In the morning she felt cold and shaky. She soaked in the hot shower for a long time until she felt grounded enough again to move about her normal day. Nothing happened during breakfast and around lunch time she ventured out to the local park. It was brisk and a little windy out today, and she walked with her hands in the pockets of her jacket, not really watching where she was going as she wandered among the trees.
She couldn't get the image of his face out of her head. And so many questions followed behind it. There must be a connection between them, there had to be, but there was no one for her to talk to about it. No one but Sirius.
Inside the lining of her pocket she felt a sharp stab at the tip of her finger and she pulled her hand out to check, finding the familiar spark she had been expecting. She moved quickly into a clump of trees and as she closed her eyes to concentrate she found herself imagining his young face again, and she smiled. Suddenly it occurred to her, for the first time, that she actually knew where she was going. Not the actual place but at least the person she was going to. She took in a deep breath as she felt her other hand spark and when the world tilted beneath her feet she tilted with it…
And she landed upright, still on her feet, still holding her breath, her eyes still closed. She blinked them open rapidly, her head spinning a little, but the nausea wasn't there. She was in Diagon again but this time properly on the main street and not in Knockturn Alley. It was a little chilly here and there weren't many people out and about; she guessed that it might be spring time instead of fall. She wandered slowly down the cobblestone, her hands in her pockets again, and her sharp eyes taking everything in as she searched for him.
He must be here otherwise she wouldn't have come. Up and down every side street she glanced until she finally spotted his small form, glued to the front window of a shop. She approached slowly, trying to ascertain his age before she asked and thinking that he was definitely younger than the last time they had met. When she was close enough to see she smiled to herself at the way he was staring up longingly at a broom display at the front of Quality Quidditch Supply. She stopped behind him to admire it as well, until the reflection of her face came into view across the handle of the broomstick, and Sirius gasped in delight, turning on the spot and hugging her middle once again.
She chuckled as she placed her hands on his back and held him to her affectionately.
'Are you alone?' she asked when he beamed up at her.
'No. Mother brought me shopping,' he explained as he released her. 'It was either this or visit my grandmother with Regulus.'
Georjaina smiled at the disdain in his voice. 'Where is she?'
'In Knockturn,' he replied in a hushed voice. 'I'm not aloud. She just lets me wander now that I'm older.'
'Seven,' he said with understanding and she nodded.
'I see.' She looked up and down the deserted street for a moment, thinking. 'Do you know, I have a good feeling about this visit. Would you like to get something to eat with me?'
'Can I have a butterbeer?' Sirius asked quickly and she grinned as he took her hand.
'Just don't tell anyone, alright?' she replied, trying to sound stern.
'I won't. I don't tell anyone about our meetings anyway.'
They walked down to the end of the alley together and into the Leaky Cauldron. There were only a few patrons inside and the bartender came over immediately to seat them at a table by the fire. He seemed strangely unsuspicious but then again she was old enough to be his aunt or even his mother, really. Georjaina ordered them two butterbeers and a platter of chips, grateful that everything she had on her always jumped with her.
Sirius seemed so happy and talkative since yesterday, her yesterday, and so she took advantage of it, asking him a multitude of questions that he was only two happy to answer. She was right in her suspicions about his mother; she sounded like a fierce, hard headed, terror of a woman who expected loyalty and obedience from all, especially her two young boys. He complained of Regulus but he sounded like any average young boy who wanted nothing more than to be like their older brother, and she could tell Sirius harbored a soft spot for him after all. He didn't say much about his father, who worked most of the time, but he said enough for her to understand that he was a prominent figure in a long, distinguished line of wizards and that he did them proud with his position at the Ministry.
'Are you always with your mother?' she asked as she scraped at the dregs of her butterbeer with her straw. 'Have you ever had a nanny?'
'We did once but Regulus caught her hair on fire,' he replied with a bit of a grin.
Georjaina looked at him with raised eyebrows. 'Really? Your sweet-sounding brother did all that?'
