A/N: Hello guys! I want to spend this author's note thanking you all for reading, reviewing, and enjoying this story. I first want to thank my beta LiteratiAngel for all the work she puts in on this story. Love you!
I also want to thank my friends Resa Aureus and Onebigscribble who inspire me and push me to write. Love you guys too.
I also want to thank LK-HoGwArTs-hEaDgIrL, CauseChocolateRocks, Lady0fTh3Night, Bluebird1125, Esme's Favorite Daughter, Avalon-Mist, tardisinthegsc, Angelus Draco, LadyBookworm80, onecelestialbeing, redskittlsbaby3, EbonyD and my two new reviewers chmcconnel68 and loves2readalways. Thanks for the consistent, awesome, perfect reviews. I adore you all and look up to you. Go read their stuff and check them out!
Okay, enough gushing…on with the story!
"You stupid bitch!" Tom Riddle yelled, slapping Mademoiselle Gold across the face and leaving a burning red imprint of his hand as she stumbled backwards, her auburn locks flying around her face.
"You promised me tonight would be the night…and even if Lucius did manage to scare her, she won't stay silent for long!" Riddle roared, pacing around the room a mere half hour after they all had left the party. He was more than a little drunk and angrier than any of them had seen him yet. Even Draco was cowering more than usual.
"If it hadn't been forhis wife," Theresa stuck her finger into the air, jabbing it in Lucius' direction with a crippling look of malice that made the blonde man falter for a moment, "I would have been able to do what I needed to do!"
"You know my wife meddles in everything and can't leave Sirius alone for one damned minute! Lock the damn door next time!" he growled back at the young girl, who was still stinging from the slap.
"Enough! Both of you be quiet!" Riddle's eyes widened as he addressed the two bickering and they both immediately fell silent; their eyes down-turned as they were apt to do in his intimidating presence, "Now, dear Bella…did you get what I asked of you?"
"I was able to sneak up when my sister was taking a turn with that homeless artist," Bellatrix said smugly, getting up from her chair and sauntering past Theresa to hand Tom an envelope of papers. He opened it and rifled through them quickly with a pleased smile on his face.
"Such a good girl," he told the raven-haired woman and gave her a small kiss on her forehead before returning to pacing, his dress tails flapping agitatedly behind him, "Now" he turned back to Theresa and walked over to her, taking her small chin between his fingers,
"You fail me again and you will lose all of this…and I guarantee your fate will be far worse than what I have in store for Miss Granger. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, sir," she said, looking up at him without any of the confidence that she had earlier that night, her eyes threatened with tears.
Hermione awoke the next morning from the best dream she had had in a long while. She had been standing in a church looking at Sirius and she was in a white dress and he was slipping a ring on her finger and…
When her eyes fluttered open and she took her first conscious breath of the morning air she realized that it had only been a dream, but what had transpired last night had been a nightmare. Sirius and Mademoiselle Gold. Together. She felt nauseas and contemplated racing to the bathroom but the sickness soon passed, only to be replaced with anger and jealousy.
Three small knocks, just as Sirius had started to do every morning on her door. Three little raps of his knuckles. She could hear him just outside, shifting his weight as he leaned against the door, listening for her.
"Love, I'm a bit worried about you. You weren't feeling well last night and you've been sleeping a long time. Are you awake in there? Can I come in?"
Hermione sat up in her bed, surprised he didn't do just as he said. Usually the little knocks were for politeness only, but today he was hesitating. She wondered to herself if it was because he had a guilty conscious and she smirked bitterly at the thought.
He knocked again. Louder this time.
"I'm fine, Sirius! I'm just not feeling well. I'd like to rest a little bit more, please!" she called towards the door and the knocking ceased abruptly. She knew she couldn't avoid him forever, especially since the cracking of her voice was nearly giving her emotions away.
"Al-alright, well, I'll be in the drawing room…" His voice was troubled and sad but Hermione tried not to care. After all, he had kissed the woman she hated more than anything in the world.
He has every right to, Hermione…when are you going to remember? You are just his mistress! Her subconscious hissed at her and she slumped back into the pillows on the bed.
