Quick Note Regarding HBP - In the last lot of reviews people expressed their hatred of the book. I respect your opinion, and thank you for sharing it with me. I loved HBP and think it is better the Book 5. I know some of you might disagree with me on this, but please don't rant and rave at me in a review for having this opinion. I am slightly curious as to why people hate the book so much, as I enjoyed the gripping and mysterious storyline that it held. But then we are all entitled to our own opinions. Thank you for reading. (and just so you know I am not getting on at anyone for hating it either!)
A/N) This is the final chapter to Prongs Rides Again. I know it's taken me forever to write this but I did have some difficulty with getting the chapter how I wanted it. I could not have done this without Lady Taliesin's help. Thank you for all your wonderful help and letting me use your description of Godric's Hollow as well as using your scene with Remus and Peter. And for proof-reading this chapter through all it's different stages!
This final chapter is dedicated to you, Lady Taliesin!
Final Author Notes at the bottom – please read!
Prongs Rides Again
Chapter Thirty: The Department of Mysteries
James sat with Sirius, who was tending to Buckbeak, the hippogriff that he had used to escape from Hogwarts a few years ago. The hippogriff had been injured, though Sirius did not know how he had been.
James was holding his hands in his lap, cross legged on the floor, his hazel eyes watching his best friend's movements as he attempted to help the magical creature. Sirius kneeled forward, brushing a hand over the wound, and he seemed to be contemplating what he should do next. Finally he looked up, seeking James' eyes.
"Hand me that bandage, Prongs." Sirius muttered, sticking out a hand allowing James to place a white bandage. "Thanks." Sirius turned back to the hippogriff and began to bandage the bleeding claw. He had cleaned it with soap and water, before casting a blood clotting charm on it to stem the bleeding. Once the bandage had been secured, Sirius glanced back at James, noticing that his expression was far-away.
He waved a hand in front of James. "Earth to Prongs? Are you there?"
James shook his head, coming out of his daze. "What?"
"Thinking about Harry?"
"Yeah. I'm worried. I've had this feeling for ages. Something is going to happen to Harry. I just don't know when it will occur." James sighed, running his fingers through the tangled mess of black hair in frustration. "ARGH! I've never felt this helpless! I can't wait around all day, just doing nothing, while Voldemort is planning something!"
"Dumbledore will warn us if he makes his move." Sirius said.
James sagged. "I know, but still it would be nice to hear from Harry."
Hearing his name called, James leapt up from the bed, grabbed his wand and ran down the stairs, crashing into Remus Lupin who was waiting at the bottom. His friend looked tired and he seemed relieved to see him. But it was the worried eyes that got James. Something was wrong. An eerie feeling crept into his stomach.
"Moony? Is everything alright?" There was an urgent ring to James' voice.
Remus shook his head. "I'm afraid something has happened. Severus is downstairs. He needs to speak to you and Sirius."
"It's about Harry isn't it?" Sirius asked, appearing behind James and laying a hand on his shoulder.
"I think Severus should explain it to you." Remus murmured.
James was in motion, his heart beating fast, as he made his way quickly through the house to the kitchen where the Potions Master was waiting for him.
Where is Potter? I can't wait around here all day! Snape thought viciously. He was standing in the kitchen, having slipped out of Hogwarts, and was becoming more impatient by the minute. He hated being kept, and besides the sooner he got back to the school, the sooner he could assess the situation regarding James' son.
Hurried footsteps came down the hallway, and the door burst open. James Potter burst through, his hair was a mess and his panic-stricken eyes sought Snape out.
"What's wrong with Harry?" James demanded.
Snape scowled but he spoke harshly. "Your son fainted in his exam. He believes you are a prisoner of Lord Voldemort."
"WHAT?" James shouted, pointing his right hand at Snape, as though he was accusing him of failing in his task. "What? How? You're meant to be teaching him Occlumency!"
"He never came back to his Occlumency lessons afterwards, even when I requested it. He refused to. Potter refused my help." Snape sneered.
James sagged. He had asked Harry to go back to Snape and even when he said he would, he had not. James felt betrayed, and now Harry was somewhere out there, believing him to be captured. His throat became unstuck. "Do you know where he is?" his voice sounded desperate, although he tried to sound calm.
"I have reason to believe he went to the Department of Mysteries. The Dark Lord is after the Prophecy and he's using Potter to get it." Snape answered.
