Everything was blindingly white. Your eyes were squinting upwards, attempting to discern where you were. Your head felt like it split open every time you breathed, so you didn't dare move crane around to get a better look at your surroundings. You clung to a desperate belief that death couldn't possibly include this much pain, and therefore believed you were still alive. The cracks on the ceiling blurred above you, and you closed your eyes again, trying to remember the details of the battle. Scenes of that night flashed through your mind: Ginny and Hermione dying, Remus killing Jennifer, Peter surrendering the wands to Harry. As tears burned under your eyelids, you realized you couldn't remember what happened to Sirius. Determined to find out, you began to raise yourself up from your horizontal position, only to be pushed back down immediately.
"Oh, no you don't," said an unfamiliar voice. You opened your eyes and found yourself staring up at an elderly Healer, which was immediately apparent because of her bright purple robes. Her nametag said that her name was Jean. She was looking at you both kindly and sternly. "You, Ms. O'Connell, need to stay lying down. You were seriously injured last week, and you need your rest."
"Last week? I've been in here for a week? I was only Stunned!"
"You fell onto a large pile of glass, Ms. O'Connell. One of the larger shards pierced your heart. You almost didn't make it."
"What happened to everyone else?" you asked anxiously.
"Ms. O'Connell, you really need to focus on getting better," Jean said evasively as she bustled around, taking your blood pressure and fluffing your pillows. <
"How can I get better when I don't know if my friends are alright?" you demanded.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not allowed to tell you anything. Try and get back to sleep. I'll be back later with supper." Ignoring your protests, she left the room.
You tried to summon the strength to get up, but even raising your neck a fraction on an inch was too much exertion. You were doomed to remain uninformed until someone came to visit you or you could get your hands on a newspaper. Exhausted from trying to get up and thinking so much, your eyelids eventually drooped and you fell back to sleep.
The first thing you felt was someone holding your hand. Pulling it away instinctively, you heard someone tentatively say your name. In response, you opened your eyes. This tie you were face to face with Molly Weasley.
"Kara!" she exclaimed. "You're awake! They told me you'd woken up yesterday, but by the time I got down here you'd fallen asleep again." Her mouth was smiling, but her eyes looked tired and cheerless.
"Who's alive?" you asked. Her smile fell.
"The Healers said you should focus on getting back to health without any distractions-"
"Molly, you have to tell me. Is Sirius okay?" She shook her head. Your heart dropped. "He's not? What happened? Is he alive?"
"He's unconscious; tortured by one of the Death Eaters. The Healers reckon he was hit by the Cruciatus Curse multiple times, as well as some other nasty hexes like…well, the details don't really matter. Anyway, they don't know if he'll make it." You couldn't breathe; a million pounds had just been placed on your chest and were crushing you slowly.
"What about the others?" you asked, unable to handle thinking about Sirius. Molly broke down crying. With effort you raised your arm and took her hand.
"Ginny! My poor Ginny! Only sixteen…so young. My baby!" She sobbed loudly for a couple of minutes before continuing. "And Hermione. Both dead on the Quidditch pitch!" You couldn't bear to tell her that you had seen it. "And Neville Longbottom. He killed Bellatrix Lestrange, and she killed him at the same time. Ron- Ron was tortured as well, but thank Merlin he woke up a couple of days ago. And B-Bill, he's-he's dead too! The twins and Charlie are alright, at least, they're alive. But how will they deal with losing Bill and G-Ginny? How will I survive?" She dissolved into hysterical sobs once more.
"I'm so sorry," was all you could manage to get out. You both stayed silent, crying.
"Harry killed He Who Must Not Be Named," Molly announced suddenly a few moments later, a fierce pride evident in her voice. But Alastor died protecting him. I'm sorry; I can't go on. Please get better." She hurried out of the room, weeping.
You wished desperately that you could get up so you could do something; even just pacing the room would feel better than lying still, helpless, depressed. You wondered what had happened to the rest of Hogwarts' teachers, to the students, to Remus. Just as you began to worry that he had somehow died after Harry killed Voldemort, your favorite werewolf walked into your room.
"Kara? Are you awake?"
