It was dark. That was the first thing he was aware of. Very dark.

Then he realised that this was because his eyes were closed. Opening them seemed like a huge effort though. It felt as if he was coming up from somewhere deep underground. With a huge exertion of will, he moved his head.

"He's coming round."

The voice was familiar, but for a moment, he couldn't place it. A man's voice. Who was it? Where was he?

He was gradually getting the movement back in his muscles. With another great effort, he opened his eyes. There was something wrong. He couldn't focus on anything. He blinked, and his eyes dragged open again, seeing blurred shapes.

Faces. There were faces leaning over him.

"Give him some space." The voice spoke again, and some of the shapes receded.

One stayed where it was, a face with a frame of orange. Behind it, everything was very white. He blinked again, and felt a hand grasp his own.

"Sirius?" another voice whispered. "Sirius, can you hear me?"

Slowly, his vision swam into focus, and the heavy feeling faded.

He swallowed. His throat was very dry. He wanted to say her name, but he couldn't make the words come. She looked up at somebody beyond his line of vision, her face twisted with worry.

"Is he going to be okay?"

"I think so," the first voice said quietly. "Give him a minute or two. He's been under for a while. He hit his head as well as being hit with the stunning spell."

Albus. Sirius finally identified the voice. And the white room he was in was a hospital ward. St Mungo's, where Albus worked.

Talking still seemed like too much effort. Thinking was quite an effort too. Instead, he lifted a hand and found her cheek. His hand wasn't under as much control as usual, so he wasn't as gentle as he'd have liked to be, but he was touching her. She was real.

"Lily," he muttered hoarsely.

"Hey there," she said quietly. "Welcome back, Sirius. I missed you."