James clutched his wand and made to apparate when Snape and Sirius stopped him. "Where are you going?" they both demanded.
"To save my son." James growled.
"Don't be a fool, Potter!" Snape shouted. "You can't take on Death Eaters by yourself."
"Try me." James glared.
"If you're going, I'm going too." Sirius answered, standing next to his friend.
"No," James whispered, "You can't. I don't want you to get caught."
"I won't be." Sirius answered stubbonly. "You know me, Prongs. Harry is my Godson. What kind of Godfather am I if I don't go to help him?"
"Not a very good one." replied James. He didn't like it one bit, but he couldn't stop Sirius from going. Even Snape looked dubious but he didn't say anything.
"I'll go to." Remus said.
James turned to look at Snape, focusing his hazel eyes on his enemy. "Severus, can you alert Kingsley and Tonks that we need their help? Tell them to meet us outside the Ministry of Magic. I'd ask you to come…but I know you have to be back at Hogwarts."
"I will do this for you, Pott…James, but only because you asked nicely." Snape scowled and then Disapparated.
James gazed round at his friends. "Well, Padfoot, Moony, let's go."
Gripping their wands, the three members of the Order of the Phoenix apparated away. Minutes after they had left Albus Dumbledore arrived.
"Where are they?" James cursed. They were waiting inside the Atrium at the Ministry of Magic after Apparating in, but they still had to wait for the rest of the Order members to arrive. James was pacing, his heart beating fast, for he was worrying constantly about what his son was doing and whether he was safe. His wand was clenched in his fist, ready for anything. "If they are not here in five minutes then I am going down to the Department of Mysteries myself!"
Remus reached forward and grabbed James' shoulders. "No we won't. We will wait for the Order. Three of us won't be able to hold off Death Eaters."
"And neither will Harry!" James nearly screamed.
"You will be surprised what Harry can do." Remus replied. "Trust me. He will keep them safe, long enough for us to get there with a sizeable number of the Order to aid them."
James gritted his teeth. He was being torn apart inside. One part of him understood Remus' reasoning for waiting, but the other was his fatherly intuition. He cared for Harry deeply and all he wanted to do was bring his boy home safely. It would be what Lily would've done.
Suddenly the lift doors at the end of the Atrium opened revealing Tonks and Kingsley, who ran in, holding their wands aloft.
"Remus!" Tonks shouted.
James rushed forward. "We've got no time for this! Come on! We've got to get down to the hall of Prophecy!"
He sped off at top speed, Sirius following with the rest. They made their way down to the courtrooms and then towards the black door. Flinging the door open, James rushed through and into a circular room. The others piled in behind him. Tonks shut the door and as soon as she had done so, the various doors that led out of the circular room began to spin round. The wall with the doors was rotating.
"What the…?" James asked, slightly confused.
"Pick a door." Remus advised. "We'll have to search for them."
Reaching to one of the doors, James wrenched it open and walked through. The others followed. They walked into a room filled with jars that seemed to hold a strange substance that neither of them could make out, until they got a closer inspection. James glanced around. "What are they?"
"Brains." Sirius murmured inspecting them.
"James!" Remus shouted from across the room.
His heart lifted. Had they found Harry? Bounding forward, James raised his wand, lighting it to give him more light. He found Remus supporting a giggly Ron, who was laughing feebly.
"What's wrong with him?" Sirius asked, approaching from behind.
"He was being strangled by these brains. I stunned them and freed him." Remus frowned, raised his wand again, and muttered a spell that seemed to bring Ron back to his normal self. He shook his head, seeming confused.
Ron blinked. "What happened? Where am I?"
"You're in the Department of Mysteries." Remus supplied. "You were confused by the brains."
"Brains?" Ron murmured. And then his eyes widened. "What are you doing here?" He looked over Remus' shoulder. "James!"
"Where's Harry?" James asked, moving closer to Ron.
"I dunno. We got split up. We came here to save you, James." Ron answered. He rubbed his hand to his head. "I don't understand what's goin' on."
"Tell me, what happened?" James asked, his eyes seeking information.
Ron quickly ran through the tale, beginning with Harry's nightmare of James being tortured and then being attacked by the Death Eaters, with the group being split up. He could not remember much after being confounded by a Death Eater.
"Come on," James said, getting to his feet, "we'll go through this door." He pointed high up some stairs. "And lets just hope that I've picked the right one."
