Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter, don't know who does!! well, i know who does, i just don't know her...she may as well be fictional too...ah, yeah...


Chapter Eighteen – Beginning of the End

There was only so much crying a person who didn't usually cry could do, and Ella was sure she had reached her quotient for her entire lifetime. Gone were the days of vanity when she would avoid crying as the resultant red face and puffiness were too much for her startled reflection to handle. Gone were the days when counting was the only effective remedy to cure ails. Gone were the days of blissful ignorance. Ella had reduced herself to a state which, under different circumstances, she would have been disgusted by. She had broken. She had crumbled into as many pieces as the urn which had ultimately caused her character to change beyond recognition. Of all the terrible things she remembered; death; war; destruction; the thing which struck her most severely was the constant feeling of loss and now knowing what that loss entailed. Despite Ella's knowledge of the future, it was the fear of what was to come, the loss that she knew would come, which scared her most. While she was certainly grieving for her friends' future, Ella couldn't help but grieve for her own future the most. In doing so, she felt selfish, but she felt she had been given a second chance at her life, only to have it snatched away. She couldn't believe how her biggest worry at a time like this was a boy. A silly boy who had told her in two different lifetimes, that he wanted to see what a life with her would be like.

"If I said I loved you I'd be lying, but believe me when I say that I want nothing more than to go back and remember you. It just sucks that we'll never get to know what could have happened and I know I sound as corny as hell right now so you better not tell anyone what I'm saying, but I really think that if I had gotten to know you even more, I could have fell for you completely'

'I want to know what it's like to be with you, I don't want what I had with Miranda anymore'.

She was very mindful that Sirius had never used the word 'love' in relation to how he felt about her. Sure he had said he could fall in love with her, but there was always an uncertainty about their future together. Ella knew that if 'love' ever entered the picture, it would be over. Yet, being the foolish girl she was, that was the the one thing she wanted to experience before her life was torn apart once again. Ella had come to the conclusion that the words love and selfish were synonymous with each other.

Almost to Ella's delight, there wasn't long to go of seventh year. She had found the last month far too stressful finding excuses to dodge Sirius and her friends. Studying for exams which had no purpose for how her life was now planned seemed the perfect solution; they were the only thing which kept her sane. Instead of torturing herself by thinking up possible ways to say goodbye to her friends, she was able to immerse herself in information of 17th Century wizarding wars and seemingly endless Latin spells. However, try as she might, Ella couldn't bring herself to study for Ancient Runes. She was sure one 'T' in her N.E.W.T's would be acceptable, given she may never cast another spell once she stepped outside Hogwarts. Not only did exams allow an easy escape from reality; they also provided the perfect excuse to avoid Sirius. Luckily, Sirius obliged as he too was busy studying. Although he was a bright boy, there was only so much information one could acquire without picking up a textbook. Ella wanted nothing more than to spend as much time as she possibly could with Sirius, but she knew that if she did this, it would be even harder to say goodbye. She wasn't even sure if she would say goodbye.

Despite all her efforts, Sirius never noticed that Ella was trying to avoid him as all seventh years were rather busy at this time. This meant that he still believed their 'sneaky thing' to be ongoing and sought Ella out when he finally had some spare time. He found her one night sitting against the armchair in the common room. Her books were strewn about the floor but clearly were not being read as Ella's head had lolled to one side and she was clearly asleep. Sirius spent a good five minutes admiring her before he got bored. He gently swept back her hair from her face in the hope of her waking. No reaction. He nuzzled her neck and called her name. No reaction. Sirius, being paranoid given the number of times Ella had feinted in recent times, panicked slightly and checked her pulse. There was a clear heartbeat under his fingers and he let out the breath he had been holding. Seeing as though his more subtle attempts proved ineffective, Sirius stood up from the floor and deliberately kicked the chair Ella was lying against. She woke up immediately, her puffy eyes quickly scanning the room. Sirius' voice came from above her.

"DAMMIT! Clumsy me, I ran into the chair! Sorry, were you asleep?" Sirius said with a surprisingly straight face. Ella looked blurrily up at him.

"Ah, no I was studying," Ella lied and shuffled some nearby papers to make it look as though she had been doing something. Meanwhile, Sirius now sported a secret smirk, not wanting to give away the fact he had been watching her sleep for ages. He would let her lie if that's what she wanted.

"Well how about you take a break from studying and we catch up. It's been ages since we had a good chat."

Ella thought about all the reasons she had been avoiding Sirius.

"Ah, I think I better keep studying. Final exams only come around once and all that." Sirius was slightly downhearted, but never one to be deterred, he had the perfect retort.

