Author's note – Ok, last chapter my friends! I will have the next story up next week either Monday or Tuesday. Not sure what to call it yet but be on the lookout if you want to read the continuation, you can follow me as an author to get the notification J
Shout outs –
ImsebastianstanButter – Right? I love a good cliffhanger!
Raya Crouch – Thank you and there will be I promise.
I want to give another shout out to all those that took the time to review, follow, or add this story as a favorite! I make ungodly noises every time I get a notification about my writing, it just makes me so happy. I appreciate every single one of you and if I could travel the world and hug you I certainly would. Thank you all so, so much from the bottom of my Sirius Black obsessed heart!
As always please enjoy, read, and review!
The music faded out as a scream broke through the din. The cheering turned to whispering questions as the scene below unfolded before the crowd. Sirius and Remus hopped up looking around trying to catch a glimpse of Dahlia. The pair pushed through the confused onlookers making their way to the field. Dahlia roused groggily propping herself up on her elbows and Sirius finally saw her moving hurriedly to her side, he picked her up moving her away from her uncle and Harry. She faded in and out in his arms for a moment then a spike of pain flooded her body causing an unearthly scream to rip from her mouth. It only brought the tension in the arena higher as the crowd was split between Dahlia and Harry. Once the scream quieted her hair began to turn black and her skin darkened. It would only be a matter of time before the change took hold of her, Sirius needed to get her away from all these people
"Remus," Sirius called taking Dahlia through the tunnel out of the pitch, hopefully they could get ahead of the change before she was too far gone. "Where's your ring little love," Sirius asked as Dahlia flailed in his arms trying to suppress the change to no avail. Her hair continuing to turn jet black, he could feel her ribs popping out of place, and the wings trying to find their way out the sharp points poking Sirius' arms as he carried her. It was happening much faster than at the World Cup.
"Sirius," Remus caught up to them when a flash bulb popped. Lupin turned to see a photographer from the Prophet had followed them getting a picture of Dahlia mid-change. Red, glowing, and fierce eyes, jet black hair overtaking the silver lilac, grey and ashen color moving across her skin, and her body morphing into the awful winged creature. Remus chased him away but the damage was done, that would be the headline for weeks to come.
"Dahlia," Sirius said holding her close to him even though she was fighting it every step of the way, clawing at his hands trying to bite him with the beak that was forming but failing several times.
Her eyes changed back for a moment, "Sirius," she pleaded her voice strained and weak, "the…" she tried to tell him to get her cameo but another unearthly scream ripped from her mouth echoing throughout the countryside.
"Sirius," Remus yelled over the commotion, "her cameo! Where is it?"
"In my left front pocket," the former convict yelled back at Lupin.
Remus dashed to his friend digging into the jacket pocket and found the cameo. He put it in Dahlia's hand closing it around the item. He hoped the charm would work but to be sure he thought putting her into a bewitched sleep that should stop the change until the charm has time to work. "Sirius," he said somewhat softly, "I need to put her to sleep."
"Do it!" Black agreed holding Dahlia as tight as he could, she was still fighting but the charm was working her hair was turning back to the silvery lilac shade and her skin was regaining its color.
Remus finished the spell, it was difficult but it worked. Dumbledore's niece went limp in Black's arms but she dropped the cameo. Sirius set her down on the wet grass placing the cameo in her hand again. The spell took a lot out of Lupin who had just gotten over the last full moon cycle. His breathing was labored and he was covered in sweat but it worked. He dropped on his hands on the cool grass and Sirius supported his friend.
"Thank you Remus," Sirius said softly, "I couldn't have helped her without you."
Albus and Snape came running up behind them seeing Dahlia on the ground slowly changing back from the winged creature. "Take her back to the castle, get her to Madame Pomfrey and stay with her, I don't think we're out of any danger yet."
Sirius nodded picking up the slight witch and to his surprise Severus helped up Lupin. The trio of wizards followed Dumbledore to the castle. Black held Dahlia tight to his chest as he sprinted to the castle, his only thought was getting her somewhere safe.
Once inside the infirmary Albus and Snape left to Moody's office as Harry had gone missing and the last person with him was the DADA professor. Sirius and Remus stayed behind. Sirius was too focused on Dahlia and knew Harry was in good hands with the Headmaster and Severus. Remus collapsed on a bed recovering from the incredibly intense spell he worked over Dahlia. The night stretched on and with it brought the fiend responsible for Dahlia and Harry's trauma, Barty Crouch Jr. He had disguised himself as Alastor Moody by way of Polyjuice Potion. He had been taken away to Azkaban after he confessed to his numerous crimes that year.
Dahlia recovered relatively quickly and the Bewitched Sleep charm was lifted once she had transformed fully back into herself. Her cameo, as it turns out, was not cursed or jinxed in anyway. Sirius bought her a new chain for it as a belated birthday present along with a mother of pearl hairpin with a lavender rose atop it. It was about a week later that all three schools were invited to the end of the year feast. Sirius kept close to her in that week to make sure there were no adverse effects of the spell Remus used or her near change. She seemed fine other than saddened that she lost a student and concerned for Harry. Potter was keeping to himself, even away from Sirius and Dumbledore, most likely trying to process what had happened.
