A/N Apologies for the delay in updating but I hope it was worth the wait. Enjoy!
The DA meeting was re-arranged to the Three Broomsticks for the following Saturday at midday. The marauders had promised Harry to attend in order to answer any awkward questions which his fellow peers may offer. As Harry ascended the stairs to the function room of the Three Broomsticks with his friends, he was curious about what awaited him. Once he opened the door, he and the others were in awe at the sight. All along one end of the room lay a table filled with plates of sandwiches, cakes, pastries and various kinds of sweets. Also, there were several jugs of juices and pots filled with hot chocolate and tea. In addition, there were two dozen chairs lined up in the centre of the room, facing a lit fire. For Harry`s convenience, there was a couch sitting beside the fire where he and his friends could sit to chair the meeting.
"Now this is a nice spread." Rob exclaimed looking about the room. Harry and the others nodded in agreement.
"I`ll bet the marauders had a lot to do with this. Do you agree Harry?" Hermione asked with a smile in Harry`s direction. Harry smiled brightly at her. He walked over to her saying:
"Yes, I imagine they did. The food certainly has Sirius written all over it."
Harry`s friends laughed lightly with him realising that each area of the room was in recognition of one of the marauders.
"I`ll bet the fire was Remus`s idea and the seating arrangement was all James."
"Now how did you come to that conclusion Ron?" Rob asked curiously.
"It`s simple. James is always organised and Remus loves heat."
"We all know how Remus constantly has a fire lit in his office and James is exceptionally organised when it comes to serious events such as this. That is why Harry is such an impeccable leader." Harry reciprocated Ron`s smile in gratitude.
"Well, we see that our little brother is sucking up already to the dragon slayer, don`t we Fred?"
"Oh, absolutely George. Never fear little bro, your loyalty will not go un-noticed." George gently said as he patted Ron on the shoulder. Ron smiled sardonically at his brother who winked and joined his twin on a front row seat.
"I see you guys brought half of Hogwarts with you." Harry exclaimed as the room began to fill up.
"Anything for you Harry." Fred replied smiling as he reclined in his seat with his hands behind his head.
"We live to serve you." George cried as he and Fred bowed before Harry making him and the others laugh.
"Ok, well if you could get everyone seated, we can start this meeting." Harry called over the moderately loud chatter. One by the one people took their seats. Some decided to make use of the facilities and poured themselves a cup of tea or hot chocolate before doing so. After about ten minutes everyone was seated and eager to listen to Harry.
"All right everyone, firstly I would just like the offer my appreciation to you for coming today. As we all know, we are here to form a wizard army to fight against Voldemort." There were gasps heard around the room at Harry`s mention of Voldemort by name.
"Look, I know there are some of you who have this irrational fear at the sound of his name but I was raised to not fear him by name or in person. I assure you that the mention of his name is not going to cause sudden death or anything."
"Harry is right. Voldemort`s greatest power is the fear he invokes in people. If we show him that we are not afraid of him, his power is considerably weakened. I was raised similar to Harry. My parents taught me to not fear the sound of his name. I think it's time more of you did the same." Luna sat back down, smiling fondly back at Harry who appreciated her input.
"Thank you Luna for that empowering speech but there is one thing I want to make absolutely clear to everyone here." Harry stood up and began walking up and down the room as he spoke.
"I am asking a lot of people and I fully realise that. However, Dumbledore is asking a lot of me. I don`t completely understand why he has placed as much trust in me as he has but I do know that I am grateful. I do not want to fail him. Therefore, I know I am ready to face Voldemort at any cost but I will need your help, only if you are prepared to give it. If there is anybody who feels they do not want any part in this, then please feel free to leave. I promise you that nobody will think any less of them. I know what we are facing. Yes, I am terrified at the cost of defeating the dark side but I am also conscious that everyone needs to stand up and fight. If we don`t, Voldemort will win and I refuse to live in a world where evil exists to the extremity that it does today. There is a piece of parchment and a quill on the table by the door for those of you who want to sign up. For those that don`t, I appreciate you coming along today. There is one final thing I will say in an effort to change any dubious minds. We will be learning from three of the best wizards I know. Yes, I will be the one responsible for teaching you everything I know regarding duelling but there will be three wizards always on hand to offer us extra assistance. In fact, they are downstairs right now so Rob would you please tell them to come up here?"
