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Chapter 14 : Going Home
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It was early in the morning and the day was remarkably hot, considering the usual temperatures in that part of Wales. Mia sighed as she finished packing the box with her things. It felt so…odd. She didn’t feel like she was leaving home or anything – the only things that tied her to that house were probably the short memories of her and her deceased sister playing out in the garden. It was hard to believe that had been so long ago…
Now, here she was, two days after graduation, getting ready to move in with Sirius, the boy that a year and a half ago she had found beyond her reach but turned out to love her just as much as she loved him.
“It’s hard to believe you are leaving this place,” Lulu said from the doorway. She nodded at the two boxes on top of her bed. “You’re only taking that with you? No furniture?”
She shook her head. “Sirius told me the will said that the apartment was furnished. And most of my stuff is in my school truck downstairs,” Mia told her. “I just packed the things that mattered. Plus, a bunch of sheets, towels… well, house stuff.”
Lulu nodded, taking a seat on Mia’s bed. A face was mixture of pride and sadness. “This is probably a good time to tell you that I am giving my resignation letter to your parents as soon as you walk out of this house.”
“What?!” Mia asked in disbelief. “Why, Lulu?”
The other woman sighed. “It’s just time, Mia. With you gone, there is nothing tying me to this place anymore.”
“Of course there is! This is the place where you live!”
“Not anymore,” she told her. “I got myself a flat in Holyhead. It’s just a couple of miles from here.”
“Just because I am quitting my job here, it doesn’t mean I’m quitting you, Mia,” she explained. “You’re not getting rid of me that easily. From now on I’ll just be your Lulu living in her own place and not working for your parents.”
Mia looked at her soon-to-be-former nanny sadly, taking a seat by her side on the bed. “What are you going to do now? Where are you going to live?”
“There’s an opening for a job in a Bookshop just across the street of my new flat,” Lulu told her. “You know I’ve always been a sucker for reading, so the employee’s discount will serve me well.”
Mia couldn’t help laughing, against her best efforts. “Everything is changing isn’t it?” she whispered. Now that school was over, changes seemed to be constant: she was moving to her own place and starting Healer Training in two months while Sirius would be training in the ministry to become a Curse Breaker, Lulu was quitting, Elizabeth was moving to France to attend a very prestigious Healing Academy and Lily and James were headed to Auror training.
Lulu nodded. “That’s what happens when you grow up,” she said with a small smile on her face. “Now, I’d get downstairs if I were you because that boyfriend of yours must be arriving at any moment and you don’t want to make him wait.”
With another sigh, Mia leaned her head to Lulu’s shoulder. “Make sure you also drop by my place sometime. I don’t want to be the only one paying visits.”
The house’s doorbell rang before Lulu could respond. “There he is,” she murmured. “Don’t worry, I’ll show up so often you’ll get tired of seeing my face all the time. Now, get going, young lady. You have a long day ahead of you. Are you sure you don’t want any help?”
She shook her head as she got up. “Sirius and I want to make the house presentable before we let anyone come over.”
Lulu got up too. “If you say so…”
Side by side, the two of them walked out of the room, going downstairs in order to let Sirius into the house.
“Hey,” she greeted him with a smile as soon as she opened the door.
“Hey,” Sirius replied, pecking her lips softly as a greeting. “Ready for the big day?”
Lulu chuckled from the place where she was standing. “One would think you’d say that about your wedding day.”
Sirius rolled his eyes. Definitely one of these days, he thought, but not for another year or two. “How much do you hate me for stealing your kid?”
She bit her inner lip when she heard him referring Mia as ‘her kid’. “Just a bit,” Lulu said. “But I’d have to let her go eventually. The girl needs to live her own life. Take care of her for me, will you?”
“Always,” he promised.
Mia coughed. “Can you two stop talking like I’m not in the room?” she requested. “It is annoying.”
“Right,” he mumbled. “I guess it is time we start with the move…”
“I think we’re here,” Sirius announced, pointing at a street sign around half an hour after he and Mia had left her (now former) house. “Charlwood Street. Now we have to find number 78. The apartment is in the lower ground floor.”
