Prophecy and Destiny
Regrets of an Old Man
The man paced in his chambers, his glasses low on his nose, his feet scuffling against the floor as he paced back and forth across the narrow carpet that laid upon the stone base of the room. His hands shook as he held the parchment that had just arrived, what he was reading was shocking and disheartening. He had been at their wedding only months ago, had stood for them as they adopted the boy, and now they had taken him away.
The old man slouched into an overstuffed chair that was in the corner, continuing to read on, where they told him in no uncertain that he was to neither try to find them, or ever attempt to get a message to them. There were people who knew where the family had gone, but they would never be betrayed. The parchment fell from his hands and floated to the floor.
It was the last paragraph that haunted him the most, in the delicate script of the woman, the old man, her former teacher and friend, was told that she knew what he had done and how it had caused the devastation in the lives of her and her family. She never planned to forgive him, and he should not expect it.
The signatures of his former students were at the bottom, their new names, the ones that reflected their recent marriage, and it caused the man to want to weep. He knew of the betrayal to which she spoke. He had thought that he was doing the correct thing at the time, and he wasn't sure that even knowing what he did now, that he would have changed his mind in the matter.
He cradled his head in his hands and sighed, he wanted to know where they went, that they were safe. They had taken with them the boy, not just a boy -- their boy -- he was rightfully their son now. Their son was the key to the peace of the future, and they knew this, he supposed that was why they had taken him. Like any parents, they wanted to see their son grow and be happy and to live a long life.
Then their was their new baby girl, she was...if what was said about her was true, then she would be even more important than her brother was in the matters to come ahead. The old man now regretted that he did not pay more attention to the old ways, the old magic, the old faith. He'd abandoned it in his youth, when his world had fallen apart. To take part in the feast days and keep the old ways reminded him too much of the family that he had lost, the family that he had destroyed. If he had kept up with it, he would have recognized what she was even before she was born. They had taken her too, keeping her out of the reach of those who would hurt her, but also out of his reach as well. He was shrewd enough to recognize that to the parents, both parties were one in the same -- people who could hurt their children.
He heard the statue at the bottom of his stairwell slide over, and footsteps on the stairs to his quarters. He turned his head as the heavy wooden door opened and his deputy and friend entered the room, parchment in her hand as well.
"Albus, you don't really think that they are gone, do you?" Minerva McGonagall asked in a pained and hurried voice.
"I think that is exactly what they did, Minerva. There are only a few who I can think of who might know where they have gone to. I have summoned Mr. Lupin, Ms. de Montmorency, Ms. Bones and Mr. Weasley. I believe that they are the only ones that they truly trusted toward the end," Albus Dumbledore responded. He looked off into the distance, wondering when exactly it was that he fell out of favor with them.
"But Albus, how could they take Harry, without telling you?" Albus met her gaze and sighed sadly.
"Because they are his parents, and they were doing what they thought was best." The resignation to this new situation was settling upon him. Another set of footsteps on the stairs alerted them to the impending arrival of another. When Amelia Bones entered the room, she carried with her an air of confidence and authority that surprised both of the professors. This young woman had truly come into her own the last few years, and was quickly rising within the ranks of the Magical Law Enforcement offices. Her understanding of Wizarding law was impressive and imposing.
"Amelia, I do hope you have some idea of where they have gone and how we can get in touch with them?" Minerva asked her.
"I know where they have gone, but I have no intention of telling you. I will not betray their trust," she said calmly and with an even tone.
"Why?" Albus prodded.
"Because they told me not to and the reasons why. They want to keep their children safe and give them a carefree childhood. I can assure you that they are quite safe, that they are happy and that they have no regrets about the choices that they have made."
Albus sighed and rubbed his temples. He could tell from her tone and attitude that he would be getting nothing from Ms. Bones today. "Fine, perhaps the others that I have summoned here will give me more information."
"None of them are coming, sir," Amelia announced, and both professors looked at her in stunned surprise.
"What do you mean, none of them are coming? How did you know who I would have summoned?" Albus demanded. He was not used to begin denied information when he asked for it.
"Sir," Amelia started, "it would be obvious that you would summon those who were closest to them. When your summons arrived, Arthur came to my office, and I told him that I had received your request as well, and that I would handle this for the both of us. I also assume that you tried to reach Grace and Remus, but you won't find them either. They have both gone with the Potter-Black family."
"Remus and Grace are gone too?" Minerva nearly cried at the thought, she slid herself down onto the settee by the fireplace. "Albus, why would they all leave? What happened?"
Albus Dumbledore said nothing, he just went to the window and looked out at the lush green of the lawns below. When he had no reply to her question, Amelia decided to speak up.
"Both of the children had threats made against them within days of their wedding. Ellie and Sirius couldn't imagine living like this. They researched the prophecy regarding Harry and then found one about their little girl as well. It was too much, so they decided that the entire family would be safer outside of the country. This was well planned on their part. They wanted a fresh start, they needed it."
"Amelia, do you think that they will come back?" Minerva asked her.
"They don't have any plans to return. They do not see their future being here in Britain," Amelia replied.
"Even when Harry is supposed to start at Hogwarts? We have trained ever member of the Potter family for the last 700 years? How could they think of keeping him out of school, especially with what he needs to do?" Minerva pleaded.