Not but a few moments later, knocking came again on Hermione's door and she grumbled; agitation replacing her sadness and she cried out to tell Sirius to go away but a woman's voice answered.
"It's Fleur, Hermione. I'm coming in," she said and did just that, walking in with a tea tray balanced expertly in one hand and she set it down on the table by her bed, "You need to get up, little princess…you can't hide away in your tower all day…" she told the brunette, whipping back the duvet as Hermione scrambled to pull it back up.
"No! I am not going down there!"
"I know you are upset about what you say happened last night, but Sirius is very anxious to see you. Maybe it was all a misunderstanding…"
"No. I'm sure he's just anxiously awaiting the arrival of the wedding planner," Hermione huffed bitterly, and Fleur shook her head and sat down on the bed next to her.
"Hermione, since you have come here you have changed him. I don't know what happened last night but I do know that he is crazy about you. You have changed everyone. You have befriended Neville and I when every other mistress ignored us or talked down to us…you have brought out the best in Madame Malfoy which has been pleasant for everyone, you have brought friends and family together and made this house more charming and lively than it has been in years!" Fleur explained, but Hermione didn't look as convinced.
"But she's so beautiful…"
"To hell with her! You are just as pretty! And you have a lot more to offer in my opinion. You are an inspiration. After all, you gave me the courage to kiss Mademoiselle Parkinson…" Fleur blushed deeply and this woke Hermione up, who sat up straight and grabbed her friends' hands.
"The pretty girl who helped me last night with you? I thought she was young Malfoy's girlfriend?"
"She is…but she doesn't love him… or any man for that matter. She is just trying to keep her head above water…same as the other one…she worked with me at the Bergére…Luna. We all have to make sacrifices…but the point is that if you can be loved by someone not in your class, why can't I?" Fleur shrugged, trying to reassure Hermione that all hope was not yet lost, "Why don't I run you a bath and then you can go downstairs and see him? And if you really do feel like talking about it then be honest with him. But do not give up. You are stronger than that."
Hermione knew the beautiful blonde was right, but was also a little jealous that even she had found someone to love amidst the chaos while she had to share and fight for a man that even though everyone thought she was perfect with-she could never really have.
Instead of talking, she just nodded her head as Fleur went into the bathroom and after a second the sound of water filling the bath distracted her from her plaguing thoughts.
It took the Weasley's and Harry over a half of a day to get to the little cottage out in the country where the rest of the Weasley's lived, aptly named the 'Burrow' scrawled onto a wooden sign hanging in front of the house. None of them had gotten much sleep with the excitement of the salon party, and had woken up earlier than usual to get a head start.
It was a beautiful day in France; sunny with a bright robin's egg sky and the wildflowers that surrounded the Burrow were in full bloom, swaying in the soft breeze as the four red-heads and Harry approached the door.
Madame Weasley, a plump and smiling woman, answered the door and looked like she was about to fall over from the joy and excitement of seeing her children.
"Arthur, Arthur, come quickly! Oh…how are you all? Come in! Come in! I'll put the kettle on…oh loves…why didn't you write?" she asked quickly, one thing after another as she shuffled them inside, flitting around but not actually getting anything accomplished.
Their father appeared quickly with a smile on his face as well, embracing Fred and George in long hugs before moving to Ron and then kissing Ginny's forehead.
"And who are you?" Madame Weasley asked, finally turning to the green-eyed boy with a slightly bewildered look on his face. The Burrow was so cozy and homey, but slightly threadbare and humble.
"I'm Harry Potter. I'm so pleased to meet both of you. I'm an artist just like Ron and we live together in the city," he explained and Madame Weasley quickly embraced him as her own, trying to pat down his unruly hair in the process.
"Is Bill here?" Ginny asked hopefully and her father nodded, disappearing for a moment before returning with a slightly exhausted and sweaty taller red-head who was slim and muscular, but definitely still a Weasley.
"Gin!" Bill smiled, picking up the girl and swinging her around in his arms. They hadn't seen each other in so long and Harry watched happily; Ginny had talked about her favourite brother for ages now. Soon everyone was finished reuniting, introductions were made, and
Madame Weasley frantically went scrambling for something to make for dinner.
