The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.
A Kind and Caring Friend
weeks and months had passed since Abigail Loomis had last seen Sirius Black, but
somehow it seemed like only days since he’d last sat at her kitchen table,
making a mess of whatever was before him. While his hair and robes were ragged,
she noticed, he did seem to have cleaned himself up before turning up on this
cold autumn evening, and though he was still too thin, he seemed more at peace
with himself and the world. Sirius was probably happier when he could actively
fight against Voldemort and his increasingly violent followers, if that was what
he was doing. It must have been maddening during that last school year to
helplessly bide his time in Hogwarts, knowing all the while that something awful
might befall his godson.
Curious, too, that she would see him today.
Perhaps Padfoot had some animal-like way of sensing when she was in an ill
Bad weather, bad moods, and bad wizards, as usual. Of course
he would drop in!
Abby felt fortunate that she had caught him. Today
had been a Hogsmeade weekend, the sort of day that usually kept her in the shop
for several hours after the usual closing time.
But thanks to Jasper
Zonko and his plots to steal everyone else’s customers, it was slower than
usual. Good thing I didn’t stay in my office and puzzle over this troublesome
business with Hermione Granger as I’d planned.
Abby dared a stealthy
glance at Sirius as she puttered around the kitchen, preparing a plate of
biscuits and some cocoa. She found, to her increasing frustration, that he was
already looking at her, just as he’d been during the last five times that she’d
peeked at him. A fat lot of good stealth was. She shook her head slightly as she
filled two mugs with the rich, steaming liquid. This was only Sirius. The Sirius
who had ate her food, slept on her sofa, and made a mess of her house, the
Sirius who –
Who held me so tightly on the night he left.
She shook her head again, trying to rid it of that persistent memory.
There was no reason at all to be so flustered. Concentrating on carrying the tea
tray without emptying its contents onto the floor, Abby brought the food to the
table and set it down with a smile. She shuffled through her mind for just the
right thing to say – some sort of witty, casual comment that wouldn’t make more
of this encounter than Sirius meant for it to be. He was only stopping by – for
food perhaps, or for a change of clothes. He’d already told her he was leaving
“I’ve missed you,” Abby blurted out, blushing immediately. Well,
a fat lot of good casualness was, too.
Sirius looked up from the plate
of biscuits, which he’d already set into. “You have?” His voice sounded boyish
and hopeful, which took her by surprise. She felt her discomfort lessen. This
was the same Sirius she’d known before. There was no reason for the odd quiver
in her stomach or the slight tremble of her hands. They’d parted as friends, two
friends comforting one another after a tragic, fateful event had altered the
wizarding world forever.
“Terribly,” she replied with a smirk, feeling
the awkwardness dissipate. “It was such a bother to retrieve my slippers by
myself. Besides, there was no one to properly appreciate my cooking, no one to –
“ –to throw things at?” he finished for her, laughing. A few crumbs
spilled out of the corner of his mouth.
Abby wrinkled her nose, giggled,
and took a biscuit for herself. “You’re right, I’m afraid that’s an honor I
reserve only for you. I’d try throwing things at the neighbours, but they’d only
throw larger things back. There’s no way I could defend myself.”
Chuckling, Sirius picked up his mug and blew across the surface before
taking a small sip. Abby watched him with curious eyes. Given a few more months,
he might actually begin to eat like a civilized wizard. Seeing him sitting there
across the table caused an unexpected feeling of contentment to wash over her.
The feeling lasted only a moment, though, as a stern reprimand from her
intellect followed in its wake.
Don’t blow this out of proportion –
it’s just a social call to a friend who once did him a few favours.
“So, you’ll be leaving again,” she stated into her cocoa. “You were
almost out the garden gate when I came home, weren’t you? We could have missed
each other entirely.”
Sirius placed down his mug and stared at her. “I
was going to leave a note. A proper note, with words – not a slap of mud on your
Abby gave an abrupt laugh. “A note? My goodness, a show of
manners? Is this Remus Lupin’s doing?” she teased.
said with a cheeky grin, popping an entire ginger biscuit into his mouth.
“Does Remus know about your cloak?” The question came out more quickly
than Abby would have liked. She waited a few seconds while Sirius finished
“He’s seen it, of course, but he doesn’t know where I got it.