"What about me?" Ron asked, scrambling to his feet, and grasping hold of his wand.
"You stay here." James said urgently, half-way up the steps. "It may be too dangerous!"
Ron cursed but he had no choice. He dare not disobey. He watched as the rest of the Order followed James through the door, searching for Harry.
The door opened into a chamber that had a dais in the centre, with a sort of veil falling from an arch. But that was not what horrified James.
"Harry!" he screamed. "NO!"
For James had sprinted into the room to see his son about to hand over the Prophecy to Lucius Malfoy. He raised his wand and cast the stunning spell. It narrowly missed Malfoy who stumbled out of the way. James ran down the steps and rushed to Harry's side as the other members of the Order engaged the Death Eaters.
"Oh god, Harry, I'm so glad you're safe!" James hugged his son quickly, tears practically falling down his face.
"I'm fine, dad." Harry replied quickly, his green eyes darting from the various Order members that were now battling the Death Eaters, keeping them at bay away from him and his father, allowing them this small reunion. Never in all his life had Harry been so glad to see his father. He felt such a fall falling for Voldemort's trick, but James had come to save him, and Harry was glad that he had someone to rely on. "I've got the Prophecy but they want it."
"I know." James answered, throwing a curse over his shoulder at an approaching Death Eater. Glancing around, James spotted Neville Longbottom crawling forward, blood spilling from his nose. It looked broken. "Go to Neville." he instructed. "Get out of here Harry. Ron is in a room up those stairs. Grab him and get to the Atrium."
Harry looked like he was going to disagree but James shoved him forwards.
James cast his eyes round the room, catching sight of his friends fighting the Death Eaters. He lunged towards Sirius who was battling Bellatrix Lestrange near the dais upon which stood the Veil.
"STUPEFY!" James yelled, casting a spell at Dolohov who had just aimed a killing curse in Sirius' direction. It missed, thankfully. Scanning the room, James saw a small man slinking towards Harry. Small and almost rat like, an up-turned nose gave him away. Anger burned through James. "WORMTAIL!"
The small man turned in shock and his mousy eyes widened in horror as he saw a very angry Potter bolt towards him. He held up a wand and muttered a curse, but James deflected it. Peter Pettigrew shrunk up against the wall, whimpering as James disarmed him. Peter trembled as he noticed the anger in his former friend's eyes.
"James?…" he whispered, "Prongs?"
"DON'T YOU DARE CALL ME THAT! YOU HAVE NO RIGHT! NOT AFTER WHAT YOU'VE DONE!" screamed James, raising his wand. "YOU BETRAYED ME! YOU TOOK LILY AWAY FROM ME! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO THE PEOPLE THAT HELPED YOU AND GAVE YOU SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR? I TRUSTED YOU!"
Tears seemed to pour down Pettigrew's face; whether they were real or fake, James did not know. "I didn't mean to…the Dark Lord forced me to…I was scared, James, you must see that…" Peter whimpered, trying to get James to understand the hopelessness of the situation he had been forced into.
"I THOUGHT I COULD TRUST YOU! I LAID MY LIFE IN YOUR HANDS AND THAT OF MY WIFE AND SON'S! YOU BETRAYED ME AFTER PROMISING YOU WOULD DO ANYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO KEEP IS SAFE! BUT YOU LIED!" James spat at Wormtail's feet, his eyes blazing in absolute fury and his body shaking in anger, as past and present clashed together. "YOU DON'T DESERVE MY SYMPATHY OR MY PITY! YOU DESERVE TO DIE, FOR ALL THE SUFFERIENG YOU'VE CAUSE ME AND HARRY AND SIRIUS AND REMUS TO GO THROUGH!"
"Please…" Wormtail begged, tears streaming down his round, mousy face.
James raised his wand and was about to cast the fatal curse when a voice called out from behind him.
"Dad!" Harry suddenly shouted from the steps.
James whirled. His anger at Pettigrew still bubbled through him, but seeing who had just stepped into the room, caused James to smile slightly as he realised that they were saved! Dumbledore had arrived.
James lowered his wand away from Pettigrew. Dumbledore could deal with him, for Wormtail had frozen in his place when he had seen Dumbledore. James was confident the little rat wouldn't try anything.
