Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor do I own the song Unbreakable by Westlife which wasn't actually supposed to appear in here…until it did…

A/N: The waltz that is coming up I wrote with Potter's Waltz from the Fourth movie soundtrack in mind…look it up… the clip on youtube of the waltz scene helps too. Now ON WITH THE STORY!

She Was Beautiful

She was beautiful and she didn't even know it. She was completely unaware how many, if not all, of the men here tonight had ogled her at least once. Hermione Granger was a confident person, and it showed in her demeanor, yet her confidence did not stem from knowing she had an amazing figure or that her face was pretty, instead it came from somewhere inside of her, from her knowledge and from her love of everyone and everything in her life.

He loved her. Sirius Orion Black was absolutely in love with Hermione Jean Granger, and she didn't even know it. His dark grey eyes focused on the object of his affections thoughtfully as she socialized.

Hermione certainly stood out at the Ministry's semi-annual ball in her teal blue floor length gown. The dress was strapless and hugged her chest in a modest way, a thick, same colored ribbon wrapped around just under her chest, leaving the rest of the dress to flare out in that way that every little girl used to dream of. Her hair was swept to one side in an elegant, curly side ponytail, its normal bushiness having been tamed, settling instead for lovely curls.

Her heavenly hazel eyes sparked with laughter as she danced with several uncoordinated Ministry officials; those same angel-like eyes that had pleasantly haunted his dreams every night since his return from the veil. He wasn't certain how she had saved him, having heard only snippets from various friends, the story sometimes varying, depending on who told it.

Mostly they say that after the final battle was won, she, along with several other students had decided to repeat the year they had missed during what was now known as the dark days. During her time at Hogwarts, along with assisting in the various necessary repairs, she spent most of her free time in the library researching; but what, no one knew.

The day after her graduation, supposedly Hermione waltzed right into the Department of Mysteries and demanded a job researching the veil. No one knew if it was because of her self-assured attitude, her hero status, or the fact that she knew about the veil and several other unmentionable items in the DOM that civilians should not know about, but she was given the job the next day.

It took her six months to actually find a way to accomplish what she set out to do; six months of constant research, late nights, and little food, before she stumbled upon the answer, quite literally. There were apparently ancient runes surrounding the platform the veil stood on, but unfortunately these were runes that no one for centuries had managed to crack. But Hermione, being the studious and determined witch that she was, spent another year and a half attempting to decipher them.

Ultimately it only took Hermione two years to accomplish something that Unspeakables had been working on for generations. A lot had happened during those two years. Harry and Ginny had married, as had Ron and Lavender Brown. Harry and Ron had both completed auror training in record time, Harry only taking three months while Ron took five to complete training that normally took two years to complete; apparently time spent constantly on the run and attempting, with eventual success, to defeat a maniacal wizard could do that to you.

The three had originally moved into Grimmauld Place upon graduation, but as each boy got married, they slowly left the old house alone, with Hermione as its sole occupant. Though as she spent so little time at home, working so hard on her task at the DOM, it didn't really bother her. It helped that she had Draco, who took it upon himself to pop in from time to time to make sure she was feeding herself and sleeping when it was apparent that she hadn't for a long time.

The first thing Sirius remembered about coming back was hearing James' voice. It was telling him that he was getting a second chance at a life that he never had the opportunity to enjoy. James told him to watch out for Harry, and to make sure that Remus, who had survived the war, knew that James never doubted his loyalty, and was glad that he was happy. Lily's lovely voice had then softly murmured a promise to Sirius that happiness and love would find him, but that as long as he remained inside the veil it could not find him.


Sirius walked, the blank darkness that he had been obliviously floating in during his time in the veil slowly faded to a white so bright it made it hard to see. The stone archway had appeared, a sheer fabric gently tossing in whatever nonexistent breeze there was.

It wasn't the archway that he was walking toward, however, it was the small curly haired witch that was standing just outside of it, a determined and reluctantly hopeful spark in her hazel eyes as she waved her wand and chanted some unheard words.

As Sirius drew closer to the archway and the separating veil he felt as if he were floating in a dream, no thoughts really circled his head other than the urge to go to this girl, he had to go to her, she was calling him. Then he was walking through the veil, and it was as if someone had awoken him suddenly, jerking him back into consciousness. He gasped for breath, not realizing that he had needed it until that moment, and fell to the ground on all fours, his legs collapsing beneath him.

"Sirius?" the woman exclaimed, surprise very heavy in her voice, "Merlin, it is you! I've done it!" suddenly Sirius found himself with an arm full of witch, "You're back!"

"Not that I mind love, but who are you?" Sirius croaked, his voice sounding as if it hadn't been used in years. He hadn't seen the woman's face properly since he had come through the veil and found himself actually capable of thought, and though her voice was somewhat familiar, he couldn't place it.

The curly haired witch jerked back from his arms and met his steel gray eyes for the first time, "You don't remember?" she asked in shock.

Sirius scratched his head, slowly rising to his feet, he legs feeling much less shaky than they had earlier. His eyes roved over the witch, from her red turtleneck tank top to her tight black pencil skirt that revealed long tan legs that ended in strappy black heels. Something was niggling in his mind that he knew this woman, but he was certain he had never seen her before.

"What about Harry?" Hermione suddenly asked, trying to ignore the tingles that ran through her body from his obvious perusal of her.

Sirius' eyes snapped up to Hermione's, "How do you know my godson?" he demanded.

Hermione scanned his face, a little relief coming to her eyes, "How old is Harry?" she quizzed him, ignoring his question for now.

Sirius thought this was a seriously stupid question to ask, "Fifteen," he stated firmly, he knew this for sure.

Hermione frowned, "What's the date today?" she wanted to know.

"It's the eighteenth of June," he stated irritably, "Would you please tell me what these pointless questions are for?"

"What is the last thing you remember Sirius?" Hermione asked quietly.

Sirius frowned, "What does that have to do with-," he growled, "I remember finding out that Harry was in danger…" suddenly Sirius looked around the room, his thoughts scattering around his mind, "We showed up here and Harry and I were dueling Malfoy right here…"Sirius whirled around to face Hermione, "What happened to me?" he demanded.

Hermione seemed to contemplate what to tell him, or maybe it was how to tell him. Eventually she sighed and opened her mouth, "You were dueling Bellatrix Lestrange and she sent you falling into the veil," she told him, "You've been inside the veil for five years."

Sirius blinked, then began shaking his head, "No, I can't have been gone for five years," he stated in disbelief, but Hermione nodded her head earnestly, her eyes telling him she wasn't lying.

Sirius sat down heavily on the stone steps leading up to the veil and ran his hands through his hair, "I promised I would be there," he despaired, "I told Harry I would always be there when he needed me. But now, here I am, finding out from some witch I've never met before, that I broke my promise," Sirius muttered to himself, feeling irritated; irritated at the witch for bearing such bad news, irritated at himself for breaking his promise, irritated because he had known all along that he should remain in his home, but had decided to ignore his better judgment anyway.

Hermione came to kneel in front of him, gingerly she placed her hands on his knees and peered up into Sirius face. "You do too know me Sirius Black," she stated with a small smile.

Sirius looked up at her, looking closely, "I think that I would remember someone as beautiful as you," he flirted half heartedly.

Hermione smirked, "Is that so Mr. Padfoot?" she asked, standing and propping her hand on her hip in the best imitation of the younger her that would yell at him just to get his attention to be on her for even just a moment.

Sirius looked surprised at her use of his nickname, he must really know her, but how? Clueless, he shook his head again, "I can't place your face, I'm sorry," he said softly.

Hermione was having fun, feeling much more light hearted than she had in years. It wasn't every day you get to mess with a recently-returned-from-the-dead-marauder, "You were best friends with James Potter and Remus Lupin in Hogwarts, your animagus is a black grim like dog. You lived in Number 12 Grimmauld Place, where your mother's portrait didn't know the meaning of shut up, and your house elf is Kreacher. You were wrongfully imprisoned in Azkaban until Harry's third year at Hogwarts when you found out that Peter Pettigrew, the traitor, was posing as the Weasley's pet rat."

Hermione paused to see if Sirius was any closer to recognizing her. When it didn't appear so she continued, "It was my cat Crookshanks who kept you from being killed by that rampaging godson of yours," she stated and Sirius eyes widened, "It was my idea to form the DA in our fifth year, and it was me that formed the club S.P.E.W., which in hindsight was a pointlessly pathetic group, but it gave me somewhat of a purpose back then-," Hermione's ramblings were cut off by Sirius shooting to his feet.