"I`ll be right back Harry." Rob ran out of the room to ask the marauders to come up. Within a minute, the four of them entered the room. Rob resumed his seat as the marauders stood beside the sign up table. There were cheers and muttering heard around the room.
"All right, I am sure everyone here knows the three brilliant wizards who have just joined us. You definitely know at least one, Professor Remus Lupin." Remus smiled at Harry for his introduction as cheers and whistles surrounded the room.
"The other two are my dad James Potter and my godfather, Sirius Black. If I didn't have these guys growing up, I dread to think where I would be now. They are exceptionally talented and really approachable so please take advantage of their benefits because I know they would love to help anyone."
"You forgot to say super hot, Harry." Sirius exclaimed smiling. There was light laughter heard around the room which certainly helped to ease the tension of anyone who wasn`t too familiar with James and Sirius.
"Ok, as you can see they are also a lot of fun, especially Sirius. No offence dad, Remus." James and Remus smiled as they shook their heads.
"Ok, well I will let the marauders say a few words now." Harry sat down as his three guardians stepped into the centre of the room.
"Hello, everyone. As Harry has already said my name is James. I promise I will not keep you too long. I know by now ye are bored stupid. All I will say is that aside from preparing for this war which we are unfortunately faced with, the D.A. will also give any or even all of you an opportunity to sharpen up your skills at duelling and learning how to perform spells correctly. Sirius and I will be really pleased to help any one of you on a one to one basis if anybody feels anxious about their spell casting abilities. Of course, Remus is there for you also so please don`t be afraid to approach any of us at any time. We are all in this together so if at any time one of you has a personal problem, feels like they want to drop out of the D.A or just wants someone to talk to, again we are here. Sirius, have you anything to add?"
"I think you have covered it all James. I guess the only thing I will add is just to have fun. Yes, we are facing a war, yes it is an extremely serious and a dangerous time for people but please remember that it is not all doom and gloom. Within the D.A. enjoy the satisfaction of learning a spell correctly that you could never get right before and think how awesome it would be to use it on a death eater." Harry`s peers chuckled at Sirius.
"Remus, what would you like to say?" Sirius asked as Remus stepped forward.
"Again, I believe the necessities have been covered Sirius. I mean obviously everything we have covered in class is essential to the cause but if anyone at anytime requires my assistance then please come and tell me. I won`t know otherwise and it would be of great benefit to you." Remus smiled warmly at his students. He, James and Sirius turned to Harry to end the meeting.
"Ok, well, thanks guys. That was great. If anyone has any questions, then please come and ask. Otherwise I would appreciate it if anyone would sign the parchment at end of the room. We`ll be in touch soon about the first official practical lesson." Harry motioned to his three friends beside him. "Thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it and I hope it has either squashed your fears or enhanced your decision to sign up." Harry smiled at his peers who applauded him enthusiastically.
"It`s good to so many turned up." James commented to his two friends.
"Yes, absolutely and it gives Harry the confidence to believe in his own abilities."
"Yeah, that is true Remus. It may have taken fifteen years, but hey better late than never."
"You guys were amazing! Thank you so much for helping me out." Harry exclaimed jovially as he approached the marauders.
"Oh, Harry you know you don`t have to thank us. We are family son."
"Yeah, dad I know but I felt for a while that I was losing some of them but I firmly believe everything all of you said really made the difference."
"You know if this going to work, you have got to start believing in yourself, Prongslet."
"Sirius, I do..."
"No, you don`t if you believe what we said is the reason people signed up. From what I saw of you today, it was all you. Rob was singing your praises when he came down to us earlier."
"Sirius is right Harry. You are a born leader, just like your father." Harry smiled at James who winked at him.
"Excuse me, James but Neville would like to speak with you for a moment."
"Oh, sure Hermione; what can I do for you Neville?" James asked softly smiling. Neville looked at Harry anxiously. He smiled encouragingly and left with Hermione.
"Well you see...you knew my parents really well, didn`t you?"
"Yes, we all did Neville. They were wonderful people who loved you very much."
"Well that is the problem. I am hopeless at spells. Professor Lupin can vouch for that." Neville turned to Remus who watched him sympathetically. Neville re-focused his attention on James as he continued. "I think I will need a lot of assistance if I am to join the D.A. Harry is great but you did say anyone in need of assistance could come to you, right?"
