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Like a House on Fire by 800 words of heaven
Chapter 31 : Valentine's Day
 
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Sirius' POV:

I hardly noticed as December rolled into the New Year, then January into February. I guess I was just having too much fun, what with all the extra work that our teachers kept on piling onto us, planning and undertaking epic pranks, so that Hogwarts was unlikely to forget the Marauders anytime soon, oh, and spending lots of time with a certain brunette.

And yeah, I could now snog her whenever I felt like it.

And yeah, I felt like snogging her quite often.

And I suppose it was a good thing that she felt the same away about it, too.

 

One fine (or as fine as it got in February) evening, Moony, Wormtail and I were lounging about in the Common Room. Lily and Sarah were off studying in the library and Prongs and Millie were still at Quidditch training. There were still a few months off until the final match, but there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Gryffindor would be there. I mean, since Mills and Prongs had joined the team back in our second year, we haven’t lost a single match.

So, accordingly, Prongs had the poor lot training their butts off. I was quite used to the creative ways in which Millie wished to off her Captain. I’d feel sorry for the bloke, but that would take all the fun out of it.

So. We were all lounging about (well, I was lounging about, whilst Moony helped Wormtail with his Transfiguration homework. For all that he was an Animagus, Wormtail was terrible at the subject) when Moony piped up, “Are you and Millie doing anything special for Valentine’s Day?”

I flicked my eyes towards him. “No. Why?”

“Oh, just wondering. Prongs wouldn’t shut up about what he’s got planned. I thought maybe you had something up your sleeve too.” He shrugged.

I narrowed my eyes. “Prongs is a man in love. Of course he’s got something planned.”

“And you are not a man in love?” Moony asked, with deceptive innocence.

I frowned. I liked Millie, really liked her, but I wouldn’t call what we had love

“So nothing planned?” Moony prompted, tactfully dropping the love subject.

I shook my head. But this had me thinking. Was Millie expecting something? I mean, yes, we began our, um, relationship, by pretending, but in the past few months, things had definitely changed. We’d never really talked about it, but I for one, thought of Millie as more than my fake girlfriend. Did she think of me in the same way?

“Should I do something?” I asked, a few moments later.

Moony looked up, then looked back at his work. “I dunno, mate. You two have been going out for quite some time now, almost six months. That has to be some kind of record for you.”

“Yeah, but what does that mean about Valentine’s Day?” I was usually doing one of two things on Valentine’s Day: either entertaining some completely vapid but rather attractive bimbo, or avoiding the entire female population of Hogwarts like the plague. Sometimes, I did both.

At the same time.

Because I’m a ninja like that.

But this year, things were different. Whilst, Millie was more than attractive, she definitely wasn’t vapid. And since I’d been “off the market” for so long, the whole having to avoid the entire female population of Hogwarts had dwindled down to only having to avoid most of the female population of Hogwarts.

Perhaps this called for a change in tradition…

 

~*~

Millie's POV:

It was strange that once you were in a relationship with someone, you just somehow knew when Valentine’s Day was, even if you usually had trouble remembering that it was your birthday or Christmas or whatever.

So when I woke up that Friday morning, for some strange reason, I felt rather excited.

Really, I had no right to be.

Yeah, it was Valentine’s Day, and yeah I was in a relationship for all intents and purposes, and yeah, I might’ve started believing it myself, but that didn’t mean anything.

For one thing, I was quite sure Sirius was going to forget.

And for another, I wasn’t quite sure what we were anymore. We were definitely more than pretending, if the number of times we’d snogged was anything to go by.

But neither of us had ever said anything.

We may have tacitly agreed to breach the rules of our initial agreement, but we hadn’t talked about a new one.

So, celebrating Valentine’s Day, least of all with Sirius, was completely out of the question.

 

So imagine my surprise when I woke up to find a single red rose on my bedside table, but no note.

How the hell had a rose managed to get there?

Was it from Sirius?

