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Before Us

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“You loved him, didn’t you?” She heard him say as he looked out the window, eyes void of emotion, but she wouldn’t just cave.

“He’s my best friend, of course I loved him,” she heard herself telling him, as honest as she could.

There was a pregnant pause then, “Bullshit” he called out, “I hear the way you talk about him, see the way your eyes glaze at the mention of him - hell, I even notice how strangely you look at the boy right now, as if you want him to look at you and recognize you,” he spat before he turned and she looked away, shame filling her and coming out from every single pore of her skin.

He knew.

No, they probably knew, ‘this whole time,’ she thought distractedly as she felt something wet trickle down the side of her face and brushed it and stared at it for a while.

Tears.

‘I have tears,’ she thought absentmindedly, not noticing a figure staring at her sadly from where he stood, with dead resignation in his eyes.

“He won’t come back you know,” she heard him say after a while, “You being here already changed a lot of things,” he continued as she took a sharp intake of breath, “Even if things play out exactly as it happened then, you know that that boy won’t grow up to be your Harry,” he ended as he slowly walked towards her.

Until the moment he held her, she hadn't realized that she was full on crying - and shaking, he said she was shaking.

They stayed like that for a while, with him holding her and shushing her as he rocked her body side to side slowly and in a soothing manner told her that everything is going to be alright.

“You consciously travelled back in time for the boy that you loved to have love, and even if the boy here now isn’t and wouldn’t be the boy that you loved, you would know that the boy that you did love is looking at you now from wherever he was with pride because the girl that loved him so much assured that there would be more love on earth than what it probably deserved,” she heard him say as she continued to sob.

“He loved you too,” she heard him say when she finally started calming down.

“How would you know?” she asked him, voice still filled with bitter resigned heat.

“Because I know,” he said as if that made sense.

She looked up to him then, eyes disbelieving, she saw him smirk and he continued, “Because you’re here,” and raised a hand to her lips effectively killing her retort.

“I saw your memories in the pensieve when you passed out the other day from destroying the horcrux,” She caught her breath in her throat, because surely hedidn’t mean - her thoughts were cut off though when she felt his grip on her tighten, she felt faint.

“I apologize,” he said after another breath, “Peter was the one that dragged us in - said you looked like you were holding back too much information and we needed to know everything,”

He must’ve seen the darkness that clouded her vision eyes at the mention of the rat because again, as she felt his grip on her waist tighten before she heard him continue, “We saw the troll, the three-headed dog and the basilisk,” he stopped after that and for a while she wondered if he’d continue, those were her memories, she knows what’s in there.

But as usual with the guy in front of her, she needn’t worry.

He smiled at her, the smile that told her that he accepts her and takes her and chooses her despite her many flaws.

“I saw your genius when it came to saving innocents and your loyalty at the face of death - I saw it many times too after that,” and then she heard him sigh before continuing, “We saw each and everything you didn’t want us to see to spare us from the pain, not knowing that by doing so you’re subtly pushing us away,” he tucked a stray hair on her ear before he stared into her eyes again and said, “Lily cried for a full hour before James and Remus was able to calm her down, you know” and added, “Of course that’s after we pulled off Remus from Peter who was beating the rat to the ground”

“What happened to Peter after?” she couldn’t help but ask.

“James petrified him mid-transformation and we confirmed that he indeed have the dark mark then sent him off to Azkaban after he admitted under Veritaserum to me, James, Lily and Remus that he took the mark willingly and he killed muggles for fun,” the last words spat like venom in his mouth.

There was another pause after that, this one, more unsure than the last, but less awkward even when she was in his arms.

“What did you mean?” she asked him after a while, “What did you mean when you said, he loved me too?” And this time, she swore she saw him blush a little before he broke eye contact from her and stared back unseeingly behind her.

“Haven’t I just said? I saw your memories,” he said as she responded, “Yes but that’s nothing -“ but he cut her off.

“It was enough,” he replied cryptically before sighing tiredly, “You look at him but you don’t see him,” he supplied and added, “He believed in you and chose you, over and over and he looked at you -“ he stopped again and breathed slowly as if it physically pained him to do so before saying, “He looked at you - he looked at you and saw home,”

And then pieces of a puzzle, things finally fell into place.

