Author: Amelia Bedelia
Chapter Twenty-Four: Inseparable
AUTHORS NOTE: Here it is… The last one! This is the last chapter! I'm sorry I haven't been able to write as much during the year as I wanted to, but if it helps, I forced myself since last week – when I got out of school – to finish this story, and I finally did!
I hope you all loved the story as much as I loved writing it, and I hope to talk to you all more on my other stories!
Chapter Twenty-Four: Inseparable
Bella groaned as she felt herself hit the solid ground. Disoriented, she rolled backwards and bumped her head on the stone floor.
It took Bella several moments to realize what had just happened. She and Sirius had just traveled by Portkey, narrowly escaping death.
With a slow smile spreading across her face, Bella rolled over onto her side and hugged Sirius. He was coming out of his deep sleep and gaining back a minimal amount of energy.
"Where are we?" he croaked.
Bella sat up and shrugged. She cringed as she felt a string of sharp pains sent down her broken arm and out of her fingers. She heard a faint squeak of a rusty bed spring and immediately realized where they were located.
Without speaking, Bella held a small finger to her lips: a signal for Sirius not to utter a word. She struggled, but was able to help him to his feet without the use of her broken arm. He lost his balance and wobbled, leaning against Bella.
Bella took one step forward and motioned for Sirius to do the same. Together, the pair managed to reach the door.
Sirius reached out for the handle, but quickly pulled his hand back as he remembered his burnt palms. He looked over at Bella with a quick head jerk to the door and held his hands up for display.
Bella had forgotten about Sirius' injury and let out a shuddering gasp.
Bella and Sirius froze.
"Hello?" the scratchy voice said, tired from sleep. Bella heard the springs of the mattress creak as the person in bed rolled over underneath their sheets. There was a thud and Bella realized it was the person's hand hitting their bedside table in an attempt to find their wand.
"Quick!" Bella hissed as she flung the door open and guided Sirius down the steps at a rapid pace. Sirius stumbled multiple times, but Bella was able to catch him each time before he fell.
"Hey!" the voice inside of the dark dormitory called after them.
"Keep running," Bella whispered to Sirius. She threw a frantic look over her shoulder and prayed the person wouldn't be following them. The staircase ended and they arrived at the common room. Bella was less than surprised to see it decorated in green and silver.
She pushed Sirius to the exit.
"I can't run," Sirius gasped as they tumbled out of the exit.
Bella nodded. "Just to the end of the hallway," she said and kept her hand latched onto his arm.
Within seconds of diving behind a large suit of armor, a bright light from the end of a wand flooded the hallway.
Bella held a hand over Sirius' mouth. Unable to stop himself, Sirius' legs slowly began to give out underneath him and he slid down the wall into a sitting position. With wide eyes, Bella kneeled and quickly grabbed Sirius' shoulder with her one good hand. She fought to hold him upright and not fall into the light beside them.
However, much to Bella's relief, the student left the hallway as soon as they had entered it, clearly too tired to contemplate possible intruders in their bedroom.
Bella felt herself physically sigh. She dropped to the ground and fell weakly against Sirius' chest. A smile covered her face. "Sirius," she whispered. "We're out."
Sirius was breathing heavily. He tipped slowly to the right and fell to the ground. He did not care that he was lying at odd angles, as long as he could catch his breath. "Out of what?" he wheezed.
"Trouble," she said with an even bigger grin. "We made it out of Carisbrooke Castle – we made it out of the dormitory – we're home free, Sirius!"
Sirius managed to sit up with a heavy groan. He took a big breath to speak. "Well," he muttered, "what about Filch?"
Bella laughed. "Honestly," she muttered with a pat on Sirius' knee and a kiss on his cheek, "at this point, I think I would hug that old man if I met him tonight."
Sirius laughed with her, but his chuckle quickly turned into a cough.
"Are you alright?" Bella asked in concern for Sirius' health. She placed a hand on his shoulder and moved closer to study his face.
Sirius held his hands for Bella to see once again, but this time explained what had happened. "It was wandless magic."
Bella gasped. She had been unaware of this problem. She had assumed that his fragile state was because he had been running for so long without a break. Bella forgot any worries she had and quickly jumped back into hero mode. "We need to get you to the Hospital Wing."
Sirius nodded between coughs.
The pair got to their feet for a second time and made their way slowly to the opposite end of Hogwarts. As they reached the infirmary door, Bella held her good arm up in the air and pounded on the door with her fist.
"Madame Pomfrey!" she shouted.
There was no answer.
Bella pounded again. "Madame Pomfrey, wake up!"
Bella paused as she heard feet shuffling across the floor and a soft muttering of someone speaking under their breath.
" – wake me up in the middle of the night," the voice muttered as it got closer. "Can't possibly wait until the morning…"
A key turned in the lock and the door to the infirmary opened and filled the hallway with blinding light. Madame Pomfrey stood with her arms folded across her nightgown.
"Black?" she shrieked, furious. "Oh, I should have known you merely wanted to irritate me." Madame Pomfrey reached for the door knob, ready to slam the door in their faces, but Bella stuck her foot in the door.
"Wait," Bella said quickly. She pulled Sirius into the light as Madame Pomfrey opened the door again.
Sirius was hunched over with one arm gripping his stomach and the other just barely holding onto Bella's shoulders. His dark hair fell forward and covered his eyes, squeezed together in pain. Sweat trickled down his pale face and soaked through the muddy shirt he was wearing.
