Lily’s stomach had now puffed out like a balloon. Her ankles were swollen and her mood swings were more frequent.
When the Order found out about her condition, they barred her from any more duty. This was not taken lightly. But after many arguments and shouting matches, Lily relented. It was for the baby’s good, after all.
They did not want to know the sex of her child until the birth date, when they could all be surprised.
Sirius was still insisting that the child be named after him.
We do not need another Sirius running around!” exclaimed Lily one night to James as they discussed the day.
“No…I wouldn’t mind,” replied James. “But I think his name’s too unique to be passed on. He deserves to be the only Sirius.”
“Well, we’ve got to include him somehow…”
James thought for a moment. “What if we named him Godfather?”
“That could work,” said Lily slowly. “But are you sure you want him? Remember, there’s Remus, Peter, and Frank also.”
“Remus can be the back-up Godfather…like if Sirius doesn’t want it.”
“Alright, Sirius it is.”
Emma counted the days prophet and locked up the bakery. She would be meeting up with Sirius in a muggle Italian restaurant.
Standing outside the doorway, she focused intently, turned on the spot, and disapparated.
Reappearing in an alley near the restaurant, she set off up the street.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a stooped man shuffled his way down Lilac Boulevard. He had a very important appointment to keep.
Maybe ‘appointment’ was the wrong term. Perhaps ‘meeting’ was better. He had given this topic a lot of thought the last few days. Many sleepless nights had been devoted to the decision that had to be made.
This man was tired of being shuffled out of the way by his superiors. It was time he made a stand — and did his own bidding. He was tired of being ordered around.
Of course, he had no idea of with whom he would be meeting with. Come to think of it, he didn’t know the organization either. The letter had just said to report to the tavern if he wished to be his own person.
He pulled the cloak tighter around his body and made a mental note to have his wand at hand at all times. He thought he had an idea on who he was dealing with, and he thought extra precaution was necessary. Part of him didn’t want to take another step, and yet the other part was striving for the power this letter assured.
His mind was made up. Pulling up the hood of his cloak, he continued on.
Sirius was leaning against the wall of the restaurant he had chosen for that night. James had celebrated his sixteenth birthday with his parents and Sirius there, nearly four yeas ago. So it seemed like a fitting place to take his girlfriend.
Just then Emma came striding up the street with her hands shoved deeply in her pockets. It had been a chilly evening.
He greeted Emma with a quick kiss on the cheek and ushered her inside.
It was one of those lowly lit restaurants, with expensive furniture and silver candlesticks on every surface.
The moment they crossed the threshold a smartly dressed waiter cut across their path. He grabbed two menus and asked, “Table for two?”
Sirius nodded, and upon taking Emma’s hand in his own, walked with her to a little table that sat by the window.
“This is a really nice place, Sirius,” remarked Emma, accepting her menu and throwing a napkin over her lap. “How’d you find it?”
“I came her with James once…”
“What? The two of you enjoyed a candlestick dinner together?” Emma laughed.
Sirius grinned. “No. His parents were here too. It was his birthday party…”
“Odd place for a party…”
“Well, the celebration with his parents was here. We probably had another party somewhere else…”
The waiter arrived back with two long neck glasses of red wine.
“Oh, guess what,” said Sirius after the man left.
“James and Lily named me Godfather of their future kid.”
“That’s great! Is it because they didn’t want to name it after you?”
“Probably…but it’ll still be fun. But think about it, in just a few months, there will be a mini-James in this world.”
“You never know,” came Emma’s reply. “They could have a girl — a girl that looks like Lily.”
“Nah, it has to look like James. I’m betting on a boy.”
“I’ll take you on,” said Emma. “Ten galleons on a girl.”
“Are you sure about that? I’ve got Moony on twenty. He agrees with you. So, if you’re both wrong then I’ll get thirty galleons.”
“But if I win then I’m ten galleons richer.”
Sirius raised and eyebrow and held out his hand. “You’re on…but you’re going to lose. Last week I did a rain dance around Lily, asking for the spirits for a boy.”
“How’d she take you dancing around her?”
“She said that I was an idiot and it wasn’t going to work. I think she wants a girl. So she tried to interrupt my rain-dance.”
“Do you know what James wants?”
Sirius laughed. “He wants twins.”
The man on the other side of town turned up a side street and then entered a narrow alleyway.
He didn’t think he had ever heard a night this silent. It was like everyone had turned into bed early. No owls swooped overhead, no cars had their engines running, and even the crickets seemed to be holding their legs still.
This probably should have made the man feel uneasy, especially when he saw that there was no moon out tonight, but he had other things on his mind. But then again, maybe he was just oblivious to his surroundings.
