He was laying face-down on a hard, not exactly cold floor. He almost felt … numb. No better word could describe it. All had been pitch-dark just a moment before hand; he had never experienced such darkness before. Yes, of course dark, but never a total darkness that seemed like it consumed him whole.
He had half-heartedly expected his chest to hurt. She had hit him squarely in the chest; He had expected it to hurt more. He could still see her eyes filled with madness. He could still feel the numbness travel across his chest, to his arms and his neck… and then everything had been dark. He could still hear his name being cried out by Harry… so full of fear, and he hadn’t been able to get to him. Like an echo of a halfway forgotten memory. It all seemed so far away and yet so close. Like there was an invisible wall between him now and everything he remembered.
Slowly he pushed away from the floor and screwed up his eyes. The light was white; not just bright, but white. His surroundings were blurry like a light mist surrounded them and separated him from everything else. His hand fumbled to his chest where the curse had hit him. There was nothing to feel; any bruise or swelling. He was wearing soft loose clothing. Black trousers and a loose black shirt. How fitting; the last member of the Black-family wearing black clothes as his last. The irony hit him hard and he laughed his barking laughter. Right thereafter he held his hand before his mouth in deep surprise. His voice seemed so different. So young, so… innocent, somehow. He looked down at his hands; they were both unblemished and slightly sun-tanned.
He looked around; what was this place? The place seemed so familiar yet strange; like ones reflection in a distorted mirror. There was a grand door several meters higher than him. Three long corridors let away from the doors; the ends of these corridors appeared to him as endless tunnels blurred with white mist. Behind him a large staircase let up to the second floor. He looked around finally recognizing the place; Hogwarts! He was right outside the Great Hall. He walked slowly towards the grand doors; eagerly awaiting what might be behind them, suddenly he heard a voice he had dreamed about for years and he stopped abruptly.
“I wouldn’t open that door yet if I were you, Padfoot.”
The voice was exactly as he remembered it; cheerful, teasing, and slightly arrogant. Sirius whirled around full of hope and starred towards the staircase. There upon the third last steep sat his best friend, James Potter. He looked exactly like Sirius remembered him from their school days; tall, slender, unruly black hair, and hazel, happy eyes. As Sirius motioned towards him James stood up and smiled at his old friend. He too looked like he had just stepped out of a school photograph; though he too was wearing black loose clothing. Sirius noticed that he wasn’t wearing classes.
He starred at James´ face which was smiling back at him; he couldn’t stop looking at where James´ classes would have been. Apparently James noticed, “We do not need such things here, Padfoot. Earthly aids do not exist here.” Sirius nodded slightly; at this point James could have said that dementors actually were friendly creatures, and Sirius would have believed him. At this point he wasn’t noticing anything else but his best friend’s young face.
James smiled at him and walked closer, “It is good to see you again, Padfoot. I was so very sorry to hear what happened to you after our death.” Sirius starred at him,” Is this not real?” he asked desperately.
James smiled at him, “Of course this is real. You are here, are you not?” Sirius nodded slightly, “But you said after you and Lily were dead. Does that mean that I’m…?”
James nodded slightly, “I’m afraid so, mate.” He looked very attentively at Sirius who was very pale. Sirius began pacing the space between James and the stairs. After a short while Sirius stopped quite abruptly. He starred at James with a frightened look in his eyes, “but what about Harry? I was there with Harry at the Ministry, and… and we were attacked by death eaters and Bellatrix… hit me with the avada kedavra curse… and then I was here… but what about Harry?” he starred at James who had a very strange look upon his features. “You can’t help Harry, Padfoot. You do not exist in his world anymore.” Sirius starred at him with a dumb look. For the first time in his life his best friend said something he did not understand. “What do you mean, Prongs?”
James took a deep breath, “I mean that you can’t protect him as you have done so far anymore.”
“But… I have to help him… they were being attacked…” James shook his head slightly.
Sirius starred at him for a very long time without really understanding the meaning of those words,
”But I have to, Prongs. I couldn’t protect you. I have to protect Harry.”
James grabbed Sirius shoulders and forced him to look straight into his yes, “You were not to blame for mine or Lily’s death, Sirius. You have protected my son. Told him about me and Lily. I can never thank you enough for that. We have never blamed you for our deaths. You are my best friend, and I trust you completely. I wouldn’t have entrusted my only child with anyone else but you, Padfoot.”
Sirius looked into his friend’s eyes full of gratitude; those were the words he above all else had needed to hear.
“Are we at Hogwarts?”
“Dunno. You tell me.” Sirius looked at him. This was an older James. Not schoolboy-James. But mature and grown-up James.
“What’ll happen if I open those doors?” he asked almost fearing the answer.
“Then we’ll join the others. All the people who are waiting for you.”
“Are there someone waiting for me? Who?”
“Lily and one of your uncles. Regulus.” At this Sirius sent James a dirty look.
“He’s not as bad as you think, Sirius. He’s okay. Even Lily likes him.”
That was how one would be “okay” in James´ eyes; if Lily liked someone then they were okay.
Just as they were approaching the doors, something caught Sirius´ eye. A veil flapping in a non-existent wind just beside the great doors. He moved closer unaware that James had stopped at was watching him closely. The veil was slightly transparent and he could see someone moving behind it. Someone he knew. Someone who had almost taken James´ place. Harry. Remus was holding him back with all the force he could muster; Harry was screaming, and though Sirius couldn’t hear him, he knew that Harry was calling for him. He wanted nothing more than to step through and reveal himself. To come back to Harry. He had almost taken the first couple of steps when suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder.
He looked back and starred at James´ face which had a sad sort of expression; his eyes glued to the figure he apparently knew to be his son, “We do not belong in that world anymore, Sirius. But neither do we leave him. Ever. But we can’t be with him like that. You know that.” Sirius gave Harry one last look and nodded. Then he whispered sadly, “I’ll see you again one day in many years, mate.”
Then with one last glance he turned away from the veil and James placed his arm around his shoulders. They both moved towards the door and the doors opened. White, warm light shone at them and bathed them. Sirius took one last deep breath before he finally took the last step and joined the few people who weren’t exactly of his blood, but whom he had always perceived to be his real family. Finally he was home.
A/N: I would like to thank everyone who has reviewed any of my stories! You have no idea how much I enjoy writing for this site, and I hope you have enjoyed this little one-shot!
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