"Mr. Black!" she said softly. She quickly examined his weak form and walked him inside to the nearest bed. "You look absolutely dreadful, dear."
"Thank you," Sirius managed to smile at his sarcasm. He rolled onto a bed and sighed heavily as he succumbed to sleep.
Bella couldn't help but smile as Madame Pomfrey ran back and forth from her medicine cabinets to Sirius' bed, shoving multiple potions down his throat.
"What on earth happened?" Madame Pomfrey asked Bella frantically.
"Wandless magic," Bella explained. "And a lot of it."
Pomfrey shook her head. "I can't tell you how many students I get in here each year that accidentally – or purposefully – use wandless magic. They just don't understand how much power it drains from your body." Madame Pomfrey shook her head sadly as she looked down at Sirius with a caring, motherly expression in her eyes. "Especially from the older students."
Bella nodded and watched as Sirius closed his eyes. His breathing became steadier.
"Dumbledore is the only man I know that can use wandless magic without it affecting his health," Pomfrey continued. She shook her head at the blisters covering Sirius' hands. "But even still, I'm curious to find out what sort of spell Sirius used to drain this much energy from his body. Not to mention, whether he was able to use wandless magic on command or if this was just some accident. It's hard either way, but much more advanced, by far, when you're able to use magic at any given moment." Madame Pomfrey paused in an attempt to get an explanation. Bella just smiled. After no response came, she continued speaking to fill up the empty silence in the room.
Bella sat down on the bed next to Sirius. She noticed Madame Pomfrey care for Sirius as if he were her own son. He's the closest to a son she'll ever get here, Bella realized. He's always hurt, and they must get to know each other pretty well. Pomfrey carefully tucked him into the bed and fluffed his pillows, slowly nursing him back to health.
Bella found herself drifting slowly into a haze as Madame Pomfrey turned into a blur moving across the room.
With a sigh, Bella let herself relax for the first time in hours.
()()()()()() Breanna ()()()()()()
Breanna felt her breath catch in her throat as her feet hit solid ground.
"Remus?" she whispered in the darkness. Breanna's voice constricted as tears filled her throat. "Dad?"
"I'm right here," Remus whispered behind her. He took her hand and warmed it in his. "It's alright, Breanna, we're - "
Breanna and Remus did not speak. Through the dark, Breanna saw her father make a big arm gesture. He pointed towards a door directly in front of them.
Remus understood quickly and pulled Breanna to the door. He gently ushered her into the empty staircase.
"Watch your step," he whispered in her ear.
Breanna clenched onto the railing as she numbly tiptoed down the stairs and through the empty blue and bronze common room. She did not stop or turn to look back until Remus' hand squeezed hers and spun her around. She felt Remus' arms enclose her frail body and she collapsed into him. She wasn't afraid to hold back her sobs any longer.
"We made it," Remus whispered. He felt a shadow of a smile cross his lips. Subtly, he began to rock her back and forth, stroking her hair and rubbing her back. "Don't cry, Breanna. We're safe."
"But Lily," she squeaked with tears coating her voice. "And what about James? What do we do now?"
Mr. Roysen entered the picture and patted his daughter awkwardly on the back. He eyed Remus hesitantly as his paternal instincts kicked in, but reluctantly backed away. "We've got to inform the Headmaster," he said firmly. "He needs to know everything that happened."
Remus nodded, backing away from Breanna carefully. "Are you ready, Breanna?"
Breanna shook her head. Her hair was sticking out at multiple odd angles from her messy pony tail. "What about James and Lily?" she said quietly.
"Nothing for us to do anymore," Mr. Roysen whispered. "Our only chance is to inform Dumbledore in time for him to send Aurors."
Lacing his fingers gently through Breanna's, Remus stepped towards Mr. Roysen. "If you don't mind, sir," he said softly, "I think it might be better if Breanna and I are able to get to the Hospital Wing while you and Dumbledore are able to speak. If that's alright with you," Remus added quickly as Mr. Roysen's eyes flickered back and forth between the pair.
Turning on his heel, Mr. Roysen nodded and squeezed his daughter's shoulder affectionately. "I'll alert Professor Dumbledore right away. You two go straight to the nurse's, got it?"
Remus nodded, rocking Breanna in his arms.
Her father nodded once back to the couple and high-tailed it to the headmaster's office.
Breanna pulled her hair out from behind her ears and began playing with the ends of it. She pulled at the sleeve of her ripped Hogwarts uniform and tried to wipe away the tears on her face. "Do you think Dumbledore will make it in time?" she whispered. She looked directly into Remus' eyes, begging him to tell her what she wanted to hear.
Remus felt his knees shake involuntarily. "Dumbledore will make it," he assured her. "I promise."
"But what if he doesn't?" Breanna hiccupped. She clutched her throat. Slowly, she began to walk down the dark hallway. "What if they die, Remus?" Breanna swallowed. "Like my mother."
"Impossible," he muttered, He struggled to keep up with Breanna's slow speed. Remus felt the blood drain from his head and he began to sway, feeling light-headed. He silently recalled the wound in the back of his head and began to feel the pain he had been forced to ignore for hours. "Don't even think things like that, Breanna."
"You don't know what will happen!" she argued. Breanna spun to face Remus and realized she was several steps in front of him. "For all we know, Lily and James are lying dead at Carisbrooke Castle."
