Aftermath

Spoilers: Everything up to and including The Order of The Phoenix

Author's Notes: This takes place immediately after OoTP, where Harry returns with the Dursley's to #4 Privet Drive. Especially now that Harry has time to reflect on what happened the previous year. I'm not sure if ALL wizarding photographs act as Mad-Eye's did, but it's assumed they do. Also, it's also assumed that Sirius was NOT killed with the Killing curse before he fell in to the Veil.

Disclaimers: All are owned by J.K. Rowling. Otherwise, I could kiss my student loans goodbye!

Harry Potter sat in the dark of his room. Near midnight, he'd spent the last several hours just sitting there looking out into the night of #4 Privet Drive. His school trunk and other items he'd brought back from Hogwarts still lay on the floor, unopened and unpacked. The only other occupant in the room, Hedwig, kept very quiet but looked at her master with concern in her eyes.

The only item that had been unpacked and on his desk was the wizard photo album that Hagrid had given to him by the end of his first year. It was currently opened to the pictures of his parents wedding, since these were the only ones that had his godfather in them. Even in the dark, Harry leaned over and ran a hand over the pictures. The people in them all kept waving and smiling at him.

It would be so easy to believe that all the people in them were still alive.

When he'd made the transition back from the Wizarding to the Muggle world, he'd finally allowed everything that happened to him in the last school year to slowly sink in. Unfortunately, it had hit him hard. Two things were at the forefront of his mind: the loss of his godfather, and him using – or had tried to – one of the most vile curses known in the Wizarding World.

He shut his eyes from the outside world and could still see that surprised look from Sirius as he was hit with the spell and went.beyond the veil. Harry bit his lip as he remembered a similar look from Cedric just as he was killed in the graveyard. What was so ironic was that Sirius hadn't even been hit with a Killing Curse, but a simple stunning charm.

It was enough though; enough for Harry to feel a blinding rage he'd never felt before. A rage worthy of the Dark Lord, Harry mused with a bitter snort. If he'd been - in a fit of anger - forced to use the Cruciatus curse, who's to say he wouldn't use it again? Once he started down the dark path, could he pull back? It didn't matter that the curse had not worked out as he wanted; he knew it's effects, not just first hand, but also from seeing what it did to Neville Longbottom's parents. And even if it was righteous anger' that he felt, he still – deep in his core – wanted to hurt Bellatrix Lestrange.

He sat back in his chair, took off his glasses, and started to massage the bridge of his nose. This whole year had been a an angry one for him. From snapping at Ron and Hermione to tearing apart a good portion of Professor Dumbledore's office because he wouldn't let Harry leave before hearing the whole story'. He shook his head in disbelief since he never thought he could do something so destructive in front of a man whom he looked up to.


His scar suddenly burned and he nearly doubled over in agony. Through the haze of pain, he thought he heard a high, cold voice echo in his head:

Ah, but it's a start, Potter. We'll just have to do better next time, won't we?

As swiftly as the pain came, it had gone. Fighting nausea and swallowing hard, he gripped his desk. He'd been aware that Voldemort now knew of the two-way contact that was made possible through his curse. But it was generally thought that he could only pick up on emotions, not actual thoughts.

But was that really true?

As true as Harry receiving the vision that Sirius was being tortured by the Dark Lord, and like an idiot, rushing to his rescue'.

Harry placed his head in his hands and shuddered.

Sirius..

One more person that he cared for deeply had died.

Harry knew that Sirius' death would have to hushed up, since he was still considered a mad mass murderer' by the Ministry, and could not be linked with the Order. Would there be some kind of service for his godfather? How would he be remembered? How many people that he cared for would disappear or be killed before he had a chance to say anything to them? Would they, years from now, be in another Wizarding photograph – like the one Mad Eye Moody had shown him – and be the subject of another disturbing conversation?

There's Ginny Weasley – took on three Death Eaters before she copped it

Good ole Hermione Granger – brightest of the lot – shame she was tortured into insanity

That's Ron Weasley – killed by the Dark Lord himself

Harry shook his head violently from the morbid thoughts he was entertaining. He glanced back down at the pictures, especially one that had both his parents and godfather. They all looked so happy and young back then; at a time when it was safe to be happy and young.

He then remembered something Mad-Eye Moody did when he'd shown him that photo of the first Order of the Phoenix. In order for Harry to get a good look of all the people, he poked the picture and had all the little people in the photograph move around.

Looking thoughtfully at the wedding photo in the album, he wondered if he could do the same?

Why not?

Harry turned on his desk lamp and then stared at the picture nervously. After a minute, he lightly tapped the photo, cleared his throat and – feeling more than a little silly – addressed the people in it:

Mum – Dadcould – could I have a moment alone?

To his surprise, both his parents looked at Sirius, who looked back at them. After a moment, they gave a small wave and walked off the picture, leaving Sirius with Harry. His godfather looked up at him, waiting.

Sirius – he started, but then stopped. What could he really say? Sirius had been his last link to his family; The one person whom he could still have called family'.

Now he had no one.

There were so many things that he wanted to have done, talked about, learned from and said to Sirius. And for one reason or another, he never got the chance. He'd known joy two years ago when he thought he'd be moving out of the Dursley's and in with Sirius. He'd known disappointment when he had to go on the run again. Harry started to realize that Sirius had hoped that some of his father, James, was in him; would take the same risks as him. But he was his own person, and he sincerely hoped Sirius had understood that. Though he could understand that – deep down – Sirius had, to this day, missed his best friend.

The last time he could remember Sirius was during Christmas, when he seemed his happiest. Even with the threat of Lord Voldemort looming, it didn't stop him from having a little fun in his house – screeching portraits of mothers and disgruntled house-elves notwithstanding. Harry's throat caught a little at the memory, and he had to wipe his eyes from a sudden irritation. If there was to be a single moment that he wanted to remember his godfather, it would be that. He looked back down at the photo, and realized that the younger Sirius also had the same happy expression on his face.

Harry reached out and ran a single finger down the picture, while a single tear ran down his cheek. The visage of his godfather – with a look of sympathy – waved to him one last time.

Harry whispered softly.

And he closed the book.

~Finis~