No matter how much he wanted to kill Pettigrew himself, he could not bring himself to do it. For nearly ten years Peter had been a friend, a Marauder, and James could not bear to execute a friend, even if he had betrayed him. He would rather Peter survive and be locked up in Azkaban and suffer the fate Sirius had had then kill him. Death was the easy way out, he would not give Peter that satisfaction.
Seeing Bellatrix James cast another spell lunging forward to aid Sirius, as Bellatrix pushed him further back. All around him the Death Eaters noticed Dumbledore's arrival, however Bellatrix did not, and continued to cast spells at Sirius.
"Come on you can do better then that!" Sirius shouted, laughing. In his moment of misconcentration Bellatrix threw a stunning curse at him. His arms wide, the spell hit him directly in the chest.
"NO!" James bellowed, rushing forward. He could hear Harry screaming his godfather's name. Bellatrix was laughing, as she watched gleefully as Sirius fell through the Veil, his face a mixture of fear and surprise.
James lunged towards the Veil, breathing fast. As Sirius passed through the Veil, James' hand reached out and grabbed his friend's foot. Sirius was too heavy and James followed him through the Veil.
The last thing he heard was Harry's scream.
"DAD! NO! SIRIUS! DAD!" yelled Harry. He rushed down the steps, still clutching the Prophecy, which he had managed to hold onto, despite being attacked by the Death Eaters who were determined to get hold of the Prophecy for their master.
"HARRY! NO!" Remus leapt forwards, his fingers grasping the boy's shoulder. He pulled him back. "It's too late!"
Harry struggled fruitlessly against Remus, trying desperately to reach the Veil. He could save them, he knew he could. They had only just fallen through…
"It's too late. They're gone." Remus muttered, pulling Harry closer.
Tears were falling from the teenager's eyes. "They're not DEAD! Dad promised he would never leave me!"
"I'm sorry Harry, but they're both gone." Remus whispered, his own heart breaking in two. He had just got his best friends back, and now they were gone again. He hauled Harry away from the Veil, but the teenager pulled from his grip, running up the steps from which Remus had come through earlier, following Bellatrix Lestrange, who was making her escape during the confusion. With the Prophecy clutched tightly in one hand and his wand in the other, Harry bellowed:
"YOU KILLED THEM! I'LL KILL YOU!" Harry shouted forcefully. He bolted forward and up the steps, following the black billowing robes of the Death Eater. He would not stop until he had revenge.
Remus made a grab for him but failed. "Harry! Come back!" But he didn't hear: Harry was out of sight. Remus sank to his knees, putting his hands over his face. His eyes were wet with tears and all he wanted to do was go back in time and prevent all of this from happening. "Oh, god, first Sirius and then James….this can't be happening…it has to be all a dream." He felt his throat stick. He could barely voice his anguish. He sat in front of the dais, his mind a jumble of thoughts. His best friends were gone, and he had failed to keep Harry from running off. What use was he if he fell apart the moment he lost the people he cared most about?
The fighting had now completely stopped and the Death Eaters were being contained. Remus saw to his satisfaction that Wormtail was offering no resistance but his glances continued to look towards the Veil.
"Remus?" a soft voice asked.
Through his pain he saw Dumbledore standing beside him. "I know how you feel, but I need you to look out for the Death Eaters we have captured. I will not be long."
"Where are you going?" Remus' voice seemed to crack as he struggled to speak.
"To find Harry." Dumbledore answered calmly. With a swish of his cloak and a few striding steps, the headmaster was gone.
Remus brushed a hand over his eyes. "Please let Harry be alive. Don't let him do anything stupid."
Remus sank onto one of the stone tiers, ghostly laughter and screams still echoing in his ears. Wrenching his eyes away from the Veil, which was still fluttering innocently as though in a gentle breeze, he turned instead to look at the Death Eaters, his gaze almost inexorably drawn to a small, rat-faced man with an up-turned nose who was darting glances at the Veil with his watery eyes, shifting uneasily from foot to foot…He wondered what was going through the traitor's mind. Probably proud of himself for what he's done to the Marauders, Remus thought, as overwhelming hatred for Wormtail sped through his being.
