A/N: All right y'all, it's over!!!! For real this time. Hehe. I can't believe it's done. I hope you like this ending. Please be kind and review. I'm getting ready to go see Harry Potter this afternoon, perhaps I will find myself inspired. Well, you enjoy. :::Jo::: P.S. I have gone to the movies and come back, and as expected I was inspired. I had thought I put Beth and Remus behind me, but in the requests for a sequel (of the sequel, I might add) I am seriously considering it. However, the sequel would be (most likely) present events. Please let me know if you'd really like to read a continuation of this story, if you do…I shall seriously consider a sequel (lol, a sequel I have already started writing, in my head, that is).
Chapter 10: ...in the end...
Remus stared at the old brick building that stood before him. The store sign read Purge and Dowse Ltd.'s but there was another little sign hanging crookedly in the window that said closed for refurbishment.
"Molly?" Remus questioned skeptically as the plump little witch whispered to the mannequin in the window. Molly simply waved a hand behind her.
"She isn't bringing me here for me, is she?" Remus asked Arthur who was rocking back and forth on his feet nervously. "I know I've been spending some time alone but-"
"Don't be silly Remus," Arthur said quickly. "Of course she's not."
"Come quickly," Molly took Remus's arm and stepped through the glass window with him. Remus let her lead him, choosing not to scold her for treating him as she would Ron or Harry. He almost chuckled, she couldn't help being what she was…a mother.
"Back again, already?" A young Healer said to Molly behind a smile.
He pointed northward with his quill, "Fourth Floor."
"Fourth Floor?" Arthur queried curiously and Molly gave him a stern look as if he should have known that.
"Longbottom's room." The Healer nodded.
"Oh," Molly and Arthur exchanged worried looks. "Well, let's go, quickly then." Molly said.
"Stop," Remus finally said sternly as Molly and Arthur began to hurry away. "I must know what this wild goose chase is all about."
"You will know, as soon as we've reached the fourth floor." Molly said, again taking Remus's arm and dragging him along.
They climbed the stairs in silence, but at Molly's rapid pace it took them a very short time. Molly pushed the door open and hurried across the corridor where the closed ward lay.
"Molly?" Remus tried again.
This time when she waved her hand she told him to shush.
It was not particularly common for Remus to become impatient but by now, traversing most of London with no explanation, he was slightly flustered.
"Has Severus been in?" Arthur asked Molly.
"No," Molly said steadily. "Severus left for Hogwarts last night. School starts in two days. He doesn't know."
"SHHHH!" An old witch who was reading the Daily Prophet told the three as they rushed by.
Finally, after what seemed like a small eternity Remus reached Alice and Frank's section of the closed ward. The curtain was drawn around their beds, but Molly, Arthur and Remus could hear quiet sobs echoing from the other side of the pulled drape.
"Thank goodness you're here," a heavy set Healer said quietly, standing and meeting Mrs. Weasley. "She's been in there for hours and refused to leave. She won't stop crying. Maybe you can help ease her woes."
Molly reached out and patted the old woman's shoulder then she peeked over her shoulder at Remus. "Has she asked for Remus?"
"Not since she woke," the Healer said. The Healer glanced over at Remus, "She's not mad, which is what we had expected. But her heart is broken. She still hasn't told us what happened, she's been waiting for you."
"What do you mean?" Remus queried cautiously and confused-like.
But Molly was already pulling the curtain back slowly. The stifled tears did not cease. Arthur and Remus's attention was brought around to Alice Longbottom's bed. Alice was sitting up and holding a younger woman. The younger woman was clinging to Alice with her head buried in Alice's shoulder. She was mumbling something that was so soft she couldn't be understood, but Alice was just continually patting her somewhat wild curly hair comfortingly. Though Alice was staring off lost in her crazy thoughts, she didn't seem to mind that this woman was sobbing on her shoulder.
"Bethany," Molly whispered.
The young woman pulled away from Alice and turned to face Molly. Remus thought surely he'd die right there, in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Behind red puffy eyes, from hours of crying, (aside from the tears) unchanged in almost fourteen years was his wife. She hadn't aged, she looked just as he remembered her. Gracefully she reached up and gingerly wiped away a stray tear. "Alice…" she said questioningly to Molly.
