A/N: So this is it, the final chapter of Woven. I will warn everyone, there is a tissue warning with this chapter, I bawled when I reread it today. The opening conversations between Anwen and Sirius were written by a friend and I, taking the characters and sparing back and forth. I think that you'll find much of the conversation amusing. Thanks go to my amazing beta, Peter, for keeping up with me, and for helping me tweak the writing so that it was better. There is again lots of music for this chapter: "Til Kingdom Come" by Coldplay, "The Long Fall" by Jars of Clay, "Window in the Sky" by U2 and "Water Under the Bridge" by Jars of Clay. Again, thanks so much to everyone who is reading and reviewing. "Restored" will be up in a few days. Mutt
"Well, will you look at that?" I said, pointing down to the activity that was below us. "Look at how hard they're all working."
"They want to dig us out of there, love. They don't know if we're alive or not," he replied.
"Do we?" I responded.
"Well, you're in my arms, so to be honest, I'm not worried about it," he replied, and I snuggled closer to him.
"Do you have any idea how we get back into our bodies?" I asked him.
"Are you in that much of a rush to go back?" he teased as his lips wound their way down my neck.
"Not if you keep doing that I won't be. Honestly, I doubt that either of those bodies down there are in any condition for what you're doing to me now," I whimpered as my head lolled on my neck. "Damn, love, you're amazing," I moaned and I could hear the lightest guffaw escape him. "I've missed you," I muttered, understanding it had been weeks since we had held each other this way. It didn't matter that we weren't actually in our bodies. I had never been so happy that my husband knew how to touch me with such perfection.
I was suddenly aware that there was another presence with us. I turned my head to see Perenelle moving toward us. "You know, it's never a good thing when your dead mentor shows up while your disembodied," I quipped and both she and my love laughed.
"Anwen, I've shown up before," she chastised me.
"Yes, but the last time was in a dream; and you told me that I was going to have another baby. Bloody hell, please don't tell me that I'm gonna get pregnant again, now. Not like that body down there looks like it can, but really...I mean really, my boobs are shot to hell already, I only keep them perky because of magic," I bemoaned the idea of spending another nine months puking and bloated.
"Whether you have any more children or not is entirely dependent upon the choices that you make now. And my dear, your boobs are fine," she told me, and I was shocked that Perenelle would say such a thing.
"I heartily agree," Sirius said, his hand moving to caress the left one under the...what is this that I've got on? I moved his hand away.
"Do you think that you could refrain from fondling me in front of Perenelle? Honestly, it's like you copping a feel in front of my Ma."
"Sorry love, but they're there, and we were talking about them," he justified and I rolled my eyes at him.
"You know, you roll your eyes so much, I'm surprised that they ever stay still in your head. We all know who he is, dear; life is never dull with Sirius around," Perenelle quipped and Sirius preened...and I found myself rolling my eyes once again.
"So, you want to give us a clue as to what's going on?" I asked her.
"Why don't you try and figure it out," she said calmly, and I remembered her love of puzzles.
"Well, clearly, one, if not both of us, are mortally wounded and on the brink between life and death," I told her and she nodded at me. "You've arrived to either shepherd us on, or help us go back. Rather cliched don't you think?"
"My dear, you're the one who has studied religions all over the world, why don't you tell me if it's cliched or not?" she told me and I remembered just how infuriating she could be to work with.
"It is. I'll play along, just as long as you don't go spouting on about all of the grand things we've done, and how we can get all of our questions answered; but it is cliched," I responded, getting Perenelle to settle down near us.
"How are you feeling?" she asked and I stopped to consider my response.
"Tired," I answered.
"Relieved," Sirius piped in, and I looked at him puzzled. "Hell, it's over Winnie. Harry is alive, see he's down there levitating and banishing rocks next to his father. Damn, they look way too much alike, but his eyes are Lily's."
"Yeah, yeah. Don't say that around him, he hates it. Everyone says it to him. I honestly expect him to go to some Muggle optometrist to get colored contact lenses so he's rid of those damned glasses and his eye color. Wait, if he's alive...then..." I was afraid to hope.
"Yes, child. Voldemort is indeed dead. Harry has an amazing story to tell you when he can," Perenelle confirmed. "Do you remember any of it?"
