What’s in a Name
Thanks to Alphie
for allowing me to write this idea inspired by one of her stories, The Gift.
Almost all portions of this story that take place at Hogwarts (but not on the
train) were written by Alphie as part of The Gift.
This story is
written in Thing1’s wonderful AU, who was kind enough to let me play with her
excellent characters once again.
Annie found Griffin at his favourite studying spot by the lake at
Hogwarts. In a hushed voice that wasn’t her own, she asked, “How long have you
felt this way?”
“Almost a year
now. And believe me, it scares the hell out of me! We were just having
breakfast over at your house last summer and…you called me ‘Griffin’ instead of ‘Black’. It was like a transition of
sorts for me. I remember looking across the table at you and just being flooded
with the thought that we weren’t kids anymore and how pretty and intelligent
you were and how much I liked the sound of you calling me by my first name. And
then I realised that I loved you.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I know it
sounds stupid, but I hadn’t ever thought of you like that before and it really
scared me. I didn’t know what to do, so I – ”
“Ran out of the
house,” Annie finished. “I remember that morning. Mum asked me if something was
wrong because it isn’t like you to not finish a plate full of food!” She
chuckled a bit and then said, “So that’s what’s been bothering you all this
Yes, that’s what
has been bothering him all this time. He remembered that breakfast at the Lupins’
house last summer as clearly as if it were yesterday. Actually, it had all
started the day before…
Annie was entered
in the Devon Leisure, a regional dressage competition, that Saturday morning.
Since Griffin’s parents had decided to go on holiday for
a long weekend to celebrate Sirius’ victory in a major case, Griffin was staying overnight at Grey Timbers with the Lupins
after the competition was over. The entire Lupin clan and Griffin went to the competition. Even Malcolm had managed to
get the afternoon off to see his little sister compete.
in Annie’s age group is quite stiff. She will be lucky to get a third place
rosette,” commented Katie. “Geoffrey Breckenridge and Felicity Kennilworth
have great form. At least, that’s what Annie has been telling me.”
There was no time
for more comments, since they were watching the riders and horses preparing in
the practise arena. It was a breathtaking sight. The horses were the most
beautiful that Griffin had ever seen. Their muscles were so well
cut that he could even see them from where he was in the stands. As for the
riders in their riding habits, they were all so elegant looking.
Although Griffin had attended other events in which she had participated, those
were not dressage competitions. So this was the first time he had seen her in
her dressage riding habit. She looked so proper and refined, not at all like
the girl he had grown up seeing in black robes, casual shirts, and trousers. No,
she looked much more mature. The tight fitting cream coloured jodhpurs
emphasised just how shapely her legs had become, especially since they were
tucked into sleek, shiny black leather boots. Her black riding jacket was
beautifully tailored to show off her now grown-up figure to its best
advantage. The black crushed velvet of the jacket collar and the ratcather collare
blouse softened the lines of her face. Griffin looked at her face, now framed
beautifully underneath the black crushed velvet riding helmet. Her dark brown
hair was tied back in a hair net which gave her a sleek, mature look. The sun
shone brightly on the freckles on her nose, cheeks and forehead, the light
dancing in her beautiful grey eyes as she held the reins crisply in her hands,
which were enclosed in pure white gloves. Beautiful eyes? They’re just
Was this the same Annie that he had
grown up with? How many times had they gone riding on the horses? How often
had they played Exploding Snap with Malcolm and Roarke? All those pranks they
had planned together and played on the various members of their families… not
once had he ever seen her looking like anything but his best friend and
pseudo-sister. Until now.
As the competition
began, each rider led his or her horse to the arena. As expected, Geoffrey
Breckenridge and Felicity Kennilworth were superb, almost flawless. Then it
was Annie’s turn. She led Wighborn, her roan coloured Connemara pony and
thoroughbred cross, out in front of the judges, stopped, and saluted them with
a bow of her head, her riding crop and reins held in one hand.