You can trust me, Abby – I haven’t told a soul. I won’t tell a soul. Why
do you ask? Are you worried about something?”
“No reason, really,” she
replied, forcing her voice to sound light. “I just don’t want people to start
queuing up at the door for the next one.”
If Sirius didn’t say
anything, then how did that girl know?
“Is something troubling you?”
Abby looked up quickly. She didn’t realize Sirius had still been
watching her. She put a hand self-consciously to her hair. The brisk wind had
unloosened most of it on the walk home – what remained of her coiffure must be
quite a sight. Besides, the remaining hairpins were only contributing to the
dull pounding that had beleaguered her head since that afternoon. She pulled the
pins out and smoothed down her hair as best she could, while deliberating on her
“People worry about you, you know,” she finally said.
“They do. And there are some things they like to be
told in person, despite how nice a gesture like a note might like be.”
Such as why you even bothered to come by at all, if it’s still going
to be months or longer before I see you again.
A silence followed,
in which Abby began to wish she could retract her words. The hope of him
returning had set up camp in her heart for some time now – she shouldn’t be
chastising him when he actually came, even if was only to be for a few minutes.
“You’re right, Abby. You’re absolutely right,” Sirius said at length,
his voice usually low. Feeling wretched, Abby tentatively leaned over and gave
his forearm a quick squeeze. She sighed inside. It had been so easy, so natural
to fling her arms around Padfoot and show him how glad she was to see him. If
only she could do that now. If only she could – could stop her heart from
pounding out of her chest. Sirius had just caught her hand as she’d begun to
pull it away.
“Something’s still troubling you,” he said, his eyes
intense and searching.
“Why do you say that? I’m fine – it’s just a
slight pressure here.” Oh, she’d certainly missed those eyes. She pressed the
heel of her free hand against her temple. “Hogsmeade weekends do that to a
“Have you cast that Pain Relief Spell? ‘Ibuprofus’, was
Abby nodded, grimacing. “It didn’t work. I think I’ve built up a
“It’s more than that, though,” he went on earnestly. “You
always have the same look about you when you’re upset.”
“Oh, don’t be
silly,” Abby laughed. “I do not.”
“You do.” Sirius let go of his mug and
reached across the table. She caught her breath as she saw his other hand move
toward her. “You get a little crease here,” – he ran two fingers down a furrow
in her forehead – “and you tense these muscles here,” he finished, passing his
thumb along her outer jaw. He had yet to take his eyes off her face. Abby felt
her mouth drop a centimeter, and a part of her wondered if he might do that
again, were she to feign another headache. His fingers were rough and weathered,
but the touch had been as gentle as a feather over her skin.
sudden rush of heat flood into her cheeks, Abby quickly stood up from the table,
pulling her eyes and hand away from his. “So perceptive! Sirius, I hardly feel I
know you anymore,” she said with forced gaiety, gathering up her dishes from the
table. If she could make it to the sink, she could keep her back to him.
“Considering you spent much of our time together upset at me, it’s not
too difficult to notice,” he replied, finishing his cocoa. “And besides that,
you have a documented tendency to be evasive.”
Well, that’s rich.
It’s not as if he’s never held back a thing or two.
From over her
shoulder, Abby heard the sounds of Sirius leaving the table and crossing to the
sofa. She busied herself with rinsing out her mug again and again and again.
“Come and sit down,” he called out. Abby stayed at the sink, pretending
that she hadn’t heard him over the clatter of dishes. His voice grew deeper,
more urgent. The tone sent a quick chill through her. “Please.”
turned around, clumsily wiping her wet hands off on the front of her robes.
“Manners again,” she said faintly, fumbling for her voice. “I’m impressed.”
When she got to the sofa, she found Sirius slumped into a deep corner,
with his arms wrapped around a large cushion. She wavered there for a moment,
wondering exactly what it was he wanted her to do.
Sirius looked up.
“For the love of all that’s magical, woman, sit down!” he laughed, slightly
Abby lobbed a playful kick to his shin. “You’d best watch
your tongue, or I’ll find Remus and tell him of Padfoot’s fondness for bubble
baths.” She took her seat next to him, several safe inches away.
lie down.” Sirius patted the cushion with one hand.
