Chapter 31- Epilogue
Passing out at one location and awakening in another can be a rather terrifying experience. Having no sense of time or space, I quickly began to panic thinking that I must have been abducted by Death Eaters because of the pain I felt in my scar just before I blacked out. All I remembered at that moment was that I was somehow connected to Voldemort once again. But when I noticed the crisp white sheets of the hospital bed I was lying on and the familiar surroundings of the infirmary, I knew that I was in no danger.
At first I couldn't comprehend what had happened or how I had arrived back at Hogwarts, but soon the flood of memories came back to me like a dam breaking.
A tattered veil billowing… four hands dripping with blood… a crimson red potion… a bright white light… my near hysterical guardian shouting for me…feeling enormously fatigued as my energy was drained… seeing Sirius's face for the first time in nearly a year…Voldemort laughing at his success….
Hot tears flooded down my face as I remembered what had occurred in the temple. For some reason, I was under the impression I had done something wrong and Sirius had died. Why couldn't I feel his presence anymore? I thought for sure that I was somehow a failure and it was more than I could bear.
Thankfully, Draco was by my side, waiting anxiously for me to wake up. I had been unconscious for nearly three days and he was beside himself with worry. I was greeted with a flurry of kisses all over my face and swept up into his warm embrace. I loved the way that he made me feel, but he could tell that it was a little overwhelming for me as well. He gave me some room and sat down beside me, inquiring about my health. My head still ached something fierce, and Madam Pomfrey gave me a migraine potion to dull the pain. I was also extremely weak after depleting my magical reserves, which explained my extended stay in the infirmary.
Remus was no where to be seen, and Draco didn't elaborate at first why. All he said about my guardian was that he kept coming to check on me, but that he had other business to attend to. Ron and Hermione had been waiting for me to wake up as well, but after being scolded by the school nurse about not sleeping or eating while they waited, they finally relented and headed off to the Great Hall. Jinx had been by my side during most of my hospital stay as well, but she soon discovered a new friend and forgot all about me. Apparently Crookshanks and Jinx were last seen chasing mice in some dusty corner of the castle. Draco made it clear that nothing could have dragged him from my bed side, not even that overbearing nurse.
I smiled. God I love him…
After Draco confirmed that I was alright, he began to explain everything that had transpired after I fainted. I was first scolded repeatedly for doing something so dangerous as to perform an energy draining spell without informing them as to what the consequences would be. I knew Draco meant well, but there would have been no other way to bring Sirius back. Telling anyone about what I had to do would have only complicated matters greatly.
Remus's recovery from the battle was coming along smoothly until he learned what I had done. He had just moved down to private rooms after leaving the hospital ward when he received the letter from Hedwig. Just as we planned, the letter arrived to him approximately 24 hours after we had left when the time lock in the Owlery was released.
Realizing what we were going to do, Remus spoke to Madam Pince and figured out where we had gone. The poor witch was surprised to learn that she had unwittingly been involved in such an escapade. Knowing that Snape would be concerned about his own godson, he asked him to follow along. They apparated to Donn Island after using many Point-Me spells and charms that detected magical signatures, only to find me in the midst of resurrecting Sirius.
Realizing that Sirius and I were not out of the woods, Snape created a portkey and brought us all back to Hogsmeade. I guess portkeys were similar to apparating in the sense that they could not get past the wards at Hogwarts. Draco said that both Sirius and I were still unconscious and that we needed to be moved. Snape cast a spell on Sirius and brought him up to the castle, muttering something about "a mangy mutt."
For some reason Remus refused to use a levitation spell to bring me back to the castle, and carried me back instead. Madame Pomfrey had been horrified to see that he had inadvertently aggravated the wound on his side. He was ordered to go straight to bed, but he promptly ignored her.
Draco then explained that Sirius was alive and even awake! I was so excited that I jumped out of bed and began to search for the nurse so that I could see him. Remus, who appeared from behind a closed door, quickly caught me and pulled me into a hug. He told me that he loved me and that he was glad I was okay, but I couldn't see Sirius yet. I tried arguing. I tried yelling until I was blue in the face. But I knew from the look on Remus had given me that it was no use. He wouldn't budge on this one.
I soon joined my friends in our dormitory to find everyone anxious about my return. Rumor had spread around the school about our antics and we were something a legend. Too bad no one knew the truth about what we had done. The four of us had agreed to keep what happened private. Most of what the students gossiped about was hearsay… some even believed that we had fought against Death Eaters and won… I ignored them all and tried to go about my business as casually as normal. I attended classes but didn't put forth any effort into any of my work. Oddly, the professors didn't seem to care. In fact, they understood the emotional strain I had been under and cut me some slack.