“We’re near 90. It mustn’t be too far away,” Mia pointed out, taking in her surroundings. She’d been to London several times before but she had never been as excited about it as today. The muggle road was surrounded by several Georgian-style houses painted in light colours and there were trees every few yards.
Sirius smiled at her and took her hand as they strolled calmly, like any eighteen-year-old couple taking a simple walk.
Reducing their boxes to the size of a wallet so they could fit in Mia’s purse had been a useful idea, allowing them to walk freely like any other couple. Mia counted the number of the buildings attentively. 81…80…79… “This is it,” she whispered, pointing at a building painted cream white that was shadowed by the tree that stood in front of it.
Sirius let go of her arm, walking a few steps ahead of her in order to open the dark metal gate leading to the outside stairs that made the way to the building’s lower ground floor. Mia followed him downstairs and joined him facing the apartment’s front door.
He removed his wand from his muggle clothes, tapping it on the door’s lock. It opened with a little ‘click’ and Sirius glanced at Mia. “Here we go,” he murmured before fully opening the door.
Even in the dark, they could tell the entrance hall was a cramped little thing. They made their way out of it and entered another dark division connected to it. With a wave of his wand, Sirius made all the curtains in the house open, letting the outside light fill the divisions.
Sirius and Mia found themselves in a large living room whose furniture was covered with plain white sheets. The room’s walls were painted creamy white that contrasted with the wooden floor. There was a fireplace in one of the sides of the room and the walls on either side of it had embedded bookcases. Classic and simple.
“Doesn’t seem bad,” Sirius said, removing one of the dusty sheets from what revealed itself to be a beige sofa.
“Are you kidding?” Mia asked in amazement. “It’s perfect so far.” She looked around once more and it was only then that she noticed that the living room opened to some sort of patio. She walked in the French door’s direction, passing right next to a large dinner table, and peaked through the glass to see a small inner garden that seemed to be the source of light for the interior divisions.
The surprises kept coming when Sirius opened a door right next to the kitchen that he supposed to lead to the bedroom. He was right, there was a bedroom after that door… but there also was a spiral staircase leading to an upper room he had never imagined to exist. Turned out, that was the master bedroom, after all.
“Bless good old uncle Alphard,” Sirius mumbled, sitting on the unmade four-poster bed, remarkably similar to the ones in Hogwarts. “And I actually never thought I’d get anything good from that family… though I’m pretty sure my dear parents didn’t let the bloke stay on family tree long, after what he pulled with his will.”
“I guess we can only thank him,” Mia said, looking around. “Merlin, this place is a lot better than I imagined.”
“Think we can make a home out of this?” Sirius asked.
Mia sighed and walked in his direction, sitting on his lap. She looked at him straight in the eyed before talking. “My home is wherever you are.”
He smiled and kissed her lips lovingly. “Mine is wherever you are,” he whispered against her lips when they broke apart. “I can’t wait to be able to wake up by your side without you having to hurry away before any of my dorm mates show up.”
“Then we’d better start cleaning the place because I’m not sleeping in that unmade dusty bed you’re sitting in,” she warned him.
Sirius nodded in return. “The sooner we’re done with the cleaning, the earlier we can start with the Christening,” he told her with an irreverent grin. “You don’t want to live in an unholy place, do you? The house has more divisions than I expected, tough—“
“And, let me guess, you want to round them all,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“Eventually. James’s dad always tells us that when we do something, we should do it well,” Sirius stated.
She crossed her arms against her chest. “I don’t think that’s what he meant, you randy git.”
Sirius smiled and kissed her neck. “Works the same way to me.”
It was late in the afternoon when Sirius and Mia finally declared the house ready to live in – all rooms cleaned and at least three of them Christened.
“Well, wasn’t this an enjoyable move?” Sirius asked her with a silly grin on his face as they sat on the sofa, taking in the result of all their work.
Mia’s head leaned to his shoulder. “You say that because you’re not the one who had to fight the doxies in the cellar without calling the neighbours’ attention.”
“I was out trying to get us lunch! You could have waited until I came back!” he countered.
She shrugged. “I was bored.”
“And you almost got yourself poisoned,” Sirius told her, shaking his head. “Rushing you to St. Mungo’s would be a blasting way to end our first day living together.”
“Well I—” The doorbell cut Mia’s words, making her groan. “And the visits start.”