Abby’s eyes widened.
He wanted her to do what? But the command was too appealing to let pass.
She hesitantly leaned over and lowered her body and head onto the cushion. She
could feel the edge of her right shoulder against Sirius’ chest, the outside of
his leg against her waist. It was all quite comfortable, and quite overwhelming.
Afraid to move, she stared straight ahead into the fire.
“Wha – ”
“Shhh.” Sirius interrupted before she could ask a question. She felt the
weight of his arm rest on her shoulder, and then, before she could even
comprehend what was happening, his fingers were in her hair, gently raking it
off her face. Abby had to make a most concerted effort not to make a sound. It
was the most amazing feeling, as though she was being both simultaneously lulled
asleep and jolted wide-awake.
“Now let me understand how this works,
Abby,” he asked quietly. “My safety and well-being can be your concern,
but yours can’t be mine?”
Against her will, Abby giggled. It
was rather illogical. “Yes, that’s exactly how it works,” she said
loftily, before laughing again. “I’m so sorry. I’m still unaccustomed to talking
about these things.”
“It has something to do with the Malfoys, doesn’t
Abby nodded, her face rubbing across the soft velvet of the
cushion. “I’m to go to their manor tomorrow.”
“Have you been there
“About four times by now, I think. Narcissa’s rather come to
rely on me, although I’m beginning to think it’s a compliment I could easily do
Sirius was quiet for a moment. Abby let her head sink further
into the cushion, her mind a flurry of confusion and sensation.
only being a friend. A kind and caring friend. He’s only – oh, dear Merlin, that
“And their dear son stopped by the shop this
morning,” she finally went on, trying to keep a semblance of rational thought
about her – something that was proving increasingly difficult.
do anything to bother you?” Sirius’ fingers ran down her temple, leaving shivers
in their wake. Abby took a deep breath.
“Beyond actually being
himself…yes, he did. He made…insinuations…about my dealings with his family,
especially with his father. He became very insulting, and, well…I discovered I
can cast a decent Confundus Charm on rather short notice. It was quite a
surprise, I assure you.”
Sirius was quiet again, although his fingers
continued to twist through her hair.
“Abby, I realize this may sound
ridiculous, considering the life I lead, but please be careful,” he said at
“I will,” she murmured, happy to pretend the Malfoys didn’t
exist at that moment.
But it’s not just them I have to worry about…
The day had begun quite normally for a Hogsmeade weekend.
The students usually didn’t begin to trickle down to the village until around
ten, after they’d had a lie-in and a late breakfast. However, as the gilded
hands of the Gladrags clock had turned toward eleven o’clock, the showroom had
remained relatively empty. After a few quick conversations with neighboring shop
owners, Abby had discovered the reason why. Jasper Zonko had chosen that day to
host an autograph signing for Stanley Peterparke, creator of the “Martin Miggs”
comic series, and apparently all of Hogwarts above age thirteen was there. To
compound matters, Zonko had planned for new sales and merchandise to be unveiled
every hour, thus ensuring his clientele would stay nearby.
in dismay as the clock inched past eleven, the small hand moving towards
“You’re not making a profit today, dearie”. She’d even scheduled an extra
number of shop assistants, anticipating a busy day. Oh, she’d show him, Abby
thought as she emptied boxes of new merchandise. A personal appearance by
Meaghan McCormick, clad in the latest Gladrags fashions, might be enough to dent
his Galleon flow on the next Hogsmeade weekend. And perhaps Celestina Warbeck
might show up the time after that.
The sight of Ginny Weasley and
Hermione Granger walking through the shop’s front door proved to be a pleasant
relief from her scheming. She waved merrily at the girls. They’d turned up
together on an earlier Hogsmeade visit when, as Hermione had explained with
rolled eyes, Ron and Harry couldn’t be pulled away from Honeydukes long enough
to help her choose a new pair of gloves. Abby had welcomed the opportunity to
make their better acquaintance – there was always the chance that one or both of
the girls might know the whereabouts of Harry’s godfather.
ladies!” she called out. “Sweet Circe, I’m glad you came by. I was about to go
out of my mind with boredom.”
The girls smiled in return, their cheeks
rosy from the outside chill.