Remus quickly shook these thoughts from his head as his chest tightened uncomfortably. Impulsively, he made the decision to distract Breanna from her thoughts. "A little help here," he croaked as he leaned on the wall for support. His head throbbed painfully and he immediately held his hand up to his head.
Breanna returned to Remus' side and stared deeply into his eyes. "What is it?"
Remus pointed to the large gash at the back of his head and closed his eyes in a feeble attempt to pretend the pain wasn't there. "The pain's finally beginning to set in after we finally stepped out of panic mode. Well," he muttered miserably, "not completely out of panic mode…"
Breanna said nothing more. Wrapping an arm around Remus' waist, they limped to the Hospital Wing.
+ Bella +
"Dear," Madame Pomfrey sighed, holding a hand on her hip, "you need to take your potion!"
"What about Sirius?" Bella asked and raised her voice defiantly. She threw a glance at her sleeping companion behind her shoulder and felt her heart go out to him. "He's drained of almost every inch of magic!" Bella crossed her legs with a note of finality and held her arm in a limp position in the air. "I can wait," she reasoned and pushed the potion away from her mouth with her only good arm.
"Nonsense," the nurse explained. "I've treated him as much as I can at the moment. The only thing left for him to recuperate is some sleep," Pomfrey stressed with a stomp of her foot, "which he seems to be doing quite comfortably for now. And that leaves me to tend after you," she said and jabbed a large spoon into Bella's unsuspecting mouth.
Bella gagged on the potion. She spit it out and wiped her mouth on the sleeve of her torn robes. "That stuff's horrible," she said softly. Bella leaned over the side of her bed to watch the putrid, green liquid she had just spit onto the floor begin to bubble and burn small holes into the infirmary floor.
"Arabella Figg!" Madame Pomfrey scolded. She immediately capped the potion and set it down. She then promptly thrust her hand into her pocket and pulled out her wand. With a precise downward swish, the potion disappeared and the floor looked brand new. "You're wasting my supply of potions!" Pomfrey glared at Bella with her hands on her hips as if Bella was a child in trouble. "If you try and pull that move one more time, I can leave your arm in two pieces!"
Bella rolled her eyes. "If you would have told me you were going to shove a spoonful of that down my throat," Bella jabbed at the floor where the potion burn used to be, "I wouldn't have spit it out after - "
"Child," the nurse interrupted without wasting any time on filling up a second spoon with more of the horrible liquid, "had I not tried to trick you, you would never have taken the potion willingly!"
"And you think I'll take it now after you tried to kill me?" Bella exaggerated. She attempted to look menacing with a broken arm, muddy robes, and a horrible stench of sewer water emitting from her tangled mop of wet hair. "I don't think so."
Madame Pomfrey narrowed her eyes with a new spoonful of the potion in her hand. "Drink it or I will have to use magic to force it down your throat." She held her wand threateningly in her other hand. "Take your pick."
Bella rolled her eyes and finally agreed to take the potion. Bella began to feel the drowsiness of the potion set in; she leaned back against the pillows in the bed she was lying on.
Without a chance to close her eyes, the doors to the room creaked open with a soft, "Madame Pomfrey?"
The nurse huffed and strode across the room with annoyance written across her face. "Why is it that everyone feels the need to show up at - "
"Breanna!" Bella shrieked with joy. She jumped off of her bed and reached the opened infirmary doors before Madame Pomfrey could. "Remus – you're back!"
Breanna smiled with tears in her eyes and hugged her excited friend. "Just took the portkey," she said softly. Remus smiled and Bella opened her arms to greet him. He quickly cringed and shook his head with a frown. Breanna pushed Remus towards the closest bed to her and forced him to lie down.
"Sirius and I ended up in one of the Slytherin dormitories," Bella whispered as she followed Breanna's constant movement around the room to find certain remedies to help Remus feel better. She ignored the painful effects the potion was having on her arm. "Which dormitory did you land in?"
"Sirius?" Breanna searched the room for and sighed. "Oh – Sirius," Breanna mourned as her eyes fell on Sirius' sleeping form. She added two pillows to Remus' bed that allowed him to sit up without any effort. "Ravenclaw," she said quickly in response to Bella's previous question. With a great deal of hesitation on Breanna's part, Madame Pomfrey swept in and took Breanna's job and gave Remus several potions.
Breanna sank into a waiting chair besides Remus' bed. She held up her hand and Remus immediately took it. He ignored the dried blood that covered Breanna's hand when she nursed his head injury.
Bella nodded at Breanna's response with a grin. "I wonder which dormitory Lily and James showed up in."
Both Breanna and Remus threw a desperate glance at the other. They paled even more than they had already. And with several tears and a solemn shake of Breanna's head, Remus turned toward Bella and delivered the bad news.
.-..-..-..-..-..-. Peter .-..-..-..-..-..-.
Peter felt his feet hit the ground with a solid thud. He held his arms in the air to steady his balance as he began to wobble from the landing.
The boy did not move for several seconds. After he heard no noise from the dormitory, Peter slowly dropped his hands to his side and puffed his chest out with a sense of achievement. I pulled one over on them, he thought with the realization that none of the other Marauders or girls had found out his identity tonight. And so far, he was still safe.
Peter checked each bed as he passed it. He gave a deep sigh of relief as he found that none of the other three boys were sleeping in their usual beds.
Peter tore the dark cloak over his head. In his haste, Peter heard a ripping noise, but ignored it and wadded it up as quickly as he could. He threw open his school trunk and shoved the ball of clothing to the very bottom. With one last swift motion, Peter changed from his clothes into a set of pajamas and jumped into his bed as if he had been lying there all night long.
