“Come on Emma, you can do it. Say ‘Happy Christmas’!”
Melora rolled her eyes from her position on the couch, but when Sirius looked up from the floor and caught her eye, she couldn’t help but smile.
“She’s barely seven months old,” Melora said, “She can’t say ‘mummy’ much less ‘Happy Christmas’.”
Sirius shrugged and continued his futile efforts to get Emily to talk. The baby, however, was far more interested in the shiny baubles hanging off the Jones’s Christmas tree. She continuously crawled towards the tree only to be dragged back by Sirius when she got to close.
“No tree,” he told her, “bad.”
But Emma just giggled at her father and waited for him to release her before setting off again for the tree.
“She’s getting fast,” Sirius commented as Melora scooped up the baby before she reached the tree, “She’ll be walking in no time.”
Emma squealed as Melora tickled her belly. “Nonsense,” Melora replied, “All the books say babies don’t start talking or walking until 12 months.”
“Just because the books say one thing doesn’t mean it’s true for all babies,” Sirius shot back, joining Melora on the couch, “Besides, your mum says you started talking early.”
Melora yawned as Emma gurgled happily. Although Emma was sleeping more soundly, Melora hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in some time. “My mum also says I was casting spells before primary school. She likes to embellish the truth.”
Sirius looked around nervously. He was staying at the Jones’s (on the couch of course) for the holidays, and had been more polite than Melora had ever seen him. He had even gone so far as to complement Maryanne’s cherry pie that had been burnt to nearly a crisp after she had accidently left it in the oven too long. Even now, when Melora’s parents had left the two alone with Emma for the afternoon to visit some old friends, he was careful not to even sympathize when Melora complained about her parents, as though they had hidden cameras around the house.
Melora had a feeling he was worried they might decide he was an awful human being and she should cut off all contact with him and never allow him to see Emma again, but Melora knew this situation was highly unlikely. Her parents were well on their way to adoring Sirius as though he was their own son.
Of course, Melora had also withheld what Sirius was doing when he wasn’t over at their house visiting Emma.
Melora bit her lip as Sirius scooped Emma out of her lap and swung the little girl in the air. Emma squealed, kicking her pudgy legs with delight.
The idea of Sirius fighting Death Eaters still terrified Melora, but she had decided it was better to worry and still spend time with Sirius than to not spend time with him at all and be left with only regrets should something happen.
Later that evening, after Melora put Emma to bed, she and Sirius collapsed together on the couch. Melora leaned back to rest against Sirius, but he flinched back.
Melora frowned. “What?”
“Your parents are gonna be home any minute!” he hissed, “What if they catch us?”
“Oh my god,” Melora giggled, “Have my parents turned the great Sirius Black into a prude?”
“What? No!” Sirius scowled, “I just want to make a good impression.”
“You’re an idiot,” Melora laughed, “They love you already.” She smirked and grabbed his collar, tugging him towards her. “And so do I,” Melora leaned in and closed the small remaining gap with a kiss.
Sirius was hesitant at first, but gave in quickly, wrapping his arms around Melora and pulling her on top of him.
“You’re a bad influence,” he mumbled between kisses.
Melora scoffed, but this quickly turned into a yawn. “Oh Merlin, I’m tired.”
“No, no, no,” Sirius gave her earlobe a playful bite, “No sleeping. If we’re fooling around in your parents’ house when they could walk in any second and kill me we’re doing this right.”
Melora laughed again, but this too turned into a yawn.
When Mr. and Mrs. Jones finally arrived home that night, they found Sirius and Melora cuddled together on the couch both snoring softly.
Walter laid a blanket over them as Maryanne went upstairs to check on Emma.
“Asleep like her parents,” the witch reported when her husband followed her upstairs.
“It’s a Christmas miracle,” Walter chuckled as he tossed Maryanne the baby monitor he had plucked from next to Melora and Sirius on the couch, “But I think we can give them the best present of all, a good night’s sleep.”
“How’s the wedding planning going?” Melora asked brightly as she and Lily strolled down Diagon Alley. Melora was pushing Emma in a baby buggy that had been a present from Lily and James for Christmas.
“Exhausting,” Lily admitted. The two girls had decided to meet for lunch when they realized they hadn’t seen each other in several weeks. And when Lily pointed out she hadn’t seen Emma in even longer, Melora had wrapped her daughter up in as many layers as she could find and brought the infant along.
