Chapter 21 : Good news
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Sirius arrived at his front door feeling exhausted. He’d just been part of a battle with a dozen Death Eaters and felt lucky to have got through it unscathed, and he was looking forward to a long bath and a good night’s sleep. After all, he wanted to be good for tomorrow.
However, as soon as he got inside the small flat he noticed the lamps were lit and there was someone else there. Not here, he thought, not now. I’m too tired. However it needed to be dealt with, so he pulled his wand out quickly and trained it on the figure he could see in the kitchen, obscured by the overhead cupboards.
“Don’t panic, it’s only me,” said the figure, and he relaxed considerably. He’d know that voice anywhere.
If there was anyone he wanted to see, it was her. If there was anyone he didn’t mind being here when he was this worn out, it was her. But something wasn’t right – did he have his dates mixed up? She wasn’t due till tomorrow. Wand still out, he knew he’d better check it was really her.
“What’s your favourite flower?” he asked.
“Daffodil,” she replied, and he could hear the smile in her voice even if he couldn’t see her very well.
“Name one thing you smelled in amortentia,” he went on.
“Wet dog,” she said with a giggle, ducking down so she could see him through the gap between the bench and overhead cupboards. “In other words, you. Now it’s my turn – Animagus form?”
“Black dog,” he said, putting his wand away and dropping his rucksack on the floor.
“And the name of your benevolent uncle,” she went on.
“Alphard,” he said.
“Okay,” she said. “I believe it’s you.”
That was it, the formalities were over and he allowed himself to relax. It really was her. “What are you doing here?” he asked, a smile crossing his face as he went to her and wrapped his tired arms around her. Weary as he was, he would stay up for her. “Is it Thursday already?”
She beamed at him and steered him to the sofa where he collapsed, lying across it with his head on one arm. “No, it’s still Wednesday. I thought I’d come early.” She pulled off his shoes and put them on the floor underneath the coffee table, then kissed him gently. “Coffee?”
“That sounds great,” he mumbled, not moving from where he was. “Sorry, I’m a bit tired.”
“I can see that,” she said from the kitchen, where she was pouring a pot of coffee into two mugs. “How bad was it?”
“Pretty bad,” he admitted. “Nearly got hit a couple of times, and Lily got Stunned but she’s okay now.” Laura visibly started. “Don’t worry, Prongs is with her,” he went on with a small smile. “She’s fine. Might have a few bruises but that’s it.”
“Right.” She put his mug on the coffee table and sat down in the armchair, curled up with her feet beneath her. “I do get worried about you when you’re off like that,” she admitted. “If anything happened to you …” Her voice trailed off.
“No, they’ve got to catch me first,” he said, feeling more energetic already. He pulled himself up to sitting and reached for his mug. “Haven’t managed that yet, have they?”
She smiled wanly. “Thank goodness for that.” She looked him over, he knew looking for any evidence that he had in fact been hurt. Fortunately he hadn’t – he knew that she’d find out if he had, and he didn’t want her worrying unnecessarily. He worried enough for both of them. She might say that she was concerned about him, but if anything ever happened to her … he didn’t want to think about it. His eyes strayed to the ugly scar on her left arm, her own wound from a Death Eater wannabe. Severus Snape was lucky Sirius hadn’t killed him after he’d done that to her.
Laura spoke again. “You look like you could use a bath. Want me to run one for you?”
He laughed. The coffee was working and he was perking up considerably. “Do I smell that bad?”
“Well, now you come to mention it …” she smiled, her eyes sparkling. “No, of course not,” she went on after a brief pause. “It was more the dirt – you’re not exactly as clean as you could be right now.”
“Is that why you’re sitting all the way over there?” he asked. “So your clothes don’t get dirty?”
“Actually, if you recall, you were taking up the whole sofa when I sat down,” she pointed out.
“Well, I’m not now,” he said. “Plenty of room.”
She took the hint and moved to the sofa, her hands wrapped around her mug. He loved how it felt when she curled into him like that, her head resting on his shoulder, her legs against his and his arms around her. This was what it was all about, this was why he was fighting so much. To make the world safe for her, to make sure this could last forever.
“Tell you what,” he said eventually, planting a kiss on her forehead, “I’ll have that bath on one condition.”
She moved her head to look up at him. “And what’s that?”
He smiled. “That you get in there with me.”
She laughed. “Only once you’ve cleaned yourself off,” she said.
He rubbed his hand into her face. “Nup, now you need cleaning off as well,” he said. “You’re filthy.”
