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Brave New World by ARG
Chapter 56 : Aftershock
 
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A/N: I was counting on updating earlier but my lest two exams (nightmares) got in the way. Now, I'm free. So, go ahead and read - sorry for not giving you the chance to do it earlier...

Sirius’s shock was so deep that he forgot the battle, Bellatrix and everything else. He just ran to Mia. No, no, no, no, he thought. Was she dead… no, he wouldn’t allow himself to think of it. She was tough. It took more than a little flight to bring his Mia down.

She lay unconscious on the floor by the bookcase, which, thank Merlin, hadn’t fallen, crushing her. Looking at her that way was like looking at a broken doll… so fragile, so small. Practically every bit of her bare skin had scrapes and cuts on it, not to mention bruises. There was a large piece of glass piercing her leg and a deep cut on her forehead, which made his heart constrict.

Please, let her be alive, he begged to any higher power that was listening as he kneeled by her form. Mia was his life. He simply couldn’t lose her or he’d lose himself. He leaned his head down to hear if she was breathing – she had to be, he thought desperately. She couldn’t just die like that, before they had a chance to talk, to fix things… Then, he felt the tickling of her breath against his face, to his own relief. She wasn’t gone.

“Oh, god, is she alive?” a voice yelled nearby, just as Elizabeth arrived, after having hexed senseless a masked Death Eater when she’d seen her best friend flying across the room. Before Sirius could put himself together and answer, the blonde kneeled on the other side of Mia and groped her wrist. “She is, thank Merlin,” she whispered when she felt the pulse.

“Will she be okay?” he asked – she was the healer. She had to know that stuff. He needed to hear that she was going to be okay.

“I can’t tell yet. I need to check her vitals first,” she said, grabbing her wand and using it to cast a few spells.

He nodded, letting her do her job. “She was fighting with Bellatrix but got distracted when she saw me… there was no time to stop it… I’d fallen into the pit…”

“I know. I saw it,” Elizabeth said quickly, looking up for a second. She’d seen Sirius falling and also the look of utter terror on Mia’s face when it had happened… “Gabriel was duelling with Goyle and he pushed him into it too so you wouldn’t fall through the arch. Merlin, if he hadn’t been that fast, who knows what could’ve happened.”

So, he owed his life to Mia’s father, Sirius thought. He hadn’t even seen him in the battle… but then again, he’d barely seen anyone, with all the commotion that was going on. He looked up, to check if Gabriel was still there but didn’t see him anywhere. Had he seen what had happened to his daughter? Maybe he’d left right after he’d sent Goyle down to the pit to save him. The fight was always messy – you either moved or you got hurt. Mia had gotten distracted for a second and now here he was, looking at her unconscious, battered body, hoping, praying, she’d be okay.

He heard in the background the sound of a fast heartbeat and wondered if it was Mia’s – it was so fast, too fast… But when he looked up at Elizabeth, he saw she looked satisfied instead of worried. “Is that good?”

She nodded. “Yes, it is.” He was so nervous, probably so desperate, he hadn’t realized that the heartbeat he’d just heard wasn’t Mia’s but the baby’s… then again, he wouldn’t be looking for it, as he still didn’t know it existed. The baby’s heartbeat was a bit faster than usual but she’d seen it happening in other cases – it was usually the reaction to the mother’s distress. Other than that, nothing indicated the baby wasn’t alright, so she cast a few protective charms around Mia’s womb, trying to shield it from her distress – that should do the job. She chose not to mention the baby to Sirius – hopefully, Mia would have a chance to tell him herself. “Her vitals are a bit altered but not enough to be dangerous,” Elizabeth said. “But that injury in her head…”

“You think it’s serious?”

“All head injuries can be serious,” she said. “I can’t do the appropriate tests here, so I can’t really tell if it is. It may be nothing…”

“Merlin, is she alright?” Tonks interrupted as she approached them, a look of horror on her face.

“Hopefully she’ll be,” Elizabeth said.

The metamorphagus nodded before turning to Sirius, who was holding Mia’s hand, looking down at her with a painful expression all over his face. “Look, Sirius, I know this isn’t the best moment but Harry’s just gone after Bellatrix.”

“Harry?” Sirius asked, not quite catching the meaning of her words at first. At first, the pieces wouldn’t fit together. Why would he go after Bella? Then, the fog in his mind disappeared and he got it: Bellatrix had gone after Mia and Harry had probably seen it. He wanted to get back at her. “He’s gone after her on his own?”