Sweetheart!” Remus said under his breath.
“She’ll be fine,
Dad. You know how hard she has been practising since she got home from
school,” said Roarke.
“Even at school,
she used to get Hagrid to let her ride the thestrals.” Griffin added.
“No! Griff, he
didn’t really let her ride those beasts, did he?” asked Malcolm, turning to
look at Griffin.
Griffin chuckled as he pushed his black hair out of his eyes. “You know how
headstrong your sister can get when she has her mind set on something, Colm.”
“Yes, but thestrals?
How can she ride something she can’t even see?” Malcolm was visibly disturbed
by the idea.
“The way Annie
describes it, it’s not that difficult. Hagrid helps her mount the thestral and
then she rides by feeling its rhythm. After all, that’s what you do when you
ride a horse anyway. You don’t ride by looking at the horse, you know,”
looked slightly perturbed. “I’ll have to have a little talk with Hagrid.”
“You will do no
such thing, Malcolm,” said Katie. “Your sister is sixteen years old and is
capable of taking care of herself at school.”
“Your mother is
right,” added Remus. “Besides, Hagrid would never let her ride the thestrals
if she were not capable of handling them.”
“Oh, come on,
Dad. You know how Hagrid is! He thinks all the creatures in that forest are
“Malcolm, I said
no,” Remus said firmly. “It is my job to be the over-protective father, not
yours. Besides, it seems to me that you got into more trouble during your years
at Hogwarts and that Roarke was routinely in more danger during those Quidditch
matches. Your sister is quite qualified to ride the thestrals at Hogwarts.
Just look at her out there.” Remus gestured to Annie, who was now halfway
through the course.
Across the arena,
Griffin saw that Annie and Whigborn were performing splendidly." They
performed the next movement as if they were one. At the sight of them,
Griffin’s heart leapt into his throat. Straight back … nice posture … very
good. Her hips were going up, down, up, down… in perfect rhythm with the
horse. From all of the experience riding his horse at the Lupins’ with Annie,
Griffin knew that the course was quite difficult and admired how effortless
Annie made it seem.
At last, Annie and
Wighborn completed the test and exited the arena. Griffin exhaled again,
finding that he had been holding his breath not only out of nervousness for Annie’s
success, but also because of the strange new thoughts that were entering his
head. His blue eyes looked sheepishly at the others to make sure nobody had
seen him acting so nervously.
Later that day
when the awards were presented, Annie had come in third place. Felicity Kennilworth
had won and Geoffrey Breckenridge had come in second. Annie gracefully
accepted the white rosette and looked out to the audience searching for her
family, smiling as she found them.
Once they got back
to Grey Timbers, Annie wanted to go riding for a while before dinner.
“Haven’t you had
enough riding today, Lupin?” asked Griffin as they headed toward the stables.
“No, you idiot
boy!” she laughed. “I only get two months to really ride them," she said,
looking at the horses. “After that, it’s back to school. The thestrals are
great, but they just are not the same. I miss my own horses. Now come on,
Black, it’s not as if I suggested we go for a broom ride!”
Annie raced him
the rest of the way to the stables, where they soon had Butch and Rascal
bridled and saddled. Although Butch was Katie’s horse, Annie always rode him
after competitions to give Wighborn a chance to rest. Griffin liked riding his
horse, Rascal, whom he kept at the Lupins’. He was a large midnight black
horse who stood fifteen and one-half hands tall. He stroked the snow-white
blaze as he gave Rascal a sugar cube.
“Come on, Rascal,”
he said, as he led the horse by the reins onto the trail. Annie had already
saddled Butch and was sitting atop the horse, waiting for Griffin to catch up
to her. She had changed into a Muggle pair of blue jeans and a pink casual
shirt. Griffin soon caught up to her and they rode down the trail into the
woods together, talking all the way.
“… so if Wighborn
hadn’t taken the wrong lead, then I wouldn’t have had to correct him and we
might have won.” Annie’s face brightened as she began to laugh. “Well, he's
never muffed a strike off like that before ... must have known you lot were
watching! But I know Wighborn did the best he could.”