"Yes dear," Molly said going to her and taking her hands pulling her to her feet. "I'm sorry you had to see her this way, but there are many things you will have to learn. I've brought Remus for you, as you requested." Molly turned to Remus, "You were the first thing she asked for when she woke, just this morning."
Remus sort of stumbled forward awkwardly, as if his eyes were still deceiving him.
"Remus?" Bethany questioned, also, as if she were being deceived.
Cautiously Remus reached out to her and she rushed over to him. She wrapped her arms around him with all her strength, which was not much at the moment. Remus slowly wrapped his arms around her, disbelievingly. It wasn't until that moment that he believed this wasn't a trick, a dirty evil trick…but Bethany was very much alive and holding him. Though he wanted to be supporting her he was fairly certain it was she who was keeping his knees from buckling and causing him to collapse there on the floor. He rested his head on the top of hers and rocked her back and forth. "Oh God Bethany, you're really here, really alive."
"Yes Remus, I am." Bethany hummed into his chest.
"How is this?" Remus asked.
Bethany pulled back from him. "I've been told I have been here, in St. Mungo's, for a little more than a year now."
"Quite a little more than a year," the fat Healer interjected.
"Can you tell us what happened Beth?" Arthur asked. "This has been a very strange puzzled no one can explain. You haven't aged at all in the fourteen years, since your death."
Bethany shuttered at Arthur's words and her eyes narrowed, "I will repay Bellatrix Lestrange for her treachery, not to me," Bethany leaned around and looked at Alice, "but for my friends." Then she cleared her throat, and leaned over taking Remus's hand as if she needed to feel him or needed him for strength…or both.
"We found Bethany," Arthur said first to Remus, finally filling him in, "at the Ministry the morning after the incident last spring. She was not awake, and we didn't think she was alive; much to our surprise she was. This has been a classified case for the Ministry until we had answers on the nature of this strange occurrence. We thought it might be," Arthur lowered his voice, "you-know-who's doing. Very few people knew about Bethany's reappearance."
"But when she woke this morning, and she asked for you," Molly smiled, "we couldn't deny her request."
"Now you can fill in the wholes Beth," Arthur grinned.
"It was odd, and I don't remember much." Bethany closed her eyes, thinking back hard. "I know I was dead, but I don't remember being dead; like the ghosts at Hogwarts. In fact, there was nothing until…" Bethany trailed off. She shook her head. "Well, as I said it was nothing, then, all of a sudden there was something. James and Lily they were there first. It was dark, I was holding Remus, he was being a good baby. He was sleeping. We were sitting, all three of us, in a row. Then beside me came Lucius Malfoy's little sister, Lilia Malfoy. It was almost like being in the Ministry when you are being judged, because across from the four of us were three hooded and cloaked figures on a stand, hovering over us. The whole incident was very stale.
Then the middle hooded figure stood. His voice echoed in the black empty nothingness the four of us were seated in. 'Bring in the man,' the figure called. Then, between the judged and the four of us appeared Sirius. I couldn't believe it, he looked ragged and worn…yet still, somehow angry. Then the figure on the left stood and the one in the middle sat. 'You have initiated the Trial of Grindlock by entering the Veil.' That cloaked figure sat and the one on the right stood, 'Which will you choose to take you're place then.'
Sirius looked to all of us. His face softened, and he was glad to see us. I have to admit all of us were very glad to see him as well. Finally Sirius turned to the judged and said, 'I cannot choose between these people, I love them all.'
The middle judge stood again, 'You will choose, or you will forfeit any of them taking your place.' It was strange, all their voices melded together and they sounded almost as one. I don't know about Lily, James or Lilia but I had tried to speak to Sirius and nothing would come out. I couldn't move either. The judge on the left stood again, 'You may not speak to them, until you have chosen.' Then the one on the right stood again, 'You are permitted to view the events that happened in their lives and in your life surrounding them.'