She finally realized what he isn’t saying.

“You were the reason that he strived to live,” he continued, “Because he knew then - at that moment, someone would be sad when he’s gone,”

“What’s more,” he said after a break, “wasn’t his last message to you was ‘live’? It was because he knew - somehow, a part of him knew that that would be his end, but it doesn’t have to be yours” he ended as he stared deep in her eyes, as she felt flickers in her soul.

“Do you think I’ll find a home someday?” she asked him an hour later after she drank the hot cocoa he got her when he first entered her room.

He startled at her question and blinked at her for a solid two seconds before she heard him answer, slowly, carefully, “I’ve already told you before, but you’ll always have a place within the Marauders”

There was another beat, as she felt her head started to spin as she considered his words to her.

She Looked at him - no, really looked at him.

Sirius Orion Black III at nineteen looks a hell lot different from the Sirius of her time, the mirth from the eyes of the former was overshadowed by pain from the latter’s.

She looked at him and thought back to the time when she came back in time.

Sirius then, was the most difficult to convince, ‘but now,’ she thought as she looked at his silver eyes, ‘now, things have changed,’ she ended as she finally saw what others see when they looked at him - at them.

She didn’t know, until that very moment, how much of it was possible.

She thought she would never feel the same love twice but - she stopped herself, because technically, this is a different kind of love, she recognized that now, the one she had with her Harry was something perfect, something that was right at the wrong time - ‘they missed their chance,’ some would say, but now here she was, back in the past, and found someone who could love her as fiercely, and potentially someone she could love back.

Sirius, more than once, declared to anyone and everyone who would listen that he’s in love with her, and she didn’t - no, couldn’t believe that, until this very moment, right here, how much of it was true.

When they were standing in front of the other, staring deeply into each other eyes, without speaking - he, declaring love, and she, seeing the potential, she found out.

“I’m scared of trying,” she admitted as she hugged him slowly and buried his face into his chest.

She took a deep breath and let his scent wash over her very core.

“Newsflash kitten, I’m fucking scared too,” he chuckled darkly and added, “I wasn’t the settling down type, I have multiple people to call home after I started Hogwarts,” he pulled away slowly and stared in her eyes as if hesitating to say the next sentence, but then Gryffindor courage soared through him and she heard him saying, “Wherever I lay my wand, that was home, but now - your arrival, from the moment I saw you, I knew, I just knew, you’d change things - and Hermione, I fought, I fought my feelings at every turn and denied its reality as much as I could,” he laughed again as he saw her brows raised, “You can ask Moony and Prongs, they had to get me so much drunk to get me to admit to it and then locked me in my apartment for days until I’ve come to terms with it, because apparently, I was hurting you a lot by distancing myself and lashing out at you for unknowingly hurting my feelings” he ended.

“That was months ago,” I pointed out, and he looked away, his cheeks tinged pink as she heard him mumble a reply, “I know,” and then after, “I’m sorry”

She smiled at that, not that he saw as he still refused to look at her, afraid at what he would see, but he didn’t need to, as he felt Hermione’s small hands cup his face and slowly made his head turn towards her before placing a soft chaste kiss on his lips before asking, “Do you think we could be each other’s home?”

She saw him look at her blankly, and for once, she felt uncertainty started to creep in, ‘Was I too late?’ She asked himself as she started to pull away, only to be rushed back into his arms when he enveloped her in a bone-crushing hug and said, “thank you” over and over again.

“For giving me a chance,” he said after she asked her what the thank you’s were for.

“The me before you, was a broken man with too many flaws - a man who broke a lot of hearts, while the me after you, wanted to change” he said and she felt her heart started to swell as she found herself reciprocating the declaration, “Well, Mr. Black, the me before you, was also a broken girl and loved a man who couldn’t be and broke my heart while at it,” she stopped before adding, “I didn’t think I’d find love after all these destructions, but here you are, standing in front of me,” she smiled… and he, smiled back.

They’re ready to begin again.