Sequel to "Living Death" and "Memorial."
Warnings: if you've read the prequels, you get the idea.
Disclaimer: the only thing i own is an OC who makes an appearence. Everything else is not mine
Notes: I through in a lot of Greek mythology in here. The whole thing about Limbo I made up as I was going. Most of the Underworld is actually Hades from the Greek stories. If you are familiar with Orpheus and Eurydice, then the ending will make more sense to you.
Final Note: Please let me know how i did.
"I found a way."
"What?" I ask in confusion, looking up from the plate I've been pushing my dinner around on with my fork. I really wasn't in the mood to eat anyway. Moony's standing there with his hair askew and breathing heavily like he just ran into the Great Hall. His eyes are kind of crazy, likes Sirius's use to get when he had a new, wicked idea.
"I can get Him back," he says. I don't need to ask who 'Him' is; there's only one person 'He' can be.
"Moony, he's dead," I say as softly and as gently as I can. I've been worried for him lately. For weeks Moony has been obsessed with trying to find a way to reverse what Padfoot had done, but there's no hope for that. After Snivelous and Evans, Sirius was the best in our year in potion making. Sirius was always best at whatever he had done.
Remus narrows his queer gold-amber eyes at me as he used his superior standing position to lean ominously over me. "He's not dead, James. He's in limbo."
"Huh? What are you—"
Before I can even finish my question, Remus grabs me by my arm and drags me from my seat and out of the Great Hall. Many mouths are gaping as I, one of Gryffindor's star chasers, am being hauled by the lanky and bookish Remus Lupin. After all, Lupin was the quiet one who never made trouble. They don't know he's so strong, or that he's the one who was responsible for all of our best pranks.
Remus didn't let go of me or answer any of my questions or protests until we're safely in our dormitory with the door locked and a spell cast to insure there would be no eavesdroppers, not that anyone's actually crazy enough to eavesdrop on us. After what happened last time, everyone gives us our space. It's funny. Sirius isn't even here to threaten them, and they still stay away. For being so friendly, Padfoot could be plain mean. It was the Black in him. His brother's the same way, but Padfoot never wanted to hear that. Weird. I never realized that before. Maybe I didn't really know Padfoot as well as I thought I had.
"Be quiet, James," he orders, and something in me makes me obey without thought. Maybe it's the pack instinct (or in my case, herd instinct) that Padfoot had always gone on about. I'll never tell him, but the stag inside of me fears Moony just a little bit, though I know Remus would never hurt me. It's the stag that recognizes Moony as a predator, and so he's one not to cross. "Limbo," Remus continues. "That's where Sirius is."
"What's that?" I ask.
"It between the worlds of the living and the dead," Remus elaborates, his voice quick and impatient. He's been doing that a lot lately, too. I'm smart, but he's been going off on long rants that are so hard to keep track of. He even snapped at Wormtail the other day! Moony had always been the patient one. Padfoot, even though he could do a spell sooner or knew something first, could never explain something. Moony was the one to explain how to do it or the one to explain how to understand it. Padfoot never had the patience.
"Wait, wait, wait," I interrupt before he can really get going. If he does, I'll never be able to follow. "Worlds?"
"Stop asking questions and listen," Moony snaps, his voice a growl as he pushes me onto his bed. He paces a few steps. I don't know if he's just thinking or if it's because he can't stop moving. I've never seen Moony behave like this before. This is definitely a Padfoot-behavior, one he only did after a particularly nasty letter from home or a confrontation with Snape. "The world is more than it seems, James. We live and exist on only one plane of existence in only one of those worlds—Earth. When we die, we go onto the Underworld—the world of the dead. There are many states of existence in the worlds, known as planes or dimensions. In the Underworld alone there is at least four sub dimensions: the Asphodel Fields, the Elysion Fields, the Islands of the Blessed, and Tartarus. A river called Styx divides Earth and the Underworld."
"Then where's limbo?" I ask. I knew he'd lose me. He's lost it now. Worlds? What in bloody hell does he mean?
"Limbo isn't a place. It's a state of existence," he snarls irritably. Moony stays quiet for a few moments, and he stands still as well. Padfoot when he had been in these moods only stood still before he would finally snap. It was the calm before the storm. "Sirius isn't dead, but he's not alive either," he says quietly. "His spirit has left his body, but since his body is still alive, part of his soul is stuck in him. Because of that, Sirius's spirit is forced to drift until he either wakes or parishes completely. It's much like being a ghost, except without consciousness, or being able to anchor oneself to a plane."
"That's horrible," I finally say. How could anyone live…not's not what I mean. I don't know what I mean.
"I can get him back," Moony declares again.
"How?" I ask. Somehow, Moony's making some sense, but he still doesn't get it. Padfoot's gone. How can I make him see? "Sirius found away to make a bezoar useless, and there's no antidote to the Drought of Living Death. Figures Padfoot would be able to find a better way to off himself."
