Chapter 43

"Take your sister to the hospital wing." McGonagall said to James before following Dumbledore out of the portrait. James looked at his sister and could see that she wasn't badly hurt. Maybe a broken wrist from the way she was holding her arm. James lifted his sister into his arms as she continued to cry. He looked at Remus and motioned for him to follow. As he walked to towards the door he noticed Lily beside him.

"No, Lily stay. You need to calm everyone down. They'll be looking to get everyone into the great hall. The teachers will be in Hogsmeade getting everyone back." James said quickly. "Get the Prefects to help you. I'll meet you down there."

"Ok." Lily said her voice shaky. James shifted Eve and kissed Lily in the head before leaving the common room. They moved quickly through the castle towards the hospital wing. Along the way the students had heard the news of the attack. They noticed James hurrying towards the hospital wing with Eve in his arms and stepped back in fear. Once they got to the hospital Madame Pomfrey was waiting for them. James put Eve in a bed and stepped back to let Madame Pomfrey examine her.

"Is she going to be ok?" James asked after a few moments.

"She has a broken wrist and a few fractured ribs. She's in shock at the moment but she should be fine." Madame Pomfrey said before walking over to a cabinet full of potions. Eve looked up at her brother with sad eyes.

"We're going to go get them." James said determinedly. Eve's eyes widened as she looked between the determined faces of Remus and James.

"Be careful." Eve said before James and Remus ran out of the hospital wing.

When they finally made it too the London street in front St Mungo's, after apparating from Hogsmeade, they could see a large gaping hole at the corner of the building where the third and fourth floor was supposed to be. James looked around him and saw that the Muggles were going about their normal day-to-day business as if they couldn't see what was going on. James and Remus stepped up to the entrance, taking out their wands and saw that the glass was shattered and the battle between Deatheaters and Aurors was still on going. The reception was destroyed with small fires amongst the rubble. James was torn between fighting the deatheaters and finding his friends. A hex was thrown his way and his choice was made for him. He was now part of the battle. Before James and Remus knew what they were doing they were shooting defensive hexes towards deatheaters.

The deatheaters were much more powerful than James and Remus but they held their own. At one point James had been thrown through a gaping hole in one of the walls. He was lucky he hadn't hit the wall with the speed in which he had been thrown. Remus had faired a bit better with the help of one of the Aurors. The battle was dying down with many of the deatheaters disapparating. Remus quickly found James, who was breathing heavily against what was once the reception desk.

"You guys ok?" An Auror asked the pair. James nodded his head.

"We came to find our friends." Remus said quickly. The Auror looked at them sadly. "A rescue group went that way-" he pointed towards the stairs "-a while ago." James and Remus went to walk in that direction but the Auror stopped. "It's not safe. There were quite a few explosions before we got here."

"We'll take our chances. Thanks." James said as he and Remus made their way towards the stairs. There was a lot of rubble but the stairs seemed to be intact. They made their way towards the second floor were Michelle's room had been. As they looked down the long corridor of the second floor they could barely see the end with the amount of rubble. There were shouts and cries coming from everywhere. Aurors were trying to evacuate the patients as healers and mediwizards tried to work on the most critical. James and Remus tried move quickly towards Michelle's room they had to climb over debris and walk around many holes in the floor. As they made their way down another corridor James stopped suddenly as he noticed a red orb. Below the orb a woman was lying on the ground. Her auburn hair covered her face. James moved to her quickly and moved her hair. Relief washed over him as he realised it wasn't Lily, even though he knew it couldn't possibly be Lily. He felt the woman's neck to try and find a pulse but he felt nothing.

"She's dead." Remus said from behind. "That's why there is a red orb." He added sadly as he looked down the corridor to see more healers and Aurors and at least four more red orbs. James stood and looked at Remus sadly. As they continued down the corridor they could hear the sounds of the outside world. James ran quicker as he remembered the large hole in the building. The rubble and debris was much worse the further they got down the corridor. They finally found Michelle's room. It seemed as if the roof had collapsed much like the other rooms around it. The doorway was clear as if someone had already moved the debris. The room was a mess. The bed was crushed from the ceiling, another bed was lying haphazardly on its side, the windows were shattered and broken cables were coming from the walls.