Remus stood up and before he was aware of doing so had strode over to Peter Pettigrew, his ears ringing furiously as he grabbed the neck of Peter's scruffy grey robes and all but lifted him into the air. "R-Remus?" choked Peter, his pudgy fingers scrabbling at Remus' hands as Remus, almost grateful at the distraction from the laughter and screams pounding through his head, tightened his grip on Peter's robes and drew his wand with a shaking hand. "R-Remus, my, my old friend…"
"Shut up!" hissed Remus, his eyes narrowing as he hoisted Peter higher so that he was standing on his tiptoes. "I should have known you'd be here…glad to see them go through, were you? Egging Bellatrix on?" His voice was rising but he hardly noticed. "Were you glad you could finally see them dead? I bet you were just, were just laughing, inside…"
"N-no, I won't! I wasn't, R-Remus, I wasn't! I swear I wasn't, I d-didn't mean to…Sirius had to g-go…I, I knew that b-but I didn't, I w-wasn't…he had to…I swear he –" Peter broke off suddenly, tears streaming down his grubby face.
"SO SIRIUS HAD TO DIE DID HE? WAS IT ALL PART OF YOUR MASTER'S GREAT PLAN WAS IT? WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU?"
"No…you don't understand…" Peter mumbled.
"THEN MAKE ME UNDERSTAND!" Remus screamed, shaking Peter forcefully, not caring in the slightest if he hurt him.
His mouth had opened slightly, his eyes suddenly lightening as he looked unseeingly past Remus…and suddenly he was fighting with every ounce of strength he possessed, scrabbling against Remus and kicking and biting. "Let me go, let me go, let me, let me…"
With a sharp, soft cry Remus let Peter fall, drawing his stinging hand back and unable to do more than glare in helplessness and then shock as Peter dropped to the ground, then bounded to his feet and scurried as fast as he could towards the raised dais. Scrambling atop it, he hesitated for a fraction of a second – then charged through the Veil and vanished.
They seemed to fall in the darkness, that seemed to James, lasted forever. He didn't know how long it took them, but finally they reached the bottom, landing with a thump in a very dark place. Space. They were between the worlds, it seemed: life and death. His hand still clutched Sirius' foot and something awoke inside him, telling him not to let go, otherwise he would lose his friend forever.
Before he could contemplate where he was and how he might escape, James felt himself spinning again, and the next thing he realised, he was lying on a wooden floor, in his house at Godric's Hollow. His hand, was miraculously, still clutching his friend's foot.
Before he could contemplate where he was and how he might escape, James felt himself spinning again, and the next thing he realised, he was lying on a wooden floor, in his house at Godric's Hollow. His hand was, miraculously, still clutching his friend's foot.
Glancing up slowly, James looked around, his eyes growing wider as his breath began to quicken.
There was an antique clock on the mantelpiece, one that had been in his family for generations, and on either side of that were a pair of vases. He didn't even have to look to know that the one on the left held an enormous bouquet of freshly-cut flowers, and that the one on the right was filled with emerald green floo powder.
His mind numb, James turned his head slowly, already knowing what he would see. Baby toys – including a small stuffed black dog, a stuffed stag with the words 'PRONGS' crafted gently onto the side, a werewolf toy that Lily had magically made and an enchanted snitch,– littered the wooden floor, and behind him was an old, well-worn sofa, flanked by antique side tables upon which were heaped mounds of books, magazines, the occasional discarded candy wrapper, and a lamp around whose shade a Gryffindor scarf had been wrapped and the initials S.B. scrawled in large, elegant handwriting.
His grip on Sirius' foot tightening as his hands began to shake uncontrollably, James pushed himself to his knees and looked beyond the couch, at the large wooden door which lead to the kitchen. As he stared at it, it creaked slowly open, and someone walked out.
Carefully, James grabbed hold of Sirius' wrist and then left go of his foot. He sat himself in a position on the floor, wondering aloud. Why had he done this? Why had he fallen through? It had felt like that something had been pulling him towards it. He was unsure whether Sirius' weight had really anything to do with it.
"I'll never see Harry again. I'm dead." He said loudly.
He was completely surprised when someone answered for he was not expecting it.
"You are not dead, James."
It was a woman's voice, the voice of someone very dear to his heart.
James looked up and saw Lily Potter, walking through the door that led to the kitchen, where Lily had always made superb meals. It was where James would find her every night when he came home from work, in the midst of cooking a meal and trying to feed a toothing baby.
He was at a loss for words and managed only a small gasp. "How?" he finally managed to rasp out, the shock of seeing his wife again still rippling through his soul.
Lily walked forward her red hair flying back before her. "Only Voldemort can kill you. You, James, are Harry's guardian. Life was granted to you again because Harry needed someone to guide him through this rough period. The Veil has not killed you, but it has taken Sirius' life."
