Only one pair was still battling, apparently unaware of the new arrival. Harry saw Sirius duck Bellatrix's jet of red light: he was laughing at her.
'Come on, you can do better than that!' he yelled, his voice echoing around the cavernous room.
The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.
The laughter had not quite died from his face, but his eyes widened in shock.
Harry released Neville, though he was unaware of doing so. He was jumping down the steps again, pulling out his wand, as Dumbledore, too, turned towards the dais.
It seemed to take Sirius an age to tall: his body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backwards through the ragged veil hanging from the arch.
Harry saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his godfathers wasted, once-handsome face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind, then fell back into place.
Harry heard Bellatrix Lestrange's triumphant scream, but knew it meant nothing — Sirius had only just fallen through the archway, he would reappear from the other side any second . . .
But Sirius did not reappear.
Part Two: Closer to Home
Disclaimer: JK’s characters, not mine. No money made off of this…blah blah… Parts from OotP.
Over and over the scene played through his mind. He laid his head on his pillow, staring at the ceiling. Tears threatened to spill over his face; Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived had lost yet another. The warm summer sun poured through his open window and Harry looked over, hoping to see an owl, knowing that they’d only come at night.
Harry despised the night. At night he remembered. He remembered the skull like face that stared back at him in the Shrieking Shack, haunted blue eyes just barely visible behind long straggly black hair. The pale blue eyes whose color would at one moment would be a bright pale blue and the next a deep haunted look would pass over, freezing them like ice.
Never before had Harry felt so horrible. Even if the Dursleys were now leaving him to his own, not bothering to talk to him unless necessary. Harry had written to the Order every three days with some made up story about the Dursleys growing closer to him. About how they were finally becoming like a family. Harry couldn’t have felt more alone.
Multiple times Remus Lupin had written Harry to check up on him on his emotional health; saying that Harry should get his feelings off his chest but he didn’t have to yet. Harry had opted for the latter and in his waste paper basket were three to four unopened letters from Remus. Harry knew they weren’t from the Order. They wouldn’t have put a return address on the letter.
The Order had long since moved to another location after Kreacher had talked with Lucius Malfoy. Surely Kreacher had given away their location. Harry had no idea where the order was now set up. People were telling him things now, but it wasn’t much of an improvement since last summer. He did know that Ron and Hermione weren’t currently with the Order, but Harry was sure they soon would be, he had only been out of school for a few weeks.
** ** **
Sirius Black looked around the white room. He wasn’t sure how long he’d been there. The last thing he had heard was his name being shouted. It seemed like years ago that had happened. Every once in a while something would whisper in his ear, it was a warm tickling sensation and let his worries dilute for a little bit. But he still worried. He had to get back to Harry. His godson was in danger. Oh Gods, James was going to kill him. No, Lily would. Sirius couldn’t make up his mind, it was hard to keep his thoughts straight where he was. The only thing that he could remember clearly was his godson’s bloody face screaming his name.
'SIRIUS!' Harry yelled. 'SIRIUS!'
A warm tear fell down Sirius’ face. He had let Harry down. The voice echoed in his head, scared and alone.
A man’s voice.
“I’m sorry Harry.” Sirius whispered.
A woman’s voice. So familiar. So beautiful. Clear and sweet like wildflowers after a summer shower.
“Lily?” Sirius mouthed, his voice lost.
A translucent woman and man stood next to Sirius.
“Am I…” Sirius couldn’t finish his sentence. Tears poured down his face. “I’m so sorry, Lily, James.”
Lily glided over to him, wrapping her arms around him, rocking him back forth, her own tears falling down her face.
“C’mon, Padfoot.” James stated softly, leading Sirius out of the white room.
** ** **
Harry hadn’t responded to any of his letters and Remus was beginning to worry. He knew Harry had sent letters to the Order saying he was good and the Dursleys were treating him as well as Dudley, but Remus began to notice that when the Order members who followed Harry filed their reports Harry hadn’t even left the house. It was quite a change from last summer.
Remus walked up to the navy door and knocked quietly.
“Come in.” a gruff voice answered as the door magically opened.
“’Lo Mad-Eye.” Remus greeted, easing himself slowly into one of the chairs.
“I want to be put on tomorrow’s guard.” Remus stated simply.
