Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, events and/or places that are recognized as being written and created by J.K. Rowling. J.K. Rowling owns all the characters and places from the Harry Potter books including the ones used in this story.
A/N: First before I say anything I want to wish a very very happy birthday to my favorite werewolf, DADA teacher, and man: REMUS JOHN LUPIN! JK has that today (March 10) is Remus's birthday...so, Happy Birthday Remus! Muah!
Ok, I just blew a kiss to a fictional character...moving on.This is the last chapter for Love Bites. It was getting kind of long and I didn't want to run out of story. I've left it kind of open ended, so if I wanted to revisit Clea's story I can. But we all know what happens in OOTP...and I refuse to acknowledge those last chapters. Thank you to everyone who has read this mammoth of a story and enjoyed it. I am working on a new MWPP era fic about my Moony, with no OC...so look for that. Thanks again!
Hogwarts doors are thick. That's what Clea kept telling herself. They are made of the hardest, most durable wood that can be found in the Forbidden Forest.
That's why she's been sitting there, still, for the past eight hours without one person coming to help her. No one can here the constant, steady knocking through the impenetrable, sound proof door of Remus's office; that has to be the reason.
There's not something more important happening out there. Nope. Remus is not a werewolf, Peter is dead, and Sirius is still in Azkaban. Everything is normal; except for the miniscule mishap of Snape locking her in Remus's office.
Someone will snap into realization soon, and rush to come find her. They're probably all having tea and those pretty floral, mini cakes, and laughing at a joke that Dumbledore made. Yep; everything is normal.
At least that's what Clea keeps telling herself.
The howls died out a long time ago. Clea had moved to the doorway, desperate to make someone aware that she was in there; her hand not pausing in its constant knocking rhythm.
She never looked at the map again, since Remus pointed out Peter's feet. She couldn't physically get herself to look at it. Her eyes would blur, her skull pound whenever she glanced at the faded parchment, lying innocently on the desk.
Her brain knew. Her brain knew that she wouldn't be able to handle seeing someone's name disappearing from the map, from existence all together.
She would rather not know what was really going on.
Subconsciously, deep down in the depths of her inner mind, she hoped that no one would come find her, and deliver her news she never wants to hear. Yes, she'd rather stay in Remus's office, crouched on the dusty floor, than face what was happening on the other side.
Yet she continued to knock.
Even as her eyelids drooped, and she fell in and out of a catatonic state, she continued to knock on the door. Until she came crashing back to reality when her skull smacked the floorboards out in the hallway.
Clea looked up, squinting her eyes to see past the small stars that were popping in front of her, and saw the stretched, tired face of Remus peering down at her through half-lidded eyes.
"Remus," Clea exhaled.
Remus bent down and grasped Clea's hands, pulling her up to her feet. He wrapped her arms around his torso, before he threw his own arms desperately around her.
"Sirius," he whispered, his voice cracking slightly, but it rang in Clea's ear nonetheless, sending vibrations down her spine. "The Dementors."
Clea squeaked, and Remus knew that that was all he had to say.
"He got away Clea," Remus whispered frantically, burying his face into her ruffled hair. "If I…I forgot to take-"
"Shh!" Clea tightened her grip around Remus' waist. "I know; I heard. Severus locked me in your office…with your wolfs-"
"Severus…this isn't his fault, but, if he didn't show up and attack us-"
"He attacked you?"
"He's the one that captured Sirius…brought him to the Dementors."
Clea sighed. "Remus, I'm so sorry."
"You did nothing wrong, Clea," Remus said, his voice wavering between calm and manic.
"Is Harry all right?" she asked, almost choking on Harry's name.
"Yes, yes," Remus said, pulling back from Clea. "He knows everything now. Clea I think I need to go talk to Dumbledore."
"I'm coming with you."
"Clea…" Remus started, shaking his head.
"Please?" Clea spoke up, grabbing Remus's shoulders. "First of all, I've been locked in this room for way too long; and second…I need, I need to see him. Sirius. Even if he can't or…or doesn't…respond to me."
Remus stared at Clea for infinity; reading her pacing pupils, and trying to organize the haze of thoughts coursing through his painfully tired, pounding brain.
