Jacob had made the stone as comfortable as possible for her. There were fur pelts draped across the altar. Torches had been lit at the four corners, driving away the green glow that came from the walls around them. Jacob took Jane’s hand and helped her mount the stone. She lay back and stared up at the ceiling. She tried to even her breathing and ease the tension from her body, but even the mental relaxation exercises weren’t helping.
“Remus,” Jacob said, “she needs you. Take her hand.” He climbed up beside her. She smiled at him and grabbed on to his strength. Jacob stood at her head. He took a deep breath and raised his arms. The incantation began. They all felt the magic creep toward the altar. It was coming at them from everywhere. The vines covering the entrance parted and a mist the color of the midnight sky outside floated toward the altar. It touched Harry’s legs. He gasped as the magic poured into him. It flowed upward. It was familiar it felt like Ginny.
She was here. She was so close. He breathed deeply, letting her presence enter his lungs. Her scent, apple blossoms in springtime, was all about him. And he felt desire. Desire so powerful it claimed his soul. He burned for her, ached to have her in his arms. Where are you, Ginny? Come to me!
The mist flowed over and around Harry. It crept toward the altar. It rose up the stones and caressed Remus’ legs. It slammed into him passion consumed him. His fingers tightened around Jane’s hands. He willed his love into her. They were locked together, no longer separate. One soul united. Remus bent over her and claimed her lips. The light about them changed. Cobalt and midnight mixed casting their skin an eerie blue. Their lips parted. Their eyes remained locked; their breath came in great gasps. It felt as if their hearts would burst.
The light grew brighter, softening shades of blue danced over them. Remus sensed her departing and held on to her tighter.
“Harry!” she shouted, “Take my hand!” He scrambled up the altar and grabbed her. It was as if a bolt of lightning shot through him. He stiffened, his back arched. Remus felt the jolt too and he fell across Jane. The light exploded around them.
Mist in grays and white surrounded her. Jane wasn’t afraid. She had returned. She lay still on the ground, waiting for the mist to recede.
“Welcome back, little one.” Ix Chel’s voice surrounded her.
“I’m home, my Lady,” she said sitting up.
“You have brought others with you.” Jane’s eyes widened in shock. She looked down; Harry and Remus were beside her. Their eyes were closed, barely breathing.
“Are they all right, my Lady?” She sensed Ix Chel’s presence flow over them.
“They are alive, child.”
“Your soul brought them, little one. Your love for the both of them drew them along with you.”
“Will they be able to return?”
“Yes, little one. They have destinies of their own to fulfill. They cannot stay here.” The mists began to recede further. The familiar shapes and scents of the celestial garden came into view.
“Rouse them, little one. Bring them to me. I would meet these men who have captured your heart.” A clay jug and cup appeared beside her. The scent of clear spring water emanated from it. She poured and brought the cup to Remus’ lips. She let a few drops fall onto his mouth. His tongue darted out and accepted the moisture. She raised his head and placed the cup to his lips. He drank greedily, in great gasping gulps. His eyes opened.
“Jane,” he said, “what happened?” He looked around.
“A moment, Remus,” she said as she turned to Harry. She gave him the water and he woke slowly. Harry looked around.
“Where are we?”
“You are in my Lady’s home. The celestial garden. Come, she wants to meet you.” Jane rose. She took Remus’ hand and led them both toward the bower in the distance.
Ix Chel was just as Jane remembered her. There was a benign smile on her face. Jane felt the peace wash over her and her companions. She bowed low before her. Remus and Harry did also.
“Come, little one. Take your place beside me.” This was the moment. The edge of forever. This was the parting. Jane didn’t hesitate. She rose and went to Ix Chel’s side. She looked to Remus, silently wishing him good-bye.
“Rise, brave ones,” Ix Chel spoke. Harry and Remus came to their feet. “Come forward, young warrior.” Harry approached Ix Chel. He dropped to his knees. Ix Chel placed a graceful hand upon his head. She inhaled and closed her eyes. Scenes rushed through Harry’s mind. His life played out before her. Nothing was hidden from her. She saw his faults as well as his virtues. He was not ashamed. This was who he was. Ix Chel opened her eyes.
