Winter Lily

by Lara Wilson

It was half nine when Lilith stepped out the back door of her shop, locking it behind her. Slipping the set of keys into her bag, she pulled the zipper closed, then headed for the back gate that led to the mews running behind the row of shops that had formerly been London townhouses for the nobles and gentry.

Watchful, but hardly fearful, she strolled towards the busy street at the western end of the short alley. It was a cool night for early fall, but she usually walked the three blocks home regardless of the weather.

She had never quite grown accustomed to cars, though she was quite handy with a bicycle.

As she stepped onto the narrow sidewalk of a side-street off Knightsbridge, she bumped into a man, nearly knocking both of them down. Her bag dropped to her feet, and his hat fell off.

They both apologized at the same time, and bent for their belongings, nearly crashing into each other again.

Lilith laughed, a throaty sound, and the man responded with a self-deprecating chuckle.

And they both froze.

Breath catching in their throats, they rose to their full heights and looked at each other for the first time.

"Lil?"

His hair was shaggy, his face unshaven for at least two days, his body much more slender than she remembered.

But his eyes...

Soulful, deep and haunted.

Just as they'd been the last time she'd seen him.

"Sirius?"

Long dormant emotions swelled in her, choking back further comment, and she pressed a trembling hand to her mouth to hold in her cries.

A huge wolfish smile crossed his lips and he dragged her into his arms, burying his face in her soft white blonde hair. "Oh, Lil, Lil, I never thought I'd see you again." Pulling back, he cupped her pale cheeks in his warm hands. "You're one of the things that kept me going."

Swallowing hard against the emotional dam, she finally found her voice. "When...when did you get out?"

He frowned slightly. "I didn't. I escaped about two years ago. It even made the Muggle news for a while."

"I...two years? I was in New York most of that fall. Didn't keep up with the news. You escaped? But..." Confusion flooded her and she stared deeper into his eyes. "How? How did you stay sane?"

A bark of brittle laughter broke from him. "I'm not always sure I am, luv." Sirius glanced around, finally noticing other people walking around them, cars passing them. "Is there somewhere we can go? I'm still a fugitive."

"My flat is only a few blocks away. I...I never thought I'd see you again, either, Sirius." As she spoke, she pulled back from him, her eyes sliding past him, her thoughts trailing with them, into the past.

~~~~~

This was it, the first big moment in her life. Lilith perched on the stool, her fingers clasping around the edges, her feet swinging slightly, as she awaited the pronouncement that would decide her fate.

Across the room she watched her twin being welcomed beneath green and silver banners, and she silently prayed for something different. For the first eleven years of her life she'd been forced to be identical. Now she wanted something of her own.

"Gryffindor," bellowed the sorting hat, surprising just about everyone in the room. A gasp rang from the Slytherin table, and Lilith met her sister's shocked eyes, watched as ice filled them. Swallowing painfully at the loss of one thing precious, she slipped from the stool and embraced something new.

The first to greet her at the Gryffindor table was another first year named Lily.

They laughed hesitantly over the similarity of their names, becoming instant friends, as murmurs flew through the room.

Frosts had been attending Hogwarts since the first class.

Every one of them had been placed firmly in Slytherin.

~~~~~

The two girls, known to their friends as Summer Lily and Winter Lily, sat on the warm grass watching as high above them their boyfriends practiced the sport they loved so much. Sixteen years old, they were pretending that the daredevil antics in the sky above mattered little to their sophisticated minds, as they discussed the latest fashions and sex-tips from a Muggle magazine called 'Cosmo'.

Lilith was the first to break into giggles, dissolving back into girlhood. "Sirius can't even figure out my bra closure. I can't see him whispering this stuff to me as he seductively peels away my knickers."

Lily turned bright red, then grinned. "Bet he could magic loose that bra."

Giggling harder, the blonde flipped the page, trying to control her own blush. "Don't give him any ideas."