“I’m sure he did, Lupin.
Still, if poor Wighborn only had a better rider, then he might have won.”
Griffin teased. They had been having this same discussion after her
competitions for as long as he could remember. Annie would make an excuse for
why she and her horse were not fast enough, and Griffin would tease that it was
her fault. It was the kind of good-natured teasing that best friends or
sibling engaged in.
“So you don’t
think I’m a good rider, eh?” She looked visibly shaken.
startled by her reaction. In all the other times they had teased like this, he
had never seen that look before. "Look, I'm sorry. It's called sarcasm, Lupin."
“Fine, we’ll just
see about that, Black. First one to the pond wins!” and she was off like a
shot, jumping Butch purposely over a log instead of taking the smooth trail.
Even if he had been able to Apparate Rascal and himself to the pond, Griffin
doubted they would have beaten Annie and Butch.
After watering the
horses at the pond, Griffin and Annie rode the horses a while longer, Annie
slightly in the lead. Griffin always enjoyed riding the horses with Annie.
They used to ride double on one horse while riding with Malcolm and Roarke, who
would ride the other horse. But that was a long time ago, before Malcolm
finished Hogwarts and moved into his own flat. And now Roarke was also
finished at school and too busy with her own life to go riding.
Rascal pulled even
with Butch and the two horses neighed softly to each other and gently touched
“Well? Still say
I’m not a good rider, Black?” Annie asked sarcastically.
“Don’t ask me; ask
Butch. Watch that corner, Lupin, you know he hangs in at times,” he chuckled.
“No. I never doubted you for a minute,” he said dramatically with a twinkle in
“I wish I got more
time to practise,” said Annie sadly. “I mean, practising on thestrals helps,
but it’s not the same. Plus, Wighborn needs the practise, too.”
“I know, but
that’s the best you can do for now. We’ll be finished with school soon enough
and then you can practise all you want.” He tried to sound comforting; he
wanted to make her feel better. “Besides, you can still ride circles around me
otherwise I’m sure that Butch would be more than happy to race you to prove a
point.” She trotted slowly ahead of him on the dapple-grey English hunter with
a triumphant air. Griffin smiled as he watched the way her ponytail bobbed up
and down behind her as Butch trotted slightly ahead of Rascal. He liked the
way it whipped in the wind. The sight of it was now making him feel odd
inside. When did that happen? I’ve seen that ponytail of hers bouncing for
years and never thought anything of it.
They led the
horses back into the stable, took off their tack, and rubbed them down before
feeding them. Griffin and Annie then went inside and got ready for dinner.
Dinner was a
celebratory feast in honour of Annie’s performance. The juicy aroma of Katie’
herb chicken filled the air so much that Griffin was salivating as he waited
for everyone to be seated at the dinner table. The vegetables Remus had picked
from the garden and cooked had that fresh taste Griffin had come to expect when
eating at the Lupins’. He was never disappointed. Malcolm and Roarke
surprised Annie by making the sticky toffee pudding of which she was so
The table was
alive with conversation as everyone listened to Annie recount some of the
stickier moments of the competition. Griffin’s eyes were glued to Annie as she
animatedly spoke about the day’s events while trying to butter a roll.
Suddenly, she looked up at him and their eyes locked. She caught her breath
and fumbled with the roll and knife, causing butter to miss the bread and end
up on her wrist instead. Embarrassed, she blushed a pretty shade of pink and
wiped the offending butter off her skin. Griffin’s stomach felt strange, and
he was sure it was not due to the dinner he had eaten.
Hoping to change
the focus of the conversation away from Annie, Griffin asked, “Have you had any
luck getting a position yet, Roarke? Any idea what you want to do yet?”
turned to look at Roarke, who finished her sip of lemonade before responding,
“Nothing yet. Not sure what I want to do, really, but I’ve been thinking of
becoming a curse breaker. All I know is that I’d like to do something that
makes a difference.”
turn up, Firecracker,” said Katie, dabbing her mouth with her napkin. “Knowing
you, if nothing does come along, you’ll make your own path.”