“You don’t mind missing all the fuss at
Zonko’s?” Abby asked as she approached them. “I understand Mr. Peterparke is
autographing special editions – ‘Martin Miggs and the Martian
Masquerade’, or something to that effect.”
Ginny gave an impish
grin. “Nah, I’ll just nick Ron’s later.”
Hermione shrugged her
shoulders. “I grew up in the Muggle world. Although…” she added thoughtfully,
“…it might be terribly interesting to analyze the comics in the context of their
impact on wizarding social dynamics – ”
“No, Hermione, that
wouldn’t be interesting,” Ginny cut it. “Two minutes with my dad will
teach you all you need to know about how well wizards understand Muggles.”
“Still collecting plugs?” Abby laughed.
Ginny rolled her eyes.
“Don’t ask.” She looked over at the boxes that Abby had been stacking on the
counter. “Oooh, what are those?”
“Well, perhaps you ladies might help me
with something today,” Abby replied with a wink, taking the girls by the hand
and leading them to the counter. “We just received some new merchandise that I’m
dying to play with. Product testing is a good rule of business, you know.”
She opened a pink box and help up a small bundle of thin golden threads,
strung with seed pearls. “These are from a new manufacturer – Veela Ventures,”
she continued. “Questionable name, but some of their products are quite lovely.”
“What are those for?” Ginny queried.
“They’re to go in your
hair, for fancy occasions and such. Hermione, shall we have a go? They’d look
very nice with your colouring.”
Hermione gave the baubles a skeptical
eye. “I don’t think you’d be able to get them out again,” she said flatly. Abby
mentally conceded that she did have a point.
“Oh, you’re no fun!” Ginny
said. “It was your idea to come here today, remember? May I give them a
try, Miss Loomis?”
“Of course! Why don’t you have a seat here,” – she
guided Ginny to a nearby chair – “and I’ll try my hand at this. My apologies in
advance if I poke you.” Pulling a number of miniscule hairpins from the box,
Abby went to work, wrapping and winding back pieces of hair. Hermione stood
nearby, observing as the hairstyle began to take shape.
those in quite beautifully,” she said.
Abby turned her head a fraction
to give the girl a grateful smile. “Why thank you, Hermione. Perhaps I should
consider changing professions.” She pulled back two more red locks and began
twining the golden filaments into them.
“You can barely see them, but
you know they’re there,” Hermione went on slowly. “They’re almost…invisible.”
Abby’s hand faltered for just a moment. Ginny had once mentioned
invisibility cloaks in her presence, but the comment had been made in innocence.
She looked again at Hermione and saw a glint of deliberation in the brown eyes
that she kept shifted to the side, not quite focused on Abby or Ginny. She was
also biting her lower lip with a touch of nervousness, Abby noted with further
anxiety, her expression tightening. In her line of work, she’d had enough
experience reading bodily cues to guess at what this meant.
quickly, Abby pinned up the remainder of Ginny’s hair and stepped back. “There,
Ginny – voilá! Why don’t you go and have a look in the revolving mirror?”
She pointed to a corner on the other side of the shop.
Ginny sat up and
gingerly touched her new coiffure, a pleased smile on her face. “I’ll be right
back!” she said gaily. Hermione stayed behind, still averting her eyes, while
Ginny scampered to the mirror.
“So,” Abby began under her breath, with
her eyes fixed forward and a complacent, even smile on her face. “So.”
She hardly knew where to begin, but she never got the chance. The
tinkling of the shop door interrupted her, followed by the entrance of Draco
Malfoy. The door swung quickly shut, colliding with the large forehead of
Vincent Crabbe. He followed Gregory Goyle inside a few seconds later, rubbing
the knot that was already forming. Abby tried to keep her face impassive and
hide her amusement, especially as she noticed that the spokeswitches had already
fled their picture frames.
Draco scanned the room haughtily, his eyes
narrowing as he saw Abby standing next to Hermione. Ginny was just returning
from the mirror. The delight on her face dimmed as she saw Draco. His lips
twisted into a sneer.
“Good grief,” he drawled, “Do all Weasleys
keep such poor company?”