The defense training that I had begged Remus and Dumbledore for was postponed until the summer in light of what had happened. I was thankful because my heart really wasn't in it at the moment… as bad as that sounds. I'm supposed to be the "savior-of-the-wizarding-world" and I can't find the motivation to even start training. I had too much to think about…
It was rather hard to act normally when I was so worried about Sirius. I had a lot to deal with and I struggled with the need to cut to get through it all. The fact that I had to also deal with Voldemort again weighed heavily on my mind.
Strangely, I knew almost immediately after waking up that the metaphysical connection I had with Sirius had been severed. I could feel his absence somehow in my head, only to be replaced with something else. It was rather disturbing for some reason. I had almost become accustomed to the dreams about his memories. Now my sleep has been dreamless. It took a lot of reassuring to convince me that he was truly alive and that the spell and potion I used had worked. A part of me thought that he might have died and nobody wanted to tell me.
Snape explained to me after Potions class one day and explained that he had done some thinking and that he thinks that the Dark Lord may have been quite troubled that he no longer felt a connection to the Boy-Who-Lived. He believed that the Voldemort could have been trying to figure out why the connection was severed for a long time now. It was probably only by chance that he sought out my mind just as the connection between me and Sirius had diminished.
It scared me to think about what this renewed connection may mean. In the past I felt guilty when the link was broken because it meant that I could no longer warn the Order of the Phoenix of Voldemort's plans. Now I am terrified that I will start having those visions again.
Life can be utterly cruel sometimes.
I still wasn't allowed to see Sirius until nearly a week after I awoke. I didn't understand why at the time and I fought with Dumbledore and Remus about it constantly.
I finally figured out that they were keeping Sirius in a private room behind the infirmary. I even snuck out of bed one night and tried to see him, only to find a complicated lock on the door that I could not break. I was devastated.
They said that I would understand in time… and indeed I did.
There is that old saying, "Be careful what you wish for…."
Now I know what they mean. Remus had tried to explain to me once that bringing Sirius back could come with complications. I never understood what he meant until I was finally allowed to see my godfather in that locked room.
Remus tried to warn me about his condition, but I barely listened because I was so excited to see my godfather alive once again. I don't think anything could have prepared me for what I saw when we walked through the door. I held my breath.
There he was. Alive in the flesh. Standing before me.
I let my breath out slowly in relief. I had been told that Sirius was still extremely weak and disoriented from his ordeal, but he looked rather healthy considering everything he had been through.
Appearances can be deceiving.
I knew instantly that something wasn't right with him when I saw him for the first time in that private hospital room. He looked like a caged animal, pacing about the small room incessantly. I tried to talk to him, but he ignored me entirely. He didn't seem able to focus on anyone or anything for very long. Apparently his mind was still trapped inside the horrific memories he had to endure while in Limbo.
It was scary to say the least.
I tried to spend time with him over the next few days, but nothing seemed to bring him out of his shell. Sometimes he would talk to someone that wasn't really there; other times he acted out what was happening in whatever memory he was currently lost in. I wondered if he may be hallucinating and having nightmares like I did, but there wasn't any way to find out.
Remus believed that his mind may be having difficulty switching "gears," meaning he was in Limbo for so long that his subconscious is controlling his actions rather than his conscious mind. He wasn't insane… not in the technical sense.
Sirius wouldn't talk to anyone but himself, at least not directly. He had many visitors. Each one attempted to make him understand what had happened to him. Snape, much to his own pleasure, was even asked to try to get a rise out of him.
No one had any success.
Remus and I had tried to assure him that he was okay and that he wouldn't be hurt by anyone. But he snapped at anyone that came near him shouting that he was innocent and that the 'rat-bastard' was going to pay for betraying them all. Completely unaware of his surroundings, Sirius thought he was still imprisoned in Azkaban most of the time. It was as if his eyes could see what was before him, but his mind couldn't comprehend the truth.
He did have some rare moments of lucidity, when his pale blue eyes would connect with someone that he knew. The torment behind their watery depths illustrated just how much he was still suffering. Those fleeting moments were few and far between.
I can't decide yet if what I did was right. At the time I knew with certainty that bringing him back was something I had to do… but now… I'm not so sure. Maybe it was crueler to bring him into a world that he was no longer capable of understanding. Maybe I should have helped guide him onto the otherworld, like Donn did for so many lost souls so long ago.
I didn't understand what was happening to him. Remus, who had spent a lot of time trying to reconnect with his old friend, finally admitted that Sirius needed help that he simply couldn't provide. His mental incapacity far out reached his limited experience as a healer.
He had made some progress, but not enough that he could be self-sufficient. After a couple of weeks it was decided that he would be placed in the mental ward at St. Mungo's hospital in hopes that the healers there could help bring Sirius back to reality. They had spells, charms, and therapies that could help restore his memory and rehabilitate him back into wizarding society. Dumbledore also felt that Sirius would feel less pressure about getting better without all of his friends around.
