Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or Twilight.
List of POVs:
Bella – BPOV
Edward – EPOV
Renesmee – NPOV
Jacob – JPOV
Alice – APOV
Jasper – JasPOV
Emmet – EmPOV
Rosalie – RPOV
Harry – HPOV
Ron – RonPOV
Hermione – HerPOV
So sorry for the wait!!! Thanks for sticking around through my story, there are only two chapters left, including this one. I am working on the first few chapters of a sequel. In the meantime, keep reviewing and enjoy!!
Cornelius Fudge now turned to Albus. "Now, what exactly is going on? How did you get here? How did he? Why is there a vampiress in the Ministry of Magic? You have a lot of explaining to do, Dumbledore!"
"I will give you half an hour of my time tonight, Minister," replied Albus, "but first… You will give the order to remove Dolores Umbridge from Hogwarts and you will tell your Aurors to stop searching for my Care of Magical Creatures teacher so that he can return to work."
Mr Fudge turned an angry red. "I – yes, very well."
Albus nodded pleasantly.
I turned at the sound of the one voice I knew better than any other in the world. Edward ran up to me, and I took a few steps forward to throw myself into his arms. He held me tightly for a moment before pulling me into a deep kiss.
"Bella…" he murmured between kisses, "…are…you okay? What…happened?...Where's Harry?"
"Albus sent him back to Hogwarts," I replied, "Voldemort was here…don't worry, no one was hurt!" I added quickly at his horrified look, "He's gone now. We have Renesmee back with us; it's all over."
Edward scowled. "No, not all of it. Aro wishes to speak with us."
My panic must've shown on my face, as he smoothed the crease between my eyes with his thumb. "It's okay, love. We have done nothing wrong."
I nodded, and allowed him to guide me back to the Department of Mysteries. Our entire family, including Carlisle and Esme, plus the Volturi were waiting there for us. I went straight to Renesmee's side and wrapped a protective arm around her shoulders, glaring at Jane.
Aro looked up and beamed. "Ah, Bella! What a delight to have the whole family with us!"
Although he sounded like he meant it, I didn't relax. You could never tell if cheerfulness was a good thing with Aro.
"No need to look so worried, my dear Cullens," exclaimed Aro brightly, "I merely wish to discuss some matters with you! We have no intention of hurting your family."
"He's telling the truth," said Edward.
Aro nodded at my husband. "There you have it. Your young mind-reader assures you I speak truthfully."
Carlisle nodded. "Very well. What would you like to discuss, friend?"
The Volturi leader's face turned solemn and almost apologetic. "It seems we made a mistake in allying ourselves with these humans. We saw them as a threat to us, and acted in the only way we saw fit to protect our species. Surely you can understand our position, old friend? If your dear ones were threatened as ours were, what would you do? Nevertheless, we now realise this is not our battle to involve ourselves in, as it seems you have done." He frowned in disapproval. "We shall leave you in peace now. You are free to continue helping your allies, but if we hear of you breaking the rules in the process we will offer no more chances. Let that be a warning. We have no wish to destroy you, but if need be we will not hesitate."
Carlisle frowned and nodded stiffly. "You have warned us. I think it best if you leave now, and please try not to hunt until you've left the area. The magical community are not unaware of our kind, as I'm sure you know, and were anyone to be hurt suspicion would naturally fall on us."
"Of course! Goodbye, Cullens. Until the next time we see each other."
Aro, Marcus and Caius turned with a swish of their dark robes, and the Volturi followed them until they were gone.
As soon as they were out of our hearing range, Edward and I threw ourselves on Renesmee and held her so tight that she squirmed uncomfortably under our arms. I sobbed into her auburn hair in relief that we had her back with us, safe and unhurt.
"Darling girl!" I murmured in her ear, "My little darling girl!"
Renesmee was crying, and Edward bent down to kiss her tears away.
"Hush, my beauty," he whispered, but his own voice was strained with the tears neither of us could shed, "Everything's okay now."