Leaning towards her best friend, the red head whispered, "Just wait till he does figure out how to take it off."

Lilith's eyes widened. "How would you...James?" she hissed. "When? How? Where? Why didn't you tell me!?"

Grinning smugly, Lily leaned back on her hands and glanced up at her boyfriend chasing the snitch. "I'm telling you now. And, Lil, it was..." A shiver of pleasure ran through her. "Maybe James should give Sirius a few tips."

"Yeah, I think so!"

The two girls burst into fresh laughter, while above them practice came to a momentary halt as the Seeker and Keeper met up in front of one of the goals to look down at their girlfriends.

"What do you think they're laughing about?"

James shot his best friend a smirk. "Us."

"Laughter. Probably not a good sign," Sirius groaned.

"You don't know anything about girls, Black. They're going to be laughing at us for the rest of their lives." He slapped Sirius on the shoulder. "Doesn't mean they don't love us."

"Lend me your invisibility cloak tonight? I think I've finally figured out that damn bra."

James laughed and pushed off. "'Bout time."

~~~~~

Final exams were finished, levels completed, all that lay ahead was matriculation and the real world. A nearly full moon shown down on the two lovers wrapped around each other on a blanket in a sheltered grove of trees.

"I wish every moment from now on would be this wonderful," Lilith murmured against her lover's chest.

"They will be, luv. We'll make them so."

"But we won't be together. You'll be off training to become an auror."

"And you'll be in Ireland continuing your divination studies, but we'll never truly be apart." Sirius placed a kiss on top of her head and held her closer. "It will only be a few years, and we'll see each other at every possible moment."

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."

"Hm?"

"A Muggle saying. I hope it's true."

"We'll make it true."

Lilith looked up to find him grinning down on her. "You're determined to make it so, hm?"

"Yep. You're the one who can see the future. Can't you see that we'll live happily ever after?"

Forcing the smile to remain on her face, she replied lightly,"I don't want to tempt the fates by looking at our own future. We'll just have to take one step at a time."

As she lowered her head to kiss him, a chill went through her, but she ignored it, remaining fully in the now.

~~~~~

Sitting in the second row of the Frost family temple, Lilith tried not to frown as she watched her twin pledge her life to Lucius Malfoy. It was an exceptionally good match. Two old families gifted in the dark arts, wealthy and powerful. It had been nearly two hundred years since their families had joined, and each had only grown more powerful in those passing years.

Lilith felt the weight of sadness settle over her as she listened to Narcissa repeat the formal words, her voice smooth and cold. Since their eleventh year, they had grown farther and farther apart, the twin bond between them stretched so thin it was barely there. When had her sister become so cold? She was almost a creature of ice, a fitting daughter of Frost.

A fitting mate for a Malfoy.

There was no love being pledged in front of her. This was an alliance of power.

For the thousandth time, Lilith felt truly grateful that she hadn't become as frozen as her sister.

Her marriage, when she found the nerve to inform her parents she was marrying a disgrace to his family, would be so different. Full of love and laughter.

She found herself smiling and pressed her hand lightly to her lips. Sirius had wanted to attend the wedding, if only to see the look on Malfoy's face. Even though Lucius was three years older than them, there had been no love lost between him and their band of Gryffindors. Lilith had promised Sirius a special treat if he stayed away.

He'd consented only because he knew that she wasn't ready to inform her family that her teenage fling was something much more.