I was against the whole thing completely. I felt strongly that he would be better off around those he loved. What I didn't understand was how dangerous it could be for the rest of us. I learned my lesson… painfully…
On the Friday before school let out, I went to visit my godfather one last time. He was in the midst of some violent memory and I unknowingly got in the way when I tried to help. Not realizing what he was doing, Sirius shoved me roughly into the wall.
I was utterly terrified.
Thankfully, Remus had followed me into the room and saw what was happening. If he hadn't gotten me out of there when he did, I'm not sure what would have happened. I agreed then that his stay at St. Mungo's would probably be for the best.
It was painful to say goodbye. I felt like I had done something wrong.
I was able to finish the year with fairly high marks, despite my recent absence and lack of care towards my school work. Apparently, all those previous months of studying to ward off the depression had finally paid off.
The only thing that seemed to lift my spirits was spending time with Draco and flying. The Gryffindor team practiced nearly every day and we won our final Quidditch match, sweeping the rest of the houses by claiming four consecutive victories this year. Unfortunately, all our hard work was for naught.
The House Cup, however, went to Ravenclaw this year. Being the clever bunch that they are, they earned many points this year for all their hard work academically. It would have been given to Gryffindor if its house members hadn't had so many points taken away. It seems that the Gryffs were beginning to have a reputation as troublemakers. Fred and George had paved the way for many other house members to learn the joys of pranking others.
The school year soon came to a close, and I found myself excited for once about the Leaving Feast. Usually I looked toward this event with trepidation because it meant that I would soon be leaving for the Dursleys. This year I was going home with my guardian… Remus.
I also looked forward to the moment that Sirius would come to stay with us at Villa de Luna with much anticipation. We had all agreed that staying at Grimmauld Placewould only reverse any progress Sirius was making, so he was going to stay with us.
Besides the Weasleys had decided to stay there, and they had even invited Draco to join them seeing that he had no place to go. Dumbledore readily agreed and made sure that the floo at Villa de Luna was now connected to Black Manor in addition to Hogwarts. For the first time ever, I was going to be able to see my friends, and boyfriend, on a regular basis. I could even have friends over to my house!
My house… that's something I'm still trying to get used to.
Thankfully, the Ministry wasn't giving us any problems in regards to Sirius and his criminal record. Because Remus had captured Peter during the battle at Dartmoor, Sirius was now a free man. Well, he will be free once he is released from the hospital. Peter was interrogated under Veritaserum and the Ministry determined that Sirius Black and had been wrongfully accused. He was given a full pardon. Pettigrew, however, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering those Muggles all those years ago and for his allegiance to Voldemort.
The traitor is finally getting what he deserves… the rat bastard! I hope the Dementors torture him mercilessly.
For the first time in my life I am going to have a real family to go home to. I now have two father figures to look out for me. And I'm reasonably sure neither would ever harm me directly… well I know Remus would never… I'm somewhat afraid of Sirius now… especially after what happened. I'll just have to learn how to deal with it like I do with everything else. What's the worse that could happen?
Little did I know just how complicated things would become…
A/N: Wow! That was a lot shorter than most of my chapters. Sorry to end the story there. I know many of you expected to see more of Sirius in this chapter, but in my mind this story (plot) is completed. The next phase of Harry's life is just beginning. Here is a little summary of the sequel to this story and what will be the final installment in the "Soul Mate Series"
Somewhere I Belong:
This story will be written from the perspectives of both Harry and Draco!
Draco is saddened when he cannot stay with his godfather over the holidays because it is still too dangerous. The Death Eaters learned Snape was a spy during his sixth year and Snape Manor is under constant surveillance. Instead he is asked by the Weasleys stay with them again, only this time at Number 12 Grimmauld Place. The Burrow no longer feels safe after the attack during Christmas. Since it is still the Order's headquarters Draco is relieved because he will still be able to see Severus. With the help of Harry, Jinx, and the Weasleys, Draco strives to be a better person and put his past behind him. Will all his hard work be jeopardized when a mysterious family member arrives at their front door and questions his choices?
Meanwhile, Harry returns home to Villa de Luna with Remus. They are soon joined by Sirius, who has been recovering in St. Mungo's, because he doesn't want to return to his "mother's" house if at all possible. Harry desperately longs for a "normal" life and is apprehensive about telling Sirius about everything that has happened to him in the last year, much to Remus's dismay. Their therapy sessions continue in secret and Sirius is starting to question why Harry is living with Remus instead of the Dursleys. Harry also begins training to defend himself against Voldemort. The situation is awkward to say the least. How will the three men adjust to living with one another when there are so many things left unsaid? What will happen when Sirius discovers Harry's many secrets? And how will Harry's renewed connection to Voldemort affect the situation?
Many thanks to all my faithful reviewers!