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Chapter 34 : The End of an Era
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A/N: Hi guys, sorry it’s been a while. Things have been really hard, with a few positive parts so I haven’t felt much like writing. But I’m back and I’m going to finish this story before I move on to another project. So stay with me and I’ll do my best to give you the best story you’ve read in a while. Thank you all for reading and reviewing.
Ruby breathed, tears attempting to overtake her eyes as she held Remus to her. She could feel his body shuddering against her, his grasp tight on her skin. She didn’t speak, she knew there were no words to help, no words to soothe that feeling.
‘I don’t know what to do.’
‘You keep going, I know how hard it is to do that, but you can do this. For you Rems, your number 1 concern is Lena, it always has been. Your parents were there but you and Lena were that special family bond.’
‘That’s because he never wanted to have a relationship with me and she stood by him.’
‘I know, he couldn’t deal with your ‘furry little problem’ but that doesn’t matter anymore. You need to tell Lena, Rems, and she will hurt at first but you are her rock, as long as she has you she will be ok. She still has a family, Remus, she has all of us.’
Remus looked at Ruby, breathing deeply, strength filling his eyes. He gained his composure, knowing his main priority had to be his little sister, now and always. Sirius clapped Remus on the back as he walked past him and then moved over to Ruby who had closed her eyes tightly. He wrapped his arms around her, rubbing her back gently.
‘How can everything be so crappy?’
‘It’ll get better, baby. It has to, we’ve got a wedding to plan,’ Sirius said turning on his charm.
‘Baby, Remus just lost his parents, Lily was just kidnapped and we just fought a bunch of Death Eaters.’
‘I know but you just said the truth of it, baby. Everything at the moment is bad, it’s getting harder and harder to find the good, amazing things that we want to fight for so why not remind people of how good things can be?’
Ruby looked at Sirius, she couldn’t say anything because she couldn’t believe how one minute he could be so wise and mature and other times he was that sweet talking boy she had met when she was 11. She cupped his face in her hands and planted a simple kiss on his lips.
‘I want to marry you as soon we can.’
‘I know baby, we’ll do our NEWTs in a couple weeks and then graduate a week or so after and then it’s all new from there. I am going to make the hottest wife out of you.’
Ruby giggled gently, the sound of tears in her laugh. She turned her head away from him so she could see the portrait hole open and Remus come in.
‘She ran off,’ Remus looked at his friends, his face pale and expressionless.
‘I’ll go speak to her, why don’t you go and maybe mention it to Alec.’
‘Why?’ Remus couldn’t help but ask still feeling over protective of his little sister and her new boyfriend.
‘Because she would want to have the option to use him, to have him look after her like any of us would want our partners to.’ Ruby said, squeezing Remus’ shoulder as she left the room, to go in search of Lena.
‘Moony, what happened to your parents was…’ Sirius started but stopped unable to find the right words.
‘My job is to look after Lena now. My mum spent her life making sure I was ok each full moon and then you guys took over. You all became my family and you all loved Lena so it won’t be any different. I have you all and I’ve got Lena so I’ll be good.’ Sirius looked at his friend and even though he was grieving, he saw that beautiful determination that Remus Lupin had always had through dealing with his ‘furry little condition.
Over the next few days they all kept an eye on the Lupin children as they planned and attended the funerals of John and Clara Lupin. And within 2 weeks they were starting their exams and Remus was finally starting to enjoy himself without feeling guilty.
Lena stood outside the Great Hall waiting for her brother to finish his final NEWT. She leant against the cool wall, feeling exhausted and drained but finally relieved. She felt safe knowing she still had her brother.
‘Hey my pretty girl,’ Alec said kissing Lena’s cheek. ‘How are you?’
‘I know it’s still new and hard but I’d be worse if it had been Remus.’
‘Yeah, its hard hardly seeing your parents while you’re at school.’
‘Rems has always been more of a parent. Dad was always so distant from us after…’
‘Nothing,’ Lena said kissing him softly. The doors opened and hundreds of excited, graduating witches and wizards came rushing through.
‘Woohoo!’ Sirius yelled his voice full of excitement as he piggy-backed James, spinning around until he crashed into Professor McGonagall, sending the three of them flying to the floor.
‘Mr Black, Mr Potter, what were you thinking?’ The Professor demanded as Lily and Rainy helped her to her feet.
‘Oh Minnie,’ Sirius said dramatically as he and James grabbed Professor McGonagall and hoisting her up onto their shoulders.