"I don't. The last thing I remember was that he...he cursed me," I said with the memory dawning on me and feeling indignant. "He did something to throw me off of him and then, there was this burning pain. What happened?" I looked at Perenelle, but she just smiled a knowing smile at me and I sighed exasperated.
"Pay her no mind love, we're together, and this is over," he whispered to me and I succumbed to him breathing a sigh of relief as Sirius brought his lips to mine. We kissed far too intimately to be in front of anyone else, and yet, there we were, engaged in a passionate snog. After a while, I remembered that we had company. I was surprised to see her reading something, and paying us no heed.
"Perenelle, we're sorry..." I started but she brushed her hand as if to tell me to pay it no mind.
"Child, I was once like you with my husband, still am on occasion. Love is nothing to be trifled with, of that you must be well aware. You're just expressing the power of your devotion," she told me, and I nodded at her. "Have you noticed anything about your husband?" I scrunched up my face and looked at her, and then looked at Sirius. He looked exactly the same, but as I was staring at him, I became acutely aware that I could remember things in his life -- things I wasn't part of. Shock and surprise were scribed on my face, and it was apparent that the same thing had happened to him.
"Your first sexual fantasy was about riding with me on my broom again? How 'bout if you ride me, while we ride the broom?" he asked me, sounding shocked and surprised and I buried my head in my hands. I searched through my new found memories to find something to embarrass him with.
"Really, you sometimes change into a dog just so you can lick your own balls. Honestly Sirius, that's the mouth you kiss your children with?" I teased him and he looked at me, begging for forgiveness.
We sat there looking at each other, finding revelation after revelation in these new memories, our faces reflecting our emotions as we encountered things we'd never known. Some were silly, some were embarrassing and there were many that were profound. "You really don't know who she was..." I muttered and he nodded once again bringing his lips to mine.
"How did this happen?" I finally queried Perenelle.
"There isn't any consensus on this side; Nicholas seems to think that it has something to do with the strength of your binding finally being realized. Albus thinks that your combined magic has bound your minds as well. I however think that the two of you have crossed into a depth of devotion and love that are rarely seen by humans. Your professions before the final battle, and then the strength of the magic you embodied, have given your love a transcendence that has rarely been recorded in human history. Your love is immortal, although you two are not. Oh, but Merlin and Godric are still debating the point, so there may be more opinions."
"What does it mean?" I asked her, feeling very overwhelmed by it all. The calm peace of a few minutes ago had left me.
"I wish that I knew. That will be an adventure for the two of you to discover," she told me, and I cringed.
"Will we be able to? I don't think that either of our bodies are doing well," I confessed; realizing that I could locate the injuries to Sirius as well as my own, without being in pain from them.
We stopped talking and all were watching the flurry below.
"Sirius, it would seem that our family survived," I said looking at all of the people below. "Lily shouldn't be lifting such things, she looks so weak," I complained.
"Anwen, you're buried under there; Lily would personally blast away as much of that rock as she could to get to you. It's Remus I'm worried about, I swear he looks gripped with panic. Do I look that old?" I chose not to answer him, Remus had always looked old, I had always thought that it was because of his being a werewolf. We remained quiet as we watched their work.
"Perenelle, who died? How many did we loose?" I begged her and she smiled at me.
"Anwen, none were lost on your side. There were some serious injuries, it would appear that yours and Sirius' are the gravest, but none of the forces for light were lost. The other side has suffered heavy casualties. You shielded everyone, and no one was lost, with the exception of Severus Snape; but nothing could have saved him. You can't play both sides for that many years and hope to live to tell your tale," she told me, and I felt a twinge of grief for the man. I had never liked him, but I certainly didn't wish him dead.
"Is he at peace now?" Sirius asked, and I was touched that he was concerned with the state of the soul of someone that he had hated for most of his life. He turned his eyes back to me, and caressed my face. "He gave too much, no one should have ever been asked to sacrifice what he did. I just hope that he has some peace now," he told me, and I took him in my arms and held him to me, overwhelmed at my love for him.
