Author's Note: Well my dear friends, this is it, the final chapter of Knots. I am blown away at how well received this story has been, and I am humbled by the things that people are writing me. I would be remiss if I did not thank to people. First, this story is dedicated to my friend Collinda, who was my encouragement and confidant as I wrote. The devotion of Grace, and her exuberance towards life are reflections of my friend and cheerleader. Next, to my dear friend, editor, cheerleader and sounding board--Peter. Everything that I write is a reflection of your encouragement and your devotion to my writing; without you I never would have started writing. Lastly, my thanks to my family, who endures my long hours at the computer; my daughters are often my inspiration for the actions and words of young Ellie; and my husband is the model for the love and devotion that Sirius has for Ellie. The sequel is called "Prophecy and Destiny" and I will start publishing in November. I am currently writing it, and I am having a blast with it. If you want to know when it starts, please sign up for my author alert. Again, my deepest thanks to everyone who is reading -- there is nothing more gratifying to a writer than to know that they are reaching people and giving them enjoyment. I would love to hear what you think will happen in the next story. As I am still writing it, your ideas could very well end up in the story. Now, please enjoy this last chapter -- it's quite a ride. Sincerely, Mutt N Feathers
The Passion of Night, The Harsh Light of Day
Sirius and I walked away from where his mother had been just moments before, headed back to our family and friends. Neither of us spoke of what had just happened, what we had heard, or the concerns that we had because of it. We got back to the warm circle of those that had witnessed our marriage, and made a bee line for the children.
"I think that it's time for us to be leaving," I said to Sirius, "but first, I need to feed Ainsley." He nodded and we went and collected our crying child from Grace's arms.
"I changed her, but I think that she's hungry," Grace told us, and I nodded my affirmation of her assessment of the situation. I took her and walked into the house, closed the door to the Sitting Room and slid my gown aside so that I could feed her. When she was finished, I righted myself and went back outside. I met up with Remus first.
"Is everything ready?"
"Just was there, and everything was set. Please, enjoy yourselves, and don't worry about the children. Grace and I can handle them, and then we'll be over at the Weasley's tomorrow," he explained.
"I know, but if there is an emergency..."
"We'll get in touch with you," he added, finishing my sentence. We walked over to where a very sleepy Harry was sitting on Sirius lap. I handed Ainsley over to Grace, and Remus picked up Harry. We both said our goodbyes to our children, and then we walked off, away from our guests, and apparated to the old hunting lodge in the woods that Remus used for his changes.
It wasn't the most romantic of places for a wedding night, but we didn't want to go away without the children, and I knew that I would need to be back fairly early in the morning to feed Ainsley. The cabin was private and the only people who knew where we were, are close friends.
When we opened the door, the fire was already lit, as were dozens of candles, Remus had truly made sure that it was the perfect place for a romantic night. I had come over early this morning and made the bed with new sheets. I looked around the room and then looked at my husband. Without a word, his lips were upon mine, soft and warm, molding mine to fit against his. His tongue flicked out against the edges of my mouth and I allowed him entrance. I pulled him to me, easing the outer robes of his wedding clothes off of his shoulders, while his hands were loosening the band around my waist.
I needed to feel him, feel his skin against me, and my actions came in greater haste. Soon his slacks and shirt were discarded on the floor, as was my gown. I stood before him in the plain cotton underdress that I had worn beneath the ceremonial gown. Sirius pushed me backwards, his lips never leaving mine, until I lay on the bed. He settled himself on top of me.
"Do you know how beautiful you are my wife?"
"Only as handsome as you are my husband," I replied, once again capturing his lips in a passionate kiss. Everywhere his lips touched my skin, I felt my flesh erupt, everywhere that his hands caressed me was on fire. I had never known need so great in my life. We were soon shed of the rest of what had clothed us, and were nestled beneath the covers of the bed. Sirius hovered above me, leaning on one elbow, his other hand caressed along my hairline and face.