‘All hail Minnie!’ James yelled as Sirius produced streamers from the tip of his wand, showering them over their Deputy Headmistress as she hollered down at them. And just as quickly as it started it ended as Professor McGonagall stunned the boys and magically floated down, landing safely before the boys.
‘When will you two grow up?’ Professor McGonagall yelled with frustration. ‘You both…’
‘They didn’t mean any harm, they were just playing, Professor,’ Lily said softly.
‘They are always just playing, Miss Evans. You will both help clean the Great Hall tomorrow for the graduation ceremony, 7am sharp,’ McGonagall announced before walking off, shaking her head, as she tried to hide the smile that was playing at the corner of her lips.
‘Yuck!’ Sirius pouted, crinkling up his eyes.
‘Ahh I’m going to have the best sleep in tomorrow morning, the whole bed to myself,’ Ruby said flicking Sirius on the nose.
‘Oi,’ Ruby squealed as Sirius grabbed her holding her slightly off the floor. Ruby poked her tongue out at her fiancé her hands gasping his arms to keep from hitting the ground.
‘Scared I’ll drop you, hey?’
‘Never!’ Ruby said letting go, smirking. Sirius winked as he let her go, pretending to let her fall only to catch her at the last moment, but only on one side. Ruby winced as the left side of her body hit the stone floor.
‘Opps,’ Sirius said as he pulled her back onto her feet.
‘Opps? Really, I trust you not to drop me and you do and all you can say is opps?’ Ruby said glaring at Sirius before punching him in the shoulder, his friends laughing as she walked off looking back and smiling at her friends. ‘I’m gonna go flying if anyone feels like joining. We’ve only got another day before we have to be in the real world, or grow up as McGonagall puts it, we might as well enjoy our freedom while it lasts.’
Lily stood before her mirror, trying to fix her hair, today she wasn’t looking forward to graduating without her parents. She ran a brush through her thick, red mess she inherited from her father. She pulled the edges up, clipping the twirls in place and moving the rest so it fell nicely around her shoulders. Lily looked closely at herself, her green eyes reminding her of the eyes that had once stared at her as she kissed her goodnight. A tear slid down her cheek as she smashed her hairbrush into the mirroring, breaking the glass.
‘James…’ Lily sobbed gently. ‘I need you.’ She let her muscles relax, falling to the floor, feeling so angry with everything that was happening to the magical world she had found when she was only eleven years old.
Lily got up, grabbing her wand off her bed and heading out of the portrait hole. She was running before she knew it, breathing heavily.
‘Lily?’ Thea said softly, startled to see her friend running through the corridor an hour before they were meant to graduate.
She saw him and locked eyes, her speed increasing as she ran into him, tackling him to the floor. She sat on hi, punching him as hard as she could, her wand poking him hard between the ribs.
Severus Snape attempted to grab Lily’s hands but she had anger on her side. She pummelled him with punches, her eyes in slits from anger, unable to hear Snape yelling for his fellow Slytherins to ‘leave her to him.’
Suddenly Lily was yanked off of Snape, her legs flailing as she still tried to land punches. Snape stood up slowly, Lily grabbing his hair and pulling, now trying to kick him.
‘Baby, stop,’ James said. Lily was still screaming angrily when James turned her around to try and see her face. She collapsed onto him, tears now streaming down her face.
‘They’re not here, they’re not going to see my graduate, get married or have kids. None of it because…because they killed them…they tore them apart!’ Lily screamed, ripping at James’ heart as she did.
Severus Snape watched for a moment, remembering the people his old best friend was screaming about. Today he hadn’t cared that he didn’t have family there, he had felt strong. Now however guilt was creeping in, this girl before him, a girl he loved whether he wanted to admit it or not, and she was in pain because of actions people like him had taken.
‘Come on baby,’ James said as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, as she hugged him, burying her face in his chest, walking away from the Slytherins. When they got to the Heads common room James sat her down and wrapped his arms around her while she cried.
‘We have watched these fabulous students grow from fearful first years to strong-minded and in some cases extremely strong-willed individuals. I am proud to present the graduating class of 1978.’ Professor Dumbledore said opening his arms wide looking across the graduating students seated before him. Professor McGonagall stood smiling as she began to call up each student, just as she had done years before during the sorting.