"Hermione?" he exclaimed. Sirius paused and looked at the woman in front of her, "You can't be Hermione Granger," he stated with a shake of his head, distrust in his eyes.

Hermione raised an eyebrow, "Really?" she replied in a sarcastic voice, "If I wasn't Hermione Jean Granger, how could I possibly know that you and I often had late night discussions over the summer before my fifth year with topics that ranged from house elf treatment to your wish that you had somehow managed to be a better brother to Regulus?" Hermione stared him in the eye, a bit of mirth sparking in her own, "I seem to recall that particular night ended with a spectacular bang when you threw your whisky bottle into the fire."

Sirius felt his eyes widen, "What was the name I wrote on my letters to Harry?" he demanded.

Hermione rolled her eyes, "Snuffles," she told him.

"What year did James Pettigrew and I become animagi?"


"Who was James and Lily's real secret keeper?"

"Peter Pettigrew."

"What was the last thing I said to you," Sirius asked, knowing that if she could answer this question it was really her, even though he was already pretty certain.

Hermione's eyes dropped to the floor and Sirius felt his heart fall with them, until her voice softly spoke, repeating his words verbatim, "'A true friend never gives up, they stand beside those they love no matter what, they would go to the ends of the earth to keep their friends safe. Harry can be impulsive at times, he gets it from me and his father I believe, and there will be times, like the several you have already told me about, that he will try and push you away. Don't let him. A true friend stays no matter what.'"

Sirius felt his breath whoosh out of him, it was her. In several large steps down the stairs he had her in his arms. Hermione was surprised at his reaction but eagerly returned his hug, remembering how often she would wish for a moment like this one when she was younger and had a simple crush on him. She inhaled and her heart quickened, a crush, it seemed, that hadn't gone away.

Sirius pulled back and placed his hands on her shoulders and held her at arm's length, "Look at you," he said with a shake of his head, "All grown up," he smirked and winked at her making her laugh, "You've sure changed a lot," he said.

"So have you," Hermione replied gesturing to him, making him look down. He was in the clothes that he had been wearing the day he fell in, but somehow they seemed to fit quite well now. His body seemed to have put on muscle instead of the gaunt thin body he had had, "You look as if you are in your late twenties," she told him with a smile, making him smile in return.

"Really?" he asked, "I wonder why that is?"

Hermione shook her head, "I didn't find that in my research," she commented.

Sirius' smile dimmed, "So it really has been five years?" he asked softly, after a few silent moments.

Hermione nodded, "It's July 29th," she told him, "Harry is celebrating his 20th birthday tomorrow," Hermione laughed at Sirius confused look, "Intentionally a day before his actual birthday."

Sirius frowned, "How is he? The war must be really hard on him," he said sadly.

Hermione shook her head, her smile widening, "The war is over Sirius," she stated brightly, "Harry defeated Voldemort nearly two years ago."

Sirius blinked, "Really?" was his intelligent response.

Hermione smiled at his astonishment, and was about to say something when a clatter was heard from the doorway. She quickly pulled out her wand and disillusioned Sirius before whoever it was that had come to see her, could see him.

"Miss Granger?" called a tall balding man as he caught sight of her, "I've come to see how you are doing," he said joyfully, a wide friendly smile on his face.

Hermione smiled back, "I am great Mr. Jenkins," she told him, she hesitated then spoke again, "Actually, I am better than great," she said, "First off I would like to request the rest of the day off."

Mr. Jenkins nodded, a surprised look on his face, "Of course, but do you mind if I ask what for?"

Hermione turned to look to her left where Sirius was silently standing, "I've done it," she stated, her wand once again pointed at Sirius as she revealed him to the shocked Mr. Jenkins. "Now," she spoke with a mischievous grin, "How does one go about officially bringing someone back from the dead?" she asked the stunned older man, "There will be paperwork of course," she pressed when Mr. Jenkins said nothing.

Mr. Jenkins seemed to come back at the word paperwork, "Yes, yes of course, I shall get the papers for you right away. You will be an official member of wizarding society once more by tomorrow evening Mr. Black," the bald man pronounced before turning back to Hermione, "I will have the proper documents sent to you by owl within the hour," he said kindly, before turning and walking away, "Oh," he stopped by the door, "And congratulations Miss Granger."

Sirius watched the man go in silence, confused at his lack of questioning, finally he decided to just ask Hermione about it, "Why didn't he ask you how you did it?"

Hermione shrugged, "This is the Department of Mysteries," she said as if that explained everything, "Now," she held out her hand, "Let's get you home," and with that Hermione apparated Sirius straight into the front foyer of Number 12 Grimmauld Place.

Sirius gaped at Hermione, bracing himself for the screams that would inevitably follow such a loud apperation. But none came.

Sirius looked around, surprised to find that instead of the dark and dank old house he had been expecting, he was in the middle of a beautiful dark red oak wood covered foyer. "Where are we?" he gasped, looking around and finding that though the layout was the same nothing else looked even remotely similar to the house he had grown up in.

Hermione grinned, "Allow me to show you around the new and improved Grimmauld Place," she said spreading her arms out.

Sirius was lead around the house from floor to floor, gasping and vocally approving of the changes that Harry, Ron and Hermione had made to the house to make it more livable. However, Sirius hadn't expected anything to have actually changed in his own bedroom.

He was, therefore, surprised when Hermione halted hesitantly outside his bedroom door and turned to face him, "When we reached your room Harry and Ron wanted nothing to do with it. I knew from the start of our remodeling that I was going to bring you back if it was the last thing I did, so I insisted that they at least allow me to redecorate your room. I hope you don't mind, anything you don't like we can easily change," she stated before hurriedly pushing the door open and stepping out of his way so that he could enter.

Sirius had braced himself for something that would be quite hard to bear as it would be completely unlike him, but instead he was surprised to find the room was quite nice. The walls were a deep red, almost black, with dark wood flooring and a gray ceiling. In the middle of the wall to his left there was a king sized four poster bed with black wood and sheer black curtains draping from each corner. The comforter on the bed was a dark gray and the pillows were black, red, and gold.

There was a small black wooden side table on either side of the bed that each contained three black metal candle holders. From the ceiling hung a large elegant black diamond chandelier that had automatically lit upon their entry. The one window on the far wall that had once been covered with a dusty old blanket now was covered on either side with black curtains and currently had sunshine streaming through it.

On the wall opposite his bed there rested a small black leather couch with a glass coffee table resting in front of it. But it was what was on the wall that had Sirius stepping closer to look at it. There were several pictures covering the wall, so many, in fact, the wall behind them could hardly be seen except for the small slivers of red here and there.

There were pictures of Harry, pictures of the Marauders, all with Peter mysteriously missing, several of James and Lily along with the occasional baby Harry. A family portrait of the Weasleys hung off to one side with pictures of each of the children beneath it. Sirius noted a picture of him, James, and Remus all standing around pulling faces and being stupid with a smile, which grew as he noticed the picture next to it was of Harry, Ron and Hermione doing the same.

There were various pictures of Order members and the family members he did like. As well as pictures of Remus, there were several of him and Tonks, and in most of those either Remus or Tonks were holding a little boy with blue hair, though as he looked at the various pictures he noticed that the boy's hair seemed to change as often as Tonks' did. "Who's this?" he wanted to know.

Hermione looked at the boy he was pointing to and smiled broadly, "That is Teddy Remus Lupin," she told him, "He is Remus and Tonks' son. He just turned three a couple of weeks ago."

Sirius turned to Hermione in surprise, "Remus married my cousin?" he exclaimed in pleased amusement.

Hermione nodded, "She had to practically stalk him day and night in order to get him to agree, but eventually he did…now they have a son. They named Harry godfather, so Teddy is absolutely spoiled," Hermione laughed.

Sirius couldn't help the warm feeling that spread throughout his body at the sound, it was amazing. "Good," was his reply to her comment, before he turned to the rest of the room, "By the way," he said, "Where did all the posters go?"

Hermione looked saddened as she dropped her gaze to her feet, "They are in the attic; I will put them back as soon as pos-,"

"Put them back?" Sirius interrupted, "Why on earth would you do that?"

Hermione's eyes raised to look at him in confusion, "Don't you want them back?"

Sirius shook his head, "No, I was just wondering how you got them off the walls, and if they came quietly or in pieces," he told her with twinkling eyes.

"Oh," Hermione's face brightened, "the first one went in pieces but after that they all came quietly and intact." She told him, leading him to the door to finish their tour.