Emma seemed to be enjoying Diagon Alley (as much as an eight-month old could). It was just before Valentine’s Day, and many of the shops were decorated with hearts and bewitched cupids flying in the windows. Whenever they stopped close enough to one for Emma to notice it, she tried desperately to reach up out of her seat for it. Melora was thankful the buggy had a seatbelt, but she was becoming slowly convinced Emma’s curiosity would be the death of her.
“James’ mum wants us to do all these Wizarding traditions that I don’t think we can because of my muggle relatives,” Lily sighed, “So she suggested we have two ceremonies which means double the work.”
“So just say no,” Melora suggested.
“I can’t,” Lily lowered her voice, “James’ mum is getting ill and we’re worried if I upset her with the wedding things, it might set her over the edge.”
Melora nodded sympathetically and Lily sighed again.
“In the meanwhile, how would you feel about being a bridesmaid?”
Melora’s eyes widened, “Me really?”
Lily laughed, “Well Sirius is going to be the best man. I’ve asked my sister to be my Maid-of-Honor, but she hasn’t responded yet.”
In spite of Lily’s optimistic tone, Melora pitied the redhead. She knew Lily’s sister had tried not to invite Lily to her wedding only did when their parents insisted. It was doubtful Petunia would even come to Lily and James’s wedding, much less be a bridesmaid
“I’d love to,” Melora beamed, “Who else are you asking?”
“I was thinking Mary and Dorcas, or maybe Alice Longbottom.”
Melora nodded, she knew Lily, Dorcas, and Alice had grown close from their work in the Order.
“So how are things with you?” Lily asked.
“They’re good!” Melora smiled, “Tiring, but good.” She paused thoughtfully, “I’m thinking of moving out of my parents’ house.”
“That’s great!” Lily exclaimed, “In with Sirius?”
“Maybe,” she shrugged, “Or finding a new place for all three of us.”
Lily raised a brow and glanced quickly down at Melora’s ring finger, “Has he…?”
“Proposed again?” Melora flushed, “No not since the last time back in school. We haven’t really had any time to spend alone though, what with this little troublemaker,” Melora grinned down at Emma who looked up and reached for her mother’s smiling face. “But my parents offered to babysit for Valentine’s Day this weekend so that will be nice.”
“I bet,” Lily said, nudging her friend suggestively.
Melora rolled her eyes. “Not in front of my daughter please,” she said, taking off at a quicker pace.
Lily laughed as she ran to catch up. “Oh she’s barely eight months!”
“You do know Valentine’s Day is when most couples usually go out, right?” Melora commented as she and Sirius apparated outside his building, “I was expecting Paris, Rome, even central London would be impressive. Anything but your flat.”
Sirius just grinned widely. “Just close your eyes,” he said.
Melora sighed, but covered her eyes with her hands. Sirius had insisted on planning everything for their Valentine’s Day date and while Melora’s standards hadn’t exactly been high, she certainly had hoped for more than the night in Sirius’ dingy flat.
Sirius led Melora into the building and up the stairs, with her peeking out between her fingers every few steps.
“I can see you peeping,” Sirius said with a smirk when they reached the second floor. Sirius lived on the fourth.
“I don’t want to fall,” she replied defensively.
“As if I’d let you fall,” Sirius grinned and before Melora realized what he was doing, Sirius swooped her up bridal style.
“Sirius Black you put me down this instant!” she shrieked.
“Close your eyes!” he laughed, running up the stairs.
Melora let out a scream of surprise and covered her eyes again, this time more out of fear. When Sirius tripped and dropped her to her death, she didn’t want to see it coming.
But Sirius kept his promise and kept his grip on her until they reached his door and he gently set her down.
“Never again,” Melora huffed, eyes still closed.
“I can’t make that promise,” Sirius said, opening the door, “But you can open your eyes now.”
Melora did as she was told and let out a small gasp as she saw the inside of the flat. Every surface was littered with candles sans a small area on the floor that was covered by a blanket. On the blanket sat two glasses and a bottle of champagne between them.
“Happy Valentine’s Day Melora,” Sirius said softly.
Melora spun around and kissed him as hard as she could.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” she replied, slightly breathless when they broke apart.
Sirius just laughed and scooped her up back in his arms, carrying her into his apartment and kicking the door closed behind them.
A/N- Erm, hello again. It's been a while.
Sorry for disappearing I've been pretty busy this summer between work and getting ready for my next semester. I'm studying abroad in London! I promise I haven't abandoned the story, and although I can't tell you when the next chapter will be out, I can garuntee you there will be a next chapter.
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