Disclaimer, Warnings, Thanks: See the first five chapters.
Molly Weasley pushed open the door of Remus' bedroom with her shoulder, carrying a basin of lukewarm water and a pile of washcloths. She set the basin on the nightstand, and turned to Remus. The professor lay quite still in his bed, sweat trickling down his face. His cheeks were bright pink with fever, and he moaned unhappily in his sleep. Molly fought down a sob, pulling her chair up to the bed and wetting one of the cloths in the basin. She began to dab gently at Remus' forehead, swallowing hard in an attempt to dislodge the lump which had become stuck in her throat.
She didn't really understand much about werewolves, though she had tried her best to learn something about them in an attempt to make Remus feel a little better. The problem was, not much had been written on the subject of werewolves and their habits. There was more information than one wanted to know on the ways to kill werewolves, or about the vicious killing urges they possessed; but there was very little on the other aspects of a werewolf's life. The book Hairy Snout, Human Heart' had been a tear-jerking read, but contained nothing Molly could use. And so, she found herself totally unable to explain this sudden illness that had afflicted Remus. All she knew was that it seemed to stem from Sirius' death... and that Remus was dying.
The children weren't allowed to visit Remus, except for Harry, who had insisted. Molly had given in to his pleading; after all, Remus was the only person left who was even close to a parent to the boy. He had known Lily and James and Sirius better than anyone, and it wasn't fair to keep Harry away. Molly's tears spilled over. It also wasn't fair that poor Harry had to keep seeing the people he loved die; first his parents, then his godfather, and now his godfather's lover.
As if thinking about him had summoned him into the room, Harry opened the door at that moment and slipped inside. His brilliant green eyes were dulled behind his glasses. He sat on the edge of the bed, looking down sorrowfully at Remus. He's not getting any better, Mrs. Weasley.
I know. I know, Harry, Molly whispered, wringing out her cloth.
Why does everyone I love have to die? Harry suddenly cried, striking the headboard of the bed hard with his fist. He broke down, his glasses slipping off his nose and landing in his lap as he put his hands over his eyes. Molly watched helplessly with tears running down her own cheeks, wanting desperately to comfort him but not knowing how.
Sirius sat up, rubbing his head. His throat was sore for some reason, and his pillowcase was damp. He touched his face and realised he had been crying. He had had awful nightmares; visions of Remus lying in bed, feverish and dying, while Harry and Molly wept over him. He swallowed hard, swinging his legs out of bed and reaching for his clothes. There was no time to waste.
He stopped in the middle of pulling on his trousers. He was in a room that was strangely familiar... green-and-white striped wallpaper that was spotted and faded... a musty green coverlet on the bed... furniture made of blondewood... for some reason, he was in the bedroom that had belonged to his brother Regulus. A sudden burst of hope flared inside him. He was back in Grimmauld Place... was he finally back in his own reality?
He dressed hurriedly, barely able to keep his mind on what he was doing. He rushed out of the room, pulling the hood of his robes out from his collar as he thundered down the stairs. He reached the kitchen and threw open the door, and saw Remus, Kingsley, Tonks, Moody, and Snape standing around the table, talking in worried voices. Kreacher was lurking nearby, pretending to polish the stove but most likely eavesdropping. Sirius ignored him and hurried over to the others.
What is it? he asked, finally freeing his hood and shaking his long hair back. What's going on?
Harry's at the Department of Mysteries, Remus said in a hushed voice. His face was pale grey. We think... we think he's been captured by Voldemort.
The bottom seemed to drop out of Sirius' stomach. He crossed to the coat rack on the wall, pulling down his black cloak with the tattered hem and shrugging it on. Then what are we all waiting for? Why aren't we going to save him?
Who said you were going, Black? Snape spat. As I recall, you're not allowed out of the house. Or have you forgotten?
Besides, Sirius, someone has to stay here and tell Dumbledore, Tonks said, fastening her bright pink cloak.
Sirius glowered at them all. You actually think I'll sit here on my arse while my godson is in danger? Not a chance. Let's go.
Siri - Remus grabbed Sirius' arm.
I'm not staying behind! Sirius shouted, wrenching his arm out of his mate's grasp. Inside, he felt nearly paralyzed with terror. Everything was happening exactly as it had the day he had really gone to rescue Harry. What kind of universe was this? Was he supposed to do something different? But he couldn't... as soon as he opened his mouth to tell them what was going on, he found himself saying, just like on that horrible day: I thought you, of all people, would understand, Remus!
And he watched as the hurt expression appeared on Remus' face again, as he heard Snape snarl, This is no time for a lover's quarrel!