Should I feel as excited as I was? Probably not, considering it mightn’t be from him…

But what if it was?

What did it mean?

Did it even mean anything?

Was he just doing it to be nice?

But why would he do that?

Did he like me? I mean, he liked snogging me, but that didn’t mean that he liked me.

Although, we have been “together” for an awful long time now…

So perhaps…

I got dressed and headed down to breakfast in a bit of a daze, mulling over what that rose meant.

Sirius wasn’t at breakfast, but that was normal as the lucky idiot had a first period spare on Friday mornings.

He was probably snoring away up in the boys’ dormitory while I sat here drinking my tea, and still wondering what on earth that rose could possibly mean…

As I was heading towards the greenhouses, I was suddenly grabbed by the arm and yanked into an empty classroom.

“Ah!” I yelped, as I tripped over thin air and into a very comfortable pair of arms.

Laughing, Sirius caught me and spelled the door closed.

“Bloody hell Sirius! It’s too early in the morning for your…” I tried to search for the right word. “For your… antics!”

He grinned at me and pulled me closer. “I guess I was just happy to see you.”

“Exactly what kind of happy?” I asked, also smiling. It was hard to be mad at him these days. The boy was too charming for his own good.

He leant his forehead on mine. “Wanna find out?” he asked in a low voice, as his breath tickled my nose.

I laughed before I leant up and kissed him.

Pulling away after a few moments, I asked, “Was there any particular reason I was yanked into an empty classroom?”

“Do I need another reason other than wanting to kiss you?”

I pulled away a little so I could look at his face better. “You do when I’m going to be late to class.”

“Oh, the plants can wait,” he said and leant down to kiss me again, but I pulled back.

“Sirius.”

“Oh, alright.” He rolled his eyes in mock defeat. “I was going to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, but now you’ve ruined it.”

I tried to desperately tamp down on the ridiculous feelings of joy and elation at his words. “Actually, I believe you were going to kiss me.”

“I was going to say it afterwards. Far more romantic, that way. But now I that I’ve told you…”

“You can’t kiss me or wish me a happy Valentine’s Day?”

“Well, actually I can still do both, but it’ll have lost its effect.”

“That’s too bad. I guess I’ll just have to go now…” I made to move away, but I didn’t even manage to escape his hold.

“Don’t you dare, Millie White! I’m not finished with you yet.” He pulled me back towards his chest. “I’ve decided to proceed according to plan anyways, and if you have any qualms about its lack of romanticism, you have only yourself to blame.”

I was still laughing when his lips swooped down to capture mine.

A while later, we broke apart and he rested his forehead on mine, but this time, both of us were quite out of breath.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Mills,” Sirius whispered.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, Sirius,” I replied, still a little dazed. You would think that after spending more than a month and a half snogging this bloke, the side effects would’ve worn off.

Apparently not.

“Mills…”

“Hm?” I pulled back and looked at his face. He was looking unusually nervous.

“I don’t know how to say this, but, would you like to – would you like to –?”

I smiled up at him in confusion.

He took a deep breath. “Would you like to have dinner with me? Tonight?”

I blinked in surprise. “Like a… like a date?”

“Yeah… exactly like a date.” He grinned sheepishly.

I smiled. “I would love to.”

~*~

Sirius' POV:

So spending time with my, um… girlfriend (I think?) was always a pleasure, but going on a romantic date with my girlfriend was… stressful. Who knew there were just so many damn things that you had to do to make everything perfect?

And who knew that you actually wanted to do them?

And that if things didn’t go as planned, you were liable to suffer an apoplexy.

That hadn’t happened.

Yet.

The heavens were smiling down on me… in almost a literal sense. The sky had the presence of mind to be clear and starry for such a romantic evening.

It was too good an opportunity to waste indoors.

“Sirius… are we heading for the Forbidden Forest?” Millie asked me quietly. She was looking absolutely stunning all wrapped up in her coat and scarf, her nose pink from the cold.