"True, true. Tell me, do you get more studying done with your eyes shut? Because when I walked in here you seemed asleep but clearly you were just using your own method of studying. Visualising a spell were you?"

Ella eyed Sirius suspiciously and realised she had been caught out. Ironic that she had come down to study in the common room to avoid her friends and ended up running into the person she was most trying to avoid. She found herself getting irritated.

"What, so you came down here to watch me sleep and deliberately wake me up?"

"Ah, so you were sleeping?" Ella looked defeated but retorted nonetheless.

"No I was – " Sirius bent down and placed a kiss on her forehead, "sleeping?" He finished for her.

Ella looked up at him pityingly. Now that she had made contact with him for the first time in ages, she knew she couldn't run away from him. Sirius sat down in the armchair and motioned for Ella to sit on his lap. Ella took a forlorn glace toward her numerous books but Sirius managed to lift her into the chair with him. Sirius rested his head in the crook of her neck and let out a sigh.

"This is nice. I've missed this," Sirius said. Ella turned so her head was level with his. She noticed he now had at least four day's worth of stubble on his chin and unconsciously ran her hand down his face.

"Me too," she eventually replied. Her voice sounded weak. She felt Sirius' cheek lift as he smiled at her. He let out a chuckle.

"You look like crap," he offered.

"Well, I feel like shit," Ella replied. It was almost nice to admit how horrible she was feeling, even if Sirius didn't understand the reason behind it. She did however, make a mental note that he had insulted her.

"Hey, I didn't say you looked like shit, just crap," Sirius continued.

"There's a difference?"

"Of course there is. Crap is one level above shit. If I said you looked like shit it would be far more insulting."

"Well its insulting either way you know,"

"Well maybe I should have said that you look like you feel like crap, because that is what I meant. Even when you look like you feel like crap, you still look adorable." Ella was having a hard time following him, but figured he was trying to pay her a compliment.

"Ah, thanks?"

"You're welcome," Sirius said and kissed her temple. Ella decided to ignore the rush of sadness that flowed through her and instead snuggled further into Sirius' frame. They stayed quiet for some time and Ella was almost feeling content. That was until Sirius opened his mouth again.

"What are you planning to do when we leave Hogwarts anyway?" Ella tensed.

"What do you mean?" she asked warily.

"Well we've been together for a while now and I still don't know what job you're going for when we leave here."

Is muggle an occupation? Thought Ella.

"I haven't really decided," she answered shortly.

"You mean to tell me that you're studying your arse off and you don't even know what you want to do?"

"Pretty much. I'll see what comes up." Ella was expecting more questions, but surprisingly, Sirius dropped the topic.

"Fair enough. So if you don't know where you'll be working, you don't know if you'll be staying with your mum and dad or moving away from home?" Despite how casually Sirius said this, Ella felt his heartbeat quicken as the words left his mouth. She decided to be nonchalant.

"I suppose. If I find a job in England I suppose I'll have to move away from home. Unless I find a job in the mines or something." Ella was trying to lighten the mood, more for her own benefit than for Sirius' but it seemed to work.

"Yes I do hear those Welsh mines are after some good looking young girls to cart coal and get all dirty like."

This comment earned a swat from Ella, but Sirius continued.

"Well if you do find a job in jolly old England, you're welcome to stay at my place. I don't know if I told you this but I have a place in Shoreditch so if you worked in London area and you needed to be close by then you can stay with me." Ella realised that Sirius said this very quickly, as if he was dreading an answer. It just so happened that Ella was dreading answering him. In a perfect world she would jump up and down and kiss him and scream whether he was asking her to move in with him. But this was far from a perfect world – people didn't even know they were together, let alone all the other information Ella was burdened with. Despite the world's imperfections, Ella couldn't help but smile at him.

"I'd like that," she replied. She wasn't exactly lying. She knew she wouldn't be able to live with him, given the circumstances but it was definitely something she would like to do. The answer seemed good enough for Sirius as he hugged her tighter and then seemed to relax a lot more. Sirius leaned his head on Ella's shoulder once more and closed his eyes.

"Tell me something I don't know," Sirius asked after a while. Millions of things rushed through Ella's head. What would he like to know that he didn't already? Maybe that he would go to Azkaban? That his cousin would kill him? That his best friend and his future wife would also be murdered and leave behind a beautiful baby boy? That, despite what she wanted, she couldn't be with him?

"I don't think there is anything you don't know." Ella replied, again going with the safest option. Sirius opened one eye to observe her and smiled.