James nearly wrenched his hand away from Sirius' but Lily stopped him when she continued speaking. She held out a hand, nearly touching James, but refrained from doing so.
"Don't. Move your hand away and he will fade. Holding him is keeping him here with you." Lily explained.
James swallowed. What was going on? "Do you know…know why I was brought back?"
"Can…can…you tell me?"
"I will." Lily answered and spread her hands wide. "But it is a long and complicated story."
"I have to know." James replied, his voice practically breaking from the excitement that was brewing deep inside him. "Anything so I can understand why I was given another chance."
"Very well." Lily began, "As you know James, both of us were murdered by Lord Voldemort on October thirty-first 1980. However before he attacked us, I invoked an ancient piece of magic that bonded father and son together. This spell would come into force if only the child in question really needed someone, someone who had gone from the world, but someone who they desperately long for. When Harry made that wish, last summer, he asked specifically for someone to guide him and help him, someone who he could rely upon. The magic that I laid upon you two sprang to life and it was this that caused you to wake up James. The magic protecting you is very strong. Voldemort is the only one that can kill you. But anyone can kill Harry. If Harry dies then the spell protecting both of you fails and anyone will be able to strike you done. As long as neither of you die, the only person who has the power and the ability to destroy you, is Lord Voldemort." She said this carefully and slowly, ensuring that James had time to digest all the information.
"The prophecy." James murmured as it dawned on him.
"Correct. The Prophecy does not apply to you for you will never be able to defeat Voldemort, but it is still the fate of our son." Lily smiled sadly.
"But what if Harry is not killed by Voldemort but by someone else?"
"Then you will become mortal and anyone can kill you. As long as you protect Harry and see that he comes to no harm, then both of you are safe."
James sighed as he looked round, still holding onto Sirius' hand. "Then how do I get back then? I can't protect him from here, can I?"
"No," Lily shook her head, raising a hand, "When you died, the dead lost one of their number. Someone who cares for you very much must die in order to allow you to remain in the living world, otherwise the two different planes, life and death, will not be balanced. And that is why Sirius fell through the Veil, because the dead need a sacrifice to sustain themselves, otherwise the world I live in will collapse. If it does, the living will be affected as well."
"But I can't let him go." James stammered.
"I know that." Lily replied, smiling gently, "and you're not going to, either."
"So how am I going to get out of here if Sirius has to remain?"
"I will take his place." a voice said from behind them.
James cricked his neck in his hurry to see who the newcomer was. Standing behind him, white as a ghost was Peter Pettigrew.
"YOU!" he yelled.
"Yes me," Peter said hanging his head in shame. "I will take his place."
"You don't care about me!" James snarled. "You only care about your own stinking skin!"
"That's not true." Peter muttered. "I am deeply sorry for betraying you but I was scared and unsure what to do. It was dark times: I could see no light ahead. He threatened me if I did not tell him where you were staying. I felt awfully and regretted it the moment I told him. For thirteen years I regretted everything I had done, and then I learnt that Sirius was out of Azkaban. I knew he was coming for me, why else would he have escaped. I had watched out for Harry for two years, but I knew if I was discovered I would not be able to continue with that. When I had to flee I went to the only person who I knew could help me: You-Know-Who. I should not have done that, but I was scared of his retaliation. I owed Harry my life, and I have had a chance to repay that debt through this way. If I can give him Sirius back then I would gladly lay down my life so that he would be happy. The Dark Lord no longer has any use for me."
"LIAR!" James shouted at the end of his monologue. "How can I trust you?"
"You'll just have to take his word for it, James." Sirius suddenly spoke.
"Sirius!" In his surprise James let go of his friend's hand. "No!" But his friend did not fade, instead Wormtail was. He had meant it. Wormtail had meant to sacrifice himself for Sirius. Did he really care? Did he really have Harry's best interests at heart?
They watched as Peter Pettigrew faded into death, leaving only the luminescent spirit of Lily Potter standing beside them. James held his breath, unsure of what would happen next. His hazel eyes sought Lily's green ones. She gave him a smile.
"You can go back now. The sacrifice needed to keep you in the mortal world has been given. Both of you can go." Lily explained. A slight sadness seemed to light within her.