I smiled down at her. “Yes.”

She raised one eyebrow at me. “Is that wise?”

“Don’t worry. I won’t let anything hurt you.”

Both her eyebrows went up.

“Do you doubt my protecting prowess?” I asked in mock indignation.

She laughed. “Oh, how could I ever doubt your protecting prowess? No, I was a little worried about getting caught.” She looked around a little nervously.

“Mills, we’re ages away from the Castle and no one else is bound to be heading towards the Forest. They’d be crazy if they were!”

“And we’re not crazy for doing such a thing?”

“You would be if you were out here alone, but you’re not. You’re with me. Safe.”

She looked at me curiously. Perhaps I’d said too much, but I didn’t want her thinking that I didn’t value her enough to lead her into such a dangerous place without ample protection (namely myself). But she wasn’t stupid either. “What makes you so sure?”

I gave her my most charming and dazzling smile. “Because I’m Sirius Black, darling.”

She gave an incredulous laugh but dropped the subject.

 

“Mind your head,” I murmured as Millie almost walked into a third branch in the span of five feet. I tightened my hold on her hand as I felt her stumble slightly.

“Why are there so many bloody trees?” I heard her ask under her breath. I was quite sure that I wasn’t supposed to hear that, but I couldn’t resist teasing her.

“That’s because it’s a forest, Millie dear.”

I could feel her glare burning two holes into my back.

She was getting better at the whole intimidation thing.

 

“Did you seriously plan a romantic picnic under the stars for Valentine’s Day?” Millie asked once we’d reached the clearing that I had prepared earlier. It was spelled for warmth and protection and the picnic basket and blanket were all laid out.

I frowned at the set-up.

Was something wrong?

Had I miscalculated?

Was this too cliché?

Was this not cliché enough?

“Yes, I did,” I replied as neutrally as possible.

She smiled that gorgeous smile of hers, where her eyes light up and you feel like you’re the king of the world.

No, seriously, you do.

Then she leaned up and kissed me gently on the cheek.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

I was glad that she’d walked ahead and was leading me over to the blanket, because I’m sure I looked like a right idiot, grinning at her simple words.

Trying to gain some of my coolness back, I cleared my throat and asked as casually as possible, “Did you like the rose this morning, too?”

She glanced back at me and I hastily tried to turn down the grin a notch or two from I’m-in-love-for-the-first-time-ever to I’m-the-coolest-person-in-the-entire-world­.

Not that I was in love with Millie or anything.

I mean, I don’t think we’re even together.

Even though we’ve been “together” since October.

And this was a date.

“So the rose was from you?” she asked.

“Of course!” I cried indignantly as we sat down on the blanket. Then a thought occurred to me. “Wait a second,” I said, my eyes narrowing in suspicion. “Who else did you think the rose was from?” Did I have competition?

She shrugged nonchalantly. “Oh, nobody in particular. I just wondered if…”

“Wondered what?”

She laughed. “Sirius, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were jealous.”

It was my turn to shrug nonchalantly. “Maybe I am.”

She looked at me with that soul-searching gaze of hers. “Are you?”

“No…”

She cocked her head to the side (and I felt like kissing her) as she passed over a plate and reached for the butterbeer. “So you don’t want to know who I thought might have been from?”

My eyes narrowed. “Not really…” Who was this guy? It better not be her ex-boyfriend.

Or my brother.

It especially better not be him.

He had no right to be sending Millie flowers anymore.

None of them did.

Except me.

Because I was her boyfriend… sort of.

She shrugged again as she uncorked a bottle and passed it over. “It seems as if you forgot glasses, but that’s okay. We can drink straight from the bottle.”

It seemed as if we’d dropped the other-man issue.

But it was still bugging me.

She took a swig and passed the bottle over with a smile. I could tell it was supposed to be a peace offering.

And since it was Valentine’s Day, and I was trying to be on my best behaviour, and I’d promised not to pester her about my brother, I let it go.

For now.

