The air around her seemed to grow warmer. Nora knew she had done what she was supposed to do, but worried now that it might be too late. She raced down the stairs, wand still gripped tightly in her hand, and threw open the door without bothering to turn off the gas lamps in the entrance corridor. Once she was on the doorstep, Nora disapparated back to Andromeda’s. The endless sky was lit up with a heavy sprinkling of stars, the air humid and clammy.
“Nora!” Andromeda was yelling. The woman was circling her house at a hurried pace, hands cupped around her mouth and calling Nora’s name.
“Over here,” Nora shouted.
Andromeda swiveled around, her face a mixture of relief and annoyance. From behind her, though, Ted Tonks waltzed out of the darkness, training his wand on Nora’s face. “Elf,” he said.
Ted relaxed, but then his eyebrows knit together. “Where have you been? We didn’t see you come back downstairs. Dumbledore was just here – but he left just a second ago. He’s not rushing to the Ministry right away – he’s going to go back to Grimmauld Place for some odd reason. How did you get out here?”
Nora shrugged. “Turned into an owl and flew out the window.” She doubted she would ever tell anyone about the apparition of her not-too-far-into-the-future-self. She’d seen the beds in St. Mungo’s and didn’t fancy staying in one for the rest of her life.
“Oh.” It was Andromeda now. “Did you see anything? Have you heard anything?”
Nora’s eyes welled up with tears, and the older woman embraced her. “I know,” she said soothingly. “Tonks is strong – she’s a survivor. And Sirius cares more about you than anything else in the world – just remember that. I’m sure he’ll come back fine.”
Nora felt intense pressure settling in the air all around her. Was she doomed to become the creature that haunted her dreams for months – full of melancholy and desolation and torment? She’d waited so long to find what she was supposed to. She hadn’t bothered really trying to search for the unknown thing other-Nora so urgently tried to communicate…she’d just blown it off. And now, it might be too late. She could only guess how long it took other-Nora, the Nora of tomorrow, to find that stack of letters under Sirius’s floorboards. She’d somehow reached back into the depths of her past to rectify it, to make herself find them; and Nora had ignored the cryptic warnings, her unmistakable sense of urgency.
Nora gazed up at the twinkling sky, the atmosphere stagnant and still. Andromeda and Ted stood on either side of her, tilting their heads up as well and observing the constellation Sirius, the Dog Star, in silence. Andromeda and Ted held hands, internally murmuring a vigil for their daughter and only child. All three of them felt utterly alone on the Earth.
“How long has it been?” Nora whispered after a long stretch of quiet waiting.
Andromeda shook her head. “Too long…”
“Something’s got to be happening there,” Ted said, eyes darting fearfully toward his wife.
Nora walked away from them, pacing along the edge of the woods where she would have a clear view of the whole property. Not knowing what was going on was killing her. She toyed with Sirius’s ring – too big for her slender fingers – and slid it down onto her wand for safekeeping. It fit snugly around the handle. Sirius would come back, unharmed, to reclaim his ring. He had to.
Nora worried for Tonks and Remus, too, but she couldn’t bring herself to feel the same level of anxiety where they were concerned. She and Sirius had spent so many nights alone together, playing Exploding Snap and listening to music, or Sirius reading Nora’s book over her shoulder and making sarcastic comments about it until she gave up and just flung the book at him. They would take turns cooking and cleaning and thinking of things to do. Sirius liked to fashion sleds out of cardboard and fly down the staircase, or sit next to the window and narrarate what he imagined the pigeons outside were saying to each other. His narration of the pigeons never failed to make Nora laugh.
He would read sections of a book aloud to her, asking her opinion. When he was bored, he would follow her around the house and try to pick a fight so that they could duel. And whenever he was impatient for her to wake up in the mornings, Sirius would stomp around in the room above hers until she dragged herself out of bed. She taught him how to make paper mache; he bewitched her toilet to sing opera music every time she flushed. They pranked each other endlessly - Sirius would steal Nora's bedding and shove it up the fireplace, and Nora in turn might Charm every mirror in the house to reflect Sirius's face as Mad Eye's; they would hide out in the attic when Mundungus came over, giggling behind a dusty trunk like two children.