"He is. He was welcomed with open arms here, and right now is engaged in some mental sparring with others. Severus is happy for the first time in many, many years. Oh, and he thinks whatever happened was entirely Anwen's doing, as you're a good-for-nothing, Sirius," Perenelle told us with a sly smile. Good to know some things don't change. I wonder who he's debating?
We continued to watch the activity below us with rapt attention. Kingsley was being begged to come away, to help make plans at the Ministry; but he would not leave the work. Arthur and several of the boys, including Percy worked along his side. I couldn't find Molly, Fleur or Fred, and I was concerned for them. The Hogwarts staff and students, our family and friends, everyone was working together to obliterate the pile of rubble that was upon our bodies. I pointed to Sirius, for him to watch Harry and Ginny. Harry would look over at Ginny with deep affection and awe. She was struggling to move the rubble through her sobs, but whenever their eyes would meet, she would be still and gain enough resolve to continue.
"He's going to get her into bed soon. Perhaps I should give him some tips on seduction," he postured, and I giggled at him.
"You're about a year late there, dear. Ginny seduced him last summer. What do you think was going on when they visited our house all year?" I asked him shocked. "Wow, are you off your game," I teased.
"Wait, how do you know?"
"She came to me for help and advice."
"Why did she come to you?" he asked and I looked at him perplexed.
"Um, because I'm a woman...and she knows I have sex...often."
"Can't believe that he didn't come to me...been looking forward to that conversation since he was born...what's the point of being a godfather if you can't help with the little wizard gets some action talk..." Sirius was muttering under his breath, and I rubbed his back and kissed him passionately to take his mind off his disappointment.
They continued for what seemed like forever, and Sirius and I simply hovered, wound up in one another and reveling in our closeness. It felt like I couldn't be close enough to him, hold him tight enough, be near him. It reminded me of the night of our magical binding before our wedding. Every brush of his lips against me, every caress seemed to ignite my flesh. I could read in his emotions that it was doing the same for him.
When they finally got to the bottom of the pile, I gasped at the sight of our mangled bodies. Blood was everywhere, and I wasn't even sure how we were still alive. "My God Sirius, the blood...oh Sirius, your head," I mumbled, feeling the need to tighten his grip around me. There was an open gash across his scull and down his face, and he was covered in blood. It would seem that when we fell, my body had covered most of his, and there were multiple deep cuts across my back, giving my torso the appearance of raw meat. James removed the final boulder from the lower half of our bodies, and I had to fight down the urge to be sick. My right leg was bent in a completely un-natural way, and most of the flesh had been ripped away from it.
Remus quickly removed his cloak and gingerly covered me, and put a stabilizing charm on me, and then lifted me in his strong arms. I watched as he weeped, obviously fearful that I would die from my wounds. James did the same with Sirius' body. The scene changed as they Portkeyed to the hospital wing. Madame Pomfrey and Healer Orlaf began barking orders and trying to assess our condition. The entire entourage that had been digging us out seemed to have suddenly appeared in the hospital ward, and Poppy had to send them away. As she undressed my body, and I got to see the full extent of the wounds I turned away, I couldn't watch any more.
"Why were we so badly injured? What happened to the Owlery?" I queried.
"You, my dear child. You were what happened," she said cryptically. I looked at her in disbelief. "We only have theories here, mind you, none of us has ever seen anything like this. The amount of power that you used to project his family to Harry was astounding. It was the purest, most ancient magic that you tapped into."
"Love," I whispered, once again looking at Sirius full of devotion.
"You learned your lessons well, Anwen. Yes, you tapped into the universal force of love, as did Harry to defeat Voldemort, but that is his story to tell you. When he pushed you away, you accessed deeper into that power. When you couldn't find him, you released a shield the likes of which has never been seen. The sky glowed with it and the magic within all of your comrades shimmered. Many had never seen their own magic, and it was a bit shocking for them. The entire field glowed in the most amazing prism of magic. It simultaneously fused the bond with your beloved," she said and I reached up and stroked his face, "and blew out the building. The masonry of the Owlery couldn't withstand the shock wave, and you were crushed under the rubble."
"Why weren't we protected?" Sirius asked, his hands rubbing lazy circles along my arms and back.
