Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Sirius Black was fighting for his life, fighting for peace, fighting for love, but above all, fighting for his godson, Harry James Potter. He hadn't felt this alive and exhilarated in years as he dodged curses from his evil cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange. But as well as the exhilaration, anger and fear pulsed through him. Harry had to be okay, he just had to be. And he swore he'd get rid of any Death Eater that wanted to get to him.
At that moment, a red light hurtled towards his chest, but he effortlessly dodged it. He laughed, and the laughter had a hint of insanity in it, but at that moment he didn't care. "Come on," he taunted Bellatrix, grinning maniacally. "You can do better than that!"
What happened next happened in slow motion. Another red light came spinning towards his chest, and Sirius had been so focused on his taunts and laughter that he hadn't seen it coming. It wasn't a Killing Curse, it was a simple Stunner, but he was very, very near the veil, which he'd learned was a portal to the afterlife.
His face was full of shock as he began to fall. His gray eyes were wide as he thought of his complete arrogance. Now he would be leaving Harry behind, and he was the only family he had left. And he'd be leaving his only best friend left, Remus. How would he cope? Oh Merlin, he thought frantically as the Ministry of Magic began to disappear.
He thought he'd fall forever, but then a hand grabbed him and steadied him. At first he thought he'd been saved, but then, a very familiar voice spoke, a voice he hadn't heard in almost fifteen years.
"You'd think, Padfoot," the voice said, "that after all you've been through, you wouldn't be done in by a simple CURTAIN."
He was standing in a huge, sunny garden, and there, standing right in front of him, grinning like an idiot, his white teeth showing, his hazel eyes shining with life, was James Potter.
"Oh, leave him alone, James," said another voice from beside him. "He doesn't need your antics yet, he's only just gotten here!"
And there was Lily Potter, her emerald eyes welcoming her friend home, her smile radiant.
Sirius's eyes widened with even more shock as he stared at the two people in front of him. The last time he'd seen him, he'd seen their shells, lifeless and still. Their eyes had been wide open, their faces full of fear and pleading. But now here they were, full of life again. "Prongs? Lily?" he choked out.
"Hey, Pads, you idiot," James grinned. "How ya doin' buddy?"
Sirius's knees could no longer hold him up, and he collapsed to the floor. He couldn't get over it: here were James and Lily. And the finality of the situation then hit him: he had indeed died, crossed the veil.
His two friends sat down beside him, Lily holding his hand and James looking warmly at him. "We know this must be a bit of a shock," Lily said gently. "Are you all right?"
Sirius's face was full of emotion, and his voice was choked as he forced out, "I'm ... I'm so sorry."
Lily embraced him, and James soon joined her. "It's all right, buddy," James said softly. "We know what you've been through, we've been watching you. We know you've made mistakes, but Pads, you paid for them more than anyone should be meant to. It's okay."
"I killed you," Sirius moaned, not being able to stop tears from trickling down his face. Blacks weren't supposed to cry, but Sirius did not care at this moment. "I'm ... I'm so sorry I ever suggested that you use Peter."
At the mention of Peter's name, the couple's faces filled with sadness. "You were only trying to keep us safe, Siri," Lily whispered tenderly. "Neither James nor I suspected it was Peter either."
"You didn't kill us, Padfoot," James said just as quietly. "We know you would have done anything to keep us alive."
Sirius managed a weak smile at his friends. For so many years he'd wanted, needed, forgiveness, and now he had it.
"I shouldn't have gone after Peter," he said then, looking guiltily up at them. "I missed twelve years with Harry because I was so stupid."
"We always told you," James said, "to think about the bigger picture, and not go tearing off for revenge whenever someone did something that deserved it. But Siri, how could we be angry at you? You suffered twelve years of hell for that decision."
"We wish we could have done something to get you out of there," Lily said sadly. "But people who have crossed the veil cannot interfere with the living. All we could do was watch you, and try to be with you in your time of need."
"Are you ... are you sure you're not angry?" Sirius asked ashamedly.
"We're positive," James said gently. "Now, enough of this morose talk. Tell me, what's Harry been up to?"
"I thought you said you've been watching," said Sirius, grinning.
"We have, but we want to hear the stories again, from you," Lily smiled.
So Sirius told them everything he could about his godson. "He looks so like you, Prongs," he said. "And those eyes, Lily, I bet all the girls want him."
"Oh, stop it, you," Lily said, playfully smacking his arm.
"Owwwww, that hurt!" Sirius pretended to scream in pain.
He couldn't describe how he felt at that moment; he was with his two best friends in the entire world again, and happiness spread through him like never before.
After a few more minutes of laughter and talking, he said, "Do you think Harry'll be alright?"
Lily put her hand over Sirius's and said softly, "I know he will, Siri. He'll grieve, but he's a strong boy."
"He'll know that you won't want him to give up," James added. "And you can watch him whenever you want. We'll show you around this garden we're in, and we'll let you see the glass that you can look through to see the world of the living."
"And don't worry," Lily said, "I have a strong feeling that he'll survive the battle. Come, we'll show you how you can see him."
So as Sirius took Lily's hand, with James following close behind, he finally felt warm, safe, and young again. He had his friends back, and he would guard Harry from afar. I'll be with you always, pup, he thought as the trio walked through the garden. I promise.
He was finally, finally truly home.