A/N: Hello peeps! I am a THOUSAND times sorry for the long wait for Chapter number 4. A lot of stuff has been happening and some life-changing decisions have made! I know, exciting right? Anyway, it took me so very long to think of a song title that fits this chapter, but I eventually decided on Beyoncé's extremey powerful 'Broken-Hearted Girl'. It basically describes Chloe's emotions in this chapter and her and Sirius' relationship, which will be focused on in the next chapter too, which is the last one, making this the penultimate one! I know. It comes around so quickly! By the way, Beyoncé is my IDOL. If you haven't seen it yet, check out her one hour special on MTV about her new album. There is some powerful words spoken by the lady herself. She is a powerful, confident woman and I think she's a pretty amazing role model. Also, look up some of her quotes. They are immense stuff. But yeah, anywho.. penultimate chapter! Review if you like it and if you love Beyoncé as much as I do.
P.S Creditation goes to MissThomas for picking out Chloe's daughter's name, which fits perfectly. So thank you very much. I actually had another name rolling about in my head, but this fit better, so thank you a million and one times. :) xx
The wind howled outside her thin panelled windows, rattling them slightly as the rain beat down on them viciously.
"Oh shut up wind." Chloe snapped to no one as she readied Olivia's bottle.
She suddenly smiled to herself. Olivia. Olivia Marie Harding. She'd loved that name the moment she'd thought of it three weeks previous. It was utterly perfect and suited her little girl perfectly.
At three weeks old, Olivia was hard work and Chloe was as tired as the day was long, but she didn't care. It didn't matter that she'd only showered hurriedly twice in those three weeks, or that her room smelt like dirty nappies, or that her hair had been in the same scruffy, unkempt bun that she'd tied it up in since she'd come home from the hospital.
All that mattered was that Olivia was fed, changed, happy and healthy.
Suddenly, her telephone trilled.
Chloe jumped and whipped around to stare at the phone as though it were crazy. No one called her. She'd only kept the phone when she'd brought the flat so as not to arouse suspicion in the muggle landlord.
Grabbing Olivia's bottle of warm milk, she crept over to the phone, keeping her eyes on it, thankful that Olivia's door was closed and she was sleeping soundlessly in her room.
But then she heard her daughter start to whimper and she left the phone ringing to go and pick her up before she started wailing for her mother.
It still spooked Chloe to think of herself as a mother. She was only nineteen, but then again, back in the old days, for a mother, nineteen was considered fairly old.
She picked up her baby, who stopped whimpering and stared up at her mother with round, questioning grey eyes.
Chloe smiled. As she stared at her beautiful daughter, she felt like a very blessed mother.
"Mama's got your milk right here, sweetie." She told her and then gently placed the nipple of the bottle into Olivia's toothless mouth.
She'd tried breastfeeding her baby as the midwife had suggested, but it had just been too painful and Olivia hadn't seemed to like it either.
She smiled at her daughter; her baby already knew what she wanted. Just like her mother.
And father, a small voice at the back of her head sounded, but Chloe ignored it as she had done the telephone, which had now stopped ringing.
She watched Olivia have her lunch, rocking her gently as she held the bottle to her daughter's mouth.
Then the phone started to ring again.
Chloe frowned as she walked with Olivia back into the conjoined living room and kitchen, looking at the ringing white phone on her coffee table.
"Who are you?" She whispered.
Olivia had stopped drinking too, but Chloe distractedly held the bottle up again so her daughter could drink, edging closer to the ringing phone.
As Chloe stopped in front of the consistent telephone, Olivia closed her mouth and Chloe knew she wouldn't have any more until the phone stopped ringing.
Which didn't sound like any time soon.
Chloe took the bottle and placed it on the table.
Then picked up the phone gingerly.
Lily had once explained to Chloe how to use a phone over at her house. It had seemed easy; just pick it up and say hello into the mouth end and listen to what someone was saying with the ear end.
