“Hey Melora!” Sirius beamed up at his pregnant girlfriend. The blonde was shifting from foot to foot, avoiding his eyes and looking all around nervous, but Sirius tried his best to ignore this. He hadn’t seen much of Melora in the past two weeks and although she insisted she was fine, just busy with studying, he had a feeling she was avoiding him.
“I was wondering if we could maybe meet up and talk later tonight,” Melora said, eyes focused on his goblet.
“Sure,” Sirius replied, “Could we do it right after dinner? I have to go to this thing at night.”
Melora looked at him curiously, but nodded and scurried away. Sirius was glad she seemed interesting in talking to him again, but even gladder she hadn’t questioned him on what he had to do later.
He and the Marauders along with Lily had all received letters yesterday at breakfast from the Headmaster requesting their presence in his office at 8 tonight and although Sirius was sure it wasn’t anything bad, he wasn’t sure enough to tell Melora about it.
Considering how preoccupied she looked lately, Sirius decided it would be best if he didn’t give her anything else to fret over.
“Hey Padfoot,” James appeared across the table from Sirius, “I saw Melora, you two work things out?”
“We weren’t fighting,” Sirius pointed out, “She’s just been busy.”
“What did she want?”
Sirius shrugged. “She didn’t say, just asked if we could talk later.”
James let out a low whistle. “Sounds bad mate.”
“What are you talking about?” Sirius frowned.
James rolled his eyes. “What do you say to a girl before breaking up with her?”
“We need to…oh.”
James nodded solemnly. “Talking is never good.”
“I’m sure she’s not going to break up with me,” Sirius shook his head, “Things have been going great.”
Except for you basically telling her you want to keep the baby, a small voice in his head reminded him.
But that had been weeks ago, Sirius thought dismissively, surely if it had bothered Melora she would have brought it up back then.
“I’m sure it’s nothing,” Sirius said.
James did not look so convinced but he nodded in agreement. “You’re probably right.”
But the sinking feeling in his chest made Sirius doubt very much that he was.
The looming fear of his conversation with Melora stayed with Sirius for the rest of the day. His friends, however, were focused on the other meeting.
James and Lily had found out several others in their year had been sent letter to attend including Dorcas Meadows in Hufflepuff and Benjy Fenwick in Ravenclaw. Rumor was it had something to do with recent attack by You-Know-Who and his Death Eaters.
“Maybe it’s got something to do with protecting the students,” Lily suggested as the five walked down to dinner.
“But we’re all graduating in two months,” James pointed out, “How much can we do in that short time? Fenwick reckons Dumbledore’s trying to recruit people for a group fighting back against You-Know-Who in ways the Ministry isn’t.”
Sirius attempted to keep his attention on the discussion, but found himself slipping in and out. As curious as he was to why they were being called to Dumbledore’s office, he was far too worried about what Melora was going to say to him to think about much else.
During dinner, he attempted to catch Melora’s eye, but the blonde was sitting at the Ravenclaw table with her back to him and her head bent low, her roommates chattering around her.
Sirius ate quickly, hoping Melora would be doing the same, but it wasn’t until the dessert disappeared from the table that she slowly turned around and nodded her head towards the door.
“I’ll meet you at Dumbledore’s office,” Sirius said quickly to his friends, heading for the door before they could respond.
“Hey,” he said breathlessly when they reached each other, “What did you want to talk about?”
Melora took his hand and tugged him out of the Great Hall. “Let’s go outside,” she suggested.
It was a fairly brilliant spring day. Winter had lasted well into March and most of April had been rainy, but since May had come, the sun had been shining bright and the Hogwarts grounds were proof of it. The trees were bright green, patches of flowers had sprung up, and the even the Black Lake seemed to glisten. The sun was just setting as Sirius and Melora made their way outside, coloring the sky a combination of orange, red, pink and purple.
But Sirius noticed none of that, instead focusing on Melora who was twisting a strand of her blond hair nervously.
“I have to ask you something,” she said slowly, “And I’ve been thinking about this for a while so you have to promise not to say anything until I’m finished.”
Sirius nodded eagerly.
“Since the Wrights died, I’ve had this feeling of hopelessness. At first I thought it was because they wouldn’t have the baby, but now I think it was because I felt that if they couldn’t have the baby, nobody could. Even though there were other couples, none of them felt right.
“Then after that Healer appointment, when you said we could keep the baby, I started thinking maybe none of those other couples felt right because they weren’t supposed to have the baby. Maybe we were supposed to keep her. And since then, all I’ve been able to do is think about how much I want to keep this baby. How much I want to raise her and watch her take her first steps and hear her say her first words.
“But I can’t do this on my own. When I went to the Healer with my mum, I asked her if she would help and she told me she would, but she also told me that I can’t, I can’t,” Melora broke off and took a deep breath. “Sirius if I do, if I’m doing this, I have to take it seriously. It’s not a school assignment or a well thought out prank. This baby’s a living breathing human being whose life will depend on me and anyone I choose to help me. And I want you to help me.”
They had walked fairly far from the school now and Sirius stopped Melora, grabbing her other hand so they were standing face to face. She looked up at him, brown eyes shining with tears.
“I will do anything for you, for this baby,” he told her honestly.
Melora smiled. “I know.”
Sirius looked down at their entwined hands. “I don’t have a ring, but…”
“No,” Melora said quickly, “Sirius no.”
He looked back to her in surprise. “Why not?”
“I want to do this right,” she replied, “And doing this, getting married, just because we’re keeping the baby isn’t giving us a fair chance. After Hogwarts, I’m going to move back in with my parents with Emily and I want you to be around, I want you to be her dad, but between you and me, I want to take things slow.”
“But I love you.”
Melora’s eyes widened at the confession and Sirius flushed.