A pub showed itself a few buildings ahead. The man knew that this was his destination. He knew that if he entered it then there was no turning back. But his feet kept carrying him along the pavement. In his head, he believed this to be the right thing to do.
The others just didn’t understand. He knew they wouldn’t approve of him meeting with these people. That was an understatement. The others probably would knock him out to keep him from coming. But this was his choice.
The pub was nearly empty. Funny, seeing as it was a Friday night.
The man thought that people went to pubs after work to wash away their troubles for the week. Evidently not this one.
The front room had about six or seven people, all sitting alone, downing tankards of beer. The ceiling was low and the single flickering light cast dancing shadows on the wall.
The man hugged his cloak tighter around his body, but kept one had still balled in a fist over the wand in his pocket. This was a muggle pub, but that didn’t mean there was no danger.
The barman walked up to him. He was a middle-aged man with black, graying hair and a pockmarked faced. “Are you meeting someone, Sir?”
The man narrowed his eyes and said slowly, “Yes…but I must have the wrong place…”
“No, no, quite the right place, Sir,” said the barman. “Your party requested that I escort you to the back room. They await you.”
The man nodded and followed him out of a doorway behind the bar.
They went down a short hallway and came upon a steel door.
The barman bowed. “This where I leave you, Sir. Good Day.”
He left the man standing there.
The man hesitated, and then knocked.
After a few moments he heard footsteps approaching, and then the door swung open, revealing a tall man in a cloak much like the one on the man standing outside the doorway.
“Ah,” came the drawling voice of Lucius Malfoy. He turned and called over his shoulder, addressing the others behind him. “Our guest has arrived.”
“So how’s your job at the ministry coming?” asked Emma, taking a bit of her steak.
“Well, it’s a job at the Ministry,” replied Sirius. “What do you expect? The whole place is corrupt…but I’m living through it. It’s fun being able to do everything with James.”
“I’d imagine. I heard you dropped a dungbomb in the girl’s lavatory. That seems very like you. But my question is, how did you get in there?”
“We just used a hover charm. Simple as that.”
Emma laughed. “Everything’s simple for you boys, isn’t it?”
“No, I had to make a difficult decision tonight.”
“What? Between the chicken and the tri-tip?”
“Well, yes, that too. But I was talking about whether I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you or not.”
Emma instantly sobered up. She hadn’t been expecting that. “You were going to break up with me?”
“No, quite the contrary. I’m going to ask you to marry me.” He said all this in a light tone, as if discussing the weather.
“Oh,” she said in a small voice.
“So,” continued Sirius. He rummaged around in his coat pocket and pulled out a diamond-studded ring. He got out of his chair and bent down on one knee in front of her. “I came to the conclusion that I do want to spend the rest of my life with you. So, without further ado, will you marry me, Emma? Please?”
It was like everyone had disappeared except the two of them. She stared at Sirius, her mouth parted slightly in surprise. She had left the bakery thinking they would be enjoying a simple dinner. But now she was being asked to become Mrs. Black. It did have a certain ring to it.
Emma found herself nodding. “Alright…let’s do it.”
The man remembered when Lucius Malfoy had been at Hogwarts. He had been a first year when Malfoy had been a sixth — he had been arrogant and self-centered, and yet terrifying at the same time.
And here he was now, the same leering sneer he was known for. The same aura of terror radiated from him, keeping those around him in an admiring silence.
He turned back to the man standing outside the room, and opened the door up wider. “Come in.”
The man entered the room and took a seat in an armchair near the window. “Why have you called me here?”
Malfoy laughed softly. “I would have that that was obvious. Our master feels that you would make a valuable servant. It was his wish that we’d call you here.”
“Is that so?” asked the man slowly. “And what if I’ve changed my mine?”
“That would not be wise,” murmured a woman near the shadows. The man instantly recognized her as Bellatrix Black. She was standing beside her cousin, Regulus, who was looking very uncomfortable. Her arm was looped, however, with none other than Rodolphus Lestrange.
“There is no backing out,” said Malfoy.
The man remained silent.
“It’s a win-win situation,” continued Malfoy. “Your deepest dreams and desires will be answered. The power is unimaginable…it is the greatest honor to serve the Dark Lord.”
The man nodded. He didn’t need to think about it anymore. His decision was final. It wouldn’t be all to bad. Just something to do in his spare time.
Malfoy walked over to the fireplace and threw in a pinch of the green poser that was sitting on the mantle. “The boy has agreed,” he called.
There were a few moments silence, and then a tall, thin man appeared in the grate. His face was waxy and inhuman like. He turned towards the man that sat petrified in the armchair.
“You will swear loyalty to me?”
“And to me alone?”
He nodded again.
“Hold out your arm.”
The man obliged.
Voldemort pulled out his yew sand and touched the very tip to the man’s forearm. There was a hiss and the smell of burning flesh.