Sirius paused in the hallway, "The room looks wonderful Hermione," he said warmly, "Thank you."

Hermione felt heat spread to her cheeks and was glad she wasn't looking at him, "The next room is the library," she finally said, guiding him down the stairs and into the freshly remodeled room.

Sirius looked around as Hermione explained what they had done to the room and why. The floors were a rich dark red oak wood, like most of the wood in the house now, and were covered by the occasional rug to keep the furniture from scratching the wood. The bookshelves were all standing elegantly in several deep rows, and Sirius noted that the collection of books in the room seemed to have grown.

"We had to get rid of some of the books unfortunately, they were falling apart and the magic on them wouldn't allow them to be fixed. The shelf in the far back right corner is full of the dark magic books, and no one under the age of seventeen can touch them. It was lucky for you that I convinced Harry not to just burn them all, they were quite helpful when I was searching for things on the veil," Hermione was saying.

She continued rambling about the various aspects of the house as she lead him from room to room, things like why Harry wanted it to look like this, or where Ron got that, and how Remus had suggested this certain thing. Guest room after guest room was shown, each with its own set of colors, some, much to Sirius' surprise, were even done in Slytherin colors.

Eventually they reached the downstairs once more and Hermione nervously shot Sirius a glance before leading him silently into the room where his mother's portrait was housed. Sirius gasped as he entered through the door, the room was completely different. It was large, as it had always been, but now the windows were open to brightly light the room. The red oak wood floor was sleek, stretching seamlessly from wall to wall.

The wall with the window was colored a Gryffindor red, but the other three walls were a dark gold color. From the center of the room a large golden crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, with two smaller similar chandeliers on either side of it at a small distance.

To Sirius' amazement there was an elaborate mural on the ceiling of a phoenix rising from the ashes, fire spreading from its wings and beak. Sirius walked closer to look at it and ran into a large black leather couch with silver and green throw pillows. He looked at it, then noticed that there were three other couches encircling a large wooden table, each sporting different house colors.

But all of that wasn't what had wrung the gasp from his throat; it was the paintings that covered all but the one wall with windows. There was a painting for every member of the Order Sirius could think of, and then some. People like Dumbledore, McGonagall, Mad-eye, the Weasleys, and Tonks were predictable, but then there were paintings of Neville Longbottom, with a painting just above him of Frank and Alice. Luna Lovegood, Lavender Brown, Dean Thomas, Seamus Finnigan and several other young students were also on the wall.

Sirius was drawn to a painting on the far wall, it was of James and Lily, both of whom were smiling, but saying nothing. Remus was in a painting to their left and there was a painting of himself to their right, both of whom also simply smiled and remained silent.

Sirius suddenly was distracted as his eyes caught sight of two paintings near the middle of the wall opposite the windows and he growled, "What are they doing on the wall?" he asked with a glare.

"Severus and Draco did just as much for the Order as anyone else did," Hermione stated.

Sirius would have none of it, "Snivillus and a Malfoy are on my wall," he snapped, as if it were some sort of accident. It wasn't.

"Severus and Draco," she emphasized, "Were both very capable spies for the Order without whom your godson as well as myself would be dead several times over. Draco saved my life alone more than five times during the war and he is just like my brother. Do not speak about things you do not yet understand," she chided him gently but firmly.

Sirius frowned, but nodded, not wanting to fight with her on his first day back, it was then that one of the portraits spoke for the first time, "Sure he sees Snape and Malfoy but he doesn't even notice his brother."

Hermione smiled and looked up at the portrait with a laugh, "You must forgive him, the he must be very tired Reg," she said with a wink.

Sirius gaped at the portrait of his brother, "What is he doing up there? I know he wasn't a member of the Order," Sirius voice was surprised but not at all venomous.

Hermione shook her head at him, "He wasn't, but apparently he had an older brother that once told him to do whatever it took to please his mother, which consisted of joining the ranks of the Death Eaters. But when he found out that Voldemort was only a half blood himself… he secretly switched sides, something no one knew about until Harry, Ron, and I were hiding out here on our search for horcruxes."

"For what?" Sirius repeated, recognizing the word, but not knowing what it meant.

Hermione eyed him, hesitating in explaining, "You must be hungry," she exclaimed, "Why don't you go get changed, a shower maybe and I'll go make us something to eat, then I will explain everything, does that sound okay?"

Sirius nodded, and that's exactly what they did. They had a lovely meal and then they moved back into the Phoenix room, as it was apparently called, where Hermione proceeded to tell him everything that occurred from the day he fell through the veil.

Sirius had felt the wind get harshly knocked out of him when she had told him about Remus and Tonks' supposed deaths, but she had quickly explained that they hadn't actually been dead, just simply under a dark curse that was supposed to make them appear dead until they were buried. But thankfully the spell wore off of several people, Remus, Tonks, and Fred included, before they were actually buried alive.

Hermione then told him about Harry and Ron's weddings and how they left the house to her to do with as she pleased, though she figured that now that he was back she would give his house back. She explained about Draco's true loyalties and how close the two of them had become, making Sirius feel slightly jealous of their relationship, surprising himself.

All the while, Sirius couldn't help finding himself being pulled in closer and closer to the interesting younger woman.

End Flashback

They had gone to Harry's birthday party where Sirius was promptly declared the best birthday present ever, and Remus had hugged Sirius so tight he had thought he was going to pass out from lack of oxygen. Hermione and Sirius had continued to live in the house together, neither really wanting to leave the other alone in the big house, though at the time it had seemed that there was always someone over, the Lupins and Potters most prominently.

After three months of being constantly hounded by friends, various family members and paparazzi, things finally began to settle down. People didn't appear in the house as often, finally assured that Sirius coming back wasn't a dream.

Following this heavenly reprieve from constant stalking, Sirius had gone out on the town one night , intending to find a nice shag, and had easily accomplished his goal, but upon returning home he found that he felt immensely guilty for some reason. He didn't do it again.

It wasn't until Christmas that year that he finally figured out why he had felt so guilty about being with that nameless woman, it was because he was completely in love with Hermione Granger, and by the time he finally figured this out it was too late to try and do anything about it…even if he had wanted to.

The realization had come late one night, they had been talking to her in the library much later into the evening than either of them had even realized, a tradition they had continued from the day's before he had gone behind the veil, and he had suddenly realized that he wanted it to always be like this; him and Hermione, openly discussing anything and everything, it would be heaven.

After he had come to this realization he made the decision that someday she would be his. There would be that lovely sapphire ring that had been in his family for generations resting on her ring finger. They would have children and large family dinners, and even more late night discussions.

And thus began his seduction.

It had started with simple things, such as having dinner made for her when she came home tired and irritated from work. She had switched jobs days after Sirius' return, deciding to put her talents to good use by making headway in laws for the rights of various creatures, of which the most predominant were werewolves. Days later he began buying her flowers and making her breakfast when he knew a day was going to be particularly stressful.

Then it progressed to simple touches, a brush of the fingers when passing or handing something, smoothing a curl away with a smile, gentle one armed hugs. Eventually he had braved himself and pressed a kiss to her cheek after a hug as she was getting ready to leave for work. Her response had been a blush, a whispered 'see you later' and a loud apperation.

One night he had found her sitting rigidly at the kitchen table pouring over stacks of papers.


"What are you doing still up?" Sirius asked softly, intentionally leaning over her shoulder to let his lips move closely near her ear.

Hermione gave a small shudder, surprising and pleasing him simultaneously, before answering with a quick "Work."

Sirius stared down at the book she was currently devouring and frowned, it was two in the morning, "What is so important it can't wait until you've had some rest?" he demanded to know, pulling back and resting his hands on her shoulders to remind her to answer him.

"Couldn't sleep," Hermione mumbled.

Without his command Sirius' hands began massaging her shoulders, "Well no wonder Angel," he murmured, "You are completely knotted up."

Hermione couldn't resist a moan as his hands found and loosened a particularly tight knot, "What did you call me?" she asked seconds later to cover her embarrassment.

Sirius remained silent, suddenly realizing that he had called her by the nickname he had bestowed upon her in his mind the minute she had saved him. Hesitantly he repeated the nickname, "Angel," he replied softly, the word falling lovingly from his tongue.

Hermione let her head loll back against his bare stomach so that she could look up at him, "Why?" was her next question.