They played hide-and-seek. They had water balloon fights. Nora would tiptoe out of her room and down the stairs, dreading it, knowing it was going to happen - and sure enough, Sirius would jump out from somewhere and scare the daylights out of her. Then he would collapse to the floor, laughing hysterically while she beat him over the head with a sofa pillow. He liked to sneak into her bedroom while she was in the shower and rearrange her books, which always made her bare her teeth. She couldn't stand to have those books out of order and he knew it.
Nora would watch him dance around the kitchen with the mop, singing into the handle for her benefit. He lived to entertain Nora. He never allowed her a second of peace - whether she was trying to teach herself to sew or if she was making dinner or cleaning out the rubbish under a bed in a spare bedroom, Sirius was always over her shoulder, making her laugh and forget what it was she was supposed to be doing.
As solitary as life had been, Nora loved every minute with Sirius; he made everything magical and exciting somehow, and was constantly cracking her up with laughter. His humor was a staple to Nora’s health, and she couldn’t last for very long without it. Even being separated from him now, where she had no idea what dangers he was facing or if he was even alive – Nora felt her peace of mind crumbling into powder. The whole world was on the fritz tonight.
“Come on, come on,” she muttered at the muggy sky, growing excruciatingly impatient with the suspense. Her stomach twisted into knots. Every snapping twig in the forest, every firefly dipping in and out of sight made her heart clench in anticipation. She needed to see him, hold him, and tell him that she’d been stupid for waiting so long to bare her feelings. She was a coward, and she was paying for it. Never before had Nora so dolefully understood the power and importance of honest communication.
“Where are they?” Andromeda cried, tugging on her hair and reminding Nora idly of Petula.
Andromeda’s mournful words barely had time to ripple through the air before swirls of incandescent light tunneled out of the black sky, transforming from radiant wisps of smoke into human forms.
Figures appeared from nowhere, popping all over the lawn. There was Moody, leaning against Remus; and Tonks, who was being held up by Kingsley Shacklebolt. “Got to take her to St. Mungo’s!” Kingsley shouted at her parents. “But you can see her for a few minutes first.” Ted and Andromeda rushed to hug their daughter. Moody grunted, conjuring a cane and heaving his weight onto it so that Remus could stand upright. Nora stared eagerly from one person to the next, her eyes wandering for the man with dark hair and the jewel-bright eyes.
And there, at the end of the lawn, was Sirius Black. He sidestepped Tonks, who was staggering over to Remus, and ran a hand through his hair, laughing like he’d just had the fight of his life.
Reckless, reckless, Padfoot….
Nora’s hands flew to her mouth, tears rolling from her eyes. She could vaguely hear him saying to Remus, “Did you see that curse of Bellatrix’s? Nearly hit me!” And Remus was replying, but it was too late – Sirius had already caught sight of Nora.
“Sirius!” Andromeda said to him. “Is Harry okay? It all comes down to Harry. Is he alright?” But Sirius had eyes for no one but Nora. Purposefully, steadily, he made his way toward her. Nora thrilled at the sight of him, alive and beautiful, and drank him in like an elixir. If anyone deserved to elude death, it was certainly a person like Sirius – so resilient, so selfless, so full of exuberance and zest for life. Moonlight bathed his pale face, excited about his narrow miss with death, excited that he’d had a reason to avoid death at all. He approached Nora single-mindedly, no trace of hesitation in his demeanor. Everyone watched with bated breath as he tenderly moved Nora’s shaking hand away from her mouth. And then he kissed her.
Nora’s arms flew around his neck, pulling him closer to her. Tonks was cheering like a maniac, and Nora laughed, her brain fuzzy with giddiness. The sensation was pleasant on Sirius’s lips – he could have laughed as well, he was so close to bursting with joy. Everything he’d wanted – everything he thought he could never have – was right in front of him, her fingers twining through his hair. The forbidden fruit, in his possession at last.
“You came back,” she whispered.
“You told me to.” He held her face in his hands, beaming at her. “I wasn’t about to disobey an order right after you said you loved me. I’m not a complete loon, you know.” He skimmed his thumb along the edge of Nora’s lower lip, and she closed her eyes at his touch. “Waiting, hoping, stressing – it was all worth it. Look at you – you were so worried about me!”
“I was sure you’d meet a bunch of Death Eaters,” she said indignantly.
“And so I did,” he mused. Nora’s concentration was riveted on his eyes – gleaming even brighter than the starry sky. “But I wasn’t going to let myself lose you before I’d even really gotten you yet.” He lowered his voice so that only she could hear. “All I want is for you to be mine.”
