Hi everyone, here is the Prologue for the last book of the trilogy. There is a promo for this is on YouTube, check out my profile for the link. Thanks to all of you who have been reading. Mutt
I watched as her eyes were moving under her eyelids and her face was contorting in pain. The pain seems to haunt her, even while she's sleeping, even with the potions coursing through her. I crawled back onto the bed and held her to me, rocking her gently and whispering in her ear. Maybe she won't completely wake up this time, and she'll get a little more rest. Anwen settled down after a few minutes, and I laid her back down and slid off the bed again. In her restlessness, the sheets had become tangled, and the stump of her leg with it's two metal posts had peeked out. I straightened the fabric, once again covering her. She hates for people to see her leg.
Anwen couldn't lay comfortably, not really. Her back was still healing, and the healer had told me that she would probably carry the remnants of those wounds with her for the rest of her life; the magic had invaded the deep cuts and they refused to heal properly. She had a difficult time finding a place that her leg didn't bother her either -- the stump that now held the posts that would attach her artificial leg to the rest of her were still swollen and painful and she could only find some comfort on her side, with her leg nestled against a pillow or a Cushioning Charm; or leaning up against me. I moved away from her, and returned to the large rocking chair that was closest to her bed and took up my vigil, watching my beautiful girl sleep.
It was odd to have such a quiet moment, in the middle of the day like this. Everyone was living at Potter Manor now, and I mean everyone. Remus, Tonks and little Teddy were in the guest house; James and Lily and their four: Harry, Evan, Emma and Hope were here, since it was their house. Hermione had moved in as well, her parents memories had been restored, but they chose to stay in Australia and had sold her family home. Ginny was often floating around, being as she and Harry were closer now than they were before the war and Ron was here because of Hermione. There was usually at least one other Weasley or two floating around the house for some reason or another. Andromeda was often lonely now, due to the death of her husband; and chose to come over to visit her daughter, son in law and grandson. Anwen's parents were still here from Canada, helping out; and we were living in the Ballroom.
It's not as weird as it sounds, James and Lily did an amazing job transforming it into a small flat, three bedrooms and a Sitting Room that was complete with a hospital bed; it's just, there isn't much privacy, one wall is open to the Dining Room and another is all windows and doors that open to the terrace and back yard. We had begun rebuilding on our home, Fair Garden which had been burned to the ground two weeks before the final battle at Hogwarts. The only things that were saved were all of the books that Anwen had sent here, and the family heirlooms that were in the safe room in the center of the house. The goblins were working hard to help secure replacements for our furniture, dishes and art work; but there were things that we'd never be able to replace. Insurance wouldn't cover things like the spoon I had carved for Anwen for our wedding or the crib that Moony and Prongs had made for Ethan before he was born. I already had a painter working on a new portrait of my brother, Regulus; and as a surprise for Anwen, one of her sister Eira. Anwen rarely spoke of her sister, but I knew that her murder still weighed upon her. I could remember the tearful reunion she had with her while we were...well wherever that was when our bodies were healing.
I looked over and saw little Edmund sleeping in his playpen at the foot of Anwen's hospital bed -- bottom up in the air, and I smiled as I thought of my son, all of my children really. Ethan, who turned five in March was getting ready to do his Reception Class this fall at the Muggle Primary School in Portree, the same one that Evan Potter attended. We had already decided that his magic would be obliged later this summer to keep him out of trouble when he was around non magical children. Lilyan, four, was the non-related twin of Emma Potter. Born two days apart, they looked alike, talked alike and were inseparable; often sharing a bed with the other at night, because they had fallen asleep talking in their own coded language. The twins, John and Jamie -- named after my best friends -- were like night and day. John was boisterous and outgoing and into everything; Jamie was quiet and reflective and loved to cuddle up to her Mummy and Daddy. She's such a little angel. I mused as I looked over and saw her curled up on the far side of her Mummy's bed, napping with her. John too was napping, but in his own room, since he was a "big boy". Edmund wasn't quite a year old, but he was into everything already, with a devilish grin and a wonderful laugh. And then there is Bastien, my son that I didn't know I had until the night the house burned down. Seventeen years old, and educated in France where he and his mother had lived after his birth. He broke through the wards of our home, at the urging of his "Aunt" Bella. It was after the wards fell that my cousin set fire to our home. The fact that she and her husband are dead is quite a blessing. I wouldn't want to be charged with murder. Bastien's mother, Felicienne, was killed that night as well, knocked over by the magical shock wave that Anwen had sent out to give us time to apparate away and hitting her head on a rock. The death was being investigated, but we doubted any charges would be brought. I wasn't sure where he was, but I had every intention of finding him, and somehow trying to make things right. I wouldn't be like my grandfather.
It bothered me to no end that I had no memory of his mother, or of being intimate with her. Kingsley had promised Anwen that he would have the Aurors look into it. Anwen's old partner is now the Minister of Magic, and he desperately wants her to come back to work; but she is flatly refusing. Not just because she's still recovering, or that she can't do magic yet; but I think she has no desire to be part of the Ministry any more. Of course, that didn't stop King from coming over several times a week to talk things over with her and get her advice on how to handle different situations. She would be his counsel, whether or not she went back to work or not.
