Chapter 11 : 11. Memory
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Anna followed Sirius to his bedroom. She hovered by the door, her eyes darting around the dark room, searching for something she would recognize. The walls were empty, and so unlike the Sirius she loved. There was nothing Quidditch related anywhere, no pictures of his friends, and there was a pile of books on his bed, most of them open and filled with notes, probably Sirius'.
Sirius noticed her curious stare, and he neatly pushed the books from the bed, gesturing for her to sit. Anna sat down, as Sirius disappeared into the closet. Anna looked after him, listening to him rummage it, before he returned with something familiar looking, something that brought memories to Anna at once.
"Are you serious?" she whispered, her eyes wide.
Sirius smiled wryly, probably fighting the urge to shoot the worn out 'Yes, I am Sirius!' joke. "If you really want to know."
"I do," Anna said, standing up.
Sirius sighed heavily, holding out his hand. "Well?" he said pointedly, giving her a look. "I don't want you to fall on your arse, stupid..."
Anna didn't hesitate, and grabbed his hand. She gasped, as Sirius leaned into the pensieve, and soon enough, they were both pulled into the depth of Sirius' memory.
Anna didn't let go of Sirius' hand, as she took in the surroundings. She knew this place; the Potter Mansion. But it wasn't the familiar place she had once been happy in. No, the place she loved was now burning, and terrified screams echoed from everywhere. Even if Anna knew she couldn't feel anything in the memory, she still felt a little cold by just watching the scenery, her heart stuttering as her eyes looked up to the sky, where the Dark Mark was.
"HELP! PLEASE, SOMEONE HELP!" came a heart-wrenching voice, and Anna swiveled around. She saw a very different looking Sirius run towards her; it was the young Sirius, the Sirius she had promised to be with forever and always, until the end of time.
Sirius ran past her, carrying someone in his arms. Anna gasped, feeling her heart freeze as she recognized herself. It didn't take long until she realized this was Sirius memory of the night that ruined everything good in her life. It was New Year's Eve.
Anna stared in shock at the state of herself in Sirius' memory. She wasn't sure if it was altered by the way Sirius remember it, or if she really looked like that, but either way, it was awful. She was covered in blood, and as pale as the white snow on the ground. Anna didn't even notice Lily and Cat stumbling after Sirius, both of them crying and screaming, clinging to each other for support.
"PLEASE!" the memory-Sirius called again, holding Anna closer to himself.
"Sirius..." Anna whispered, clutching the real Sirius' hand tighter.
"You have to see this to understand," Sirius murmured, his voice breaking slightly. Anna looked around at him, but his head was beant down, his eyes closed.
Anna reluctantly looked back to the memory. She watched Sirius fall on his knees in the snow, the flames burning behind him. She could see the marble stairs that led to the mansion, but the sight wasn't welcoming, nor was it beautiful. It was horrible; flames burned down everything Anna had felt safe in the world, and it brought a lump to her throat to imagine that James' parents - Mr and Mrs Potter - were somewhere inside, probably already dead.
Someone came walking - no, more like floating - down the strairs, the flames making it look even more impressing. She watched the cloaked figure walk towards the sobbing Sirius who held the unconscious Anna in his arms, while Lily and Cat held each other, sobbing loudly in the background.
"Boy!" the figure called out - it was a woman, and there was something in her voice that made Anna gasp, and squeeze Sirius' hand tighter. "What happened?"
"STAY AWAY!" Sirius roared, pulling out his wand, and aimed it at her. His hand was shaking, and with one easy move with her own wand, the cloaked woman had removed it from his hand.
"Don't be silly, boy," the woman purred, kneeling down by the memory-Anna. "You need me."
"YOU'RE ONE OF THEM!" Sirius said, trying to hold Anna closer to him. "GET AWAY FROM HER!"
"I am the only one who can help you, you fool," she said. She pulled back her cloak, exposing her shockingly beautiful face, her piercing blue eyes, and her long, wavy hair that shimmered in the light of the flames.
"W-who are you?" Sirius asked.
"Cassandra Fenwick," she said, touching Anna's cheek with her hand. "She's still alive, but it's almost too late. What happened?"
"You're... you're her... mother?" Lily stammered, still sobbing.
"Yes," Cassandra said, staring at the two girls with her blue eyes. "She's been bitten, yes?"
"Yes," Sirius said, staring at her. "You're supposed to be dead!"
"So are a lot of people," she murmured. "How long ago has it been now?"
"Not long, maybe thirty minutes, or more."