‘Sirius Black,’ Sirius poked his tongue out strutting up to shake McGonagall’s and Dumbledore’s hands before standing beside 2 other students. He listened as others were called up, gazing across the Hall full of current students and family members. He spotted his parents beaming proudly at him, his gaze landing on his friends and girlfriend, poking his tongue out at Ruby.
‘Lily Evans.’ James squeezed her hand as she walked up and took her place against the her fellow graduates. Annie and Thea followed applause louder in the areas where their family sat watching. The list continued through Remus and students from other houses, reaching Ruby who walked up unaware that Sirius had tucked her skirt into her underwear.
‘Nice ass!’ Sirius yelled and Ruby looked at him funny, unsure as to what he meant until she heard the chuckles from the crowd. When she realised she pulled it out, making sure to bend over slightly as she lifted the rest of her skirt up, smiling before standing beside Ravenclaw Sinnora Malenou.
McGonagall called up Peter, James, Rainy and Snape, pride now increasingly evident on her face as she looked at the almost complete group of graduates to her right. Once she finished she stood to the side and applauded with the reach of the Hall.
Lily and James stepped forward to do their Heads speech and as they inhaled ready to start, there was a yelp from behind them. Laughter filled the Great Hall as James and Lily turned to find Sirius Black with his pants around his ankle and his fiancé smirking her wand still out proudly.
‘Smooth babe,’ Sirius said as he flicked his wand ensuring each graduate had their underwear showing too.
Lily smoothed down her skirt, turning back to the crowd, smiling, her cheeks faintly pink.
‘We all came here, whether we from magical families or not we saw the beautiful magic that is this castle. That is our home, or has been for the past 7 years. We have grown up within these walls, we’ve learnt, laughed and loved. And over the years, our abilities increased, we learnt more about ourselves and the people we want to be. We go forth today, stronger and prouder than ever because we are our own individuals, we grew up at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and tomorrow we leave the safety of these walls, we brace ourselves and hold our heads high. No matter the House we belong to, we are together and as long as we have that no one can take us down.’ Applause filled the room and Lily stepped to the side, smiling as James kissed her cheek before talking.
‘Today we graduate from a home that gave us skills, friendship and the moulding you don’t really appreciate until you’re standing here. Over the years I hope we’ve managed to impress and entertain you, giving you laughter and hope. Especially in a world that is crumbling at the edges. We each make choices based on our principles, based on the people we want to be. Hogwarts, these amazing individuals beside me that give up their lives to guide and teach us, and the students that you learn and grow with, these are the elements that help us to know what is right, and what we must do to protect that.
‘When you look in the mirror, remember the person you were when you first got on the Hogwarts Express: the nervous, unsure kid who found a friend who smiled, remember the first time you used magic to impress or protect someone, remember that moment you fell in love, remember the friendships that gave you strength. And perhaps most importantly remember what you stand for and how you want to be remembered. Today each of us will be remembered by at least one person, for some reason that could be as small as lending them a book. I personally will be remembered as the handsome, talented Maraudcr, Lily here as a beautiful, intelligent, rule-abiding red head. Think about what you want to be remembered for, the actions in this crazy world you want to take. Enjoy every second because you never know how long you have and remember be strong and stay true to yourself and always have a laugh.’
And as James finished his speech, his eyes wide and determined, hundreds upon thousands of butterflies appeared in the Great Hall, seeming to fall from the roof down towards the people occupying it. Everyone looked up, explanations of excitement and wonder, no one expecting the mass spell that took hold of each person in the Hall as one of those butterflies landed on them.
As the small insect landed on them, they each got a memory, a wonderfully happy memory exploding across their mind so that everyone was beaming, even those who were as Dark as you could be.
‘I believe that proves what these brilliant, graduates are capable of. Now please everyone take on the words that your Heads spoke today and know that each of you is loved by another. Congratulations and good riddance, travel safely and live long,’ Dumbledore said, the sparkle in his eye bright, hiding the concern he felt over where some of the students before him were heading in their lives.
And the crowd stood up, clapping one final time as the students, beamed, hugging their friends and feeling a pride unlike any other. And as everyone came together, Severus Snape watched the students he cared so little for, the teachers he thought were a joke, the families a part of him was jealous of.
His eyes were glued to a particular red head who was hugging her boyfriend’s parents, glowing with happiness. He clenched his teeth as he watched her throw her arms in the air with her best friend, laughing and cheering.
‘Now please enjoy this feast in celebration of all that has been achieved and of course the Heads have organised a bonfire for all seventh years, which will end their final day here spectacular fashion.’