“You are remarkable, warrior. You have bent, but not broken. You have loved unselfishly. You are willing to give your life for others. Yet you feel you are not brave.
“Bravery is in your very soul, warrior. Do not seek it elsewhere. Trust yourself. Never doubt what you do, when you do it for the love you bear others.
“The lost one loves you deeply. Without you, her courage faltered, yet her hope sustained her. I am sorry that she had to stay here. Her broken body could not sustain her spirit. My little one, whose soul was strong kept her safe for you.”
“Lady Ix Chel,” Harry said, “thank you for what you did. I had nearly given up hope. Somehow I thought to go on without her. I didn’t realize that I still held out hope for her.”
“Warrior, you are a creature of hope. It is in your nature to do so. Yet being human, you missed the signs. Do not blame yourself. Take back what you seek.” Ix Chel’s hand threw back her robe. Ginny lay at her feet. Harry reached down and took her hand. Her eyes slowly opened. She looked up at him. They sparkled. Ginny sat up.
“Harry,” she whispered. He pulled her to her feet and threw his arms about her. She was finally here with him. They looked into each other’s eyes.
“I’ll never let you go again, love.” The kiss they shared mingled their souls. This was forever. They turned to Ix Chel. “Thank you, my Lady,” Harry said. “I am in your debt. Ask of me whatever you will, and if it is in my power, I shall obey.”
“There is no debt, warrior. I ask only that you cherish what you hold. This is more precious than gold. Make a life together. Go with him, one who is lost, no more. He is worthy of your love.” Ginny smiled at her, she could only whisper her thanks.
Ix Chel turned to Remus as Ginny and Harry backed away, bowing. Remus swallowed hard, trying to dissolve the lump in his throat. He had never taken his eyes from Jane, or she from his. His heart was torn apart. This was the time to say good-bye.
“Beast who is a man, come forward.” He obeyed and fell to his knees before her. He could not look into her eyes. He knew what she would see when she would place her hand upon him, and he was ashamed. He felt Ix Chel’s fingers rest upon his hair.
“Why do you fear me?”
“I do not fear you, my Lady. I do not want you to see into my soul.”
“I am ashamed, my Lady. What you see in me is not worthy of you. My soul is tainted.”
“Let me be the judge of that, beast who is a man. You have lived a difficult life. But the fault was not yours. Open you mind, open your heart. Let me see.” Remus looked to Jane. She smiled at him, willing into his soul, encouragement and love. He opened himself to Ix Chel.
Incredible sorrow and pain, frustration and despair that was his life. There was very little happiness. Just a few blessed years, too few. Remus felt he was irredeemable. Please, my Lady, he thought, this is not for you to see. I do not wish you to see this life without hope.
“Life without hope?” Ix Chel said. “There is no life without hope. You should be the lost one. You have lost your way. You have let others dictate who you are. You have begun to believe the lies of the world. There is always hope. Do you believe me?” Remus looked up at her.
“I had thought not to believe in love for me, my Lady, yet Jane loves me. If she can love this broken old soul, I can believe in hope.” Ix Chel smiled at him.
“You have given my little one love, beast who is a man. She has found happiness because of you. I am not ungrateful. Ask of me what you will.” Without hesitation Remus replied.
“Send her back. Keep me instead. She deserves release, my Lady. Give her back to the world.”
“Remus, no!” Jane shouted. Harry and Ginny echoed her cry.
“Jane, you belong there, not me. What can I offer that world out there? Nothing. I am a danger to others. At least if I am here, then there is one less evil in the world out there. Go and find the happiness that you wanted me to have. I will be content here.”
“No,” Jane whispered. She turned to Ix Chel. “Do not let him do this, my Lady. Do not let him sacrifice himself for me, please.”
“It is too late, little one. He has asked and I must grant it.” Ix Chel reached out. Her hand reached into Remus chest. Gasps of horror went up from all around her. Remus looked down at the goddess’ arm. Then he raised his eyes to her, pain on his face. Ix Chel jerked her arm out of his body, and Remus pitched down onto his face. Jane, Harry and Ginny went to him. They were all crying. Jane grabbed his body and turned him over, hugging him to her.
