Disclaimer: Naturally I
do not own J.K. Rowling’s characters.
She invented them and their wonderful world of Hogwarts. I am just visiting that world for a while,
and write this as a small tribute to her genius.
This fic arose out of a writing exercise – about Love. When Sirius just turned up on my computer,
Katinka very kindly allowed me to borrow Abby Loomis. Because Sirius insisted.
Sirius felt the chill rising through him, and struggled to
suppress a shiver. Jabbett was held in
the high security cells, deep beneath the Ministry’s Sussex offices. He’d suggested politely that he wasn’t
needed there, that Bloom and Tarrant could handle it all, but Deputy Secretary
Schofield insisted. The building was
heated of course, but it was still cold – cold and confined – cold and with
cells – there was darkness – and soft rustling noises – perhaps there were even
Somehow he got through the interview, managing to keep his
face impassive as he focussed on the questions, on Jabbett’s surly
non-cooperation. The cell door had
closed with a final thunk, and the
sound had stirred more memories. Hell, he thought, I should be getting over that by now. I’m not the one who’s in there – and there are no Dementors. He strode ahead of the others, up the three
flights of stairs, into the warden’s office.
Tarrant was muttering something, but Sirius cut him short and told him
to just deal with it – it was nearly midnight and he was going home.
He pulled his thick cloak around him, suddenly wishing he
had gloves too. The cold seemed to be
in his bones. He could hear them – hear the Dementors – long
gone, but they would never be gone from him.
He headed for the door, then paused: in this state, he’d be foolish to
try Apparating. Abruptly he turned and
made for his own office, where the fireplace beckoned.
Using the Floo network always left Sirius slightly
disoriented, and the world swam before his eyes as he straightened. He took a few deep, steadying breaths, swallowing
the sudden nausea that threatened to overwhelm him, and waited for his senses
to adjust. It was dark and silent, but
this darkness was blessedly warm and welcoming. And the silence was the silence of peace, and gentle sleep. It smelt of home.
He became aware of a faint light coming from the
kitchen. “Abby?” he called softly, but
there was no answer, not that he’d really expected one at this hour. He took a few steps forward, and
immediately stumbled over something.
Swearing softly, he lit his wand and looked down, to find Lucy’s toy
broomstick cast aside carelessly near the hearth. His heart lifted immediately as he propped it on the stand next
to Abby’s and his own; flinging his cloak carelessly over the couch, he made
for the kitchen.
She’d left a small lamp on the table, which was neatly set
for one. He picked up her note, and
smiled. They’d been together nearly
eight years now – well, not that the years on the run could really be called
‘together’ – but even after more than four years of marriage he still marvelled
at the fact that she looked after him like this. It was just so ‘normal’ – coming home late and finding his wife
had left dinner for him if he was hungry and hadn’t been able to eat at the
office. A normalcy he’d never really
allowed himself to dream of, a gesture of love that somehow he still found
strange and wonderful.
The ever-efficient Randall had brought in sandwiches for
everyone earlier that evening, so it wasn’t food he wanted now. He extinguished the lamp, and tiptoed up the
stairs. He paused on the landing at
the top - the climb had sent his senses reeling again.
Lucy lay snuggled into her blankets, clutching her stuffed
grey wolf with the ragged tail. Very
ragged, and quite furless, because she’d chewed it as a baby. Later she used the tail to drag the toy
around after her, ignoring suggestions from Abby and Sirius that this wasn’t
really a nice way to treat Wolfie. Lucky Abby can sew! thought Sirius in a
surge of amusement, bending over to brush Lucy’s hair softly and kiss her
cheek. Wolfie had been repaired
numerous times – he had almost as many scars as Lucy’s godfather really - and
the fact that he still had a tail at all was a triumph of determination and advanced
sewing charms. Lucy smelled warmly of
baby soap and powder, a clean cuddly smell that made him want to scoop her up
and hug her, tickle her until she squealed and shrieked with childish
delight. But that would have to wait
Next door, David had kicked his blankets off as usual. He defied all their efforts to keep him
tucked in, somehow managing to wriggle and kick out of any arrangement of
bedclothes. Abby had given up in the
end, and made him a sort of sleeping bag which she’d enchanted with Warming
Charms so he wouldn’t get too cold.