'Well…' His cheeks colored slightly as he ducked his head. 'It wasn't entirely on purpose, if you're inquiring about the position.'
She cleared her throat and continued to swirl the foam around in the mug.
'Do you live around here?' he asked suddenly and she looked up again.
'No,' she replied a little hesitantly. 'Not around here.'
'Are you from the countryside?'
Georjaina licked her lip nervously. He was just being curious, she knew that, but there was a sharp warning at the back of her mind not to overshare with him. She may be hesitant to seek him out but it might not occur to him how dangerous that could be.
'I do like the countryside,' he continued after a moment when she didn't answer. 'We have a summer home in North Wessex. We should be going there next month.'
She watched him as he talked, describing the hills and fields surrounding their cottage, and she smiled at the thought of him running free through the tall grasses.
'There's another wizard family on the other side of the woods but they…' he slowed as he suddenly noticed the look on her face. 'What is it? Do you have to go?'
She nodded, her smile tight again. He stared at her for a moment, the longing evident in his eyes, and then his gaze dropped to where she held her hands together on the table. Georjaina could see the sparks reflected in his dark eyes.
'I'm going to move away from you, just in case,' she said quietly as she motioned to stand.
'When will I see you again?' he asked, standing as well, and her chest clenched at the strain in his voice.
'I don't know, I'm sorry.' She headed across the room and out into the back alleyway but he was following on her heals. 'Sirius…'
'You can control it, I know you can!' he cried, trying to grab her hand but she pulled away.
'I don't…' She was shaking her head and holding her sparking hands at her sides.
'Jaina, please! Promise me you'll try!'
She felt the ground start to tip and she looked into his face, once more memorizing the young features that she was half worried she would never see again.
'I'm-' But she didn't get a chance to finish as she slammed face down onto the floor of her bedroom. She gasped for breath as she attempted to roll over and then she got onto her knees quickly, half crawling to the bathroom before she retched into the toilet. And when she was done she lay her head down on the cool tiles, trying to keep herself from seeing his distressed face. She now knew more about his family but even still, why did he cling to her when he obviously knew little about her? Was she really the only person in his life that showed him kindness?
Georjaina forced herself to eat a bowl of cereal because nothing sounded good. Yesterday had been crushing and the only hope she had to hold onto was that this horrible, tremulous week would continue, and that she would go back to see him again today. She wouldn't leave her house; she would simply sit and wait for it to happen.
He needed her, that was very apparent. Though they had met just a handful of times she had enough effect on him that he had told his brother about her. And what was more, she found that she needed him as well. For so long she had pushed people away and closed her life off, always in fear that she would jump at the wrong time or, worst of all, that she would never come back. Before this week it had happened every few months and back then each and every time was terrifying. What if she landed somewhere dangerous? What if she jumped back to a dangerous time? There had never been a pattern before, nothing for her to rely on, and this boy was suddenly a beacon of hope, something that she could hold on to. And she did so fiercely and possessively. He was generally so open and willing with her that it broke her heart to even think of denying him anything that wouldn't hurt either of them.
In the late afternoon she dozed off on the sofa, with the window open behind her and the faint noises of the world beyond. His face swam before her, just out of reach but always watching. Suddenly her hand sparked but she didn't stir. It was several moments before it happened again and her eyes shot open, and before she could even sit up the world tilted and she slid off the couch…but instead of hitting the wood floor she fell into something soft.
She hadn't been prepared this time and she lay with her face in the grass for a little bit while the nausea subsided. Soon she was aware of the fact that it was warm outside and that all around her was grass tall enough that it towered over her from where she lay. Even when she sat up she could barely see over the top of it. Carefully she stood and looked around, shading her eyes with one hand. She was standing in the middle of a field of grass, a rolling sea of soft yellow that flowed all around her in every direction.
She turned slowly, taking it all in as her blonde hair swirled gently in the breeze, and then she spotted him. Sirius was running toward her as fast as the tall grass would allow but he was still a distance off. Georjaina grinned with delight and hurried to meet him.