One more second of piercing silence, and Clea was positive that she would faint, cry, or scream; if not all three.
Finally, Remus nodded slowly, and grasped Clea's wrist.
She was shaking; from the clipped, paint-chipped nails on her toes, to the tiny strands of dark follicles pointing up straight from her scalp. Everything shook with anguished nervousness.
They took each step of the long staircase together. Like one unit, side by side, both feeling like the world was crashing. The only sound between them was the pulsing thump of their hearts.
It was so close, Clea kept thinking. Everything was so close to being fixed.
Remus whispered to her everything that happened, as they descended the stairs. He told her that Peter became the secret keeper. That Peter was the one. That Sirius was innocent. Clea did her best not to gloat, which was really easy given the fact that none of what happened mattered anyways.
Things were fine; things were the way they were supposed to be for a moment. A brief moment that Clea wasn't even a part of; and she'll never forgive Snape.
Speaking of the potions master himself, Clea and Remus came one more step closer to the bottom floor, when she saw him.
Snape paced the Hall, looking disgruntled and suicidal; but Clea could only wish.
Remus began to turn away, facing the hallway that led to Dumbledore's office, but Clea froze. She didn't budge, hardly breathed, and glared unemotionally at Snape.
Snape stopped pacing and stared right back at her. And everything they ever shared, every meaningful glance, every important conversation, every strangled, but electrifying, kiss meant nothing to her. She held on tighter to Remus's hand, and walked away.
"It wasn't his fault, Clea," Remus whispered gently.
Clea refused to look back over her shoulder at Snape, who, she could feel, was burning a hole through the back of her head.
"Remus," Clea began. "You're too forgiving."
The stone wings of the phoenix statue perched directly outside of the entrance into Dumbledore's office, slowly moved into focus as Remus and Clea moved closer.
Suddenly, the gray bird shifted and seconds later, Dumbledore appeared at the bottom of the risen staircase.
"Hello," he called, in his clear, striking voice.
Remus and Clea said nothing. They stood blank faced in front of him. Clea couldn't help but feel completely dwarfed by his long shadow.
Dumbledore stepped closer to Clea and took her face in his hands. Clea's eyes couldn't hide the explosive tears that were hanging on with everything they had.
"He's all right," Dumbledore whispered, his eyes sparkling.
Clea choked on the burning lump that had developed in the back of her throat. She barely processed those words, before Dumbledore led her, and a very confused Remus, up to his office.
Once they were sitting, Dumbledore quickly told them the details of Sirius's escape.
"But…Headmaster," Clea staggered. "I saw Peter…on the map…I know it wasn't with my own eyes, but…they wouldn't believe me?"
Dumbledore shook his head, solemnly. "Cleopatra, you didn't witness anything, due to the circumstances which have been discussed in great detail with Severus. However, even if you had seen Pettigrew, with your own eyes, I'm afraid the fact that-"
"I'm Sirius's sister," Clea said.
"No," Remus blurted out. "You're my girlfriend."
"That doesn't matter," Clea whispered, on the brink of emotional insanity.
"It does to a lot of people, Cleopatra," Dumbledore said. "The minister being one of them, unfortunately."
Clea sighed. She stretched her arm out to the side, and brushed her fingers softly over Remus's hot, worn skin.
"All is not lost, Cleopatra," Dumbledore continued. "I would assume that Sirius might become very upset if he doesn't hear from his sister within the next hour or two."
"What?" Clea asked, confusion mingling inside of every wrinkle on her forehead. "I…I can write him?" Clea's eyes lit up with hope, and expectancy.
"Make it fast, and short," Dumbledore said. "I suspect you'll be seeing him sooner than you think."
Clea sprang to her feet. The meaning of Dumbledore's last statement lost in her pulsing head. She could write to Sirius. She could get something back from Sirius in Sirius's own handwriting. She wanted to squeal, she wanted to jump, she wanted to run around the desk and stab her tongue down the headmaster's throat; kissing him was the only thing worthy enough to show him how much she worshipped his existence at the moment.
Something deep inside of her, however, restrained her actions. She planted a sweet, swift kiss on Remus's forehead and skipped towards the door.
"Remus?" she said, turning back to face him.