"I've trained you well haven't I?" he said, once again closing his eye. For some reason, Ella felt her eyes become hot as she looked at him.

"You sure did," she answered quietly. As Sirius' breathing began to slow, Ella decided it might be best if they went to their respective dormitories.

"I think it's time for bed," she whispered. Sirius groaned.

"Come on, I'm really comfy and we are yet to spend much quality time together," he mumbled.

"Well it's hard to spend quality time with you when you are sleeping." Ella was on the verge of tears now. Luckily, Sirius was too busy nodding off to notice her sad tones.

"I'm not sleeping, I'm resting my eyes."

Ella couldn't even bring herself to reply to this as a tear slid down her cheek. She took this moment to take in absolutely everything about Sirius. The smell of his hair; the warmth of his arms around her; his slow heart beat; the coarseness of his stubble on her shoulder. She would file away these sensations for years to come and every now and then, torture herself with remembering every detail of Sirius Black.

As with all dreaded events, Ella's final day at Hogwarts came around too quickly. Her last exam was two days ago and she surprised herself by celebrating with her friends the following day. That meant she had enjoyed one whole day over the course of four weeks. Although Ella's mathematical abilities seemed limited to counting inanimate objects, even she knew that one out of twenty eight days wasn't a high percentage. She didn't class the few days she had spent with Sirius as particularly enjoyable as those times seemed a constant reminder of what was to come. It seemed far too ironic that on the breakfast table that morning was pancakes and trifle.

"What do they think they're playing at, serving desserts for breakfast on our last day?" Ebony scowled. She liked to eat slightly healthier than the morning's options.

"Gee, I don't know Eb, maybe the house elves just wanted us to have something special for our last day? Lighten up." The irony continued; it wasn't often that Margot was telling Ebony to lighten up. Ebony looked dumbfounded at her friend's comment.

"House Elves! That makes perfect sense!" Ebony yelled, while unconsciously piling her plate with the offending food. It was Margot's turn to look dumbfounded.

"Ebony, please tell me you didn't just realise after seven years that all your meals didn't make themselves?"

Without so much as an embarrassed tint to her cheeks, Ebony replied.

"Actually, yeah, I did just figure it out. You got a problem with that?"

"Not exactly, but I'm sure our teachers would be horrified that after seven years of education, they failed to get you to understand the laws binding magic."

"There are laws?" Ebony replied, trying to be smug but failing due to the raspberry jelly now filling her mouth. The jelly was the closest thing to fruit she could find on the table. Ella watched her friends fondly. It was weird knowing she would have to leave them; she never did find out about Ebony and Margot's future. Just when she was beginning to see a loophole in her plan, Ella was distracted by a group of boys now occupying the seats next to her. They chatted loudly and ate as much as their plates could hold. Ella caught Sirius' eye at one stage as he was eating from a large stack of pancakes. He smiled. Then he winked. Ella blushed slightly and then turned away, preferring to listen once again to her friend's conversation. Ella couldn't bring herself to have any of the pancakes, but she did eat her own weight in trifle. Not bad for a girl who thought she wasn't hungry.

As the seventh years waited for the horseless carriages to take them to Hogsmeade Station, Ella felt a tug on her arm. She turned around and saw a beaming Sirius looking down on her.

"Excuse me fellow classmate, could I have a word about an assignment we did together in a class we both took?"

Ella found herself laughing at his deliberate lame attempt to talk to her. She wanted to run away. Instead, she nodded and allowed Sirius to drag her away from the crowd of students. They stopped as soon as they could no longer hear the buzz of the other students. Without saying a word, Sirius lifted Ella up and twirled her around. Ella was reminded of the night they danced in Grimmauld Place, minus the bump to the head. As soon as Ella's feet were on the ground, Sirius kissed her. He drew away from her with the biggest smile on his face. Mesmerised, Ella couldn't look away from him. She was having second thoughts. Maybe she remembered what happened for a reason. Maybe she was meant to change the future after all. Her determination to change everything she remembered solidified as Sirius kissed her again. His kisses were quick; as if he didn't need to put into every kiss what he felt because he would have plenty of time to do that on other occasions. Ella's skin was on fire where her body contacted his. Sirius pulled away again.

"Our last day, can you believe it?" Ella couldn't reply so she forced a smile and nodded enthusiastically. If it was possible, Sirius' grin became even wider. As he had done so many times before, he leant in to talk in Ella's ear. This gesture always made Ella feel like he was telling her something that no one else would ever know.