“Yes. Dumbledore went after him but I think you should go too,” Tonks said. “You’re his godfather.”

He motioned to get up but then hesitated, looking down at the unconscious Mia. What about her?

“Go,” Elizabeth said firmly. “I’ll take care of her.”

He knew he had to do it. It was what Mia would’ve wanted him to do. And, frustratingly, he knew he couldn’t help her now, only Elizabeth could. “Will she be okay?” he asked the healer again in a whisper.

She wanted to say ‘yes’ for sure but she couldn’t. Mia was mess but, at least, she was breathing. She could work with that. Breaks, as long as they didn’t involve the spine, which, thank Merlin, wasn’t the case, were fixable in the magical world. The same was with cuts and scrapes as long as they weren’t caused by direct curses. “If it’s up to me, she will.” That was all she could promise right now.

Sirius couldn’t ask for more than that – he knew Elizabeth was good. He knew he could trust her with the life of one of the most precious things he had.

“Son of a…” he heard Tonks cursing seconds before setting up a shield to cover them from a curse an uncloaked Mulciber had just aimed at them. “Go!” she said. “I’ll take care of him and cover for them. Bloody coward!” she yelled at the Death Eater before Kingsley came around to help her with him.

Sirius was sure they’d all protect her, so he gave one last look at his wife’s battered body before standing up. Don’t you dare die on me, Mia, he thought. And then, he turned around to go find his godson.

---

Leaving Mia behind was killing him but he knew that, the sooner he got Harry, the sooner he’d be back with her. Discovering where his cousin and, by extension, Harry had gone was a challenge at first. The ministry was enormous – they could be anywhere. But Bellatrix was smart – she’d have set a plan to escape, considering going back to Azkaban wasn’t in her plans at all. Bella would’ve gone to the atrium, as it was the only place at the ministry that contained fireplaces with floo connections.

If he could help it, he wouldn’t let her escape this time. Maybe he’d kill her for what she’d done to Mia… or maybe he’d do worse. Merlin knew he wanted to end her life but he knew Mia might have a problem with it – he needed to believe she’d have a chance to do such – and, honestly, death wasn’t a fate bad enough for her. No, the Dementor’s kiss, eternal emptiness… that had to be the most painful fate there was and exactly what Bellatrix deserved. If he could help it, he’d make sure she shared the fate her husband had gotten. The sadistic bastards…

He exited the lift he’d taken earlier and saw himself in the large hall that led to the atrium. But what he found when he reached it was very far from a teenager trying to defeat a vicious Death Eater. Voldemort. Sirius had obviously seen him before, back when he belonged to the first Order of the Phoenix but the reaction would always be the same: the chilling sensation that was tainted with fear and disgust.

At the centre of the atrium, Dumbledore and Voldemort were duelling in a way Sirius had never seen anyone doing before. It was fascinating and terrifying at the same time. The effect that the curses of the two wizards made whenever they impacted with each other’s looked like the eruption of a large volcano of light. It was nearly impossible to tell which one was winning or losing: one moment it seemed like Dumbledore was about to seize Voldemort, then the latter would disappear and very nearly hit the headmaster with a Killing Curse.

Bellatrix was ducking at the corner, impossible for Sirius to reach unless he dared to get himself in the middle of the duel and likely killed. He knew better than that… Harry however, was nowhere to be seen and Sirius hoped it was because he was covering himself somewhere.

He made his way closer to the scene carefully but in a fast pace. Then, when he was about twenty yards from where the two wizards duelled, he spotted Harry peaking from behind a fallen golden statue that used to be at the centre of the fountain. “Look out!” he godson yelled at Dumbledore, trying to warn him about a curse that Voldemort was aiming at the Headmaster, after materializing himself behind his back.

Dumbledore wasn’t fast enough to run but that wasn’t the end of him. A ball of fire appeared between him and the curse and, all in the same second, his phoenix appeared from the fire, took the curse upon itself and burned to ashes, being reborn as a little chick-like bird seconds later, croaking feebly on the floor.

Then, with his very own eyes, Sirius watched as Voldemort turned into a liquid form and vanished. For a moment, he thought it was over and the dark lord had finally given up. Harry thought the same and left the safety of his hiding behind the golden statue. Dumbledore only had time to yell at Harry to go back before all hell broke loose.

His godson let out an agonizing scream, covering the scar on his forehead with his palm as he crumpled to the floor in pain. Whatever Voldemort was doing, Sirius thought, was killing Harry. He motioned to run to help his godson but, Dumbledore, noticing his presence, yelled at him to stay back.