Remus opened his mouth and said shakily, O-okay. Let's go.
But - Snape protested.
There's no time to argue, Severus, Remus whispered. You'd better get back to Hogwarts.
Snape sneered, but Disapparated. Sirius turned to Kreacher. Kreacher! When Dumbledore arrives, tell him we've gone to the Department of Mysteries to save Harry! Tell him to join us!
Of course, Master, the elf said, then mumbled something under its breath. Sirius ignored it and looked at the grim, set faces of his companions.
Where are we? Tonks panted in confusion, as Sirius pushed open yet another door. The Department of Mysteries was more confusing than any of them had ever imagined; but there were signs of struggles in some of the rooms, and many of the doors in the main entrance had been marked with fiery red crosses, most likely the work of Hermione. It was a reassuring sign that the children were still there, and putting up a fight.
I don't know, Sirius said, though he knew exactly where they were and what was going to happen. He felt like a puppet, being moved by another's will; it was as if something was pulling at him, drawing him back to the moment of his own death. He was totally powerless to resist; he just pushed open door after door, running through the rooms without sparing a glance around, until at last, he opened a door and found himself in a large amphitheater. The veil stood in the middle of the room, swaying slightly. Several Death Eaters were in the room, surrounding Harry and another boy, but their attention had been caught by the sound of the door bursting open.
Tonks sent a Stunning Spell past Sirius to where Lucius Malfoy stood, preparing to attack them. Down below, Harry had ducked out of the way and was crawling out of the battle, dragging along the other boy, whom Sirius recognised instantly as Neville, son of Frank and Alice Longbottom. A Death Eater lunged at Sirius, who whipped out his wand and sent a Stunner at him. The Death Eater reacted with a quick Shield Charm, and Sirius dove out of the way as his spell rebounded on him. Kingsley was battling two other Death Eaters at once; bright lights and loud bangs filled the air as the battle raged on. Sirius shook his hair out of his eyes, and hit his Death Eater with the Full Body-Bind. Panting, he looked Harry was raising his wand to defend himself from Antonin Dolohov. Sirius lunged forward, ramming Dolohov with his shoulder and knocking the man to the floor. Harry was up in an instant. Petrificus Totalus!
Dolohov fell to the floor, stiff as a board. Sirius turned to his godson. Nice one! he shouted, pulling Harry to the ground as a couple of Stunners zoomed over their heads. Now I want you to get out of -
He cut himself off as a jet of green light narrowly missed him; he was suddenly filled with dread. It was now or never... he was going to be killed by Bellatrix soon, he had to do something, anything, different... Tonks was on the ground, limp and still, and Bellatrix was approaching. Sirius got to his feet, feeling ill. Harry! Take the prophecy, grab Neville, and run! he shouted. He was unable to stop himself. His feet dragged him towards Bellatrix, his arm raised his wand on its own -
-And then Remus stepped between himself and his cousin, raising his wand to fight her.
Remmie, no! Sirius cried. It was all wrong - he was supposed to be dueling with Bellatrix, not Remus - what was going on? Why was it suddenly so different?
Dimly, Sirius heard Neville's voice behind him, crying, Dubbledore! DUBBLEDORE!! He paid no attention, his eyes locked on the battle before him. Bellatrix shot a jet of red light at Remus; Remus laughed. He suddenly looked ten years younger, transported by the excitement of the fight.
No, it wasn't right - it was supposed to be himself, not Remus -
Come on, you can do better than that! Remus taunted.
The second jet of light hit him squarely on the chest.
Sirius screamed, starting forward, hearing Harry hurrying beside him. Dumbledore was turning to see what was happening. Everything was moving horribly slow.
It seemed to take Remus an age to fall. His body curved in a graceful arc as he sank backward through the ragged veil hanging from the arch....
And Sirius saw the look of mingled fear and surprise on his mate's prematurely lined, once-cheerful face as he fell through the ancient doorway and disappeared behind the veil, which fluttered for a moment as though in a high wind and then fell back into place.
Bellatrix shrieked in triumph; Sirius felt as though he had been stabbed in the heart. He didn't stop running, opening his mouth to scream,
Harry had stopped, and was trembling. PROFESSOR LUPIN! he cried. SIRIUS! NO! Stop, Sirius - NO!
But Sirius couldn't stop. He dove through the veil, following his lover, intent upon bringing him back....
And he came flying out from behind the veil, landing painfully on the cold marble floor. He struggled to his feet quickly, ignoring the scrape on his elbow and hurrying around the arch.