"Are you ready?" he quietly queried. I nodded at him, not wanting to reveal my hesitation and nervousness to him. It had been five years since we had been together in this way, and I felt nearly as nervous as the first time that we had made love. Sirius was gentle and loving as he filled me and moved with me. As we both climaxed, I was overwhelmed at the feeling I had for the one man I had ever loved in my entire life. Hot tears ran down my face, even though I was smiling.
"Lolly," he questioned as he held me, "did I hurt you?"
"No," I told him through my tears, "not at all. It's just..." I caught me breath and put my hand on his cheek. "I wasn't sure if we'd ever do this again, and...it was...so beautiful." I continued to cry as he held me to him chest.
"It always will be my love, it always will be."
The next morning, the fire had burned out and sunlight was streaming in through the windows. The sky appeared clear beyond the bright green leaves of spring just popping out on the trees I could see from outside the window. I felt a hand move up to caress my naked breast, and I turned around to face my now day old husband. "Good morning."
"Yes, it is a very good morning," he replied before he kissed me deeply. We lingered in bed for an indeterminate amount of time, satisfying one another in different ways. After my third and his second most exhilarating of moments, I knew that we needed to get up as Sirius' stomach was growling and my breasts were getting painful they were so full.
We shared the outdoor shower, the one that my father had built, and I had to keep charming the water to keep it warm enough. I found the clothes that I had stashed here yesterday morning, and we dressed and left for the Weasley house, knowing that I would be back to clean up later, and collect our clothes from the wedding.
Molly had invited us all to breakfast this morning so that we could open our gifts. I was anxious to see our children. As we walked up to the house, the front door flew open and Harry was running towards us.
"Ellie, Doggy, I missed you," he yelled and when he reached us, Sirius picked him up and gave him a great hug. He then leaned over to me so that I could kiss his little cheek. We went inside, and I saw Grace sitting there holding Ainsley.
"She's ready to eat, Ellie," Grace told me as she lifted our daughter up for me to take from here.
"Come on, Harry, let's go and find the rest of the boys and leave your Ellie and Ainsley to her feeding," Sirius said before he leaned down and kissed me passionately. I smiled at him as he left, sitting down in a chair, unbuttoning my blouse and getting Ainsley settled, before throwing her little blanket over my shoulder to cover up.
"Last night must have gone well?" Grace questioned, and I just look at her and smiled. "You look like the cat that got into the cream. I am so happy for you."
We talked for a few more minutes, Grace desiring more details than I wished to share, while Ainsley fed. As we talked, I found that I lacked the words to completely express my happiness. When my daughter was done eating and I had burped her, I righted my clothing and Grace took Ainsley to get her changed for me. She passed the Weasley's middle son, Percy, on her way out of the sitting room. He was carrying something in a small wooden cage.
"Percy, what do you have there?" I asked the six year old as I folded Ainsley's blanket.
"Oh, it's my pet rat," he replied.
"A rat, now that is an interesting choice of a pet. How did you come to have such a thing as your pet?"
"Well," he started as he walked closer to me. "I was out in the garden one day, and he was there, and very gentle, so I picked him up and started petting him. I asked Mum if I could keep him, and she said I could if I kept him in a cage. So I built him this one; Charlie helped me, and we feed him scraps from the dinner table. He's quite good at chasing away the garden gnomes."
"I see, well, let me have a look at such a gentle creature," I asked, and Percy came even closer. As I looked into the roughly constructed cage, I started to shake. Grace had come back into the room, holding Ainsley and I screamed at her.
"Get her out of here, Grace, please," I asked, my voice tense, and while Grace appeared confused, she did indeed turn and leave the room. "Sirius! Remus! come here quick!"
I was shaking and my breathing had become ragged. I couldn't believe what I was seeing here. Sirius charged into the room, followed by Remus and Harry.
"Get Harry out of here. Send him upstairs with Grace, please!" With a slight push, Sirius sent him up the stairs, and little Harry obeyed, concern written all over his face.