Then, seconds after stopping, he heard Harry speaking in someone else’s voice. Voldemort’s. The son of a bitch was possessing him. “Kill me now, Dumbledore…” he said, using Harry’s mouth. “Kill the boy…” It was by far the most painful and horrifying scene Sirius had ever seen in his life. Abominating.

He gave up on following Dumbledore’s orders and ran to Harry as he contorted on the floor, seemingly trying to fight the intruder in his mind. Bellatrix laughed madly, nearby, pleased with her master’s actions, which infuriated him. He stopped and got a hold of his wand – she was distracted and he bet he could get her from there. Just a stunner. Or maybe a little punching hex for the irony of it, as she’d nearly gotten him killed with one of those. That would likely do the deal.

But, before he could even aim at her, Harry was able to kick Voldemort out of his mind and the pale, snake-faced figure materialized near Bellatrix, grabbing her arm and disapparating with her. The bitch escaped, he thought furiously. Again, she escaped without paying… He could just punch a wall for it! But he had to leave the anger for later – there were more important things to do now. He needed to help Harry. The young boy was starting to sit up when Sirius finally reached him and helped him get to his feet. “You okay?” he asked.

He nodded faintly before looking at him with pained eyes. “They escaped. She killed aunt Mia and escaped!” Harry shouted. “I’m so sorry, Sirius. I… It’s all my fault…”

Sirius’s mouth opened and closed in disbelief. Harry thought Mia was dead… “No. No, Harry…”

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

Harry wasn’t getting it, he concluded. He thought he was telling him it wasn’t his fault. He grabbed him by the shoulders, firmly. “No, Bellatrix didn’t kill her.” Harry just kept shaking his head. “Harry, look at me! Look at me! She’s not dead. She got hurt but it didn’t kill her! She’ll be okay.” She has to be, he thought over and over. She has to be okay. I can’t bear losing her. He needed to believe that.

“She… she’s not…?”

Sirius shook his head, gathering all the positive thinking he could. “Elizabeth’s taking care of her. She’ll fix her up, you’ll see.” If she did, he’d be eternally thankful to her…

Harry looked at him, half disbelieving, half relieved and didn’t say a word.

“Sirius,” he heard a deep voice calling behind him before he could say anything else. It was Kingsley, followed by Mad-Eye. “You should take Harry to Hogwarts,” the auror stated. “In a few minutes, reporters will start to arrive.”

“Bloody bastards will circle us like vultures circle a corpse,” Mad-Eye grumbled in annoyance.

“But Mia…”

“Elizabeth’s taken her to Hogwarts. I gave them an emergency portkey,” Kingsley said.

Harry frowned. “A portkey? You can’t use portkeys or apparition inside the Department of Mysteries…” He hesitated for a moment. “Aun…Aunt Mia told us that when she taught us about the creation of the ministry.”

“Those cloaked bastards broke down the whole ministry’s wards,” Mad-Eye explained moodily. “How else do you think they got into the most, well-protected department in this building? They had to have moles in the inside to do it… when I get those sons of a…”

Kingsley coughed, warning his former trainer of the presence of minors. “Moody, please.”

The former auror grumbled something under his breath before walking away.

“The other kids are already taken care of,” Kingsley said, matter-of-factly, mostly directing his words to Harry, knowing they were his friends. “Lulu and Gabriel were getting the last three that were still here and must’ve already taken them to the school.” He looked at Sirius. You guys should really go now before the Daily Prophet arrives…”

“Right,” Sirius mumbled, feeling a bit numb. His head felt like a while box of vacuum – he couldn’t think of breathe or even rest before seeing Mia. While during those moments when he’d watch Dumbledore and Voldemort duel he’d barely been able to think of Mia with all the tumult, now he couldn’t get that urge to go see if she was okay out of his mind... The prospect of losing her and everything that it involved was too painful, too heavy…

His arm came around Harry’s shoulders and he instinctively guided his godson to one of the fireplaces and grabbed a handful of the floo powder that rested in a bowl on its lintel bar, which transported them to another fireplace just at the end of the hall that led them to the Hospital Wing.

He waited a few seconds until Harry flooed right behind him, to make sure he wouldn’t end up in the wrong fireplace. “Wait here,” he told his godson before making his way straight to the infirmary’s door.

Sirius was fairly sure someone – not Harry – had called his name on his way there but he simply ignored it, just walking towards his destination. Nothing but Mia mattered at that moment. He walked to the door at the end of the hall and opened it, stepping in.