Moody pulled out a piece of parchment, his good eye reading while his other watched the hopeful Remus Lupin.
“Day or night?” Moody finally asked.
“Day.” Remus answered quickly.
“You sure Lupin?”
Moody grunted in understanding and took out a quill. He crossed off tomorrow’s guard, writing in Moony.
“Contact Figg and Kingsley. You can apparate into Arabella’s house.”
Remus nodded and thanked Moody, leaving the room quietly.
** ** **
There was a knock on Harry’s bedroom door. Harry looked over at the door, not wanting to be bothered, he stayed silent. Whoever it was would surely grow tired of waiting and leave soon enough.
“Boy?” It was Aunt Petunia. “Boy?”
Harry rolled over to his other side, looking away from the door.
“I’ve got your lunch.”
Harry’s eyes traveled over to the other trays of food from previous days he hadn’t touched.
“I’m sliding it through the cat door.”
Harry closed his eyes and saw his godfather’s face, smiling and singing Christmas carols. At times Harry had thought about killing himself to be with his godfather just to see that same smile one more time, hear that voice that would never speak again. But, there was always that nagging thought of the prophecy that held him back.
“Bloody prophecy.” He mumbled; his eyes still closed. Soon he fell into a restless sleep full of Sirius and his parents laughing at him and a pale skull-like face with red eyes and little black slits for pupils. When he woke up it was well past midnight and a faint tapping forced him to get out of bed. More letters.
Has it been three days already? he wondered, annoyed. Why did everyone have to care about him? They were just going to die anyway like everyone else Harry cared about. Dutifully he wrote letters back full of lies about his great summer.
Great my arse…
** ** **
Sirius felt himself grow lighter as he walked with Lily and James. He looked down at himself and noticed that he was becoming transparent like his friends. Lily looked over at him and smiled.
“Welcome to Heaven,” she smiled.
Sirius looked around him, it was beautiful. Rolling green hills spread out as far as the eye could see. Crisp blue lakes dotted the landscape as well as a few cottages. Sirius had never seen something so wonderful. A few people glided by him nodding in greeting.
“Shouldn’t there be more people?” Sirius asked quietly.
James and Lily smiled at each other.
“Don’t you recognize the view?” James asked.
Sirius gazed around at the surroundings. Below, at the very bottom of the hill was a small village. It looked familiar but he couldn’t quite place his finger on it.
“Turn around.” Lily whispered.
Slowly Sirius turned around. A large castle gleamed in the sun, its stone walls looking almost silver in the bright light. From atop the entrance gate stood four flags; a lion, an eagle, a snake and a badger.
“H-Hogwarts?” Sirius gasped, unable to believe his eyes.
“Heaven is anything you want it to be, Sirius. Some people come back to their favorite places; others go forth to new places. Heaven can be whatever you wish, with limitations obviously.” Lily explained.
They were quiet for a moment, the silence broken by Sirius.
“C-can I interact with the living?” he asked quietly, looking anxious.
Lily let out a sigh.
“Not in the way you want to, Padfoot. That would be a limitation.” James stated. “Come with us.”
James and Lily led Sirius to the top of a large hill. It was easily the highest one in the area. The top of the hill was completely flat. In the middle was a large pond, a few people were looking into it quietly.
“Look into it.” James whispered.
Sirius nodded. Bending down on his knees he looked into the deep navy water.
“What do you see?” Lily asked quietly.
“Myself.” Sirius answered.
“Look with your heart.”
The reflection slowly morphed into a black haired boy lying in his bed, asleep. His messy black hair barely covered a thin lightning bolt scar. His eyes were shut tightly as if he was in pain.
“Sirius…Sirius…Come back…Please…No more hiding…I need you…” he moaned.
Sirius turned around and looked up at Lily and James, tears in his eyes.
“I let him down.” Sirius stated softly. “I let you guys down. I’m so sorry.”
“We forgive you, Sirius.” Lily whispered; her emerald eyes bright.
Sirius nodded and turned back and watched the lake and Harry again.
“We’ll see you soon, Sirius Black.” Lily stated faintly as she and James disappeared.
** ** **
Remus Lupin walked up and down the street of Privet Drive, waiting for Harry to come out. Hidden under the invisibility cloak he stopped and sat on the garden wall of number four. He watched the Dursleys get into their car and drive away around noon. Remus noticed Harry wasn’t in the car.