It was then that strange things began to happen. We, all four of us, Sirius and the judges, were living our lives all over again…for Sirius's sake. It happened fast. James and Sirius becoming friends in their first year, you were there," Bethany looked up to Remus with a smile. "We saw all the trouble the two of them got into, sometime with you and Peter, sometimes alone. The summers Sirius spent with James flew by, and all the things they did to old Mrs. Black. Then Lily came into the events. We felt and saw Sirius's hatred of her at first, because she took James's time, and then his inevitable adoration of her. Everyone loved Lily. There was also James and Lily's wedding and all that fun. Then me, Sirius saw all those times he gave me grief when I was spending time with Narcissa Malfoy, and then the time I tried to save him from you." Bethany leaned over and nudged Remus. "The time he stood with me in the rain at the Quidditch Pitch, and I could feel how much I really meant to him, just like we could all feel when the memories passed. There was our wedding. But then Sirius jerked and anger washed over him, we could all feel it, as he saw what had transpired when I tried repeatedly to have him released from Azkaban. He never knew that happened. Then Lilia," Bethany hung her head, "I had no idea what happened between the two of them; in fact I had no idea there was anything between the two of them. We saw secret moonlit meetings, and quiet romantic encounters. Sirius had undying love for that girl, but she was torn between two worlds: her family and him; likewise he was torn between showing how he really felt for her the stigma that might come with expressing those feelings among wizarding world. She disappeared on him just before he was tossed into Azkaban, she thought he had gone mad. She lived on a little while longer than me, but was inevitably destroyed by you-know-who's followers."
Bethany looked up at Molly, Arthur, Remus and the plump little witch who were all leaning in with rapt attention.
"So," Bethany went on, "The middle judge stood again, 'Have you made your decision?' Sirius turned and looked over all our faces and then glanced back at the judge, 'I have.' He said. The left judge said, 'Then make your decision.' Sirius came to us, he went to James first. 'Hey mate,' he said. 'I'm sorry. I can't bear to separate you and Lily.' Then he went to Lily and took up her hands, 'Sweet Lily,' he said, 'I promise you Harry will be taken care of. But as I've told James, you two are meant to exist together…you must understand.' A tear welled up in her eye and she nodded. Then he passed me by, 'Lilia, I love you…I always have. And it's my greed that is keeping you here. I want to be with you, like I couldn't in the real world.' He reached up and touched her cheek, and she smiled. I knew she wanted to stay there with him, she would have followed him into the deepest pits of hell. Then he came to me and he took my face in his hands, 'Bethany, I'm giving you what I took from you when you tried to save me all those times. I thank you for believing in me when no one else would.' Then he reached out and took Remy from me, 'I promise we'll take good care of Remy, but in return you must take good care of Harry. Oh, and watch over Remus for me, he's been very sad lately…I know it's nothing you can't remedy.' Then he winked and they were gone. I don't remember anything else until I woke in here this morning."
No one said anything as they watched Bethany shift uncomfortably. "I'm sorry he had to go so I could be here."
"Bethany," Molly said. "Nothing can change the way things are, and we're glad to have you here."
"Yes we are," A new voice entered the room. Everyone turned to see Albus Dumbledore smiling down on all of them. "It is good to see you Bethany, awake."
"Professor Dumbledore," Bethany's glee shot through her smile and bubbled over into her vocalization of her joy. She went to him.
"You've woken just in time, yes just in time I think," he said.
"In time for what?" Bethany asked.
"There is a favor I would ask of you," Dumbledore bowed his head. "It seems my teacher roster is short but one professor."
Bethany's eyes went wide and she shook her head, "Oh, I don't think so. I'm not much of a teacher."
"You are more of a teacher than you know. You understand the material intimately, and you have the experience as your time as an Aurora demonstrated." Dumbledore smiled.
"Defense Against the Dark Arts?" Bethany raised an eyebrow. "That position is still cursed?"
Dumbledore laughed, "Class begins in two days. You are free to take the Hogwarts express, I'm sure you still remember the time and the place."
Bethany sighed, she could never deny Dumbledore anything he asked her, "I'll be there."