So which was which?
She listened to one end. Nothing.
She turned it the other way and placed it tentatively to her ear, watching Olivia watch her every action.
"Hello?" Sounded a female voice, unfamiliar to Chloe.
Chloe leaned away from the ear piece, but then gingerly leant back in, holding the mouth piece to her lips as best she could with her baby in her arms.
"Hello? Chloe?" The voice said again, a little annoyed now.
Chloe frowned. She knew no one else apart from Lily who could use a telephone and who knew her name. Why should they be annoyed with her?
She took a deep breath and kept her eyes on Olivia, who was watching her mother silently and curiously.
"H-hello?" She breathed cautiously into the phone, wondering if the person on the other end could hear her.
"Oh, Chloe thank goodness! I was starting to think that Olivia could use the telephone. It's Lily!" The voice exclaimed with relief.
The Chloe breathed a sigh of alleviation and ease.
"Oh, Lils. It's you. I was wondering why you were getting annoyed with me." She told herand heerd Lily laugh.
"Did you not recognise my voice, dummy?" Lily asked, chuckling to herself.
Chloe grinned, bouncing Olivia gently as her baby had just yawned.
"Hey, cut me a break. I haven't heard from you in three weeks, I'm tired and I have tired little baby in my arms." She protested, but was smiling as she watched her daughter's eyes droop.
"How is she?" Lily asked and sounded worried, but Chloe sighed. Always overreacting.
"She's just fallen asleep in my arms. She's fine, Lils." Chloe reassured her.
"And how are you?" Lily asked, and Chloe heard the double meaning in her voice and sighed.
"I'm tired, I smell like nappies, but apart from that Lily, I'm fantastic." She told her, but she knew, knew, that her best friend was rolling her eyes.
Her theory confirmed by the next statement.
"Yeah, okay. You don't sound fine. I'm coming over." Lily told her resolutely.
Chloe blinked, startled.
"What? That's ludicrous. You know how dangerous it is out there on your own. Where's James?" Chloe snapped in protest. Stupid girl.
"He's... working, because we have to keep a roof over our heads. Plus, we're renovating that house in Godric's Hollow, like I told you. Besides, no one will know. Wizards don't use phones, sweetie, so they don't know I'm coming. Is it okay if I just Apparate into your living room?" Lily asked and Chloe heard movement from Lily's end of the phone.
"Well... no. The baby has just dropped off. Plus, I don't need you here Lily. I'm perfectly capable-"
"-I'll Apparate right outside your door. Let me in as soon as I knock. There is that possibility we're still being followed."
"WHAT?" Chloe yelled down the phone, but then snapped her mouth shut immediately as Olivia stirred in her arms.
But her baby just let her mouth fall open slightly and kept on snoozing peacefully.
"Did you wake her?" Lily asked.
Chloe shook her head, then realised Lily couldn't actually see her.
"No. But you cannot bring those idiots over here. I have a baby to think about!" Chloe protested in a whisper.
Lily sighed down the phone.
"Look. You trust me, right Chlo?" Lily asked and Chloe could sense where this was going.
"Yes." She told her, her tone already defeatist.
"Well then. You know me better than to know I'd rather die than let any one of those scum bags near you and Olivia. I'll be there in ten." She told her, then Chloe recognised the line going dead.
Sighing, she put the phone back on it's hold and then stared at her sleeping baby.
Olivia was her whole world now and always would be. She just despised the fact that she was bringing her up in a war that seemed to be getting more darker and dangerous by the day.
She put Olivia down in her cot and tucked her loosely in her blankets, before starting her mobile and then she tiptoed out of her daughter's room and left the door open.
She then retrieved her wand from under the sofa and then flicked it at the kettle, before waving it at all the dirty laundry sat on one of the armchairs. It made it's way into Chloe's room and dumped itself on her bed.