“I suppose.” She
looked rather depressed. “It’s just that I wish I had something lined up
already. I hate having nothing to do.”
there were something he could say to make Roarke feel better, but he couldn’t
come up with anything. He looked at Annie, hoping she could, but she was
sitting there twirling her hair as she looked at Roarke. He never noticed
before that she twirled her hair. When did she start doing that? Why can’t
I take my eyes off her? It’s just Annie!
“It takes some
time, Roarke,” Malcolm said matter-of-factly. “I applied months before end of
term, and look how long it took before I finally heard that I’d been accepted.”
“How are things
going with the Aurors?” asked Remus cautiously. “We’ve seen so little of you
Roarke smiled at
her brother, happy to have the attention deflected from her. Her look did not
escape Griffin and Annie, whose eyes met as they began to giggle silently to
The look on
Malcolm’s face became neutral as he straightened almost imperceptibly in his
chair. “Everything’s fine, Dad. It’s just been very busy lately, that’s all.
Some strange occurrences we’re investigating, but nothing I can talk about.”
He took a bite of the peas, a closed look on his face, as his brown eyes were
dark with untold mystery. From years of knowing Malcolm, Griffin could tell
that Malcolm would not discuss the matter any further.
carefully from Malcolm to Remus and Katie. Although Malcolm had Katie's dark
brown hair and eyes, it was strange the way that he looked and acted much like
“Just be careful,
my Little Marauder,” said Remus quietly. “Sirius would be very cross with me
if anything happened to you. Not sure why he would blame me, but he would.”
everyone’s mood at the table. The tension Griffin felt earlier was gone as he
laughed. He knew that Remus was right. That’s exactly what his father would
“Good thing Dad’s
not here right now to hear that, then,” Griffin chuckled as he heard Annie
laughing merrily. They had often sniggered before about how his father was so
protective of him. However, he had never before noticed how wonderful her
laugh sounded. His attention was turned back to Remus as he addressed him.
“You know I think the
world of your father, but sometimes he can be such a mother hen,” smiled Remus,
rolling his eyes.
exactly what he meant.
“You don’t have to
live with him. He makes me tell him everywhere I’m going and when I’ll be
back,” added Griffin. “He even makes me carry this mirror with me so I can
communicate with him anytime and tell him if I’m going to be late.” He fished
out the small mirror from his pocket and showed it to everyone, shaking his
head. “At least Mum’s not like that.”
Annie leaned over
to get a better look at the mirror. As she did so, her side brushed against
him, causing a jolt of electricity to shoot through his body. He jerked away
quickly, surprised at his own reaction. What happened? I’ve never felt that
before when she’s touched me. It’s never affected me at all. He shoved
the mirror back into his pocket.
“Your father might
not live with us anymore, Griffin, but I seem to recall him being a bit of a
mother hen when I was pregnant with Malcolm and he was still living here,”
added Katie. ”But at least he shared that job with someone else at this table,”
she said, her eyes twinkling at Remus.
with many stories about Sirus Black, worrywart. Everyone was laughing and
having a good time until dinner ended and it was time for Malcolm to go home to
washed all the dishes and put them away before settling in for a game of
Magical, Muggle, or Misunderstood in Roarke’s bedroom. It usually bothered
Griffin a little bit if he lost, which he did quite often, since both Roarke
and Annie were quite competitive. However, it didn’t bother him tonight. He
was too busy watching how Annie took great pleasure from each incorrect guess Roarke
or he made. Griffin’s insides grew all warm every time he saw the impish grin
on her face as she tormented them with ambiguous answers to their questions.