Now she just had to come up with that treat.

~~~~~

Pain brought her back swiftly to consciousness, and her memories hit her, forcing a cry from her torn lips.

"Lil?"

She heard him, but she couldn't move, couldn't open her eyes.

Then the smell assaulted her, blood and burning flesh, and she gagged. As she tried to breathe around the stench, hands dragged her up, and her eyes cracked open.

Sirius held her, both of them kneeling on the debris strewn pavement. His eyes were empty, the madness and fury gone from them.

"P...Peter?" she coughed out, the smoke filling her lungs.

He shook his head. "Dead." The bitterness in his voice nearly made her weep.

Sirens sounded in the distance, a multitude growing ever closer. Sirius' eyes went wild again and he pulled her to her feet. Lilith swayed and nearly collapsed, but he forced her to stay standing.

"We have to get out of here."

"So many dead," she wept. "How could he? He was our friend."

"Traitor," Sirius cursed. "Butcher."

The fire trucks pulled onto the street followed by a dozen police cars. Shouts of horror sounded along with the screech of tires, but the two lovers ignored them, their attention drawn to a growing swirl of light in the sky. The atmosphere grew heavy, pressing down on them.

"Go, now!" Sirius yelled above the din, but as Lilith tried to apparate, everything froze.

A trio of Dementors landed lightly on the street in front of them.

Despair filled Lilith and she collapsed with a soft moan.

~~~~~

Blinking into the bright sunlight, Lilith stepped hesitantly through the prison doorway and looked up into her father's hard, dark eyes. Her sister stood behind him, pale and fragile looking.

She knew she looked even worse. Only two months in Azkaban, and she was wraith thin, her skin wan, her eyes dulled to a lifeless gray. There was white in her hair and bruises beneath her eyes.

Forming a coherent thought was almost impossible, but she had to know.

"Why?"

Her family hadn't attended her trial or sentencing, hadn't visited her once since her arrest. The family barrister had made no appearance, leaving her in the hands of ministry chosen counsel.

Frost wealth and influence could have seen her free at any time, as so many true Death Eaters had found freedom through bribes and promises of aid. After only a few days she had realized no help from her family was forthcoming.

It was the Deputy Minister of the prison who spoke. "After review it was determined that there was no evidence that you participated in the slaughter. Your father," he nodded deferentially to the elder Frost, "brought it to the courts' attention that you were undoubtedly Black's prisoner."

Lilith felt herself gaping at that, but couldn't think of anything to say, and again she looked at her twin sister who simply stared back at her from empty eyes.

"Come, Lilith. I can abide this place no longer," her father sneered, turning and walking down the stone path towards the dock where their yacht lay at anchor.

Narcissa followed obediently.

Swallowing hard, Lilith did the same.

The crossing was swift and silent. She sat on a deck chair, refusing to look back, trying not to think of whom she left behind in that hell.

When they reached land again, her father approached her, and she rose awkwardly to her feet. His face was inscrutable, an aristocratic mask.

Lilith steeled herself for the verbal blows she knew were coming.

"You are a disgrace to our name. Lowering yourself to such stupidity, to such scandal, and with a traitorous murderer. Know this, I saw to your release only because your sister suffered with you, feeling your pain. For all I care, you could have rotted there for the rest of your life. You are no longer welcome at Frost Manor. You are no longer my daughter."

With a swirl of his sable trimmed cloak, he apparated away, leaving Lilith standing alone on the deck, wrapped in a frayed cloak and gown, her only possession her wand.

~~~~~

With a sharp crack and a negligent toss into a sidewalk waste- bin, Lilith Frost left her old life behind. Walking into the dress shop just off Knightsbridge with the 'Help Wanted' sign in the window, she introduced herself to the owner as Lily Winters.

~~~~~

Unlocking the outer door of a modest South Kensington townhouse, Lilith led the way down a hallway lit with art deco sconces to the door to her flat. Another twist of a key and she beckoned Sirius inside, turning on two table lamps with the push of a button.

"Would you like something to drink? I have wine..." She removed her jacket and hung it on a coat tree as she headed towards the kitchen.

"Yeah, wine sounds good."

She could hear the puzzlement in his voice, but chose to ignore it for the moment.

Explanations were going to be so hard.

As she fixed a tray of biscuits, Irish cheddar, a small piece of Stilton, and some herbed chevre, she heard him moving around her sitting room, and in her mind's eye could picture his view of her home.