She then quickly peeked her head into Olivia's room to make sure her baby was sleeping soundly again and then went and waited by the front door.
Two minutes later a singular knock sounded on the wood of the door and Chloe unbolted the latch and threw it open and Lily hurried in, Chloe slamming the door behind her, bolting the latch and then locking it with the key from her pocket with a loud click.
She then threw herself at Lily, hugging her tightly to her.
"Oh it's so good to see you Lils!" She cried, exhaustion suddenly collapsing heavily on her like it often did.
Lily hugged her back, the hood of her rain drenched cloak falling back.
"You too Chlo." She told her, before holding her barely stable and very tired looking friend at arms length to get a good look at her.
Her hair was unkempt, dirty and scruffy, tied back in a knot at the back of her head; her forehead was creased and there were deep circles under her eyes and she looked thinner and seemed very, very tired.
But there was still that joyous sparkle lit in her eyes that had been present when she'd first clapped eyes on her baby girl and she had slight dimples from what Lily could only guess was a result of smiling at her baby a lot.
"Pregnancy looks good on you." Lily told her sarcastically, but smiled as she took off her cloak and dried it off with her wand.
Chloe made a face at her, before going to make the tea, but Lily threw out an arm.
"I'm here now. You sit." Lily told her and didn't even wait for an answer before waving her wand at the cupboards so two mugs flew out of it.
"Thanks Lily. I am handling it, you know. I don't care if I smell like I've come out of a dog's butt- it's worth it to make sure Olivia's happy and healthy." Chloe told her, lowering herself into the armchair recently vacated by the laundry.
Lily frowned, noticing that there wasn't a single dirty dish, but a lot of bottles in the sink.
"Chloe, have you been eating at all?" She asked her friend, examining the cupboards. There was untouched cereals and unopened loaves of bread just sat in there, seemingly collecting dust.
"Sometimes." Chloe said vaguely, closing her eyes and leaning her head back on the back of the armchair.
Lily shook her head as she waved her wand once more and made the tea, before retrieving a saucepan and a tin of soup.
Chloe's eyes snapped open.
"What are you doing?" She asked, twisting in the chair so her head was visible as she leaned over the arm of the chair.
"Making you a cup of tea, a bowl of soup and some bread. Then your going to take a potion I just happen to have with me and go lie down for a dreamless sleep while I clean up and tend to Olivia. Any questions?" Lily asked as she handed Chloe her mug.
Chloe placed the mug on the coffee table and stood up.
"Lily, I don't need your charity or your help. I'm perfectly capable of caring for my baby!" She told her defiantly, making to go and turn off her stove but Lily blocked her way, her expression soft and concerned.
"Chlo, I have no doubts you can look after Olivia. You seem to be doing just fine. But I want to look after you. Let me do this for you, please Chlo? I need to. James has been away for two days doing goodness knows what. At least give me this distraction." Lily asked her pleadingly.
Chloe softened. Lily was worried sick, she could see that. And she could do with a good sleep, lord knows she could. And she could trust Lily with Olivia.
"Okay." She breathed and then hugged Lily tightly.
"He'll be okay. His head isn't as big as it used to be- you saw to that." She whispered in Lily's ear and Lily laughed, tears pricking at her eyes.
She'd been attempting to keep busy, knowing that Dumbledore had called in both James and Peter for an Order mission two days ago, but it didn't stop her from fretting manically every time she stopped to think.
Lily made the soup and sliced the bread in no time and Chloe relished the feeling of food on her taste buds and filling her stomach.
She then took a potion Lily had made to give her a deep and dreamless sleep, so she retired to her room, dumping her ashing on the floor before changing into a fresh pair of pyjamas and collapsing onto her bed.
She was out before she could even get under her quilt...
When she awoke, her first thought was her baby, but then she relaxed slightly as she heard Lily cooing to her daughter from the living room.
Chloe stretched her rested limbs and felt very refreshed, thinking that she may as well wash her hair and shower whilst she had the chance, so she did just that.
