his heart would be added to his blood. Both of these treatments would be done at hospital, in a room which was completely germ free. He'd also need to stay overnight after he'd been treated.

When all was said and done, Sirius left with a surgery schedule, seven potions, three salves and a calendar of when he'd be required to have his overnight treatments. He appeared so fragile to Maggie, she called off from work for the rest of the day. The pair returned to his house and evaded the others on their way to his bedchamber. They laid together, silent, for a long while.

"Thank you for coming with me, and for not running away," Sirius finally whispered.

"I love you," Maggie said gently. "How could I run away? I'm here for the good and the bad."

"No one ever promised me that," he confessed. "I guess that's what love is."