"She's lost too much blood, the venom is taking over - she still has a chance to live," she muttered, more to herself than to Sirius. "Take her to St Mungo's, they'll take care of her there," Cassandra explained quickly, clutching Sirius' collar tightly. "Ask for Healer Frost, he's the best one. Do you understand?"
"Y-yes!" Sirius said, as Cassandra let go of him, and pulled out a rusty bracelet from her pocket. She shoved it into his hand, and stood up. "Where are you going!?"
"The bracelet will take you to St Mungo's - it's a portkey," Cassandra said coolly. "I am your enemy," she continued, taking a step back. "You will thank me for this, but you will hate me later. It's in your nature. It's inevitable."
Just as the memory started to fade, Anna saw Lily and Cat throw themselves down on the ground, grabbing Sirius arm, preparing themselves. Anna stared blankly at the woman who turned her back to them, her wand already raised. Anna had to struggle to see what happened next, and she really wished she hadn't. She recognized two figures running towards them, their wands raised like Cassandra's.
"CASSIE!" Mrs Potter called, her normally soft and gentle voice filled with anger. "DON'T DO THIS!"
"Sarah, you're a fool to believe that you will survive this!" Cassandra laughed.
"Don't do it!" Mr Potter said, sounding calmer than his wife.
"You shouldn't have come after me," Cassandra whispered. "I gave you the opportunity to save yourselves, but what do you do? You follow me!" she screamed, her voice so cold that it made Anna cringe.
Mrs Potter looked at her husband, and smiled gently. "I love you, Harry," she whispered, and Anna covered her mouth as she realized what was happening.
"And I love you," Mr Potter said, wrapping his arm around her. "Forever."
"Come what may," Mrs Potter said, and braced herself.
"If you're going to kill my wife, you have to go through me first!" Mr Potter called to Cassandra.
"With pleasure, Harry," she purred. "AVADA KEDAVRA!"
"NO!" Anna screamed, but the memory disappeared suddenly all together, as the green light flashed in front of her eyes.
Anna didn't even realize she was crying, not until she found herself clinging to Sirius, who rubbed her back slowly. She shook her head slowly, tears ruining his shirt, as she tried to wrap her head around what she had just witnessed. She had always known that her mother killed the Potters, but seeing it herself was even worse. She didn't understand how Sirius had managed so long without having the memories haunting him.
"Anna," Sirius whispered in her ear, and Anna looked up a his face. She followed his blank stare, and saw that the memory had switched to a new one.
They stood in the middle of the corridor at St Mungo's, Healers running around. Anna saw the memory-Sirius stand in front of a window, his hands pressed against the glass, as he looked inside with a fearful look. Anna went to stand beside him, and watched the view. She almost expected to see a nice view, but instead she was looking into a treatment room, with herself strapped to the bed. She staggered backwards at the sight, right into Sirius' chest, who quickly wrapped his arms around her, steadying her. Anna watched as Healers tried to get her heart to work again - it was the most shocking thing to watch; watching herself arch away from the treatment table as the electric shocks ran through her body, urging her heart to work. It took a few more shocks for the heart, until the machine started beeping. The Healers took this as a good sign, because they quickly started giving her blood, and tied her down better. Anna was about to ask why she was tied down, but her answer came before she could even utter a word. She watched herself start wrenching and screaming like a mad woman, her irises red as they rolled around in their sockets. One of the straps holding her right arm down snapped open, and she grabbed one of the Healers nearby, throwing him against the wall. Three Healers hurried over, and tied her down again.
"KILL - ME!" memory-Anna roared, her voice raw and unfamiliar. "IT BURNS! I'M BURNING INSIDE!"
"Anna!" memory-Sirius suddenly called, banging the glass with his fist. "ANNA!"
"SIRIUS!" memory-Anna screeched, her body arching up from the table, making the straps squeak in protest. "IT BURNS! TELL THEM TO MAKE IT STOP!"
"DO SOMETHING!" memory-Sirius yelled to the Healers, banging the glass again. "MAKE IT STOP, DAMN IT!"
"KILL ME!" memory-Anna howled, tears streaming down her face as she threw herself violently against the straps.
The Healers all stood around her, watching the girl in front of them. One of the Healers hurried to the window, and quickly pulled the curtains in front. Sirius continued banging the window helplessly, tears of his own running down his face like rivers.
Anna took a step away from the memory-Sirius, pushing the real Sirius' arms away. She searched the corridor for Lily or Cat, and saw them talking to a Healer down the corridor, who pointed towards Sirius. Lily tried to grab Cat's arm, but Cat wrenched away from her, running right towards Sirius.
