Dance Me To The End of Love

An Anwen and Sirius Anniversary One-Shot

By Mutt N Feathers

Written for the love of her life, Ben.

June 23, 2000

Anwen Black closed the door to the master bedroom in their French estate, Le Jardin de la Cygne, and flopped her back down on the bed. Sirius was exiting from the en-suite loo and stifled a laugh at her antics. He was only wearing his trousers, which hung low due to the lack of a belt. Anwen couldn't help but stare at the body she knew better than her own.

"Trouble getting the kids fed?" he asked. Anwen rolled her eyes and sighed loudly.

"I'd like to think that with the exception of Chrissy and Stella, our children would be able to feed themselves. I'd really expect our oldest two, and their wives," she stressed emphatically, "to be able to help. None of that was true. It was a disaster down there. Why do we have nine kids again?"

"Because," Sirius said as he came to stand between her legs, pushing her knees slightly apart so he could get as close as possible. "We can't keep our hands off each other. Never have been able to," he stated, leaning down and putting his hands on either side of her face. "And we never will be able to." He punctuated the sentence with a long, luxurious kiss.

"Hmmm," Anwen hummed when their lips separated. "But, nine kids in twenty years? That's a rather startling number."

"We adopted four," he reminded her. "That does make it far less obscene."

"True, and there's a set of twins in there," Anwen added. "Okay, four pregnancies in seven years isn't too bad." Anwen sat up and Sirius moved to sit next to her, wrapping his long arm around her waist, and she leaning into his embrace.

"We could have more," he whispered seductively in her ear. "We were quite slow in the second decade of our marriage. Perhaps we need to populate the third now that they're growing up and having their own families?"

"Yes, we could certainly have more," Anwen said and Sirius looked hopeful. "However, I'd rather not be birthing any more. Pregnancy is too hard, especially when you can't walk well."

"Fine, but you're not ruling out adoption?"

"No, children seem to find us when they're in need. I can't help but think they'll continue to," Anwen said almost flippantly. She then looked up into her husband's eyes and saw just how precious fatherhood was to him. "Sirius, how many children do you want to have?"

"I don't really know," he confessed. "But, I think twenty would be good. We're nearly halfway there."

"Twenty?" Anwen said through her shock and bemusement.

"I don't mean twenty right this second, but you know, by the time we reach our eighties or something. Mum and Dad Potter were in their nineties when they had James, and she gave birth to him. I definitely think you and I could do that too," he explained.

"You're not going to convince me to have a baby when I'm ninety. Just giving you fair warning." At thirty-seven, Sirius could tell she was deadly serious about not having a baby as an octogenarian or later.

"I know, and as much as I love your rounded belly when you're pregnant, and all those funny cravings you have," he wasn't mocking as he said this. He really did love when his wife was pregnant, and was often sad when it was coming to an end; then the excitement of having the new baby in their lives helped him past his emotional upheaval. "But, you're the one who has to do the work, and I won't make you go through that."

"You always did make me feel beautiful when I was carrying our children." Anwen pressed her lips to his, never able to truly deny him anything. The fondest desire of her heart was to make him happy. "Ask me again in a year," she whispered. The bright smile on his face alerted her she'd be having another child before she was forty. If James' Mum could have him at ninety, then she'd do just fine.

"So, I suppose I need to get dressed to go out tonight?" she asked, swinging her upper body to get herself up off the bed.

"Just be comfortable, nothing too fancy. Tonight is about us, not impressing anyone," Sirius told her as he too rose and wrapped his arms around her waist. There had always been a need to be connected when they were near. Lily had described them as magnets, and the couple had never disputed the fact.

Anwen walked into her closet, well closet implies something small, which this was not. The closet and dressing area was housed in a tower of the main house. When the house had originally been built, the room was intended to house four guardsmen and their supplies, cots, uniforms and personal items. Now, one small Welsh woman and her love of clothes and shoes had taken over the entire room.