“I’ll get it,” Sirius said. He packed her cheek before getting up and walking to the entrance hall.
Mia heard him opening the door, followed by James’s voice telling his best friend that something wasn’t his idea.
“What the…” she heard her boyfriend start.
“Don’t finish that sentence, young man!” a female unfamiliar voice said in a warning tone. “Just because you are not under my roof, I won’t have you cursing in front of me, Sirius Orion Black.”
“Ma, leave him alone,” James said.
Ma… so it was Judith Potter, Mia thought. James’s mother and the closest thing Sirius had to one.
“Sorry,” Sirius apologized in a voice that reminded Mia of a little boy who had just been caught by his mother stealing cookies from the cookie jar. “I just wasn’t expecting you to come here.”
“Well, as you never bothered to bring that girl of yours to the manor so we could meet her, we had to come to her,” Mrs. Potter replied, making Mia shiver. Judy Potter had come all the way from Scotland just to meet her. “Shame on you. Don’t you agree, Lily dear?”
“Yes, I do, Judy.” So, Lily was there too… Mia considered never talking to her best friend again for not warning her of what was coming.
“Now, will you let us in or what?” Mrs. Potter asked.
“Sure, sure,” Sirius said.
Mia got up before she saw him re-entering the room, followed by Lily, James and a couple in their middle sixties, who she concluded to be Judy and Christopher Potter. The first impression Mia got of Judy Potter was how beautiful, despite her age. Her wavy short auburn hair had several streaks of white but that didn’t take any effect from her kind smile. Mr. Potter was practically an older carbon copy of his son – it was difficult to describe him in any other way.
“And you must be Mia,” Mrs. Potter said, approaching Mia and pulling her into an unexpected hug. “Finally I get to meet the girl who made an honest man out of our Sirius. You are prettier than James told us.”
“Excuse me for having trouble describing my best mate’s girlfriend,” James mumbled in annoyance from his spot, causing Lily and Sirius to laugh. “You should have asked him, not me.”
“Well, I’m sure he would certainly emphasise her beauty more than you did,” his father said. “But he might exaggerate a bit.”
“What’s there to exaggerate, Christopher?” Mrs. Potter asked in a lively tone, before turning to Mia again. “It is such a pleasure to meet you, Mia. I’m Judy, James’s mother, and, well, partially Sirius’s too.”
Mia was impressed at how talkative the woman could be. It was almost like a classier version of Lulu, even though Mia doubted she wouldn’t have a problem with teenagers snogging behind closed doors in her place. “It is nice to meet you, too, Mrs. Potter.”
The older woman shook her head. “Call me Judy, Mia. Mrs. Potter was my husband’s mother,” she said, lowering her voice to a whisper. “Horrid woman.”
“Mother was not that bad,” James’s father said, approaching Mia and his wife. “I’m Christopher Potter. It is very nice to finally meet you in person.”
“You too, Mr Potter,” she replied nervously.
“Now, Sirius, be a dear and show us around the house,” Judy told her adoptive son.
Sirius gave Mia an apologetic look to which she responded with a shrug, as if telling him it was fine. Judy and Christopher Potter had been a very pleasant surprise after all. For sure, she’d much rather having the two of them as her possibly future in-laws that Walburga and Orion Black.
“Thanks for the warning,” Mia told Lily and James sarcastically after his parents and Sirius left the room.
“I’m sorry,” Lily apologized. “We only found out they were coming seconds before apparating here.”
“And we knew you’d be fine,” James said. “My mother loves everyone. Well, almost everyone but I doubt she would put you in the same category as the Malfoys and Sirius’s parents.”
Mia smiled. “Yeah, your mother really is something.”
She couldn’t help being amazed at how the world worked. People could be so different from each other… While there were those, like James’s parents or Lulu, who could unconditionally love someone that wasn’t even related to them by blood, others, like Susan and Phillip Davis, couldn’t spare a bit of caring for their own daughter. That made her think in which category she would fit in. Hopefully in the first one, she thought.
A/N: Surprise, surprise. Here's another update sooner than I expected. As can probably guess, now this fic was walking towards the end (worry not, there is a sequel under development) and there will be several jumps in time to key-moments.
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