"Good," the corners of Dumbledore's mouth turned up even more, "I do look forward to seeing you again Mrs. Lupin. Now," he scanned the other occupants of the room, "good afternoon."
Just then another Healer came to Bethany and handed her several papers, "You've been released Mrs. Lupin, you're exam from this morning showed no maladies."
"Thank you." Bethany smiled. "Now if you all don't mind I'd like to go outside."
Molly grabbed Arthur and pulled him back as he started to follow Bethany and Remus, "Let them have some time."
Remus and Bethany took the long way back to number 12. They were very happy just to be in one another's presence. They spoke very little and just, silently enjoyed one another's company. Remus led the way to the old Black home.
"I remember this place," Bethany said running a finger along one of the bureaus in the front room.
"We have much to tell you Bethany," Remus said.
She turned to him and he was surprised to see a sad look pass over her face, "I'm going to have to go to the Ministry. I don't doubt that they are going to try and lock me up."
"Dumbledore won't let that happen. Molly and Arthur won't let that happen…and I won't let that happen."
"I love you Remus," Bethany breathed.
Remus's brow wrinkled and he looked as though he'd cry. He went to her and wrapped his arms around her once again, "I've missed you Bethany. Seeing you again, I don't know how I've lived without you." Slowly he released her, and then he took her by the hand and led her up the stairs. He pushed the door open to his room. Bethany chuckled as her eyes drifted over the stacks of papers and misbegotten books.
"What?" Remus looked over to her.
"Just as I suspected," Bethany laughed this time, "your room without me to clean up."
Remus, in response, blushed and grinned.
He dropped Bethany's journal on his desk and pulled out the little velvet pouch that he had shown Hermione last Christmas. Nervously he opened the pouch and dropped their wedding rings into his hand, "Mrs. Lupin?"
"Mr. Lupin?" Bethany raised her chin with a proud smile.
Remus went to her and timidly took up her left hand. Cautiously he pushed her wedding band on her ring finger and then proceeded to slip her engagement ring behind it. A tear slipped down her face and off her chin onto her hand. Slowly she reached out and took his ring from his hand and repeated the ritual, as if the two were renewing their wedding vows.
"I love you Bethany."
"Oh Remus, I'm just glad to find that you've waited for me."
"I could never betray your memory." Remus told her. "I've never stopped loving you." He turned and went back to his desk and scooped up the journal. He extended it to her. "Can you tell me how it ends?"
Bethany covered her mouth in surprise, "Remus! Where did you get that?"
"Hermione?" Bethany breathed.
"I promise to explain everything, I promise you will learn all you've missed over the years."
"Years?" Bethany asked.
Remus reached up and placed a hand over her mouth. Her eyes searched his, and for the first time since they'd been reunited she actually looked at him. He did look older, and so did Sirius when she thought on it. She didn't care though, she was glad to be back with her husband…where she belonged. "Tell me, how does it end?"
Bethany laughed, running her hand over the cover of the leather journal. "Alice gave me this, she told me it would help me not to be alone when she'd graduated."
"Bethany?" Remus questioned.
Bethany's eyes lifted to meet his, "I think you just demonstrated how it ends."
Remus tipped his head and Bethany laughed.
"Okay," she said, "okay." Bethany pulled open the journal and flipped through the pages. She cleared her throat, "Well, it's done then. Sev won't speak to me…he may cool off. But I doubt it, if I know him. Then again, if I really know him, he might still be angry, but it'll blow over with time…like everything else. The only thing that I hope will never simmer is my love for Remus," Bethany choked, she was doing her best to keep her voice steady, and Remus was just enjoying hearing Bethany say the words he'd been reading…hearing the words she'd written in her voice. "And his passion for me. Only time will tell, and I suppose for that I'll have to wait. For now I must dissolve this writing and pass it on, I can't have Sissy find this dribble about my feelings…I am going to hand this book off to the only person I know who can keep it safe. She will keep my thoughts, my memories, my hopes, my dreams, and me safe; for she understands how much love means. Here's to you Lily Evans, the girl who showed me that love is worth everything. Bethany Spence (hoping to be Lupin)."