'You did it!' he cried once he was a little closer. 'I knew it!'
She laughed as she took in his face, noticing that not an inch of it had changed from yesterday.
'How long has it been?' she asked once he was in her arms, pressing his face to her side.
'Just three weeks,' he replied happily and he looked up into her face with a smile. 'How did you do it?'
'I don't know, honestly,' she said as he released her and she sat back in the grass. He sat beside her, crossing his legs and patting down the grass around them. 'Every time I've jumped lately it's been to where you are and concentrating on that has helped. But I think this time I just kept thinking about how your face looked the last time I saw you…I don't know. I was half asleep when I jumped this time.'
'Jumped?' he asked, frowning a little.
'When I…travel. I didn't know what else to call it,' she explained and he nodded. She looked around them for a moment, running her hand along the top of the nearest grass. 'Is this Wessex?'
'Yeah. Our cottage is just over that hill there.'
'Is your family here?'
Sirius shook his head. 'My mother and Regulus came with me yesterday but she left again this morning. I don't think she trusts me to look after him.'
'So you're all alone?' she asked, concern in her voice.
He shrugged. 'I like it better this way. There's plenty of food and I can do what I want.' But he noticed the look on her face and he put on a smile. 'I'm sure they'll be back tomorrow. She's never gone long.'
Georjaina sighed and lay back in the grass, folding one arm behind her head. After a moment he followed suit and she took his hand when he offered it.
'This place is lovely,' she said quietly and he smiled over at her.
'I like that I can be outside here but also alone. Whenever I try to go to the park in London people always ask me if I'm lost.'
She looked over at him with a tight smile as she squeezed his fingers. 'Will you show me around?'
He nodded and they stood. With a little difficulty they made their way to the top of the hill and he pointed out their cottage and the neighbors just visible on the other side of the trees.
'When I'm old enough I'll bring my broomstick out here. It's the perfect place to practice.' He took her hand as he led her down the other side of the hill toward the woods. They walked for a bit in silence, the grass beneath their feet turning into crunching sticks and leaves. 'I like it in here as well but you have to be careful. There's a farmer on the other side and he's not very friendly if you step on his land.'
She chuckled appreciatively as they came down a short slope and a bend to the right brought a bridge into view. The stone pillars on either end appeared to be very old but someone had redone the wooden planks and railing fairly recently.
'This is my favorite spot,' he told her as they came onto the bridge, the boards creaking eerily beneath their feet. He brought them to the middle and they stopped to lean against the railing and look down at the fairly wide river below.
'This is quite the bridge for being so far out here,' she commented.
'There used to be a village on the other side of the farm but people moved on. Now there's only a few houses over there. I think this was the main road at one time.'
Georjaina watched as he took up a rock that was lying alone on the bridge and he chucked it into the water. It broke the surface silently.
'Sirius, what year is it?' she asked suddenly and he looked up at her questionably. 'I want to start keeping track of our visits in a journal.'
'It's 1967. It was the last time you came too,' he replied after a moment. 'Do you not visit me in order?'
She stared at him for a long time, thinking. It would be two more years for him before she even hinted that this was true but it felt like a delicate subject and she didn't want to upset him.
'No exactly, no. But writing it down may help me see a pattern,' she replied, reaching out to smooth a hand over his hair. 'I already told you I can't control when or where I come, but at least I can try.'
A smile grew on his face and he wrapped his arms around her. She held him tightly, closing her eyes and imagining holding him forever, when he suddenly pulled away.
'Your hands,' he mumbled, watching them as they sparked.
Georjaina sighed. '1967. And you're 11. Got it.'
He took a step back from her, folding his arms across his chest. 'Don't forget.'
'I won't. I'm going to figure this out, I promise,' she replied with a smile and she felt the bridge tilt…
Once home again she grabbed her coat and ran outside, apparating to the nearest village with an open store. She purchased a small black journal embossed with gold and hurried home again to write everything that she could remember down.