"We're fucking free! We're adults and we won't have to worry about school or what people say or how we act or anything! And I can't wait to tell people about us, because I've mused upon it for a while and I think I've figured out that I love you, and I may have done for a little while now and I just want to be able to tell people and get you to meet my family…James' family that is, not mine coz mine are complete fuck heads and…yeah…" Sirius noticed that Ella hadn't said anything.

"Oh fuck, I've scared you! Sorry, um I take that back, I don't want you to meet my family and you wont have to – "

"Sirius - " Ella interrupted, " – I think I…,you know, for you too."

Ella couldn't bring herself to say that she loved him, even though she knew it to be true. It didn't matter though, Sirius got the meaning and that was good enough for him. He continued to hug her, unaware of her forlorn look.

He had said it. It was over. Any hope of Ella changing the future faded into the background as that dreaded word reverberated in her head. Over and over it went until it didn't seem to make sense anymore. If he hadn't said it, they could have had longer. It was the last experience she was holding on to and now it had happened so she had to move on.

Unbeknownst to the couple, another sneaky student had deserted the busy crowd to take some last minute pictures of Hogwarts. The student had intended to take photos of the castle, the lake and perhaps a sly shot of the Whomping Willow but was distracted by a tall figure in one of the frames. The student looked through the viewfinder of his camera and found that very familiar figure to be Sirius Black, talking to another familiar figure, Ella Powell. Remus figured he couldn't pass up the opportunity to blackmail his friend with photographic evidence of a 'secret' romance. The button made a clicking sound as the photo was snapped.

Ella didn't make it to the Hogwart's Express that afternoon. Sirius' words saw to that. He had returned to the crowd of waiting students while she said she would meet up with him on the train. Her excuse was that she had forgotten something in her dormitory. She hadn't forgotten anything. For once. Ella sat on her suitcase far from everyone, waiting for the crowd to slowly disappear. The students piled onto the horseless carriages one by one. She looked away when she saw Margot and Ebony climb into their own carriage, looking around to see where their friend had got to. She never even saw Sirius leave.

Finally, only two teachers remained and started meandering back to the castle entrance. Ella jumped as she heard the castle door slam shut. She looked down at her hands and realised she was holding her Hogwarts Graduation Certificate. Kingsley's words resonated within her.

"No records of you even existing after 1977. There was the record of you graduating from Hogwarts but then, nothing."

Ella knew it was time.

Esmeralda Powell disappeared from the wizarding world on 14th June, 1977. On the 15th June, 1977, the name Esmeralda Powell appeared among many other registered civilians on a computer screen in the General Register Office. The computer did not take notice of the new addition. The government employees did not notice the extra name either; after all, their computer system was only second to that of NASA. How could a new name enter the system without having been there the whole time? Magic?

Ella had left the wizarding world to distance herself from all that she knew. She never got to witness the disappointment on Sirius' face when the train pulled into Platform 9 ¾, nor his stony silence a week later when he realised either something terrible must have happened to his girlfriend or that he had been ditched. Ella would never know of the photo Remus took on their last day of school, nor the reason why Sirius carried that photo in his pocket every time he went on a mission for the Order of the Phoenix. Even Sirius didn't know why he did this. Ella's parents would never tell her that Margot and Ebony had spent much of their time and effort looking for their lost friend after school had finished. Ella's dad certainly didn't tell her that he had confunded her friends into believing that Ella was working abroad as he couldn't bare to lie to them any longer. Ella would never know if she ended up making the right decision. She believed that the right option was not always the easiest. Considering how difficult she found her circumstances, she wanted to believe she had made the right decision.

The only people from Ella's former world who knew where she had gone were her family, and even they were not privy to the excuse for her actions. In the time between the 14th and 15th of June, Ella had gone home. She explained enough for her family to understand that she needed to leave and they helped her make her debut into the muggle world. For the rest of her life they would be her only remaining contacts in the wizarding world. She would make sure to visit them at least three times a year. She could eventually get used to leaving her friends behind but she still needed her family. After all, she couldn't spend the rest of her life completely miserable.

For fear of forgetting something important, Ella started writing down everything she knew about the future. It was an ongoing list as little things would pop into her head when she least expected them to. Like the time she was teaching herself to drive in the country and the memory of Sirius kissing Hermione at Christmas time flashed into her head. As a result, she crashed into a farmer's fence and a herd of sheep escaped. She fixed the fence with her wand and accioed the sheep back into the paddock. After that incident, Ella figured she should pay for driving lessons – and probably not use her wand as much if she was trying to be a muggle. In fact, once Ella looked over her list she realised right near the top was the fact that she had her wand when she time travelled, meaning that her wand must have been destroyed when she became a muggle. Although she felt this fact to be of huge importance, Ella couldn't destroy her wand. She felt she would know when it was time to stop using magic, and her instincts were telling her that the time had not come yet.

