You know that chapter "King's Cross" in the last Harry Potter book? Well, I was curious about the whole 'after-death' experience ever since I read that chapter. Couple that with the fact that I…well, wanted some sort of closure for the whole deal with Sirius Black (who, unfortunately, failed to 'come back' in the way I was –blindly- hoping he would)…and, well, the result is this. It was originally meant to be a one-shot, but then the whole thing was too long, and would be an absolute pain to read in one go, so I decided to divide it into two chapters.
Hope that didn't ruin it in any way!
Disclaimer: It all belongs to JK Rowling. Every single bit, except, of course, to the dark-haired, grey-eyed, smirking man who's currently seated behind me and……sticking chewing gum in my hair. Apparently, that's his way of telling me that he doesn't belong to me. Pity.
Chapter One An Illusion or the Real Thing?
Silence; it took a moment for this to register in his mind, and when it did, it only served to make him slightly more confused than he already was.
Why was it so quiet? And…why did it feel odd to know that it was so quiet?
Er, and why was he lying on his back on the ground; on the hard ground?
Shrugging, he moved his limbs slowly, letting out a loud sigh of relief when he discovered that they were all in good order and that nothing seemed to be wrong.
Hang on, why would he expect anything to be wrong?
With a small frown on his face, he first pulled himself into a seated position before eventually standing up. A quick glance around him told him that he was in some kind of…train station.
Train station? What the, he paused, absently brushing dark strands of hair from his eyes, hell is going on? As he lifted his arm to brush his hair from his eyes, he couldn't help but notice that something didn't feel right…
…he felt…well, he felt light. It was as though he didn't ---
Oh bloody Merlin's pants, he thought, looking slightly aghast as he glanced down at himself, what the heck is going on?
Why the heck was he naked?
"Alright, whoever did it, it's not funny. It's actually kind of creepy. I'm only going to say this once, because I'm not the kind of person who goes down on his knees and begs. Can I have my clothes back?"
He got no answer, and, if he was to be honest, he wasn't sure if he had even expected one. "Fine, keep my clothes. Can I at least have something to wear?"
He received no answer to that request, but suddenly saw a set of neatly folded clothes on the ground before him. He blinked. How had they gotten there without him noticing-?
Well. It wasn't like he was complaining.
Moving hurriedly, he pulled on the clothes, glad to find that he had every item of clothing he needed and that they all fit him. Fit him quite well actually.
For some reason, he found that even creepier than finding himself in some godforsaken train station without any clothes on.
Once he was clothed, he glanced down at himself – out of habit – to make sure that…well, he hadn't missed anything. Like an unbuttoned button…or an unzipped zip (he had seen that happen to James once or twice, and had been petrified of the same thing happening to him).
And it was then that he noticed it.
He was different. He wasn't the slightly (slightly, mind you) out of shape man that he was positive he had been, as of a few minutes ago. No, instead, he was quite…fit, if he might say so himself, about himself.
And it only got…better.
He was young, younger, much younger, than the thirty six years he was sure he had been when he had arrived in the Department of Mysteries in time to help Harry and his friends---
His face paled, and continued to do so as he remembered the hideously smug face of his dark-haired cousin, followed by her revolting cackling as they dueled and as she…
What was he doing here, wherever 'here' was? He was needed at the Department of Mysteries. Someone had to take care of Bellatrix, and he knew that he was qualified for the task, having more or less grown up with the bloody-
"Harry!" he yelled out, suddenly very, very afraid. "Harry! Harry! Can you hear me? Harry!!" His breath was coming in quick gasps now as he looked wildly around him. He saw nothing except for empty areas and the occasional hard-seated bench or two.
He was starting to panic, and he knew it. "H-Harry, c'mon kiddo, say something," he almost pleaded, grey eyes clouding with some emotion he could not quite place. "Please, kiddo, just say something…" He strained his ears, determined to catch the sound of his godson's voice, but did not hear it. "Oh god…Merlin, no…" he whispered, "no, no, no, he can't be…I…no. This isn't even the Department of Mysteries, and-"
Hearing a sound from somewhere behind him caused him to stop his panicked mumbling and to tense. He was pretty sure that he hadn't imagined that sound…whatever it was.
Grey eyes narrowing, he clenched his jaw shut and slipped his hand into the left pocket of his trousers. A moment later he whirled around with his wand arm stretched out before him, fingers curled around……
He stared at his hand, aghast, when he saw that it was empty. A quick search in his other pockets told him what he had feared; he didn't have a wand.
What the-? I need it. If I'm going to go back and help Harry, I need my bloody wand!
Hearing what sounded like…shuffling feet, he grimly pulled himself out of his thoughts and bravely glanced ahead of him, pulling himself to his full height as he did so. He may not have a wand, but he would not be defeated easily.
Not when he still had to get back to the Department of Mysteries.
At first, all he saw was a bit of mist; rather, it looked like…the smoke that trains usually emit as they come to a halt, or start up their engines.
Well duh, he thought, I am in a freaking train station.