Remus gasped in her arms. His body went rigid, and then he began to breathe raggedly. Everyone was stunned. His eyes opened. Jane hugged him to her.
“Little one,” Jane turned to Ix Chel. They all did. There she sat, a wolf at her side. A wolf with hazel eyes.
“For you, little one, I wish nothing but happiness. It is for you I have granted this. This man who was once a beast has been found worthy. To offer himself, his own happiness for yours is a gift beyond measure. Have no fear that I will be alone, child.” They looked as the wolf began to change. He reformed into a Mayan warrior, as handsome as Ix Chel was beautiful.
“His gift was as great as his heart.” White mist gathered about them, obscuring the celestial couple.
“Thank you,” Jane whispered.
Remus had insisted and Jane had agreed. It must happen at that precise moment. Harry had laughed when they told him, but he agreed to it. As a matter of fact, he wholeheartedly took on the task. In the wizarding world, the groom’s family arranged weddings, and seeing as how Harry was the groom’s family, he threw himself enthusiastically into it. Remus had made Ginny and Harry’s wedding the most romantic anyone had seen in years. Harry wanted to return the favor.
While Ginny and Harry had been married on midsummer’s day, Jane and Remus asked for a Christmas wedding. Grimmauld Place would not be big enough. There would be all the Weasley’s and to Remus’ surprise, most of the Hogwart’s staff would be attending.
Harry and Ginny had bought a tract of land on the outskirts of Ottery St. Catchpole and made their home there. It was adjacent to the Weasley’s orchard. Remus and Jane would retain Grimmauld Place.
The tents were up, charms placed to keep the occupants warm and everyone had gathered. If only the weather would cooperate. It had started out snowing that morning and it looked as if it wouldn’t stop. Harry fretted over this, but Remus assured him that it didn’t matter. He had a feeling things would be just perfect.
Jane looked lovely in robes of sky blue. She carried orchids, their scent mingling with those of the tropical flowers decorating the tent. Ginny and Harry stood as witness in matching robes of emerald green. Ginny looked especially lovely with her pregnancy just beginning to show. A baby’s cry went up and Harry looked over to Ron and Hermione. Their son would be a year old in a few days. Harry watched as Hermione gave a bottle to little Christopher, the torchlight catching and setting the boy’s hair alight with red and gold highlights. Harry smiled. It seemed Ron and Hermione were determined to increase the clan even more. They announced that morning that Hermione was expecting again. With a soft chuckle Harry thought that this was one area where Ron just might prove better than he. Ginny nudged him in the ribs. He’d better pay attention.
Remus was reciting his vows now. Jane had found him dress robes that matched his eyes exactly. He no longer looked older. He had rebounded and Harry had never seen him so happy. Now if only the skies would cooperate. Harry looked over to the window in the tent. Remus had been right. Just as the mage had pronounced the joining of Remus and Jane, just as they kissed, the clouds parted and shafts of light from the full moon glowed about the couple before him.
A/N: Well, this is finally finished. Even I cried. I hope you liked this story.
A few notes, indulge me. My daughter wanted me to incorporate something American in my story. Thus, I chose to use Ix Chel and Jacob’s knowledge of Native Americans. Those of you, who are students of Mesoamerican history, please forgive me. Ix Chel is a real Mayan Goddess. I have not used her as she appears in the pantheon of gods. Her image, when I was doing my research, intrigued me. As to the Native American ceremonials, again, forgive my ignorance. I merely wanted to suggest Native American ritual, not copy it exactly.
Now as to the new characters I have introduced. Those of you familiar with the movies, and who are fans, will recognize the name used for our esteemed doctor of archaeology. That was for my daughter. The lovely children introduced here, Ken and Alex, are my own. I have aged Ken up and Alex down. But they are there purely for my own pleasure.
Happy (Merry) Christmas! Happy New Year! And yes, I do have another short story in the works. Hope to post that soon.
Write a Review The Twelve Days of Christmas: Chapter 12. January 4th