"What's wrong Miss Ellie?" Percy asked me, pulling his pet back toward him. Sirius was immediately at my side.
"Sirius, look at it, please tell me that I'm wrong," I begged, but I watched my husband's face go ashen and then harden.
"Percy, I am going to need to look at your rat," Sirius said harsher than I was sure he meant to, and Percy handed the cage over, looking quite terrified of Sirius. As soon as the cage was out of his hands, he ran to the kitchen, calling for his father.
Sirius held the cage to eye level, and Remus had returned and was now staring at the small animal inside as well. The rat had curled itself into the corner of the cage, squealing loudly.
"You fucking traitor," Sirius yelled at the thing.
Arthur came in the room, Molly and Percy following behind. "May I ask what is going on?" Remus turned to speak to him, as Sirius was seething and snarling at the terrified little caged creature, and I was in such shock I wasn't sure that I could speak.
"Arthur, it would appear, that your son's pet is not what it seems," Remus said as kindly as he could, without loosing the temper that he was clearly working hard to hold in. "If you will permit us, I will show you what we mean."
"Of course," Arthur replied. Sirius open the cage and reached in and grabbed the rat, which then attempted to bite Sirius. In turn, Sirius squeezed the creature tighter. Remus trained his wand on the animal and stunned it, and then Sirius threw it to the floor in front of us. He then pulled his wand and did the incantation, and I watched as the stunned form of Peter Pettigrew lay in front of us.
"Oh Merlin," I mumbled beginning to feel ill. I slumped further into the chair, and started weeping. Molly came and hugged me, trying to calm me down. "We had no idea, child, none whatsoever," she murmured as she rubbed my back.
Arthur too had pulled his wand, and with three wands trained on him, Remus revived him from his stunning.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" Sirius yelled at him. Peter said nothing, just glared at his two former friends. "Answer me, you coward!" There was still no response. Remus put a body binding curse on him, and then shot a patronus upstairs, I assumed that it was to Grace to tell her what was going on. He then reached into Sirius breast pocket, and pulled out the communication mirror, and tapped on it asking for Devon.
"Answer me! Why did you betray your friends that way?" Sirius again yelled at him, and again, there was no response. Sirius looked like he would explode. I reached up and took his hand, which disarmed him enough to take a few steps back and stand by me.
"Peter, please, why did you betray my brother?" I pleaded through my tears.
"You really don't know, do you Ellie? Perfect Princess Potter," he sneered, and I felt so surprised. No one called me that except for Severus Snape. I hated the nickname, everyone who was close to me knew it.
"What? Peter, we were friends, why would you call me that?" He made a disgusting snorting sort of sound and glared at me.
"Because, that's what you are! They were supposed to be my friends, but you were always there!" he yelled at me, and I was so confused.
"They were your friends, we were all friends," I answered.
"No, you were friends with them, I was just the tag along. It should have been the four of us, but it was always the three of them and you. They even taught you how to change over before they taught me, and then, what did I get to become, a rat!"
"Peter, you couldn't manage anything larger," Sirius reminded him. "We tried over and over, and you couldn't do it!" Sirius anger was justified and rolling off him in waves. For my part, I was just feeling confused and shocked. Why in the world was he so jealous of me?
"Peter, I still don't understand? Jamie was your friend, he always held you in high regard. Why would you have betrayed him?"
"You know, for such a smart girl, you really are stupid. You were always there, reminding me, mocking me. You were so close to James, and then I had to watch you and Sirius together. It was sickening," he scolded me. I just shook my head at him, not understanding him at all.
"Jamie and I were best friends, we always had been. He was my big brother, and Sirius, we'd been friends since we were children. I don't understand what it was that I did to mock you?"