He couldn't help but grin.
"Bella - "
Bella waved her hand at Remus and looked away. She took in a deep breath and held it. "You're lying," she accused softly.
Remus wiped away a tear with his free hand and sat up. He tried to get out of the bed, but Breanna stopped him. "Why would I lie about something this serious?" Remus nearly shouted at the top of his lungs. He was walking on the edge of a cliff, about to jump off and lose all common sense; he had been pushed to the limit further tonight than any other night and thought he was going to have a mental break down. "James is my best friend!" Remus shouted. Tears spilled from his eyes as he was at a loss for words.
"They can't," Bella protested. She crossed her arms and refused to look at Breanna or Remus. "Not after – everything…"
"Look," Remus whispered harshly, "I don't want to have to believe it anymore than you do." Remus took a deep breath and spoke the words no one had been brave enough to say out loud.
"They're not coming back."
Bella shook her head. She looked from Breanna to Remus. It's not true, she tried to convince herself. It can't be – why them? Why not me?
Bella had walked herself back into a corner. She jumped and turned the instant she felt the one of the beds against the middle of her back. Bella noticed Sirius lying there, partially awake. She held a hand to her mouth to stop her loud crying.
He'll be crushed, Bella realized as her stomach dropped out entirely. James is his best friend. Sirius has already lost so much; he can't lose his best friend, too.
Sirius moaned in pain at his aching muscles. His right eye cracked open a fraction of an inch and he stared at Bella's tear-stained face. It wasn't long before both eyes were open and Sirius was attempting to sit up.
Bella shook her head and pushed on his shoulder in an attempt to keep Sirius lying down. He did not pay attention to Bella, but grabbed her hand and looked into her face. Bella gave in and sobbed heavily onto his shoulder. Sirius allowed her to lean on him and moved over to make room on the bed for her.
"What happened?" Sirius asked with dread the moment he saw Breanna and Remus sitting on the bed across from him. Both were in the same condition as Bella.
"What's wrong?" Sirius whispered.
"They're not coming back," Bella whispered into Sirius' ear.
Sirius' eyes grew wide and the blood left his face. He put aside all of his pains and aches and grabbed Bella's shoulders. He pushed her out to arm length.
Bella's body frame collapsed in his hands, but she continued sobbing with nothing but Sirius' hands to support her.
"What," Sirius spoke steadily with all of his energy, "did you just say?"
"Lily – James – they're not coming back."
Sirius shook his head. "Why?" he whispered. His shoulders slumped with Bella's and his hands dropped to his side in a defeated manor. Bella frowned through her tears and reached for Sirius. She moved toward him and hugged him with all of her strength even though he did not hug her back. His body was lifeless.
"I'm sorry, Sirius," Remus' voice echoed across the empty room. "We couldn't – Breanna and I – we weren't able to - "
Breanna sent a sad look in Remus' direction, and he knew to stop speaking. It was the one time his words couldn't solve the problem.
Sirius did not show any emotion on his face. His speechless behavior expressed it all.
Madame Pomfrey glided out from her office and approached the awkward scene with hesitation. "Children," she spoke softly, "what on earth happened here?"
"That's exactly what we've come to figure out."
Five sets of eyes all focused on the door to the infirmary. Dumbledore and Mr. Roysen stepped through.
"Dad," Breanna muttered, staring at the two, tall forms. "Sir," she addressed Professor Dumbledore. "What are you doing here?"
"Besides asking for some information," Dumbledore announced with a tight smile on his lips, "we came to deliver these wanderers."
With only the noise of Dumbledore's and Mr. Roysen's shuffling feet, Lily and James squeezed through the doorway, hand in hand.
"If you don't mind," Lily said with a smile to the astonished crowd, "we're in need of some medical attention."
Bella squealed in a voice she didn't realize she had. She rolled off the bed and attacked Lily, encircling her arms around the red-head's body.
"I can't believe it," Bella laughed into Lily's hair. She did not loosen her grip in the slightest, even when Breanna and Remus had joined them.
"You had us worried," Remus spoke in a low voice to James. He shook his head in relief and laughed freely.
James did not respond to Remus. He, instead, looked over at Sirius' bed. Sirius had not moved an inch since the pair had entered the door. James was not sure what sort of a reaction he would get from Sirius.
Sirius said nothing. He stood and dragged his feet to the group of his rejoicing friends. He turned to James and slowly raised his head to eye level.
The room fell silent as the onlookers watched on with curiosity.
Sirius' mouth opened and they all held their breath for what he was about to say.
"So," he said in a quiet voice, "you made it out?"
James nodded nervously, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "Just barely."
"You," Sirius swallowed, shaking his head with a smile, "bloody bastard."
With his final words, Sirius threw an arm around James, gave him a hug, and began sobbing on his shoulder.
Lily felt her own eyes sting at the sight of the two best friend's reunion.
The group laughed with tears pouring from their eyes as they all hugged each other.
It was Dumbledore that interrupted the scene.
"Poppy," he said in his soft, comforting tone, "if you could just tend to Lily and James quickly, and then leave us to speak for a moment or two?"
Pomfrey did not object to the headmaster's plan and immediately got to work, feeding Lily and James potion after potion.
"They need bed rest, Professor," Pomfrey said strictly. "Be sure all six of them have time to rest when you're through speaking with them."