Ella, ever the fan of self inflicted emotional torture, took out a subscription to the Daily Prophet under a false name and had the paper delivered to her flat in Camden. This way, she was not a part of her former world but was still informed (albeit in a rather biased manner) on happenings in the magical world. Her favourite section of the paper was the personal columns. Each day she would scour the paper for any information on her friends. Ella tried not to think of the horrible day she would read the headlines informing her of Lily and James' death and the following articles about Sirius' supposed crime. On 31st July, 1980, Ella turned to the personal columns only to be greeted by a photo of Harry Potter; son of James and Lily Potter. Despite the shock of seeing a picture of the boy she had known only as a teenager, Ella could not help but feel her spirits lift for the first time in a long time. She was so happy, in fact, that she took the day off work and spent the day shopping for a party she would throw in celebration over the weekend. Her friends didn't have to know what the party was for. Nothing that day could bring her down; not the thought that Lily and James would only live another year longer, not the constant reports of an uprising evil in the wizarding world and not even the thought of what she had lost because all she could think of right now was that the world had now gained three remarkable people which were of course Hermione, Ron and Harry. Ella would celebrate again a year later when Ginny Weasley's birth would be announced. Not only could thoughts not bring Ella down that day, the strange happenings of her day didn't even make her think twice about her good mood. A handful of bags indicated that Ella had almost completed her shopping in the Camden Market. Ella was standing in front of the last stall she intended to go to when the merchant turned around and dropped the watermelon Ella had selected. For a moment, Ella was scared that the merchant had recognised her, but upon hearing a low growling coming from behind her, she quickly realised the man had been frightened by a large black dog. Ella wasn't so much scared as curious, for it seemed the dog was growling at her. She figured she must have put on too much perfume for the dog's liking. Ella had always known not to look an angry dog directly in the eye, but it seemed this dog was trying to do exactly that. As Ella risked a glance at the canine, she saw an unexpected sadness in its eyes – that was until the dog charged and nipped her on the leg which made her shopping bags fall to the ground. Ella too fell to the ground as the dog charged past her. From her new vantage point, she saw the dog look back at his handiwork. She could have sworn she saw that dog smirk.

The day Ella held her party in honour of another of her friends being brought into the world, Sirius stopped carrying the photo of he and Ella around. He still couldn't bring himself to rip it up so laid it at the back of his photo album where he was least likely to find it again.

Ella had found it harder to cry over the years. She still let the occasional tear slip when she saw a sad movie or each time she would hug her family goodbye, but she felt she had dried up somewhat after her induction as a muggle. Four years had past without Ella stepping even a toe back into the wizarding world. She thought that she would be excited the first time she saw someone unmistakably from her former world. She was wrong. The first time the muggle Ella saw evidence of witches and wizards was November 1st, 1981 and she felt far from excited; instead, she felt unnerved. She arrived home from her morning walk after witnessing groups of strangely dressed individuals and several loads of fireworks that looked suspiciously like wand sparks. Ella payed the owl delivering her Daily Prophet but was too scared to unroll the paper. After staring at the offending paper for more than half an hour, Ella got up the courage to read the headline. HARRY POTTER: CONQUEROR OF YOU-KNOW-WHO. Ella was confused; Harry the conqueror of this unnamed beast she had been reading about for years? She had never been informed of this. For the first time she realised that she and Sirius may not have been let in to as much as they initially thought. Intrigued to find out more, Ella scanned the article: tragic circumstances…Godric's Hollow…orphaned…killing curse…demise of You-Know-Who…wizarding history…scar…

Ella couldn't bear to read the last paragraph of that article for it bore the details of Lily and James' funeral. What Ella had dreaded for so long had now begun, and instead of every piece falling into place, she felt there were just more complicated questions.

Ella figured out she had 107 muggle objects in her flat.

As expected, not long after the death of Lily and James, Ella again read a regretted headline, although this time she knew exactly what to expect. The heading Black day for13 Muggles: Darker Day for Black was all too familiar to Ella as she had read it all those years ago in a bedroom of Grimmauld Place. Ella read the condemning article for the second time in her life, feeling no less infuriated by the injustice of the matter. Ella stared out the window, twirling her wand between her fingers. A spark of light interrupted her thoughts and she realised her ring had caught the sunlight. It seemed cruel that there was sun on a day like today. Ella stopped twirling her wand and studied it long and hard. It had one last job to do.