It was a exhilarating feeling as the hot water pulsating onto her hair, massaging her scalp and then her back and the rest of her aching body.
She looked down at her pelvic bone that was sticking out grotesquely.
"I need a burger man." She said aloud, and then smiled. She needed to slip this into her routine. A routine that she needed first, for herself and Olivia so they were both more comfortable, happy and healthy.
Once she'd showered, dried and dressed and had ran a comb through her damp and knotted hair, she hurried into the other room, but then stopped, noticing how clean it had become.
"How long was I asleep?" She asked, walking over to where Lily was sat with Olivia on the couch.
She took her baby in her arms as Lily handed her to her and greeted her with a kiss.
"Well it was one went you drifted off and now its half two in the morning." Lily told her, getting up and flicking her wand at the kettle, before bustling about making Chloe something to eat.
"Thirteen hours. Wow. Mama slept for long, didn't she sweetie?" Chloe cooed to Olivia, who looked up at her, seeming content to be in her mothers arms. "Was she restless? Did she-"
Chloe stopped talking. Lily stopped bustling.
Two loud knocks had sounded at the door.
Neither of them moved.
Then four knocks sounded again, causing Lily to jump and whip out her wand, aiming it at the door and Chloe stood, backing away from the door, Olivia tight in her arms.
Chloe looked at Lily desperately, fearing for her baby's life.
"What do we do?" She mouthed at the redhead, who didn't look scared, just more alert and on guard than anything else.
Lily looked around.
"Get in the bedroom." She mouthed, but Chloe shook her head.
"No. What about you?" She mouthed back, her eyes demanding.
Lily shook her head.
"There isn't time. I'll deal with it. Just get in your room, shut the door and wait." She hissed from where she was poised.
Chloe looked at her friend, who was now watching the door intently.
Then she moved towards her, kissed her on the cheek, before hurrying back into her room and closing the door as quietly as she could.
She sat down on her bed, clutching Olivia to her, who was being very quiet, her grey eyes simply watching her mother.
Chloe was still, listening.
She heard Lily unbolt the door carefully and then suddenly it banged open and heavy footsteps sounded on the tiled part of the room next door.
She then heard the door close with a creak.
It was silent. What was happening? Was Lily hurt?
Chloe was itching to see if her friend was okay, but her priority lay in her arms, watching her mother worry. For a three week old baby, she was very aware and intent.
Then Chloe heard Lily's calm, yet strangely resigned voice.
"Why are you here?" She asked and Chloe heard the springs of the couch as someone, presumably Lily, sat.
"To see my daughter." The male voice sounded and Chloe had to refrain from gasping in shock.
"Oh no." She breathed, looking down at Olivia, who suddenly seemed aware that her father was in the next room and became suddenly restless.
"Shush." Chloe breathed, holding her to her chest, bouncing her gently as she listened to Lily's reply.
She heard her sigh.
"You know she won't let you. She doesn't want you in their lives." Lily told him and Chloe heard a patting noise.
He knew. Of course he knew. Chloe knew she could never lie to Black. But it hadn't stopped her from trying or from trying to protecting her daughter from her irresponsible father.
"I don't care-"
"-but you should, Padfoot. You know that it's Chloe's decision-"
"-BUT SHES MY DAUGHTER!" He yelled back and furious footsteps sounded and Chloe realised he was coming towards her bedroom.
She held Olivia tight in one hand as she lunged for her wand on her dresser, before pointing it with a shaking hand at the door.
"Colloportus!" She cried and heard an invisible lock click.
Then Olivia began to cry.
"Oh no. Oh baby, shush. It's okay. There's nothing to be scared of." Chloe whispered, backing as far away from the door as she could as Sirius rattled the door handle.
"I swear I'll blast it open Chlo! Open up!" He yelled, pounding the door with his fist and rattling the door handle continuously.