James felt himself lifting upwards into the air; Sirius at his side, looking weary. The living room in which they had been in began to fade, and soon James found himself floating in mid-air, back in the darkness where he had first appeared. The spirit of Lily rose up with them, floating upwards until a gap came in the darkness. Sirius went through first, and as James was about to go through Lily reached out a hand, grasped his fingers and pulled him closer.
"I've missed you," Lily whispered in his ear, as she hugged him, "and I'll miss you even more."
Though he knew it would be an impossible feat, James leaned forward, planting his lips on Lily's, kissing her tightly, passionately. He could not explain why she was a solid person, nor did he want to know, but he realised that she could not come through the Veil. Here they would part until James died and returned to the world of the dead.
Tears threatened him. Was it possible to cry when you were dead? To his astonishment he found Lily crying. "I promised myself I would not cry when this time came, but I cannot stop myself." Lily whispered, brushing a hand down James' cheek. Her hand was trembling. James grasped her hand, determined not to let her go. He loved her to much to let her suffer the darkness and death alone.
"I can't let you go." He felt his voice break as the emotions broke through. Tears fell, dotting his cheeks. Lily wiped them away, her bright eyes boring deep into James'.
"We'll be together again, my love, but you have work to do." She swallowed. "I love you so much James. I know life is unbearable without me, but Harry needs you more then I do."
James kissed her again, pressing her body against his. He knew he could not take her with him, but the thought of losing her after seeing her again was too much to bear.
"Please, James," Lily begged, "Go and be happy."
"Remember," she continued, stroking his face, "that I will always be watching over you." And then she leaned forward, kissing him. Tears were falling down her cheeks.
Finally James released her, but he still held her hand. Then she slipped from his grasp as an invisible force grabbed her.
"LILY!" he cried, desperately trying to hold her one last time. His fingers brushed her hands.
"Look out for our son, James. Don't let him die…please…help him. Farewell, my love, until we meet again." Those were the last words James Potter would ever hear his darling wife ever say in his life time, and then he was being hurled through the Veil and back into the mortal world.
"Glad to see that you are awake, Prongs, finally." Sirius said, smiling, sitting in a chair beside his bed.
James groaned wondering how he had got to the hospital wing. He blinked. "Sirius?"
"Yes, it's me."
"What happened?" James asked; a throbbing pain in his head seemed to be giving him problems.
Sirius shrugged. "I don't really know. I can't remember. I fell through that Veil thing at the Ministry. The next thing I know I'm laying on the floor of the Department of Mysteries with Moony going hysterical. I don't know how I got there. For some reason…" he swallowed, as if he was finding it hard to explain his feelings, "I feel as though I died."
"You did." James mused, as his memory came back to him. Lily. Why could he remember that conversation and not Sirius? "Do you know about Wormtail?"
"Yeah. Remus said that he ran into the Veil. So, I gather, he killed himself."
"He sacrificed himself for you."
"ME?" Sirius looked flabbergasted. "Why would that rat do that?"
"Because he cares for Harry even though he's never shown it before. Deep in his heart, I think, Wormtail knew that Harry deserved the happiness he could get."
Scratching his neck, Sirius asked: "So if you said I died, and you followed me through - I know you did because I saw you grab hold of my foot - then why are we both alive and not Peter?"
"That is a very complicated story. But as far as I know, me and Harry have a connection of some sorts. Lily placed a bonding spell on us so that if Harry badly needed an adult around then I could come back and aid him. Apparently because of our bond, only Voldemort has the power to kill me. What I know is that, if Harry dies then anyone will be able to kill me because there will be no point in me being here, because I was brought back to protect and aid him. Voldemort is the only one who can successfully kill me, apparently. If Harry dies then anyone can fling the Avada Kedavra at me and kill me, but while I'm protecting Harry that can't happen."
James hesitated. "I know why you fell through the Veil and why we returned."
"Yeah, because Bellatrix cursed me!" Sirius snarled, anger evident in his eyes at the mention of his cousin.
"That's not why. There's another reason which explains why we both survived."
"And what's that?"
"In order for me to remain in the mortal world, the other plane has to have a sacrifice of some sort to sustain the balance, but it's got to be someone who cares for me and Harry. The other plane chose you Sirius, but Wormtail took that choice and went on his own. In a sense he was loyal enough to me to remember our friendship and give up his life to allow me and you to stay with Harry."
Sirius frowned. He found it hard to believe. "I just can't see Wormtail doing that."