Ella performed a location spell using a map of London to find where Sirius had been living. As she had expected, her wand pointed toward the suburb of Shoreditch – exactly where Sirius had told her he had bought a place on one of their final nights together. Figuring she should take advantage of using magic while she still could, Ella attempted apparating directly into Sirius' living room. Upon hearing no 'pop' Ella opened her eyes and realised she was still in her own living room. She had been driving places far too long. Trying not to think what would happen if she splinched herself, she tried again, thinking as hard as she could on Sirius and his own flat. Eventually, she felt as though she was being squeezed very tightly through a tube and heard the ever familiar 'pop' signalling that she had apparated successfully. But had she made it to the right place?

Scared to open her eyes in case she had appeared in a busy London street, Ella listened to her surroundings. It was dead quiet. She eventually worked up the courage to open her eyes in tiny slits to glance at the room around her. At least it was a room, even if it wasn't the right one. Sensing no danger, Ella opened her eyes fully and was hit with a wave of something akin to joy and grief all muddled in to one. She had definitely found Sirius' flat. Ever the patriot, Sirius had incorporated red and gold throughout the room while a selection of posters littered the walls – not of bikini models as in his bedroom at Grimmauld Place, but of rock stars, with David Bowie taking poll position. Sirius had made quite the bachelor pad for himself. Or at least that is what Ella hoped, because if he had brought any girls back here she was sure they would surely be scared off. Ella was almost amused at discovering how Sirius had lived, until she saw the photo of four familiar boys which lay smashed on the floor with an even more familiar knife sticking through one of the faces. Ella looked up to the kitchen bench and saw two empty alcohol bottles and then to the table by the door which had turned over, as if someone had left in a hurry. Ella realised she was witnessing the aftermath of Sirius coping with his friend's deaths. It was very likely that the overturned table was from the man running out the door to seek vengeance and find Peter Pettigrew, only to find himself locked up in Azkaban. Feeling too depressed by the sight of this room, Ella went to search other rooms of the flat.

Ella opened the first door and found the bathroom. She couldn't help but notice that Sirius must have still used the same soap or shampoo because the bathroom held his scent. An array of products lined the bench and Sirius' watch lay discarded next to the sink. Ella picked it up and held it to her ear. The light ticking she heard told her it still worked. She paused slightly before pocketing the watch. She figured it wouldn't be stealing if Sirius wasn't going to have a use for it in Azkaban. Leaving Sirius' torturing scent behind, Ella found her way to the bedroom. In true Sirius style, clothes lay about the floor even though there was a perfectly good wardrobe in the room, the bed remained unmade and a few books lay here and there. Ella had the urge to walk straight out of the room again. That was until she saw a pair of flannelette pyjama pants lying on the end of the bed. Ella closed her eyes and remembered back to Grimmauld Place when Sirius would constantly be moping around in these very same pants, because, as she found out later, they were his favourites. Instead of the smile she had intended to grace her face, Ella now wore a confused frown. If Sirius had spent 12 years in Azkaban, escaped and lived abroad for a bit, then why would his favourite pyjama pants be waiting for him at Grimmauld Place if they lay here, in his flat? Ella looked toward the books that were strewn across the floor and recognised one of them as the photo album they had been looking through – at Grimmauld Place. Ella thought that Remus may have come to pick up some of Sirius' things once hearing he had been taken into custody, but then how would he have known to leave them at Sirius' parent's place when that was the last place he would be likely to go after being in prison? Then Ella remembered that Remus had thought Sirius to be guilty. This meant that he would hardly come to collect Sirius' things and believe that he would escape Azkaban and eventually reside again at Grimmauld Place. Ella then realised that no one had ever escaped Azkaban before, so no one could possibly know Sirius would escape and live in his parent's house. Except for me.

Ella looked at the pants again, and then the photo album. Didn't Sirius also have a closet full of clothes waiting for him in his room, even though he left home when he was 16? Ella quickly rushed over to Sirius' closet at the end of the room and threw open the doors. Every outfit she had seen Sirius wear in their time in the future, she saw hung up before her. It was Ella. Ella was the one who left everything at Grimmauld Place. Not thinking about it any more, Ella set to work and conjured a large suitcase. She didn't realise the smile on her face while she packed the clothes into the suitcase, nor the grin she bore when she folded the pyjama pants neatly and added them to the contents of the case along with the photo album. On her way out to the living room, Ella noticed a long coat hanging on the back of the bedroom door. Ella reached for it but then changed her mind. She thought back to the day she and Sirius had spent in London; how he had forgotten his coat because it wouldn't go with his outfit; how he had been freezing and snuggled close to Ella under her own coat; how her heart raced as his lips grazed her neck. This time she realised she was smiling as she left the coat hanging on the hook.