"I wouldn't think of anything but their health," Dumbledore nodded kindly.
Pomfrey nodded with a final glance at the group. She spun around and marched into her office.
The group turned towards Dumbledore with an inquisitive look.
"Where should I start?" Dumbledore smirked. He waved his wand at the infirmary doors and at Madame Pomfrey's office, locking and sound proofing them both. He found a chair and sat down with a sigh. "Perhaps what happened?"
Breanna raised an eyebrow. "I thought that's what my dad told you, Professor."
"He wasn't present at all locations."
The group took turns, each telling their parts of the story. They included every detail whether it was good or bad. They told Dumbledore about leaving Hogwarts ground several hours earlier, Sirius using wandless magic, and the Legilimancy Breanna now possessed. The room hushed as Lily and James wrapped up the story.
"I was fighting a Death Eater, and dropped my portkey." James swallowed. "That's when I saw that Voldemort had Lily."
Lily nodded hurriedly. She left her bed inconspicuously to move closer to James. "And then James – fought him."
Dumbledore stopped the story. "Voldemort?" he asked. "You fought with Voldemort?"
James smiled, looking down. "I'm still alive," he muttered, "but I can't say I did that well against him. He wasn't even hit once."
"The fact of the matter, however," Dumbledore beamed, "is not that you defeated him, but you were able to survive it to see another day." Dumbledore leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs. He held a hand to his chin and smiled. "Speaking of surviving…" Dumbledore trailed off with a hint of a smile playing at his lips.
Lily blushed a deep shade of red. "My fault," she muttered.
"Fault?" James questioned with a soft chuckle. "You may call it that, but I'd call it brilliance."
Bella was about to topple off of the edge of her bed from the anticipation. "Whatever you call it," she shouted, "what did you do?"
Lily nodded to herself and told the story. "I took James' hand," she demonstrated with their intertwined hands, "took his wand," she held up a wand, "and I apparated ourselves out." The room sighed in unison, relieved to finally know their secret. "The closest place to Hogwarts that allowed apparition was Hogsmeade, which is why it took us so long to get back." Lily squeezed James' hand with a broad smile on her face. "We ran into Dumbledore and Mr. Roysen in the hallway minutes ago."
Breanna began to cry. "We thought you would be stuck there," she sobbed with one hand covering her mouth. "We were just around the corner at the castle and saw you without a portkey the moment our portkey took us back."
Remus put an arm around Breanna and pulled her into his chest and let her cry.
The sobs diminished with the laughter. All eyes focused on Dumbledore once again.
"Miss Evans," Dumbledore spoke calmly, "unless you are holding an apparition license, what you did – twice tonight – was illegal."
Lily's smile quickly disappeared, replaced with the look of a child who had been caught sneaking cookies before dinner.
"Stealing school brooms, leaving Hogwarts campus, searching for danger in the middle of the night," Dumbledore reprimanded with a shake of his head. "Hardly any such skills I should be proud of."
Lily looked up, raising an eyebrow with suspicion.
"But yet, I seem to be grinning like the happy old man that I am."
The tension in the air died away with multiple chuckles.
"Mr. Roysen is back in our care," Dumbledore beamed at the father, "Breanna has gained the power of Legilimancy, Sirius has successfully used wandless magic without long term damage, and Lily…" Dumbledore chuckled at his next comment. "Well, we know that Lily will pass her apparition exam."
The room laughed.
"What do we do, now?" Sirius asked from his quiet corner in the room.
Dumbledore nodded. "I want to keep this, uh – escapade – to ourselves for now. If reporters or, Merlin forbid, the Ministry of Magic should find that you wandered out of this castle, many questions will be raised, and I don't want any secrets of my pupils to be revealed ruthlessly across the front page of the Daily Prophet." Everyone nodded in agreement. "I will simply tell the Ministry that Mr. Roysen escaped from the Dark Lord's grip, and he wishes to keep his experience private."
"Here, here," Mr. Roysen piped up for the first time in that hour.
"Now," Dumbledore continued. He stood from his chair and circled the room. "I've sent a letter to the ministry, explaining Mr. Roysen's unexpected return and the castle from which he escaped." Dumbledore hesitated as he asked his next question. "I must ask," he started, "was there any Death Eater at Carisbrooke Castle that you would be able to identify in front of the Wizengamot at a hearing?"
Bella nodded quickly and leaned forward. "There was a man that almost killed Sirius and me," she said hastily. "They called him Brokey."
"And I knocked out one of the Death Eaters, too," Remus said. "From Hogwarts – it was Rookwood!"
Dumbledore nodded slowly. He seemed unfazed by the news. "Unfortunately," he said softly, "I was asking Mr. Roysen." The group didn't understand. "According to the story Mr. Roysen will be telling, none of you were ever involved."
Their hearts sank. "So there's nothing we can do." Sirius asked in a straight tone without question. "Couldn't we lie and say that Mr. Roysen saw them?"
Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "The best we can do is keep an eye on them."
"Load of good that would do…" Breanna trailed off, disappointed.
"I'm terribly sorry," Dumbledore agreed with them. He returned to his chair and waved his wand at it, sending it flying back to a table. "But I suggest that you all catch up on some needed rest," Dumbledore said, looking particularly in Sirius' direction. "I'm sure you will have plenty to talk about to keep you entertained these next few days before you return home."
Dumbledore bid them a good night and chauffeured Mr. Roysen out the door to St. Mungo's.