She leaned her head against his chest, feeling his heartbeat stutter under her cheek. “You should open your eyes more, then. I’ve been yours for nearly a year.”
Sirius slid his hand behind her head and with his other hand, tilted her chin up with one finger to see him. His mouth swiftly covered hers, fervent lips moving with desperate need. Now that he knew she wasn’t going to push him off of her, he couldn’t see how he’d ever be able to stop. He had wanted this for so long, and had waited so arduously, so painfully, that just a few minutes of kissing could not satisfy him. He doubted ten years could pass by and he’d have had his fill.
“Get a room!” Moody yelled, and Sirius finally detached himself from Nora, grinning.
“You know, there’s something in that,” he told her with a wink. She smiled shyly, slipping her hand into his. Together, they apparated onto the front step of Number Twelve.
Sirius watched the morning light swathe Nora’s face, seeming to glow from within. She was all wrapped up in the white sheets, snuggled close against him with one hand draped across his chest. Her eyelids shone golden in this light, her eyebrows and eyelashes less transparent. He stroked her hair and let his finger graze down her spine. Slowly, her eyes opened – first one, and then the other.
“You woke me up,” she accused.
“Liar.” Sirius grinned, his eyes teasing. “You’ve been awake for at least ten minutes, waiting to see if I would try to take advantage of you while you were sleeping.”
She smiled. “Yes, and I was disappointed.”
His eyes flashed. “Don’t encourage me. Of course I would love getting around to…shall we say…re-living our experience of last night. But since we didn’t do a whole lot of talking then, I thought now might be a good time for that.”
Nora almost giggled. Yes, they certainly had not done much talking the night before. Sirius and Nora had gotten so caught up in the fact that their romantic affections were reciprocated that words weren’t completely necessary. She noticed that a few pillows and her clothes lay scattered all over the floor, and her hair was a wild mess. She felt delightfully savage.
“Well, Sirius, I woke up in your bed this morning,” she mused, beaming at him. “So even if you’re not going to immediately seduce me, I’m still going to be in a good mood.” She paused and forgot what she was about to say next, playing with his hair and studying how it gleamed chestnut when caught in the light.
Sirius gazed down at her. “Your Patronus is a dog.”
She met his eyes, somewhat taken aback by the change of subject. “Yes.”
He sat up against the headboard and pulled her closer to him. “I couldn’t help but notice, at the Ministry when you so conveniently sent me a message while I was dueling with dear Bellatrix –”
“Sorry about that.”
“Don’t be. Confused the hell out of her – Remus managed to hex her right between the eyes, she was so distracted. Bellatrix escaped, in the end, but it seemed for a moment that she was just about to finish me off before your little message came. I had no idea she’s as skilled as she is – but don’t ever tell anyone I said that. Anyway, I couldn’t help but notice that your Patronus looks awfully familiar.”
“You’re fishing,” Nora replied playfully. “You know the dog is you; you just want to hear it.”
“If it hadn’t been accompanied by your voice, I probably wouldn’t have believed it was from you,” he continued. “But I know from experience that Patronuses can change forms. Mine did.” Nora raised her eyebrows and Sirius laughed. He had such a wonderful laugh – his eyes lit up, his mouth dimpled – it always made Nora smile as well, no matter what her mood might be. “Didn’t you ever wonder why I never tried to cast any Patronuses that night you went to see Snape at Hogwarts? There were all those dementors, but it was either my pride or keeping my secret, so I had to pretend to be inept at the spell. I didn’t want you to see my Patronus, because it’s an owl now. It’s been an owl for quite some time, actually; I’ve been terrified you would find out. Snape knows. I was sure he’d say something to you.”
Nora marveled at this. “We switched Patronuses.”
Sirius laced his fingers through Nora’s. “That’s proof, then. You really do love me.”
Nora kissed his cheek. “I really do love you.”
Sirius slid away from her somewhat, looking strangely nervous. He ran a hand through his hair, avoiding her eyes. “This is all wrong,” he said.
Nora’s eyes widened in alarm. “What?”
He sighed. “This should be…different. But I can’t help it. I’m going to do it, anyway.” He drew a deep breath and Nora felt her face draining of blood. Was he about to tell her he’d made a mistake? That he didn’t want to be with her after all?