As the mist…or whatever it was cleared, the black-haired, grey eyed man could not stop his jaw from dropping open, despite his confident promise that he would not be defeated easily.
But he did recover soon.
"I don't know what you're trying to do, Bella," he said, as icily as he could although his voice had a slight tremor in it, "but it's not going to work." He shot daggers at the bespectacled, black-haired figure that stood several feet away from him.
The bespectacled figure stared at him for a moment, looking confused.
"-No, no, don't. I know you're not real. I know it. So just…disappear. Burst into flames or whatever. Just…go. You're not real and you're not going to mess with my head. It's already messed up enough."
"-I said shut up!"
"Sirius, I'm not-"
"SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP! COME OUT AND FIGHT ME, BELLA, INSTEAD OF HIDING BEHIND YOUR…ILLUSIONS LIKE A BLOODY COWARD! COME OUT AND FIGHT ME, NOW!" His eyes darted in their sockets as he tried to spot any place where his cousin might be hiding.
"Padfoot, this is so not the greeting that I imagined when I thought of this day." The bespectacled figure shook his head. "I don't get a hug or a pat on the back; no, instead, I'm asked to burst into flames. What the hell is that about?"
Sirius, who was doing his best to cut the voice off, to pretend that he wasn't seeing who...what he was seeing, couldn't help but stare at the man for a moment.
Merlin, he thought, feeling suddenly drained, he looks so much like him...if I didn't know any better, I'd definitely say that it's James, standing before.
He shook his head. No, he firmly said to himself, this is not James. James is dead. Dead. This is just some kind of sick, perverse---
Grey eyes widened.
What if it wasn't an illusion? Or a sick, twisted joke?
What if he was actually seeing...seeing – the striking young man shook his head; no, he couldn't afford to believe that, no matter how much his heart wanted him to.
The bespectacled figure had taken a few steps towards him by now.
"Padfoot, mate, listen to me...I don't know why you think I'm some kind of an illusion-"
"-That would be because you're supposed to be dead."
"-or why you think someone would want to play a vicious joke on you-"
"-Not just 'someone'; it's Bella – remember her?"
"-Neither do I know why you wish for me to...burst into flames-"
"-You can just go stick your head up your arse and die of suffocation for all I care. You are not him."
"-For the love of Merlin, Padfoot-"
"-No, I'll have to pass on that one. You can have Merlin's love all for yourself, because I am most certainly not gay. And I didn't think you were either. Then again, you're just an illusion, so it figures..."
The black-haired, bespectacled figure shut his mouth for a moment, a somewhat...pained expression appearing on his face as he took in striking, grey-eyed young man who was standing before him and gazing at him with eyes full of pure hatred and...
"-I don't have time for this! Bloody hell, I need to get back! Harry needs my help!" Sirius paused as an entirely unsettling thought made itself known in his head. What if he was too late for Harry? "He needs my help..."
"What? But Sirius, you're d-"
"-Listen, illusion or not, you must care for your son. Bella's on the rampage, and she's already taken down Tonks. I have to do something about her – especially seeing how I was battling her before I...arrived in this freaky place. I need to get back to the Department of Mysteries you...whatever you are, so get the hell out of my way. Better yet, tell me how I can get back to the Ministry."
A glimmer of realization appeared in the hazel eyes of the bespectacled figure, quickly replaced by a glimmer of sadness.
"Padfoot, you can't go back."
"And why the hell not?!"
"Padfoot, I...don't know how to tell you this, but-"
"-Then don't. Just focus on-"
"-Sirius, you're dead."
"I – excuse me, but, I'm what?"
"Dead, Sirius. Dead."
"Oh, bloody hilarious. Are you done messing with my mind? Yes? Good, can I go-"
"Can't you remember what happened in the Ministry, while you were duelling Bellatrix?" There was a venomous note in the bespectacled figure's face as he said the name – a venomous note that Sirius had to appreciate.
"What? Of course I remember. We were hurling spells at each other, which by the way, is what you usually do in a duel."
"And then what?"
"And then what happened?" The hazel-eyed figure sounded impatient.
His tall, lean companion opened his mouth to utter some scathing remark, when he suddenly stopped. Grey eyes appeared dazed, as though his thoughts were in a faraway place. A moment later, the grey eyes widened.
"I – I...died?" It was more of a question, even though his mind told him quite logically and firmly that he had no need to ask it.
"Yeah, Sirius, you died."
"Yeah, you did."
"Yeah, you are."
"I died in the Ministry, and now I'm...here, and I'm...dead..."
"Yeah." He watched his grey-eyed friend out of concerned hazel eyes, wondering what was going on in his head. When he had arrived in this place, fourteen years ago, he had accepted the fact that he was dead. And he had had Lily with him after a brief moment.
He could only imagine how his friend was feeling at the moment, not having known that he had died.
I had to stop it there and include the rest of this in the second – and last – chapter, or else the whole thing would have been unusually, painfully long to read.
Hope you're liking it so far!