"Speaking of things to talk about," Bella said in an excited whisper the minute the doors to the infirmary closed, "I seem to have noticed something a bit peculiar."
Breanna raised an eyebrow at Bella as she forced Remus to lie down in a bed. "What's that?"
"A little something right here," she said. Bella crossed one leg over the other in a relaxed manner on the foot of Sirius' bed and pointed at Lily and James. "For some reason," she grinned, "they've been holding hands ever since they returned. May I inquire, exactly, why?"
Lily and James blushed.
"Close your eyes!"
Lily couldn't help but smile. She closed her eyes and gave her hand to James. "What is it?" she asked. "I don't think I can take any more surprises this year."
Lily didn't get a response. She was tempted to peek, but a warm hand grabbed hers and began dragging her down a hallway.
James didn't say anything when he pulled Lily down multiple corridors. Many times he spun her around so that she would not be able to know where they were heading.
He stopped Lily for a few moments in a deserted hallway. She listened intently, trying to pick up specific noises so that she could figure out where James had led her.
She started moving again, but for not very long.
"Keep your eyes closed."
"What do you think I've been doing?" Lily laughed, tempted to squint out of the corners of her eyes.
"I mean it, Lily."
He let go of her hand and Lily shuddered.
"Alright," Lily whispered, again wondering what James was doing. She heard the scuffling of footsteps moving around her and could just barely smell a faint aroma of food reach her nose.
In a jolt of surprise, Lily felt a wand poke her in the middle of her back. "James?" she whispered with a hint of fear in her voice.
James touched her arm. She felt him lean in to her ear. "Trust me, Lily."
She nodded with a swallow.
Less than a minute later, James stepped away and said softly, "Open your eyes."
Lily opened her eyes. She couldn't stop the gasp that escaped her.
She was standing in the middle of Helen's room. The furniture had been cleared out and replaced with wooden tables of varying height scattered around the edge of the room. Candles were placed on each table and lit the room with a steady, warm glow. In the center of the room was a small table with rose petals scattered across the surface. Two plates of food sat on opposite sides, waiting to be eaten. Lily noticed that the ceiling had been charmed to look exactly like the ceiling of the Great Hall. She smiled as a shooting star went past.
Lily lowered her gaze to James and held a hand to her mouth as tears sprung to her eyes. He had transformed his normal Hogwarts robes into a silky, black dress robe.
"James," Lily said in awe with a hiccup of laughter, "you never dress up for anything!"
He shrugged, going red. "Well, I thought it called for the occasion."
Lily laughed, unable to hold tears back. "Why didn't you tell me to dress up? I would have, you know…"
James stepped closer to her with a secret smile on his face. "You did."
"No, I did - "
Lily couldn't speak. She had looked down at her clothes, and found that James had, in fact, transformed her clothes into a long, elegant, white dress robe.
As Lily admired her dress robe, she began to hear slow music play throughout the room.
James quickly hid his wand with a guilty face and took Lily's hand again. He leaned down and kissed it while staring up at Lily the entire time. "For you, my dear." James smiled and pulled out a single lily from behind his back and handed it to her.
Lily held back her excitement, and tried to play it smooth like James was. "Thank you, kind gentleman."
James hid his smile. He offered out his arm to Lily. "Care to dance?"
"A dance?" Lily asked with a smile. "I suppose a quick one wouldn't hurt."
James took Lily's hand and spun her twice, catching her in his arms on the second spin. He swayed her back and forth with a goofy smile on his face.
"So?" James asked with curiosity. "Am I as bad as you thought I'd be?"
Lily shrugged. "I guess not…"
James' jaw dropped.
Lily began to laugh. "Sarcasm, James," she smiled.
His shoulders dropped in relief. "Don't scare me," he scolded her.
James spun Lily out and back in, ending in a dip. Lily stayed there and looked up. "It's not my fault you're so gullible."
Laughs filled the room. James pulled Lily up, spun her once, and stood with his forehead against hers, unmoving. Lily did not speak.
"I love you, Lily Evans."
Her breath caught in her throat. She swallowed.
"I love you, James Potter."
"Oy," Sirius shouted. Their dormitory walls shook from the deep rumble of his voice. "Wake up, Pete."
Peter rolled out of bed and landed on his backside. "What is it, Sirius?" Peter did a double take. "Sirius!"
The two boys laughed and joked with each other. "How are you feeling?" Peter asked, looking genuinely concerned. "I'm surprised Pomfrey let you out of the Hospital Wing!"
Sirius shrugged. "She sort-of had to," he muttered, sitting on the edge of his bed. "It's the last day before we board the Hogwarts Express. I still have to pack my things, you know."
"Of course," Peter agreed with a nod of his head. "Do you need any help at all?" he asked. "You must be exhausted from this – wandless magic, wasn't it?"
Sirius nodded, unable to resist a grin. "I probably won't be able to do magic for another few weeks," he boasted proudly. "But it was for a good cause, right, Pete?" Sirius slugged Peter on the arm.
"Sure," Peter nodded, cringing as he felt a bruise begin to form on his upper arm.
There was a knock on the open door to their room. "May I come in?"
Both boys looked over into the hallway and saw Bella standing at the door with a hand on her hip.
"Sure, sure," Peter grinned. "I was just about to leave, actually." He waved at the couple and walked out the door. "You two have fun, now."