And with that they took their seats, enjoying in the memories of once all having been seated at these tables in the Great Hall. The sun began to set as they ate and reminisced over the last seven years at Hogwarts.
As they all started to make their way out of the castle for the guests and families to make it to Hogsmeade, Emma pulled Sirius to one side, giving him the typical mothering look.
‘What’s wrong, Sirius?’
‘What do mean? Nothing,’ Sirius said looking confused, his gaze returning to his friends and his beautiful fiancé.
‘No you’re not yourself, you seem preoccupied. Talk to me.’ Sirius looked at the woman who had made been a mother the most beautiful and special role in the world.
‘I don’t know what to do.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘What if things get worse? I can’t lose Ruby. I can’t risk her getting hurt. She’s joining the Order and what if something happens to her. What if they come after her again and I can’t do anything to stop it?’
‘I know you’re scared that your family or people who are associated with your family are going to attempt to use Ruby in a way that could cause her harm, but she is so brave and strong, Sirius. There are plenty of people who will protect her.’
‘But she’s stubborn, she’ll just keep pushing until she gets her way.’
‘I know, that’s part of the reason you love her isn’t it?’ Emma smiled as Sirius half nodded. ‘You need to have faith. I know it’s hard don’t worry. Do you know how much your father and I worry about all you beautiful children? Every day. But I trust that each of you are wise enough and I don’t know, brave enough to survive this war and every other aspect that tries to bring us down. Focus on your wedding and moving forward with Ruby, enjoy the good things while they’re there, don’t focus on everything that could possibly go wrong.’
‘That’s what I told Ruby.’
‘Weren’t you listening as you spoke?’ Emma said chuckling. ‘Just breathe, be with your friends and enjoy that safe feeling Ruby Mason gives you and remember soon she’ll be Ruby Black and together I really do believe you two can take on anything.’
‘That’s what I’m here for. Now have a good night and we’ll see you tomorrow after your final Hogwarts Express ride home.’ Emma Potter smiled sweetly as her husband’s arms wrapped around her.
‘So much is going to happen now that they’re joining the Order.’ Emma said gently trying to focus on the happy group that was laughing and chatting as they headed towards the bonfire that was waiting to be lit.
‘They are all strong individuals and they will look after each other. We just need to help them to focus on the good things and not all the negatives.’
Lily relaxed back into her boyfriend’s grasp watching as the flames licked at the pile of wood before them. James rested his nose against her head breathing in her familiar scent. He couldn’t believe he was sitting with Lily Evans on his final night at Hogwarts. James Potter had got the girl and as he realised it again he slipped his hands into Lily’s their fingers intertwined. Lily leaned her head back looking into James’ eyes, before turning her head to the side so she could kiss the handsome boy beside her.
The group sat chatting marvelling in the warmth and comfort that swelled amongst them all.
‘I’ll see you all later,’ Rainy said taking the hand of a Ravenclaw boy with deep brown eyes, winking at her friends as they headed into the night.
‘She astounds me at times,’ Annie said chuckling.
‘She’s a female Sirius,’ Ruby said laughing as Sirius pretended to bite her ear.
‘I was never that bad,’ Sirius said incredulously been met only by snorts of laughter.
‘You were worse mate,’ James said laughing.
‘You shagged everything in sight or at least gave it a good old go,’
‘I only shagged the good ones,’ Sirius said playfully glaring at his friends.
‘Oh how kind of you,’ Ruby said batting her eyelids at her fiancé.
‘They were nothing compared to you, my sexy lady.’
‘Oh sure, smooth talker,’ Ruby said slapping his thigh. Sirius leaned in whispering in her ear until she nibbled on her lower lip, leaning over and kissing him hard on the mouth. Sirius slipped his hand behind her neck, gripping as he pulled her closer to him, her fingers running along his thigh.
Ruby started to run her nails slightly against his skin, sneakily unbuttoning his top button.
‘Do you want to come with me?’ Ruby said breathily, licking her lips, her eyes locked on his grey ones.
‘God, yes!’ Sirius said as he stood up pulling her close to him moments later as they walked into the trees of the Forbidden Forest. He pulled her body firm against his as he pushed her against a tree, kissing her neck. She pulled away slightly, breathless, her fingers running down the length of his front, unbuttoning his jeans, her eyes seductive.
‘You are so…’ Sirius started unable to finish his sentence as he kept his hands in his fiancé’s hair, her tongue working a magic Sirius adored. ‘Get up here.’
