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Chapter Thirty Seven: “Wake up sleepy head.” Sirius’s voice sounded far away. Megan tried to burrow beneath the covers and hide. She felt very tired and that was rather unusual for her. Sirius tugged at the blankets and Megan protested, “Stop it you ghoul, I’ll catch my death.” “Come on you little vixen, I need to get to headquarters and you’ve got two choices, stay here and I’ll see who’s available to stay here with you, or get up and come with me.” Sirius pulled relentlessly at the bedcovers, “I’m not joking, love of my life. Don’t make me jump in there and tickle you.” Megan sat up in bed, blowing the hair from her face. “I’m coming, I’m coming. All it takes is a nice threat about having to spend the day in the company of Moody again and I’m up and about.” Megan had to laugh though because Alastor Moody being present for a wedding gown fitting was one of the most howl inducing sights ever. “Although, the devil in me would love to see him forced to hold a pin cushion again.” Megan started giggling at the memory. “Oh was he ever pop eyed. It was a treat to see.” The seamstress had insisted he be useful despite his protests that he was on duty. Finally she threatened to start using him as the pin cushion if he was unwilling to help. That had finally done it, he’d sat there like the most outraged statue in the world, his hand held aloft with the purple pin cushion in it, his expression as dark as a thundercloud. “I want to shower first though,” Megan began, “And don’t even get that look in your eye Mr. Black, if I can’t be left on my own and there’s a mad rush then we certainly don’t have time…” It was too late. He’d already leapt into the bed beside her. “Moody will understand if I’m late. I’ll just tell him that my insatiable beloved needed attention.” “Sirius, you’re being daft, you know that?” Megan couldn’t help but laugh. “You wouldn’t love me any other way.” He said and began peeling off the clothes he’d just put on. “True, you were in this condition when I fell in love with you so….oh… what was I saying?” Megan became distracted. “You were telling me that you’d love to be a bit late.” “So I would.” Megan said and meant it. ::::::::::::::::::: Frank Longbottom smiled indulgently at Sirius when he appeared. He liked Sirius, it was almost impossible to not like him actually. “We’re out with Moody today.” Longbottom greeted him. They had taken to doing day patrols through some of the villages. The Death Eaters had become so bold they sometimes would simply show up in villages during the day, terrorizing the citizens It was worrisome, they obviously weren’t as concerned with secrecy any longer. It meant they felt sure of winning. “Where are we off to Frank?” Sirius asked as he ate a piece of toast and gulped a glass of orange juice. “Village of Peramblee.” Frank answered and Sirius stared. “God, that’s all the way up in Scotland, they’re really getting full of themselves aren’t they?” Sirius was rather shocked that the magical village was their destination. “They are.” Longbottom’s face was a bit round but he still managed to be steely eyed when he said this and he looked rather imposing. “Well, let’s see what’s what up there then.” Sirius quickly began dishing up some more food. “I’ll just be a second, really.” “No time for breakfast?” Longbottom rarely teased but couldn’t help himself. Black had been over an hour late. “I overslept.” Sirius said around a mouthful of eggs. “Happens to all of us.” Frank replied smiling. “How in the hell do you get away from the Auror’s offices so often?” Sirius was now preparing to shove a piece of bacon into his mouth. “The Minister of Magic is working in conjunction with Dumbledore now that we’re needed during the day.” Longbottom answered, but did not add that he was grateful for this because it meant that he stood a chance of spending some time at home with his wife. During the day she frequently brought Neville to headquarters too, since she’d stopped working for the moment at Dumbledore’s recommendation. “That’s a mercy for you then, you can be home a bit more.” Sirius brushed some crumbs from his robes. “Right, ready to go. Sorry for the delay.” “Well, I’m sure it was for a worthy cause.” Frank couldn’t help but tease a bit. “You must have needed the sleep.” “I did.” Sirius said and began to head out of the room, oblivious to the kind smile that had spread over the older man’s face. He hastened to catch up with Black. :::::::::::::::: “Wow, Lily’s