Sirius shrugged as he tried to ignore the contact she was making with his bare stomach, trying to decide if it was a good or bad thing he had forgotten his shirt. "You saved me," he finally explained, "Ever since the second I stepped out of the veil you have been my saving Angel," Sirius hesitated, "Would you prefer I not call you that?" he asked her, mentally wincing at the cheesiness of his last words, saving angel? Who says stuff like that?

Hermione shook her head, "No, I like the endearment, I was just—Oh," she gasped as he found another particularly tight spot, "I was just wondering where it came from," Hermione gasped as he continued to work on her neck and shoulders, her work completely forgotten.

Sirius couldn't stop the pleased smile from touching his lips, now if only she were making these sounds for different reasons, he thought, before quickly chastising himself. She didn't deserve to have roguish thoughts thought about her, even if she did accidentally provoke them quite often.

"Well now you know Angel," he told her with a smile, adoring the way the name rolled off his tongue, glad she was accepting of it.

They continued in silence for another few minutes, the occasional gasp breaking free of Hermione's tightly held control. Eventually Sirius gave a small sigh as he realized Hermione was falling asleep where she sat. Gently he reached forward and grabbed Hermione's hand, tugging her to her feet. Her hand still clasped in his, he pulled her behind him towards the stairs.

"I can't go to bed right now Sirius," Hermione mumbled, nearly tripping over her feet. Sirius just smiled and bent to swoop her feet out from under her as he easily carried her up the stairs and into her bedroom. Softly he laid her on her bed and pulled the covers up around her.

Half asleep, Hermione reached up and brushed a strand of his shaggy hair out of his eyes, then slowly she let her hand trail down his neck and his chest, resting just above his pounding heart. She smiled up at him and he had to catch his breath, she was beautiful, "Thank you Sirius," she murmured as her eyes rolled shut and her hand slid weakly to her side.

Sirius gently brushed a finger down the side of her face, certain she was fast asleep, "Anything for my Angel," he whispered. Slowly he stood from her bed and walked to the door, turning to reach for the door knob to shut the door he looked at Hermione one last time. "You'll be mine Hermione," he murmured almost wistfully, as if convincing himself of it, "I love you too much to ever let you go, not without a fight."

End Flashback

Since that night Sirius had done anything and everything he could think of next to snogging her senseless to get her to recognize his feelings. He had seen the way she had covertly eyed his chest that night, so he had gone without a shirt whenever possible, something that as it was getting warmer and he enjoyed doing, and it was inconspicuous, but enough to get her thoughts going.

He had intentionally made sure to see her to bed every night, and be ready with breakfast when she woke up the next morning. He sent her flowers at work, just to brighten her day, and left her notes around the house. His massages had become something she actually begged him for, and his dinners were to die for. So he could honestly not figure out what to do next.

A throat cleared next to him, breaking his reverie and forcing him to pull his eyes from the goddess that was Hermione Granger, to look at his best friend.

"I haven't seen you this hung up about a girl since that Tori girl in our fourth year. But even then you got over it quickly," Remus said in amusement, resting his arms on the tall table that Sirius was sitting at.

Sirius frowned, "What are you talking about Moony?" he replied.

"Hermione…you…you and Hermione," Remus couldn't keep the smirk from his lips. He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, making Sirius shove him, a small smile tugging at his own lips.

Sirius shook his head as he looked back at said woman, "If it's so obvious even you can see it, why can't she?" he asked.

Remus grinned and shook his head in amusement, "Or is it why won't she?" was his reply.

Sirius felt his eyebrows furrow as he turned to his friend, "What do you mean?" he demanded, "I have done everything I can think of, short of ravaging her, to get her to notice."

Remus took a drink of his pumpkin juice, for some reason there was no alcohol at the party this time, though it may have something to do with that couple from the Department of Accounting and their little…streak show last year. Remus snorted softy at the memory, it was something James and Sirius would have thought up on their own once upon a time. Returning his mind to his friend's problem Remus said sagely, "Well then maybe that's what you need to do."

"Are you mad?" Sirius exclaimed snapping he head around to pull a 'that's-the-worst-idea-I've-ever-heard' face at the werewolf.

"I am often assured that Professor Lupin is one of the sanest people around," the voice of none other than Draco Malfoy stated as he came to join the two at the table, resting his own pumpkin juice down on the table.

Sirius stared at his cousin wearily, just because Hermione liked him doesn't mean he had to. "What do you want?" he asked slightly defensively.

Draco's mouth turned up in a remarkable replica of Sirius' mischievous smirk, "I want to know why you are over here having a spectacular pity party, and not over there dancing with my adopted sister," he finally said after several long irritating seconds.

Sirius couldn't help it, he felt his jaw slacken, "You know?" he exclaimed.

Draco chuckled, "If your gaga eyes hadn't have given you away, Hermione's would have," he stated in a tone that was very know-it-all ish. "Even Potter and Weasley know, which is saying something for your obviousness."

The idea of Harry knowing looked like hadn't even dawned on Sirius, Merlin he was in love with his godson's best friend! "Harry knows?"

Draco shrugged as if it were a given and nodded his head, "Technically it would be easier to ask who doesn't know, actually," he commented thoughtfully, making Remus snort in laughter, then quickly attempt to make it sound like a cough as his hand covered his chin and lips.

Sirius looked scornfully at Remus, who gave an innocent raise of his eyebrows in response.

"Who doesn't know what?" Harry asked, suddenly appearing with Ginny and Ron in tow.

Draco looked at Harry with an innocent grin, "That Sirius is in love with Hermione," he answered, pretending not to see Sirius' death glare.

Harry looked thoughtful, "You mean besides Hermione?" he asked as he turned to scan the crowd.

"Yeah," Draco replied with a smirk.

Harry's head nodded absently, "Well, I don't think either McLaggen or Mundungus got the memo," he finally said turning back around and wrapping his arm around his pregnant wife's shoulders.

"What makes you say that mate?" Ron asked, his attention focused on the food on the plate he had set down on the table next to a disgusted Draco, a move Sirius was certain was intentional.

Harry shrugged, "The fact that she is currently headed this way in an attempt to avoid them. McLaggen had her successfully cornered a few moments ago," he told them.

Remus nudged Sirius who had stiffened at the mention of anyone cornering his Hermione, making the black haired man look at him. Instead of saying anything Remus simply nodded to the far end of the extraordinarily large ballroom, where Hermione had been cut off yet again, but this time by Mundungus.

Draco rolled his eyes and was about to comment on Sirius' lack of movement when two arms were flung around him, "Cousin!" Tonks exclaimed, jokingly changing her hair and eyes to match Draco's. Draco smiled and shook his head, turning to give Tonks a hug and kiss on the cheek, "What are you lot talking about?" she asked as she sat down in between Remus and Draco.

"Hermione and Sirius," everyone said simultaneously, leaving Sirius to glare at them before returning his attention to Hermione and her obvious attempts to get out of dancing with Mundungus.

Tonks' smile widened, "Yes," she said, "I noticed you two matched tonight, does that mean you are her date for the evening?" she asked, jabbing Sirius in the side.

Sirius jumped and turned to glare at his cousin, "Don't you have a son to attend to or something?" he growled, before turning back to Hermione.

Tonks pursed her lips in thought, her eyes narrowed, "Is that a no?" she asked, looking at her husband.

Remus rolled his eyes at his wife, "Yes that is a no, and, Sirius, Teddy is currently with your lovely cousin Andy for the evening, so don't be such a snob."

"I had noticed you were matching as well," Ginny spoke for the first time, her eyes twinkling, "If you aren't her date for the night, why are you wearing the same colors?" she asked gesturing to Sirius's robes.

Sirius looked down at his teal blue vest and tie over a dark silver dress shirt and black slacks, "I was standing downstairs waiting for Hermione to show up, and when she did she smiled and pointed her wand at me, next thing I know, POOF, she changed the color of my vest and tie as well as the inside of my dress robe cloak to the same color as her dress. That's all that happened," Sirius snapped before turning his attention back to Hermione, no sense hiding his pathetic lovesick gaze now, he thought, suddenly growling as Hermione gave up trying to dissuade Mundungus and stepped closer to the short balding man, beginning to awkwardly dance with him.

"Sirius needs help," Remus told the rest of the occupants of the table conversationally, making Sirius whirl back around.

"No, I do not need your bloody help!" he exclaimed, lightly slamming his hands down on the table.

Remus looked innocent, "But you said you had tried everything short of snogging her to get her to notice your feelings for her, obviously none of it has worked, therefore you need our help," Remus explained simply.