When Roarke and Griffin at last gave up, Annie proudly announced that her
object was a Honeyduke’s best chocolate Easter egg and broke out into peals of
laughter as Roarke tallied up the score and confirmed that Annie had won the
most games that night.
“Come on, you
lot! Time to clear out and get to bed,” said Roarke as she got up and opened
her bedroom door. “Mum wants me to help with the gardening tomorrow and I would
like to get most of it done before it gets too hot outside.”
curled his body off her bed and stretched. Although he hated to admit it, he
was tired from all of the days’ events. He could tell by the way that Annie
covered her mouth as she yawned that she, too, was tired.
“All right, Roarke.
We know full well where the door is.” Annie was already halfway out the door
when she turned and said. “Come on, Black. Don’t prove me wrong. The door’s
“Thank you, Lupin.
But as you said, I’m perfectly capable of finding my way out without
assistance.” He shot her a nasty look as he shoved his way past her. Why
does she always think I’m such an idiot? “Good night, Roarke.” He went
quickly down the hall, his mind dizzy from brushing against Annie at the
His skin still
tingled from this latest contact with her as he brushed his teeth and got ready
for bed. What’s going on? That makes twice in one day that being so close
to her has sent my mind spinning! I don’t understand it, any of it. The
whole day had been very confusing to him. As many times as he had seen Annie’s
competitions and spent the night at the Lupins’ house, he had never before
noticed so many things about her. Somehow, she was different. He was
different. But he couldn’t put his finger on what it was that had made things
change, why he felt strange around her. Everything had been fine when they’d
left Hogwarts a few weeks ago. Things were normal then. But something had
changed and it was driving him crazy trying to figure out what it was.
Griffin gave a
deep sigh as he crept into Malcolm’s old bed, blew out the candle, turned over,
and fell into a fitful sleep.
The sun was
shining brightly into his eyes when Griffin woke up. It only took him a minute
to remember that he was still at the Lupins’, and would be going home later
today. Although he always enjoyed spending time with the Lupins, he would be
glad to see his parents again. He loved his parents and they loved him. Things
were as normal at home as they always were. Not like they were here … around
Griffin had soon
washed and dressed. He took one last look in the mirror and pushed back a lock
of his black hair before going downstairs. Voices were coming from the
kitchen, signalling that everyone else was already up. Blast! Always the
last one up! His mother had been constantly teasing him about that this
Griffin,” said Katie warmly as she pulled out a chair at the table for him.
“Come sit down and have some breakfast. Remus has just finished making some
bacon and eggs for us.”
Griffin sat in the
chair she indicated and poured some orange juice for himself. Roarke and Annie
were already sitting at the table buttering their toast. Katie had turned away
from the table to get a cup of coffee, but stopped as she saw Remus
“Here you are,
Katie-love,” Remus said in that special voice Griffin had noticed he only used
with his wife. Remus held out the cup of coffee to his wife, smiling happily.
“Why, thank you,
dear. You do such a good job of taking care of me,” Katie said playfully as
she took the coffee and set it on the table before turning to give her husband
a rather warm-looking kiss. Remus put his arms around her waist and pulled her
nearer as he returned the kiss.
Well, they seem rather chipper this
Looking over at
Annie, Griffin saw her rolling her eyes at them. “They are always like this.
You’ve seen them before. It’s embarrassing, really.”
“Oh, come now.
You don’t have to put up with us for that long. The first of September will be
here before you know it and then you will be back at Hogwarts tucked safely
away in your Ravenclaw dormitory away from your embarrassing parents,” Remus
said as he tousled Annie’s hair.
Annie as she raised her arms to get Remus to stop. “Now look what you’ve
done!” she cried, even though she was smiling at her father.
Sweetheart. I forgot how particular you were about your hair these days.” For
some unknown reason, Remus winked at Griffin as he said this. “Here.” And he
waved his wand over Annie’s head and fixed her hair for him.
“Did I get it
right? After all, it must be fixed properly to go feed the horses!” Remus
“It will do for
now,” said Annie as she felt her hair. “I’ll fix it later... after the
Griffin didn’t see
what was wrong with her hair. To him, it looked beautiful. Beautiful?
