Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter characters. I get tired of saying that!
Warning: Contains major *OOTP SPOILERS* and *SB/RL SLASH*. If you wish to avoid those things, please turn back now.
Notes: *PLEASE READ!* This story is COMPLETELY AU, meaning it never happened and probably never will (sadly). This is just me trying to bring back the character I love the most.
Thanks: Kudos (love those things) to my cousins Liz and Candis for their support. ^-^x
I think that's everything important, on with the fic!
Back from Beyond the Veil
But as he reached the ground and sprinted toward the dais, Lupin grabbed Harry around the chest, holding him back.
There's nothing you can do, Harry -
Get him, save him, he's only just gone through!
It's too late, Harry -
We can still reach him!'
-Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Page 806
Sirius opened his eyes, and found himself lying on the floor of a room decorated entirely in black. The only light came from a single candle which burned with a purple flame. A black veil, hanging from an ancient scrolled archway, was located at the other end of the room.
Sirius called. Harry, is that you?
He looked around the black room, as though hoping to see his godson at any moment. But there was no one else there. He struggled to his feet, wincing and rubbing at his chest. The spot where Bellatrix's spell had made contact was aching. He looked eagerly around again.
No reply. Sirius' hopeful mood deflated. If Harry really was there, he would have answered by now.
Where am I? he muttered to himself, looking around at his dark surroundings. Where is this place? He ran a hand through his long, black hair. I remember dueling with Bellatrix, I remember she hit me.... and I remember waking up here..... but I don't know what happened in between.... all I can remember is a floating sensation......
You fell through the veil, Sirius Black, a quiet voice answered him.
Sirius whirled around to see three young women approaching him. They were all very pale and dressed in long, flowing black robes, with long black hair that fell to their knees.
Who are you? Sirius gasped.
I am Rei, one replied, and Sirius realized it was she who had spoken before. This is Jiyu and Umi. We are the attendants who guide people who come through the Veil to the Afterlife.
The - the Afterlife? Sirius whispered. I'm - dead?
Not yet. You are merely existing in limbo, Umi answered. This room, the room beyond the Veil, is a waiting place for those who have fallen through. We have come to escort you to the Afterlife.
You can't, Sirius said weakly. You can't. I need to go back - my godson is in trouble, Voldemort has him -
He started towards the veil, but Jiyu and Umi seized him by the arms.
You cannot leave, Rei said fiercely. No one has ever passed through the Veil twice.
Nobody ever broke out of Azkaban before me, either, Sirius growled, and in one swift lunge managed to break Jiyu and Umi's holds on him. He ran towards the veil, and behind him he heard Rei shriek, STOP HIM!
Sirius suddenly felt a wrenching pain in his head; it felt like someone was pulling his hair. Yet he was too far away from the women for them to grab his hair - he looked over his shoulder and gasped.
His normally waist-length hair was now nearly thirty feet long; it trailed across the floor to where Rei, Umi, and Jiyu stood. Jiyu was holding on to as much of his hair as she could; there was now so much of it it was impossible for her to gather it all. As he watched, Umi and Rei grabbed his hair too.
You must stay, Sirius Black, Rei ordered.
It is our duty to bring you to the Afterlife, Umi said.
If people like you run the Afterlife, I'm not so sure I want to go there, Sirius snarled.
Don't be a fool! Jiyu cried. You cannot go back through the Veil - No one ever has - you'll go mad, you'll become deformed - you - you'll be condemned to Hell!
How would you know, if no one's ever done it before? Sirius asked, pulling out his wand.
The Severing Charm chopped his hair cleanly a foot or so away from the young women's hands. At once, Sirius sprinted at the veil, barely hearing the frustrated screams of the women behind him, and dove though, one arm over his eyes.
He came flying out from behind the veil and reappeared in the Department of Mysteries; he hit the floor with a sickening crack and yelped in surprise and pain. Frightened, he looked behind him, and all around him. No trace of either the battle with Voldemort and the Death Eaters, or the young women, was to be found. It could have been a dream... except for his hair, which was still exceptionally long, trailing along the floor and resting dangerously close to the scrolled archway. With a convulsive shudder, Sirius seized as much of it as he could and pulled it toward him quickly, filled with a terrified certainty that any minute now, Rei, Umi, and Jiyu would appear from behind the veil, seize him by the hair, and pull him into the Afterlife - an Afterlife which he felt certain would not be very enjoyable.
With a whimper of fright, Sirius looked wildly around again. There was no one in the room at all; Sirius didn't think even the Unspeakables came here often. He cleared his throat and called,
It came out as a barely audible whisper; suddenly Sirius realized how exhausted and weak he was. He lay down and pressed his hot cheek against the cool marble floor, and began to cry.