The man bit his lip and twitched his arm, but Voldemort’s grip was like a vice.
When the wand was lifted there was a jet-black scar, with the image of a skull with a snake protruding from its open mouth.
Voldemort’s chill laugh echoed through the room. “Welcome to the Death Eaters, Peter Pettigrew.”
“Engaged?!” screeched Lily. She hurtled forward as fast as her swollen stomach would allow, and hugged Emma.
The newly engaged couple had decided that their first obligation was to visit and inform the Potters.
“Well done Mate,” said James, clapping Sirius on the back. “About time.”
Lily let go of Emma and threw her arms around Sirius. “This is so exciting,” she squealed.
Sirius held her at arms length and patted her stomach. “Calm down Mrs. Potter…I wouldn’t want you to hurt little Sirius.”
“How can I calm down? You guys are going to be married! We have to spread the word. James…send messages to Remus and Peter —,”
“I’m already here,” came Remus’ voice from the front door. He walked in carrying a wooden cradle. He set it down on the floor at his feet. “My mum dug this out of the attic and wanted me to give it to you two for the baby girl…”
“It’s going to be a boy,” interrupted Sirius, looking sure of himself.
Remus was about to retaliate when his eyes fell on the ring on Emma’s finger. His eyes grew wide and he looked back and forth between her and Sirius. “Are…are you two…”
They nodded before he could finish the sentence.
Sirius opened his mouth but he was interrupted yet again.
“Hey, is anybody home?”
It was Frank’s voice. The Potters hadn’t seen him or Alice for several months. They both had been wrapped up in their auror duties.
“Yeah, we’re back here,” called James. “Come on back.”
Frank and Alice both appeared in the doorway, their faces slightly flushed.
“How have you guys been?” asked Alice, hugging her traveling cloak around her body.
“Sirius and Emma are going to get married!” exclaimed Lily happily.
Frank put his arm around his girlfriend’s shoulder and said, “Well, we already beat them.”
James, who had been bringing out champagne to toast Sirius and Emma, dropped one of the glasses. “What? Are you saying that you two are married?”
James was speechless. “B-But…where were we during all this?”
“Well, it was sort of a sudden decision. We…eloped…yesterday.”
“But why?” asked Emma. “Why not a proper one? With us?”
“Because of this.” Alice pulled open her cloak and showed them what was underneath.
Lily screamed. James dropped another glass.
Alice’s stomach was protruding out form her dress. It was nearly the same size as Lily’s.
“You’re pregnant too?” exclaimed Sirius, looking shocked. “But why didn’t you tell us? Then we could have made bets about the gender…”
“We wanted to get married before any of you knew. And we haven’t seen any of you guys in a while…”
“Do you know the sex?” asked Lily.
“A boy,” said Frank proudly. “Due in three months.”
“That’s when I’m due,” exclaimed Lily. “You’ve been pregnant as long as I have!”
Remus was looking at them incredulously. “How the ruddy hell did you hide that?”
“Cloaks mainly,” said Alice. “But I didn’t really being to show until a couple months ago. People just thought I was gaining weight…”
In the silence that followed, James uncorked the champagne bottle and began pouring glasses. “Now we have two things to celebrate.”
They were just cheering their glasses together when another knock came at the front door.
“Come on it,” called James.
There were some shuffling footsteps and then Peter came into the room.
“Hey Wormtail,” said Sirius. “We were just celebrating.”
“Oh yeah?” asked Peter nervously. “What happened?”
“Well,” said James proudly. “Padfoot here finally popped the question to dear Emma…”
“And Alice and Frank are married and expecting a child,” finished Emma.
Peter looked stunned. “That’s great! Congratulations!”
Little did they know that there was a traitor in the midst.
A/N Yeah, I know I ripped that line off of POA. And it's cheesy...but it's all right.
So, I'm really sorry that it's been so long since I updated. I told myself that I would not post the next chapter until I had every single review answered. And guess what? They are. So, if you've given up waiting for a response...go back and check! Because it'll be there. =] It feels so great. Like being out of debt or something. Bascially, I'm just saying that I'm really glad that I finally got all you guys covered, because your reviews deserve to be answered.. I read some really nice ones. Haha, I nearly started crying all over my keyboard. So, a giant thank you to all of you. Go back and look at the responses. =]
Anyways, so, did you like the chapter? I was really unsure about it because it's written in a slightly different style. I had never really switched scenes back and forth that rapidly before. So, hopefully you liked it. I dunno. Leave a review and tell me. Oh, and back to reviews. Can you believe that this story is at 944? I nearly died when I saw that.
Oh, and for you guys who aren't checking my author page countdown. As of now, there are five chapters left. Yes, I'm really sad too. You guys are so awesome. =]