The room was empty. There was no one there... no one. No Death Eaters, no Dumbledore, no Harry. No Remus. Sirius tried to catch his breath, clutching his wand tightly. He had gone through the veil... and had reappeared exactly in the same spot. He was in the Department of Mysteries after falling through the veil, instead of in a bed like all the other times. What did it all mean?
he said out loud. Paddy, what's going on?
No response. Sirius was momentarily confused. The dog had always appeared whenever he called its name... but...
Am I back home? Sirius whispered in disbelief. He had to be. Was it possible?
he shouted, louder. Paddy, answer me!
Still no answer. It had to be home. Sirius swallowed, raising a shaking hand to brush his hair out of his eyes. Home... or at least, almost home... he was still in the Department of Mysteries... he had to get out of here and back to Grimmauld Place... Remus needed him. Harry needed him.
It was easy to find his way out of the department; though the rest of the rooms had obviously been cleaned and repaired since the battle, the fiery crosses Hermione had inscribed on the doors still remained. Even so, it took Sirius twenty minutes to reach the lift in the corridor. However, it looked like luck was on his side - the Ministry was dark and deserted. Everyone must have already gone home for the night.
However, there would be a security guard in the Atrium. But Sirius had an idea, one that would help him escape and figure out if he had returned to his own reality or not. He took a deep breath, and muttered the Animagi spell.
It worked! He was a dog again, his sharp sense of smell picking up the powerful cologne of the night watchman. Sirius paused, blending in perfectly with the shadows as he emerged from the lift, ears cocked and tail wagging uncertainly. His toenails would click on the Atrium's hardwood floor if he tried to make a break for it. He would have to make a distraction to draw the watchman away from his post.
Swiftly, silently, he turned his attention to the doorway of the watchman's office. The watchman had his back turned at the moment as he surveyed the Atrium; Sirius' tail wagged. A precarious stack of unwashed soup bowls and spoons were stacked in a corner of the watchman's desk. A carpet runner covered the floor, making a neat path to the office (no doubt to muffle the watchman's footsteps as he snuck up on intruders). Sirius trotted into the office, sniffing around eagerly. He found what he was looking for under the desk; an extra shoe the watchman must have left behind one night. Sirius picked it up between his teeth, hid himself behind the open door, and took careful aim.
With a quick shake of his head, the old shoe flew straight into the pile of bowls. They teetered for a moment, and Sirius held his breath - what if it didn't work?
Then the bowls tumbled to the floor, smashing against the thin carpet. Spoons clattered; a voice shouted, Bloody hell! and footsteps approached.
The watchman looked around wildly; he swore at the sight of the smashed bowls and bent to pick them up. As soon as the man's back was turned, Sirius bolted.
He had to turn back into a man when he reached the fireplaces; he scooped up a handful of Floo Powder from the tall urn beside the hearth, praying the Floo Network was unobserved at the moment, and whispered, Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place!
He disappeared in a flash of green fire; he was spinning through fireplace after fireplace; and then he came tumbling out of his own fireplace in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place.
There was a scream and, for the second time in fifteen minutes, the sound of shattering dishes; Molly had been taken by surprise by his sudden appearance. Sirius got to his feet, taking off his sooty cloak and throwing it aside as Molly clutched at her chest.
The kitchen door opened; Hermione, Tonks, and the Weasley children had been attracted by Molly's screams. They stopped, dumbfounded, at the sight of the man standing before them, his palms bleeding from his landing on the rough floor.
Sirius - Molly met him as he started for the door, her face pale. She was shaking, almost ready to faint, and Sirius reached out to steady her.
It's really you - she clutched at him, her wide blue eyes fixed on his face. Sirius, you're alive... I can't believe it... oh, Lord...
I never wanted you to die! she sobbed. I know we don't get along very well, but I never wanted you to die! Sirius - I was so - oh, you're alive -
Molly! Molly - where's Remus?! Sirius asked urgently, as she sobbed on his shoulder.
She raised her wet face to look up at him. He's - he's upstairs in bed. He came over funny a few weeks ago, ill or something. He went straight to bed and stayed there all day. When I went to see how he was feeling, he looked worse... and he couldn't even move. It's been getting worse and worse.. he's been sick for at least three weeks. He's burning up... he can't eat... he can't even get out of bed... I think - I think he's dying, Sirius....
I've got to get to him, Sirius gasped, pulling himself from Molly's arms and dashing out of the kitchen, pushing past Hermione and the Weasleys. He thundered up the stairs, knocking over a vase and waking his mother's portrait, but he didn't even notice as she shrieked insults after him. He burst into the bedroom he shared with Remus, panting.
