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 You Hate Me

Epilogue

 

Mr. Frederick Baker of 1 Green Street was smiling. Above him in the room upstairs there was a loud crash and a cry of protest. Normally a landlord would not smile about the likely destruction of property—his property—that was going on upstairs, but he could not help the grin. They reminded him of his youth, and with thoughts of his youth came thoughts of Maggie.

When he was their age he fought constantly with Maggie. Their eventual love was built on a sturdy foundation of hate. He once dipped her blonde curls in an inkwell. She once put glue in his favorite hat, giving him a “free haircut,” as she called it. She was a spitfire. But over the years that hate gave way to a more powerful emotion, and even after forty years of marriage and forty years of fighting, love always won in the end.

He wished the two upstairs the best of luck. Maggie would have liked them too. There was another crash upstairs, and a shout of, “You bloody imbecile!” Frederick shook his head. Then again, maybe not.

Upstairs, Piper threw another plate at Sirius’ head. Her arms were not strong, and her aim was poor, and Sirius was amused rather than scared.

“Shall I add plates to the shopping list?” Sirius said, dancing away from an oncoming plate.

Pumpkin, the calico cat that James, Remus, and Peter had given Sirius on Valentine’s Day, jumped off her perch on one of the armchairs. She wove between Piper’s legs, rubbing against her with her back arched, as if in approval.

“You’re mad if you think I’m going anywhere with you,” Piper said.

They had fought all summer long. The slightest annoyance set the other off, but the rows were short-lived and always ended with them falling with each other into their bed, or the sofa, or the kitchen table, or the floor. Lying in each other’s arms, they would forgive and forget—until the next argument commenced.

After Piper and Sirius spoke in the Forbidden Forest at the end of their sixth year they did not become a couple. It was not as easy as that.

It took Piper weeks to write to Alexander calling off the wedding. Sirius listened as she voiced her terror about breaking away from her family once and for all. She said they would come after her, that they would never let her go. She had lengthy discussions with Professor Dumbledore, which she never went into detail about with Sirius, but he knew that the old wizard loved his pupils and would always protect them.

Near the end of the year, the attacks started to happen. Pureblood supporters of the dark wizard whose name was never spoken coordinated a terrible attack on Muggles. When the news reached the castle, Piper found Sirius late that night in the Gryffindor common room. He held her in his arms as she cried, saying that she could not go back, not when she knew in her heart of hearts that her family likely supported the attack. 

She wrote the letter that night, sending a mean looking barn owl out of the Gryffindor tower.

“What will you do?” Sirius asked her.

 “I don’t know. Find a place to live, I guess. Maybe ask if I can stay here for the summer.” 

“We could—we could find a place together,” Sirius said, his voice lacking its usual confident air. “You know, to save money.”

“I think I’d like that,” Piper said. And she leaned into him, breathing in his scent, capturing his mouth with hers. There in the Gryffindor Tower they came together at last. Sirius did not touch her like she was an easily broken piece of china, but rather as a blind man felt an unfamiliar material, full of wonder and excitement. Their need was urgent. Afterwards, Piper felt like something she had not even known was missing had suddenly been put back into place, like a long forgotten book suddenly reappearing on the shelves after years and years.

For a long time neither of them had said anything. Finally, Sirius said, “Wow.” And Piepr said, “Wow.” And Sirius said, “I can’t believe we waited so long to do that.” And Piper punched him in the arm. “Let’s do it again,” she said.

The next day, with permission from Dumbledore, she traveled to London to empty out her Gringott’s account before her parents heard the news. That was how they managed to afford the one bedroom flat rented from Mr. Baker that summer.

And there they had been living in relative peace—until now. Sirius walked in the door, breathless from excitement.

 “It’s happening,” he said urgently. 

“What’s happening?” Piper said.

“Dumbledore’s starting a group—an order to fight back. Against Him.”

Piper had dropped the plate she was washing into the sink.

 “I told him I’d join. I’m of age. I told him I’d fight. James too.”

“You what?” Piper said, and that is when the fight began in full.

Piper hurled insults at him along with the plates until she ran out of both. Sirius took advantage of the pause in her assault. “Piper,” he said, “I know you’re afraid.” He wrapped her in a hug. Piper had a quiet courage that took coaxing out, as Sirius had learned. “But if people like us don’t fight, He will win.”

“We can’t let that happen,” Piper said, standing straighter.

Sirius kissed her. “I love you,” he said. “Come on, say it back.” Even after all this time she sometimes still had trouble speaking the words out loud to him. “Come on,” he said, teasing. “I love you and you love me.”

“Don’t tell me how I feel,” she said. She gripped the fabric of his robes and pulled them down.

“You love me,” Sirius said.

“Shut up,” she said.

They crashed into each other and he went to work on her outfit. Sirius propped himself up on his elbows, looking down on her. “Do you love me?” he said. 

“Of course I do, you idiot. I love you and you love me.”

“Glad that’s settled,” Sirius said.

“Only took us six years,” she said dryly.

He laughed. “We just mistook hate for love, that’s all.” He unbuttoned her shirt.

“No,” she said with a laugh, “We definitely did.” She pulled him into her thinking about the pranks they played and the names that they uttered to each other. She thought about how far you can come in a year. She thought about how hate is not the greatest emotion in the human spectrum, rather it is the weakest. It is easily conquered. Then Sirius took off his shirt, put his lips on hers, and she thought of nothing but him.

Afterwards, laying beside him, Piper said, “Sirius?" 

He looked up. 

“Why did we hate each other so much anyway?” 

“Piper,” he said, “I don’t think we ever did.”

 ****

A/N: Well that's all folks. Only took me about eight years. I know there are about a million loose ends I never tied up and to some of you this might be a little unsatisfying, but hey it's better than nothing. We all know Lily and James get together in the end, and this story was always more about Piper and Sirius. This was always the ending I imagined, with them living together in London always rowing and shagging. The problem with Sirius fics is that, unfortunately, we know his fate as well. I once envisioned writing up to that point in time, but I think this is a good place to close it. Thanks to everyone who reviewed and everyone who read. You're the heart of HPFF. 

Cheers,

Serena

 

 

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