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Chapter 3 : The Collision of Time
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Chapter Three: The Collision of Time
Under the frosty window pane, she waited for him to come. A smile crossed her face as she saw the cloaked figure moving, his face hidden under the moonless winter night. She could feel him getting closer more than actually see him but, no matter how long she waited, he never seemed to appear any nearer than he had been moments before. He would pause, hesitate, turn in circles as a dog that had lost its way might try and find a trail to lead himself back home. She tried to be patient…her mother had lectured her so many times about learning patience…but, finally, she could stand it no more. Ever so softly she called, “Sirius?”
A thundering crash woke her from her dream…a deafening explosion assaulted her senses….a flash of brilliant red, green, and gold temporarily blinded her and, before she could contain it, a lung filled scream of terror escaped her lips with such force the house shook.
When she arrived in the room, Hermione’s screams matched her daughter’s.
Remus, Draco and Tonks appeared instantly with wands drawn--it was a practiced move even after six years of peace but none were prepared for the sight that met their eyes.
Sirius Black, almost ten years after passing through the veil at the Department of Mysteries, stood before them, a belligerent grin spread across his handsome face.
Tonks looked near faint and Remus’ strong body trembled, his wand slipping out of his hand and clattering to the stone floor. Only Draco seemed immune to the sight of Sirius and he shot a curse at him before anyone had the chance to intervene. Hermione grabbed for Juliette but she rushed to Sirius’ side, blocking him from Draco. Her tiny arms outstretched in front of a man four times her size but it had the effect she’d hoped for…Draco’s fear of almost striking Juliette caused his face to blanch and his muscles to turn to stone.
“No!” Juliette’s voice held not a hint of fright but a commanding order that echoed through the silent room.
Remus was the first to regain his composure. “Stupid prat,” he murmured, shoving past Draco and moving to his friend’s side. “Sirius?” he asked, dropping to his knees as Juliette moved to let him near his friend. “Is it really you?”
“Who the hell else would I be?” The darkened look on his face was aimed directly at Draco. The look of pure hatred frightened Hermione and she tugged on Draco’s arm, pulling him away from Sirius.
Her gaze met with Sirius’ for just a moment and she could sense his revulsion at her attempt to protect Draco. He couldn’t possibly know that Draco had changed, she knew, but that he would judge her so quickly made her want to strangle him herself. As soon as she felt it though, Sirius smiled at her--offering her the benefit of the doubt-- and she couldn’t help but send him a lop-sided half-smile.
“Oh, yes,” Tonks whispered, “it’s definitely him.” She slipped her arm around Hermione. “Let’s take Juliette downstairs, Hermione, okay?”
Hermione nodded distractedly, unable to tear her eyes from Sirius…he looked so, so…Sirius. He was dressed just as he had been on that fateful night…his cloak coated in dirt and speckles of blood from the fight; his wand held defensively in his right hand; his hair mussed from the struggle; and the smile across his face made Hermione blanch. Who on earth appeared a decade after his death with a cocky grin like that?
“Hermione,” Tonks whispered, tugging on her arm as she pulled her and Juliette toward the door.
“All right, Hermione?” Sirius called from the corner, his head tilted at an odd angle as if he was puzzled but accepting of the whole turn of events.
“F-fine, Sirius,” she managed, “thanks for asking.”
She could hear him chuckling as she hurried out of the room. “Are you all right?” she asked, hugging Juliette to her chest as she carried her to the kitchen.
“The noise scared me but just for a second, Mum, I swear. I’m sorry I screamed.”
Hermione forced a laugh as she ruffled her hair. “Trying to reassure me, are you?” she tapped her bottom as Juliette climbed into a chair and began eating the toast Tonks had conjured.
“Is it Christmas?” She asked timidly, slipping further back into her chair so that her short little legs hung loose over the edge of the chair. She kicked them distractedly as she nibbled on the toast, her eyes moving back and forth between the two women.
“Not yet.” Tonks answered off-handedly, sharing a look of utter confusion over the entire situation with Hermione.
Juliette frowned. “So, he’s not my present?”