"I know that," sobbed Renesmee, burying her face deeper into my shirt, and I stroked her hair.
Alice cleared her throat, and we leaned back, though didn't let go of Renesmee, to look at her.
"We need to leave so that Carlisle can treat the others," she told us.
Edward and I nodded, and motioned for the rest of our family to go first. Before Alice turned to leave, she stood on tiptoe to kiss Renesmee's forehead, and Esme paused to smooth her hair. The three of us followed after the others, making sure Renesmee's body stayed in contact with ours the whole time.
As we approached the Atrium, we heard Albus and Mr Fudge still in conversation.
"And as for the other matter; why is there a vampire in the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore? I - where did she go?"
I walked up to them and came to a halt in front of the Minister for Magic. "I am right here, sir."
Mr Fudge jumped, startled, and his gaze shifted to the rest of my family behind me. "A whole clan!" he exclaimed, "Dumbledore, what is the meaning of this?"
Albus's eyes sparkled in amusement. "Cornelius, please allow me to introduce the Cullen family. They are vampires, you are correct, but they are a very unique coven for their species. My friend, Carlisle Cullen here, has taught his family to feast only on the blood of animals. They are no danger to humans. I asked them to enrol in Hogwarts this year to help in our fight against Lord Voldemort."
Mr Fudge winced at the Dark wizard's name, but he quickly replaced it with anger. "You allowed vampires into Hogwarts without Minstry authority! Really, Dumbledore!"
"At least he did something!" interrupted Alice angrily, "Whereas your people sat on their asses ignoring all his warnings!"
"Alice!" Esme admonished, "Watch your language!"
Mr Fudge turned bright red. "I…well…" he spluttered.
Carlisle turned to Albus, rather than listen to the other man babble incoherently. "We need to return to the castle so I may look after our injured friends," he said calmly.
"Of course," replied Albus, "I have already organised a Portkey to take you all there." He gestured to a chunk of stone ceiling lying on the floor. "You may go ahead, and I will return shortly. Thankyou for all your help."
We nodded before approaching the Portkey and placing a finger each on it. Three seconds later, we were spinning through the air in a whirl of colour, until our feet made contact with solid ground. It took us less than a fraction of a second to realise we were in the hospital wing. Five of the beds were occupied already. Luna, Ron and Hermione were all unconscious and breathing deeply, while Neville and Ginny were both conscious. Only Harry was absent. Neville and Ginny looked up when we appeared, and began firing questions at us.
"What happened? Where's Harry? Is he okay? Are you all okay? Are the others going to be alright? What..?"
Carlisle held up his hand for silence, and they snapped their mouths shut at the same time. It looked rather funny, now that I was able to laugh about that sort of thing, and I let out a giggle.
"Everything's okay, you don't need to worry about a thing," said Carlisle, approaching Ginny, "How's your ankle?"
Edward, Renesmee and I left Carlisle to look after his patients, and the others, except for Esme, followed. Alice and Jasper turned left at the end of the corridor, and Emmett and Rosalie took a flight of stairs upwards. My little family headed for outside, wanting a private reunion.
We stopped by the lake and Renesmee laid down on the grass, wiping tears from her eyes in frustration. Edward and I curled up on either side of her, and she rolled onto her side to snuggle into her father's chest, while I stroked her long copper hair gently.
Early morning rays of sunlight broke through the trees of the forest, dappling the ground where we lay, but we made no move to get out of the way. Now that Mr Fudge knew about us, the secret was bound to come out sometime in the near future. It was unlikely that any students would be up this early anyway.
It was a silent reunion, but I figured that was the best kind. We didn't have to talk, just so long as each of us knew the others were there. We didn't speak to acknowledge Jacob's presence when he joined us, taking a seat at Nessie's feet. We didn't want to break the peace with a sound.
In the silence, we heard faint voices drift from a tower window. Someone was shouting, and smashing things. With a pang of sadness, I recognised the raised voice as Harry's. The voices were coming from Albus's office.