How could she even start to explain?

Adding two glasses and a chilled bottle of Chardonnay to the tray, she took a deep breath and returned to the other room.

Sirius stood in the middle, looking from one object to another, a frown on his lined face. Lilith set the tray down on a low table and sat on the edge of a chair to pour two glasses.

"Lil...you live in a Muggle building, in a Muggle flat."

Taking a sip of wine to fortify herself, Lilith straightened her back and looked up at him. "Yes, I do."

He gestured at the television in the corner. "You have a television and a telephone, and I don't know what that is," he added, pointing to her laptop computer she'd left on the sofa that morning. He'd obviously touched it because the screen was lit, her Lord of the Rings wallpaper shining at her.

"It's a computer."

His look of complete bafflement didn't surprise her, and when he ran a hand through his shaggy hair, a shiver went through her at the familiar gesture. Sirius picked up the second glass and drank half of the wine in one swallow.

"What happened to you?"

She tried not to squirm under the piercing look he turned on her. "I survived, Sirius."

"I knew you'd been released. I was so grateful that your father'd come around..."

Lilith's inelegant snort stopped him. "My sister was suffering what I suffered through our twin bond. He freed me for her, then kicked me out of the family." Raising her glass, she toasted the room. "All of this I earned." A slight smile tickled her lips. "With the help of a small inheritance from a great aunt who must be spinning in her portrait to know I've used it to buy a Muggle life."

Sirius sank slowly to the sofa, giving the laptop a wide berth, and drank the rest of his wine before reaching for the bottle to pour another glass.

"Why?" he finally asked.

The smile fled and she set down her glass, nervously folding her hands in her lap. "I had no future in our world," she said slowly. "Everyone thought I was a traitor who'd bought her way out of prison. My family had turned away from me, and, since I wasn't actually a dark witch, I didn't have a place with any on that side, nor did I want one. Even with His defeat, the government didn't look kindly on any hint of dark magics, or anyone rumored to have used them."

"You were tainted by my brush," he interjected softly.

"Peter's brush."

He shrugged that off and reached for a biscuit, but only turned it between his fingers, as he drank more wine. "This is good. The Muggles make fine wine."

"They make lots of wonderful things."

"Are you happy in this life?" He turned on her suddenly, intensely, like a wolf, and she jerked back slightly, her wine spilling onto her fingers.

"I don't know what happy feels like anymore, Sirius," she replied honestly, then unconsciously licked the wine from her knuckles. When she realized he was watching her every move through dark, glittering eyes, she swallowed hard and rubbed her hand on her skirt, trying to return to the subject matter, but feeling more and more adrift. "I'm content in my life."

"Without anything familiar?"

"It's been thirteen years. This is familiar."

He waved his glass at her velvet knee length skirt, the cropped top and low heeled pumps. "You even dress like them."

"So do you."

"But, I'm in disguise."

"So am I, in a way. Hiding from Lilith Frost."

His brow furrowed in puzzlement, and she continued. "When I left the magic world, I took the name Lily Winters, not that I thought anyone would bother to track me down, but because...I needed a new start." She took another sip of wine and set aside her empty glass, finally finding the confidence to admit the final truth. "I broke my wand."

The shocked growl from him really didn't surprise her, and she lifted a steady gaze to his horrified face, as he looked around her flat with new understanding. "You...you don't use magic, do you."

"Not for thirteen years," she answered softly.

"...How?"

"Cold turkey. I cut it out of my life with few regrets, turned my back on my abilities, and started over. It was the only way to go."

"And your sight?"

Lilith paled slightly. The magic she'd forced herself to live without, but her innate ability to see the future had been much harder to deal with. "It still comes occasionally, but I don't seek it out. I had to do this, Sirius. I couldn't...I couldn't live on the edges of our world, eking out a living reading the palms of shady characters for knuts."