“Are all Malfoys such nasty little
ferrets?” Ginny replied, in an impressive imitation of Draco’s manner. She and
“Hello, Mr. Malfoy,” Abby interjected, before the
students’ exchange could go further. “I assume you’re here to pick up the things
your mother ordered for you?” Draco gave a curt nod.
“Have you been to
Zonko’s yet?” she continued, in an attempt at pleasant conversation. “I
understand he’s giving out free copies of Martin Miggs with each
Draco raised an eyebrow. “Why would I want those? They’re
about – ” he paused, looked Hermione up and down, and placed snide emphasis on
his next word, “Muggles.”
Spots of colour formed on Hermione’s
cheeks. Abby saw Ginny reach in her pocket, presumably for her wand, and she
couldn’t help but think that Hermione’s magical aptitude and the Weasley
temperament would likely make quick work of Draco. Unfortunately, that would
have to wait for another day.
“Ladies, will you excuse me? I hope you
enjoy the rest of your day in Hogsmeade.”
The girls nodded and gathered
their things, each giving Draco an icy look on her way past. Abby watched as
their two heads – Hermione’s mass of brown curls and Ginny’s fiery red, still
bedecked in gold and pearls – passed by the front window before she gave her
full attention to Draco.
“Everything is ready for you, Mr. Malfoy. Will
you follow me to the back, and we’ll make certain it’s to your liking?”
Draco turned to his companions, only to find that Goyle had hit his own
head on a coat rack while gaping at Chanella, who was stocking shelves. He and
Crabbe now sat side-by-side, alternately grunting and moaning. Draco snorted in
irritation. “Hurry,” he snapped as he and Abby walked past the heavy black
curtains to the rear of the shop, where she quickly located his parcels.
“Your mother has excellent taste,” Abby said deferentially as she opened
box after box, laying expensive winter robes, clasps, and other fineries across
Draco stared at her coldly, his arms crossed in front of him.
“She does,” he said.
“She’s a very beautiful woman,” Abby continued,
removing the tissue paper from the final box. “You may have already heard that I
will be stopping by Malfoy Manor tomorrow afternoon. We have a few new items in
our winter collection that I think will suit her quite nicely.”
won’t happen, you know.”
She looked around sharply, startled at the
spite that flowed out of his voice. “I’m sorry, Mr. Malfoy?”
“I know why
you’re trying to ingratiate your pitiful self to my family.”
of courteous solicitude began to change into one of puzzlement and worry.
Draco had undoubtedly been a prat in Gladrags before, but he’d never
been so directly rude. And what was he accusing her of? She felt her face
go clammy, as though a sudden draft had blown through the room.
afraid I don’t understand you,” Abby said with strained calm.
you talking to my mother over the summer, asking her about my father, the styles
of robes and cloaks that he likes. Your sort has tried this before.” Shades of
red began to seep into Draco’s normally pale, pointed face. “My father is loyal
to my mother, do you hear me?”
Flustered, Abby dropped a box of
stockings on the floor. “Please believe me, Mr. Malfoy, I have no such
intention!” she pled, scrambling to keep other boxes from falling. “You must
understand that this is a competitive business. Gladrags values the patronage of
your family greatly.”
“And you can be certain that our patronage will be
taken elsewhere,” he interjected sharply, “once I tell my mother about this.
I’ve heard all about you – a working class idiot who couldn’t even make it out
of Hogwarts. How dare you even look – how dare you even think – ”
Draco’s voice stopped in mid-sentence, his
eyes slightly unfocused. Abby stared at him with a stricken face. Her wand hand,
pointed directly at his face, shook terribly. Dumbledore had given her thorough
instruction on the Confundus Charm long ago, but she’d never had motive to use
the precautionary measure until now. Hearing Draco’s misguided accusations had
filled her with such alarm, she’d barely had time to think. The damage he might
have done! Her wand had moved almost of its own accord. The spell seemed to be
working, though – Draco hadn’t said another word.
“I welcome the chance
to be your mother’s seamstress, Draco,” Abby began, her voice quavering
slightly. “That is all I am to your family. That is all I wish to be to your
family.” She lowered her wand, and Draco’s face began to assume its usual
expression of disdain. He looked around at the counter and floor, which were
covered with boxes and paper.
“You’ve made quite a mess,” he sneered.