When did her hair start…
“So are you ready
to help with the gardening after breakfast?” Katie asked Roarke.
her mouthful of eggs before responding, “Yes, Mum. But, honestly, are you?
Do you have to wear that turtleneck in the middle of summer? It’s too hot for
Katie and Remus
looked at each other with guilty smiles for a moment. “Well, dear, you know
how easily I get bitten by insects. I’m just trying to keep them away from my
neck. That’s all.”
What’s the big
deal about clothes?
“Oh, come on. You
don’t even have any clients today,” replied Roarke, still trying to argue her
point. “I mean, it’s not like we don’t know about those love bites!”
As Griffin looked
from Katie to Roarke, he noticed that Remus was smiling behind his cup of tea.
Oh. A groan escaped Griffin as realisation
struck him. Love bites? Okay, that’s just plain sick! She has love bites from
Remus on her neck? Griffin
shuddered at the thought. So that’s why she covers her
neck so often!
Katie looked a bit
uneasy as she explained “I just feel more comfortable wearing them at certain
times. That’s all. We all have our own tastes.”
her shoulders and stabbed at her eggs with her fork. “Fine. Wear them all you
want. I promise you, if I ever had something like that to hide, I’d just use a
simple charm and be done with it rather than suffering through the heat all
Griffin shook his
head slightly and ate a piece of bacon. Some people were so strange. Why would
anyone want love bites? And here Roarke was even thinking about what she would
do if she ever got a love bite! Griffin was glad that Annie didn’t act
like Roarke. Annie was normal. Well, at least she was… until yesterday.
He glanced up from
his plate to look at her. She quickly ducked her head down and stabbed at her
eggs a few times. Weird.
Annie pushed a
strand of her wavy brown locks behind her ear as she continued to concentrate
on her eggs. She was wearing her hair loose today. Normally, she wore her
favourite barrette. But then again, so many things were different about Annie
lately. Actually, her hair looked pretty lying loosely around her shoulders
like that. He liked the way she wore her hair so much better than the way some
of the girls in Gryffindor wore theirs… all swept up into some odd bumps on their
heads with strands hanging out… they must have got it from some magazine.
Annie was too intelligent to do something like that. Her hair looked natural
and suited her perfectly. She didn’t look like the other girls, she was better
Griffin tried to
concentrate on his bacon and eggs. Since when did I start thinking about
girls’ hairstyles? Since when did I think of Annie as a girl? She’s always
been plain Lupin, not a girl. It’s a good thing Gary isn’t here … he’d tease
me every chance he got about it.
The heat rose in
Griffin’s face as he swallowed some of his orange juice. Roarke was right; it
was warm today. He took a bite of toast.
“Would you please
pass me the orange marmalade?” asked Remus, extending his hand to take the
marmalade from Annie. “Thank you.”
“May I please have
the orange juice, Griffin?” asked Annie quietly.
she call me Griffin? He
looked up at Annie, stunned. Her beautiful grey eyes were looking straight
into his own. She was smiling sweetly at him; even the freckles on her nose
seemed to be smiling.
goodness! She is … beautiful!
orange juice?” Annie was motioning to the pitcher in front of him.
He sat there quite
unable to move for a moment longer before recovering himself. “Oh! I’m
sorry. Here you go … Annie.” And he handed the orange juice across the table
He was being
silly. Griffin was his name. Why shouldn’t she call him that? But she had
always called him “Black” or “that idiot boy.” Ever since they were little.
Never “Griffin.” Just like he never called her “Annie,” always “Lupin.”
It sounded so
nice to hear her call him by his first name. Much better than “Black.” They
had been calling each other by their last names all through childhood. But
We aren’t kids anymore. We’re growing
up. That’s why she looks so different. Why she acts so different. She isn’t
the little kid I grew up playing Muggle World with. Actually, we hardly ever
play games when we’re together anymore. Usually, we’re talking about various
things in our lives. She’s so intelligent and she knows me so well, I can talk
to her about anything. Nobody understands me better than she does. And she
still likes me.