James saw Sirius the moment he had walked into the room. He was kneeling on the ground with his back to the doorway and somebody was in his arms.

"Michelle please don't leave me." James heard the anguish cry coming from his best friend.

"Sirius!" James said as he walked closer to him. Sirius didn't move as he held Michelle close to him. "Sirius what happened?" James asked as he now stood behind Sirius. He could see Michelle more clearly now. Her eyes were closed and her face was pale. "Michelle?" Her name came out of James's mouth in a tiny whisper. Remus rushed over to them and knelt in front of Sirius. Remus almost fell backwards once he saw Sirius's bloodied and tearstained face. He quickly composed himself, and as Sirius held Michelle tightly to him, Remus felt her neck for a pulse. He couldn't feel one. Michelle was dead.

Remus looked at James and shook his head. James chocked out a gasp and took a step back. Sirius, whom had been looking straight ahead, looked down at Michelle. He chocked back tears as he bent his head and kissed her lips one last time. He moved his lips to her ear and whispered something both Remus and James tried not to hear.

"I'll love your forever."

Sirius laid Michelle gently onto the debris covered ground then stood up. He turned to look at James for the first time since he and Remus had arrived. For the rest in his life James knew he would never forget the look in Sirius's eyes. Sirius walked past James and out of the room. James went to follow him when something caught his eye out in the hallway. Part of a wall dividing a room and the corridor had collapsed and under it James could see a foot.

"Remus help me. Somebody is trapped under here." James said as he ran to the pile of rubble and started to dig through it. Remus was beside him in a moment doing the same thing.

"There is someone else under here as well." Remus said as he saw long blonde hair. Remus looked up as he heard James gasp. He looked towards were James was staring and gasped also. It was the face of their roommate Kent. Remus closed his as he realised at once whom the blonde hair belonged too. Remus went back to digging until he finally uncovered her. Even though he knew he was going to see her face he still gasped.

"Sophie?" James said behind him. "Are they?" James was unable to continue his sentence. Remus felt for a pulse from both Kent and Sophie but felt nothing.

"They're dead." Remus said as he took a step back. They looked at the devastation around them. People were crying out for help, walls were crumbling around them and more and more red orbs were pooping up as the healers and mediwizards made their way down the hallway. James could count at least seven orbs but this number didn't include his three friends. His three friends were now dead. The realisation sank into James's bones as he stepped back into the room where Michelle now lay. His friend, his very old friend, was now dead. This was the first time that the devastation of deatheaters had touched his life. The war was very much real now. His three friends were now causalities of war.

Remus went back to work uncovering the rest of Kent and Sophie's body. He didn't want to leave them lying under rubble. Tears sprang to Remus's eyes. They had their whole lives a head of them. But it was now all violently ripped away. Mediwizards appeared and ushered James out of the room as they worked over Michelle. It didn't take long for them to realise the truth and a red orb was outside of her room. James couldn't take his eyes off the red orb. This red orb was for Michelle and now two more were for Kent and Sophie. There was no more James and Remus could do here. There friends were no longer here. They made their way back up the hallway in a daze but they were only a few feet before Dumbledore reached them.

Dumbledore saw his students stricken faces before stepping past them and into Michelle's room. He exited a few moments later. James had never seen his headmaster look as he did now. His old face was whiter than James had ever seen and his eyes were full of sadness.

"Professor." Remus said getting his attention. Dumbledore looked at him and Remus looked towards Sophie and Kent. Dumbledore gasped once more and rubbed his face. He tried to hold it together in front of his students. James quickly pulled himself together and blinked back the tears. Now was not the time to go into meltdown.

"Professor what do you need us to do?" James asked getting Dumbledore's attention.

"You're help is needed on the ground floor." Dumbledore said quickly. "There are limited infirmaries throughout the country. We have opened up our hospital wing to those that need treatment. Can you help transport the patients?" Dumbledore asked. James and Remus nodded their heads. They took one last look at their friends before heading back towards the stairs. "Have you seen Mr Black?" Dumbledore asked halting James and Remus.