“I want you to marry me.”
He waited several seconds before he chanced a glance at her, and miraculously found her lips curving into a broad smile. He felt hopeful. “I don’t…I mean…I know this isn’t that romantic or anything. And, really, this may be a bit premature. We’ve only just told each other how we feel last night, so this might be rushing. I don’t know – I don’t think I care. I just…I don’t even have a ring for you. Oh, I feel so stupid.” Nora smiled even wider, teetering on the brink of laughter. “Don’t laugh!” he begged. “This is a horrible proposal; look at me, I’m blubbering like an idiot. I’ll get you a diamond today, I promise. I’ll get you the most massive diamond you’ve ever seen – it will be ridiculous – all the proper ladies will be scandalized.”
“I don’t want a diamond,” she said. “I want a ring to match yours. A ruby phoenix, to symbolize that we’re both free, in a way, now that we’re together.” A woman’s mind is generally ten chapters ahead of a man’s when it comes to these issues, and she’d already invested some thought into it.
He raised his eyebrows, his grey eyes so innocently probing, so hopeful. “So you’ll marry me?”
“Of course I’ll marry you.” She tossed a pillow at his head. “What, do you think I’m waiting around for someone else to ask me? I was made for you, you dolt.”
“I know it seems a bit early for it,” he confessed, “But it feels right. For us, I mean.”
“I'm up for anything.” She relaxed into him. “I alread know I want to be with you, so I see no reason why we shouldn’t just make it official.”
He pressed his lips to her forehead. “Exactly.”
They were quiet for awhile, simply enjoying each other. “You kissed me in front of everyone,” she remarked. “It was positively delicious. Tonks will be popping in at any moment, threatening to murder me if I don’t spill the details.”
“Well, you know me,” he replied loftily. “I’m full of surprises. You should tell Tonks that I took you to Fiji and we made love on the beach like heathen islanders. I think her brain would explode with all the gossip, and hopefully some of it would get around to your aunt.”
Nora made a face. “My aunt.” She nuzzled the inside of Sirius’s wrist with her lips. “I think you’re starting to grow on her.”
He grinned. “Of course I am. I’m Sirius Black, darling. I grow on everyone.” He pierced her with a lingering gaze. “Nora?”
“I love you.” He smiled. “It feels amazing to say that.”
“I love you, too.”
He closed his eyes. “It feels even more amazing to hear it.”
He radiated such happiness – such pure, unashamed joy, that she melted into him and they spent the morning lost somewhere between the sheets, with Cedric Diggory, who had popped out from behind one of the pillows, gasping for breath. "Oh my god, it's so hot under there!" he cried, arms flailing. "I've been hiding in Grimmauld Place since Goblet of Fire to get away from Cho, and it's been hell trying to avoid you two in this house, I can't stand it anymore."
That afternoon, Nora’s prediction about her best friend rang true. Tonks was tapping her foot impatiently in the entrance corridor, craning her neck to see up to the third landing and wondering which door Nora would emerge from. A gratified smirk crossed her face when both Nora and Sirius proved to have been in Sirius’s bedroom, looking tousled and in great moods. Nora grabbed Tonks and led her down the stairs at a brisk dash, spilling all the details as soon as they reached the privacy of the kitchen.
“Engaged?” Tonks squeaked. She sat back in her chair, utterly flabbergasted. “Married! Merlin!”
“Yes,” Nora replied, smiling in amusement while her best friend mussed up her plum-colored hair with an inattentive hand. “We’re getting married!”
“What’s not to believe?” Sirius retorted from behind them. Nora should have guessed he’d be standing there. She glanced over her shoulder and he gave her a wink. “Told you I wasn’t going to leave you alone for two seconds ever again,” he reminded her.
Tonks rolled her eyes. “Oh, Nora. You can do better than him.”
“But I’m splendid!” Sirius exclaimed, popping the top off a butterbeer and sauntering over to join them. He looked very much like he was enjoying himself. “And Nora seems to agree that I’m quite a catch.” He planted a kiss on Nora’s neck. Unsatisfied, he kissed a little lower…and lower again, and soon he was just trying to be shocking for Tonks’s benefit (Tonks looked drawn between morbid curiosity and extreme horror). Nora rolled her eyes and reached up with her hand to push him away, and he bit her finger playfully. “So let’s just leave it at that and not try to put any ideas in her head about changing her mind, yeah?”