"Me neither, but I was there. I can remember it, whereas you can't. It was him. He took his own life in order for you to remain in Harry's life. He chose that path and I respect him for that." James explained. "Peter may have betrayed me and took my Lily away from me, but his sacrifice has given you another chance." He shifted the pillows, frowning as he thought over what Peter's sacrifice. If Peter had cared so much about Harry's welfare, why had he betrayed James before? Surely he would've wanted to protect them? It didn't make much sense why Wormtail would sacrifice himself now…but then perhaps he had changed, but because Remus and Sirius had never given him the chance, then how were they to know that Peter wouldn't have done that anyway?
Sirius could not reply. He had suffered much due to Peter's betrayal. Could he really forgive him? He didn't know if he could, even though he had been saved from death, and he now had a chance to remain with James longer. He could not forgive him, not yet. Not yet, but maybe one day he would.
Only time would tell.
Three major events occurred after the Department of Mysteries battle. The first was that Harry informed James that Dumbledore had finally told him of the Prophecy. Harry had managed to save the Prophecy, even when he had been faced with Voldemort after he had rushed off to chase Bellatrix. Harry had been utterly surprised that he would be the one destined to defeat Voldemort. He still didn't understand some parts of the Prophecy but Dumbledore had informed he would eventually. He had a long path before him, but he was glad that his father had promised to stand by him and aid him in anyway he could.
The second major event that happened was that Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, finally realised that to his error that Voldemort was indeed back and held a press conference. He apologised for not listening to Dumbledore and immediately he began to set up security measures and organising the Aurors. To top it all off, the Dementors of Azkaban rebelled and joined Voldemort.
The third and final event was the trial of Sirius Black. There was sufficient evidence from all the Death Eaters proving that Sirius was innocent of all charges. All of them succumbed to Veritaserum, the truth drug, and when asked about the whereabouts of Peter Pettigrew, all of them informed him of his fate in the Department of Mysteries. Then Sirius was put on the truth drug. His story matching the Death Eaters convinced the jury to see him innocent, and Sirius was freed and given compensation for all the wrong the Ministry had done to him.
Umbridge left Hogwarts in disgrace and Dumbledore returned. James decided to not return to the school, instead he joined the Auror Academy along with Sirius. The two wanted desperately to fight back against the darkness that had last made itself known.
In the meantime the end of the school year drew nigh and the students were soon coming home on the Hogwarts Express. James and Sirius waited on the platform for Harry, Ron and Hermione, along with the Weasleys and a few members of the Order of the Phoenix. When Harry came through the barrier, James rushed up to him, hugging him.
"Now I've got some bad news for you, son." James said.
"What's that?" Harry asked dutifully.
"You're going to have to go back to the Dursleys. You know why though. I'll come and get you in a few weeks time."
Harry sighed. "But can't I come and live with you?"
James shook his head. "Sorry kiddo, but I've got to pass my Auror exams first. Another two weeks and then I'll be there to pick you up."
"Yeah, I promise. Marauders vow." James said, ruffling Harry's hair. "Now, lets go and see those relatives of yours, shall we?"
And leading the way James led the way to the Dursleys who were waiting near by. A grin spread across his face as he wondered what there reactions would be at seeing him alive. Winking back at Sirius, James couldn't help thinking that his life was perfect. He had much to look forward to and one of them was watching his son grow into a man.
Wow…I never thought that I'd get this far. Thank you for all the reviews for this story! Review Responses for the last chapter will be posted on my live journal shortly. The link is in my bio.
Right, the story is not over, and I am planning on writing through to Harry's sixth and seventh year. I am in the process of planning it out but it will be at least three-four weeks before I get the first chapter up. I have no definite title as of yet, but the working title is 'The Bond'.
Here is a quick summary for you: While Harry returns to his sixth year at Hogwarts, James Potter and Sirius Black are sent on missions for Dumbledore that could eventually lead to the ultimate end of Voldemort. As the second war begins and darkness falls, the bond between father and son grows stronger, but will it be enough to protect them both at the final confrontation?
So there you go, that is what the sequel is about. I hope you enjoyed the final chapter of Prongs Rides Again, and thank you for all the support. I will have review responses up shortly on my live journal, so keep looking just in case!
Please let me know what you think of this final chapter!
MissBlackPotter, who wishes every single one of her reviewers to have a nice summer holiday.