Chloe felt tears in her eyes as she tried to calm Olivia down.
"Sweetie, it's okay. Please, shush. The nasty man won't hurt you." She told her, kissing her forehead and willing for her statement to be true.
"I'm going to count to three, Chlo. One... two... thr-"
"Expelliarmus!" Chloe heard Lily cry and Sirius suddenly stopped pounding and rattling.
"Evans!" He protested indignantly. "You're supposed to be on my side!" He told her.
Chloe blinked, rocking Olivia as she processed his statement.
Had this all been a set-up? For Lily to come over and sweeten her up so Black could then persuade her to play happy families, only for him to leave and break her daughter's heart? Hers was so ripped it was irreparable, but Olivia's was pure and wholesome and she was just a baby. She would not let this dog back in their lives and she wasn't about to let Lily get away with it either.
She unlocked the door with her wand, Olivia safely in her arms, having sensed her mothers anger and determination and become quiet, her grey eyes once more on her mother.
Chloe walked into her front room and face Black.
"Chloe!" Lily exclaimed standing up and making to go over to her, but Chloe stopped her in her tracks with a ice cold glare. "Chloe?" Lily repeated, more concerned and confused this time.
Chloe then faced Black, who was watching Olivia, whose eyes were now on the replicas of her own, intently watching him.
"What are you doing here, Black?" She spat, glaring at him.
Sirius continued to stare at his daughter like she was the only thing in the world.
"To see her." He gestured to Olivia, who Chloe held tighter to her chest, defensive.
"Well you've seen her, now go. I told you I don't want you in my life, or her life. Not that she's anything to do with you. Now leave." Chloe told him, surprised she didn't explode with the anger she was repressing.
"Don't you 'but Chlo' me, Lily Evans. You don't think I know why you came here? Cleaning up and letting me have a rest to give me break. It was really to butter me up for this moronic idiot wasn't it? Hmm? Don't think I don't know what's going on." She snapped at Lily.
"No, it wasn't like that, Chloe. Why would you say that?" She asked.
"What, you're not on his side, hmm? You're not rooting for team Black? You don't want me to forgive him for walking away from me? You don't want him to be a part of her life? You don't want me to take him back and share lovey dovey words with him and let him be a part of my daughter's life? You don't want us to be a family, Lily, huh? Cause I know that somewhere inside of you, there's disappointment at my choice not to let him be involved." Chloe told her. "And don't tell me there isn't Lily, because I know you. You judged me then and you judge me now." She finished, before making sure Olivia wasn't too disturbed by her mother's hurt and betrayal.
Lily blinked shocked.
But then she shook her head.
"I can't believe you thought I judged you. I don't judge you or your choices Chloe. You know that and stop using it as a defence. I came here to help you. To give you a break. Because I want to and I need to. Don't take it out on me, Chloe." Lily fought back stubbornly. "Oh and I'm not going anywhere." She added, dropping back into her seat on the sofa.
Chloe looked at her for a long time and then sighed.
"I know. You're right. I'm sorry." She told her with a small smile. "You're not the problem. He is." She rounded on Sirius. "I've asked you to leave, so leave."
Sirius shook his head.
"Oh no. Not until you hear me out and I get time with my daughter. You can't lie to me Chloe, you never could." He reminded her.
Chloe looked resilient, but Lily stood up.
"Shall I take Olivia into her room?" Lily asked but Chloe's eyes widened and Sirius's eyes snapped to his daughter.
"Olivia? Her name's Olivia?" He asked as Lily went and took the baby out of Chloe's arms and retreated into Olivia's room, shutting the door behind her and no doubt casting the soundproof spells so as to keep Olivia calm and not to eavesdrop.
Sirius looked at Chloe with a pleading expression.
"Look. I don't want to fight with you Harding and if you don't want me to, I won't ask to see... Olivia, ever again. But I want to talk. Things unsaid need to be said and all that. Come on. Please. Give me an hour." He asked, his eyes begging her.