 

~*~

Millie's POV:

He was jealous. I could tell. He’d taken my peace offering, but it was obvious that he wasn’t happy about it. I gave a mental shrug. The guy needed to learn to trust people.

Luckily, the awkwardness passed quickly enough as we began with the eating and talking. Against all odds, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Sirius was being more charming than usual and the starlight was anything but unkind to the handsome little idiot. It accented his dark hair and caught on his sharp features. His eyes sparkled and his smile took my breath away. I tried to act as unaffected as possible, but it was hard to hide how much I liked him. Over the past few months, and especially since Christmas, I’d become… fond… of him.

It wasn’t love or anything.

But I had a feeling that it might not stay that way for long.

Especially if he kept up the charm all night.

Once we’d eaten, we lay down on our backs, side by side, and gazed up at the night sky. We lay there together, in silence, for a long while.

It was moments like this when I felt that I could fall in love with this guy the most. I’d never ever felt so completely content with myself and another person, than when I did when we were simply together. We didn’t need to talk – just being close to each other was enough.

Sirius reached out and took my hand in his. He clasped it to his chest without taking his gaze away from the sky.

As I continued to look up at the stars, I could feel the steady beat of his heart under my fingertips.

“You know, there’s a tradition in my family for naming offspring after things found in an Astronomy textbook,” he said quietly. Sirius never talked about his family.

“I didn’t know there was anyone in your family by the name of telescope,” I quietly teased back, not wanting to spoil the lovely mood with something he didn’t want to talk about. Even if he had brought it up.

He grinned. “I meant the stars and galaxies and stuff.”

“Well thank goodness for that. I’d hate to be called telescope.”

He laughed then. “But it’s a strange tradition, don’t you reckon?”

“I suppose. But what’s strange to one person, is completely normal to another.”

“Did you have any weird traditions?”

“Other than having to spend Christmas together as one happy family, and pretend that everything was normal and okay? Not that I know of. There was just grandma and dad on that side of the family.”

“And your mother’s?”

I shrugged. For some strange reason, I felt comfortable telling Sirius about my life. Perhaps because I knew that it couldn’t be much more messed up than his. It’s the price one pays from coming from Pureblood families. “I don’t know anything about Mum’s side of the family. Her family disowned her when she married Dad. I don’t even know if they know that she’s…” My throat closed up before I could say the word “dead”.

Sirius seemed to understand. “It happened to one of my cousins too.”

“What? She was disowned?”

“Yeah. She married a Muggleborn.”

“And does she… regret it?”

“Not even for a second. They have a little daughter now. Happiness. And Andromeda’s husband’s parents are really supportive.”

“They’re the lucky few, then.”

“With love, or happiness?”

“With both, I suppose. Not everyone gets the chance to be.”

We lapsed into silence again. Sirius’s hand stroked mine absently. Suddenly, he turned onto his side and looked down at me.

I turned my head to look at him and cocked an eyebrow in question. He was looking adorable with his hair flopping into his grey eyes, all serious and solemn.

When he didn’t say anything for a while, and just continued to look at me, I asked softly, “What?”

He still didn’t say anything.

Instead, he bent down and kissed me gently, his lips grazing mine sweetly. He pulled away and I took a deep breath.

“What was that for?” I asked.

He grinned. “I felt like kissing you.”

“Why?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Because I like you? Because you smell nice? Because you look adorable when you scrunch your nose when you’re thinking, or when you’re sketching something, or the way you glare at me when you’re mad.” I stared at him in surprise. This must be the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me.

Ever.

He continued more softly. “Because you have a gorgeous smile. And your eyes are the colour of firewhiskey. And your lips…” he sighed.

I waited, holding my breath.

He leant close again, his body partially on top of mine. “Your lips taste just like heaven.”

In any other circumstance, I’d think the last part was overkill, but somehow, Sirius seemed to make it work, and I found myself blushing.