"Yes, absolutely Neville and we are very glad you did. What is it you think you need help with exactly?"
"Everything! I`m useless." Neville replied despondently as he lowered his head.
"Oh, Neville I disagree with you there. There are some people who are good at some things and not others."
"Remus is right Neville. I know you are very talented at herbology. Harry is constantly praising your abilities in that area. Besides, once you gain some marauder assistance, no death eater will stand a chance." Neville smiled lightly back at Sirius.
"I`ll tell you what we will do Neville. After your D.A.D.A class on Monday, the three of us will meet you and together we will figure out a plan."
"Oh wow thank you so much James. I really appreciate this. My gran will be delighted when I tell her." Neville answered smiling widely at James who reciprocated.
"That is great to hear Neville. She is a wonderful woman. I`m sorry to cut this short but we need to go so we will see you on Monday."
"Ok, thank you so much." Neville smiled once more and left to find his friends. James clicked his fingers and beckoned Harry to come over.
"Harry we need to go. Dumbledore wants to see us."
"Ok, dad thanks again for coming. I`ll talk to you later."
"Yeah, we will be at Hogwarts on Monday. You did great today. I am very proud of you." James hugged his son lightly. Rob came over on Sirius`s command.
"We got to roll Rob so look after Ryan. I`ll probably see ye both on Monday." He slapped Rob lightly on his shoulder. Rob nodded his head in understanding and quirked a smile.
"Harry, it`s always fun. Look out for your sister since Prongs didn`t say so." Sirius nudged James with his shoulder who scowled playfully. Sirius raised his hands as Harry and Rob slapped them together and smiled back at Sirius.
"I`ll see you guys later." Remus said as he left with his two friends.
Dumbledore waited for the marauders in his office. What they didn`t realise was that the Minister for magic was also awaiting their arrival with great anticipation. He sat in front of Dumbledore`s desk twirling his bowler hat in hands anxiously. Finally, they arrived.
"Hello, James, Remus and Sirius. I trust that the meeting went well?"
"Yes, Albus it all went according to plan." James answered stepping up the stairs to his former headmaster`s quarters. He eyed Fudge curiously who turned and smiled lightly at the three men. James and Remus sat at the corner of Dumbledore`s desk as Sirius took the remaining seat in front.
"So, what brings you here Fudge?" Sirius enquired.
"Oh, well Sirius I am afraid I am the bearer of some unfortunate news as it happens."
"What kind of news are we talking about Fudge?" James asked as he crossed his arms and stared at Fudge sternly.
"Well James it appears that Dolores Umbridge has...disappeared." Fudge answered meekly as he eyed James cautiously.
Sirius jumped off his seat as James hopped off the desk and asked in unison.
"What the hell do you mean she disappeared?" Fudge stood up and backed away a little from them, twirling his green bowler hat with his fingers.
"I am sorry James but that is all I know." He replied exasparated. Dumbledore signalled them to stay calm as the minister continued. "We received word at the ministry this morning and I came directly to convey the message to Dumbledore. If she should turn up here then I would appreciate it if you would inform me immediately."
"That psycho could be anywhere Fudge. What exactly are you doing to find her?" James barked.
"Well, we can`t do very much. We don`t want word spreading too far in case you know who hears about it. He could use her to destroy the ministry."
"Well how do you know he hasn`t gotten to her?" Remus asked calmly .
"The only reason we know that is because she checked herself out of the hospital. Owing to the fact that she maintains she was treated badly here, she is likely to return and finish what she started."
"Oh, wonderful! So instead of worrying about one psycho we now must be concerned about two." Sirius excalimed, throwing his hands in the air and rolling his eyes as he walked over and stood beside Remus.
"Sirius, this is not the minister`s fault." Dumbledore interjected calmly.
"Albus, have you forgotten what she put our kids through?" Sirius asked hotly.
"No of course not but shouting at the minister is not going to change anything. Thank you for calling Cornelius. We will be in touch."
Fudge smiled meekly and left. Once he did the marauders sat in front of Dumbledore to hear what he had summoned them for.
"What I have to say to concerns the safety of three people: Harry, Severus and myself. Of course the latter is the least of my concerns."
"Sir?" They enquired in unison.
