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Chapter 11 : Grinds of Machinery
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Sirius told me that, for the record the shirt, bra, and panties were from him and Remus. Though, the bra and panties were more from Remus than him. He asked how Mum reacted to the photo of them. I told him how she cried a bit but said she was always hopeful that the Ministry would come out and say they were wrong about him. Sirius seemed to be choked up by this statement; he showed his emotion by ducking under the table for a moment to wipe his eyes. He was always subtle like that.
When he resurfaced, I wanted to talk about Remus. “Now that you’re back to…normal, I want to ask you something.” I gave Sirius a hard look. “Do you think Remus would make love to me?” Sirius started to hack as if my words were dry toast in his throat. Apparently, he wasn’t expecting me to ask that. I looked at him, unblushing and waited for a response.
“You mean he hasn’t?” Sirius said with the tact of a one-legged troll in a crystal shop. I pursed my lips together. “Alright, I’ll take that as a no.” Sirius seemed to be growing red from this conversation. “I thought it happened sometime since you’ve been dancing around your romantic friendship.” I crossed my arms. Sirius was being quite insufferable. “And, I don’t know if you know this about werewolves, but they ‘get the urge’ really bad around their time of the month.” Sirius made it sound like Remus menstruated. I raised my eyebrows, waiting for him to stop beating around the bush. “I mean, he used to struggle with his urges at school. Well, only a few days before he’d transform. I thought that was why you’d hang out with him then…” I finally stomped by foot. Sirius snapped out of his monologue on Remus’ monthly habits. “I’m actually surprised that he hasn’t. He spends all of his time obsessing about you. He was gone for six hours buying your Christmas present. And that was the only thing he bought that day!” Sirius laughed loudly. “Are you planning on making it a special Christmas?” he asked with a pervy nudge and wink.
“I… I don’t have any solid plans. I’ve been waiting for him to make a move. I thought maybe he wasn’t interested in me like that,” I said sheepishly. Sirius laughed again. “Well, what do you expect me to think? We’ve all but danced naked in the shower together, but he just won’t—” I faltered, looking for the words. “He won’t take charge and go at it!” I finally said, falling out of my chair. Sirius and I lost it at that point. We were laughing so hard that by the time the gang returned from St. Mungo’s, they thought we had finished a tankard or 10 of firewhiskey.
When we caught sight of Remus we burst into a renewed bought of laughter. Remus looked slightly confused, but offered to take me home. I was giggling so hard I could hardly function. We waited ten minutes for my laughter to subside. Remus helped me into my jacket. We walked down the street a short way before I started to calm down. “Are you feeling well?” he asked, eyeing me with a smirk.
”Oh yeah, I was just having a laugh with Sirius.” I said working to think of something other than Remus and his monthly urge. Sirius told me quite a few of Remus’ stories, most of which portrayed a different side of Remus than the one I saw every day.
Remus raised his eyebrows and said dryly, “Really, I couldn’t tell.” He smiled and brushed some snow out of my hair. I was working up the nerve to ask Remus over when he said, “Can I stay with you tonight?” Remus looked at me, a serious expression on his face.
I hugged him, leaned towards his ear and said, “I’d love that.” Then I nibbled slightly on his ear before I pulled out of the hug. We apparated to an alley near my apartment building. Remus pressed against me and I fell into the wall. He kissed me in a hungry, needy way. I took his hand and we hurried to the building. We rode the elevator and whispered passionately as we listened to the grinds of the machinery clanking. We didn’t realize there was another rider until we got off. The man, who appeared to be in his 70’s yelled, “I hope you remembered the prophylactics!” as we got off, saying a hurried apology.
We managed our way into my flat; our lips continued their passionate duel. Remus and I pulled apart for a moment; we were both breathless. Remus grabbed my hand and took me to the bedroom. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. There were pink, vividly, shocking pink rose petals spread from the bed to the bedroom door. The flower path got wider as it reached my bed; it was beyond beautiful. “How did you…” I started, but then I realized that I didn’t care how or when; I was in my room, which looked amazing, with the man I loved.
Remus and I continued to kiss lasciviously and it began to rain clothing, so to speak. We moved towards the bed; I tripped and fell on it. The rose petals bounced a few inches in the air. Remus and I laughed. Our bodies were on a slow collision course. “Are you sure about this?” he asked running his fingers through my hair. I let out a yes that sounded more like the air being let out of a tire.
I’m not going to say that we had marathon sex, or make claims about Remus' physiology; those are things people say when they really lack experience with the person they have in mind. I will say that it was beautiful and that we both slept well that night. Remus never did tell me how he managed to spread the rose petals everywhere while he was supposed to be with everyone visiting Arthur.
I have to admit, I was slightly put off that Remus didn’t break down and confess his love for me, but I’ve never been the type of woman that needed to hear the L-word to get into bed. I did want to hear it from Remus though, for purely non-physical reasons.
Dumbledore asked us to accompany Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Fred and George to school. He said the long ride together would help expedite things. Naturally, he didn’t explain, but I thought I knew what he meant. We arrived at Grimmauld Place early that morning. Sirius was up, as was Molly.
Sirius appeared to be unusually aggravated. Remus asked if he was okay; he started to tell us about Harry taking Occlumency lesions with Snape. “Why does Dumbledore want him to do that?” I asked in a low voice. I knew too well how voices could carry in that house. Sirius explained that it would stop Harry having dreams about Voldemort’s thoughts and actions. Molly chipped in about Sirius almost having it out with Snape; he shot her a contemptuous look. Remus seemed especially concerned by Sirius’ argument with Snape.