"You were supposed to be mine! My father had tried over and over to set a match with you. He'd promised me as a child that I would marry a pureblood worthy of me. We met, when we were five, and you were the most beautiful girl that I had ever met. I begged father to make my match with you, but your father refused. Then I go to school, and there you were, the girl that I had pined for since I was five, and you didn't even recognize me. Then you and Black took up, and it was all that I could take. What did he have that I didn't I ask you?" Peter was rambling, and I was in shock. I knew none of this, especially not that his father had approached my father. I knew that there had been suitors, but none were ever even given much of an audience with my father.
"But I still don't understand, why did you betray James?"
"That was simple. After you took up with him," Peter said, turning his eyes to Sirius, "I was despondent. Regulus and Severus approached me one night, told me that there was a way to get our revenge on all of you. I listened to them, and it made complete sense. Reg would get his brother to join him, and bring him back into the family fold, Severus could do away with James and have Lily to himself, and I would have you."
The Auror's arrived, lead by Devon, and they quickly had Peter and were taking him into custody. Remus explained that he was an animagus, and that guards would need to be put into place to keep him from escaping by changing over again. Devon nodded, and said that he would take care of it. As they were taking him away, Peter turned and yelled back at me.
"They're still after Harry, and oh, that pretty little girl of yours...she's going to change everything in our world, as soon as they get her," he yelled, and I buried my head in Sirius chest, hoping to not hear anymore.
The joyful attitude of the day was gone, and I just wanted to go home. I apologized to Molly and Arthur for what had happened, and they in turn felt the need to express their disgust that they had been harboring Peter, even if he was in disguise. We got home, and Remus started to make some lunch, and I was quite hungry, seeing as Sirius and I hadn't eaten at all yet today.
I said little through the day, instead being lost in my own thoughts. I felt an overwhelming urge to formulate a plan and figure out how to protect my children. The afternoon passed just as quietly, Harry took his nap, and Ainsley took two. Grace and Remus stayed in the kitchen, and Arthur came by with the accumulated gifts that we were to open while we were there that morning.
It was late afternoon when Sirius finally sat down in front of me, on the floor, looking up at my face, his hands taking mine. "Dear wife, tell me what you are thinking?"
I hesitated, I wasn't sure how he was going to take what I had to say, but I also knew that I couldn't keep anything from him. "We're never going to be safe here, are we?"
Sirius was quite for long moments, and then he finally answered me. "It would appear not." My heart sank that he was thinking the same thing, part of me had wanted him to talk me out of my fear and worry, and now he was confirming. "What do you want to do?"
His question struck me at just how well he knew me. He knew that I had been thinking, formulating, planning in my head. It's how I had always done things.
"I think we need to leave, move out of England, and I don't mean go to Wales or Ireland. We need to leave altogether, and raise our children somewhere else. Somewhere that they aren't known, and where we can keep them safe."
Sirius nodded, and breathed a heavy sigh. Neither of us said anything, we both knew that this would be the right thing. There was nothing to hold us to Britain anymore -- my family was gone, Sirius despised his and neither of us needed to work anymore, we simply did for the joy of it, not for the money. We'd talk later, start to formulate a plan, but we both knew that this was what we needed to do, we needed to keep our children safe.
Six weeks had passed since we'd made the decision that we needed to leave. We'd picked a country, and then set the goblins to work at finding us a suitable home. We'd chosen to sell the flat, we'd never need it again, and once we had left, we would sell this small home as well. I loved the little cottage, but when we returned, if we ever returned, we would live in the Potter Family Home. I looked up at our wedding wreath, and smiled. In my heart I knew that this was right, tonight we would be telling Grace and Remus of our plans, and offering to take them with us. The choice would be theirs, but we so hoped that they would continue to share in our lives and the raising of our children.
After dinner, we all met in the Lounge, cups of tea and biscuits to share. Sirius and I sat together, across from Remus and Grace. I took a deep breath and started.
"I know that the two of you have been trying to figure out what it is that we've been discussing. We haven't meant to be secretive, we just needed to get some things in place before we spoke with you," I spoke first.