"We don't know, all of that protective magic just rushed out. There are theories, and I'm sure that at some point Albus will come to you in a dream and tell you, but we might never know. Don't trouble yourself on it. What happens next is up to you," she said again, and I looked at her puzzled. She proceeded to take some knitting out of a bag that appeared next to the chair she was sitting in and start manipulating the needles in their back and forth pattern.
I turned my gaze below and watched as they had to charm away the hair on Sirius head in order to clean and begin repairing his wound. They were having trouble getting it to close. We could hear what they were saying. I watched intently as there was a hushed conversation between James, Lily and Remus with Healer Orlaf over my body.
"Perenelle, can I get them a message?" I asked her, and she put her knitting down.
"I don't know. Why don't you try," she replied.
I thought about it, trying to give them the courage to do what obviously needed to be done. I had complete understanding of what the ramifications would be, but I also knew that I would not survive if they did not do what the Healer was suggesting. I watched as Lily slumped against James and Remus knelt down to kiss my forehead. A moment later the healer detached the broken and un-repairable part of my leg; and began healing the rest of the leg.
"You told them to take your leg?" Sirius asked me, and I nodded, unable to form words just yet. I took a steadying breath, and waited for his follow up. "Why?"
"I could feel my body telling me that it couldn't get better without the leg being gone. Remus wasn't sure that it should be done. He was worried that I wouldn't ever dance again. He needed assurance that I would be okay," I twisted myself in his arms to look head on at him, realizing that I was crying again. "I'm sorry that I'll never dance for you again my darling."
"My sweet one, we'll dance together, I'll hold you," he muttered as he kissed the tears away from my cheeks. The window that we were looking through clouded over, and Sirius and I realized that we were alone again; Perenelle had left, but we hadn't heard her leave. Sirius' arms enfolded me and I was lost in the emotion of having him hold me.
Hours, days, maybe weeks passed; and we remained in our secluded world. We watched as the medical team tried to separate our bodies in the hospital ward, and they were unable to do so. A ward or something kept our bodies close. It shocked everyone that even in our unconscious state, we knew that we wanted to be together, and they were further gobsmacked when Sirius reached out to grab my hand.
We were able to look in at our children, reveling in how much they had grown in the months that we had been apart. Ethan looked more and more like his father, and was turning into quite a skater. Lilyan, with her gentleness and brilliant green eyes was outgrowing her baby like features, and was turning into a child more and more every day. John was still brash and outgoing, Jamie was the yang to his yin and still quiet and introverted. We relished watching each one with the other. They were like two halves of a whole. Little Edmund was the hardest to see, however. He had moved from his dependent baby phase into an inquisitive toddler. He was crawling and trying to feed himself.
"Sirius, I miss them so," I murmured while we were watching them.
"We'll see them again soon, love. I promise," he said, gently caressing me as we lie twined together.
"Perenelle," I called and she once again floated in.
"You're ready to choose?" she asked, and I looked at Sirius.
"Is it really a choice?" he teased back, and I shook my head at him.
"How well you know me."
"All of you darling, every last cell of your body, and every desire of your heart, I know."
"It would appear that we have," I informed her.
"You know that you will be in excruciating pain, both of you; and that the road back will be hard?" she questioned us, and I couldn't bring my eyes to Sirius'.
"The physical pain we may have to endure would be nothing compared to that of the broken heart of not being with our children as they grow up. We have each other, we have our family, we have freedom and peace -- the rest we can learn to live with," Sirius spoke, saying the words that I couldn't. Perenelle smiled her understanding smile, and nodded.
"There are a few who would like to see you before you go," and as she spoke, a circle of people came and surrounded us. Albus and Nicholas greeted us warmly, giving us words of how proud they were of us. I could see Alastor and Amelia, and people that we had lost in the first war -- Mr. and Mrs. Potter and others from the Order that were taken too soon. Two figures stepped forward, and I ran to embrace one as my husband did the same with the other.
"I never wanted you to get caught up in this," I apologized to my little sister, her beautiful brown tresses blowing in the breeze that had somehow kicked up.