"You should have been the most powerful seer of our age," Sirius said sadly.

"So much was wasted for all of us. James and Lily, even Peter. And I lost track of Remus."

"He's well. He...he does live on the edges. The world found out."

She nodded in response, remembering how hard it had been back in school to keep the secret of one of them being a werewolf.

"Lil, you said you didn't know I'd escaped. Are you not following any news?"

"No. I said, I turned my back on all of that. I...of course I've thought about my family and friends...you...and what might be happening, but I haven't sought out news. What good would it do for me to know the latest gossip and who's running for what ministry office?"

Anger flashed across Sirius' face. "He's back, Lil. Voldemort is back in the flesh."

She went white as shock filled her, automatically shaking her head in denial. "No. No, he can't be. We heard that he'd disappeared, been reduced to basically nothing, something finally right for us coming out of the tragedy of losing James and Lily and so many others. He can't be alive!"

"He came back about five months ago. And the Death Eaters have returned to his side. So have the Dementors. The government is in denial, refusing to believe in his return, making up stories for why Azkaban is no longer hell, discrediting Harry."

"Harry?" Lilith's eyes lit up. "He's...I haven't wanted to think about him. He's well?" she finished a bit lamely.

"Harry is as good as can be expected for all he's suffered and lost. When he was eleven, he went to Hogwarts, under Dumbledore's protection. He's in Gryffindor, the house Seeker, a smart, brave boy. And he's faced Voldemort three times since starting Hogwarts, and survived them all."

"Tell me everything about him," she cried breathlessly, leaning forward.

"Go see him yourself, Lil. His story's not mine to tell."

She pulled back, her enthusiasm fleeing. "I...I can't."

"Go see your godson for the first time since he was a toddler. He doesn't even know you exist."

Lilith's lips trembled but she forced herself to remain calm. "Sirius, I can't go back to that world, not even to visit."

He snorted in frustration and rose to his feet. "We could use you in the fight, Lil, but that's not going to happen, is it?"

Sadly she shook her head, her long pale hair briefly covering her cool gray eyes.

Sirius shook his head back at her and turned for the door. Lilith was on her feet before she could think about it, hurrying to stop him.

"Don't go like this. Please." Placing herself between him and the door, she found herself pressed against his hard, wiry body, and her breath caught in her throat. Slowly she raised her face to his and their eyes met and locked.

Sirius' glittered with danger and need. His nostrils flared, as he said hoarsely, "Let me go, Lil. This shouldn't happen."

"I can't," she whispered, raising one shaking hand to his unshaven cheek. He didn't flinch from her touch and she allowed her fingers to trace the lines at the corner of his lips. "I had to stop thinking about you, but you were still always there." Her other hand rose to the inner curve of her left breast. "In here, in my heart."

"Lilith..." Eyes still locked, he slowly lowered his head, she rose on tiptoes, their lips brushed together hesitantly, than with more pressure.

Then they were on the floor, pulling at each other's clothes, kissing hungrily, growling and moaning with sudden lust. Lilith's shirt flew over her head as she tugged Sirius' jacket down his arms. When he transferred his mouth to one of her bared breasts in one nearly brutal lunge at her, she arched her back and cried her pleasure to the painted ceiling.

As he sucked and licked and kissed her dark rose nipples, his hand went up her skirt, finding her heat and stroking her through silk. Lilith cried out again and dug her finger into his long hair, holding him to her breast as her knees rose to rub his sides. Lowering himself, Sirius began to rock against her, until her hands fumbled with his belt.

"Off, off," she chanted, tugging the leather free and finding the buttons on his trousers. As she struggled, she cursed, then cursed again when he pulled back and rose to his knees. She stopped cursing when yanked off his shirt, kicked off his boots and jerked off his trousers.

Lilith's first impression was that he was leaner than she remembered. Then she saw the scars.