"We don't believe that the threat to Harry and now Ainsley has abated at all, even with the capture and death of so many of the death eaters. We are uncertain that our children will ever be truly safe here. That is why we are moving away," Sirius finished.
"What? Where?" Grace uttered in shock.
"We're moving to Italy. We've purchased a large farm and farmhouse there, not that we have any intention of becoming farmers, we just need to be away from here. I've been doing so much research, and...I need to keep my children safe," I told them, starting to cry. Sirius wrapped his arm around me, and took over the explanation.
"We're staying through Harry's birthday, and then we will be gone. We'd like it if you were to come with us, live with us, help teach our children as they grow. Remus, I know that there is little for you here, only Grace. I don't expect an answer right away, but know that we do want you and we have made accommodations for you to have your privacy."
"You can't just leave and tell no one where you are?" Remus reprimanded us.
"There will be a few who know where we are, Amelia will definitely know, and I believe that we'll let Molly and Arthur have some way of communicating with us. We also plan to write a few letters, letting people know that we have left of our own accord, and not to try and find us," Sirius explained. There was one person in particular that I didn't want finding us. In my research in the last weeks, I had lost my faith in this person, and they had lost my trust.
We sat there in silence for a few more minutes, then we answered a few more questions about the farm and its location, and then Grace and Remus left for her flat, so that they could speak further on the matter, alone. We only had six weeks until we would be gone.
Harry was out back playing with the Weasley children, Devon's children and little Luna Lovegood, celebrating his third birthday. Remus was keeping Devon and his wife occupied and Grace was speaking with Robina, so that Sirius and I could talk with Arthur and Molly.
"I know that this must seem sudden to you, but we have been thinking about it for months, and we are prepared to go. We wanted to tell you ourselves, so that you were not surprised when we were gone," I told Molly as I held her hand.
"But, where will you go, what will you do?" she questioned.
"We have a home already, and neither of us need to work for money. We will raise our children," Sirius explained. "We're not going to tell you where we are, not because we don't trust you, more that there are people who will do anything to know where we are, and we don't want to see you hurt in the process."
"Thank you for that Sirius," Arthur said.
"I know that the children will want to communicate with each other, so I made these," Sirius said, taking out to large mirrors in simple wooden frames that had the word "friends" carved in the bottom brace. "We will leave one with you, and we will take the other, and then the children can still talk with each other. All you have to do is tap on it, say our names, and one of us will answer."
"That's simply ingenious," Arthur said.
"Yes, well, he and Jamie came up with them so that they could communicate when they had detention in different rooms while we were in school," I told them in a disapproving voice. We all laughed at it. It felt good to remember my brother with laughter, instead of tears.
"Harry and Ginny are going to have a hard time of not seeing each other, but we'd love for all of you to visit, someday, once things have settled, and you won't be drawing attention to yourselves. There are more than enough bedrooms," I explained.
We chatted for a few more minutes, and I watched as Arthur stowed away the mirror in the folds of his cloak.
"I think for now, I shall only let Molly and I be the ones to activate it. As they grow, we will see," he explained and I nodded in agreement.
We rejoined the party, and Harry opened his presents and had his cake. Night had fallen by the time the last of the guests had left. Ginny once again kissing Harry goodbye.
"Good night Hawwy, I wub you," she said to him, and then he hugged her.
"I love you too, my Inny."
I looked up at Molly and we both had tears in our eyes. It hurt to know that I would be taking my son away from his best friend, but they would still see each other, I pledged in my heart. Molly hugged me goodbye, and whispered wishes of good luck in my ear and I nodded against her.
We got the children to sleep, and then we started dismantling the rest of the house. Sirius had set up a temporary floo connection so that we could move things easily. Remus and I would shrink and pack each room, sent it through the floo to Sirius and Grace who were there unpacking and setting things up. I would eventually set up my lab in one of the outbuildings at the farm when I had time.