I turned my head away from his perceptive gaze in case he saw how much his words had affected me. I didn’t want him thinking that I was that easy to win over.

Even though I was.

But I had to say something.

“I like you, too,” I whispered, still not meeting his gaze.

His hand cupped my chin and turned it gently to face him. He looked at me for a moment, then kissed me again, but this time, it was more… passionate. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him closer. His body rolled on top of mine. He was using one arm to prop himself up, the other roamed my body.

My hands weren’t idle too, as I felt the strong muscles of his shoulders and back, before they drifted back up to the soft dark hair at the nape of his neck.

He pulled back slightly and said, “Darling, if you don’t want this to become something… more… I suggest that you push me off right now.” His voice was low and husky. Not to mention seductive.

“I have to push you off? Can’t you get up by yourself?” I murmured.

“I might, if I wanted to. But I seem to find myself in a position where I don’t really feel like moving.”

“Whatever happened to your gallantry and chivalry?”

“Damn that,” he murmured before bending down to kiss me again.

I moved closer, knowing instinctively that I could trust him, that he wouldn’t let things get out of hand before either of us was really ready for it.

Well, not much, anyway.

 

We finally disentangled from each other. Sirius rolled back beside me as we both tried to get our breaths back.

“I was going to ask you something, before you distracted me,” he said. He always managed to get his breath back that little bit faster than me. And I was the one who played Quidditch.

“Distracted you? When did I distract you?” I asked incredulously. If anything, he distracted me.

“Darling, you distract me by simply walking into the room.”

I rolled onto my side and whacked him gently on the arm. “Stop flattering and get to the point.”

“I wasn’t flattering!” he said, whilst rubbing where I’d just thwacked him. As if it actually hurt, the big baby. “I was telling the truth.”

I sighed to hide the wave of giddiness that went through me at his words. No need to inflate his ego, or anything. “What was your question?”

“I don’t know if I can ask it now.”

“Why not?”

“It just doesn’t… feel right.”

I rolled my eyes. “Sirius, it doesn’t matter. The atmosphere doesn’t always have to be right.”

“Yes it does!” He rolled onto his side, so that now we were facing each other. “Otherwise you get the wrong answer!”

I narrowed my eyes. “Why don’t you just ask, and we’ll see, hmm?”

He appeared to be slightly embarrassed. “Well… okay. But mind you, I’ve never asked this before, so don’t be surprised if I stuff it up.”

I stared at him. Exactly what was he going to ask? My hand in marriage?

“Millie.” He took my hand in his. “Will you do me the great honour…”

This was sounding suspiciously like a marriage proposal, but that can’t be right…

“…Of being my Valentine?”

Not quite a marriage proposal, but monumental all the same.

I smiled at him and leant across to kiss him.

When I pulled away, he asked, “So was that a yes?”

I raised an eyebrow. “What do you think?”

“Well… I think it was, but I’m not quite sure. That could have been a pity kiss.”

“It wasn’t.”

“So it was a yes kiss?”

“Yes, it was.”

“So since that kiss was so ambiguous, might I be able to request another one, just to make sure?”

I laughed as I leant across once more.

We didn’t let go of each other for a while.





AN: First of all, PLEASE DON'T HURT ME! I know I haven't updated for so long that I don't even want to check the date. I've been pretty busy, because it's my last year in high school (WITH EXAMS IN LIKE NOT THAT LONG! AH!), but I also didn't know have any ideas how to connect the first half of this story to the second half, and this is the best yet. Secondly, do I even have any readers left? If I don't I, I completely understand, but if I still do - OMG I LOVE YOU GUYS SO MUCH! YOU ARE DA ABSOLUTE BEST! So tell me what you think of this chapter. Where do you think these two will go from here? What on earth is going to happen to them next? Is Sirius way better at feelings than Millie? Is Sirius still as adorable as ever? I don't know when I'll be able to post the next chapter, but hopefully the wait won't be anything like this...

But anyways! Adios amigos! And keep smiling! :D



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