"IT'S ALL YOU FAULT!" Cat roared, her eyes bloodshot. "IT'S YOUR FAULT SHE'S HERE!" she cried, as Lily arrived to them, wrapping her arms around Cat.
"Cat! Shh!" she tried to calm her, but Cat didn't take any of it. "You don't know what you're saying!"
"IF YOU HADN'T LIED TO HER, SHE WOULD STILL BE ANNA! YOU'RE THE ONE TO BLAME, SIRIUS BLACK!"
Anna watched in shock as memory-Sirius staggered back, his eyes empty. He gave one last glance at the covered window, his fingers brushing against it.
"You're right," he whispered. "Tell her... tell her I will always love her... in a way..."
"Sirius?" Lily called, as Sirius turned around, walking down the corridor. "Sirius! You can't just walk away! She needs you! More than ever, Sirius! SIRIUS!"
Lily's screams still echoed in Anna's ears, as Sirius took her hand, pulling her away from the memory. She felt her knees give in, and Sirius quickly led her to the bed, letting her sit down on it. He kneeled in front of her, holding her cold hands in his.
"Now you know why I left," he murmured, trying to catch her eyes with his. "To protect you."
"I wasn't yours to protect anymore when you made that decision," Anna whispered. "You shouldn't have walked away."
"Anna, please, you must understand," Sirius pleaded.
"I was already a monster! What else could you protect me from!?" Anna demanded loudly, not even caring anymore if she cried or not. "I never stopped loving you, and you--"
"I love you," Anna whispered. "You know that. You knew that all along, Sirius. Even now... I... I love you. So much... that it hurts..."
"Oh, Anna," Sirius said, his hands cupping her face gently. He stared into her eyes, as if to ask permission. But instead, Anna clutched his hands with hers, and leaned in to kiss him. She tasted the tears from his lips, their noses bumping against each other.
"I love you," Sirius whispered. "Always have. Always will."
"I love you, too," Anna responded, her breathing uneven. "Until I die, and beyond."
And there, in the middle of the night, Anna let herself love freely - Anna let Sirius into her heart.
Anna woke up early in the morning, feeling slightly out of place - and groggy. She stared at the wall, trying to make sense.
Someone stirred next to her - or more like, behind her. She froze for a second, as she felt a familiar - too familiar - pair of arms envelope her. She knew at once they did not belong to Alex. This was another kind of familiar. She had grown used to Alex's arms - but these arms? No, you couldn't get used to them. They belonged to her. They belonged to be wrapped around her.
Sirius' hair tickled Anna's cheek, and she smiled faintly. She knew it was wrong - she couldn't have him, she shouldn't have him.
But she wanted to.
"This is not right," she whispered.
"I know," Sirius sighed, his breath leaving goose bumps on Anna's skin.
"But I want to," Anna said, sitting up suddenly.
"I can't believe we're in the exactly same freaking situation as before!" Anna groaned, burying her face into her hands.
"Please say something else, Sirius!" she pleaded, looking around at him sprawled on her bed. He sat slowly up, his face only inches from hers, and he smiled - he smiled the same boy-ish smile he had smiled so long ago when they had both been happy. "Please?" Anna said, staring at him.
"I love you," he whispered, kissing her nose.
"You do?" Anna said, leaning her head against his shoulder.
"Don't sound so surprised," he huffed.
"I'm trying to take everything in," Anna said.
"I'm supposed to get married," Anna said slowly, looking up at him. "I'm supposed to meet Alex's parents for the first time, Sirius."
Sirius watched Anna's expression, before brushing his thumb across her cheekbone, trying to pull the corner of her mouth up into a smile again. "It'll work out. Trust me."
"I do trust you," Anna said. "It's just... Sirius, I can't hurt him. No, I... I can't hurt him, or anyone else. It was bad enough to hurt Sev..."
Sirius made a sound of disgust at the mention of Severus Snape, but recovered quickly. "You'll hurt him more the longer you keep this away from him."
"I know that," Anna snapped, standing up. "I just... I need to think, okay? I can't just tell him that the wedding is off, because-- Sirius, I love him too! I can't just stop loving him, not after everything he's done! He brought me back to life! He made me want to wake up in the morning! He was there for me! He taught me how to love again! He--"
Sirius stood up, and pulled her into a warm embrace. Anna didn't finish her sentence, as she closed her eyes, and tried to concentrate on breathing, and taking in the beautiful scent of Sirius.
"I know," he whispered in her hair. "And I'll be forever grateful to Alex for not letting you slip away from this world..."
Oh, how much she had missed the smell.
"You smell good," she mumbled against his chest, not knowing what else to say.
"Thank you," Sirius chuckled, rubbing her back. "Feeling better now?"