"He took off. We were about to go after him but then we found…" James trailed off as he looked back Kent and Sophie.

"You're help is needed getting patients to the hospital wing." Dumbledore said clearly. James nodded his head before he and Remus made their way towards the ground floor. Once there they were quickly put to work transferring patients to Hogwarts. An emergency portakey system was set up that allowed people to get to the gates of Hogwarts. At the gates several teachers were waiting including Professor McGonagall. She gasped as she saw her two students walking beside two stretchers.

"What is the meaning of this?" She asked as Professor De Lacy and Professor Sussay took control of the patients.

"Professor Dumbledore asked us to transport patients from St Mungo's." James said morosely. "We have to get the portakey back. Do you mind if we explain this later?" James asked as he and Remus held the portakey to head back. Before McGonagall could answer the portakey took them back to St. Mungo's. Once they arrived James caught sight of his father and groaned. His father noticed him at once and raised an eyebrow at his son. James made his way towards his father as Remus continued to help transport patients.

"What are you doing here?" Mr Potter asked his son. James sighed then explained what had happened. His father had known about Eve but was in shock to hear about Michelle and James's other friends. Mr Potter had watched Michelle grow alongside his son; it was hard to hear that she had died.

"Where is Sirius now?" Mr Potter asked. James shook his head.

"I know you want to go after him but he needs some time. Go back to the school and look after your sister and friends." Mr Potter said as he clasped his sons shoulder. James knew his father had the best of intentions to get his son back to Hogwarts. But he was wrong. He needed to find Sirius and make sure he didn't do anything drastic. But James nodded his head and went back to help transporting the patients. He didn't know where Sirius could have gone and he couldn't go on a wild goose chase right now. He was needed elsewhere.

Hogwarts had limited occupancy so it didn't take long to transport everyone. On the last trip James and Remus walked with the patients up to the hospital wing alongside Professor McGonagall.

"Professor? Do you know?" James asked as they passed Hagrid's Hut. Professor McGonagall looked at James and understood what he was asking.

"Yes." McGonagall said sadly. "Your fellow students don't know yet." McGonagall added after a few moments. "We will let them know once things have calmed down. You may tell your friends but please not yet." James nodded his head. It wasn't long before they reached the hospital wing. It was very hectic with a few of the Professors helping Madame Pomfrey. James saw Lily at once also helping. She had a blood stained apron on her and her red hair was scrapped back.

"Claudia can you make room over there." Lily called as she saw the stretchers. "Professor just over there." Lily said to Professor McGonagall. She then saw James and Remus and gasped.

"Where have you been?" She asked as she stepped up to them. Worry covered her face as she took in their appearance. Their robes and faces were covered with blood and dirt.

"We went to St. Mungo's." James said sadly.

"Are you okay?" Lily asked as she rubbed some blood from his face. James winced as Lily touched a sore point.

"I'm fine Lil. There are more important people to help." James said as he looked around at the chaos. Most of the patients had been sedated but their battle wounds were clear to see. In one bed, lay an Auror, with a bandage around his left arm and head. His robes were bloodied. James was sure that not all the blood was his own. Lily gave James one last look before moving to a patient that needed her help. She was so in control unlike how he had been earlier. He quickly found Eve who was sitting at the bedside of someone he couldn't see.

"Eve why aren't you in bed?" James asked as he stepped up to her.

"James!" Eve said as she stood up and hugged her brother. Her broken bones seemed to have been heeled. "Are you okay?" Eve asked as she pulled away from her brother.

"I'll be fine but why aren't you in bed?" James asked again.

"I didn't need it." Eve said as she looked down at the person that was now in her bed.

"Caspian?" James asked in surprise.

"He's going to be fine." Eve said as she sat down and took his hand. "Once he wakes up." Eve said sadly. "They said he was hit with a stunning spell. He was lucky." Eve said looking at her brother. She looked past him and around the room. She saw Remus standing with Claudia as she fussed over him. "Where is everyone else?" Eve asked. James looked at the ground and thought about what to say.

