He lay in a bright mist, though it was not a mist like he had ever experienced before. His surroundings were not hidden by cloudy vapor; rather the cloudy vapor had not yet formed into surroundings. The floor on which he lay seemed to be white, neither warm nor cold, but simply there, a flat, blank something on which to be.~Kings Cross, page 705.
Even as he stared outward at the seeming emptiness of his surroundings they began to take on shape and form. One such form was tall and moving forward out of the distance and toward him at a slow, steady pace.
He glanced around and sat up as the mist rescinded back toward where it came from and he could see thick marble walls come into view several feet to either side and even behind his back. They carried onward far over head and well into the distance, void of decoration in any way. The moving shape ahead began to take on more of a definable outline as the mist cleared and soon enough the dark and messy black hair, slight stubble, and almost-gaunt narrow body of Sirius Black came into sight.
He didn't understand. Sirius was dead. Did that mean he was...?
A grimace twisted Sirius face as he finally arrived at the sitting youth before him, and he leaned down to wrap his arms around his godsons back tightly. Harry returned the gesture almost awkwardly at first before gripping him tighter and for the first time here used his voice. "Sirius..?!" he gasped, surprising himself with the emotion behind it.
His godfather squeezed him tighter before pulling back and dragging Harry to his feet. "I didn't expect to see you again for another hundred years." Sirius told him in a low tone. "I didn't think you would actually die so young." he added, not bothering to turn his head away to hide the emotion on his face or single tear that ran down it.
Harry's own displayed surprise rather than shock that he was actually dead after all. "I don't remember it. The final battle. Just marching out to the Forbidden Forest, and that's where it all goes dark." he replied slowly, as though trying out his words first before deciding to speak them. "Where are we?" he asked in the same tone.
Sirius let out a harsh sigh and wrapped one arm around the back of his godsons shoulders, then paused and released them. "Perhaps you should visualize some clothing.. ?" the note of mirth was displaced by sadness. Harry glanced downward and let out a sharp yelp before covering his body up with one hand and looking around for something to wear. As if by magic a set of folded white robes appeared at his side.
After dressing himself Harry looked expectantly at his godfather for the answer to his question. Sirius had composed himself enough to give it. "Purgatory." he responded in a not-so-flat voice, eyes growing narrow. Expression fading to a frown Harry turned to look at him again. "Did you say--" his voice held a note of confusion and incredulity to it. "Come on, I'll explain along the way." Sirius interrupted as he motioned with his other hand for them to begin walking. Reluctantly Harry did so.
They had been walking for an hour. The walls carried onward and onward with no end in sight, yet neither felt tired or sore so far. Along the way Harry had stopped a couple of times as what he was being told made his stomach lurch and the floor seem to fall away from beneath him, however.
"Just to confirm this now, the accidental Horcrux in me would have died if my blood wasn't used in the ritual to create his new body?" Harry asked. "And now I can't go back- I could, but it would only keep the Horcrux alive and chain Voldemort to immortality-- so my soul is trapped here?"
Sirius' grimace was all the answer Harry needed. The young adult wizard clenched his eyes closed and murmured something softly beneath his breath, then slightly louder with more emotion behind it. Sirius had little trouble picking it up. "Damn you, Voldemort!"
Breathing harshly Harry looked around for something, anything, that he might vent his anger on. Unlike with the robes nothing appeared from thin air before him. Sirius placed a placating hand on his godsons shoulder. "I know, Harry. Trust me, I know." he said. "But think of it like this, your soul was meant for somewhere better to rest. You don't belong here in bloody purgatory."
Harry looked over his shoulder and asked "What are you trying to say, Sirius?" Sirius smiled, and it was worthy of a Marauder. "I'm saying your fight isn't over yet." frowning at the emptiness of that response, Harry turned to face him completely. "Harry, when someone dies, they're either supposed to move on or remain stuck on earth as a ghost, discounting any rubbish immortality rituals." he began.
"The rare exception crops up when prophecy becomes entangled. Frankly, we shouldn't even be having this conversation- Voldemort killed you, prophecy fulfilled, endless nightmares and torture for the world-- but you did something he couldn't have expected." Sirius paused and waited to see if Harry would put it together.
Harry waited to hear what he had done, but with no forthcoming continuation, began looking through his memories. I never really accomplished anything that should... and just like that, as though Hermionine was standing beside him and ridiculing him for not thinking of it sooner, the answer came to mind and tumbled past his lips. "The Hallows!" he shouted.