Remus was lying in bed, his eyes closed. He was motionless, and Sirius couldn't tell if he was even breathing. Harry was sitting beside the bed, holding Remus' hand. When the door opened, he looked up. Sirius saw his godson's red-rimmed eyes widen, and Harry started to rise from his seat. S- Sirius! You're - you're not - dead! I can't believe it, what -
I'm fine, Harry... I'll explain later... but Remus - is he still alive? Sirius whispered, crossing over to the bed and putting an arm around the teenager.
Just barely. Harry said softly. I don't know... I don't know if you can do anything for him, Sirius, but you've got to try!
Sirius sat down on the bed, leaning over and brushing Remus' greying hair away from his face. he said softly, trying to wake his mate. Remmie, wake up.
Remus didn't respond. Sirius swallowed hard as panic threatened to choke him. No... no, you can't die now, Remmie. I've tried so hard to get back here, to you... to Harry... you can't die... open your eyes, my love, please.... Tears fell, spotting the blankets, as Sirius continued to talk. Come on now, darling... I need you.. Harry needs you... Padfoot needs Moony. You've got to get up now.
Molly had appeared in the doorway, and was watching this scene and crying silently. Hermione, Tonks, and the Weasley children were there as well, all of them looking very upset. Ginny and Hermione were holding hands and fighting back tears.
Remmie... please. I can't lose you... I love you. Sirius whispered. He took Remus' hand. It was cold as ice, and Sirius rubbed it between his own hands to warm it. No, love, he said desperately. I fought so hard... you can't die now! Everything's supposed to be all right! We're finally back together... but if you die... Harry and I will be miserable for the rest of our lives! Remmie, come on!
Remus was still. Sirius' eyes widened, and he bowed his head and tried to keep himself focused. No... no... His tears sparkled in the lamplight as they fell on his mate's pale cheek.
He leaned down, and not knowing what else to do, kissed Remus softly on the lips.
The others held their breath, waiting for something to happen. Sirius watched his lover's face, hoping against hope that Remus would be okay. He had to be okay. Sirius had fought so hard to return to him. After all that... Remus just couldn't die. He had to be all right...
Remus' eyelids flickered. His eyes opened, lighting up when he saw who was hovering over him. Slowly, Remus raised a shaking hand to touch Sirius' cheek. he said hoarsely. Siri... it's really you, isn't it? I'm not dreaming, am I? I haven't died?
No, my love, Sirius said, unable to keep joyful tears from rolling down his cheeks. No, my love, my darling, my dearest - you're alive. You're not dreaming. It's really me. It's really Sirius.
Remus' fingers ran through his mate's long hair. It really is you.... He looked to his left, smiling. And Harry... oh, I love you both so much...
Sirius hugged his mate, reaching out to pull Harry into the embrace as well. God... I thought I'd never see either of you again, he murmured.
Hermione started forward, but Mrs. Weasley held her back. She shooed the children and Tonks out of the room before following, closing the door behind her after one last look at the trio on the bed. None of them noticed the departure of their audience, just continued to hold each other, taking comfort in the feel of each other's bodies.
Don't ever scare me like that again, Remmie, Sirius whispered, his hold tightening on his mate and his godson. He felt as if he could never get enough of hugging them.
You're one to talk, Remus murmured. You had us worried out of our minds.
You both had me worried out of my mind, Harry grumbled, making Sirius and Remus laugh softly. Sirius reached over to pull the blankets over himself and Harry. He felt exceedingly drowsy - not surprising, after what he had gone through that night. He couldn't express in words how glad he was to be with them once more.
Eventually, they dozed off - Sirius in the middle, Remus curled up on one side with his head on Sirius' chest, and Harry on the other side, one hand loosely entwined in Sirius' hair. It felt so good to be together after so long.
-The End -
-September 30, 2003 - October 16, 2004-
(A/N: Well, it's finally over (a year later!). Sirius has gone through adventure after adventure, and has made it home. Ahh. It's good to know he's back where he belongs. Now, if only J.K. Rowling would see it that way --!
By the way, Hairy Snout, Human Heart' is a real book - at least, it is in the wizarding world. It's mentioned in a footnote at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' (under the entry for werewolves, duh). Just thought I'd let you know that I didn't make it up on my own.
Time for credits. I have to thank the yummy snacks and drinks that kept me nourished as I slaved away at my keyboard. Major thanks to Ms. Rowling herself for creating these characters, and to my stereo for providing me with lots of music while I wrote. Thanks to Law & Order' and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' for keeping me amused while I struggled with writer's block! Thanks to my brand-new Hogwarts robes (okay, they're just a Halloween costume, but do you think I care?) for being comfy loungewear while I worked on this final chapter. But the most thanks goes out to everyone who has read and supported this story! Thank you so much, and please check out my other HP stories!)