Sirius shook his head, "I don't need the help of a bunch of...of …war heroes!" he exclaimed as threw his hands up in frustration.

Draco sneered slightly, "Then why is it, cousin," he said just to rub their relation in "that you have not rushed off to go and save your darling damsel in distress with those pureblood dancing skills I am certain your mother drilled into your head?"

Sirius stared at the younger blond man with a frown, blinked and turned on his heel, heading in the direction of Hermione, barley hearing Ron's shout of, "Just snog her mate!" making him growl; you can't just snog a woman like Hermione.

Sirius slowed as he reached the awkwardly dancing couple, trying to reign in his jealous irritation at the short bald man dancing with Hermione. Hermione suddenly caught sight of him and her eyes immediately began pleading with him to step in. Sirius walked calmly over to the duo, picking up pace suddenly when he caught sight of Mundungus sliding his hand around on her buttocks.

Hermione immediately moved to remove the man's groping hands, but was relieved to find she didn't have to, "May I cut in?" Sirius growled, as he jerked the shorter man away from Hermione, his tone of voice clearly telling the thief that if he valued his life he would beat it.

Mundungus clearly understood that Sirius was staking his territory and backed off with a small bow towards Hermione. Hermione smiled gratefully at Sirius as he stepped closer and took one hand in his, resting his other hand on her waist and beginning to sway, "You're a life saver Sirius," she breathed, her own heart beating faster at the nearness of the handsome man, "If there is anything I can do for you…" she left the statement open.

"I can think of a few things," Sirius unintentionally mumbled, surprised when Hermione looked up at him in askance, "What?" she asked. Sirius shook his head as if to say it wasn't important.

Just then a waltz began playing, the tune one Hermione recognized from her fourth year at the Yule Ball. She began to pull back, having not really done very well her last time attempting to dance the waltz, also figuring Sirius would want to stop dancing as soon as he could. She figured he must not have liked dancing all that much since he had remained in the corner by himself all evening.

But to her surprise Sirius wouldn't let her go, he simply pulled her closer, "Do you know the dance?" he asked her in a low voice, his lips right next to her exposed ear, briefly brushing it as he spoke.

Hermione repressed a shiver and nodded, "Though I'm not very good," she warned, "Victor was quite upset about my lack of coordination," she explained.

Sirius felt a low growl rumble through his chest at the quidditch seeker's name, "Perhaps all you need is a good leader," he told her, before easily sweeping her into the grand waltz. They moved quickly, switching hands and lifting when the dance called for it.

Hermione was quite surprised that she was easily keeping up, feeling much more at ease with Sirius than she ever had with Victor. As Sirius twirled and lifted her once more Hermione smiled and quickly noticed Remus and Harry had pulled their wives to the dance floor with them, along with Draco and the woman Draco had been crushing on for over two years, Luna Lovegood.

Sirius chuckled as Hermione allowed herself to become distracted and step on his foot, "Sorry!" she hissed, almost slowing to a stop, but he wouldn't let her, he just smiled and kept dancing with a wink. Hermione breathlessly followed Sirius' graceful movements, reverently loving every second of contact his body had with hers, knowing that it would unfortunately have to end soon.

From the way Sirius was moving Hermione knew to brace herself for the end of the song, twirling out with a smile and curtsying as Sirius dramatically bowed to her, quickly pressing a kiss to her knuckles, remaining there for a moment longer than necessary.

Hermione expected him to head off now that the dance was over, but instead he stepped back up to her and lead her into the movements of another slow dance, giving her the opportunity to catch her breath from the fast paced song before. Hermione recognized the song as being a muggle song from when she was a kid that she currently had on her muggle iPod, called Unbreakable by Westlife.

Taking a steadying breath Hermione took a small step closer, holding her breath as she waited for Sirius reaction. Hermione couldn't resist the bright smile that spread across her face as Sirius responded by pulling her even closer, cradling her hand against his chest, and hugging her to him. She looked up at Sirius' face, trying to read his expression, but found his eyes closed, looking almost as if he expected her to shove him away from her. With another brave move Hermione lowered her head to rest it on his chest, surprised to feel Sirius' heart beat pick up under her ear.

Sirius could hardly believe he was holding his angel in his arms like this; his heart was thudding so hard he was surprised she couldn't feel it, or if she did she didn't comment on it. Silently they continued to dance, Sirius cherishing the moment for as long as it would last. He recognized the song as one Hermione liked to listen to on her muggle music thing at home, and when the words that he always felt describe their relationship came, Sirius hesitantly opened his mouth and quietly sang along in a deep voice,

Cause together, we are strong,
in my arms, that's where you belong,
I`ve been touched by the hands of an angel,
I`ve been blessed by the power of love,
And whenever you smile,
I can hardly believe that you're mine

Sirius quietly hummed along to the rest of the song, barely containing the smile he felt when Hermione snuggled closer to him, making him tighten his own arms in response. When the song eventually ended Hermione looked up at Sirius cautiously, curiosity and hope bursting from her heart, the words he sang could mean so much, but they could also have just been for fun, having no meaning whatsoever.

Sirius smiled gently and searched her eyes for any sign that she returned his feelings, slowly raising the hand that was on her waist to brush her hair back from her face, "You are so beautiful," he murmured in a low voice, his eyes still scanning her face, twinkling when they noticed her blush. He leaned closer, his eyes dropping to her lips.

"May I have the next dance?" an annoying voice suddenly asked, making Sirius inhale sharply as Hermione jerked away from him. She was going to let him kiss her, he knew it, absently he thought he heard a bunch of moans coming from the direction of the table Sirius had previously been sitting at.

Hermione turned and Sirius found himself face to face with a tall arrogant looking blond man. He glared at the boy and was surprised to see him return the look, attempting to give Sirius the same territorial look Sirius had given Mundungus, but Sirius wasn't about to back down. Just as he opened his mouth too politely, but arrogantly, tell the boy that Hermione's dance card was full for the evening, Hermione reached over and laced her fingers through his, startling him so much his mouth snapped shut.

"Actually Cormack," Hermione stated in stiff politeness, "Sirius and I were just on our way to go tell our friends good bye for the evening," she told him, "So sorry, but no."

Sirius couldn't resist sending a cocky smirk at McLaggen as Hermione tugged him off in the direction of the table their friends were all sitting at.

"Have a nice dance?" Draco asked upon their arrival, looking suggestively at Hermione.

Hermione smiled tightly and quickly shook her head slightly in a knock-it-off gesture before answering, "Yes, actually, but I am getting rather tired, and my feet are killing me, cushioning charms only work so many times," she laughed, trying to pretend as if she didn't realize that the butterflies in her stomach were because Sirius hadn't let go of her hand.

Sirius forced his smile to remain normal; otherwise he would be grinning like an idiot, as he too had noticed that their fingers were still entwined.

Draco winked at Hermione knowingly, and suddenly Hermione was gone from Sirius' side to harshly pinch the blonde in the arm, "Knock it off," Sirius heard Hermione hiss, though it was obvious she was trying not to be heard, "He doesn't think of me that way, now just leave it!" she snapped, before suddenly reappearing at Sirius side with a pleasant smile.

Sirius felt elation fill his heart, hoping against hope that her words meant what he thought they did; except for the part about thinking that he didn't think of her in "that" way, what complete rubbish, was the witch blind? What did she think he had been doing for the last couple of months?

The questions were wiped from his mind when Hermione turned to look at Sirius, suddenly worried, "Are you okay with leaving early?" she asked.

Sirius looked down at the witch and the knowledge that there wasn't a thing he wouldn't do for her was reaffirmed by the look in her eyes, "Certainly," he replied with a wink, "Ministry functions are just so boring," he told her, repeating one of the many disparaging comments she had made earlier that day while getting ready for the party.

Hermione smiled brightly in return, before reaching out to give hugs to her friends, "We'll see you lot on Sunday," she told them, referring to the weekly Sunday dinner that was hosted at the Weasleys for what seemed like everyone and their cousin.

Sirius shook hands with Remus who tugged him close to whisper a quick, "Tell her tonight," in his friend's ear before pulling away. Sirius hesitated, but gathering whatever supposed Gryffindor courage he had he nodded, agreeing with the lycan.

Hermione and Sirius then turned and began to make their way side by side out the door to the set apperation point for the night. They weren't holding hands this time, something that Sirius noted with slight dismay, but he couldn't help but notice that every now and then one of them would strategically brush against the other's hand. Eventually Sirius held his breath for a quick second before steeling himself.