"Remus and I need to talk in private," Dumbledore answered for him. He nodded for Clea to leave, but Remus wouldn't turn around.
Clea sped down Dumbledore's staircase, and up the Grand Stairs, not stopping until she was ankle deep in hay and owl droppings.
"Caesar!" she called. The small, gold owl flew down to her and perched itself on a table near by.
Clea sat down, and grabbed the piece of parchment and quill that were lying there. She quickly brought the tip of the quill down to the paper, but froze.
What could she say? She couldn't possibly address it to Sirius Black; what if someone intercepted it?
There was so much she wanted to say that it all became one big blob in her mind. She was happy for him. She was upset that he still had to be on the run. She wanted to hear his voice. She wanted him to tell her everything. She wanted to hear him say he was sorry. She wanted to tell him that she loved him. But, more importantly, she wanted to tell him that…
I miss you.
Clea drew a flourished line under 'miss' and rolled the parchment up. She tied it to Caesar's leg.
"This goes to Sirius," she whispered to the bird. "I don't know where he is." Caesar hooted, nipped Clea gently on the cheek, and flew out the very top window.
There was nothing to do now but wait. Wait and hope that Caesar found Sirius and returned home safely.
Clea checked her watch. If she hurried she would be able to catch the very end of breakfast.
Walking into the Great Hall, Clea wilted slightly when she scanned the professor's table and didn't see Remus sitting there.
The noise in the room was close to deafening, an oddity for the morning meal. Usually, during breakfast, there was only a low rumble of voices as still half a sleep students and exhausted professors sat in near comatose stances, barely comprehending anything and devouring every morsel put in front of them.
Going around the other side of the table, Clea took a seat in between a fuming McGonagall, a melancholy Hagrid, and as far away as presently possible from an oddly smug looking Snape.
"What's going on?" Clea asked McGonagall. McGonagall turned sullenly to Clea and shook her head.
"You missed it," she sighed. She put her hand on Clea's shoulder. "Severus….Severus made an announcement to the Slytherins this morning…but it was loud enough for almost everyone to hear too."
Clea swallowed. "What did he tell them, Minerva?"
"That…that…" McGonagall looked to Hagrid with pleading eyes. "That Remus is a werewolf."
"What?" Clea screamed. Her voice echoed loudly over all the yelling from the students.
McGonagall nodded. "He…Remus…he's resigned."
Clea stared straight ahead, letting McGonagall's words process in her tired brain. "What?" she whispered, voice cracking.
"Dumbledore came and informed us, mere moments ago, that Remus heard what happened and that he has resigned his position. Effective immediately."
"I'm sorry, Cleopatra. He's leaving."
Clea sprang from her seat. She ripped her pumps off; dropping them under her chair, before she sped, bare foot, down the Great Hall and out its doors.
She careened around the stairs, abruptly stopping as something caught her eye.
Outside the grand doorway of Hogwarts, stood an empty carriage, driven by an invisible being; she knew immediately why that was there. Clea walked slowly towards the doors, scraping her feet against the stone floor, until she stood an inch from the carriage.
She sat down on the step stool that hung below the entrance into the carriage, and waited. Clea laughed slightly to herself; waiting has suddenly become her new pastime.
Soft footsteps came closer to her ears. Clea stood up, eyes locked on the door.
Remus stepped into the daylight, sun rays pouncing onto his pale stringy skin. He carried his tattered briefcase over to the carriage, and reaching over Clea's shoulder, he placed it inside.
Clea brought her hand up, cupping Remus's cheek. Remus sighed, letting his head fall into her hand.
"Don't leave," Clea whispered, on the cusp of sobbing.
Remus brought his own hand up to Clea's and dragged his fingers in between hers; picking up her sweat and scent. His hand traveled the length of her tensing arm before it fell to her waist.
"Please, don't go…?" Clea tried again, moving her thumb gently over one of the smaller scars on Remus's face.
"The owls will be coming, Clea," Remus said, his breath staggering. He dropped his head forward against Clea's. "They'll make me leave; it's better if I go on my own terms."
Clea nuzzled her nose against Remus'. She brought her other hand up to his face, and pulled back to look directly at him.