"As you know Snape is feeding information to Voldemort through the order. Some is real and some is not. However, I feel it prudent that any information Severus gives to him should have some element of veracity within. I am putting him at great risk and I fear that sometime soon, Voldemort will uncover the extremity of his disloyalty. When that time comes I need the three of you to put your differences aside and help him. I say three because I am referring to Sirius, James and Severus himself. I have told Snape the truth about the prophecy which I know Voldemort is desperate to locate. He knows the imperativeness behind Voldemort finding it."
"How are you and Harry in danger sir?" James enquired curiously.
"I believe Voldemort will want me out of the way entirely soon so as to have an advantageous opportunity of getting closer to Harry. As you know I have been wrong before so perhaps I am in this instance. As for Harry well...we all know what the prophecy says and that he has a direct link to Voldemort`s thoughts. I strongly believe if he is unsuccessful at retrieving the prophecy himself, he will somehow procure Harry to do so."
"You are referring to occlumency, right?"
"Yes, James I am. I know Remus that you have been helping Harry with this issue and it has been relatively successful. I sometimes believe Harry isn`t trying hard enough to keep the link closed because he feels it is an advantage to the order if we know Voldemort`s movements and thoughts."
"I think the same sometimes Albus but what can we do? We can`t force him to block his thoughts between Voldemort. Harry swears he is doing all he can to keep them both disconnected. What if it's just not possible to completely secure the linkage? What if his scar is a channel that no amount of occlumency can cure?" James interjected.
"Remus, you are the expert. What are your thoughts on this issue?"
"Albus, I honestly don`t have the answer. It is possible I suppose that Harry`s scar is the reason occlumency isn`t as effective as it should be but..."
"So what does that mean? Does a part of Voldemort live within Harry?" Sirius asked gravely.
"That idea has crossed my mind Sirius. I don`t have the answer yet but it is a strong possibility."
"So how or when will you know?" James asked anxiously.
"As soon as I delve further in my pursuit of horcruxes. The other matter I wish to speak to ye about concerns your living arrangements. As I am sure you remember that I suggested moving to Grimauld Place for safe keeping but now I fear that you are all being over for those who need it."
"Are you saying that you want us to return back home?"
"Yes, Sirius but only if it is agreeable to everyone. At the time that I suggested the move it was beneficial for many reasons, mostly associated with order meetings and agendas. As the war escalates we will need several safe houses and various order venues so Voldemort will not be able to target one place. I maintain that we can create a force field around the land where your homes reside."
"A force field sir?" James questioned quizzically.
"Yes, James because that way if Voldemort does uncover your whereabouts, it will be difficult for him to penetrate. Only those who are aware of the location will be able to pass through." Dumbledore`s three former students eyed him pensively. It was a fact that all wanted to return but only if it was safe to do so.
"Why don`t ye discuss this with your families and come back to me? I will not be doing anything until you all are satisfied.
The three marauders left to do exactly that.
Later that night, the marauders discussed this issue back home which generated some concerns.
"Are you really telling me that after all this, Dumbledore wants us to move, again?" Lily asked James dejectedly.
"Yes, because he thinks it would be best Lily. I can see his point. I mean, half of England is living underneath one roof. Can you imagine how nice it will feel to have our own space again?"
"Yes, James I know what you are saying but it will be such a load of work. This time I won`t be of a lot of use..."
"I don't expect you to. I am sure we can get some of the order members to help out."
"Doesn`t that defeat the purpose James?" Regulus interjected.
"How do you mean Regulus?" James asked curiously.
"Well I thought that Dumbledore was trying to keep down the amount of people who knew of our whereabouts. What if Voldemort found out through one of them? I just don't think Dumbledore will want too many people assisting but maybe I am wrong."
"No, I can see your point Regulus. I suppose you; me and Sirius could do the bulk and maybe get Hagrid to assist us too. We know he could do ten times more work in one go than the either of us can."
Yes, that is true but Dumbledore himself will probably want to help too." Regulus stated flatly. James looked at Regulus to respond when Lily interjected.
"James, what did Albus mean when he suggested that he and Severus would be in danger?"
"Oh, well he explained that Snape was feeding Voldemort info about the order which Dumbledore was supplying. So, he figured that if or when Voldemort suspected Snape`s alliance was truly with Dumbledore instead, he would be disposable. Additionally, Dumbledore maintained that Voldemort will want him out of the way but he wasn't concerned about that."