"Yeah," she sighed. "I'm hungry," she stated slowly, as her stomach growled loudly.
"I can hear that," Sirius said, as they walked towards the door. Just as Sirius was about to reach for it, Anna janked him back, her eyes wide and serious. "What?" Sirius asked, instantly alarmed.
"Cat," Anna whispered, panicking. "What if she's awake? Should I tell her? Are you telling the guys? What--"
"Anna, Anna, Anna!" Sirius said quickly, taking her shoulders. "Breathe," he ordered.
Anna took a deep breath, closed her eyes slowly, and opened them again. "I'm breathing. What should I do?" she asked slowly.
"Well," Sirius said, frowning. "I think you should talk to the girls. You know, you three are close, you should be able to talk to them openly."
"And you'll talk with the guys?" Anna asked quietly, suddenly afraid. What if they would beat her to the pulp for playing with Sirius like this?
No. They wouldn't... or would they?
"Of course," Sirius said, and sighed as he saw Anna's expression. "They're on our side - always have been, always will. They want the same thing as I want; for you to be happy."
"As long as it makes you happy, right?" Anna mumbled.
"I'm happy when you are," he reminded her. "Now, smile - Cat will be having a hell of a hangover, and she doesn't need to see you grumpy to be pushed over the edge."
Anna grimaced - everyone knew Cat had a bad temper when she had a hangover.
As they left the bedroom, they checked that the living room was empty - just to be sure. They exchanged a quizzical glance, as they heard people talk in the kitchen. Hesitantly, Anna and Sirius walked to the kitchen, both of them quietly taking in the scene.
Remus sat next to Cat - unnecessarily close, if you asked Anna - and tried to force Cat to drink some orange juice. Cat, whose hair looked like golden hay sticking in odd directions, shook her haid faintly, as she leaned sleepily against hand. Opposite of Cat, was Lily. Lily's lips were pursed into a tight line, her eyes wide with disapproval. Anna felt slightly sorry for Cat - Lily had probably given her the usual lecture about 'teen drinking'.
Lily was such a mother hen.
"What's going on?" Sirius asked innocently, walking to the fridge, as Anna slid into the chair next to a surprised looking Lily.
"Hey!" Lily greeted, and smiled.
"Hey to you, too," Anna responded, narrowing her eyes slightly. "What are you doing here?"
"Well," Lily said, and the formal look was back on her face again. "Someone had to look after this idiot," she pointed out, nodding at Cat who groaned loudly as Remus lift the glass of orange juice to her lips.
"You were supposed to look after her," Remus commented, throwing Sirius and Anna a quick glance.
"We were busy to not kill each other," Sirius said sarcastically, and winked quickly to Anna when no one was looking.
"Which I'm grateful for," Remus said quickly, brushing a stubborn curl from Cat's face, making her drink more juice. "But really - was it too much to ask to just check on her from time to time?"
"She didn't die," Anna said dryly, and smiled as Cat glared at her across the table.
"I want to," she snarled, rubbing her forehad.
"I told you--" Lily started.
"SHUSH!" Cat snapped, burying her face in her hands.
Everyone chuckled - except Cat - before the kitchen fell into a long silence. Remus' eyes were suddenly jumping from the quiet and calm Anna, to the casual looking Sirius, who had his hand on Anna's chair, leaning casually against it.
Remus' eyes suddenly met Anna's piercing ones, and they stared at each other, as if to figure out what the other one was thinking. Remus tilted his head ever so slightly to the side, and Anna narrowed her eyes, her lips pursed tightly.
"Sirius," Remus said slowly. "Prongs will be needing some company today," he said.
"What?" Lily demanded, looking curious.
"Boys only," Sirius said quickly, already in on the plan.
"Fine," Lily sighed, looking abandoned. "I guess--"
"We'll have a 'girls only' policy, then," Anna suggested.
Cat groaned. "Noooo..."
"You will attend, Catherine McKinnon, even if it meant that we have to tie your hands and drag you along!" Lily said, her tone clearly saying that it was the end of the discussion.
"Fine!" Cat growled, standing up abruptly - and swayed slightly (enough for Remus to take a firm hold of her to keep her up). "But I won't enjoy it!" she vowed, and stomped out.
"Oh, she says that now," Lily muttered. "Hide the rum, Anna."
A/N: Clearly, I'm a fan of Captain Jack Sparrow - always hide the rum! :D I'm sooooooooo sorry for not updating, I shall do better in the future, and neglect the family more... yes, I'm totally guilt-tripping you all BECAUSE I CAAAAAAAAAAAAAN >:]
- Lily xxx
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