"Remus," Clea began. "I'm sorry-"
"No, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for not thanking God, or Merlin, or whoever it was that brought you back to me; I probably should thank Dumbledore come to think of it. I'm sorry, though, that I wasted time being petty and stupid and selfish, so selfish. And I'm sorry that when you didn't let me jump back into your arms…I turned to someone who would. I'm so sorry, Remus. I love you. And I don't want you to go."
Remus bent his head down, and kissed Clea softly on the corner of her mouth. The two moved their heads, so that at the next kiss their mouths locked together in perfectness.
Remus drew Clea as close to him as possible, never pausing in his conquest of her lips. Clea moaned in the back of her scratchy throat, and clung to Remus, wrapping her arms tightly around him.
Finally pulling away from her, Remus panted slightly and dropped his hands from Clea's face. "I have to go," he whispered, running his fingers through his hair.
Clea nodded and kissed Remus one last time. Ripping away from her mouth, Remus climbed inside the carriage. "As soon as I arrive at where I'm going, I'll owl you. I promise."
Clea furrowed her eyebrows. A voice in her head told her that Remus was not just going somewhere, but he was going to see someone. She stepped back from the carriage, and waved gently at him.
"I love you," he said, before he was carried off down the path, and away from the castle.
Clea watched the small carriage melt into the horizon. She felt cold even as the sun's scorching fingers reached out to her skin.
She turned and made her way back into Hogwarts. There was only a week left, but Clea was sure that it would stretch like another century alone.
Classes were done, so students were allowed to enjoy themselves and have a little fun.
Clea slithered around a bouncing swarm of first years and was about to return to her office, when she spotted a head of familiar messy, black hair descending the stairs looking rather miserable. Harry's friend Hermione trailed behind him and Clea, remembering everything Dumbledore told her, felt the overwhelming urge to praise the two for their existence.
Instead she simply called them over to the side of the hall and pulled them each into rib splitting embraces.
Hermione giggled, making Clea wonder if Hermione knew why she and Harry were being attacked with affection.
Clea rocked Harry back and forth. "Thank you," she murmured repeatedly.
Pulling back from him, Clea laughed gently at the look of confusion on Harry's face. His glasses were dangerously close to plummeting to the ground, making him appear even more lost.
"I'm Sirius's sister, Harry," Clea whispered, reaching out to fix Harry's glasses. "Cleopatra Black."
"You're Sirius's sister?" Harry asked, stepping back from her.
Clea nodded as she turned slightly towards the beaming face of Hermione Granger. "Did you know this all ready?" she asked.
Hermione blushed crimson and nodded. "I knew something was off when I heard your name," Hermione started. "Clea Patra? Replace the 'a' with an 'o' and…it sounded fake." Hermione paused and gulped. Clea could tell that Hermione didn't like being a know-it-all, but she couldn't help it. "I also saw you starring at a picture of Sirius from the Prophet, when I went to see you in your office once."
Clea smiled, and patted Hermione's head.
"But, why are you thanking us?" Harry asked, a dark look taking over his eyes.
"Because he's free, Harry! He might not be able to walk into this room right now, but the truth is out to those that matter and…he's free."
Clea grabbed Harry's chin and lifted his face up to look at her; seeing those familiar green eyes made her smile solemnly.
"Um, Professor um-"
"Clea is fine, Harry."
"Clea…if you're Sirius's sister and he's my Godfa-"
Clea shook her head, stopping Harry's voice. She knew what he was asking. "No, Harry, I'm not your Godmother. Just your friend."
Clea walked with Harry and Hermione around the grounds for a while, just talking. About Lily, about Clea, about anything Harry needed to know. Mostly they just got to know each other, which was something that made Clea's sad heart feel ten times better.
Slowly the last day of classes came. Clea sent out two more owls to Remus, even though she had no idea where he possibly could be. Sighing as she packed her bags, Clea made one more sweep around her room to make sure that every window was open.
Still no owl came.
The clock was moving closer and closer to the time when she would have to leave Hogwarts. Clea sat in the middle of her now empty office, still waiting for a response from Remus. She kept ignoring the fact that he hasn't written to her once since he left. It was only a week, but it was a long week.