Taking off the cloak, Remus walked up to the door and knocked.
No one answered.
The second time he chose to ring the doorbell.
No one answered.
He rang the door bell again.
The sound of feet coming down the stairs could be heard. The door opened and a sickly looking teenage boy stared into Remus’ eyes. It wasn’t the same Harry Remus had seen at the platform, that, he was sure of. He had lost weight and looked very unhealthy. His black hair was messier then ever and his green eyes seemed hidden by a dark shadow. He had on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt that was easily three sizes too big.
“Harry?” Remus asked slightly shocked.
Harry didn’t move.
“Get dressed; we’re going for a walk.” Remus stated authoritatively.
Harry nodded and turned to walk upstairs closing the door. Remus put his foot in the doorway.
“I’ll wait in the parlor.”
Harry visibly sagged; he had been hoping that he could just go back upstairs and sleep, leaving Lupin outside waiting.
Remus sat himself down in on of the fancy arm chairs and picked up a Muggle magazine, flipping through the pages. Soon he heard Harry’s door creak open and Remus stood up.
“Where do you want to go?” Remus asked Harry.
“Don’t know.” Harry shrugged; his voice hoarse from not talking for a period of time.
Remus led Harry down Privet Drive, neither of the talking.
“Harry,” Remus began quietly as they stopped in front of a large willow tree. “Don’t do this to yourself. You need your strength, there’s a war coming.”
They sat down on a tree root and Harry mumbled something, tears in his eyes.
“What? I didn’t hear.” Remus stated softly.
“I said I’d rather die.”
Remus closed his eyes slowly and held them shut of a moment.
“I know you miss Sirius a lot but,” Remus began.
Harry stood up and began to walk away.
“No.” Remus grabbed Harry’s arm. “What you’re doing is not healthy, Harry. I need you to listen to me and talk to me.”
Reluctantly Harry sat down again.
“I know you loved Sirius very much. He was my best friend Harry, I loved him too. It’s a shame when people die so young. But Harry, you can’t die young. You need to live, for everyone’s sake.”
Harry did not want to listen. He couldn’t. Tears threatened to poor over his cheeks any second. He closed his eyes tightly.
“Harry,” Remus looked sadly at Harry, tears in his own eyes. “I’ve known Sirius since I was eleven years old. I think the only person that knew him better than I was James. We used to get into so much trouble. One summer he came to my house and we enchanted an enlarged spider to follow my mother where ever she went. The Ministry was so angry at us. My parents had a hell of a time covering for us. Another time Sirius and I were in Hogsmeade, waiting for James and,” Remus paused. “Peter.” He finished hatefully.
“Sirius set off sixteen dung bombs in the Three Broomsticks. Madame Rosemerta was all over the place. She informed McGonagall and we both served detention for almost two months. James lent me this small mirror and Sirius and I would talk between…”
The mirror…I should’ve talked to him…Should have realized he was still at Grimmauld Place… Harry thought.
A small sob interrupted Remus.
“Shhh, its okay Harry. He would’ve wanted to die for the greater good.” Remus stated, putting an arm around Harry.
They sat there for a while in the privacy of the willow tree, discussing Sirius and Harry’s parents.
Wiping his face on his sleeve, Harry said, “Can I go back with you?”
Remus sighed. “Not yet. Soon Harry, very soon. I promise we’ll get you out of here as quick as possible.”
“You should be getting back soon.” Remus stated quietly.
“Thank you, Professor.”
“Call my Remus, Harry. And you’re quite welcome. I think it did us both some good. Now promise me you’ll take care of yourself. You need to build your strength.”
They walked back to number four talking about Quidditch. Harry told Remus about Umbridge and her banning him from Quidditch. Remus laughed and assured Harry that he’d get to play Quidditch next year.
** ** **
It was growing dark and Sirius wiped his eyes, looking around for Lily and James. He would find them tomorrow and make it up. Right now, Sirius was going to go and visit James’ grandfather and thank him for everything.
“Look out for him, Moony.” Sirius whispered.
Down on Earth a cool breeze tickled Remus’ ears. Remus looked up at the sky and whispered, “Will do, Padfoot.”