His hand reached out as it had several times already, but instead of just brushing her hand lightly, he gently slid the back of his fingers down the outside of her hand, before slowly turning his own hand to slowly lace his fingers in between hers.

When Hermione didn't pull away, like he half expected her to, he let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding, only to give a full blown smile when Hermione moved closer to rest her head on his shoulder as they walked, her other hand moving to hold onto his upper arm. Merlin he loved this woman.

Without asking Sirius pulled Hermione into a hug as they reached the apperation point and concentrated, apperating them straight into the library of Grimmauld place. They stood there silently, neither making a move to pull away from their hug for several long minutes. Eventually though Hermione began to shift from foot to foot, "I'm sorry," she suddenly murmured pulling back in a somewhat reluctant way, "Do you think we could go change into something more comfortable before we…" she hesitated.

Sirius saw the hesitation, and was pretty sure he knew what it was from. She didn't know what was going on, heck he didn't know what was going on, were they finally going to get their emotions out once and for all, or were they just being abnormally friendly tonight? Sirius smiled gently, "I'll meet you back here in ten minutes okay?" he told her quietly, stepping back and watching her go before going to change himself.

Frowning, Sirius stared at the inside of his closet, Merlin he was such a girl, sitting here trying to figure out what to wear. Sirius rolled his eyes, finally growing frustrated and simply reaching for a pair of long black silk pajama bottoms. Naturally he went without a shirt, and he smiled as he walked down to the library, pleased to find Hermione was sitting on one of the couches already.

She was wearing a pair of black short pajama shorts with a slightly lighter blue tank top with the DA symbol on the front of it in silver. Her hair had been removed from its elegant side style and was now up in a loose messy bun. She was lying on the couch with her legs stretched out on the cushions staring blankly down at her hands.

"What are you thinking about?" Sirius asked her as he neared the witch, surprised when she didn't jump at his voice. He lifted her legs up and sat down, resting her feet on his lap so that he could massage them.

Hermione looked up with a small thoughtful smile on her face, "Do you know how I got this scar?" she asked suddenly, extending her left arm.

Sirius looked confused, he had seen her arm millions of times, there wasn't a scar on it. Regardless he reached out to hold her arm steady so he could see it, expecting it to be small; instead he nearly had the breath knocked out of him as he saw that there was in fact a very large scar on her arm, a scar that read 'Mudblood'.

"You didn't have that yesterday," Sirius stated in surprised horror.

Hermione shook her head, "That's just it, I did have it yesterday, and the day before that, and a year before that…I got it during the war," Hermione said softly, tugging her arm back so she could cradle it against her stomach, "Harry, Ron, and I had been caught by a group of snatchers, I told you about that…but what I left out was that I was tortured while we were at Malfoy Manor. Bellatrix seemed to take particular pleasure in making sure that I would always have something to remember her by."

Sirius suddenly felt as if a thousand knives were plunging into his chest, "Bellatrix?" he gasped out, "She did this to you?" he murmured, gently tugging her arm so that he could see the damage and trace his fingers over it lightly. Slowly he looked up at her watery eyes, "Why haven't I seen this before?" he asked her softly.

Hermione tried to tug her arm back but he wouldn't let her, "I don't like other people to see it, I think Ron and Harry have only ever seen it once or twice," she told him, a single tear sliding from the corner of her eye and down her cheek, "No one else probably even knows I have it. You're the first person I've wanted to talk about it with," Hermione dropped her eyes, "And that scares me," she murmured softly, "It scares me a lot."

Sirius gently pulled on her arm until Hermione moved to sit up next to him. Wanting to comfort her, but not sure how, Sirius simply pulled her to him as tightly as he could, surprised when he felt tears begin to slide down his bare chest. He murmured soothing words and slid his hands up and down her arms and back, trying to calm her. Eventually her tears stopped falling, but she didn't pull away.

"I guess you know now," she whispered brokenly, "I'm not beautiful at all Sirius," she told him, finally responding to his comment to her on the dance floor, "I have hideous scars, and bushy hair and a plain face," she pushed gently away from him, moving to stand up, "I just wanted you to see that," she murmured before moving to leave.

Sirius stood quickly to his feet and grabbed her scared arm. Hermione turned to face him confusion, and he made sure to keep eye contact with her as he brought her arm up to his lips and kissed her scar as tenderly as he could, "Who ever said I was talking about your physical attributes Angel?" he asked her, his eyes trying to communicate his emotions to her.

Hermione gave a breathy snort of air, "What else is there Sirius?" she wanted to know, raising her other arm in question, "Looks and beauty, that's all that matter to anyone."

Sirius had begun shaking his head the second she had snorted, "How on earth did you come to that conclusion," he demanded gently, his fingers softly caressing the marred skin on her arm, "There is so much more to beauty than looks, and you, Angel, have it all. You're smart, funny, and kind. Everyone leaves your presence feeling much better than when they entered it. You have a smile that lights up my world, and your eyes twinkle with such magic that it makes it hard to breathe sometimes. You are strong and brave, you stand up for what you believe in and you fight for what you know is right," Sirius shook his head in disbelief, uncertain how she could honestly think anything less.

"You are a goddess among men, Hermione," he whispered, stepping closer to her, "Don't you ever let anyone tell you otherwise," he commanded, gently smoothing some errant curls behind her ear. He was going to attempt to kiss her again when suddenly she flung her arms around his shoulders and buried her face in his neck.

"Thank you," she whispered, her warm breath softly caressing the skin on his neck.

Sirius hugged her as tight as he dared, "Anytime," he told her. He quickly searched for a different topic, finding one he pulled back and smiled at her, "Now, I seem to recall a certain beautiful witch complaining about her feet at the gala tonight," he said tugging her to sit down on the couch, "How hard would it be to convince you to let me give you a foot massage?" he joked.

Almost immediately he found Hermione's feet in his lap, causing both of them to laugh, the heavy tension in the room dispersing. Sirius gently began to press his thumbs into all the right places on her foot to relieve the tension from them. He was just about to ask the infinite question of why girls insist on wearing those walking death traps they call shoes when Hermione spoke.

"Are you going to take the job?" she asked suddenly.

Sirius looked up at her in surprise, his hands freezing, "What job?" he asked cautiously.

Hermione raised an eyebrow at him, "You know what job Sirius," she replied, "The teaching job at Hogwarts. Are you going to take it?"

How did she know about that? Sirius had been so careful not to let her find out. It was a big decision, one that could potentially take him away from the woman of his dreams for more than nine months of the year, something he wasn't sure he could live with.

His expression must have had the surprised confusion in it, for seconds later Hermione was answering his question of how, "Remus told me, and he was told by McGonagall who was getting a little worried about whether or not you would take it," Hermione studied his face, "Why wouldn't you?" she asked, "You are great with kids, you have excellent teaching skills and with your animagus ability, it makes you the perfect transfiguration professor. So why are you hesitating in taking the job?"

Sirius clenched his jaw resignedly, this hadn't even been remotely on his list of possible topics of discussion tonight, "I…You…" he trailed off, unable to tell her the truth, and unwilling to lie to her.

Hermione pulled her feet away and sat up, moving to kneel next to him on the couch cushions, "Please don't tell me it's because of me," she stated, "Don't let me hold you back from something that you want to do Sirius," she continued when she saw the surprise in his face, knowing she had hit the nail on the head.

Sirius looked at her and shook his head, his eyes flickering across her face, "I don't want to leave you alone in this house," he finally gave in.

Hermione bit her lip in hesitation before opening her mouth to tell him, "I'd be moving out too," she said softly, bracing herself for whatever response she was about to get from him, and moving to hurriedly explain, but sure enough Sirius was up and off the couch quicker than she could speak.

"What?" he demanded, feeling as if he had been punched, "What do you mean you'd be moving out?"

Hermione stood to face him, not allowing his sparking eyes to intimidate her, though she knew they probably should, "Just what I said, if you decide to take this job at Hogwarts and move out, so will I."

Sirius felt himself begin to shake a little, a small spark of fear was hitting his heart, he was losing her, how was he losing her? "Don't let your decision hinge on me," he snapped, "Go ahead and move out if you want, you can leave whenever you'd like," he told her, feeling hurt, scared, and angry all at once, and heading to the door.

Hermione panicked, why was he taking this all the wrong way? Suddenly she realized where their miscommunication laid and she ran after him, grabbing his arm just before he reached the door, "McGonagall offered me the position of Ancient Runes professor!" she exclaimed breathlessly, making Sirius freeze, "That's why I would be moving out if you did," she went on, now that she had his attention, "I don't want to leave you in this house alone either," she told him, "So if you go, I go, if you don't, I don't."