“My apologies,” Abby said in breathy relief. This was one time she not
mind condescending to Draco Malfoy, so long as she could get him out of the shop
as soon as possible. “Shall I owl the parcels up to Hogwarts for you? I’d hate
to burden you with them for the entire day.”
Draco nodded, and then
brusquely turned to leave.
“Enjoy your time in Hogsmeade, Mr. Malfoy,”
she called out after him, frantically thinking that she’d need to research the
longevity of Confundus Charms as soon as wizardly possible.
even imagine where Draco got that idea. I’d rather eat a Murtlap...
Sirius’ voice, a most welcome distraction, pulled Abby from
“I’m glad you caught me tonight.”
She smiled at
the fire. If only he could stay and be a kind and caring friend like this – just
like this – every day. Talking to him and feeling his touch was much more
preferable than worrying about the events at Gladrags that morning.
glad you came in,” she replied, a bit drowsily. “If you’d tried to sneak away, I
might have been forced to jinx your underthings.”
“What would that have
“Oh, they’d have never fit comfortably again.”
laughed softly. “Reason enough to never incur the wrath of a magical
As I suppose Draco learned today.
her neck loll back a bit, the tension in her head slipping away under Sirius’
fingers. A flush of embarrassment stole into her face when a slight moan escaped
her. Hopefully, Sirius hadn’t heard that. And hopefully, he wouldn’t have to
leave anytime soon tonight.
“What is it you have to do with Lucius
Malfoy?” Sirius asked, now running the flats of his hands down her hair in
Ugh. Lucius again. Please, no discussion of Lucius.
Continue to do just what you’re doing, Sirius.
looked back over her shoulder. She could see a fraction of his face. “You’re
still working for Dumbledore, aren’t you?” She saw him nod.
certain if I’m allowed to talk about this, but I’m going to anyway. I made the
blasted thing, after all. I have a cloak for Lucius – a Whisper Weave cloak.
It’s been enchanted to absorb all of his conversations. Dumbledore hopes it
might someday provide incriminating evidence against him. I’m going to bring it
by Malfoy Manor tomorrow. It should be easy to pawn off on him – the cloth is
Sirius was silent for a moment. “Whisper Weave,” he finally
said. “Nice name. You developed that?”
“I did, with a little help.” Abby
laid her head back down on the cushion with a smile. “Never underestimate a
“I’ve never underestimated you.” And with those words,
Sirius’ hand moved downward, brushing her cheek, grazing her ear, skimming along
the length of her neck, and scooping up the hair at the nape in his fingers.
Abby felt as if she might faint. The understanding began to grow in her, as
she’d been too fearful and disbelieving to admit all along, that these were more
than friendly gestures. But he was leaving. Her mind raced back to the
note he’d mentioned earlier. An urgency to know why he was touching her like
this, why he was causing her breath to quicken and pulse to race, began to take
“Sirius?” she asked, feeling barely in control of her own voice.
“May I read the note? The note you were going to leave for me?” She sensed his
body tensing. His hand stalled in its movements, and Abby instantly lamented her
question. Perhaps it was none of her concern. He would have given it to her
earlier, if it had been.
“I’m sorry,” Abby mumbled into the cushion. “I
shouldn’t have asked.” She felt even worse when his hand left her hair. She’d
ruined it all. She should have kept quiet. Bracing her hand against the arm of
the sofa, she began to push herself up, but two hands took her firmly by the
shoulders and guided her down again.
“No,” Sirius said huskily. One hand
left her shoulder, but returned shortly, draping around her with a piece of
folded parchment. “No. I want you to read it.”
Tremulously, Abby slid a
finger under the edge of the parchment and broke the seal. She slowly unfolded
the note, holding her breath all the while. It could be just a few simple words
of goodbye, she told herself sternly, even as she hoped against all hope that it
wasn’t. She smoothed over the parchment twice before daring to affix her eyes
and read, but she soon saw that she needn’t have hesitated. All the loss and
disappointment in her life, prior to this moment, seemed to blur and fade away
as one overpowering point carried its way to her soul.
Sirius loved her.