The Great Hall had been decorated with tributes to Cedric Diggory. The young man died defending Harry and Dahlia and there was nothing that either of them could have done differently to save him. It broke Dahlia's heart, he was such a sweet and kind young man. He always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. The Hall was quiet, a few quiet sobs were heard but mostly quiet. Albus sat almost defeated in his seat in front of three schools and visitors. He opened his mouth several times but the words didn't come to him for some time.
He grabbed Dahlia's hand briefly before he stood she was the only other person to be sat in front of the students, "Today we acknowledge a really terrible loss. Cedric Diggory was, as you all know, exceptionally hard working, intricately fair minded, and most importantly a fierce, fierce friend. I think therefore you have the right to know exactly how he died. You see, Cedric Diggory was murdered. By Lord Voldemort," he paused. There was a collective gasp from the students and some professors in attendance. Dahlia started to cry again as Albus continued, "The Ministry of Magic does not wish me to tell you this, but not to do so, I think, is an insult to his memory. Now the pain we all feel as this dreadful loss reminds me, reminds us that while we may come from different places and speak in different tongues, our hearts beat as one. In light of recent events the bonds of friendship we made this year will be more important than ever. Remember that and Cedric Diggory will not have died in vain, you remember that and we will celebrate a boy who was kind and honest and brave and true right to the very end."
There were more that started to cry and it was hard to blame them. Cedric's murder was only the first of many to come. Voldemort was back, Dahlia and Harry had seen it with their own eyes. However Fudge was denying anything other than a tragic accident. It was honestly despicable. The fact that he was so blinded by pride and the illusion of safety to deny the Dark Lord's return even with irrefutable evidence. Even Barty Crouch Jr. was crowing that the Dark Lord had returned when questioned by Fudge but the Minister was denying it all the more. Despite the fact it was Barty Jr that aided the Dark Lord in his return by sending Potter to him. There was a supposed mishap at Azkaban and a Dementor preformed the Kiss on Barty Jr. before his statement could be recorded as fact. Most that knew what happened that night knew this was Fudge's doing, a way to keep those in the wizarding world calm and orderly.
Sirius was packing up after he had helped Dahlia with her things. He hadn't let her out of his sight since she returned from her encounter with Voldemort. They knew the truth, he was her father, he would be coming for her as well as Harry, it was just a matter of when. Albus stood in the doorway looking at the couple seeming so somber from the beginning of the school year.
"There are not enough words that I know that can express how deeply sorry I am for the danger I put both of you in unnecessarily."
Dahlia turned to her uncle embracing him, "There is no way that this could have been foreseen Uncle," there were tears in her eyes.
"Perhaps not my dear niece," he said trying to smile, "I assume you are headed to Grimmauld Place?"
"Yes, and the sooner the better," Sirius said throwing his bag on the now stripped bed.
"I was wondering if I may have a word with you Sirius." Albus asked still embracing Dahlia.
"Of course Albus," he took Dahlia from the Headmaster, "If you could gather Remus little love?"
She nodded, "I'll be back shortly."
After she left Albus moved into the room, "Have there been any adverse side effects from her change or the Bewitched Sleep?"
"No," Sirius shook his head, "however she's having nightmares, which after what she witnessed it was bound to happen. What are we going to do Albus?"
"I have sent owls to several contacts in the Ministry, I am resurrecting the Order of the Phoenix," he told Sirius. "I wondered since the headquarters for the Order no longer exist if it was possible to use Grimmauld Place?"
Sirius nodded a grin grew on his face, "More than possible. What are we telling Harry?"
"Nothing yet, I don't want to put him in more danger than he is already in."
"So, he's to stay with his aunt and uncle once more?" Black's voice turned somewhat sad.
Albus put a hand on his shoulder, "It's better for the time being, he can't be touched there and I would keep him at arm's length." Albus paused trying to find the right words to tell Sirius to deny Harry if he would ask to stay at Grimmauld Place over the summer.
"You want me to tell him he can't visit this summer," Sirius said, his voice sharp, at the unspoken request from the headmaster.
"Yes, he would be much safer in Little Whinging than with you and Dahlia," Albus said quietly, "Please inform Dahlia and Remus if you would."
"Yes Albus," he watched Dumbledore leave picking up his bag and making his way to the courtyard.
The students from all schools had already departed and said their goodbyes to everyone. He would write to Harry about the summer when he and Dahlia were home it was not how he wanted it, Harry was a part of his life and without him it felt like it wasn't full. The Order being resurrected meant more secrets and lies and keeping things from not only Harry but Dahlia as well. She should have been told that Voldemort was her father, they could have been better prepared for what happened this year, perhaps they could have avoided it. Sirius shook his head, the Dark Lord works best when his targets are vulnerable and alone, keeping Harry at arm's length would only make him ripe for Voldemort's schemes. Sirius was unsure to trust this course of action hoping that he could keep Harry close and safe. He met Remus and the teaching assistant in the courtyard. A smile played at his mouth, even for a fleeting moment he was incredibly happy that would spend the next three months mostly unfettered with the witch he loved.
Author's note – Thank you all one more time for keeping with me until the end of Book/Movie 4! Please take a moment to let me know what you thought of the chapter or the story in whole. I would love to hear from all of you!