Sirius smirked at Bella once Peter left and wrapped an arm around her waist. "Oh, I'm sure we could find something to do." He rocked back and forth with her in his arms.
"But someone still needs to pack."
Sirius groaned and rolled his eyes. "Way to ruin the moment, Bella."
The girl laughed. "What moment?" she asked. "I hardly call that a moment. Now," she tilted her head and backed away from Sirius, still holding his hand, "the little date James took Lily on last night?" Bella said. "Lily told me all about it – and I think it's time you take a leaf out of James' book."
The room erupted into laughter. "Me?" Sirius choked out as if it were the funniest thing in the world. "Bella, what you don't understand is that he got every move from me."
"Uh huh," Bella nodded. She slowly walked around the room and began to pick up Sirius' books and throw them in his trunk for him. "I think I'll believe it when I see it."
"Oh, so that's how it is, now?" Sirius laughed. "Well, then," he sighed, "I can tell I have some competition I need to beat, now."
Bella smiled and reached for Sirius' hand. She gave him a hug. "Apparently the student has surpassed the teacher."
Sirius couldn't help but roll his eyes. "Not in a long shot." He leaned in to kiss her but stopped just before their lips met. "You just wait," he said softly. "You'll never even know its coming and then - " Sirius kissed her. He pulled away slowly, glad to see that Bella had a dazed, starry-eyed expression. "Next thing you know, I'll be the prince of your dreams and you won't be able to stop thinking about me."
Bella smiled. "Too late."
"What a nice day," Remus sighed with a smile tugging at his lips. "Don't you think?"
Breanna did not answer.
Remus stopped walking and watched with a bit of amusement as she continued walking without him. He jogged to catch up to her and took a step in front of her in order to cut her path off.
"What is it?" Breanna frowned. "Why'd you do that?"
"Well," Remus muttered, "you were basically acting like a walking zombie." He stuffed his hands into his pockets and rocked back and forth on his feet. "I thought you probably wouldn't want to accidentally walk into the lake or something…"
Breanna laughed at what Remus said. "I'm sorry," she said with an exhausted look. "I've just – I can't stop thinking, lately."
Remus gave a casual shrug. "Absolutely," he said. "And you have every right to be."
"But," Breanna shook her head with a confused face, "I don't want to be."
"Some things you can't control," Remus said smoothly, "and your brain happens to be one of those things. Because of certain things a few days ago," Remus said, referring to Mrs. Roysen's death and Breanna's newly found Legilimancy skills, "you're life will be changed." Again, Remus gave another shrug, but with an air of helplessness. "Nothing will be the same," he simply stated. "And that's a fact that I can't change – as much as I want to."
Breanna smiled solemnly at Remus, thankful for his constant presence at her side. She reached for his hand and squeezed it.
Remus continued. "It's natural after a major event takes place that you worry about what things will change." Remus wrinkled his forehead as he thought of examples. "Having a dad, no mom, studies in school, jobs outside of school – these things open and close numerous doors."
"Actually," Breanna interrupted with a surprisingly strong voice, "that's not – quite – what I was thinking of." She pulled her hand away from Remus' and began to fidget with both of her hands.
"Really?" Remus asked, puzzled. It was all he had been able to think of lately, and was surprised Breanna wouldn't be doing the same thing. "Well, then, what were you thinking of?"
Breanna blushed and looked at her feet. "You."
Remus felt blood rise to his cheeks as well. "What about me?"
"Oh, you know," she said in an offhand voice, "just – what will happen with us because of… this thing," she said, waving a hand by her head. She looked up slowly to find Remus smiling lovingly down at her.
"Legilimancy?" Remus asked calmly. He then pulled Breanna to the bank of the calm lake and sat her down beside himself. "Why on earth would you be worried about us?"
Breanna pulled her legs up to her chest and folded her arms around them. She laid her head down on her knees and stared out at the reflection of the setting sun on the lake. "It'll be awkward," she simply said. "I thought you'd be worried about me being able to use Legilimancy at any given time."
"Worried?" Remus asked with a chuckle. He watched Breanna closely and finally began to notice why she hadn't looked at him for the past several days. "Breanna, I think it's the coolest thing in the world!" he said enthusiastically, trying to reassure her that he wouldn't let anything ruin their relationship. "I think it's great that your parents gave you what you have."
Breanna didn't smile. "Aren't you scared that I might know something you didn't want me to know?"
"I have nothing to hide."
The words said it all. Breanna turned to look Remus right in the eyes for the first time in days. With small beads of tears forming at the corners of her eyes, she whispered, "You're serious."
Remus nodded with a smile. "There aren't any secrets I need to keep hidden from you, Breanna."
Breanna nodded with a trembling lower lip. She slowly tipped over and fell into Remus' open arms. She couldn't stop crying. Remus' reaction had been the very first thing she had thought about, and now she finally knew the answer. No matter what, she would make it.
"Don't cry," Remus whispered, rubbing her shoulder and squeezing her hand. "It's alright, everything's ok."
Breanna sat up and turned to Remus with a smile. "I know its – Remus!"
Remus froze with an eyebrow raised. He had not been expecting this dramatic mood change. "Yes…?"
"I didn't what?" Remus asked, thoroughly confused. "Breanna, I have no idea what you're going on about."
Breanna shifted and sat on her legs, grinning. "You bought me a bracelet!"
Remus' eyes went wide. "But how did you – Breanna, that was supposed to be a surprise!"
She bobbed up and down, elated. "I'm surprised!" she said with shining eyes.