A glorious lightheadedness began to creep over Abby as she studied the
message again, poring over every letter, soaking in every sentence. To her
increasing delight, he’d left little room for guesswork, but that in no way
diminished the giddy pleasure of re-reading the lines a third, fourth, and fifth
Abby closed her eyes, now more aware than ever of the warmth of
Sirius’ presence behind her. He loved her. He wanted to be with her. She didn’t
have to look far inside herself to know what her answer to him would be. Her
heart had confirmed it to her daily since he’d left last spring, but she’d never
wanted to let herself believe that it might be possible… She pulled open her
eyes to read his message a sixth, and then a seventh time, and then –
How does he expect me to concentrate when he’s doing that?!?
Her attention to this newfound source of joy had been wonderfully
disrupted by Sirius, who was tracing along the ridge of her collarbone, gliding
his fingers across the skin and stirring up emotions that she’d long ago forced
into seclusion. But then he stopped, and for the longest moment, his fingertips
rested motionless in the hollow of her neck. Abby felt as though her heartbeat
must be echoing through the cottage – surely he sensed it, too. He remained
still, though, and as the cushion rose and fell slightly with his rhythmic
breath, she began to wonder if he might have actually fallen asleep.
And at such a time as this!
As Abby turned her head
around, a bewilderedly happy smile on her face, her voice caught in her throat.
Sirius, though he sat with eyes half-closed, was very much awake. And suddenly,
so was she. His eyes opened, catching hers in their beautiful intensity, and
this time, she didn’t look away. She had no reason to look away. She loved him.
A soft, involuntary sound of beckoning slipped from her throat, and for the next
few earth-stopping moments, Abby could do nothing more than gasp at the wondrous
fit of Sirius Black’s mouth with hers. His lips, much like the rest of him, were
a little deceiving. She would have never imagined them to be so…expressive. And
soft. But then again, she acknowledged, this was Sirius. She should have
expected as much.
Feeling a warm, delirious haze cover her completely,
Abby shifted her body toward him, wanting to be closer. His arms met her
partway, wrapping around her to take her back into the corner of the sofa with
him. The cushion that had previously separated them somehow fell to the floor.
She twined her arms tightly around Sirius’ neck, laughing breathlessly against
his mouth when she heard him murmur her name. Heated sparks shot up her spine as
the spread of his hands pressed into her back, and with her lightheadedness
amplified all the more, Abby gave herself willingly, trustingly to his kiss.
Later that evening, Abby stood in front of her thankfully
silent mirror, staring at her reflection. In all her adult life, she’d never
looked like this. Eyes somewhat glazed, robes a little askew, hair decidedly
tousled. A girlish grin crept across her face as she recalled with vivid
exactness how it had reached such a state. Laughingly, she ran a finger around
the redness that encircled her mouth. She’d have to see that he shaved next
There had been a brief moment of panic
toward the end of the kiss, when the chiming of the clock had startled them
apart. After spending the last twenty minutes relearning Sirius by other senses
– the heat of his breath, the lines of his arms, the scent of his hair –it had
been a bit of a shock to see his familiar face just inches from her own. She’d
wondered, with sudden anxiety, if she’d been too forward. Or worse, too
eager. The poor man probably hadn’t expected to have countless years of
emotional repression thrown at him without warning. But then that delightful,
crooked grin had broken out across his face, and Abby had joyfully realized that
there was no reason for worry. Their mouths then came together for one more
dazed, delicious moment, before he’d reluctantly disentangled himself from the
sofa. He’d said little else before leaving, but it hadn’t been necessary – his
lips and hands had spoken to her with as much honesty as words.
but there had been words…
Abby held up the piece of parchment for
one last read, even though she could have likely recited the note blindly by
now. Such beautiful words. From him. For her. There were still so many things
that they’d never had the chance to discuss, but she knew the answers would come
in time. She stumbled to her bed, deciding that any other thoughts or worries –
Voldemort, the Malfoys, and how she was ever going to explain this relationship
to her father – could wait until the morning. Tonight, she was going to think of
Sirius, remember every one of his caresses, and imagine his return.
A/N: Consider this my “thank you” to anyone who put up
with the angsty end to “Interwoven”! Much appreciation goes to my trusty team of
betas. And as this was my first attempt at writing full-fledged mushy goo, I
also thank you those of you who didn’t laugh.