Ella rifled through the contents of the bathroom once more. She didn't take long to decide what she wanted to take, as she used her arm to scoop everything from the bathroom bench into the case. All that was left was the kitchen and living room. As Ella looked around both rooms, she didn't see anything that jumped out at her like in the other rooms – so she rifled through the cupboards and voila – she found something else that may be helpful. Underneath the sink was a whole case of mulled mead and firewhiskey. Well, almost a whole case. After adding the alcohol to the suitcase, Ella figured she now had everything. She took one last look throughout the flat to make sure she hadn't missed anything. Once she was satisfied, she closed the suitcase and prepared to disapparate. However, as she turned around she tripped over something. The knife. Ella hadn't bothered with the knife as she knew Sirius had brought it with him to the future. The reason it existed when they travelled was because Sirius had given the knife to Harry, who reported that the knife had been destroyed. But how did Sirius get the knife back in his possession to give to Harry? Ella, already knowing the answer, dislodged the knife from the floor and put it in her pocket. With the final addition, Ella grabbed the suitcase and disapparated.

Ella arrived promptly in her own living room, grabbed the pile of newspapers in the corner and disappeared once again.

This time, Ella appeared in the back yard of Grimmauld Place. She suddenly had a horrible thought: what if Sirius' parents were still alive? She never did find out when they had died. Figuring that she had to do this now or never, Ella approached the house and pointed her wand at the door. It opened. Not wanting to know if the house was occupied by people other than Kreacher, Ella rushed up the stairs, past the portrait who didn't have time to scream, and strait into Sirius' bedroom. She pointed her wand at the suitcase and the contents unpacked themselves into the wardrobe. Wasting no time, Ella rushed out of that room and up the stairs again to the master bedroom. Quickly finding the loose window sill, Ella opened it up and stored the alcohol in there while leaving the newspapers in a pile at the bottom of the wardrobe. Ella rushed downstairs once again and wedged Sirius' knife into the table, and with that final action, ran out into the back yard and disapparated again.

If Ella had taken her time, she would have realised that the house was indeed empty, and that there would be no way for her to have gotten in had the house not belonged to Sirius already.

Ella's heart was racing when she returned to her own flat and she found it difficult to do what she now knew she had to. Fighting back tears as the events of the day caught up with her, Ella held her wand in both hands and managed to bring it down forcefully against her knee. Ella let the wand fall to the floor. She couldn't even look at it.

Ella spent the next two days in bed.

Ella felt she had done all she could. She couldn't spend the rest of her life in a rut because of what she had been through. She gave herself a month to deliberate over what had happened, and then she made sure to move on with her life. This wasn't as hard as she thought as she didn't have her wand to tempt her to perform magic any more – although she was always going to be a magical being, so she could not stop the bouts of random magic which seemed to occur around her every now and then.

Ella followed Harry's story throughout his life by reading the Daily Prophet. Ella wasn't stupid; she knew not to believe everything she read. Ella waited near Platform 9 at Kings Cross station on Harry's first day of school and saw as he met Ron and the rest of the Weasleys. Ella never dared venture onto Platform 9 ¾. Each year she would watch as Harry, Ron and Hermione would make their way onto the platform, and continue reading about their escapades in the Daily Prophet, but never understanding the full story due to the bias of the paper.

Ella would also make sure she went to the dentist regularly.

Nineteen years after leaving the wizarding world, Ella considered herself happy. All she ever needed was time, and time had given back to her. She knew she would always have a love for magic, but she had accustomed herself to her new life and was now enjoying it. She now lived in Epping with her partner of 10 years. On Ella's request, they had never married nor had children; she was still plagued with the knowledge that she would die young. How young, she didn't know, so she didn't want to leave behind a husband and children to live without her.

As for Sirius, Ella would always love him. He was a great friend and the first person she would ever be in love with. But after years of no contact with him, things had changed. Ella had been in love with Sirius Black, then after years of no contact, that love waned. Try as one might, it is impossible to love a ghost.

Ella stopped wearing the ring after reading of Sirius' escape, and shortly after, stopped her subscription to the Daily Prophet.