"I meant," Remus corrected her with exasperation, "that I wanted to be the one to give it to you! Not having you read my mind to find out…"
"Well," Breanna comforted, "you will be." She grinned and held out her hands.
Remus couldn't hold back his laugh. "I guess now is as good as any other time," he muttered to himself with a smile. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, silver chain, woven together in a beautiful, intricate pattern. "I hope you like it."
Breanna released an overwhelming sigh as she saw the bracelet dangle before her eyes. "Even if it were ugly – which it's not," she hastily reassured Remus, "I would like it anyway."
Breanna held out her wrist for Remus to clasp the bracelet closed on. She held it up to the darkening sky and put a hand to her mouth as the last of the setting sun reflected off of the bracelet.
"You look beautiful," Remus whispered, wrapping his arms around her waist from behind. "More than anything."
Breanna smiled and rested her head back on Remus' shoulder as they watched the sun set. She felt his chest rumble as he spoke again.
"Don't you want to know if I was telling the truth?" Remus asked.
Breanna shrugged with a smile and continued watching the lake. She took both of Remus' hands and wrapped them around her shoulders to keep her safe and warm.
"I don't need to."
+ Bella +
Bella crawled on her bed and pulled out her diary and a quill.
It seems like it's been decades since I've last written anything. So much has changed since the last time I wrote anything – but I can't say what happened. It's top secret, Dumbledore's orders. (It's that secret!)
Needless to say, though, everyone's doing well. Sirius and James have been spending their afternoon playing with a new exploding device of some sort instead of packing their trunks like they should be. Lily's told them countless times to stop acting childish, but they never listen. Besides, I don't think Lily really minds at all. She could use some kid time every now and then.
Lily and James have been inseparable since they came back – from that top secret place. I swear! I haven't seen one without the other this whole week! And then there's that freaky thing where they're together so much, they start filling in each other's sentences. Sirius and I hardly do that. I think.
Speaking of Sirius – he is going to be in so much trouble if he doesn't do anything romantic for me! Lily came back last night, telling me all about how much fun and how adorable her date with James was. Then Sirius has the nerve to tell me he taught James everything he knows, but still he's not planning some sort of a date for me? Of course, he has been on bed rest in the infirmary for the past week and just got out a few hours ago… I'll cut him some slack – but if nothing shows up within the next few weeks…
Breanna's been a little out of it recently, but we all were expecting it. I mean, her mom just died and she's got that new – top secret thing. But I think she'll pull through just fine. Especially since Remus seems to be turning into the James Lily was telling me about last night. He won't leave Breanna's side, even when there's food present! But I've got to admit, they're adorable together.
Lily just came up to the dormitory and said Breanna and Remus are back from their walk by the lake. (Now I can rag on Sirius about that romantic date, again!) Lily said that Breanna looked happier than she has all week – definitely good news! Lily also said that Sirius drew a new picture of us and is passing it around downstairs – I can't wait to see it! (I guess it's worth keeping that big ol' teddy bear around for something…)
The Hogwarts Express leaves tomorrow morning. We've already got plans to meet up at my house in a week! It won't be any more than a few days that we won't see each other, but I don't know how I'll be able to handle it! We've all spent more time together within the past year, and I don't think any of us would trade it for anything.
As for this diary, I'm going to have to pack it away, now. I don't want Sirius trying to steal it from me if he sees me with it tomorrow! (There are too many nice things about him in here – I don't want his head any bigger than it already is!)
Thee-Unknown-Factor: Now, you know how they died! Thanks for reviewing!
Bubbles: You hate cliffhangers – I LOVE them! But we're also on opposite sides of the cliffhanger, considering I'm the one writing them, not reading them… Haha! Thank you for reviewing!
MM: Thank you so much, and thanks for reviewing!
Isabella: Wow! I'm so glad you think that! But I'm sorry it took a few – a lot – more months than I thought it would… Thanks for reviewing and sticking with me, though!
Phatdoggy9: Yay, I'm glad you like it! Hope you enjoyed the last chapter! Thank you for reviewing!
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Hprules3: It is a long read… I'm so glad you went through it, though! Thanks for reviewing!
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Jennifer Cole: Yep, they're dead. The End. Nah, joking! Thank you so much for reviewing!
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HiddenTiger13: I know, I can't believe it's over! It's been about… four years or something in the making, but it seems like it's so recent! Thanks for reviewing through all those years!
HarryAndMe: Wow, great ideas! I debated whether or not I should use those! Haha! Thank you for reviewing!
HarryLuvsMoaningMyrtle: This is the last chapter! And it's definitely a happy ending. I think that's something you'll always get with my stories – I was brought up with Disney. How can you have a sad ending? It's just not possible in my mind! Haha! Thanks for reviewing!
Laura: Yep, I'm the cliffhanger queen! Haha! Thank you for reviewing!
Chrissy8887779999: Sorry the update wasn't soon enough! I'm so bad at writing during the school year – forgive me? Thanks for reviewing!
Nestle: Haha – this is the only clean L/J fic you found? Scary what the world's coming to… Thank you for reviewing!
I am Harry's Bitch: I'm sorry! I couldn't resist the cliffhanger! Haha! Thanks for reviewing!
AUTHORS NOTE: That's it! The very last chapter!
Thanks, everyone, who managed to stay with every chapter, no matter how long or how spaced out they got to be – you're all amazing! Hope to talk to you all more in the future!