He first noticed Hermione and Luna lying unconscious on two of the beds and Ron not so far away, awake. Sirius kept walking straight to a curtained area at the end of the room, behind which he saw the shadow of someone moving right before Elizabeth stepped into the aisle, making him stop.

“Is she okay?” he asked immediately. “Please tell me she’ll be okay.”

The healer sighed. “She’ll be fine, Sirius, just calm down. She’ll be just fine.”

He closed his eyes for a moment and let out a relieved breath. Oh, thank Merlin, he thought. Sirius let himself take several other breaths before looking up at the healer again. “Is she awake?”

Elizabeth shook her head. “No. She woke up for a few seconds while we were treating her and asked for you. I said you were alright and she was out again – odds are she won’t even remember it when she wakes up. She’s suffered a head injury and, honestly, hasn’t been able to get much sleep lately – her body needs to rest.”

He felt his heart constricting again. “Could it… could she never wake up?”

“Sirius, you can’t think that way,” she told him. “Madam Pomfrey and I have examined her thoroughly and nothing indicates that she’s in any sort of coma. We decided to just let her sleep, okay? She’d be pretty sore if she woke up right now, anyway, as she’s still healing.”

Sirius nodded in response – he’d have to trust her. Elizabeth had been doing a good job so far. “Can I see her?”

She nodded. “We’ve just finished taking care of her. Come on, she’s right here.”

Elizabeth made her way back to behind the curtain and Sirius followed her. He immediately saw Mia asleep on the bed. She didn’t look as bad as she’d looked before: the scrapes and cuts caused by the glass were healed, the blood had been cleaned and she didn’t seem as breakable. He took a seat on a chair by her bed and reached for her hand – her skin felt warm but not feverish.

“How bad was she, really?” he asked. He couldn’t help wondering what sort of injuries she’d suffered, though they were mostly healed now. He wanted to know every detail he’d make Bellatrix pay for one day. He sighed. If Mia wasn’t his conscience now, he might have killed that wretched bitch for hurting her at all.

“She had a separated shoulder, a broken humerus – that’s the bone in her upper arm –, bruised ribs and a fractured kneecap. I healed the bones but the separated shoulder will have to get better with time – joints are pretty sensitive. The piece of glass that was piercing her leg didn’t puncture an artery, thank Merlin, and she has a sprained wrist because of falling on it, I think,” Elizabeth said, making an effort to keep herself calm as she said it – truth was she’d been just as terrified by seeing Mia so hurt as he had – especially since she’d known Mia was carrying a child… but she’d be fine and so would the baby. “I’ll leave you alone, okay? I’ll go out to give the others an update… Izzy was here when we carried Mia inside. We didn’t have time to explain what was happening.”

Sirius looked at her – maybe it had been Izzy who’d called him when he was on his way there. Now, he felt a little bad for not stopping but he was so anxious to check on Mia… “Can you bring them in? Izzy and Harry. I think they may want to see her.”

The healer nodded. “I’ll talk to them and bring them in.”

As Elizabeth stepped away, Sirius looked back at his wife. He felt so powerless just sitting there, waiting for her to wake up and get better. Usually, it was him who made her feel better… and just a week ago he was the one who’s shattered her heart with his stupid lie. He could just punch himself for it. But she’d seemed better that day, right before the battle. She’d told him they needed to talk, she’d kissed him and she’d said she loved him. He hadn’t said it back, so stunned he was from hearing those words coming out of her mouth at that moment. He should have. He would have wasted the last chance to say he loved her if she’d di… Forget it, she’s alive, he told himself before placing a soft kiss on her brow.

“Daddy,” he heard Izzy saying in a faint tone. He turned and saw her standing there, her eyes red from crying and her arms still marked – not as badly as they’d been before – with a silent Harry by her side.

He sighed. “Come here,” he told his daughter, who took a few steps in his direction and propelled herself on his lap, wrapping her arms around his neck. He just held her close for a few moments – she did look like she needed a hug. And then, as he felt her relax, he loosened his hold so he could look her in the eyes. “She’ll be okay, Izzybel.”

She nodded. “That’s what Elizabeth said. She said Bellatrix Lestrange cursed her and sent her flying against a bookcase.”

“Yeah, she did,” Sirius said faintly, still feeling the sting inside for not having been able to capture her. He looked at Harry over Izzy’s shoulder and saw him looking at Mia’s unconscious form. He could just guess what he was thinking while he did it. “It’s Bellatrix’s fault that she’s hurt, not yours. You were just trying to save our lives, kid, risking your own.”