"My greatest strength, is it?" Harry was saying, his voice hoarse with grief, "You haven't got a clue…you don't know…"
"What don't I know?" asked Albus's voice calmly.
There was a pause before Harry spoke again. "I don't want to talk about how I feel, all right?"
I realised they must be talking about Sirius. Harry's was such a typical human response.
"Harry, suffering like this proves you are still a man! This pain is part of being human…"he didn't get to finish before Harry was shouting.
"THEN I DON'T WANT TO BE HUMAN!"he yelled, followed by a crash. I shut my eyes tightly against his voice, but could do nothing to block it out. "I DON'T CARE!" Another crash. "I'VE HAD ENOUGH, I'VE SEEN ENOUGH, I WANT OUT, I WANT IT TO END, I DON'T CARE ANYMORE!"
The next crash was even louder than the rest, and I guessed Harry was throwing things. When Albus spoke again, I could barely hear him. "You do care. You care so much you feel as though you'll bleed to death with the pain of it."
"I DON'T!" Harry's roar might have been deafening to human ears, and listening to him, my dead heart broke.
Albus's calm voice floated to us, a whisper on the breeze. "Oh, yes, you do. You have now lost your mother, your father, and the closest thing to a parent you have ever known. Of course you care."
"YOU DON'T KNOW HOW I FEEL!" shouted Harry. As I curled up on myself, my hands over my ears and face pressed into Renesmee's hair, I suddenly wondered if, maybe, he did.
"Bella," murmured Edward, looking over Renesmee's shoulder at me. In a second, he was kneeling by me, and pulling me up. He looked at Jacob briefly. "Look after Nessie. Don't let anything happen to her," he growled the last part, his eyes narrowing, before he put an arm around my waist and led me back into the castle.
We returned to the Gryffindor common room, where there seemed to have been a party the night before. The house-elves had cleaned up, but we could smell the lingering scent of Butterbeer in the air. The fifth-years must've been celebrating the end of exams.
Edward pulled me gently to a couch, and I sat beside him. He shook his head and gathered me into his lap, stroking circles on my back. I tucked my head under his chin and breathed in his sweet scent.
"What's on your mind, love?" he murmured in my ear, tightening his hold on me.
I let go of my shield and thought of Harry shouting at Albus, throwing things, broken with sorrow.
Edward kissed the top of my head. "There's nothing we can do about it," he told me, but he sounded pained, "He needs to endure the pain, and Albus is helping him."
"But it was our fault," I responded, my usually bell-like voice cracking as I spoke, "We could've stopped him, but we didn't. We knew it was a trap for him. We wanted him to come with us, and if we hadn't…" I broke off, sobbing into Edward's shirt.
Edward held me, rocking me gently back and forth in his arms, until my tearless weeping subsided. "Do you know the worst part?" I whispered.
"No," he replied softly, "Tell me."
"The worst part is that I don't regret it," I admitted, "If Sirius had to die…if Harry had to go through this…so we could save Renesmee again, I would let it happen."
"Oh, Bella," said Edward, his voice strained, "I know what you mean. I feel the same way. Perhaps we just need to be grateful that Sirius died for Harry, for us. It does nothing to be sorry, or feel guilty. It only causes more pain."
"I am grateful," I told him, "Really, you have no idea how grateful I am. But it still hurts."
Edward was quiet for a second. "You're worried about Harry, aren't you?"
"Of course," I replied, "He's like a brother to me, or a son. He's too young to deal with this."
"I know. He's a good person. He shouldn't have to go through the pain he's going through. Trust me, I know." I looked up and saw his eyes were burning. "You know that I couldn't live with thinking you were dead. But at least he's handling Sirius's death better than I did with, so I thought, yours."
Edward's words made me worry. "You don't think he'll do anything stupid, do you?" I asked anxiously.
He shook his head. "No. He's strong. We'll help him make it through this."
He kissed away the worried line between my eyes, and continued trailing light pecks down my nose until he met my lips. I kissed him back passionately, holding onto the collar of his shirt tightly, while he hugged me close to him.