The weeks after the final battle at Hogwarts are a bit of a blur for me. Anwen and I were in comas for over a week, and then hospitalized for a bit longer. I heard the tales of what happened that night, but the one that blew me away was Harry's. What a remarkable godson I have. He'd allowed himself to be sacrificed in the woods, Voldemort thinking that he had killed him; in reality the blood binding potion worked, and Harry was simply knocked unconscious. He'd apparently had a delightful conversation with Albus in that time, and then come back, to finally defeat old Moldy shorts resoundingly, with a Disarming Spell of all things. That is what his Aunt Winnie would call creative spell casting. There were few other injuries, George Weasley had his back crushed when a wall fell on him, but the healers were able to repair it and he and his mother spent two weeks in Scandinavian Rehab hospital that the Diggory Family had Cedric at after his near death at the hands of Voldemort, back at the end of the Tri Wizard Tournament. There were some severe cuts and broken bones, but overall, no one had suffered too terribly, and Fleur Weasley had found out, quite by accident, that she was excellent at Healing Spells. She had taken an apprenticeship with Healer Orlaf to become a Blood Magic Specialist. She would be over later today to check on both Anwen and I.
I was still healing too. I had been cut from the top of my head down to my chin when the Owlery at Hogwarts exploded the night of the final battle. I would venture out into public for the first time next week, the new Minister was calling a meeting of the Council of 13; and I would be present as the Black family representative. I was healing well, and the doctors were hopeful that in time I wouldn't have any noticeable scars; but for right now, my face was a mess. To be honest, it was a miracle that we were alive, the rest wasn't that important to me.
Anwen is still so weak though...even when she's awake, she seems drained and almost lost. She'd channeled so much magic that night, become a conduit for extreme power, I wonder if it's changed her somehow? Then there's all of the pain she's in; I wonder if it will ever abate?
I watched as she began to stir, her eyelids fluttering open. Her beautiful green eyes made contact with mine and she smiled at me from on her pillow. She bit her lip and looked away. I got up and walked to the side of her bed, and sat down, taking her hands in mine.
"What made you smile like that?"
"You were watching me sleep," she said quietly, "it always makes me smile to know that you're watching over me," she confessed and then bit her lip again.
"How could I not watch an angel sleep?" She rolled her eyes at me.
"So what's the word of the day?" It was a game that we had started while she was healing. Anwen slept so much of the day away, she knew that she was missing things, so I tried to sum them up for her, often only using one word. It seemed to break the tension that would otherwise fill the room.
"You won't like it," I told her. The owl post had come while she was napping, and it contained a very important letter, I knew that she wasn't going to take the news well, but maybe she'd take it better than Harry had taken it.
"Tell me," she said, sounding resigned.
"Award." She sighed loudly. "There's going to be an awards ceremony, on August 15 at the Ministry. You're being given the Order of Merlin, Second Class, and..." I stopped, knowing the next part is what was really going to bother her.
"The Medal of Valor..." I told her quietly, and I saw her shaking her head, "...they want to give it you and to Harry, for the sacrifices that you made that night..."
"Harry deserves it, not me. I didn't do anything heroic Sirius, and you know it. I'll have to talk to King about it," she said, shaking her head. She's so opposed to being recognized for what she did that night. What the heck is going on in her head? Anwen shifted herself around and I watched her wince in pain and hold her breath while she was moving. She pulled herself into a more sitting position and clenched her fists together, taking several deep breaths. When she opened her eyes she looked at me sadly and asked: "When do we get to have normal again?" I didn't have an answer, so I wrapped my arms around her and brought my lips to hers.
"Oh, um, I can come back later..." I heard Harry's voice from the entranceway to the Dining Room, and my lips broke away from Anwen's.
"No, Harry it's all right. What can we do for you?" I asked my godson, shifting over so that I was still sitting with Anwen, but I wasn't embracing her any longer.
"I was wondering if Aunt Winnie was up for a walk in the garden?" He said, and I knew that it was their code for 'I need to talk with her about things'.
"I most definitely am. Can you go and see if you Mum can help me get into my chair?" She asked, and Harry looked at her.
"You know, I can levitate you into it as well as she can," he said and Winnie looked at him in a pained way, not wanting to hurt his feelings, but she was so self conscious about her leg that she didn't want him seeing it.
"Harry, she's only in a nightgown here, she doesn't want you to see her undressed," I told him, and he nodded his head.
"Right, I'll got get my Mum," he said and left the room. I watched as he left.
"He was tortured again, wasn't he?" I asked Anwen, knowing that this was why Harry wanted to talk with her. She fluttered her eyelashes and then started speaking.
"Please don't ask me to betray his confidences. He feels comfortable talking with me, I don't want to discourage that."
"I won't love; and you're right, at least he's talking to someone," I told her, bringing my lips once again to hers. "Please don't over do it, the children would like to spend some time with you."
"How about if you bring them out when they wake up, and we can have tea together in the garden? That sounds like a very normal thing to do," she postulated, and I nodded at her.
"That it does my love, that it does."