Sirius smoothed the tousled dark hair and gently removed David’s thumb
from his mouth, before pulling the blankets up again and tucking the red wooden
dragon and the yellow fluffy frog in beside his son.
His son. Somehow it still seemed so unbelievable,
even now, with Lucy nearly three and a half and David’s first birthday
approaching. He had a daughter and
a son. And a home. And he
had Abby. He kissed David, closed
the door and headed across the landing to the far room.
The lamp on his bedside table shed a soft glow, tinging
Abby’s hair with gold as it tumbled across the pillow. The nightie had slipped off her shoulder a
little, and she’d gone to sleep facing his side of the bed. So she’d know when he came home. No matter how late.
The cantankerous bathroom plumbing stayed blessedly quiet:
Sirius padded back into the bedroom and stripped off his clothes, lifting the
pillow carefully to retrieve his pyjamas.
He slid gently into bed, but even as he reached to douse the lamp, Abby
murmured and opened her eyes, pushing herself up on one elbow. She blinked sleepily, brushing her hair back
absently. The nightie slipped further
“Mmm … Sirius. You’re back. What time is it?”
“You all right? You look dreadful. I left some dinner for you – did you eat anything?” Drowsy, yet full of concern. She was sitting up now, reaching to stroke
his cheek gently.
“Jabbett won’t cooperate. Had to
go down to the cells.”
He saw the understanding in her eyes; she said nothing, just
waited for him to dim the lamp and settle back beside her.
She was warm and soft and welcoming. Sirius stretched out, wrapping his arms
around her and pulling her against him. She snuggled closer, settling
comfortably into his shoulder, somehow fitting perfectly against him as she
always did. He sighed, burying his face
in her hair. That nice shampoo she used
– a sort of summer garden smell, like flowers and sunshine. There were no Dementors in this darkness,
no cells or bars or cold or screams - just warmth and peace and Abby …
Warm, soft Abby.
Nice clean cotton sheets, scented faintly with herbs. A pillow.
Not a dusty straw mattress, not scratchy, threadbare blankets, not
chilled, hard stone. The coldness
inside him was dissolving, melting as Abby’s warmth stole over him. He stroked her hair gently, feeling his body
relax, his breathing slow to match hers.
She shifted slightly, reaching her arm up so her fingers could rub him
gently at the back of his neck, softly massaging the spot that always seemed to
knot itself painfully when he was tired.
He wriggled his feet against
hers. She chuckled softly. “Your toes are cold.”
“Mmmmm – you’ll just have to
warm them up.”
Sirius reached out, sleep-fuddled, becoming aware that Abby
was no longer beside him. The scent of
her still lingered though, and she’d tucked the bedclothes back around
As if from a far distance, he heard David crowing and
gurgling; heard Abby’s voice, indistinct, responding. He knew she’d be getting David out of his cot, changing his
nappy, playing as she dressed him.
Another voice, nearer this time. Lucy knew she was only allowed to come out of her room in the
mornings once she heard one of her parents up and about. But if Mummy was in with David, that meant
Daddy should be getting up too.
asleep, Lucy.” Abby’s voice, softly,
from the doorway. “He’s very tired –
let him sleep a bit longer.”
“Not asleep! It’s
morning.” Lucy was very firm about
that. According to his daughter, once
you were supposed to be awake, you had to get up. None of this lying peacefully in bed … hell, where had that nice idea disappeared to? Long, lazy, sensual mornings in bed with
Abby, just the two of them and a quiet house ….
Bracing himself, he pulled the blankets over his head,
half-hoping Lucy would take the hint, and that he’d get another few precious
minutes to wake up. Even as he did so,
he knew he wouldn’t escape.
“But he IS awake. He
is, he is. HELLO DADDY!” Followed by a furious pounding at the
“Lucy! Stop that!”
Abby admonished her. But the
battle was already lost. He heard the
door handle turn.