We were interrupted after about ten minutes by a couple of early-risers entering the common room and stopping when they saw us. Edward pulled away and stroked my cheek softly, before nudging me off his lap and standing up. "We should see how the others are doing," he muttered, and we left Gryffindor tower to head back down to the hospital wing. Ginny and Neville were sitting in the chairs between Hermione and Ron's beds, both looking much better, and Luna was now conscious.
Carlisle was perched on the end of an empty bed, his arm around Esme's shoulders, who was looking down while she fidgeted anxiously. They both looked up when Edward and I entered, and Esme was in front of us in an instant.
"Oh, thank goodness the two of you are safe!" she cried, sweeping us both into her arms, "As soon as Severus told us where you'd gone I was so worried! You could have been hurt! Promise me you'll never do anything like that without telling us again!"
I ducked my head, ashamed, while she held me by the shoulders firmly, looking as if she'd be crying had she any tears to shed. "Yes, Mum, I promise."
Esme's face relaxed into a smile and she hugged me again. Meanwhile, Edward was asking Carlisle how his patients were doing.
"We fixed Ginny's ankle and Neville's nose easily enough, though we aren't sure about the others. Ron may have bad scarring, but he should be okay, and we're waiting for Hermione to wake up," Carlisle clapped Edward on the shoulder, "How are you, son?"
Edward gave him a smile. "We're both fine. Just relieved that we have Renesmee back with us. We apologise for worrying the two of you."
"Just tell us next time," said Carlisle, pulling me into a hug, "But hopefully, there won't be a situation where you need to."
"If I'm involved, there probably will," I muttered bitterly, "We all know I have the worst luck in the world."
Carlisle chuckled, but didn't disagree, which made me feel a little indignant. "I'm going to go for a walk," I said.
Edward took my hand. "Do you want me to come with you?" he asked.
I shook my head. "No, I'll be alright. I love you," I added, and left the hospital wing.
I walked slowly until I picked up Harry's scent half-an-hour later. It was fresh, no more than a few minutes old, and I followed it. The trail led to the corridor outside of the Room of Requirement, and I hesitated at the door. He would, of course, want to be alone, but I had to talk to him after overhearing his conversation with Albus.
I entered the room, shutting the door behind me quietly. The Room of Requirement was in the form of the DA room, and Harry was curled up in the corner, his head in his arms. His shoulders were still, and he was silent, so he couldn't have been crying, but the sight of him sitting on the cold floor was heart-breaking.
I walked over to him, my feet making no noise on the marble surface, and sat beside him. He looked up when he noticed my presence and jumped slightly.
"Oh, Harry!" I cried, putting my arm around his shoulders, "I am so, so sorry."
"Don't," Harry moaned, "You have no idea how I feel right now."
I was quiet for a second. "I heard you shouting at Professor Dumbledore," I told him.
He turned and glared at me, his emerald eyes fierce. "You were listening?"
"I didn't want to. I was trying not to listen, but I heard you."
Harry rested his head on his knees and looked in the opposite direction. My arm around him tightened automatically, and I laid my head on his shoulder.
"I heard you say that you didn't want to be human, if it meant not feeling this pain," I murmured, "You know that could be changed."
He pulled away and stared at me in disbelief, trying to find any trace of a joke in my face. My expression remained serious, and he found none. "Would that make it stop hurting?"
I shrugged. "Human memories fade, and for the first few years you wouldn't care, anyway." At his uncertain expression, I shook my head. "But you don't really want that. A decade or so down the track, you'd regret not remembering him. Knowing that you'd forgotten everything about him, how much you loved him…that would hurt worse than anything you're going through right now. I wouldn't do that to you."
Harry suddenly looked exhausted, and he collapsed against me, leaning all his weight against my side. "What else did you hear?" he asked.
"I heard Albus describing how much you must hurt. I believe his exact words were, 'you care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.' And believe me, I know exactly what that feels like." Harry made a sceptical sound. "I know," I repeated, "When you love someone so much, and you realise you're never going to see them again…"
Harry choked and buried his face in his hands. "How do you know this?"