I'm honestly surprised when Remus doesn't hit me; he's been sort of touchy about any remarks about Sirius's suicide in the past few weeks (funny since he still hasn't shed a single tear). Instead Remus has this smile like on that painting Lily likes so much. What's it called? Oh yeah. That Mona Lisa painting-thing. "Have you ever heard of Orpheus and Eurydice?" he asks.
"What?" He's definitely lost me. "Is that a muggle thing?"
"Sort of; Greek mythology," he answers quickly and now I get it. Sort of. That Greek story stuff…Padfoot was really into that. He told me a story once…in the original Greek. It sounded kind or neat, but I had no bloody idea what he was saying. "To make a long story short, they fell in love and Eurydice died on their wedding day. Orpheus, on the advice of the gods, went to the Underworld to barter with Hades to get back her soul. Orpheus impressed Hades' wife with his musical ability, and she convinced Hades to give him back Eurydice's soul."
"Cool!" I shout. Wait…he's not thinking what I think he's thinking. Is he? Oh Merlin! "What are you going to do then?"
I think he looks impressed for a moment at my supposed denseness. Sometimes actually doing what people expect me to do plays to my advantage. I know he doesn't think I realized half of what I do realize. "I am going to barter with Hades to get back Sirius."
Evans told me a story sort of like that once. Well, she really didn't tell me. She was telling one of her friends it, but I was in the room to hear it. "That sounds like you're making a deal with that Devil-bloke." What had happened? There was something about a favor and 'too-good to be true' and eternal damnation. It wasn't a nice story.
"Any price is worth Sirius," he says flatly.
That's what I was afraid of.
"Are you sure?" Wormtail asks him nervously. I hadn't bothered to ask. There's no way Moony wouldn't do this now.
"Peter, don't make me eat you," he threatens. Peter squeaks and hurries away from him much like a rat. Funny since that's what he turns into. I can't blame him for running—Moony never jokes about that sort of thing. Padfoot would of, but not Moony. He was set on doing this even if it would kill him. Merlin, please let it not kill him. I can't go through that again.
"Just be careful, okay?" I plead with him. What I mean is, 'don't be stupid.' Moony always old me and Padfoot that before we preformed on of our more dangerous stunts. "I can't lose you, too."
"Any price, James," he echoes. "I'm going to get Padfoot back. I have to." He runs his fingers through his dirty blonde hair as he speaks. There's streaks of gold in it, but already they're starting to turn silver before their time. He's desperate now, and I now he could lose it. I almost hope this works so Moony can get back to normal.
"I know. Just—don't get hurt," I plead on.
"Marauder's oath," he vows. "To getting my git back," he jokes before downing the potion that would let him journey to that spirit place he was going on about. Merlin, I hope it wasn't really a poison. Padfoot would have been able to make that in his sleep. I'm not so fortunate, but since Moony can't brew anything and neither can Wormtail, I had to do it.
I watch with something knotting my insides as Moony falls into a trace described in the book. Please, Merlin, let this work.
"Prongs, what if Moony doesn't come back?" Wormtail asks from his place across the room.
"He'll come back, Pete," I answer sounded a lot more sure than I feel. "He has to."
It's been a few hours and Remus hasn't woken up yet. Good thing it's a Saturday, or else a professor might have asked questions.
Wormtail looks up at me as he bites his lip. "What's taking so long?"
"It takes time," I answer. He's been asking that a lot. I don't know how long, but I'm starting to get worried now, too.
Before I can snap at Wormtail (he's my friend, but it's so hard to talk to him sometimes), someone knocks at the dormitory door. No one just enters it anymore…Padfoot had made sure of that. "Hey, James!" Frank Longbottom calls from the other side.
"Give me a second!" I call back as I make frantic gestures to Wormtail to close the curtains around Moony's bed. Well, it was really Padfoot's bed, but Moony had taken it over. Wormtail catches on and pulls them shut. "Yeah, Frank?" I ask as I open the door.
"There's someone at the portrait demanding, and I'm quoting this, 'an audience with Messer. Potter.' I think it's a Snake," Frank says.
"Thanks, Frank," I say while I shake my head. What could a Slytherin want with me? "I'll be down in a little bit."
He nods and leaves. I quickly make sure everything is alright with Moony before heading to the Common Room.
Mid-way down the stairs I can hear someone ask, "How have you been?" It's Anna Marie Marius, one of Lily's friends. She's pretty and nice, I think anyway. Padfoot and her were always fighting though. It's strange. I guess at one point the Black and the Marius families had a deal or something that Sirius and Anna Marie would marry when both were of age. The Marius's are an old pure-blood family, too, but Anna Marie's the first of the family to come to Hogwarts. Everyone else went to that French school.
"Merde," someone else says, and I gasp. I sounds just like Sirius, but it can't be because Sirius is dead. "I always knew, Anna. I always knew Sirius would succeed it he kept attempting. I was so hoping he had stopped trying." Kept attempting? What is he saying?