I'm all alone,' he thought. God only knows how much time has passed since I fell through the veil. It could have been a day, or a month, or a year.... Everyone must think I'm dead.... Harry... and Remus...'
Closing his eyes, Sirius whispered,
~Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place - Headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix~
Remus J. Lupin sat quietly at Sirius' kitchen table, idly scanning articles in the Daily Prophet and trying to look involved enough to keep everyone else from trying to talk to him. He had been doing this since Sirius' death two weeks ago, trying to shut everyone out and at the same time pretending nothing was wrong. If there was one thing he was good at, it was hiding his emotions, and he was trying his best to make it seem as though Sirius' death didn't bother him as much as it really did. But to tell the truth, Remus was miserable. This was even worse than when Sirius had been in Azkaban; at least then he had had enough resentment of Sirius inside him to ignore the feeling that a piece of his soul had been ripped out of him.
Life was misery without his lover, but Remus was trying his best to go about everything normally. The others, Molly and Arthur and Tonks and Mundungus and the rest, kept giving him sideways looks and inquiring after how he was getting along. Whenever they asked, Remus merely shrugged. Okay, considering the circumstances, he would say casually, and change the subject.
He and Harry had been writing to each other since the end of term, and in the teenager's letters Remus could sense the great tide of loneliness that had settled in him since the loss of his godfather. Remus did his best to console Harry; it seemed as if Harry now saw him as a father figure, without either James or Sirius to look up to. He was touched, but worried about Harry...
His eyelids drooped. He shouldn't fall asleep, Molly was likely to be serving supper any minute now... the heat of the kitchen fire was making him sleepy.... the words in the paper swam together as his eyes skipped tiredly past them, forming sentences which made no sense.....
The Minister of Magic decreed today that Madam Malkin's is having a 40% off sale on Quidditch...
.....Gilderoy Lockhart, esteemed crusader against the Dark Arts, was locked up in a Crater Of Doom by Marimo Smith...
......Dementors no longer under the control of Used Nimbus 2001....
The Daily Prophet regrets to announce that Mrs. Evangiline Bucket won Witch Weekly's' Cleanest Kitchen Award....
Startled, Remus jerked his head up and realized he had been nearly asleep at the table. Molly was standing beside him, looking concerned, and the others in the kitchen were looking at him curiously.
You all right, Remus? Kingsley Shacklebolt asked him.
I'm fine... Remus said, shaking his head to clear it.
He cut himself off, listening intently.
What is it? Molly asked, looking frightened.
Remus hissed at her. He could hear someone calling his name.... someone who sounded suspiciously like....
Moony! ....... help me.......
It's Sirius, Remus whispered.
Molly gave him a wide-eyed look of disbelief. Remus.... Sirius is.... well, he's dead.
I can hear him, Remus said slowly. He's calling me.... he's still alive...
You're hearing things, Remus, Arthur said gently.
Remus said, standing so quickly they gasped. It *is* Sirius! You think I wouldn't know his voice?
No, but, Remus, he's gone, Molly said helplessly.
He's not! He's alive! Harry was right!
Kingsley and Bill took him by the elbows. You're not right, Remus, Bill said anxiously to him. You're ill, you need to get to bed -
Let me go! Remus protested angrily, but both Bill and Kingsley were stronger than him, and they picked him up effortlessly. Put me down!
Remmie.... can you hear me?......
Yes, yes I can! Remus shouted, tears spilling from his eyes. He struggled free of Bill and Kingsley, and turned to face them all. It's Sirius! Why won't you listen to me? I'm not sick, I'm not crazy, Sirius is in the Department of Mysteries and he needs our help!
Remus, please, begged Molly, apparently worried that the professor's behaviour would scare Ron and Ginny, who had been watching wide-eyed from the table this whole time. Be reasonable.... Sirius is dead...
He's not! yelled Remus, not caring if Mrs. Black's portrait started screaming upstairs. D'you think I wouldn't know my own mate is alive? I can *hear* him! He's calling me! He needs us!
Molly cast a desperate look at her husband, who cleared his throat nervously and stood. Remus... how would you know?
Remus glared at him. You don't know anything about werewolves, do you? he asked, looking at Arthur but intending the question to be for everyone in the room. When no one answered, he continued, I *know* you all know werewolves mate for life, and that Sirius was my mate - well, except for Ron and Ginny, he said with an apologetic look for the two teens. But did you know that werewolves and their mates share an unbreakable psychic connection? In times of great distress one can call upon the other - and it *doesn't* work if one of them is dead. I'm telling you, Sirius is alive, and I'm not imagining it!