got competition.” Sophie Burns was digging into some food a bit later. “But you shouldn’t know how to cook like this Sliverton, you grew up with a veritable herd of house elves.” “I’m a man of many talents.” Atticus said and expertly flipped a pancake on the stove. “Here’s Megan, come and eat while it’s still hot.” “Atticus, how many breakfast have you cooked today?” Megan sat down gratefully in front of the heaping platters. She’d fallen asleep on the couch upstairs almost as soon as they arrived. In her dreams she was running through a maze, searching for something but it had always been just beyond her. “Well, I did feed Hagrid earlier, so that sort of skews ones perspective.” Sliverton caught some toast deftly, buttered it in a lightning movement and had it placed on the counter by the eggs. “That should do it.” “Do you have any idea if Sirius ate before heading out?” Megan asked as she looked at the eggs. She wasn’t particularly interested in them although she would have sworn she was ravenous a moment ago. “Eat Meg, got to keep your strength up for the big day.” Sophie prodded. Megan was looking a bit pale actually. “It’s McGonagall and Dumbledore who really need to eat then because they’ll have to alter the memories of all the Muggles who are coming.” Megan said. Their wedding was on the 15th of November and Flitwick had already been to the sight, he was sure he could magically conceal it. They would of course need a secret keeper for the event. “Will James and Lily be able to come?” Sophie asked. “Lord I hope so. Lily might go berserk otherwise. Not to mention that James is the best man, although I’m sure Remus would fill in gladly.” Megan tried a bite of scrambled eggs, she knew that Atticus cooked well but they tasted like sludge to her. “Megan what the…” Sophie said as Megan suddenly dashed from the room. Atticus stared after her for a moment as Sophie began to rise from her chair. “I’ll check on her.” Atticus said. “After all, if my cooking did her in, Black will have me in irons by nightfall if not before.” He walked swiftly to the basement level bathroom and heard the unmistakable sounds of her retching behind the door. “Silencio.” He said and tapped the door with his wand just seconds before Sophie appeared behind him with a questioning look on her face. No sound escaped the bathroom now. “Is she all right?” Sophie looked worried. “Just a blinding headache I think, those can get you very quickly.” Atticus said. Then he turned down Sophie’s offer to get a potion for it. “I’ve got an excellent one in my room. I’ll grab it. Go on back to your breakfast, Soph.” “Okay, let me know if she wants ice for her head though.” As soon as the girl had left, Atticus raised his wand and softly called, “Accio toothpaste.” Paused and then said, “Accio new toothbrush.” As the things came rocketing down the stairs, Peter had to duck. After a few minutes the bathroom door opened and Atticus handed her what he had called for. “As soon as you’re ready.” “Thanks,” Megan was blushing scarlet as she went back into the bathroom and carefully brushed her teeth so that she wouldn’t gag again. Out in the hall, Atticus waited. When she stepped out again, she silently handed him the toothpaste, having stowed the toothbrush in a cabinet inside. She might need it again. “Very odd, and no reflection on the cook, my hand to…” She stopped, Atticus was gazing at her mildly. They had talked for hours in the hospital and knew each other. “Oh fine, you won’t tell anyone, will you?” “No, of course not. That’s why I waited, just wanted to see how you’re feeling and let you know that you had a crushing headache, very suddenly.” He smiled at her kindly. “Worked out an alibi for me, did you?” But Megan was grateful. “Seemed best.” “I just don’t want anyone to know until it seems…safe.” Megan smiled at him and the hope in her face was warming to behold. “Entirely understandable.” Atticus began walking down the long hall with Megan back towards the kitchen. “I think that crackers are supposed to help, by the way. Told Sirius yet?” “No, I thought I’d wait a bit there too. I had a bit of trouble once before.” Megan said and was grateful that Atticus did not press further on this issue. He simply nodded. “Partners in secrecy then?” Megan joked. “You won’t tell Sirius that I’m up the spout and I’ll not tell anyone that you are ridiculously tall.” “I’m certain they’ve never noticed, thanks for your discretion.”

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