Annie called me “Griffin” – twice. It
sounded so wonderful to hear her call me that! Not like anybody else. No, she
is different… special. She’s always there for me, always knows exactly what to
say or do. She is … wonderful.
She makes me feel different. Makes me
feel better, more confident. Special.
went wide as he realised what he had been trying to understand lately, what was
I love Annie. Could that be true? How
could I possibly love Annie?
But I do. I know it; I love her.
Everything about her. Her intelligence, the way she looks, the freckles on her
face, the way she laughs, her love of horses, her sense of humour…
He glanced up
at Annie. She was looking at him, her cheeks a bit pink.
Does she know? How could she know? I
hope not! I’m sure she doesn’t love me. I’m just the same old Black … or
Griffin… to her that I’ve always been. She can’t feel anything for me. I’m
still “that idiot boy.” Just a friend to her. That’s all I’ll ever be to her.
His pulse was
racing now; he could feel the blood throbbing in his head as he tried to figure
out what to do.
Does anybody else know? Does it show?
around the table, but Annie was now eating her toast again. The only one
looking up was Roarke, who was smiling a little at him. It’s probably just a polite smile. She can’t know anything. She
better not know anything! She better not tell Annie. No, Roarke wouldn’t do
that. She can’t do that; she doesn’t know anything.
What should I do? I can’t stay here…
I’ll act like an idiot. Every time she looks at me, I’ll look back like some
love-struck puppy. Or worse. Look how I’m acting now, and she’s not even
looking at me.
No. I can’t stay here. I’ve got to go…
somewhere…anywhere… The room
was spinning. Everything was moving much to quickly to understand.
knocked his seat over as he bolted out of it, trying to look nonchalant, but
me,” Griffin said nervously, running a hand through his hair. “I can’t take
any more… I mean I don’t want anymore… I’m rather full. I’ll … be out back. At
the stables… feeding the horses. Maybe I’ll ride Rascal … when he’s done
eating. Excuse me.”
And with that,
Griffin left the Lupins and his half-eaten breakfast behind him as he dashed out
of the kitchen past the gardens, behind a curtain of cypress trees, and on to
the paddock. He quickly fed the horses, waited impatiently for Rascal to
finish his feed, and rode him bareback away from the trails he and Annie
He wanted to be
alone to think things through.
several months ago. And during the following months, Griffin had been too
afraid to tell Annie how he felt about her. His mind slowly came back to the
present-time, to his favourite spot by the lake at Hogwarts… and to Annie.
heard a word I’ve been saying? Here, let me explain it to you this way!” She
leaned over and, without warning, kissed him. Griffin inhaled sharply as their
lips met, but he didn’t pull away. His mind went totally blank as he took in
the sensation of her hand against his face – and her lips pressed against his
She pulled away
slightly and pressed her forehead to his. “Now do you understand? You are so
much more than my best friend, Griffin.”
Yes, now he understood.
They had been
so much more than best friends ever since that day at Hogwarts so long ago.
Now that they were leaving Hogwarts, Griffin knew that he would be leaving with
Annie at his side. He should have seen this coming. After all, he had
inherited his grandmother’s abilities as a Seer. But how can you see when love
is going to find you? Especially when it is right in front of you.
his arms tighter around Annie as she slept in his arms. Annie snuggled in
closer to him with a sweet sound of sleepy contentment. The train would be
pulling into the station soon and their parents would be there to greet them.
He still wasn’t sure how Remus would feel about things. Katie would be all
right with it, but Remus… After all, Annie was his youngest daughter, his
But now they
would be spending a lot more time together once they got home. He did not
relish the idea of the look on Remus’ face every time he came over to see
Annie. But he wasn’t going to let that get in the way of their being
together. He kissed her gently on the top of her brown head.
and looked up at him, smiling sleepily. “Are we there yet?”
another half hour.”