"Did I ever tell you that Edward left me once?" Harry shook his head. "It was a couple of days after my eighteenth birthday," I told him, "He convinced me that he didn't love me, and then he left. I was completely heartbroken. I spent months believing him, and I pretty much became a zombie. Professor Dumbledore was wrong, wasn't he? You don't feel as though you'll bleed to death with the pain; you want to."
Harry moved his face from his hands to my shoulder, and sobbed. I wrapped both my arms around him and held him tight while he let it all out. I remembered something else Albus had said. "You have now lost your mother, your father, and the closest thing to a parent you have ever known."
"Harry," I said quietly, "I just want you to know that my family and I will always be there for you. I will be whatever you need. A best friend, a big sister…a mother," I added this last part quietly, but he heard. Before he could speak, I continued. "I don't want to replace your parents, or Sirius for that matter. But I already think of you as something of a son, and you should know that the offer's there if you need it." Harry was quiet as he absorbed my words, and I kissed the top of his head gently.
I stayed with him all day, and it was almost dusk when he got up and shook the stiffness from his legs.
"Are you hungry?" I asked, pulling myself up easily.
He shrugged. "I want to check on Ron and Hermione first," he told me.
"Harry," I scolded gently, "You have to eat. I know you don't feel like it, but you have to."
He frowned and opened his mouth to protest, but I silenced him with a stern look. "I'll drag you to the Great Hall if I must," I threatened, and his shoulders slumped in defeat.
He didn't speak the entire way to the Great Hall, and I shadowed him just as quietly. He sat down at the far end of the Gryffindor table, away from his classmates, and mumbled, "Happy now?"
He probably didn't mean for me to hear him, but of course I did. "Not until you eat something." He picked up a chicken drumstick and nibbled on the end. I smiled genuinely. "That's better." I didn't move until he finished the whole leg, and then I reached out to give him a hug. He didn't respond to my embrace, so I gave a gentle squeeze and left him in search for Edward.
The next day, my family and I were summoned to Albus's office. I noticed the human students watching me nervously when I passed them on my way. Some of them shrank away from me, their heartbeats picking up a fast tempo, and I realised they were afraid of me. Had our secret somehow gotten out and spread through the school already?
Albus knew the reason, of course.
"I have spoken to Cornelius Fudge about your situation, and he has, alas somewhat reluctantly, agreed to allow you to stay at Hogwarts whenever you wish," he told us, "He understands that you are not a threat to any of my students. As for the matter of keeping your true identities a secret through the school…"
Edward sighed. "The truth was bound to come out sooner or later. I am sure the parents are not going to be happy to have us stay amongst their children."
"Nonsense!" exclaimed Albus, "Once they hear about your part in the…ahem…events at the Ministry of Magic, I am sure they will come around."
Rosalie scoffed in irritation. "Of course they will. And they'll bring their torches and crosses with them, not that it will do much."
"Oh, stop being such a pessimist, Rose!" said Alice brightly, "I'm looking forward to being able to act ourselves around humans for once."
"How did everyone even find out, may I ask?" wondered Carlisle.
Edward rolled his eyes. "Lucius Malfoy told Draco just before their attack on the Ministry. Now that he's been arrested, Draco wanted his revenge. He started telling everyone and it spread around the school within hours."
I raised my eyebrows, impressed. "Never underestimate the power of gossip."
"So what do we do now?" asked Emmett, unbothered by our latest potential problem.
Albus raised his eyebrows. "You are, of course, welcome to return to Hogwarts next year. I believe you have made some strong friends in Mr Potter, Miss Granger and the Weasleys."
Edward and I nodded in agreement. "They are wonderful kids," I told him, smiling.
"We'll think about it over the summer, and get back to you," replied Carlisle.
Albus beamed. "The invitation's there. Your family is always welcome at my school. Please think it over."
We all nodded, but I knew that we probably wouldn't need to think much. I didn't need to be my favourite sister to know that it would be hard for us to stay away.