"We'll talk about it later." James said. "Concentrate on looking after Caspian." James said reassuringly. He looked around the room and he saw Lily. His heart stopped as he remembered the woman he had seen earlier. How easily that could have been Lily. He couldn't imagine how Sirius was feeling at that moment. If he had lost Lily he wouldn't be able to go on. As he watched Lily work on one of the patients he knew that if he was in Sirius's position he would go after the person that did this. James left Eve's side and walked over to Lily.

"What's wrong?" Lily asked as James pulled her to one side.

"I love you." James said desperately.

"James what's going on?" Lily asked as James grasped her face. He kissed her fiercely before answering.

"I just needed you to know that." James said as he continued to hold Lily's face in his hands. "I have to go get Sirius."

"What? Where is he?" Lily asked as she looked about the hospital wing.

"I'll explain later. Just know that I love you." James said once more.

"I love you too." Lily said as tears welled up in her eyes. She had feeling that something was very wrong. "Whatever it is that you are about to do, please remember that you have me and you have to come back to me." Lily said as a tear slipped down her face. James wiped it away the tear and kissed her again. James took a step back taking one last look at Lily before walking out of the hospital wing. It wasn't long before he heard steps behind him. He turned to see both Remus and Peter behind him.

"You know where Sirius is?" Remus asked.

"Yeah I have an idea." James said. "But you guys can't help." James said sadly. Remus was about to protest but James explained what he planned on doing. Remus and Peter knew that he was right but it was hard for them to admit it. This was something only James could help with. James left his two friends and made his way to one of the passageways that led to Hogsmeade.

James apparated a few streets away in case deatheaters where near. It was dark out but he knew exactly were he needed to go. He made his way towards the small park and found Sirius at once. He was staring up the house that was now visible. On either side of the house families went on about their evening activities.

Sirius turned with his wand pointed towards his unknown enemy. He didn't lower as he saw his best friend in front of him.

"What was the first prank we ever played?" Sirius asked, clenching his jaw.

"We made Eve's broom go in reverse mode." James answered quickly. "What was my first pet?" James asked.

"Trick question. You never had a pet." Sirius said as he lowered his wand. James did the same as Sirius turned back to look at the house.

"What are you doing here?" James asked as he stood beside Sirius.

"I can't get in." Sirius said simply. His face was still covered in blood and dirt.

"Why do you need to get in?" James asked.

"I need to find out who did this." Sirius said as his jaw clenched again.

"And you think your family are going to help?" James asked.

"I'll make them." Sirius said with a tone of anger.

"Sirius you can't do this." James said as he put a hand on Sirius's shoulder. Sirius shrugged James's hand of his shoulder.

"Yes I can." Sirius said looking angrily at the house.

"What are you going to do when you get the information you want?" James asked.

"I'm going to kill whoever did it." Sirius said looking at his best friend. His words shocked James. But he believed them. From the look in Sirius's eyes James knew that he meant every word. And that worried James because he knew his friend had a dark side.

"Sirius you can't do this." James said as he grabbed Sirius's arm. Sirius pushed James away from him. James looked at his friend before quickly wrapping his arms around him. "Shrieking Shack." James said as Sirius struggled against him.

"No." Sirius yelled. James was sure that the occupants in the houses in front of them would have heard that.

"Don't make me splinch you." James said angrily before disapparating with Sirius. They arrived outside the Shrieking Shack with a hard thud on the ground. Sirius pushed away from James and stood up.

"They would've heard you disapparate." Sirius said to James angrily.

"They knew you were there." James said angrily as he too stood up. Sirius stared at James fuming. He knew his friend was right but the anger had taken over him. His parents would have known he tried to get into the house but they were keeping him out deliberately. In a matter of moments Sirius changed from Man to dog and growled at James. James looked at his best friend before he too changed into his animagus form. As animals they glared at each other for a few moments before Padfoot pounced. James was expecting this because this was exactly what Sirius needed. He needed to beat the crap out of someone and after today's events it needed to be James, otherwise Sirius may have directed his anger at the wrong person.