She took her
hand out from underneath her head and wrapped it around him in an embrace.
“Are you still
sure?” he asked. “You know, we don’t have to tell them anything just yet if
you don’t want to. You can still change your mind. We’re not there yet, you
herself off of his chest and looked at him in disbelief. “You idiot boy! Of
course, I want to! I love you, Griffin Black. I want to spend every moment I
can with you. You can’t get away from me that easily.”
at her as he moved his arm and tenderly stroked the smooth skin on her cheek.
“I hope that’s a promise. Because I love you too much to ever let you go.” He
tilted her head up to his and pressed his lips gently on hers.
She settled her
warm body against his again as the train continued to move them closer to home,
closer to their future together.
“I just hope
your father will be okay with this,” said Griffin.
a bit. “He’ll live. If he could live through Roarke and Liam, then he can
for you to say. You’re not the one dating his little girl,” Griffin quickly
worry about it if I were you,” said Annie, laughing again as she reached a
finger up to trace his jaw line. “If anything, it’s your father that should
worry. Daddy will find some way to blame it on Sirius, not you. And your
father can take care of himself where Daddy is concerned. They always give
each other a hard time about things, but you know that they are like family.
So we will just be bringing the families a little closer together. That’s
Annie gently away from him so that she was sitting straight in her own seat
next to him. He suddenly felt nervous, as he knew what he wanted to do. What
he had to do. Annie looked at him, confused. He reached for her hands with
his own and held them in his lap.
He stared at
her without speaking for a minute. “You’re so beautiful.” Griffin gulped some
air, trying to remember how to breathe. He continued to look into her clear
grey eyes. She looked right back at him, her gaze never faltering.
“Annie, um, …
we’ve been like family … forever it seems.” Griffin sighed as he ran his
fingers through his hair. How do I put this? Then he quickly spurted out as he got an
Remember how we used to play exploding snap, and Magical, Muggle or
Misunderstood, you’d always win at that. I don't know when I stopped seeing
you as a sister Annie.” He suddenly broke off and put his head in his hands,
exasperated. “God! This is so hard to say!” How can I
ask her this? He growled
in frustration. Finally, he gathered himself up and looked determinedly at
Annie. “I want you to be a part of my family, my REAL
family. I’ve never known a
day without you in my life and I hope I never do. I wouldn't be able to stand
it! You’re everything to me. I love you. I know I do. And I always will. I
know I can still be that idiot from long ago, I don't deserve you or your love.
I need you."
He broke off
and swallowed hard again. His mouth was so dry. Why
did this have to be so difficult? He felt very awkward; perhaps it was too soon. I can’t do this! But
he had to know. Pull yourself together and just do
it! “Annie, suppose I was
to say this to you - what would you say? I’d go on bended knee and say, 'Analyise
Elizabeth, will you marry me?'” He hastened to add, “I mean, we just got out
of school. We’re too young. Not now… someday… when we’re older. We need to
get our lives going with real jobs and stuff like that first. Oh, I don’t know
what I’m saying, but I know I want you to marry me someday.” I’ve gone and mucked the whole thing up! It’s too soon. Look at
this – I’m actually sweating! Really smooth.
Annie stared at
him for one agonising minute without making a sound. Griffin had never felt so
nervous before in his life as he did now, waiting for her to answer.
At last, Annie
cleared her voice and spoke. “Well, I suppose I would say ‘yes.’”
“Then why don’t
we suppose I have asked that, for the time being, and wait for the moment I
really ask you?”
reasonable, Griffin Remus. I’ll keep my datebook clear until then... whenever
that may be.”
And with that,
they embraced each other with all of their love. Griffin reached a hand to her
face again and wiped away the tears that were sliding down her cheek. He
leant his lips down and kissed her with all his love and the relief that she
would be his.
never be any more doubt. This was forever.