“But it wasn’t true,” he replied. “Voldemort had made it all up – it was a setup. Aunt Mia wouldn’t have been there if I hadn’t fallen into it.”

“He has fooled people far older, far more experienced than you, Harry,” Sirius assured him. “What happened to your godmother today could have happened in any other battle. It’s the risk we take and if you want to blame it on someone, blame it on Bellatrix. It isn’t your fault.”

“It feels like it is,” Harry whispered, sitting on a chair next to the one where Sirius was sitting.

“It wasn’t just you who wanted to go,” Izzy stated. “We all did – we all helped you sneak into Umbridge’s office, we all escaped her and we all went to the Department of Mysteries to save Mom and Dad and Alex. We thought it was the only chance.”

Sirius nodded and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Look, I can tell you for sure that I would have done just the same. Maybe I wouldn’t have even called home to check if it was true. So, for all I can tell, you did the right thing. Let’s call it a series of unfortunate events and just be done with the guilt, okay? It’s pointless.”

Harry remained silent. At least, he thought, nobody is dead. It had nearly killed when he’d thought that Mia, the only mother he knew, was gone forever. Who else would scold him for having a mess made out of his room or for getting himself into trouble all the time? He’d gone after Bellatrix to make her pay but, deep down, he’d known he didn’t stand a chance against an experienced Death Eater like her…

“You two should go to bed. It’s late,” Sirius pointed out.

“Can’t we stay here until Mom wakes up?” Izzy asked.

Mia wouldn’t have wanted them to give up on their rest because of her, he thought. And he’d have to act as the responsible parent while she was unconscious. “I don’t think so. It’s time you go to bed. I promise I’ll go get you as soon as she wakes up, okay? But only if you two go and try to sleep.”

They protested a little but when Madam Pomfrey showed up and told them she wouldn’t have students staying up late in her infirmary, promptly shooing them out, they just let Sirius walk them out of the Hospital Wing.

Outside, Sirius immediately spotted Lulu standing with Gabe, talking in hushed tones by one of the hall’s windows and, after telling the kids to wait a few minutes by the doors, he made his way to his wife's parents as Ginny limped her way to Harry and Izzy from the chair where she'd been sitting outside the Hospital wing.

“How’s she doing?” Lulu inquired as she saw Sirius.

“She’s still unconscious. Elizabeth says she’ll be fine,” he told them shortly.

“She told us the same,” Lulu stated. But she’d been hoping her daughter would wake up in the meanwhile… “I think I’m going in to see her.”

Sirius nodded as she made her way to the door before turning to Gabriel before he had a chance to follow her. “I need to thank you. For saving my life.”

“You don’t need to,” he said. “You’re a good guy and Mia loves you. If I had a chance to save you, I couldn’t give it up for anything, or else she’d be heartbroken.” He paused, looking slightly pained. He’d gone back to Luce right after he was done with Goyle because she’d stayed behind, alone, protecting the other kids. For a matter of minutes he hadn’t been there to keep his daughter from being harmed… he hadn’t even known she’d gotten hurt until Elizabeth had brought her there when he and Lucy were dropping the kids in the Hospital Wing… “I can take the kids to the Gryffindor tower for you. I bet Mia would like you to be the first person she sees when she wakes up.”

“Thanks. I think I’ll take you up on that,” Sirius said.

He quickly wished Harry and Izzy a good night before they took off with Gabriel to their dorms and then made his way back to Mia’s side. She still wasn’t awake, so he sat back on the chair that he had occupied before, while Lulu stood on the other side, talking to Elizabeth in whispers.

Sirius reached for his wife’s hand again and held it. Her wedding ring was gone but he quickly found it on the bedside table and supposed Elizabeth had needed to take it off because of the swelling caused by the injury in her wrist and hand. He reached for the ring and stuffed it in his pocket in order to keep in safety. He’d give it back to her later…

I won’t leave you alone for more than five minutes until you wake up, he silently promised. He just hoped, dearly hoped, that Elizabeth was right and that it wouldn’t take long…

A/N2: So, she's fine but still knocked out (and up too). As you can see, I'm not that evil... What would be a second volume without Mia for Sirius to be all gentlemanly with? Anyway, just one chapter left in this volume and then we jump to the next. By the way, the name of the next volume will be 'Brave New Hope' and the first chapter will likely be posted at the same time as the next one. I will apologize again for not updating earlier but the exams were just awful.


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