Ella had decided to go shopping one weekend and had the urge to look through her jewellery box. As she rifled through the contents, she noticed the ring Sirius had given her all those years ago and a smile came to her face. She turned to see Paul still lying in bed with his mouth slightly open and an even bigger smile came to her face. She suddenly found herself thinking that she was extraordinarily lucky to have loved two great people in her life. Although Ella didn't put the ring on, she pocketed it. She kissed Paul lightly on the forehead and he snorted. Ella giggled and left him to continue sleeping.

After shopping in the West End for a couple of hours, Ella came to her favourite bookshop in the city. She was looking through the shelves and caught a glimpse out of the window. She saw a pawn shop she had never noticed before.

"Sirius, when did you- you shouldn't have, I bet it was far too expensive!"

"Not really, don't worry about it. I got it in a pawn shop while you were looking in that bookshop. Besides, I think my fake fiancé deserves a pretty ring, don't you?"

Ella put down the number of bags she held in her hand and took out the ring which was in her pocket. The metal had lost its luster but the stone was as beautiful as ever. For the first time in many years, Ella instinctively knew what she needed to do. She picked up her bags and left the bookstore without buying anything. The bell above the door rang as Ella opened the door to the pawn shop.

"What's so funny?"

"Oh nothing Esmeralda, its just that every time I look at you all I'll be thinking now is 'THE BELLS! THE BELLS!'"

Ella smiled yet again when she handed the ring over the counter. The man running the store was rather peculiar. He had a very unique old fashioned style with a monocle over one eye and he surveyed the ring with interest.

"How much were you wanting for it?" he asked. Ella furrowed her brow.

"Oh, I didn't think of that. Could you just take it? It's more of a sentimental piece if anything, I don't think I could put a price on it."

The store man now surveyed her.

"You sure about that?"

Ella smiled, "Yes. Thank you."

Ella opened the boot of her car and lined up all of her shopping bags from her day's efforts. She closed the boot and went around the side of the car to get into the driver's seat.

Ella was driving down the motorway on her way home when she looked in the mirror before changing lanes. However, the mirror was slightly askew, and instead of seeing any cars behind her, she saw her reflection. At 36, Ella's hair was now shorter and lighter, due to the current fashion and casual appointments at the hairdressers. As Ella had been working a lot with computers for her job at the bank, she had been wearing glasses for the past three years. As Ella glanced at her reflection, she started to feel dizzy. She couldn't see the road anymore. Ella thought of the list she had been adding to over the years, and realised there was always one crucial piece of the puzzle missing. She never remembered how she died. Until now. The mirror. A face. Her face.

"You'll be driving down the motorway, you'll black out even though you haven't done so for years, and you will end up here. There will be no pain, no one else will be hurt, you will just simply…no longer be."

And with that, Esmeralda Powell, witch and muggle, were no longer.

Sitting at home, frustrated by not being able to help fight against the Dark Lord with the rest of the Order of the Phoenix, Sirius Black was pacing about the house in a silent rage. Since he had re-entered his parent's house, he hadn't stepped foot in his old room. He had never grown up and yet he had changed so much. He stood outside his bedroom door and he suddenly thought about someone he had not thought about since the birth of his godson; Esmeralda Powell. It was as if she was the key for him to open the door, as the doorknob turned and he entered his room. It was exactly as he remembered it. He was drawn to the closet for some reason, but on his way he accidentally kicked something under the bed. He realised it was his old photo album. He didn't even think of why it was there. As he picked the album up, a photo fell out from the back. It was the photo of him and Ella on the last day of school. As he watched the photo Sirius whisper in Ella's ear, he saw for the first time, the look on Ella's face. He should have known back then, on that day. But even looking at her expression in the photo, Sirius believed she loved him. In some part of his mind, he had always thought she would wait for him.

And in another world, she did.

A/N: THAT WAS IT FOLKS!! Yes i apologise profusely for not having this up sooner, but i got extraordinarily busy, had no internet and only got back home a couple of weeks ago!!

I really hope this chapter doesn't disappoint, it was actually really hard to write so i hope i did an alright job. I hope it leaves you with a little hope too...i like to leave the end open for interpretation so please send me your theories on what you think happened after that...or what happened beyond etc!!

THANK YOU SO SO SO much for your reviews and for sticking with my story...especially over the last couple of months with no posts to speak of! You guys really boosted my ego and made reading letters in my inbox a joy!! I loved hearing your theories on everything so i hope all your questions have been answered. If you have any more questions i would love to hear them and i will answer them...if i know the answer lol.

Please review, i would love to know what you think of the ending and if you have any questions!! CHEERS FOLKS!!

meanderingbluebottle xxoo