Sirius wasn't sure how it happened, but the next thing he knew he had his hands in her hair and he was kissing her with everything he was worth. He poured every emotion he had felt since his return into the kiss, moving his lips over hers in a way that he knew from experience would leave her breathless.

Hermione's lips began to timidly move beneath his, having been too shocked to respond properly for a few seconds. Her hands slid up his chest and wove their way through his silky smooth black locks, tugging just a little, making him groan as she did so.

Gently Sirius began to deepen the kiss, his tongue gaining entrance into her mouth, scouring every corner, making them both gasp for air until the need became too much. He pressed small chaste kisses into each corner of her mouth then slowly moved down her neck before simply pulling her into his arms and securing her tightly there, slowly moving them both to sit on the couch as closely together as they could.

Neither of them spoke for a long time, simply reveling in the comfortable silence that followed. Sirius inhaled sharply when he felt Hermione press a quick kiss to his chest, but he said nothing, just letting her do whatever she felt like doing. Timidly Hermione moved her head to press another kiss to the hollow of Sirius neck, making him sigh and relax his head against the back of the couch. Slowly gaining courage Hermione kissed his Adams apple, making him swallow tightly as she slid her lips up the rest of the way to his jaw, pressing kisses along his jaw line and to his chin.

"Would you kiss me already Angel?" he growled, before turning and pouncing, pressing his lips fervently against hers as he lowered her to the couch. They kissed for what seemed like hours, the feelings that had blossomed from their first kiss never dimming.

Hermione whimpered as Sirius tore his lips from hers to inflict the same torture on her neck she had on his, but with a more lasting effect. He bit and nipped and sucked and Hermione let out breathy gasps as he found every sensitive spot on her neck and shoulders.

Eventually Sirius felt himself beginning to get too involved in what they were doing. He had no intention of sleeping with her so soon after finally catching her, so he slowly began to move away from her, "We need to stop," he murmured against her ear, gently nipping at it, "I don't want to get too carried away," he told her, ghosting his lips over her forehead and down her nose to gently press against her own. His resolve weakening as Hermione followed his lips every time he tried to pull away.

"Hermione," he gasped as he sat up several minutes later, once again attempting to stop but instead found himself tugging her into his lap so that she was straddling him, "Marry me," he breathed, her lips attached once more to his, the words slipping out before he could stop them.

Suddenly Hermione pulled away, "What?" she asked, her lips swollen and her neck covered in small love bites. Her hair had come undone from her messy bun and was now hanging loosely around her shoulders as she looked at him in confusion.

Sirius hesitated, then said, "I love you Hermione," he told her earnestly, praying his eyes were showing her just how much, "I love you more than anything in the world, I would do anything for you," Sirius shook his head, "Now that I've got you, you're going to have to put up one heck of a fight to get away. I don't ever want to be without you. So," Sirius took a deep breath and summoned that small velvet box that had been sitting in his tableside drawer for months, "Will you, Hermione Jean Granger, marry an arrogant, spoiled, impulsive, rash, and hopefully lucky man like me?"

Hermione stared at him wide eyed, giving him no indication of the thoughts running through her head, finally he sighed, "If you'd like to think about-,"

"What's in the box?" Hermione interrupted, her eyes not leaving his, seeming to have reached whatever answer it was she had decided upon.

Sirius raised an eyebrow, "What normally comes in a small velvet box on these sorts of occasions?" he replied, half heartedly joking. He used his free hand to pry open the lid, revealing a small, white gold ring with small diamonds inserted in the metal all the way around the band, until it reached to dark blue sapphire stones that rested on either side of a nicely sized diamond.

Before Sirius could say anything else Hermione had smashed her lips into his, her fingers digging into his hair to allow her to kiss him better, "Yes," she gasped pulling away quickly before diving back in again and again, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!" she repeated in between kisses.

Sirius smiled brightly, kissing her as passionately as he could; "Really?" he asked pulling away from her and searching her face, "You really want to marry me?"

Hermione nodded, "Why wouldn't I?" she asked, "All I've wanted to do since that summer before fifth year was snog you senseless," she told him with a jokingly despairing shake of her head, "I've know that I loved you since the moment before you fell into the veil," Hermione snuck a quick kiss in, "That's why I was so determined to bring you back, it wasn't for Harry, it wasn't for Remus, and it certainly wasn't for some random witch down the street, it was for me; because I need you; because I love you, not for anyone else."

Sirius looked amazed, "I think you may have just been promoted from Angel to Goddess," he told her, gently slipping the ring onto her ring finger and kissing it. He leant in to kiss her again, he just couldn't seem to stop, and froze when the sound of several apperations into their downstairs reached their ears.

Hermione and Sirius shared a look, each pulling their wands out of some undisclosed location and standing up simultaneously, moving towards the door silently. The tenseness in their shoulders was quickly relieved when the loud apperation was followed by a second loud pop and a sneering voice, "Oy, you idiots, you can't just apparate into someone's house unannounced and then proceed to go through every room, again, unannounced, expecting to find them without getting hexed! Particularly this house!"

Hermione and Sirius shared an exasperated look, "Draco," they both sighed in part relief, part irritation.

"Hermione! Sirius! You here? Your lovely godson and best friends want to ask you something!" Draco shouted, amidst a bunch of hissed "shut up!"s.

Sirius rolled his eyes and hesitantly held out his hand to his fiancé, (he still couldn't believe it!) Wondering if she was ready to tell her friends yet, he most certainly was, but she could have other ideas. Hermione smiled brightly at him and pressed a quick kiss to his lips before slipping her hand into his.

Together they walked down the stairs and came to a stop in the kitchen in front of Harry, Ron, Remus and Draco. All four were looking at Hermione and Sirius's entwined hands with various looks on their faces, "Are you together?" Ron blurted out, his eyes slightly horrified.

Sirius and Hermione shared a small look before Sirius nodded, "Yes, just barely actually," he told them, standing as straight and tall as he could, he wasn't going to let Ron, or any of them for that matter, chastise him or his fiancé for being happy.

Harry and Ron groaned, while Draco grunted and let his head fall back to look at the ceiling. Remus smiled at Hermione and Sirius with a wink and held out his hand expectantly, unsurprised when the three younger boys began placing bags of money in it.

"You couldn't have waited one more day?" Ron complained, "That was a hundred galleons!" he shook his head, "At least it wasn't Draco who won," he sighed eventually, a small smirk on his lips as he nudged the blond in the side, "He thought you would be engaged by tonight! Just goes to show…" Ron stopped, "what's that on your hand Hermione?" Ron demanded, his horror rekindled.

Sirius had been only slightly surprised to find out that his friends were all betting on his relationship with Hermione and he couldn't refrain from smiling at Remus as the werewolf cockily accepted the money. Draco looked slightly put out by the events, and had walked around the table to stare at a random picture on the wall, looking as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.

Hermione had looked up at him while Ron was talking and smiled happily, smirking when Ron told her about Draco's bet before turning back to her friends and slowly raising her left hand, hence Ron's question of what was on her hand, "It's an engagement ring, actually," Hermione said as if it were the most interesting thing in the world, "Sirius asked me to marry him, and I said-,"

"YES!" Draco exclaimed, a broad grin on his face, "Ha! Pay up!" he told the three other betters, holding his hands out. Growling Harry and Ron gave Draco the allotted money, as did Remus, with a sportsmanlike shake of his head.

Draco smirked as Ron slugged him in the arm, "What?" he asked innocently, "It's not my fault my cousin and sister are so predictable! You lot all thought Sirius was too much of a pansy to do anything tonight, well look!" he exclaimed moving over to stand next to Hermione, shoving the money in his pockets before pointing at the ring, "She's getting married!" Draco winked at Hermione, letting her know he was being annoying on purpose, before grabbing her and spinning her around. "Congratulations," he whispered in her ear before putting her down.

Ron grunted, glaring at Draco before heading over to give Hermione a hug, "Congrats Midnight," he said finally smiling at her, "It's about time," he told Sirius, before turning on the spot with a smile and apperating home.

Harry smiled as he watched Ron go, moving to hug his godfather and Hermione, "I should probably go too," he told them, "I have to go explain to Ginny why we are suddenly two hundred galleons short," he mock glared at Draco, before smiling, "Congrats you two," he said before apperating away.