"Oh, Anwen, you had nothing to do with my death. Take care of my nieces and nephews for me, and live. Live every moment with all of that passion that you have for Sirius. I love you, sissy. Thank you for sharing your life with me," she whispered, saying exactly what I needed to hear from her. "Will you tell Charlie the same thing. Tell him that I'm happy. Tell him I want him to live a long life, full of happiness and joy and tell him I'll be waiting when he comes to me," she asked and I knew that I would remember her words.
I put my arm around my sister and walked across what was now a beautiful green field to where Sirius was embracing his brother. Sirius lifted Eira up and spun her around, happy to see the sister who had become so much a part of our lives. I looked at Regulus, unsure what to do -- in life we hadn't exactly been fond of one another. He reached over and grabbed me into a great bear hug.
"You know, if I had any idea just how damned powerful you were, I wouldn't have ever gone up against you," he teased.
"Well, good thing you're already dead then, so I don't have to send you here myself," I teased back.
"Are you ready, my love?" Sirius asked me, and I nodded at him. Perenelle came and stood before us.
"Do I have to say goodbye?" I asked her.
"No my dear, I'll still come and visit. Just remember, this is what you chose, and rejoice in that choice. Pain will come, but always find the glimmer of pleasure in every day, and the pain will be lessened. Love as fully as you are capable of, and take time to sing...and to dance my dear, sweet girl," she said as she wrapped me in her gentle embrace.
"I love you so my teacher and my friend," I whispered to her.
"And I love you my dear one. Now go, both of you, and live," she said.
"Oh, and for the record, it was completely cliched," I told them, and our friends laughed at me.
I could feel Sirius holding onto me. There was a sensation of falling, but not a fearful one -- I wasn't sure that there would be a landing at all. We were simply floating downward until we were once again in our bodies. The first sensation that I felt when my consciousness reunited with my body was the pain -- it was intense and almost overwhelming. I knew that they were giving me potions for the pain, but it was still coursing through me in waves. I had the sensation of still being able to feel my leg, even though I knew that it was gone.
And then, the pain seemed to ebb away. It started with my hand, and something flowed through me -- gentle, soft, smooth, cool but not cold. I could feel rough skin pressed against the soft of my hand. Sirius was pouring his love for me out of his hand, into mine as he held it.
I opened my eyes, and saw him lying there next to me, our hands clasped on the small table that was between our beds. He smiled very weekly at me.
"Welcome back," he whispered.
"No, welcome home," I corrected him.
I don't know why they haven't awoken, especially Sirius. They've healed his wounds as best as they can for now; and given him the correct potions, and yet, he's still out. Anwen, well, the fact that she's alive at all is impressive and illogical. She shouldn't have survived the blood loss from her injuries. It's been eight days. Why haven't they awoken? I do hope that she won't blame me when she awakes to find out that we had to remove her leg, and I was the one who finally gave in. It's healing well, and the team was already here to see about her prosthetics; but it will be so hard for her.
I looked up from the chair that I was sitting in, there was a change in the steady chimes that indicated their heartbeats and respirations. It took us days to realize that they were beating and breathing in time with each other. It was a shocking experience, trying to move Sirius away from Anwen, so that they could measure her for her new limb and having their bodies insist they remain as they were. Then, he reached over and held her hand, and he still hasn't let go. I don't understand their love, I'm in awe of it, but I don't understand it.
I stood and walked over closer, and then I heard them, they whispered to one another.
"Anwen, Sirius, are you awake?" I questioned.
"Yes," they each whispered again, in turn.
"Poppy, Poppy, they're awake," I called the school nurse, who in turn contacted Healer Orlaf. The two fussed over their weak bodies and I watched with rapt attention.
"I don't understand it, why did they awaken together?" Poppy said after I recounted what I'd seen.
"That's just Anwen and Sirius," I mused. "Can I contact the rest of the family? They've been so worried."
"Only the Potters and the Weasleys, and your wife. No one else, not yet. Minister Shaklebolt needs to talk with her. I'm under strict orders," she told me, and I nodded at her. I fired off two quick Patronuses, and then took the mirror from my pocket and tapped on it. As soon as James' face appeared in the mirror, I began speaking.