Anwen selected one of her favourite dresses. The rich aubergine made her pale skin glow, and it brought out the deep green of her eyes. The material was a soft cotton, and hugged her body where it should, and flowed where movement was required. She pulled out the strand of pearls Lily had given her for her sixteenth birthday. Unbeknownst to any of them, Lily had selected Anwen's Aunt Rose's pearls as the gift. It wasn't until she was reconciled with her grandmother that the serendipity was revealed. Her charm bracelet and diamond and pearl earrings completed the outfit. A wave of her hand and her make-up was perfectly applied. Another and her dark brown hair was pulled into an intricate waterfall ponytail. She also selected a low pair of deep brown sandals, laughing at the bright green nail lacquer Lilyan had put on just this morning, as they talked about her relationship with Evan Potter. If you couldn't have a little goofiness in your life, then you might as well be dead, Anwen thought to herself.

Exiting her dressing area, she ran right into her husband. Sirius gave her his hand, and after she'd taken it, he spun her around. Moments like these punctuated their days and made them both so happy.

"You are stunning," Sirius told her as he wrapped her up in his arms and kissed behind her ear. It was perhaps her favourite place to be kissed. "Every time you wear that dress, I think you're more beautiful than the last."

"Do you have any idea how treasured you make me feel? I'm more in love with you today than I was when we married. Look what we've survived; war, death, illness, captivity, pregnancy and childbirth, raising our children, friendships which have either ebbed away or have grown stronger, political careers, our advanced educational degrees. Honestly, Sirius, we shouldn't have made it through, and yet here we are, more in love than when we first confessed to be in love," Anwen explained, tears slowly falling down her cheeks. She wasn't sad, it was quite the opposite; she was deliriously happy and overwhelmed at just how good their lives were.

"Anwen, I treasure you because there is nothing in this world which means more to me. Our children come close, but you are part of me. I feel your emotions and your magic moving through me. You gave my life purpose and meaning when it had none. You distilled my anger into something far more productive and worthwhile. You taught me what love, real love, deep love is. You slayed the demons of my childhood, and then rode in on a white horse as my princess in shining armour. Anwen, I'd give it all away if I got to keep you. I don't need the houses or the gold or the titles; I just need my beautiful, courageous, daring, brilliant wife."

Anwen was weeping now, her breath ragged from his words. Sirius tended to be a man of action, so when he told her something so profound, it affected her deeply.

"Hey, I didn't mean to make you sad," he said, his fingers whisking the tears from her face.

"I'm not sad, love, I'm just so overwhelmed with love it needs to leak out," she told him with a smile even as she continued to cry. He chuckled a little, knowing this was an absolute truth about her. Anwen cried at the drop of a hat. Happy, sad, overwhelmed, nervous, angry; all of it could produce tears. He held her while she got her emotions under control and then pulled back to look at her.

"You ready to go?" She nodded she was. "You might want to fix that make up. Your black goo around your eyes is on your cheeks and chin." Anwen rolled her eyes at her husband, a habit she'd had since the night they met when she was eleven. A wave of her hand across her face, and she looked perfectly composed. She smiled knowingly, magic was awesome to live with.

"So, we going out through the first floor, or are we going to Disapparate from our balcony?" Sirius asked her.

"Totally not through the first floor. The kids might see us and we'd never get out," she said emphatically. Sirius lead her out to the balcony off their bedroom, and with a quick turn, they were gone from the estate.

A&S A&S A&S A&S A&S A&S

The couple arrive in an alley behind one of their favourite places in Limoges. The city was larger than the town attached to the estate, but still within the dukedom. They were known here as well, although people tended to leave them alone or were brief in their conversations with the couple. Their relative anonymity in France was far more enjoyable than their 'celebrity' in the U.K.. Even twenty years after the defeat of Tom Riddle, they were still considered heros. The couple and their best friends, who had also purchased homes in the vicinity of the French estate, were apprehensive regarding their return for the anniversary of the Great Battle and the eradication of Tom Riddle and his followers.

Their al fresco dinner was slow and pleasant, the couple quietly discussing their courtship, wedding and marriage. When it came time for dessert, they fed each other the chocolate mousse concoction which they were sharing. The proprietor, François, came over to speak with them, accompanied by his wife Marcella.

"Now, ze two of you are alwayz 'appy, but tonight, you are egzuding zomezing zo romanteec and zenzual. Iz zere zomezing different?" François asked. Anwen dropped her head and blushed.

"We've been married for twenty years, today," Sirius explained, his hand caressing her face. "This amazing woman has put up with me all this time." Anwen's hand reached up and covered as much of his as hers would allow.

