Chapter Ten

"Sirius!" Remus hissed as he grabbed his friend as he ran past. "Did you tell her? Please don't say she said-"

"No!" he interrupted, "She hasn't said anything." He looked down dejectedly.

"Why?" Remus asked, genuinely curious. The Vanessa I know would have said yes in an instant I'm sure of that! That's what Nymphadora says anyway… he thought worried for the both of us.

"Because I didn't tell her." Remus stared at him for a full minute before hitting him around the head with his wand.

"Why, Sirius! We had you all ready for it!"

"She caught me off guard, that's why! I ran into the kitchen to get some water before I went out to find her and there she was standing behind me, saying she had been looking for me! Looking for me, Remus! She wanted to know where I had been. I couldn't believe that she really would have worried that much, seeing as it is her birthday and all. I'm sure she had much better things to be doing and all that-"

"Sirius!" Remus shouted over the incessant talk of his best friend, "You're babbling." He stopped and blushed again.

"Right, I suppose I am." He took a deep breath before continuing, "I can't tell her, Remus! I don't want to hear her say no…" He slumped against the wall and slid down until he was seated on the carpet of the entrance hall.

"She won't-"

"How do you know that, Remus? You don't, so don't say anything! Just because it worked out alright for you doesn't mean it will for me." Sirius buried his face in his hands. Remus sighed.

"I'm sorry, Sirius, but you can't give up just yet alright?" he said comfortingly as he knelt down beside him.

"Yeah, whatever, I think I might head off to bed actually. Tell Vanessa I'm sorry." And with that he stood up and trudged up the stairs. Remus had never seen his friend look more miserable than he did right now. He then turned and walked back through the door, back to the party.

I slowly turned around, still somewhat in shock from what just occurred did Sirius just run away from me? I had never seen him that scared before and it worried me as to what was the problem. I shook my head of those thoughts and made my way back out into the party after realising since it began I had spent more time in here than out there talking with people. I am so glad I talked Molly out of a birthday cake, I don't think I would have had my heart in it and that just would have hurt her feelings, I thought, thankful I had something going for me at the moment. I scanned the small crowd looking for someone to talk to when my eyes stopped on Fred and George who were sitting in the corner huddled over something whispering together and laughing every few minutes. I narrowed my eyes at them and started to make my way towards them when my path was blocked by none other than Remus:

"Hello, Vanessa! Happy Birthday! Are you having a good night?" he asked politely as he placed his arm around my shoulders.

"Yes, thankyou Remus. Though Sirius is troubling me…." I trailed off, shaking my head, cursing myself for bringing this up with his best friend of all people.

"What? What is it Vanessa?" Remus pressed, knowing full well what I was going to talk about. You'll see Sirius; I'll prove to you that she wants you just as much as you want her. Remus thought smugly.

"Don't worry, Remus, I'm sorry I brought it up." I turned my head away, even more embarrassed now that I had Remus worried.

"You can talk to me, after all I know Sirius best, and perhaps I can help?" he offered as he smiled at me kindly. After a few moments, I gave in as I then proceeded to explain everything that had transpired in the kitchen. To my surprise Remus just laughed.

"I'm sorry, Remus?" I asked confusedly, I didn't see what was so funny.

"Pardon me, Vanessa. Its just that is very like Sirius to act like that when he is nervous about something. That's all." I grabbed onto his sleeve.

"What has he got to be nervous about? Tell me!" Remus smiled warmly at me as he took in my reaction. She's got it for him bad… he thought wryly, If only Sirius would believe that.

"You'll find out soon enough." And with that he moved away walking over to where Tonks stood, greeting her with a kiss on the lips. I sighed as I watched them, If only they were us… I thought morosely as I turned around and walked over to Kingsley Shaklebolt and started to talk to him, completely missing the nod Remus directed to the twins who grinned evilly and made their way out of the room quietly and ran up stairs.

"Mr Shaklebolt, how are you today?" I greeted as I walked up to him.

"Ah, Vanessa! Please do call me Kingsley." He held out his hand for me to shake. "Happy Birthday to you as well."

"Thankyou, Kingsley." I bit my lip as I opened my mouth to speak, stopping myself from asking him about my parents. It didn't seem the right thing to ask now. However Kingsley looked at me, smiling warmly.

"You parents are fine, Vanessa. You mustn't worry too much about them. They are very capable Aurors and will be able to look after themselves just fine."

"Thankyou, Kingsley," I smiled at the tall man before turning to Molly who stood near by.

"Molly," I whispered to get her attention.

"Yes, dear?" she replied instantly, "Are you alright?"

"Yes, Molly, just fine. I was thinking I might head off to bed. I am feeling very tired today, must be all this worry about my parents." I smiled wryly at her, not willing to add that Sirius played a big part in wearing me out. She bit her lip worriedly.

"Oh! I told Arthur not to tell you today! He should have waited!" Molly fretted as she looked around the room for her husband, ready to get angry at him.

"No! Its not that, I'm glad he told me now. I can handle it. I'm just glad they are alright." She visibly relaxed after that, she always worried about everyone all the time one of the many things I loved about her.

"Vanessa's heading off now, poor dear is tired she has had a very trying day indeed," Molly called out over the general hubbub of the crowd which silenced immediately.

"Goodnight Vanessa!" A few in the corner shouted.

"Happy Birthday!" Remus and Tonks coursed loudly while holding onto each other before bursting out laughing. It was clear they were already slightly intoxicated.