"They're awake, and they seem to be doing fine," I told him. He curtly nodded and before I could put the mirror away James, Lily, Harry and Ginny were emerging from the floo, followed closely by Tee and Teddy. "We aren't to wear them out. Kingsley needs to talk with them." They all nodded and together we crowded around the beds. Anwen was lying on her side, and they had thrown a sheet lightly over her back to cover her wounds and give her some degree of modesty. The stump of her leg was propped up on pillows and wrapped up. Her arm was extended to Sirius, who was holding it on the table between the beds. He was on his back, looking over at her. You could almost visualize the love flowing between them. We all seemed hesitant to break their connection.
"Don't hover, it's making me nervous," Anwen garbled out and we all laughed at her. Lily and James crouched between the beds, and I went around to stand behind the head of hers. Harry and Ginny went to the far side of Sirius' bed and Tee and Teddy stayed at the end of his bed.
"How are you feeling?" Lily asked them.
"Like I channeled a hell of a lot of magic," Anwen replied.
"And then got stuck under a pile of rubble," Sirius answered, and we were glad to see that their combined sense of humor had remained intact.
"Harry, why did you throw me off? How did you do it?" Anwen questioned him and the look on his face was delightful. He looked like he was ashamed of his answer.
"I knew you'd stop me. I couldn't let you...we'll talk about the rest another time," he mumbled and she nodded weakly.
We told them that we'd checked on their children, and plans were in the works to bring them home. The Potter children were already back, and Ewan and Anelle were staying for a few more days to help with the transition, and then they would be finally returning to Canada and their own lives. Anwen and Sirius' children would be back as soon as we knew that they would be able to handle having them around.
James told them that they would be coming to live with them, as they had no other house. James had already been making modifications on the house to accommodate them. While Harry had been more than willing to give them back Grimmauld, it wasn't practical with all of those stairs. Ian Anderson's company had been contracted to do the renovations to the Manor and to rebuild Fair Garden and Sirius told James that he wanted to be involved in the designing of the new house. James agreed to bring Ian over in a few days.
Molly and Arthur came rushing in, and Molly nearly shocked Anwen back into unconsciousness with her voracious hug. They let Anwen and Sirius know that they, along with Charlie, would be going to Canada to bring their children home. Rhosyn was insistent that she return with them, to help care for the children; and Anwen didn't protest.
I explained to them the state of their medical care, and what would be happening next. I was afraid to look at Anwen, fearful that she would blame me for the amputation of her leg. Kingsley came in, and questioned them briefly, and then excused himself; explaining that he had the answers he needed and he'd be back in a few days. They both gushed over Teddy, as he changed his appearance to match theirs, or Harry's as he held him.
It didn't take long for them to wear out, and the family left, leaving me alone with them on my shift as their guard and caretaker. I thought that they had fallen asleep again, when I heard Winnie call me.
"Remus," she whimpered and I walked over and knelt before her face. She could barely hold her eye lids open but her other hand reached out to me, and I took it. "Look at me," she begged and I couldn't help but obey. "I know that you..."she paused to take a deep breath, "...didn't want to do this. I wanted this done. I wouldn't have lived..." another breath, "...if you hadn't. Thank you," she finished and then her eyelids fell down. I placed her hand back on the bed and kissed her head, silently thankful for her words and the release from my guilt over the decision.
"Would you stop twitching woman, you're making it hard for me, and I'm sitting in a chair three feet away from you," I reprimanded her.
"But my babies will be here soon," she reminded me excitedly. As if I could forget that the children were coming home today, well, the children were coming to Potter Manor today, which is as close to home as we are going to have for a while.
"Anwen, I know that the children will be here soon, but you can't exert yourself too much, you're still healing."
"Fine, fine," she muttered under her breath as she re-arranged the sheets on her bed again. We had decided that she would remain in bed, and we'd tell the children about her condition in a few days. Anwen was still not allowed to stand, but she could sit up in a chair for brief periods, however, the bed was still the best place for her. The wounds on her back were healing, but her leg was a long way from ready. She still needed a while to heal and the bone and tissue needed to knit itself to the magical posts for the prothesis that she would soon have. It was like a training leg, made of metal and it resembled Mad–Eye's. As she got stronger, she would be given a leg that more closely resembled a "real" one. In the next weeks she would learn to stand, walk and eventually run on this magical leg.