“You definitely aren’t hurt, are you?” she said with a grin. “All right. But don’t get too used to it, okay?” she went on. “I don’t want you thinking it’ll be happening all the time once I move in here.”
He started. He’d been asking her to move in for ages but she’d never said anything quite as definite as that. “Once you move in?”
She looked up at him and smiled that brilliant smile that made her face light up. “That’s why I came early,” she said, putting down her mug to reach into her jeans pocket and pull out a letter. “This arrived this morning.”
He quickly unfolded the parchment and looked it over, and a broad smile crossed his face. “But that’s fantastic! You got the job!”
“That’s right,” she grinned. “I start on Monday week. Which means that I’ll have some gold coming in, which means I can afford to move out of my parents’ place.” She paused significantly. “If the offer still stands, of course.”
“Ooh, I think I’ll have to think about that,” he joked, knowing that he couldn’t even keep that up for very long. He felt like shouting from the rooftops that she was finally moving in. Every morning he’d wake up next to her. It was what he wanted more than anything else in the world.
She gave him a punch. “No you won’t,” she scolded lightly. “So anyway, what I was thinking was, stay at home for the first couple of weeks while I get my bearings, and then once I’m settled in at work I’ll start packing up my stuff and moving it over here. What do you think?”
He pulled her up to be on his lap. “I think,” he said, unable to stop smiling, “that this is the best news I’ve had in months.” And he leaned in to kiss her, hungrily, passionately, feeling her up against him, relishing the fact that this would soon be the norm, that she would always be here. And he couldn’t help but notice that she soon moved her hands from his head, where they’d been running through his dirty and matted hair, and had not only unbuttoned his shirt entirely but moved to his jeans.
“I thought I was filthy and needed a bath?” he teased.
“You are and you do,” she responded, not stopping what she was doing. “But you needed to strip off anyway, so why not make the most of it?” She paused, smiling at him mischievously. “Unless of course you’re too tired …”
“Not for this, I’m not.” He smiled again. “I knew there was a reason I love you.”
She smiled and pulled her T-shirt off over her head in one fluid movement, revealing a lacy bra and what he still regarded as the best body he’d ever seen. “I still haven’t worked out why I love you, though,” she teased back. “I’m sure there must be a reason, but Merlin only knows what it is.”
He laughed and picked her up, putting her over his shoulder as he carried her into the bedroom that in a few weeks would be hers as well. “Enough of that,” he grinned as he dropped her onto the bed. “You know perfectly well why you love me, and if you’ve forgotten then I’ll just have to show you again.”
“Oh, yes please,” she said, her eyes alight. And she grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him down towards her, so that he was forced onto the bed as well. He lay over her, propping himself up on his hands so he wouldn’t hurt her.
“Lesson one,” he began, still smiling at her, and he leaned in and kissed her again, his tongue reaching as far into her mouth as it could. She put her arms around him and he lowered himself on to her, feeling her legs wrapping around his hips as he did it.
It took over an hour to go through all the lessons he could think of, but by the time they were finished he thought he had convinced her. “So,” he said, his head resting between her breasts, “have you worked it out yet?”
She ran her fingers through his hair, absently picking through some of the tangles. “Yes, I think so,” she admitted. “I love you because you make me feel like that.”
He smiled to himself. “Good. Because if not, you’d be one hard woman to please.” He thought he’d been pretty thorough.
“Come here,” she said suddenly, and he inched up the bed so that his head was level with hers. “Good,” she went on, “now I can see you.” She smiled and leaned in to kiss him. “And I love you because of everything you are and everything you make me.”
He smiled again. “That’s pretty comprehensive.”
“I like to make sure I include everything,” she said idly. “Now,” she went on, suddenly more business-like, “that bath isn’t taking itself. How about you start running it and I’ll try to clean off these sheets a bit.”
He looked around. Dirt and mud was everywhere, ground into the sheets with their sweat as they’d rolled around. It would take more than Tergeo to clean this up.
“Right,” he agreed. “Good luck!”
She smiled again. “Bathroom, you. I’ll be in there in a minute.”
He went into the bathroom obediently, smiling to himself as he turned the taps to fill the bath. In another month or so this would be normal, this would be the rule rather than the exception, she would have finally moved in. There wasn’t much more he could ask for. Life would be perfect.
Author's note: A little mush for those of you who have been asking for it, which I thought was appropriate given where we're up to in the story. Hope you enjoyed it! :)
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