“Like she could change her mind, anyway.” Tonks snorted. “She’s done nothing but whinge about you for months! Christmas Eve was one of the most depressing nights of my life because of her.”
“No, thanks. Don’t really care to inflate your ego any more.” She frowned at Nora. “So what are you going to do today while the rest of us are cleaning up the Ministry and dealing with a group of captured Death Eaters? I’m assuming you two lovebirds are going to skip out on us, then?”
“You bet,” Sirius quipped. “I don’t really care that Fudge is clearing Dumbledore’s name or that a few Death Eaters are going to be chucked back into a prison the Ministry has no control over. Harry’s been vindicated, thank God, and that’s all that matters to me. Now he can finish his year without Umbridge’s claws in his back, and have a crack at a normal summer.”
“So what’re you doing today, then?” Tonks wanted to know, crossing her arms. “Going to go pick out cakes and boutonnieres?”
“Actually, I thought we might spend most of it up in my bed,” Sirius answered.
Tonks glared. “You’re such an arse.”
Sirius’s eyes widened in phony astonishment. “Nymphadora! I was merely implying that Nora would be helping me go over old Gringotts bank records, and a bed just so happens to be a very comfortable location to do so. What are you suggesting – that I would defile this young woman before we were properly wed?” He made a very good imitation of someone who was quite disgusted. “I can’t believe you would hint at such an abomination! What kind of man do you think I am?”
“You want to hear a riddle?” Tonks asked sarcastically. “You’re dead. How did it happen?” Sirius raised an eyebrow. “I killed you for being such a git. That’s how the story goes. So shut up.”
“One – you suck at riddles,” he said. “No surprise there, since you suck at everything. Two – I’d be nice to me if I were you. Isn’t it customary for the maid of honor and the best man to have a dance at the wedding reception? It could be Remus…or it could be Mundungus.”
She wrinkled up her nose in revulsion. “You wouldn’t!” And then she rapidly caught on to what he was saying. She jumped out of her chair and knocked Nora over, hugging her.
“Argh!” Nora yelled, feeling quite in danger of being crushed to death.
“You’re making me maid of honor?” she cheered. “Oh, Nora, I love you!” She turned her eyes on Sirius – unnaturally large and pleading. “Please, please, please have Remus as the best man. Please?”
Nora laughed and rolled over, toppling them both onto the floor. “Tonks saying ‘please’ to Sirius? Pinch me, I’m dreaming.” Tonks continued to beg, and Nora said, “Of course it’s going to be Remus. Who else would it be?”
“I’m going to be what?” a friendly voice inquired. Tonks and Nora, who were still grappling on the floor, swiveled to turn and look at Remus. Tonks blew the hair out of her blushing face and quickly scrambled to her feet.
“My best man,” Sirius replied, his mouth twitching into a smile. “Nora and I are getting married.” He cocked his head, savoring those words on his tongue. Married to Nora. He liked the sound of that.
Remus’s mouth dropped open. “You’re not!”
“We are!” Nora responded gleefully, quite content with lying on the floor.
“And you want me to be your best man?” Remus ventured, his hazel eyes cautious. “What about Harry?”
Sirius waved a hand. “Harry can be a groomsman. But you’ll be my best man, Moony, because you’re my best mate.”
Remus looked both surprised and pleased. “Thank you…” He didn’t really know what else to say. Molly Weasley appeared unexpectedly behind his shoulder, knocking him out of the way with one elbow.
“You’re fine, then,” Molly spoke to Sirius. Nora couldn’t decide whether her aunt sounded relieved or accusing. “I – I had a nasty dream last night that something terrible happened…so I wanted to see for myself.”
“I’m alive and whole,” he replied, raising a glass of pumpkin juice to his lips and trying not to laugh. “And Nora’s going to be Mrs. Black.” Molly’s mouth dropped open, staring with huge, round eyes from him to Nora, who was still on the floor with her hair splayed out and her legs crossed in the air; and Sirius found himself enormously entertained by the Weasley matriarch’s stupor. “We were hoping you might do us the honor of making our cake.”