Everyone was silent, staring at him with wide eyes. Mundungus hadn't even bothered to lower his forkful of mashed potatoes from his half-open mouth. Irritated, Remus stormed off to the door leading to the hall. Fine! Don't believe me - I'll go to the Department of Mysteries myself! If there's even the slimmest possibility that Sirius is still alive, I have to go and look!
Remus, please, Molly said weakly, but didn't get any further. Remus stormed into the hall, snatching his threadbare overcoat from the coatrack and shrugging it on, patting his pocket to be sure he had his wand. As he was getting his coat on, the kitchen door opened and Kingsley, Tonks, Mundungus, and the five Weasleys tiptoed out into the hall.
Remus, you can't! Molly whispered urgently.
You won't help, so I'll do it myself, Remus repeated stubbornly, and opened the door - finding himself face-to-face with Albus Dumbledore.
Everyone gave cries of surprise, immediately waking Mrs. Black, who began screeching. After nearly twenty minutes they got her shut up again, and Dumbledore entered, followed by Hagrid and Moody.
What's going on here? Dumbledore asked curiously, and Remus seized his last chance.
he whispered. Professor, Sirius is alive! He's in the Department of Mysteries! He's calling for me.... I can hear him...
Hagrid's and Moody's faces registered surprise and the obvious thought that Remus was mad, but nothing of the sort came over Dumbledore's face. Instead, he merely said, Then we must hasten to the Ministry...
Remus felt like crying in relief. Finally, someone believed him!
Should anyone like to come.... Dumbledore asked, looking at the group gathered in the hallway. Ron and Ginny looked terrified at the thought of returning to the Department of Mysteries, and shrank back slightly. Molly and Arthur looked reluctant as will, but Bill stepped forward.
I'll do it, he said gruffly. I mean.... I want to see if Remus is right.
I'm comin', Hagrid said roughly. I'm not leavin' yer side, Professor Dumbledore, sir.
Me too, said Moody. This might be a Death Eater plot.... all flattery aside, Lupin, you're one of the best we've got. We can't afford to lose you.
And me! said Tonks brightly, tripping over her shoelaces as she hurried forward.
And I'll come, too, said Kingsley quietly.
It's settled, Dumbledore said briskly, turning sharply on his heel and leading the way into the kitchen.
Er.... Remus.... Hagrid said as they followed him, What d'yeh mean.... yeh can hear Sirius?
I can hear him calling me inside my head, Remus muttered. I know it sounds crazy, but...
If you stop hearing him, does that mean..... Tonks started timidly.
It means he's dead, Remus said flatly.
But he hasn't stopped calling me yet....
Dumbledore handed around the urn of Floo Powder that was on the mantle, and everyone took a handful. Dumbledore vanished first, followed by Hagrid, and then Remus stepped into the fire.
The Ministry of Magic! he said loudly and clearly, flinging down his handful of Floo Powder.
He began to spin very fast; he closed his eyes and ignored the sick feeling in his stomach. When he felt himself slowing down, he threw out his hands to stop his fall, and opened his eyes. He clambered out of the hearth, dusting ashes from his frayed robes, and jumped out of the way a second later as Tonks came tumbling out of the fireplace head-first.
she grunted, as Remus and Dumbledore helped her to her feet. I'm not very good at this...
One by one, Bill, Kingsley, and Moody emerged from the fireplace, and Dumbledore led the way to the lift. They squished in, being given curious and (in Hagrid's case) annoyed looks. Once they reached the second level, they squeezed their way out of the lift and into the corridor. Here, Remus paused to listen.
I can still hear him.... he's all right, for now, but he sounds really weak....
Dumbledore! Here, now, what are you doing here?
It was Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. He had just emerged from the doorway of Courtroom Ten, followed by none other than Percy Weasley. The Minister stopped and looked at the strange group gathered in the corridor. What is the meaning of this?
Cornelius, we must get into the Department of Mysteries, Dumbledore said quietly.
Fudge sputtered. What? Why?
A rescue mission, Dumbledore said quietly, and led the way past Fudge to the end of the corridor.
See here, now! Fudge puffed, hurrying along behind them. What is the meaning of this?
We have not the time to explain, Dumbledore said. We shall fill you in when we return.
I should jolly well say not! Fudge huffed. I'm coming as well. Weasley! Come along!
Dumbledore looked less than happy about having Fudge and Percy tagging along, but he offered no resistance. Remus was white as salt and was giving the Headmaster desperate looks.
Very well.... Dumbledore said. Come along....