We couldn't disguise my wounds from the children, they were quite literally written all over my face. The gash ran from the crown of my head, across my forehead, down the side of my nose and to the left side of my lips. It was the first time in my life that I was completely clean shaven, and bald. They had promised me that I would eventually be allowed to grow back my hair, and any facial hair that I wished; but in the meantime I needed to be this way. While the injuries were not created by curses, they were reacting as if they were. The only explanation that anyone could come up with was that there was so much magic in the air as they were created, the wounds became infused with it and now wouldn't heal. Healer Orlaf had actually resorted to Muggle medicine to fuse the wound together, using something called 'superglue' to hold the gash shut. He promised that it would reduce the scarring in the long run, and promised that I wouldn't resemble Mad-Eye when I was healed. At this point I took his word for it. I just hope that I don't frighten them. There were some other ailments that needed care as well, foremost being that we both had huge amounts of magic coursing through us. We weren't supposed to do any spells yet, and they had gone so far as to give us magical suppressants so that we wouldn't have accidental magical discharges, like little children do.
Anwen started twitching in her bed again, lifting her hand and levitating my watch over to her so she could check the time. I got up out of the rocking chair and walked over to her.
"I would have told you the time, if you'd just asked."
"I know, but it gave me something to do," she said jumpily. I wrapped a protective arm around her and kissed her deeply.
"They're almost here, and it will be fine, but I don't want you wearing yourself out before they even arrive. Relax. Would some music help?"
"Yes, thank you," she said and I walked over to the CD player and put in a new release from one of her favorite bands. She began bouncing in her bed and singing along and I laughed at her and the music.
"Tell me, why are they 'Barenaked Ladies' if they're all guys? And stop that bouncing, you're supposed to be relaxing," I reminded her again.
"Okay, okay," she said no longer bouncing, but her hands still tapping along and singing with the goofy lyrics. Her voice was gravelly and raw, but I was so happy to see her this joyful. The sunlight streamed in, illuminating what once was the Potters' ballroom. They had subdivided it, opening it fully to the dining room on one end, so that we could all be together to take meals. There were three bedrooms, one for the girls, one for the boys and one for Anwen and me. There was also a large sitting room, with the hospital bed that Anwen was in now, so that we could have everyone together when we needed. James had done all of this before we had even arrived, and he promised that when we were able to go home, the room would be restored. I remembered my overwhelming gratitude for him in that moment. How will I ever repay him for this?
"Hey, any word yet?" Ginny asked as she bounced in. While she was technically living at the Burrow she flooed over every morning and left late every night, she did everything but sleep here. If she did go to the Burrow during the day, Harry went with her.
"They had made it as far as the Glasgow airport at 8:00 a.m., but then they were driving the rest of the distance. James was driving his Rover and Harry was driving our car. I have no idea how long it will actually take for them to come the 240 miles to get here," Anwen told her, and we all chuckled. I wonder how her parents will handle the magically enhanced cars? The first thing that Harry wanted to do the week after the battle was get his Muggle driver's license and buy himself a car. He said he wanted to be able to leave Wizarding society every once in a while, and just be able to do things that were fun with his girlfriend. We weren't sure that buying the bright red, BMW Z3 convertible roadster was the right choice for just "blending in". Truly, an understated car, not conspicuous at all.
"Harry has his father's lead foot and magical sense. I'm quite sure that they'll be here before lunch. I can't wait to see them Aunt Winnie," Ginny gushed and Anwen agreed with her.
"I can't either my dear. So, what are you doing with the rest of your summer?"
"Um, snogging Harry, playing with the kids, flying, snogging, sleeping, more snogging, more than snogging Harry, um...yeah, that's about it. I would like to see if I can catch up a little on what I missed this year at school. I didn't learn much in any class except for potions -- where we brewed healing potions and Transfigurations -- where Professor McGonagall tried to teach us, but we really weren't into it. Care to tutor me a little this summer?"
"Of course, we'll figure out what you did learn, and we'll start from there. Has Harry made any decisions about the fall?" Sirius asked her, and she shook her head as she went to sit on the couch in the sitting room area of our little house within a house.