A knock at Clea's door made her jump with excitement and run to answer it. Standing on the other side was the large form of Dumbledore, who smiled knowingly at her.
"May I come in?" he asked. Clea nodded heartily, and moved to the side. "All packed I see?" he continued.
"Yes…I'm just, waiting," Clea whispered.
"Cleopatra, I have a favor to ask you." Dumbledore sat down on the purple couch in Clea's office and patted the cushion for her to join him. Clea smiled, even though her eyes weren't in it.
"There is a boy," Dumbledore went on. "Who needs some help this summer."
"Harry?" Clea asked, confused. Harry was the first person to pop into her head.
"No," Dumbledore dismissed her. "His name is Jonathon." Clea nodded, and got ready all the ways in which to say no to Dumbledore, without feeling horrible afterwards. Clea wanted to go find Remus this summer, not help out some stranger; she shuttered at her own thoughts, but couldn't hide the truth.
"Jonathon is failing all of his subjects. He just needs someone nice and understanding to help him out for a little while."
Clea swallowed. "I would love to, Headmaster, but…aren't you much more experienced for this job than I am?"
Dumbledore smirked. "Thank you, Cleopatra; but, I'm afraid I might be a tad to intimidating for this young man. You would cause less attention as well."
Clea looked down at her twisting fingers. "Headma…Albus, I, um, I-" Clea looked up into Dumbledore's piercing eyes and blinked. "Where does Jonathon live? I'll go straight to his house tonight."
"You can leave now," Dumbledore said, standing up and pulling a chipped white coffee mug from his robes. He set the mug on Clea's desk, and touched it with his wand.
Clea looked at the mug hesitantly. She really was hoping that Dumbledore would have sent her by carriage or floo; at least she'd be able to fake her departure that way.
"You will only have to stay there for at least one night," Dumbledore said, motioning for Clea to join him over by the desk. "Then you are free to leave, if you choose."
I've all ready chosen, Clea thought, standing up and walking over to Dumbledore.
"Thank you, Cleopatra," Dumbledore whispered. He grabbed Clea's hand as she reached out to touch the mug. "Thank you for helping me out this year. I hope you'll return to us again…?"
Clea smiled and nodded. "Of course I will. Thank you, for everything."
Dumbledore squeezed Clea's hand and dropped it. "Now off you go."
"Headmaster," Clea called as she wrapped her fingers around the mug. "Is this, Jonathon, not that it matters, but is he muggle-born? Half-blood?"
"Half-breed," Dumbledore supplied.
"Half-breed?" Clea said, before she was yanked by the navel to her destination.
Clea landed with a fumble and stood for a moment, straightening her robes out. In front of her was a brown brick cottage, small on the outside, but the numerous windows, Clea assumed the house hid many rooms inside. It was completely surrounded by a thick forest, leading Clea to believe that other civilization may be miles away.
Remus is a half-bre…but this boy might be half Basilisk for all I know, Clea thought, her mind reversing back to what Dumbledore said before she left.
Clea pulled at her hair and refused to move. Finally exhaling deeply, Clea moved towards the small brick cottage in front of her. "Cleopatra, you are not your mother! You don't discriminate."
Marching up the small rocky path, Clea suddenly noticed the stack of various boxes and objects on the front porch of the small house. She panicked for a second, remembering that her own boxes and suitcases were left behind at Hogwarts.
Clea knocked hard on the door, and tried to ignore that the sofa chair next to her, which was partially covered in a thick beige cloth, looked an awful lot like the one she had back home in Paris.
The overwhelming desire to turn around and run away started to take her over. Clea turned slightly, but it was too late; the gold door knob turned and slowly opened.
Someone's eye, someone's tired, baggy grey eye peered out of the tiniest crack. Clea's breath caught in her throat, before she was pulled inside the house and into the arms of her brother.
"Hello, Clea," Sirius whispered, cupping Clea's cheeks in his hands.
Clea stared at his face, which appeared to be freshly shaven and ridden of the thirteen years of dirt and tears that were previously stained there.
"Siri…" Clea's voice fell. She swallowed the lump in her throat and threw herself at Sirius, knocking them both to the ground. "Oh, Sirius. I can't even believe that you're here!"