There was the thud of little feet, and a small avalanche hit him squarely
in the middle. “Daddy! Daddy! Wake up – look, I got new ‘jamas!”
Sirius burrowed down further under the bedclothes,
pretending to hide. “I’m asleep. Can’t you hear me - I’m snoring!” The sounds he made to prove this would have
done credit to a herd of bronchial hippogriffs.
Their special morning game.
Shrieking with glee, Lucy attacked him, burrowing into the blankets like
a determined Niffler in search of gold and scrabbling furiously to peel away
the coverings. Sirius laughed, curled
into a ball, and clutched the blankets over his head. His feet, alas, were not so protected. With a squeal of triumph, Lucy dived to the other end of the
bed, wrenching back the blankets and piling them up around Sirius’
stomach. He felt her move again, and
a small hand prodded the sheet over his face.
“You’re there!” she said accusingly. Sirius surrendered, grinning up at his
daughter as she dragged the sheet away and beamed down at him.
Those eyes – they were
so like Abby’s. Cheeks rosy from her
exertions, hair tousled and her new pink pyjama top definitely awry, Lucy
reached out to pat his cheek.
“You’re prickly, Daddy.”
“You woke me up. I
haven’t had time to shave. So I’ll have
to tickle you instead.” Which he did:
they tumbled across the tangled bedding, Lucy giggling, squealing and squirming
as Sirius wrestled with her, butting his unshaven cheek against her tummy and
tickling furiously. She pummelled at
him, trying to tickle him back.
eventual signal to stop was a hefty wrench at one ear. “Hey – I won’t be able to hear you if you
pull my ears off.”
He sat up, laughing, and she pouted at him. “Are they your new pyjamas? They’re not blue - I thought you only liked
“No – they’re PINK!
Look – buff’flies on them.” And
she proudly smoothed the top down, showing him the multi-coloured butterflies
on the front.
Pink pyjamas with
butterflies – oh dear, does Abby know the connotations of those? Hmmm - perhaps he should send a pair over to
Severus next Christmas …
Grinning, he swung his legs over the bed. “Right, young lady. Time for breakfast. Have you hidden my slippers? And where are yours?”
Seconds later, shrugging into his dressing-gown and
pocketing his wand, Sirius shepherded Lucy into her bedroom and located her
blue dressing-gown and slippers.
She nodded: Sirius swung her up on his shoulders and made
his way downstairs to the kitchen.
David was smiling and babbling away cheerfully as he sat in his
high-chair playing with several blocks: Abby was bustling round, setting out
plates and cutlery, while something sizzled and smelt good in the frying
pan. The kettle was steaming faintly.
Sirius deposited Lucy in her chair, handed her the mug of
milk Abby had set out, and seized his wife round her waist. “Mmm – are you on the menu for
She laughed, kissed him quickly, then pointed to the
kettle. “Tea,” she said firmly. “And toast, please.”
Ten minutes later, Sirius deftly wielded his wand with one
hand to butter more toast and waft it onto their plates, and carefully lifted a
mug of tea with his other. Lucy had
finished her bacon and was now munching toast, cheerfully smearing her face
with strawberry jam in the process – how
does one tiny scoop of jam on the toast somehow become half a jar on the child? Abby was stirring a mushy cereal and fruit
concoction for David, who was noisily beating his favourite yellow plate
against the tray of his chair. Lucky he’d quickly convinced Abby about the
benefits of Muggle plastic crockery for children – saved endless Reparo charms.
Sirius took a deep mouthful of hot sweet tea, replacing his
mug on the table well out of reach of David’s energetic arms. Another
little thing I’ve learnt as a parent.
He looked around at the familiar kitchen, where the weak
autumn sunlight slanted across the bench and gave the timber cupboards a golden
tint. Home. Home and his family. Yesterday’s piles of paper, the cells
last night, Jabbert and his swearing – none of that mattered. He felt wonderful, mellow and
contented. Because he had all this. He had
Abby, and Lucy, and David. And he was
the luckiest, happiest man on earth.