"Goodnight everyone, and thankyou for being here!" and with that I walked out of the room and into the deserted hall and made my way up the stairs. Once I was on the landing I sighed deeply, I 'm glad that's over I thought, relieved I didn't have to hang around them anymore, I was too distracted by Sirius' behaviour. I slowed down as I passed his room,

I wonder if he is alright…. I sighed once again and went into my bedroom, closing the door behind me. Without a further thought I quickly got changed, hanging my dress up carefully and slipped into bed. I closed my eyes contentedly not hearing the sniggering outside my room as two pairs of feet ran past and down the stairs.

After half an hour of laying there and not being able to sleep, I heard a soft fluttering the corner of my room. I froze, despising the possibility of it being an insect of any kind. I sat up in bed wand in hand, my heart pounding in my chest.

"Lumos!" I shouted, pointing my wand at the wall. My worst nightmares had suddenly come to life. Moths! Hundreds of them sitting on my wall and ceiling! I screamed as I scrambled to get out of bed, only to find I was trapped in the sheets. I tumbled to the floor, dropping my wand which rolled under the bed. I didn't even realise this and in my panic I thrust open the door and ran out into the hall. I then dashed blindly down the hall to the room furthest away from mine and pushed the door open, slamming it shut and leaning against it breathing heavily.

"Thank Merlin I got out of there…" I murmured to myself, I leant my head back against the door and opened my eyes. My heart almost stopped when I was looking at a half dressed Sirius sitting on his bed reading. He now sat there staring at me with his jaw slack.

"Sirius!" I almost screamed, "I'm so sorry! I didn't even think-" I turned and made to open the door,

"Wait!" he finally spoke up, "Its alright! Come sit here." He gestured to the edge of his bed, where I tentatively sat. "Now what's wrong? You look like you had the life scared out of you." I looked at him curiously.

"I could say the same of you from before." I remarked with a raised eyebrow, forgetting in that moment my fear of the moths. He blushed deeply.

"We're not talking about me at the moment are we?" he smoothly countered, "Now what got you so worked up?" I reached out and clutched his arm tightly.

"There is something in my room-" I broke off, shaking with fear. Instantly Sirius sprang up, wand in hand.

"I'll help you get rid of whatever is in there!" He paced to the door before stopping and turning around. "What exactly is in there, Vanessa?"

"Moths!" I voiced fearfully. To my complete and utter surprise, Sirius quickly ran back to his bed and jumped back on it.

"Sorry, Vanessa, I can't help you there." He explained shaking his head. "There is no way I'm going near a moth!"

"You're scared of them too?" I asked incredulously. "I thought I was the only one!" I threw my arms around him unthinkingly hugging him tightly. After a few moment I realised I was pressing my self against his bare chest and I pulled back quickly only to find Sirius' arms around my waist holding me close. I took a deep breath and looked into his eyes.

"You can stay here if you want, I don't mind." He whispered, his dark grey eyes connecting with mine.

"Are you sure?" I found myself replying, instead of running with embarrassment, "You don't mind, because I can't go back to that room tonight."

"Of course, I more than anyone can understand your plight."

"Thankyou…" I whispered, still lost in his eyes.

"I've got plenty of pillows and blankets here." He added. I made to move off the bed to look for them when I found he still had his arm securely around my waist.

"I meant in my bed…" he amended with a grin. My eyes widened in shock.

"What? Sleep in your bed?" I almost squeaked, much to my embarrassment. "I can't do that!"

"Why not? Where else are you going to sleep?"

"I could put some blankets and pillows on the floor and…" he silenced me with a finger on my lips.

"There's enough room in here for the two of us, so you don't have to worry about anything." He whispered as he slid down under the blankets, gesturing for me to do the same. I slipped under the covers nervously.

"Goodnight," I whispered softly to him in the darkness as he turned out the light.

"Goodnight, Vanessa."

A deep silence filled the room for a few moments before I turned to Sirius to find him lying on his side watching me. Luckily the darkness hid my blush as I spoke.

"Why were you so flustered this evening when I saw you?" I asked curiously. He was silent for so long I thought he wasn't going to answer.

"I was trying to get the courage up to tell you something, but you caught me off guard so I chickened out." I could see him grin sheepishly as he spoke. Unconsciously I slid closer to him.

"What were you trying to tell me?" I asked, completely oblivious to what he meant.

"Maybe I should just show you." He replied.

"Show me what-" My sentence was cut off by the urgent press of his lips against mine as he wrapped his arms around my body, pulling me closer to him. I sighed happily as he deepened the kiss, the sensation running through me like liquid fire. When we broke apart slowly he ran his hand gently down my face. I could barely believe what had just happened, Sirius just kissed me! He held me flush against his chest as I brought my arms around his back.

"What took you so long?" I breathed as I closed the distance between us and kissed him passionately, all my feelings and tension from the last few months imbued in his kiss. Sirius grinned against my lips as he returned the kiss just as fervently.

"I've wanted this for so long," he whispered reverently as he slowly broke apart, interspersing each word with a trail of kisses down my jaw. I dug my nails into his back as his ministrations led him to a particular sensitive spot on my neck.

"You know, I do believe we owe Fred and George." I managed to say before Sirius captured my lips with his again. "Their pranks helped us come along away, we can't deny that." I continued, breathing heavily, still drawn up in the incredible feel of it all.

"We do indeed." He concurred as he looked into my eyes lovingly, brushing my hair from my face.

"I can't believe this is finally happening." I whispered half to myself as I ran my hand down his face placing my palm on his chest, where I felt this heart beating frantically. He grinned as wrapped his arms tighter around me pulling me into a hug.

"Happy Birthday." I laughed out loud as he buried his face in my neck. This was possibly the best thing that had ever happened to me and Fred and George were possibly two of the best friends I could ever hope to have.