"Remus? Oh thank Merlin!" He sank into the chair Molly had just vacated, slumped over, his skin a grayish hue. He smiled weakly at you.
"I suppose you want information?" he guessed.
"You suppose correctly."
"Sirius is alive, but he's in bad shape. The Healers-"
"I know. Molly told me," you cut him off, unable to handle hearing it again. The million pounds had returned to rest on top of your chest.
"Sorry. Ginny and Hermione-"his voice cracked.
"I know that, too. I saw it," you told him quietly. He put his head in his hands. "What happened to Peter? After he gave Harry the wand?"
"Sirius killed him," Remus said quietly, not looking up. Your mouth was frozen into a surprised 'O'. "I can't say I blame him, or that I was truly surprised. Sirius wanted revenge for so long-and Peter probably deserved it. I just…" he trailed off, and you didn't push him to finish the thought. "Sirius collapsed right after he killed Peter. He hasn't woken up since."
"Do you think he's going to?"
"The Healers said-"
"I know what the Healers think, Remus. What do you think?" He shrugged.
"I want to believe he will, but he looks awful. Of course, they weren't sure you'd wake up, and here we are talking."
"They didn't think I'd wake up?" you repeated. Remus shook his head wordlessly.
"Look," he said, "Just get better. Okay? Sirius won't want to recover if you're not doing the same." You gave a half-smile. "I'll sit with you until you get back to sleep," he offered.
"Could you find me some food instead? I'm starving." He set off to acquire sustenance, leaving you alone to focus every fiber of your being on hoping Sirius would recover.
Remus returned a few moments later with a large tray of pudding and mashed potatoes.
"Yum yum," he said as he placed the tray in front of you.
"Why is there nothing solid?" you asked.
"I dunno, but can I share your potatoes? They look pretty good."
"Remus, what happened to Tonks?"
"She was pretty banged up, but she's alright." He shoved a sporkful of potatoes into his mouth.
A week later, you had graduated into walking across your room twice a day, very slowly. Your chest still throbbed painfully when you took a deep breath. Remus visited you every day, Harry had dropped by a few times. And Sirius still hadn't woken up.
It was the two Thursdays after the battle. Jean checked on you for one last time before she went home. You waited fifteen minutes to make sure she didn't come back, and then raised yourself out of your bed. You snuck over to the door, checked to see that no one was coming, and left the room. Remus had told you where Sirius was being cared for. Throughout your life you'd spent more time at St. Mungo's than you liked, but it made it easy to find his ward.
Sirius' room was dimly lit by candles emitting soft blue flames. You stood in the doorway for a moment, transfixed at the sight of him lying unmoving, serene, shadows flickering lovingly over his face. Slowly you approached his bed and sat on the edge, taking his hand in yours. You squeezed it gently, and almost fell off the bed when you felt him squeeze back.
"Sirius?" you whispered, leaning in close to his face. The corners of his mouth turned slightly upward, although he did not open his eyes. After a moment, his eyelids pulled apart and he looked up at you.
"Hey," he murmured, his voice hoarse. "Are you okay?"
"My heart was broken," you told him, "but I think it'll be okay now." He pulled you into him and you rested in his arms.
"I love you," he said.
"I love you, too."
"Can you stay here tonight?" You nodded. "Because I don't think I'm going to make it until morning."
"Don't say that," you scolded. "You're awake now; you're going to be okay." He didn't answer. "I love you," you repeated, kissing him softly on the lips.
"And I've been so lucky because of that." You smiled and drifted off to sleep.
"Kara," you heard Sirius calling you, so you forced your eyes open. You were still lying with him, but somehow he was also standing in front of you, looking younger and more vibrant. "Kara," he repeated, "I have to go."
"No," you whispered, beginning to cry. He nodded sadly.
"Come with me?" He held out his hand. You took one last look at the Sirius lying beneath you on the hospital bed. Silently, you grabbed his hand and left your body behind. He guided you out of St. Mungo's and up into the sky, towards a tiny black hole hidden between the stars. You could hear whispering within it.
"Ready, love?" Sirius asked. You nodded, and together you entered the unknown.