I enter the Common Room. Anna Marie is sitting on the couch by the fireplace having tea with none other than Sirius's little brother. My jaw hurts just looking at him. Damned if he didn't punch just like Padfoot. It's been a while since I've seen him. It almost looks like Regulus has aged several years. He looks like he should be in seventh year, but he's only fifteen. In fact, he's only ten months younger than Padfoot. Regulus's hair is longer now, and it just falls into his eyes.
He stands as he sees me. Before he can speak, I say, What do you mean by that?"
Regulus needs no prompting. "You didn't know? I thought you would know; after all, he trusted you more than me."
"What do you mean, Black?" I demand. He seems almost amused by my use of his last name, but it's so hard to tell. Padfoot was so easy to read and there was the mystery. Padfoot knew how to trick people so they saw what he wanted them to see. Regulus is the same way. Before I know for sure, Regulus's face is back to the typical controlled mask every pureblood knew how to do by instinct. I can do it, too. I hate to do it though. It makes me feel so dead.
"Perhaps we had best continue this conversation privately, Potter. I don't fancy you want your entire house to know such things."
"Speak, damn you!" I plead. I can't if all of the school heard it now. I need to know.
"You want to know so badly? Fine. He was always sick, Potter," he starts at a low hiss. "He was never quite right, even from early childhood. It was always something with him, but no one would ever catch on until it was almost too late. He could go from being blissful to sullen to lashing out without a moment's notice. It was impossible to predict what he would do or what he would try next," Regulus is speaking passionately, almost like he's raving, but Blacks don't rave. No, they're too respectable to do that. Abruptly, he trails off. He looks away and stares into the fire, his grey eyes just like his brother's are glazed. I don't know how to respond to what he's saying. Sick? What?
"I had just turned six the first time he did it. In five weeks he would have his seventh birthday. He slit his arms open from his wrist to his elbow. There was so much blood, and he was so pale. He didn't move, not even when I called him name. I thought he was dead."
My throat tightens. How can say this so coldly? Wait…six? Padfoot was six? He was six and he did that? No. Not Padfoot. How—?
The entirety of the Common Room is still. Regulus's words are echoing around every corner of the room.
"Maybe it would have been better if he had died then."
That little! There's aren't words. The whole of the room is in a frenzy now. People are shouting, girls are crying. "What?" I demand. "How can you even say that?"
"Maybe he should have died! At least then he would still be my brother!" he screams over the din of voices, taking a step closer to me, and I to him. We're almost standing eye-to-eye. Anna Marie tries to pull Regulus back by his sleeve, but it does not good. I can see all the little blue veins under the skin of his temple and the light dotting of freckles over his nose. His teeth are gnashing together…just like Padfoot. "You and your ilk took my brother from me! He loved you and you let him die! I hate you, Potter! You and all your friends!"
I freeze. I watch as someone, Frank, I think, takes a swing at him, but the younger Black turns his wand on his attacker in warning. If it had been Padfoot, he would have already cast a hex or jinx, but Regulus isn't Padfoot. He's seething. I don't think I've ever scene Regulus this emotional before…not since he hit me.
"I hope you are happy now, Potter," he hisses. "You've finally taken my brother away from me." He's glaring at me like he wishes nothing more than for me to just die in the most painful way any could imagine. He jerks his chins up full of pride as he turns away and absconds out the portrait without a word of good-bye to Anna Marie. She looks so upset now. It almost hurts to look at her.
The room stays tense long after he leaves. People are muttering angrily and crying, but I don't pay attention. The ache in my chest got worse. It had been so easy to think no one in Padfoot's family had cared, but I was wrong. Regulus did. He cared a lot.
"James!" a panicked shout brakes my thoughts.
It's Pete. He's standing at the bottom of the stairs with wide eyes and he's shaking. "What is it?" I ask fearfully. That feeling of knots in my insides is back.
I don't even let him finish. I'm already half-way to the dormitory by the time it took him to say the first word. Moony? What could have happened? Please, please let Moony be okay. Please.
"Moony?" I call franticly as I race into the room. He's there on the bed still sitting cross-legged just as I had left him, only tears are rolling from his eyes. He doesn't look up as I come nearer. "Moony?" I ask again.
"I had Him," he whispers. I can barely hear him. "I had Him, James." His chin is wobbling with the effort to not cry and his voice is shaky. "I bloody had him!" he screams, now looking at me with dead eyes.
He had him? He got Sirius back? If he did, then why's he angry? "You had him?" I say, unsure of what he means. Maybe I'll scared.
"I was this close, and now He's gone, and He can't come back because I looked. I looked, James!" he sobs. I can't understand him. What does he mean by looking? How can that make whatever he was trying to do fail? "I broke the only condition, and now He's lost."
"Remus, what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that Sirius is gone, and I can't get him back."
The world has never felt this empty before. I can only cling helplessly to him as we grieve, me for the unknownth time, and him for the first. Padfoot's gone.