Sirius winched at the tone and rubbed at one ear sharply to displace any ringing, but smiled none the less. "Right in one. By all rights, you can't be terminally killed. That's why you could return to earth like you are and keep up the fight, but the horcrux in side of you would remain alive as well." he stated.
Harry's face fell again. "Then what good does it do me?" he demanded, getting angry again. Responding in a more subdued yet annoyed tone, "It open's up a new path for you to take! Since you're unwilling to return to life, and the uniter of the Hallows can't rightfully remain dead, you've been shuffled into purgatory until you make up your mind! But that's what is so important, you don't have to!" he exclaimed, staring Harry in the eye.
"..." lapsing into a moody silence, Harry simply stared right back, the pleasure of seeing his godfather again slightly dulled by the unjustness of the situation. Sirius heaved a sigh and then walked right by him. "Harry, there's a reason why Time-turners are practically the only known method of time-travel. The other is damn near impossible to meet the standard requirement for, let alone pull off under the best of circumstances." he stated.
Harry watched him walk by and balked in mid-motion at the statement. "Time-travel?" he repeated skeptically. "Yeah." he smiled at Harry again. "It's a pretty fair prank, all things considered, to have a loophole like this. But you'll be able to return. I don't really know when, and that's pretty much up to you, but be careful if you go back too far. Your soul may not have anything to house it." Sirius explained.
A question that had been nagging him in the back of his mind finally cropped up and Harry asked it. "How do you know all this stuff?" his tone was doubting. "Ah, that's the crux of the matter, isn't it." turning to face Harry fully, Sirius looked down toward his hands. They were fading. "I'm not really here, Harry. I'm on a short leave from paradise to fulfill my final transaction at the time of death. A fifteen-minute spirit guide, so to speak. I was only told enough to get you back on the mortal coil, and if I don't, then... well, Dumbledore used to say there were worse fates than death." he finished on a soft laugh without much humor to it, his eyes losing some of the light.
"... Who sent you?" Harry questioned, taking a step back at this further unexpected development. Sirius shrugged. "As far as I can tell, it was your parents. But I had just spoken with them five minutes, relatively speaking, earlier. We were watching you on the way up the path with Moony. There's something you have to understand, Harry, that just as it was with the graveyard three years ago for you, the shades you summoned with the Resurrection Stone weren't really us. Just fabrications of a greater magic than you or I can understand." his lower body was all but entirely gone by this point and his upper wasn't far behind.
Harry swallowed at the reminder, of the things spoken and said at those times to him by ghostly images. It left a pang of regret. "So once you're gone here..." he trailed off. Sirius nodded grimly. "Then I'm gone for good. We won't meet again, unless you do something so dramatic that your soul is banished or exiled off earth, and anything that could accomplish that would probably see you heading downstairs rather than up to the attic, I believe..." another tear leaked out of his eye as he said those words.
Harry shook his head and stepped closer and wrapped his arms around his godfather tightly. Sirius returned the gesture as best as he still could. "Live a good life, Harry. The only ot--her way to meet is to forgo the Hallows this time aro--und. And you pro--bably won't sur--" whatever else he had been about to say was lost as his spirit was drawn back and away, leaving Harry clutching at empty space. He stared blankly and then blurriness toward where Sirius had just been, not yet realizing the tears that had formed at the sudden disappearance.
It left him feeling lonelier than when he had seen Snapes memories, had learned that it was his fate to die in the Forbidden Forest by himself so the others he knew could live better lives. A short while later he eventually moved through it, and focused on the fact that Voldemort had managed to cause him grief yet again. Harry frowned and his shoulders stiffened with anger.
I'm through being torn apart by Voldemort. I'm through with having my life and that of my friends demolished at the work of one insane dark wizard. He thought. Sirius said I had to go back? Then I'll go back, and this time, I'll make sure he never gets the chance to rise up in the first place.
End of Chapter One.
Preview of next chapter: Unspeakable Jacob looked the man over sprawled along the ground from the comfort of a proper stunning field. His wand danced in his fingers as he summoned a sheet of parchment and a quill to his other hand and began cataloging the details attentively.
"Average height, underdeveloped weight. Long, straggly black hair. Green hued eyes. Fading black scar in the center of the forehead. Numerable aged scars dotting the rest of the nude body." his quill wrote down quickly if sloppily. With two swift motions of his wand to check the magic aptitude of the John Doe, Unspeakable Jacob froze in his steps around the field.