Harry, Ron and Hermione came in during our conversation. We stopped talking immediately. They all looked a little suspicious, most of all Harry, but we pretended nothing important was being discussed. Leaving was a bit hectic; I was glad that Remus was there. He was a good leader and was able to flag down the Knight Bus for us and help with the luggage.
I ushered Harry on first; Dumbledore said to be extremely careful while on the street. The conductor, Stan, started carrying on about Harry being there. I told him to shut it or he’d have another thing coming. The ride to Hogsmeade was as comfortable as could be expected while riding the Knight Bus. At least no one dislocated a hip. I paid a little extra for the idiot-conductor to move us up the queue. Hogsmeade was blanketed in snow and looked quite picturesque. Remus and I got off to help the kids with their luggage and say our goodbyes.
We got back on the bus as we didn’t want to linger in Hogsmeade. Remus and I took a seat in the back. “Do you think their term will go alright?” I asked feeling a bit like a mother leaving her children to stay with their drunk uncle.
”I’m sure they’ll make it through just fine,” Remus said consolingly. He looked around to take in our surroundings. Then he lowered his voice and said, “I need to talk to you about something important, Nymphadora.” I gave him a look for using my name, but didn’t verbally protest. Remus smiled, taking my hand. “You make me feel alive in ways I haven’t felt in ages, several ages in fact. I don’t know if I could live without your smile to brighten my life. My heart skips a beat when your eyes light up with excitement.”
The Knight Bus swerved and we fell into each other. This didn’t seem to deter Remus at all. “I should have said this a lot sooner than I’m saying it…” Remus looked around again to assure or privacy. “I, l—” The bus took another violent swerve. We were both knocked out of our seats. I landed my back; I looked up and saw several bags falling towards me. I raised my arms over my head, but the corner of a briefcase hit me hard one my nose.
I sat up; I could feel blood pouring down my face. I held my hands up to my face to stop the flow. Remus immediately came to my aide. I took my hands away from my face. Remus gasped and pulled out his wand. “What were you saying?” I asked as if we were merely interrupted by a radio commercial or something else benign. “Please… tell me.”
“I love you, Nymphadora,” was all he said. It was more than enough for me. I had been waiting to hear those words for what seemed like several lifetimes. It didn't matter that we were on the Knight Bus or that my nose was bleeding all over, Remus loved me. “Please let me fix your nose.” He held his wand to my nose and said, “Episkey.” The pain stopped right away.
”Oh, Remus,” I breathed, flecking blood everywhere. “I love you so much.” I wrapped my arms around him in a hug and we fell over. Stan’s voice came loudly, like a sharp knife. He said there’d be no hanky-panky on the bus. Remus helped me up and cleaned the blood off me with a wave of his wand. He climbed back into our seats. I was grinning another one of those ridiculous in love grins that usually annoyed me; it didn’t bother me that day.
We went back to Grimmauld Place. Sirius sat alone in the sitting room; he had a brooding expression on his face. He looked up at Remus and I. We were unable to erase our giddy grins. “Did you guys run off and elope?” he paused just long enough for Remus and I to exchange foreboding looks. “You do realize that means you’ll actually have to shag her?” Sirius said sardonically. “Whatever you were up to, it was probably more excitement than I’ve seen this past year.” Sirius hunched over, his head resting in his hands. He was breathing heavily, or possibly sobbing. I couldn’t quite believe it.
I approached Sirius, a hand outstretched cautiously in the same way I’d extend it to an unknown dog. “Sirius…” I said in a low soothing voice. I put a hand on his shoulder and squatted so we were eye to eye. “I can’t imagine what it’s like for you… here.” I looked around the gloomy room. “It’s not Azkaban, but it’s not freedom.” I looked up to Remus for help.
“Padfoot, mate, this won’t last forever. The Ministry is bound to take their head out of their arse and smell the flowers before too long.” I glanced over at Remus; it was the first time I heard him swear.
Sirius’ mood did not improve. “I’m tired of waiting!” he shouted slamming his fist into the table next to him breaking a glass figurine on it and cutting his hand. I let out a gasp of shock. Not because of the blood but because of his outburst of anger. With a stern look on my face, I took his hand, which he was watching bleed with a mesmerized look in his face. I took out my wand and pointed it at his hand. “Episkey,” I said quietly.
Remus pulled Sirius out of his chair and led him downstairs. Sirius cheered up a bit after he told us about he and Snape almost going at it the other night. Remus had a worried expression on his face. He knew the dynamics between Sirius and Snape better than I did. Although, my distant kinship with Sirius elicited enough sneers and nasty comments from Snape for me to get the idea.
Remus and I stayed over at Grimmauld Place that night. We decided that Sirius was in a temperamental state and needed friends nearby. Sirius was in a slightly better mood the next day. I felt giddy at work, but I was preoccupied with Sirius’ well-being. I spent half the day unusually upbeat, and the rest fidgeting with the sleeve of my robes.
When they announced the escape of all those death eaters, Sirius lost his temper in ways that made me scared to be in the same room as him. Remus was the one that calmed him down. He grabbed him in an aggressive hug, more a chokehold and talked to him in a low whisper. We slipped Sirius a soothing potion and waited for word from Dumbledore.
I had to go into work for a 15 hour shift. Most of it was briefings on the Death Eaters, a meeting given by Kingsley which highlighted the Death Eater connection to Sirius, a department-wide ban on talking to the papers, and a brush up course on jinxes and spells that might help if we’re face to face with a death eater. I found the lack of details on their escape suspicious, but so did a lot of the Department. The only solace I found during all of the chaos was in Remus’ arms as he held me close every night. I knew I’d fall apart if I didn’t have him.
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