She went and sat in the armchair she'd vacated earlier and folded her arms, her expression stony.
"One hour." She told him without looking at him.
"Okay. Okay." He said, as if he didn't believe she would've accepted this proposition, but he wasted no time and sat gingerly on the sofa.
"I need to ask, though. Is it Olivia-"
"Her full name is Olivia Marie Harding." Chloe told him snappily.
Sirius smiled slightly.
"I like that name. It seems to suit her. She's very aware." He mused.
Chloe snapped her eyes to him.
"I didn't give you an hour so you could talk about things I already know about my daughter. Cut to the chase." She told him.
"Well, I don't know where you want me to start, Chloe."
"Train station. Why didn't you look back?" She asked, but her harsh voice wavered slightly.
Sirius noticed this.
"You're sure that's not a sensitive topic for you? I mean, your hormones are like flying all over the place right now and I don't think... Okay. Train station." He agreed as Chloe shot him an icy glare.
Sirius hadn't planned for this. He'd wanted to see Chloe and apologise, so she'd let him spend a few minutes with his daughter.
But he could do this. She wanted answers, he wanted forgiveness. He wanted his daughter. He wanted Chloe in his life.
He could try.
"Right. Well, you may not believe this Chlo, but I did love you back then. I really did. But I was never sure if you reciprocated and you were so guarded, so defensive. I never knew what to expect. When you said you'd readied yourself for a fall, I was surprised. I thought you'd want to carry on too." He told her but Chloe held up a hand.
"'Too'?" She asked and Sirius nodded.
"Look, I wanted you to be aware that there was a possibility that we couldn't carry on after Hogwarts. Not that I didn't want too, Chlo. I didn't realise you'd prepared yourself for it, so I figured, that's what you wanted. And, if I'd have known about the baby, there was no way I was ever going to leave you alone, so-"
"Stop. Please." Chloe said, her eyes closed as she took deep breaths.
"What? What did I say?" He asked.
"Everything. You said everything you could've said to me in that secluded passageway. You could've told me that you wanted it, but you thought there could be a chance it wouldn't happen because of the way you are. Not that we shouldn't carry on." She told him, her eyes still closed.
Chloe was unsure what to do or say now. Why was a good question, but he'd answered it himself- she'd given him the ammunition. Not purposely, of course.
She wanted to hit him for leaving and saying the wrong this, but she wanted to hug him for loving her then and saving her from an unreliable future.
She felt his calloused hands on hers.
"Chloe Harding. Look at me." Sirius's voice was closer than she expected and she opened her eyes to find his face inches from hers.
He was knelt on the floor in front of her, holding her hands tightly in his.
"Chloe, I loved you. I am so sorry for all the things I said that hurt you, for turning my back on you and for leaving you alone to carry this child and try and raise it. But doesn't the fact that I came back, to see you, to see Olivia and attempt to try to talk things through mean something?" He asked pleadingly.
Chloe shook her head.
"I promised myself, when you walked away, that that was the last time I would see the back of your head... leaving me and my baby." She told him and she couldn't stop the single tear that escaped her eye.
Sirius looked pained and his head drooped forward onto their intertwined hands.
Chloe then let her tears fall and she looked at the back of his head. The most ugly part of him. And yet...
"Do you love me now?" She asked in a whisper before she could stop herself. When he'd said he 'loved' her, her first thought was did he ever stop?
Sirius looked up at her, his eyes filled with conviction.
"I never stopped." He told her and suddenly he was kissing her full on the mouth, his hands in her dampened hair, his lips fervent and passionate on hers.
Chloe gave in. She'd spent too long putting up her walls and keeping Sirius away. Wasn't the fact that he loved her enough for this moment? Chloe knew it would come back to bite her later on, when he'd have to say goodbye, but she put that aside for now and kissed him back.
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