A/N: Hi, I'm back! I'm awfully sorry for taking such a loooooong time to update. A lot of things have happened in my personal life that interfered with my writing. On the upside, I got a promotion at work and had the opportunity to travel a fair bit for both work and leisure. In the past few months, I visited Italy, Switzerland, Finland, Hong Kong, Thailand, India and London! On the downside, I was working 15-hours a day and my maternal grandma passed away. But as I've said, I'm back now to writing my fanfics now.
In case you need a quick recap (I know it has been a long time), the dementors are finally destroyed and Sirius proposed to April. But for some reason only made known to Snape, April turned him down. In his anger, Sirius drove her away. Remus learnt about April's departure when Snape handed him the Wolfsbane she made for him, and a farewell note. So read on…I hope you'll enjoy this chapter!
Sirius' footsteps echoed through the deserted corridor. He was supposed to be at the Defence Against Dark Arts classroom ten minutes ago, but facing the fifth year Gryffindors was the last thing he wanted to do right now. He was certainly not in the mood to plaster a fake smile on his face and pretend everything was fine. And especially, he did not want to see Harry beaming at him with a knowing grin on his face. He knew the boy was waiting for him to announce his engagement. Engagement? How presumptuous they had both been! Like godfather, like godson.
When he first told Harry about his intention to marry April, he knew the boy had no doubt that they would become a family of three. It had not occurred to either of them that April would have any reply other than a delighted "YES". Sirius had certainly not seen a rejection coming. Things were going so well, and he was almost positive that she was as attached to him as he was to her. In the span of a few short months, she had become an integral part of his life, one that he could not live without. No, he corrected himself at once. I'll do fine without her. I don't need her any more than she needs me. Over the past three long days, he had kept himself busy during the day, distracting himself by making sure that his mind was constantly buzzing and that he was always in the midst of some activity. He was afraid to slow down and take a breath, as that would bring painful memories and unwelcome thoughts. But for the past two nights, when most activities had ceased and everywhere was quiet, Sirius could not stop his mind from returning to the matter. He had locked himself in his room, staring into the still darkness, thinking long and hard, trying to recall any telltale sign that their relationship was not as rosy as he imagined it to be.
He had not seen her since that awful day at the Grimmauld Place. At first, he thought that she was making a conscious effort to keep out of his way. But her continued absence became more and more apparent; he felt a rising sense of panic.
"Sirius is in a mighty good mood lately!" Ron leaned over and whispered to Harry. The Defence Against Dark Arts professor had just given Gryffindor another ten points, bringing the total number of points awarded in the last fifteen minutes to a hundred and twenty. "You're probably getting your godmother soon."
Harry grinned. This was exactly what he had been thinking. April must have agreed to Sirius' proposal. That would explain his godfather's huge appetites and bright smiles lately.
Hermione chewed her bottom lip as she stared at Sirius closely. Something was definitely different about the ex-convict lately, and she was not convinced that it was due to what her friends had deduced. She couldn't help but notice that none of Sirius' unnaturally wide smiles reached his eyes, eyes that had taken on a strange bleakness.
Remus waited for the last student to leave the classroom before entering and slamming the door behind him. Sirius, who was gathering his notes, looked up. "Hi Moony, what's up?"
"WHAT'S UP? You're asking me what's up? I should be the one asking you that!"
Sirius kept a smile plastered onto his face. "What are you going on about?"
"You can quit pretending now. You know why I'm here."
"Do I?" Sirius shrugged and looked away.
"What have you done to April?"
Sirius visibly flinched.
"What have you done this time?" Remus asked again.
"If there's nothing, she'd not have left. She'd not have gone back to that cold empty place! We all know how much she hated it there!"
Sirius sank down into the nearest chair, staring intently at a sweet wrapper left on the stone floor.
"Come with me and we'll get her back here," Remus persisted.
"I'm not going anywhere."
"Are you out of your mind? It's April we're talking about!"
"I know no such person."
Remus felt his patience snap. He closed the distance between them in two big strides and hoisted Sirius to his feet roughly. "How dare you! How dare you chase her away and then pretend you never knew her. Of all your faults, Sirius, I never knew being heartless is one of them. Now I know I was wrong about you." When he received no response from the latter, he added through gritted teeth, "You promised. You told me that you'd love her and take good care of her."
Something dark and dangerous returned to Sirius' eyes as he pulled Remus' hands away and straightened his clothes. "If she's so important to you, you're welcome to do as you please. Go look for her if you want to."
"You did?" Sirius could not hide his surprise.
"You're damn right I did. I went to Flamel Fortress as soon as I read her note."
Sirius clenched his fists. So she left Remus a note. Is he the one she really cares about all this while? Is that why she has turned him down? "She refused to come back with you?"