Remus smiled as he shook his head, "Took you long enough Pads," he chastised, "You be good to her," he told his friend, suddenly serious, "There are a lot of people out there who would kill you in a heartbeat if you hurt her, myself included," he warned.

"I would willingly give myself over to whatever torture you lot would put me under if I ever hurt her like that," Sirius replied, "I wouldn't expect anything less for my Angel," he murmured, looking down at Hermione with a soft smile.

"Gag," Draco stated, rolling his eyes.

Hermione turned to look at the blonde with exasperation in her eyes, "Don't you have a wife to get home to or something?" she asked him sweetly, not so subtly rubbing his bachelorhood in his face, "Oh, wait…"

Draco's eyes narrowed, "I'm working on that," he told her snappily, "But I can take a hint, I'll see you both tomorrow," he told them giving Hermione another hug before apperating away.

"Are you sure you like him enough to keep him around?" Sirius joked shaking his head in the direction Draco had left from.

Hermione pinched him, "Yes, I'm sure," she stated firmly, "Admit it, you like him too," she teased him, her face bright.

Remus smiled as he watched his friends act so happy together, "He sees a lot of himself in Draco I suspect," Remus answered for Sirius, "Arrogant, cocky, pureblood hater, despite being pureblood himself…" Remus trailed off, ignoring Sirius' glare, "Yeah, they're so close they could be related or something," he joked, "Thanks for listening to me Padfoot," he told Sirius, holding up the two bags of money he still held, "Dora will be happy to know that she was correct, she bet me two hundred galleons that you would ask her to marry you on the same night you finally kissed her," Remus shook his head with a look at his money, "I didn't think you were that impulsive," he said in mock disbelief.

Sirius let out a bark of laughter, "Go home Moony!" he exclaimed gently pushing Remus, "I'd like to spend the rest of the night with my fiancé," he told him.

Remus shook his head as he backed away, preparing for apperation, "And you told me that if you ever found the right woman you wouldn't be a lovey dovey as James was," Remus shook his head in mock sadness, "Oh, how the mighty have fallen, I was certain you weren't one of those," he stated distastefully, winking at Hermione with a roguish grin, apperating away before the random object Sirius threw at him actually hit him.

"Git," Sirius playfully growled shaking his head at the place Remus had just been standing on. Sirius smiled as he felt two hands nervously wrap around his stomach from behind him. He placed his hands on hers and traced small circles in contentment as she rested her head against the space between his shoulder blades.

Slowly Sirius turned around in her arms, cradling her head to his chest so she could hear his heartbeat, which was only slightly faster than normal, "I love you," he murmured into her hair.

Hermione smiled as she lifted her head to look at him, "I love you too," she replied, pulling him behind her as she lead him back to the library. She gently pushed him to sit on the floor in front of the couch, then moved to sit behind him on the couch with her legs on either side of him.

Sirius was about to ask her what she was doing when he felt her hands gently begin to smooth over his shoulders, gently squeezing and pressing his muscles in one of the best massages Sirius had ever had. Sirius felt his head roll forward as Hermione gently encouraged it to do so, her fingers softly massaging up his neck and slowly moving into his shaggy black hair, pressing lightly against his scalp.

Sirius' eyes rolled up into his head in pleasure as Hermione continued to play with his hair, a place he hadn't known could be so sensitive until now. Hermione's hands eventually moved from his hair back to his shoulders, continuing her massage in silence, the only sounds being heard were the rare low groans from Sirius whenever she reached a particularly tense or sensitive spot.

After nearly a half hour of silence Hermione slid her hands from his shoulders and down his chest, leaning forward to press a kiss to his jaw, "Thank you for those massages you gave me, all those nights," she murmured, her lips brushing against his jawbone, her fingers tracing indiscernible patterns on his well defined stomach.

"Failed attempts at seduction," he sighed, his head lifting up to rest against her shoulder, all the while keeping his eyes shut.

"I wondered," Hermione responded, "There were times when I was just sure that you wanted me like I wanted you, but I was never sure…" she sighed and pressed another kiss to his pulse point.

"Just think," Sirius breathed, "If you had used that Gryffindor courage to just ask me how I felt we could have been doing this much longer," he told her.

"Me?" Hermione exclaimed with a small laugh, "What about you, Mr. Black?" she joked, taping her finger lightly against his chest, "You could have just as easily asked me."

Sirius turned his head and kissed her, "Maybe so Future Mrs. Black, but I thought I was making myself perfectly clear. Apparently not," he stated with a self depreciating chuckle.

"So did I!" Hermione defended herself.

"Really," Sirius commented, turning to kneel in front of her, his hands resting on her thighs, "What exactly did you do?" he wanted to know.

Hermione's face went red and she ducked her head. Sirius smiled and placed a finger under her chin to lift her head, "Now I'm curious," he told her, smiling at her encouragingly.

"I practically ogled you every time you walked in a room, especially once you started going without a shirt," Hermione paused, realization dawning on her, and she looked at Sirius questioningly.

Sirius nodded with a smirk, "Another, apparently, not-so-failed seduction attempt," he told her, "But other than the occasional flicker of your eyes, I never saw you 'ogling' me," he responded.

Hermione shrugged, "Well I thought I was being obvious, then I went out of my way to touch you," Hermione blinked as Sirius raised an eyebrow, "What?" she asked.

"So did I," he told her with a shake of his head.

Hermione smiled and went on, perhaps they were both attempting to be so obvious that neither one of them managed to see what the other was doing, "I made dinner whenever I could," she told him, "But you always seemed to have that under control. I also got up early so I could make you breakfast, but once again, you were always one step ahead of me."

Sirius blinked at her, "So you're not an early riser?" he asked, recalling how many times he had gotten up at the break of dawn just to make sure he could make her breakfast for her.

Hermione laughed, "Merlin no!" she exclaimed, "I absolutely loath mornings," she stated, "But you were always up so early I thought you were the early bird."

Sirius chuckled as well, "I hate mornings too, but I got up early because you did," they both shook their heads, "What else did you do?" he questioned with a smile.

Hermione shrugged, "I stayed up later than normal doing paperwork because I would always do anything I could to be available for our nightly chats."

Sirius narrowed his eyes, "So that night I found you in the kitchen," he murmured.

Hermione ducked her head while shaking it, "Not the first time I had been up that late doing work," she said embarrassed.

Sirius shook his head and lifted her face to look at him , "That won't be allowed anymore," he commanded, "If you have work to do at night you do it whenever you have to, to make sure you get it done before two in the morning. Alright?"

"You don't have to worry about it," Hermione agreed, "I gave my two weeks' notice to the ministry two weeks ago," she said, "Tonight was the last boring Ministry function I will have to attend as an employee."

Sirius looked surprised, "You quit?" he asked.

Hermione nodded, hoping he wasn't upset, "The day Remus told me you had been offered the job of Transfiguration professor. Up until that point I hadn't been sure I would actually take the job of Ancient Rune's professor," she told him, "I didn't want to leave you, but then I found out that there was a chance that you and I would still be technically living together at Hogwarts, and I just knew that I couldn't stay at the Ministry a day longer than necessary. I would drag you to Hogwarts myself if I had to."

Sirius laughed, "You would," he said with an affectionate smile, his eyes searching her face, "I can't believe I get to keep you," he murmured, leaning forward to kiss her.

Hermione smiled softly when they pulled back, "Forever," she told him, "Now there is only one question," she sighed, her fingers lovingly stroking a lock of hair from his eyes.

"And what's that?"

Hermione kissed him, "Is Hogwarts going to have two professor Blacks before or after school starts?"

Sirius smiled. She was so beautiful, and she may not know it, or believe him now. But Merlin, he would spend the rest of his life making sure she eventually did. Because he loved her; and that's all that mattered.


A/N: Okay, I'm not going to lie, I personally really like this story…but that may just be me. If you agree, or don't, please leave a REVIEW. I really really really like REVIEWs, they make my day and suddenly college doesn't seem so horrible. Side note, if you are wondering why in the world Draco and Hermione are so friendly, look up my other story One Decision That Changed Everything, it explains everything…and is pretty much canon for all of my other stories.

Also, Sirius wasn't going to propose…until he did…I had no control over it, it was two in the morning and all of a sudden….BAM, their getting married…but I think it worked out alright. To see the dress Hermione was wearing visit my profile, the link with be there.

Thank you to those of you who favorite and/or story/author alert this story, but REVIEW as well please!

Until next time…



REVIEW! (Yes, I am begging here…lol)