"His Mum and Dad want him to do what he wants, but I think that he's afraid if he goes back to Hogwarts people will see him as wimping out of something," she said frankly. "There are a lot of people who want him to go to work for the Ministry."
"Everyone but the Minister. Kingsley wants him to take a year, and the way he's structuring the Auror department, it would be for the best anyway. I doubt that they'll have the Auror school up and running by fall," Anwen told her, and then realized that she said more than she was supposed to. Ginny's face registered the slip as well.
"You do know what they're going to do, don't you? I knew it, you're going back to teaching," she said excitedly. Anwen shook her head.
"Ginny, I am not going back to the Ministry. I do however know what is going to happen with the Magical Law Enforcement Department as well as the Wizengamot. King will call a Council meeting as soon as Sirius is ready to attend."
"Tell me, please, I won't tell anyone," she begged, but Winnie shook her head. Her pestering was abruptly ended by the sound of the front door opening and the sounds of little feet on the marble floor. I stood up and went to sit on the bed next to Winnie, who was already crying happy tears. Three of our children came rushing in, followed by Rhosyn carrying Edmund and Caldwalder carrying Jamie.
"Oh my babies," Anwen cried as they came over and scrambled up onto the bed.
"Children, I told you to be careful. Your Mummy has hurt her leg very badly," Rhosyn scolded them.
"We know. You and GrandMolly warned us. We're being careful," Ethan said back.
"Mouth Ethan," Anwen's father reprimanded him. "I've still got that bar of soap." That was a story that I needed to hear.
Anwen held each of them, holding their faces each in turn, and kissing them, telling them how precious they were and how happy she was to have them home with us. Ethan told me that my scars were cool, and Jamie traced them with her little finger before she threw her arms around me; and beyond that none of our children said anything about them. Lilyan snuggled up against her mother, and Ethan lay down across the end of the bed. John climbed up in my lap and started talking a blue streak while Jamie held onto her Mummy and cried. Rhosyn continued to hold Edmund until I could finally free my arms from John, who went to show Harry his collection of American baseball cards, and I snuggled our youngest son.
The Potter children came running in and in no time, they were playing with their long missing friends. Jamie went and sat on Ginny's lap while Harry sat next to her, his arm draped over her shoulder, kissing her on the temple every once in a while, both listening intently to what the little girl had to say.
I gave Anwen Edmund, and Lily brought her a bottle and she sat and wept as she fed our baby. I came to sit next to her and looked around the room, realizing that everyone that we loved was now in this house. The doors to the backyard had been flung open and the children were running in the yard. Remus, Tonks and Teddy had come over, as had all of the Weasley boys, their wives and girlfriends as well. Molly, Rhosyn and Lily had busied themselves in the kitchen, preparing a luncheon feast. I couldn't believe that we had all made it through, that we were finally free of Voldemort and his tyranny.
Edmund fell asleep in Anwen's arms, one little hand down the inside of her gown, the other over her heart. She had her cheek against his head, and she had lain back against the pillows, her soft voice humming him her childhood lullaby.
"Do you want me to take him?" I asked her, but she gently shook her head.
"Can I just hold onto him forever? Can I hold my babies and never let go?" she asked, tears falling down her face.
"Yes my love, nothing will ever take them away again. I promise you on the depths of my love that nothing will ever take them from us again," I laid down next to her, wrapping my arm gingerly around her, as to not hurt her back and pulled her close to me. "Are you happy darling?"
"So very happy, I feel like I will burst from it. We had been sad for so long, barely able to get through the day, and now...oh, Sirius, I am so very happy," she told me through her tears.
Lily let us know that lunch was ready, and we watched as people filed out. Others helped our older children get their meals, but we lay there, cradling our sleeping son.
"What happens next?" Anwen asked me, in a half–dream–like state.
"Don't you remember? The handsome prince marries the pretty girl, and they live happily ever after. Winnie, we finally get to live happily ever after. All of this is behind us, we're rebuilding our house and our children are home. What more do we need?"
"Love. Lots and lots of passionate love."
"We already have that my precious little one. We already have all of the love we'll ever need," and I kissed her again, reveling in the happiness that she was sending me