Sirius pulled up her dress, his hands running up her legs as he lifted her up.
‘You make me crazy,’ Ruby said as she gripped his back pulling his body harder against hers.
Lily squealed as parts of the bonfire exploded, James laughing his head thrown backwards. Rainy giggled having seen the Marauders throw deodorant sprays into the flames.
‘So Saturday night, everyone free?’ Annie asked leaning forward her boyfriend’s gaze on her.
‘Yeah,’ most of the group chimed. ‘Why’s that?’
‘We’re going on a pub crawl.’
‘A what?’ James asked looking confused.’
‘When I was in Australia they had a thing once they graduated high school called Leavers, basically they all drink, dance and have a laugh. So we’re going to have our own little version.’
‘Oh that sounds like fun,’ Thea said gently smiling at Remus.
‘Um I don’t think I’ll be able to make it, I’ve got Lena…’
‘My parents won’t mind watching Lena for the night.’
‘I couldn’t ask that of them.’
‘Mum loves Lena, you know that?’ James said.
‘Ok so we’ll meet up at James’ place Saturday at 5pm, sound good?’ Annie said smiling before turning back to look at Brendan. ‘One night is ok hey, baby?’
‘Yeah I guess. You lot look after her, you hear?’ Brendan said his eyes daring the group to retort.
‘She’ll be safe with us,’ Remus said, turning to look at Ruby and Sirius who were heading back towards the dying flames. He couldn’t help but watch her smile in his friend’s arms; she was so incredibly beautiful and caring. His gaze moved over to his girlfriend and he smiled, he felt so lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.
He looked up at the castle, the place he had called home wondering how life would play out now they were all leaving. He had to find somewhere for him and Lena to live and had nowhere to start, he felt beaten before he even started. Life was a funny thing, it never seemed to go completely the way you planned and somehow you had to deal with it and move forward.
‘It’s perfect!’ Sirius yelled happily.
‘Will Ruby be impressed?’ James asked praying that his friend brought it so he could take it out.
‘I’ll treat her by showing her the city.’ Sirius said his eyes alive as he looked at the impressive silver bike before him. ‘I’ll take it!’
And just like that money was exchanged and Sirius climbed on, James hopping on behind him as he started the engine. They rode it through London towards Potter Manor.
‘Baby!’ Sirius yelled as they pulled in, honking the horn happily. Moments later Ruby came outside with Lily and Emma behind her, her eyes amused. She looked at her fiancé’s face, the boy-like joy that was shining through his eyes.
‘What did you do?’
‘She’s amazing isn’t she?’ Sirius said as James got off and Sirius indicated for Ruby to come forward. ‘And guess what she does…’
‘Sleeps with you?’ Ruby said teasingly.
‘Climb on and I’ll show you,’ Sirius said offering her his hand. She shook her head, smirking as she swung her leg over the bike.
‘Show me what she’s got,’ Ruby said kissing the back of Sirius’ neck as she linked her hands up around his waist.
‘Oh yeah, baby,’ Sirius said as he revved the engine, hitting a button and holding on as the bike took off heading towards the closed gate.
‘Um, baby…’ Ruby said nervously trying to trust her man. Sirius laughed as the bike veered upwards into the sky. ‘Oh my god.’
Sirius listened to his girl giggling, taking in the beautiful city.
‘What do you think, baby?’
‘It’s amazing, you’re amazing no matter how stupid you seem.’
‘Nice half compliment there, love,’ Sirius said squeezing her hand. ‘So see that rooftop café there?’
‘That’s where we’re meeting a lady who has some things to show us for our wedding.’
‘You continue to surprise me,’ Ruby said beaming, feeling such a warmth in her chest. ‘I love you, Sirius Black.’
‘You better, Rocky, otherwise I’ll take my new lady and…’
‘And what?’ Ruby said cheekily as she squeezed Sirius who was coming to land in an alleyway near the café.
‘You see right through me,’ Sirius said as he stopped the bike, kissing Ruby’s cheek gently before leading her up the stairs.
‘You must be Ruby, it’s lovely to meet you. I’m Melissa’ The tall middle-aged woman said shaking Ruby’s hand. ‘So I hear you want to be married as soon as possible.’
‘Yeah, August would be perfect,’ Ruby said looking at her fiancé her eyes bright.
‘Ok so we have about a month to pull this off, let’s get some coffee and cake and get started,’ Melissa said smiling taking a seat and pulling out a file.
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