We'd already packed everything from Grace's flat, and Remus' things and we sent them through, and Sirius got them over to their part of the house. The bedrooms were next, and I set a sleeping charm on Harry as I packed everything up from his room, except for his bed and the clothes that he would wear tomorrow. The room seemed so empty, but I knew that if he arrived in Italy with all of the things he loved already in place, it would make the transition so much easier.
It was four in the morning when we finished. Sirius came back from the new house and Remus went through to be there with Grace, waiting for our arrival. I also think that he wanted to sleep in a bed, for what was left of the night.
When he was through, Sirius destroyed the floo fireplace in our house. I knew that Remus was doing the same at the house in Italy as we spoke. Even once the fireplace was rebuilt, they would not be able to trace where it had gone, since there would be no corresponding fireplace on the other end, it would be removed and then bricked over.
Sirius cushioned the floor, and we laid down. He brought back a bottle of Italian wine with him, but we had no glasses, and not even anything left that could be transfigured into such vessels. We took turns drinking from the bottle, laughing at the lack of class that our actions took.
"My mother would be mortified if she knew I were drinking wine from a bottle," I remarked.
"My mother would just curse me, so, I'll take you're Mums reaction," he retorted. "You ready to leave?"
"I am," I answered. "The goblins will be putting markers on Jamie and Lily's graves now, and someone will be caring for the Potter house while we are away. Anything of any importance or value has been moved to the vaults, and clothes and such, I gave away. The letters that we wrote will all be delivered at the same time tomorrow, by owl. There will be no way to trace them to us, since Amelia went through her work accounts to have them sent." I stopped talking and thought for a moment. "There is nothing to tie me to this place, all of my ties and to you and our children. We shall bless our new home on Lúgnasad, enjoying the festival of the harvest. It seems appropriate, since we are moving into a farm."
"That it does my lovely wife, now, shall we rest, or shall we say goodbye to the house?"
"I think that we should say goodbye, after all, this house has given us a great many things, most importantly, it gave you back to me," I told him, as I kissed him.
We were unhurried in our love making, and we finally came together, we were sitting, facing each other, our bodies undulating, our eyes never breaking contact.
"I love you," I cried out as my body exploded, my head thrown back in a near mind numbing experience. Sirius said nothing, his was reduced to grunts and groans as he spilled into me. We settled back down, and fell into an exhausted sleep.
A few hours later, we were awoken by Ainsley wanting her breakfast. I quickly threw on my dress and brought her down to feed her while Sirius shrunk her crib to take with us. Harry emerged from his room, confused as to where the rest of his things were, especially his pair of giant stuffed deer.
"Harry, we're going on a trip today, and when we get there, you find that your deer are waiting for you," Sirius promised him, and then took him into his room to dress him, and shrink his bed.
With the children's beds shrunk and in a box, we threw in their night clothes, and then sealed the box. I did another quick look through the house, to make sure that we hadn't left anything. I only found one mismatched sock and a rather moldy bit of bread. I threw both of them away, thinking they were of no use to us in our new home.
Sirius took the candle down from the mantle, and told Harry to hold onto part of the taper, the part right in the middle. I held Ainsley with one arm, close to my chest, and Sirius had the box under his crooked arm. He held the top of the candle, a few fingers over Harry's, and I held the bottom, a few of my fingers over his thumb.
I took one last look around, and then smiled at Sirius, and he nodded back. In the arm holding Ainsley, I had my wand, and I touched the burned tip. The air swirled and turned blue, and Harry laughed brightly. As we were nearing the end of our trip, Sirius explained to him to start moving his legs like he was walking, it would make the landing easier.
Our feet touched down on the brown dirt of the beautiful lane that lead up to the farmhouse. The sun was fully up here, and thankfully there was only a one hour time difference. Harry looked up at the large house, the fields to the left and the barn to the right, and then he looked up at us.
"Welcome to your new home, sport," Sirius said, and Harry took off in a run for the house. As he approached, Remus opened the door to our home, and Harry hugged him. "Welcome home, Lolly."
"Welcome home, love."