"No, my love, it is me who has been blessed," she replied, her breathing ragged as she was again overwhelmed by her emotions.

"Oh, my dear little one, I wish you wouldn't cry," Sirius comforted her, pulling her from her chair and into his lap so she could hide her face in his chest.

"You are zo luckee," Marcella commented with a wide smile. "Not all of uz find zat love."

"Believe me, we know just how fortunate we are," Sirius responded.

"Your meal iz on uz," François said, and Anwen perked her head up began shaking it.

"Please, you're always so kind to us and you're accommodating when we bring the children along." The quartet had a small chuckle at the memories of previous nights. Having all thirteen Black family members in your restaurant was an interesting experience. "Let us pay you for tonight, please?"

"Nonzenze, conzider eet our gift to you," Marcella responded. Sirius put a hand on Anwen's shoulder, and she knew her husband was telling her to let it go. She complied with a thankful smile to the older couple.

"Thank you," Sirius responded. "Your generosity is quite appreciated."

"Zere will be muzic een a little while," François explained. "Please, zhey and dance?"

"Definitely," Anwen agreed with a nod. The older couple left, although another dessert and two small cups of coffee, as well as the traditional squares of dark chocolate to accompany them, did arrive not too long after they left. Anwen gently wiggled her fingers over the chocolates, turning one into a raspberry filling and the other a caramel.

"This is why it's awesome to be married to a witch like you," Sirius whispered in a husky voice.

Anwen raised her eyebrows at him. "I wonder if Ethan's wife will feel the same way?"

"It takes some getting used to," Sirius admitted. "But, I had months to get used to it before we married. She will too, and we'll be there to help her along."

The couple shared the second dessert the same way as the first, although their flirting became more seductive and quiet with each bite.

"I would love to taste this mousse on your ..." Sirius ended the sentence so quietly, only Anwen could hear him. His mouth was next to her ear, his whiskers tickling her skin. The final word would have embarrassed her when they'd first married, now though, she accepted they were a couple who enjoyed being married in every way, sex included.

"Hmm, we haven't done that in quite a while," Anwen moaned back. "Perhaps I should have Kreacher whip us up some?" A groan rumbled in Sirius' chest. Whenever he made that sound, Anwen felt empowered.

When their coffee and dessert were complete, a digestif of brandy and tea for her and a cognac for him were brought over. The only three people who knew Anwen enjoyed her tea this way were her husband, her best friend and former roommate, and her godson's wife. She reached for her beloved's hand and gave it a squeeze.

"You arranged this before hand, didn't you?"

"It's our night out, you deserve only the best, my dear little one."

Not long after, a small quartet set up to perform. There was a piano, a standing bass, a violin and a vocalist. Anwen and Sirius were the first to the floor. Since the injury to her leg in the Great Battle, Anwen was unable to dance as she once did. Her movement was limited, but it didn't matter; Sirius would never have even allowed her to falter while in his arms.

The night grew darker, and the small lights which were strung between the buildings began to cast their dim glow over the cobbled streets and closely packed structures. The piano player took out a guitar and he and the violinist began a familiar tune, at least to Anwen.

"I love this song," she confessed. A moment later the vocalist began singing, but her words were in French, and Sirius was never good at keeping up with translations when they were in song. Seeing the concentration on his face, Anwen began quietly singing along.

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in

Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove

And dance me to the end of love

And dance me to the end of love

Oh let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone

Oh let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon

Oh show me slowly what I only know the limits of

And dance me to the end of love

And dance me to the end of love

La la, la la la, la la, la la la, la la, la la la

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

And dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We're both of us beneath our love, and both of us above

And dance me to the end of love

Won't you dance me to the end of love

La la, la la la, la la, la la la, la la, la la la

"Happy Anniversary, my dearest love," Anwen whispered.

"Happy Anniversary, my most beloved little one," Sirius returned. Their words were sealed with a kiss. Sirius took his wife's hand, threw some Francs down on their table for a tip for the waitress and owners. It looked to be about three times their bill for the night. Returning to the alley, they Disapparated away, returning to the balcony outside their bedroom.

Anwen continued to hum the song as their clothing left a trail from the balcony to the bed, and their dance went on into the night.

*** Song lyrics by Leonard Cohen, quoted from the version by The Civil Wars. ***