Chapter 17 : The Voice
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“Who do you think has it, then?” Ron demanded.
“You.” Sirius stated quietly.
Ron shook his head in bewilderment. “You’ve gone barmy.” He almost laughed at the absurdity of it all. Almost.
Hermione turned quickly to face Ron and eyed him cautiously. “You’re saying you don’t have it, then?” Her face was almost pinched – if Ron had had the prophecy all along, they had risked their lives for nothing.
“Of course I don’t have it! I’ve never seen it before, except for back in fifth year. That’s it!” he exclaimed. “I’d tell you if I had a prophecy lying around, wouldn’t I?” His question met a silent response. “...wouldn’t I?” He tried again, lowering his voice. “Look, I don’t have it, alright? I swear.”
Harry had kept his eyes trained on Sirius throughout this exchange. There was no change in his godfather’s expression, yet Harry was waiting; waiting for Sirius to stand up and laugh or for Ron to stay that he was just kidding - of course he knew where the prophecy was. But none of that happened.
“It seems...that heading back to Hogwarts may be best.” Sirius said quietly.
“What makes you say that?” Harry’s patience was quickly forgotten; he wanted his prophecy and he wanted Sirius to come back, and so far neither of those prospects was working out in his favour.
“It is clearly not in my possession, and I figure it may be easier for you to find the answers you so desperately seek back in the world that you are most familiar with. I’m sorry, Harry.”
Not knowing what to say, Harry turned towards the thickening fog, and eventually, the door. He jumped at the quick cry of ‘Expelliarmus!’ that resounded through the room. His head whipped around, and he saw Hermione, wand raised, aimed at Sirius. A clatter echoed as his godfather’s wand hit the stone-cold floor.
“Hermione, what were you-” His inquiry froze on his lips. Ron was standing tall, yet slowly stepping back in turn with Harry. Sirius Black had abandoned his chair, rigid and translucently pale, his wand arm raised and gripping his non-existent weapon.
“What are you playing at?!” Ron’s question seemed to swim through the uneven fog without direction. The surprise, urgency, and perhaps fear in his tone did not dissipate, however.
“I think...I think he was trying to kill us.” Hermione whispered, unmoving, wand still pointed. The blind man made no move to attempt to pick up the oak and dragon heartstring lying at his feet. In fact, Sirius made no move at all.
“No.” Harry knew – he didn’t know how he knew, or why, or even what it was, exactly, but it was important. “He wasn’t trying to kill us.” The words came to him without meaning or explanation, but they were true. Something within his head – within his heart – was feeding him information with an almost brutal honesty. His hands clamped around his temples, as if he were attempting to extract the reality of it all for Ron and Hermione to understand. Hermione’s gaze, still on Sirius, did not falter, but Ron, however, was looking back and forth from godfather to godson with incredible uncertainty.
“Harry, what is it?” Hermione asked sharply, her back to him.
There was a voice, Harry knew that much. At this point in his life, hearing voices was an almost routine occurrence. And this voice, it was female, and sweet...it spoke to his very being. The words were cold, but Harry was not afraid. It was evident that no one else could hear; Ron was staring at him incredulously, and he himself could feel the palpable silence that had settled around them. It was such an odd sensation, being able to distinguish the voice within from the noiselessness that seemed to stick and peel from his frame in time with the waves of mist. The voice spoke again.
“Sirius Black has been dead for 17 years.” Harry’s eyes were drawn to the rigid man standing by the throne, no more than a few paces away from him. Hermione and Ron remained silent, unknowing. Harry took in the sickly pallor of Sirius’ skin, his slight frame, and his unseeing eyes. Could this really be a dead man? They had just spoken with him. He had just stood up on his own accord! Harry’s palms became slick with sweat as he was struck with images of the late Bathilda Bagshot, skin sallow and eyes empty. His mind flooded with thoughts, the most prominent being, ‘Grab Hermione and get out of here.' Yet this was no Godric’s Hollow.
The voice spoke again, stopping Harry in his tracks. “Harry, please do not go.” How did she know his name? It echoed within him once more, softer and gentler than before: “There are some things that need be put right.” He shivered – he knew this voice. The glow within his Expugnolers seemed to thicken and cloud his vision...or was that the mist?
He felt a smaller hand take his, the simplest gesture of comfort that made everything seem right for the briefest of moments. He turned to face Hermione, who had quietly stepped closer to him.
“I…” He faltered.
“Tell me, Harry.” She said softly, her eyes trained on Sirius. Harry spoke in the quietest of whispers.
“Hermione…I can hear a voice. I can hear my mother.”
A/N: Thank you for reading, and please remember to leave a review!