Then he was on her again, shoving her skirt up and her knickers down, kissing her with such hunger she began to weep. Her body hummed with tension and she could feel its twin in the taut muscles beneath her fingers as she stroked them down his back.

Kicking free of the scrap of silk around her ankle and sending her shoes flying as well, she grabbed his hips and pulled him down between her spread legs. "Please, oh please," she begged between kisses.

Sirius could feel her wet heat, her readiness, but still he slid a finger between them, gently rubbing her swollen flesh until she cried his name against his cheek and bucked against him. Her hands were in his hair again, holding on as pleasure crashed through her on violent waves. She dragged his mouth back to hers, and met his tongue with hers, dueling with it as their bodies rocked together.

With a deep growl, Sirius lifted his hips, then sank into her. His eyes widened as he felt her tight muscles clamp around him, then he was lost to the pleasure and thrust hard, driving her into the thinly carpeted wood floor.

Lilith felt the ache of her hips, but ignored the pain and met his next thrust, her legs wrapping around his thighs, her toes dancing behind his knees. With each deep thrust he grunted. With each buck of her hips she moaned.

They continued to kiss, almost desperately as their bodies pounded together.

"Want...want to see you," Sirius ground out, and as she gasped in surprise, he rolled them, pushing her up so that she sat astride his narrow hips. He looked up at her, saw her flushed, sweat- dampened skin, her hair in tangles over her shoulders and breasts, bruises from his hard kisses purpling around her taut nipples. The skirt was in the way and he found the side zipper and yanked the yard of velvet over her head, baring her completely.

"I never forgot," he muttered as his hands found her waist and urged her to move.

"Me neither," she whimpered, and as her hips began to undulate, her hands found her breasts, her thumbs playing over her sensitive nipples.

He'd always liked to watch.

The memories of old pleasures made her moan and shake and grind herself against him as a fresh orgasm shuddered through her. As she clenched around him, Sirius gritted his teeth, arched his head back against the floor and thrust hard and fast until he cried out and spilled himself deep inside her.

Shaking with pleasure and release, Lilith fell forward and was caught in his strong arms. Their lips met again in a tender kiss, then they sighed and lay still.

A bit later, when some of the strength returned to her quivering legs, Lilith rose and self-consciously reached for her scattered clothing.

Sirius propped himself up on one elbow and chuckled deep in his throat. "Might as well as not bother, luv. I'd just have them off you again." Stretching languidly, he rose to his feet and padded down the hall. "Bedroom this way?"

Arching one eyebrow at his presumption, Lilith found herself smiling and following him, and not allowing herself to think too much about this.

*****

Eyes closed, fingers playing idly across the sparsely haired chest her head rested upon, Lilith listened to Sirius talk, his voice low and husky. The only mention of Azkaban was the reason for his escape--Peter. A chill had gone through her when he told her the rat was still alive.

He spoke of Remus, his struggles with the current anti-werewolf legislation, his one bright year at Hogwarts, the renewal of their friendship. Of Harry, the good things and the bad--how his blood had brought Voldemort back to full life.

He spoke lightly of his two years on the run, but she knew the pain and loneliness he suffered.

She still wondered how he'd remained sane.

"Where have you been staying?" she finally asked at a lull in his soliloquy.

"Wherever I can. Usually in the Muggle world in my other form. Dogs are much safer on the streets of London." At the stilling of her fingers on his chest, he recognized her worry for him and hurried on. "I've been out of the country a lot, but since Voldemort's return, I've wanted to be closer to Harry. I'm thinking about moving into the family townhouse, if I can ward it properly."

"Your...?" Opening her eyes, she glanced up at him and saw a bleak expression on his face. He hated that place.

"My mother died several years ago, the place has been empty ever since."

"Oh. I'm..."

Sirius smiled sadly. "Don't say 'sorry'. Neither of us are. She saw you as much of a traitor to your family as I was too ours." His hand trailed down her back, soothing her until she relaxed completely and closed her eyes again. "So, what have you been up to in the Muggle world? Work? Friends?...Lovers?"