He pushed open the door leading into the Department of Mysteries. It was dark, but Dumbledore seemed to know where he was going. He led the way through the main room, through the Brain Room, and to the next doorway, which led into the room with the archway and the veil. But before they could enter the archway room, Fudge sputtered again.
Come, now, what is this nonsense? he demanded.
Sirius is alive! Remus said desperately.
Both Fudge's and Percy's eyes widened.
Sirius Black? they said in unison.
Well - but you - you told me he was dead! Fudge said, shooting an accusatory glare at Dumbledore.
And so I thought he was, Dumbledore said quietly. I thought none who ever fell beyond the Veil would ever return. But Remus tells us Sirius is alive, and we must go and see.
Fudge gaped at them, but didn't say another word. Dumbledore grasped the doorknob of the archway room's door and slowly turned it.
The door opened on the dimly lit room, and their attention was demanded at once by the ancient archway. But Remus saw at once the shape of a man lying on the floor before the archway.
he screamed, startling them all, and running forward. He dropped to his knees and actually slid the last two feet over to the man huddled on the floor.
Sirius mumbled, weakly raising himself up on one elbow. You heard me...
Of course I did, whispered Remus, putting his arms around his lover and drawing him into an embrace. Sirius clung to him and let out a shuddery sigh as the other approached.
It *is* Black, Fudge gasped, looking at a loss for words.
Dear Lord! Tonks gasped softly, not looking at Sirius, but down at the floor.
Remus opened his eyes and gasped at what he saw. Sirius' hair had grown very long, nearly thirty feet in length; it trailed across the floor like a mass of cables. Sirius sighed again and murmured, Those ...... angels? devils? whatever they were.... did that. They told me I couldn't go back though the veil. When I tried..... they put a charm on me, I guess..... made my hair grow this long so they could grab me by it.... but I used a Severing Charm to get free, and jumped through....
Shh, love, Remus murmured in his ear.
Well, that should be easily mended, Kingsley shrugged. He knelt and carefully pointed his wand somewhere around Sirius' waist.
The Severing Charm cut Sirius' hair cleanly, bringing it back to its normal length. Evanesco , Kingsley added, casually waving his wand and causing all the extra hair to disappear.
Sirius said weakly. So what d'you all say we get out of here...... I think I hurt myself escaping, I'd really like to go to St. Mungo's....
What happened? Remus asked him anxiously.
Nothing, really - took a bad fall in my haste -
It's not too major.... but.. you know....
Fudge was shaking his head. No, my dear man, he said. I'm afraid you're on your way back to Azkaban.
Remus, Tonks, Bill, Hagrid, Moody, and Kingsley all let out mingled noises of protest, but Dumbledore held up a hand to silence them.
You do remember, Cornelius, the conversation we had almost three years ago, when Sirius was captured?
That crackpot story about Pettigrew being alive and an Animagus? Fudge asked, bristling. I remember quite well! Are you falling back on that again?
Yes, I am, Dumbledore said calmly. Sirius is indeed innocent.
We have no proof! Fudge blustered. He's - he's a madman! He's hypnotized you all - under the Imperius Curse, probably -
We are telling the truth, Dumbledore said quietly.
Has Dumbledore ever been wrong? Kingsley asked the Minister, who flushed.
Well - recent events have been proven true -
There you are, Moody growled. Black's innocent. Always assuming, of course, this *is* the real Black? he shot at Remus, who nodded.
he said firmly. Trust me, Alastor, if this was anyone but the real Sirius - even someone in disguise as him - I wouldn't have been able to hear his calls. This really is Sirius.
Fudge's mouth was open. Then he really did come back from the dead?
I wasn't really dead... Sirius muttered against Remus' shoulder. Not yet, anyway....
We'll have enough time to discuss this later, Dumbledore said firmly. But we must have Sirius looked after first - we should get to St. Mungo's as quickly as possible. Hagrid, if you could give Sirius a hand..
Right yeh are, Professor, Hagrid said, leaning down and picking Sirius up gingerly. Er - just tell me if I'm botherin' anythin' that's hurtin' yeh....
I'm okay, for now, Sirius muttered as Hagrid slung him over his shoulder. It's more like... my wrist... where's my wand?
I have it, love, Remus said, picking it up and putting it in his pocket.
Very well, let's hurry, Dumbledore said, leading the way.
But before they could go ten paces, a horrifying scream rent the air.
Behind them, three people were emerging from behind the veil....
(A/N: To Be Continued! I hope. I have plenty of ideas for the next chapter, but I need some feedback! Should I continue, or should I abandon this feeble attempt to bring Sirius to life? (I should continue, right?) Please, tell me what you think! Thanking you in advance.... ^-^x)