Nora and Sirius had not discussed any particulars – neither of them really cared about wedding details and wanted everything as undemanding as possible – but Nora knew he was just trying to appease her aunt – or maybe taunt her, it was hard to tell with him. Molly’s mouth thinned, unable to think of a decent response, and Nora turned to Sirius, whose eyes immediately went all glistening when falling upon hers. “Mrs. Black,” she pondered aloud. “A half-blood Black. Your mother’s portrait should be screaming her head off.”
“She should,” Sirius answered. “Except she heard the other portraits talking about it and she’s fainted from the shock.”
Nora smiled. “I think she secretly likes me.”
Sirius laughed, and Molly cracked a smile in spite of herself. In the end, her desire to have a hand in Nora’s wedding preparations won over any other sentiments, and she said, “Do you like buttercream frosting, Sirius?”
The wedding was a quiet, low-key affair, with only a small number of guests in attendance. There was the rest of the Order, of course – and all of the Weasleys, Harry, Hermione Granger, and Andromeda and Ted. Andromeda had actually sewn Nora’s dress herself, which was a Grecian-style white gown with pale lavender silk flowers clustered around the neck, waist, and hem (she’d refused to make anything with feathers, as Nora had suggested). Her hair was braided loosely to the side with thin lavender ribbons weaving through, and hung over one shoulder to cascade into curls down the front of her dress. Sirius was dressed in black; he’d told Nora that he thought the color enhanced his mystique. Nora was beginning to come to the conclusion that Sirius got a kick out of seeing how many times she could roll her eyes.
He grinned at her under the archway of blooming lilac, violets, and hydrangeas. Neither of them were paying the slightest bit of attention to the minister, who was babbling on about the vitality of a witch and wizard’s trust in each other and something about keeping the home a ‘sanctuary of inner strength’. It was such a gorgeous setting – they were standing in a field beyond the Burrow, the grasses rippling gold and ruby beneath a flaming sunset. Nora squeezed Sirius’s hands in hers, both amused and irritated that, of course, he was not the least bit nervous.
Sirius Black: eternal git.
She loved the way a few strands of dark hair blew in front of his eyes – those snapping, blazing eyes so full of witty intellect and probably a few thoughts that weren’t suitable for a minister’s ears. He stepped somewhat closer to her, very aware of the tittering from their audience in chairs several meters away, and started pulling obscenely inappropriate facial expressions.
Nora narrowed her eyes, biting her lip to stifle a smile that threatened to take over. Don’t you dare, she mouthed silently. Sirius winked and blew her a kiss.
The effect was instantaneous. She burst into a fit of giggles that couldn’t be stopped, and the more she giggled, the wider Sirius smiled, which just made her giggle more. He was looking incredibly pleased with himself, and soon Nora was doubled over, trying to force the ridiculous laughter streaming out of her mouth to subside. Tonks’s eyebrows were in her bubblegum-pink hairline, holding tight to Nora’s delicate bouquet of lavender and white roses; and Molly was gaping at her niece, horrified. Beyond them, all the guests were trying not to laugh at the way Nora had completely gone to pieces and Sirius’s naughty behavior during the most pivotal moment of their own wedding.
The only guest not laughing was the only guest who had not shown up. Severus Snape’s chair remained vacant between Rubeus Hagrid and Albus Dumbledore, the white ribbons on the back of the wooden chair blowing sideways in the breeze.
Sirius nudged Nora, who whipped her attention back to the minister. The balding wizard looked somewhat peeved – they’d only chosen him because he’d presided over Gideon and Petula’s wedding – and he repeated, “Do you, Lenora Prewett, take Sirius Black to be your husband?”
“Oh,” she said. “Yes. Yes, I certainly do.”
Tonks sniggered. “And do you, Sirius Black, take Lenora Prewett to be your wife?” the minister continued with half-closed eyes, obviously wishing to be done with the ceremony.
“Well, I wouldn’t call her that,” Sirius replied amiably, granting Nora his most winning of smiles. “She tends to get kind of uptight when you call her ‘Lenora’. But I think she’s hot when she’s angry, so by all means.” The minister glared at him and Sirius cleared his throat, flashing a devilish grin. “Yes, I want her. In the worst way.”
Nora dissolved into giggles again, but was quickly sobered when the minister muttered something about kissing the bride, and Sirius swung Nora off her feet with such gusto that it knocked all the laughter right out of her. From that point, it was a battle to maintain a level of decency in front of their family and friends. Sirius didn’t really care what it looked like – he probably could have started ripping her dress off right then and there and not have given it a second thought – but for Molly’s sake, Nora disentangled herself from him after a solid five minutes of excessive tongue-in-mouth. When they detached, Nora’s face was flushed and she was struggling to fill her lungs with air. Sirius looked smug.