"I didn't even get to see her! I got as far as her house-elves. Apparently she didn't want visitors."
Sirius unclenched his fists. It was not Remus after all.
"What really happened, Padfoot? Snape said you were the reason she left. And Whiskey…" Remus ran a hand down his face. "Whiskey said he has never seen his mistress so unhappy."
"I don't want to talk about it."
Remus blocked Sirius' way as the latter made his way to the exit.
"Lay off, Moony."
Sirius narrowed his eyes. "If you know what's good for you, you'd better step away."
"Not until you tell me what's going on."
"I told you. Nothing."
"And I don't believe you."
"Nothing happened between us. There has never been anything between us."
"Who are you trying to kid?"
"Quit it, Moony."
Sirius drew his wand and raised at at his friend. "Don't force me to use this."
"Why did you hurt her? What did you do to make her leave? Why?"
Sirius lowered his arm, and let out a long weary breath. "She was the one who did all the hurting. She does not want me."
With that, he left the classroom and headed in the direction of the Forbidden Forest for another long walk. Tonight he probably would not be able to find sleep again.
Brandy and Whiskey hesitated at the doorway before entering their master's room. Aaron was seated in a wicker chair facing a full-length window which spanned across the width of the room. April sat close on the carpeted floor, leaning against a leg of his chair.
"Would Missy like some scones?" Brandy asked in a hushed whisper, as though afraid of shattering the stillness in the air.
"Missy must eat," Whiskey added.
April shook her head slowly.
"Missy must return to school. Master Black is waiting," Whiskey ventured.
April winced. "I don't want that name mentioned in this household again. Don't make me repeat myself."
Whiskey withered and bowed low before making a quick retreat. Brandy was timidly hovering around.
"Leave us." The mistress said in a tone that demanded to be obeyed.
The house-elf made a show of blowing his nose loudly as he left.
The two Flamels sat together in silence, looking outside the window for a long time. Suddenly, she left a hand on top of her head. Startled, she looked up through her flooded eyes. She blinked and then widened them.
His lips moved slightly, and an unrecognisable sound was heard.
She moved swiftly and grabbed her brother by his shoulders. "Did you say something? What did you say?"
"Say that again. Talk to me please!"
His lips remained still but he was looking directly at her now.
Her heart skipped a beat and it took sometime before she found her voice. "Aaron?" she choked.
He continued looking at her, not uttering another sound.
She took his hand and placed it against her cheek. "It's me. Your little sis. Do you recognise me?" As she continued to stare into her brother's eyes, she began to wonder if she was imagining it all.
Then it happened. She felt his thumb rub across lightly her cheek, and a fresh wave of tears came to her eyes. But her hopes were soon dashed as his eyes abruptly glazed over and his hand dropped to his side.
"Look at me! Look at me and say something! Anything!" she pleaded. "Are you there, Aaron? Tell me you're back!"
There was no response.
"Please…I'm begging you…I need you now…"
She spent the rest of the day talking to him, growing from hopeful to agitated, before giving in to despair and helplessness.
Things will get better. Things are getting better. There is hope. He's responding. I mustn't give up. There is something at the end of this dark tunnel after all.
For the first time in days, she cracked a tight smile.
It was two days later when April received another response.
She drew the curtains apart, letting light into her brother's room. Then, forcing brightness into her voice, she said cheerfully, "I'm here again. What do you want to tell me about today?"
She walked over and sat beside him. "I know you can hear me. Or at least, I hope you can." She took his big hands into hers. "Say something. I need you back."
He blinked. Once. Twice.
"Traitor," he hissed in a low voice.
She gave an awkward laugh, one filled with happiness and misery at the same time. "That's me alright. You recognise your little sister, don't you?"
"Traitor," he repeated in the same monotonous voice that was barely audible.
She clasped his hands tightly. "This little traitor is all you have right now. Nicholas' stone is gone. The rest are gone. We have to depend on each other now."
He turned his head away.
"Aaron?" she whispered soothingly as she leaned closer. "You remember, don't you? You're getting well and –" It was too late. She knew she had lost him again when his eyes lost their focus.
Overcome by her own rapid rise and fall of emotions, she threw her arms around her brother and hugged him close. "Please come back. I need you now. I need you to tell me everything's gonna be alright. I need you to tell me that I'm not alone. You can continue to hate me and call me a traitor. I don't mind. I really don't. All I want is my big brother back. Please, Aaron, I've already lost him. You're all that I have now."
Little did she know that was the final exchange she would have with her last living kin.
The next chapter will be a happier one, and the focus will be on Harry and Sirius. It'll be uploaded as soon as I receive 25 reviews, so you don't have to wait ages for my next update! What say you? Click the review button right away! Please: )