“I-I love you too,” she replied softly.
Melora nodded, her own face quite pink as well. “But I think this is our best chance. I mean we’re still going to be together, just not living together, just not married, okay?”
Sirius hesitated, but then nodded. “Okay.”
The two stood in silence, smiling at one another for a moment, before Sirius realized what Melora had said before.
Melora shrugged, embarrassed. “Do you like it?”
“I love it,” Sirius grinned, leaning down to give her a kiss.
The two made their way back to the castle a few minutes later, hand in hand. They didn’t talk much, but when Sirius left Melora at the Ravenclaw Common Room, he kissed her twice. Once on the lips and once on the stomach.
Melora rolled her eyes, but the pleased smile on her face told Sirius she hadn’t minded at all. He lingered at the bottom of the steps, watching her make her way up the winding staircase, until the chime of a bell rang through the corridor and he was reminded he had to be half-way across the castle in fifteen minutes.
The run wasn’t too bad, but Sirius had debated several times transforming into a dog before reaching the office. Four legs were faster than two, but he didn’t want to risk someone reporting a stray dog running around the castle.
James was waiting for him by the entrance to Dumbledore’s office.
“So how’d it go?” He asked grimly.
Sirius beamed. “Brilliant actually. I’ll tell you about it tonight.”
James looked curious, but didn’t question him further and instead gave the password to the gargoyles, who jumped aside in response, and led his friend up the staircase.
“Everyone else is here,” James told him quickly, “There’s ten of us, all seventh-years. The four of us and Lily are all from Gryffindor, Dorcas Meadows, Annabeth Baker, and Liam MacMillan from Hufflepuff, and two from Ravenclaw, Fenwick and Roberta Shaw.”
“No Slytherins?” Sirius said.
“No, so it’s definitely got something to do with You-Know-Who,” James nodded, “There’s some Aurors here too.”
James pushed open the door to the Headmaster’s office and the two boys stepped in. Most of the occupants were spread around the room talking, and didn’t notice their entrance, but Lily, Remus and Peter all came over quickly.
“Frank Longbottom and Alice Dell are both here, Dorcas says they’re engaged and both just finished Auror training,” Lily whispered excitedly.
“Alastor Moody’s here as well,” Remus added, “And the Prewett twins that graduated three years ago? Elphias Doge, Edgar Bones, it’s a regular who’s who of the Wizarding World.”
Sirius looked around in surprise, Remus was right. Most of the wizards and witches that weren’t students in the room he had read about at one point or another in the Daily Prophet.
There was a loud ‘a-hem’ from the back of the room, and everyone turned to Dumbledore, who was standing by his desk, looking fairly grim. “Now that all our guests have arrived, I’d like to explain why I’ve called you here tonight.
As some as you already know, there is a great threat growing in the Wizarding World. Lord Voldemort,” several people in the room shuttered, “is getting stronger each day and recruiting more followers, each younger than the last.
“It has come to my attention that the Ministry may not be able to do what is necessary to combat the threat of Lord Voldemort.” Next to Sirius, Peter let out a little squeak.
“In the face of these bureaucratic blocks, I, and several of my colleagues,” Dumbledore nodded to Moody and Doge, “Have decided to begin a fight of our own by creating a secret society called the Order of the Phoenix, working within the Ministry to oppose Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. As the best and the brightest, along with the most courageous students Hogwarts has to offer, we would like to extend an invitation to everyone here to join us. I must warn you it will be dangerous, and there is no way of telling what perils you will face, but the work you’ll be doing will not only protect your friends and family, but the Wizarding World at large.”
Dumbledore flicked his wand and a sheet of parchment and a quill floated up next to him. “Anyone interested, need only sign their name. Those of you still in Hogwarts will not be asked to participate fully until you’ve graduated. Anyone who does not wish to join need only say so and you will be allowed to leave, as long as you remain quiet on what was discussed here tonight.”
Sirius looked around the room. Most everyone looked some combination of worried and excited. The Prewett twins were already making their way towards the parchment and most of the others who were out of school were following suit. But Bobbie Shaw looked rather ill, and Baker and MacMillan were both shaking their heads.
“What do you think?” James asked softly.
Remus shrugged. “I don’t know it sound dangerous.”
Peter nodded, but Lily cocked her head thoughtfully. “But Dumbledore’s right, Voldemort’s getting more powerful and somebody’s got to do something. Why not us?”
Sirius thought of Melora and their baby. Melora’s mum was muggleborn, did that put her and the baby at risk of being killed by Voldemort?
His throat tightened at the idea and he remembered Wrights. All they had done was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That was all it took to be killed in this world.
“I’m going to do it,” he announced.
James grinned. “Me too. I was thinking about going into Auror training, but why bother when you can get straight into the action?”
Lily rolled her eyes, but agreed. “Voldemort’s going to try and kill me anyway, being muggleborn and all, I might as well fight back,” she said.
James looked scandalized. “You really think I’d let those Death Eaters get their slimy mitts on you?”
“Of course not,” Lily laughed giving James a light peck on the cheek.
Remus watched them with a smile. “It’s not like I was going to get a job out of Hogwarts anyway,” he shrugged.
Sirius, James and Peter protested this, but Remus just shook his head. “It’s true you guys, at least this way, I’ll be doing some good.”
“So we’re all in, then?” Sirius asked looking around their group, eyes landing on Peter.
The shorter boy was frowning, but he nodded all the same. “If you guys are in, I am too.”
“It’s decided then. We’re joining the Order of the Phoenix.”
A/N- Such a long chapter! But lots of good stuff, Sirius and Melora are staying together but not living together, which is probably a good thing considering what he, the Marauders and Lily just signed themselves up for.
The next chapter will be average length and the ones after that are all about this length. Oh my goodness, I can't believe how close we are to the end.