“You’re such a spaz,” Tonks hissed in Nora’s ear as the new bride went to reclaim her bouquet. “You should have just eloped.”
Nora rolled her eyes. “You’re going to be a right nightmare at your own wedding, so don’t talk. I can just see you tripping over Remus, shoving him into the cake.”
She had not noticed Remus standing behind them, and he looked very pink in the cheeks at the insinuation of him ever marrying Tonks. Tonks lowered her head, flustered, and Nora skipped merrily away.
Sirius gave Nora his sexiest ‘come hither’ expression and pulled her off to the side, twirling her into a dance even though there was no music playing yet. The guests were all gorging themselves on cake without waiting for the newlyweds to cut it like civilized wedding tradition dictated they should. “We’re very obnoxious,” Sirius exclaimed gleefully. “We’re so happy that it makes them sick and everyone hates us right now. It inspires me to sing immodest songs about what you look like without clothes on and force them to listen to it because they would have bad manners if they didn’t.”
“You’re incorrigible,” Nora murmured. “I love you.”
He pressed his lips to hers, so soft and supple, and she could have fallen backward on the grass, tugging him along with her. Nora tended to forget herself when she was with Sirius. No matter how frequently he kissed her, it never failed to bring her to her knees every time. There was something distinctly magical about him that rendered her mesmerized. His liveliness, his undying energy, quick wit, and brazen affection – it sustained her like nothing else could.
Nora glanced over his shoulder at Tonks smashing a piece of her cake into Bill Weasley’s face. To hell with convention, she supposed. “I don’t think they’re worried about upholding manners,” she told Sirius, who always stopped to listen attentively whenever Nora spoke in his ear. Something about hearing what was inside her head, her musical voice, that sparkle in her eyes – he would drop anything and listen to her forever. “You pretty much destroyed any notion of propriety when you started making faces while the minister was talking.”
Sirius looked around, and his lips curved into another self-righteous smirk. The minister, unsurprisingly, had already left. Always the rebel, Nora thought. He lifted her wrist into the waning sunlight, admiring her miniature ruby phoenix glittering next to his own. He then brought Nora’s hand to his mouth and softly kissed it, his eyes never leaving hers. The action was so innocently done, but Nora still felt goosebumps shoot up along her skin. She would never want for anything else ever again, as long as she had him.
Nora kissed Sirius’s neck, smiling as he released an involuntary shudder. He wasn’t the only one with power, after all. “To think that we could have been doing this for ages,” she said, lightly kissing his neck again, just a bit lower. Her lips travelled downward, below his collar. She wasn’t bothered that anyone might be watching. His skin was so enticing that it begged her to touch it, and the natural fragrance stimulated her like being sloshed with icy water. “Time is a thief.”
“Well, there’s a natural timeline to things, a certain way that things are supposed to work themselves out,” Sirius began to say, and Nora nodded, putting her finger to his lips.
“I know,” she said. His eyes were smoldering, silently watching Nora with her finger still pressed to his lips. He gently waved it away and slid his hands through her hair, leaning forward to catch her mouth with his. He kissed her deeply, his head spinning with contented bliss. He was never going to let her go. Nora’s lips parted for a moment, burning under the irresistible tingling of his skin, his sweet breath in her mouth. Sirius’s eyes closed and his breathing became ragged. It was alarming, the sort of influence Nora’s tiniest movements held over his senses. “I know. And it was worth it.”
AUTHOR’S NOTE: How'd you like the irony of the title? Geddit - wedding veil? Ha! I had you scared, admit it.
So it's many months after this fic has been finished and posted and I made my way around here after spending so much time avoiding it. This was my very first fanfic and there are parts of it that, quite honestly, make me do facepalms. In checking this particular chapter over, I deleted a large chunk of steamy foreplay between Sirius and Nora after they Apparated to Number Twelve because it was god-awful and I would like to Obliviate it from my memory. So I do apologize for deleting the steaminess, but trust me - no steaminess at all is WAY better than the word vomit that used to be there.
-is forever scarred with bad UST and fail-romantic descriptions-
THANKS FOR READING ANYWAY! :D
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