Lilith snuggled closer for a second, then rolled over and fumbled through a stack of magazines on the shelf beneath her night stand as she said, "Converting galleons into Muggle gold is extremely profitable, but to keep busy I started working in a clothing store." Finding what she was looking for, she flipped to a page and lay back down, handing the magazine to him.

"'Lil Winter's Creations'?"

"I always had a knack for designing clothes, remember? I started fiddling with some designs incorporating both Wizard and Muggle styles, and my employer really liked them. She encouraged me to create my own line and let me sell them in her shop. Now I have my own shop. Actually half a dozen. Two here in London, one each in Paris, Rome, New York, L.A., and Tokyo."

"This is...well, I don't know anything about ladies' fashions, but I like this. I liked what you were wearing earlier, too. Was that yours?"

"Yeah."

There was a hint of pride in his voice. "You're doing well for yourself."

"Yeah." Lilith placed a soft kiss on the firm chest beneath her. "And I have friends and a life and I've even dated. But no lovers. I've never found anyone who could ever follow you." Lifting her head she found his lips with hers, silencing his amazed reply.

When she finally released him from the kiss, he gaped at her, and stuttered hoarsely, "Only me, Lil?"

"Only you." She kissed his chin, his neck, his shoulder, her hands sliding down his body as she went with them. Dancing kisses down his chest, she listened to his heart speed up and the air come in gasps from his lungs. She bussed his navel and reached down to wrap he fingers around the tip of his hardening cock.

"Lil? What are you doing?"

Flashing him a mischievous smile, Lilith ran her tongue down the line of dark hair to his groin, as her fingers began to slide up and down, pumping slowly. When her tongue joined her fingers, Sirius collapsed with a gasp.

"Good boy," she murmured, flicking her tongue over the sensitive slit. "Just let me play."

"You're a wicked, wicked woman," he groaned.

Lilith responded by sliding him deep into her mouth.

*****

"You could stay with me."

Fastening his trousers, Sirius shook his head. "I could never live permanently in the Muggle world, Lilith. I don't know how you do it. And...I'm needed."

"I..." She sat up in bed, the quilt falling to her waist. "We just found each other."

"But we don't know each other anymore." Sitting down on the bed, he took her trembling hands in his. "I'm not disappearing on you. I want to come back, to see you again, to..." He kissed her softly. "I never stopped loving you, but we've both changed."

Lilith nodded slowly and leaned her head onto his shoulder. "You're right. We don't know each other anymore, but I do want to get to know the new you." She sighed softly. "Last night was probably rushing things."

"But inevitable from the first moment we recognized each other," he added, a tad smugly, then gave her a mock groan when she lifted her head and punched him lightly in the shoulder.

"I see your ego is still intact. Quite the ladies' man." She smiled.

He went serious. "No, only you, only ever you."

Her eyes widened and he nodded. "I guess we're meant to be."

"I guess we'll find out," she amended, then kissed him again with all the old love and passion she'd always felt for him.

*****

Wrapped in a ratty old terrycloth robe, her tangled hair blowing in the light wind, Lilith stood on the bottom step outside her townhouse, her hands in Sirius'. With him standing below her, their eyes and lips were level, and they both leaned forward to kiss goodbye. It was loving and soft and rather sad but hopeful.

"Lil, I hope you change your mind, come back to our world, even for a visit, just for Harry even."

"I'll...I'll think about it, Sirius. I cut myself off so completely. I'm not sure I have the strength."

"You do," he encouraged. With a final kiss, he turned and strode swiftly into the early morning light, leaving Lilith's mind whirling.

No... she couldn't return. Her life was here, where she was safe and there was no magic to hurt her or confuse her. No family to look down on her. No friends dying.

No little boy who never knew his parents and didn't know he had a godmother who had always loved him.

End...for now

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