"I don't have the answers to those questions. Perhaps it is only time that will tell," Amelia answered her.
The room was quiet, and by the window the old man felt defeated and hopeless. Without Harry, he wasn't sure that he would stop the darkness that would once again ravage his country. A lone tear fell down his cheek at the loss and regret in his heart.
Miles away, the warm summer sun heated the grounds on the farm of the Potter-Black Family in Ceneselli, Italy. Harry was running though the grass that was behind the main house, while his mother and father walked not far behind. Nestled in her father's arms, little Ainsley, now four months old, slumbered as they walked.
"I would have loved to have been a fly on that wall this morning," Ellie sighed as they strolled. "I doubt that he took it well."
"I doubt that he did either, dear," Sirius responded. "Are you happy, love?"
"I am deliriously happy, my dear husband. We have a beautiful new home, orchards that are ready to bear fruit, berries ready to be picked from the bushes, plans to build a greenhouse so that I will always have my botanicals at hand. We are together and married, our children are with us, and they are most importantly, safe." The woman concluded, continuing to walk along in the grass. "Harry, don't get too far ahead, you don't know the property yet." She called out to her son who had nearly hit the vineyard beyond.
"Yes, Ellie, I not go too far," the boy yelled, still running and laughing in the wind.
The couple walked in silence for a while longer, until they caught up with the energetic three year old.
"So, did you pick a place for your play yard?" Sirius asked Harry.
"Yes I did. I think that it should be right over there," Harry told him, point to the area between the lane and the shed. "That way you can see me from the house or the barn."
"That's very smart of you Harry, but why would we need to see you from the barn?" His mother asked him, there were no plans to do anything with the barn, other than let their werewolf friend go through his monthly changes in the safety of the stone building.
"Because," the boy said, sounding as if it were obvious. "This is a farm, and we're going to need animals. I think we should get a cow, some chickens, ducks and a pig."
Ellie looked away, trying to stifle a laugh, it was only when she caught the eye of her husband did she stop, and take the sleeping infant from his arms when he offered it. Once Ainsley was with her mother, Sirius knelt down and looked at Harry.
"Harry, son, none of us know anything about keeping animals. I don't think that it would be wise for us to take on such a project without knowing about it."
"But, I want to learn. Please Sirius, please?" The little boy whined in such a way that he knew he would get his way.
"Fine, I will make a deal with you, we'll research what it would take to get some chickens and how to take care of them. I'm sure that we can find a book in town," Sirius said, sounding defeated, as he rose. "Come on, we have berries to pick for our feast tonight."
Harry and Sirius took off with the baskets that lay on the ground near the bushes, and began to pick the dark, sun-warmed sweet fruit from their bushes. It appeared that Harry ate two for every one that he put into his little basket. For the woman, it reminded her of when she would go to pick berries with her brother, and he would do the same thing. She sat in the sun, her legs stretched out in the soft grass. Her daughter had awoken, and Ellie unwrapped the little girl and set her to suckle. Ellie couldn't help to think that life was beyond peaceful, it was pastoral here. In this moment, she felt such a strong connection to the ancestors that she had been researching, she wondered if she had somehow been taken back in time.
When the berry picking and the baby feeding were over, the family headed in to the house, where they needed to put the finishing touches on their meal. Sirius went outside to set the logs for the bonfire up, and Ellie got to work on the dinner dishes. A chicken with basil and oregano was in the oven cooking, the berries were cooking down on the stove top and most importantly, the potatoes were being cooked for the colcannon.
Ainsley was in her high chair, playing with the toys that were magically attached, and Harry was drawing pictures of chickens and cows with his crayons on the floor by the hearth.
Dinner was eaten under the arbor in the back yard, and the family was joined by the friends who had come to Italy with them. Remus and Grace laughed and listened with great interest as Harry talked about how he was going to take care of the chickens. His parents knew that there wasn't going to be a chance of dissuading the little boy from his dream.
When it was dark enough, Sirius lit the bonfire. Harry was entranced with how high the flames would shoot up, and how they seemed to dance in the sky. Grace began to sing the old carols and tunes that she knew from her childhood, and Sirius and Ellie began to dance -- the traditional way to celebrate Lughnasadh.
After the children were in bed, and their friends had retired to their apartment next to the main house, Ellie took Sirius around back of the house, to an area that she had hidden, just off the arbors.
"I have a surprise for you," she cooed as her hand stroked the face of her husband. "Close your eyes, and hold my hand." She demanded and he did as she had requested.
Ellie lead her husband around the partition, to where there was a huge, clawed foot iron tub. She had already filled it with water, charmed it to both bubble and stay warm, and had lit the area with candles. She quickly slipped from the lightweight dress that she had been wearing that day, and slid her knickers to the ground and stepped out of them.
"You can open your eyes now," she told Sirius. He was delighted to be greeted with the sight of his naked wife and the improvised hot tub. Ellie took the few steps back to him. "I thought that we might like a place where we could be alone," she muttered, pulling his shirt free and removing it over his head. "Where we could enjoy one and another under the stars," she whispered as she removed his slacks and pants.
"You are truly brilliant, wife," he answered and together, the slid into the warm water.
"Tell me what stars are up there, and what their stories are, please?" Ellie asked Sirius and he obliged. They'd only made it through two constellations before their attentions were diverted to other fun activities for two in a tub.