Sirius squeezed his sister close to him, and the two could have stayed in the tight embrace for all of eternity. Clea didn't want to let him go, she didn't want him to disappear again.
"Have you been all right, Clea?" Sirius asked, sitting up and pulling Clea with him.
"As all right as I could be, Sirius; considering." Clea let go of Sirius and stood up. She smiled at him as he followed her, smoothing his robes out over his shoulders. "I have so much to talk about with you," she whispered. "Are you staying here all summer? Are you Jonathon?"
Sirius laughed, and grabbed Clea's face once more. "That depends on the Dementors…and no. But, I have so much to talk about with you too; I've missed my ickle baby sister."
Clea giggled, and moved Sirius's hand away from her face. She stuck her fingers in between his, noticing how boney, and thin they were.
Sirius appeared so different to her. His handsome face was stretched and seemed to have aged a bit more than it should have. But his eyes. His eyes still held that glimmer of mischievous life, and that's what made Clea sure that her brother was still there, and all right.
"Actually, will you answer one very important question for me? Right now?" Sirius asked his face dropping from the previous wide smile.
Clea frowned nervously at Sirius's sudden anxiousness. "Of course, Sirius; what is it?"
"Why, in all that is sacred, would you kiss Snivellus?"
Clea pursed her lips and dropped Sirius's hands, shaking her head.
"No, I want to know!" Clea burst out laughing, and pushed Sirius away, who was maintaining his serious disposition. "What, I'm gone and you lose your mind?"
"Sirius!" Clea shouted all though she was laughing hard.
"Padfoot, don't interrogate your sister two minutes after you've reunited with her."
Clea spun around, and her eyes met Remus, who was standing in the cottage's rather large family room.
"You're Jonathon," Clea exclaimed. Remus nodded, and smiled.
"We tricked you," Sirius said, wrapping his arms around Clea's shoulders. "You're so gullible."
"And you smell," Clea responded wrinkling her nose up. "Like a…"
"Hippogriff," Sirius supplied. "Buckbeak is in the basement. I would just avoid that area all together, if I were you."
Clea raised her eyebrows in agreement, and turned her head towards Remus again. Clea missed her brother so much it hurt, but right now, she couldn't help but wish that Remus had his arms around her instead.
Something tiny grey flew past Remus's head and circled Sirius and Clea. "What is that?" she screamed, shrinking against Sirius's chest.
"A gift," Sirius said, shooing the owl away. "For Ronald Weasley; since I…kind of...made him lose his pet."
Clea laughed and ruffled Sirius's perfectly straight hair. "How sweet! You're probably the nicest escaped convict to ever exist."
Sirius smiled and laughed. "Well," he said letting go of Clea. "I have a letter to write to my Godson, and I think Remus needs a right old snog from his girlfriend. So, Clea," Sirius paused, and kissed his giggling sister gently on the cheek; "as soon as I am done…"
"I want to hear everything, Sirius. I've missed your voice…and I love you."
"Love you too, Clea." Sirius said. "You too, Moony," he added, with a wink before he climbed the stairs up into the top half of the cottage.
"He's a little giddy," Remus said. "But, that's to be expected."
"How long will he be here?"
"As long as possible; if there is even mention that someone thinks he's here, he is to leave immediately."
Clea sighed, and looked down at her feet. She hardly heard Remus walk over to her, before she felt his thin, long arms wrap themselves around her waist.
"Do you live here?" Clea asked. Remus nodded into the crook of her neck. "Are those all my things outside?" Remus nodded again. "Good; because I never want to leave."
Clea pulled Remus back from her, and stood up on her tip toes. "Now about that snog," she whispered, before letting her lips fall gracefully onto Remus's.
Clea lost herself in Remus's kiss. The only sound she comprehended was the soft singing coming from the upstairs room. Clea smiled, and brought her mouth away from Remus's.
Remus looked up at the ceiling, and laughed when Sirius tried to hit a rather unreachable note. Looking back at Clea, he ran his fingers through her hair and smiled softly.
"Do you still love me forever, Remus?"
"Did I ever stop?" Remus asked.
Clea felt her heart melt, as Remus kissed her once again, knowing that they'll never stop.