Hermione choked on her tea. “What?”
Tonks managed a tight laugh. “Exactly what did you ask Santa for, little girl?”
“Nothing, nevermind. Can I sleep in your room, mum?”
Hermione’s eyes narrowed as Juliette disappeared into the hall. She turned to Tonks. “You don’t think…”
“I’d put nothing past that girl of yours.” She lowered her voice, taking the tea cup in her hand and swirling it around uneasily. Her hair had tinged from its bright Christmas red to a more subdued ash blonde and the worried look on her face took Hermione off guard. “Do you think he’s alright? Sirius, I mean. Is he him?”
Hermione could see the slight shake in Tonk’s normally vacant expression and she covered her hand. “He seemed fine. He acted as if he hadn’t lost a moment of time, didn’t he?”
“Yes, almost as if he was still in the battle,” she answered nodding. Her voice lowered, a squeak emanating from her as she tried to hide her emotions. “Hermione, he’s missed so much.”
It was bad enough he’d scared the living daylights out of all of them, but Hermione couldn’t fathom what Sirius must be facing…the loss of almost everyone he knew, an entirely new world where Voldemort was no longer a threat. The idea of having to explain ten years of memories to him was incomprehensible. Little things, big things, things they’d all already forgotten…how did you even begin to try and explain a lifetime to someone?
“Harry,” Hermione voiced what they both were thinking. “How do we tell him about Harry?”
“We don’t. Not right now,” Remus interrupted, sinking between the two and putting a comforting arm around Tonks shoulders.
“Remus, how did this happen?”
“Where is he?” Hermione’s eyes narrowed nervously. “And where is Draco?”
“I took the liberty of escorting Draco out,” Remus couldn’t hide the bite in his words. “I gave Sirius a sleeping potion so we could try and sort this out.” Remus waved the tea pot towards him. “He’s come straight from the department of mysteries it seems. To him, he fell through the veil to here.”
“Just like that?” Tonks brow furrowed.
“To him, yes, just like that.” Remus didn’t miss the uneasy glance between the two. “I assure you, it is Sirius…the one we know and love. The question is what do we do with him?”
“Did you explain anything?” Hermione asked.
“Enough for him to know we thought we were seeing a ghost. He started asking questions about the last ten years and I felt it best he rested. I didn’t want to hit him with too much at once.” Remus chuckled. “You know Sirius…he took it in stride. He said he bet even Dumbledore never would’ve figured on this one.”
“But how did he get here?” Hermione shook her head. “It doesn’t make any sense. Tonight…what on earth brought him here tonight? After all this time?”
“Who,” Remus whispered with a knowing look. “I think the question is who brought him here.”
“Juliette,” Tonks and Hermione whispered in unison.
A quiet fell over the group as the reality of Sirius’ presence came down on them.
Remus wanted to reassure them, he wanted to be the rock they seemed to so desperately need but his mind wouldn’t let him. Visions of Sirius were flying through his mind at a rapid pace—the boy who used the most unorthodox means to teach him everything he knew about women; an adolescent that stayed loyal to him even when he attacked him after a rather difficult full moon; a teenager that would cry like a broken child in James’ arms as he ran from his life and his parents; and, a man he loved closer than a brother and who had been lost not once, but twice, only to return. And, as loving and caring as he was, he took his fate as it came worrying more about the effect it had on everyone else around him.
“But how could Juliette…I mean, she’s just child…how could she possibly have brought him back? It’s obviously possible, but how did she do it?” Hermione mumbled out loud, in deep concentration as she tried to fit the pieces together.
“Don’t you think if I knew how to bring him back I would’ve done it ages ago?” Remus asked with a low growl.
“Of course, Remus,” Hermione chided herself for saying something so thoughtless. “I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just—” she trailed off, realizing he was paying her no attention anyway.
“Go home and get some rest,” Hermione hugged Remus from behind as she passed his chair. “I’ll take care of him, okay?”
“I can’t ask—"
“You aren’t asking,” Hermione said smiling. “You need to be ready to face him, Remus. Let Tonks take you home.”
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