"How are things at the flower shop Gin? Much business?" Bill asked conversationally as they sat in the living room talking. Ginny shot a frantic look to the twins and turned to her other brother with a calm smile.
"Lovely. I just love working there…we have lots of men…erm…buying flowers for their wives," she stated and Bill seemed appeased, moving on to talking to the twins and Ron about their jobs and lives. Harry took the moment to lean to Monsieur Weasley and ask to speak to him privately.
Ginny gave Harry and her father a strange look when the moved to another room, but shrugged it off and continued to laugh with her brothers. Harry, on the other hand, couldn't have felt more nervous as he sat down in the smaller sitting room with the father of the girl he loved.
"I have to say, Monsieur Potter…I am pleased," Monsieur Weasley said with a knowing grin.
"About what, sir?"
"Although I can see you and Ronald are thick as thieves, so I understand why you tagged along, but I really know you want to ask me if you can marry my dear Ginevra, and son, I would be so very glad to give you my blessing."
Harry looked flabbergasted, his mouth opening and closing a few times before he spoke,
"It's okay? How can I prove to you that I am good enough for your daughter? I know I am just an artist but I'm exhibiting now and in a few months I will be stable and I will support her…and I really love her with all of my heart…"
"Stop," Monsieur Weasley said, "I know. I saw it in your eyes when you walked in. It is the same way I still look at my dear Molly. I hope you didn't come here looking for a fight over it, because you won't get one from me. I love my Ginevra, she's my only daughter…but a father knows when something is right. And this is just right. Welcome to the family Harry."
Harry beamed and shook his future father-in-laws' hand, but the act only made him more nervous. Ginny and himself hadn't even admitted any feelings for each other and now he had gone and asked for her hand. He wasn't even sure if she liked him as well as he did but he had come this far and he needed to tell her.
Dinner at the Burrow was warm, delicious, and felt like home for Harry. He thought about how he had never really had a home; never known his parents, and never really felt that he fit in until he met Ron and Hermione and Ginny…and Remus and Dora. He had Sirius now too, whom he looked up to…but the Weasleys could be a very real family to him and breaking bread with them seemed so very natural. He stole some glances at Ginny across the table, waiting for the right moment.
It came shortly after supper. The sun was setting over the French countryside and Harry asked Ginny is she wanted to take a walk through the back yard. It was more than a yard actually…but rather a couple of acres of more swaying wildflowers behind the cottage that looked picturesque kissed by the dying glow of day. They walked in silence for a few moments before Harry stopped and took Ginny's hands in his.
"There is something I desperately need to tell you," he began and Ginny raised an eyebrow, curious.
"Go on, Harry…"
"We've known each other for a while now…and I am just going to come out with it…I'm in love with you. Have been for a while. I've just been too scared to say it because I felt not good enough for you. But after last night…after knowing that I am going to be able to support you, I want to at least try. I know we've never said a thing, never kissed, never been more than just friends…but I love you, Ginny Weasley. I just asked your father for your hand…and I don't yet have a ring, but I can't wait any longer," Harry lowered himself onto one knee amid the flowers, looking up at the sweet girl crying of happiness, "Marry me?"
Ginny pulled him up and flung herself into his arms, crying and laughing, "Oh Harry you must have been daft to not know how much I wanted to hear those very words. Of course I will marry you! I love you too!"
"Cissy! Get in here! Now!" Sirius yelled harshly, falling into his leather table at the desk in his study and trying to hold back tears. He couldn't believe it had gotten worse…he didn't know it was even possible. He heard his cousin's quick steps up the staircase and finally she was in the room, looking at him with concern.
"What on earth is the matter that you have to speak like that?"
"Cissy," he looked up at her, "They're gone. My manuscripts are gone. All of them. Every last one. That was our saving grace…this new book…and they are all gone."
A/N: Another cliff-hanger! Well sort of. What did you guys think? Are you happy about Harry and Ginny? What do you think will happen with Sirius and Hermione…and what will Sirius do now that his manuscripts are gone? Oh no! Leave me a review!