"Well I am James. How are we supposed to do this without Albus? If he is ever in danger, we have to protect him."
"Honey, I am sure Dumbledore can look after himself and besides as if he is going to tell any of us that he is in danger. He would be more concerned about Harry and the order."
"James, please promise me you will keep him safe. He means a great deal to me."
"I promise Lily I will keep him safe."
"So, I see you told her about Umbridge being on the loose. Don`t worry Lil, we will keep Harry safe no matter what the cost." Sirius said as he entered the room and sat beside Lily.
James smiled blandly at Sirius as he felt his wife`s threatening glare upon him. Sirius eyed him and his brother quizzically and soon realised that Lily didn't know. Sirius smiled apologetically and mouthed "sorry" at James as Lily`s fury surrounded the room.
"How could you not tell me James that that psychotic woman was loose? You know what she is after don't you? Revenge. You know who she is after don't you? Our son. What exactly are you planning on doing about it? And how exactly Sirius do you intend on keeping him safe?"
Sirius threw his hands in the air in a surrendering fashion.
"Whoa! Lily, sweetheart, don't yell at me. I assumed that James had told you. I am sorry Prongs by the way..."
"Don`t you "sweetheart" me Sirius Black! Harry already has one nut job on the loose and..."
"Now you know she is really mad." Regulus whispered to Sirius who nodded in agreement.
"Lily, you are eight months pregnant so I didn't want to worry you until we had concrete information on Umbridge`s whereabouts. I am sorry for upsetting you but I just did what I thought was right."
"Yes, well be that as it may James, we still have another problem. I don`t care how much you may protest to this but tomorrow morning I am going to Hogwarts to speak to Albus, Severus and Hagrid and don`t you dare stop me James Potter because right now you are skating on very thin ice...ahhhh!" Lily screamed. She placed a hand on her stomach and looked at James who grabbed her hand.
"Lily, what is the matter? Is it the baby?" James asked anxiously looking at her. Sirius jumped off his chair so quickly that it fell to the floor. He came around the table and stood by James who asked him to call Shari from upstairs. Sirius quickly left the kitchen in pursuit of his wife. Lily continued to cry out in pain. Regulus came over to them asking if he could help, seeing water on the floor.
"Lily, just breathe ok babe? Breathe one, two, three...try not to push..."
Shari hurried into the kitchen with Sirius behind her. She bent down in front of Lily, catching her other hand. She looked to the floor and saw that her friend`s waters had broken.
"Ok, Lily I need you to stay calm and try not to push. I don't think we have enough time to get you to a hospital so this baby is going to be born here but only if trust me to deliver it."
"Oh, god Shari just please make it stop! AHHHHHH" Lily cried.
"Ok Lil please don't push until I say ok? I know it is really difficult but I need you to stay calm. Sirius, Regulus, run upstairs and grab me some blankets and towels and hurry because this baby isn't waiting." Sirius and Regulus did as Shari asked and within a minute they were back. Shari grabbed them as she placed them on the floor. Sirius and James helped Lily off the chair and onto the blankets. James sat down beside her and held her hand. Shari knelt in front of her friend.
"Ok, Lil I need to see how fast you are dilating..."Shari explained. Lily nodded in agreement as she breathed under James`s control.
"Damn! This kid is coming fast. Ok, Lily when I say push I need you to push but not until then ok?"
"Ok, I`ll try...AHHHH! In and out, in and out..."Lily muttered to herself as James stroked her head.
"It`s ok Lil I am right here. Squeeze my hand if it will help AHHHHH! That hurt." James cried. Lily glared at him to which James smiled apologetically.
"Don`t talk to me about pain right now James Potter!"
"Ok, Lily on the count of three I need you to push ok? One, two...PUSH!"
Lily pushed as she continued squeezing James`s hand and screaming in agony.
"Ok, one more push hun...I can see the head...ready?" Lily nodded. "PUSH!"
"Sirius, I need you over here." Shari called to Sirius who was pacing at the other end of the room. He rushed over to his wife who asked him for the other towels off the kitchen table. Sirius did as Shari requested as he looked between James and Lily timidly.
"Ok, Lil the head is almost crowned. Just one more push...can you do it?"
Lily nodded as James wiped her forehead with a cloth. He looked at Sirius who wasn't sure where to go or what to do. James smiled lightly as he suggested he sit beside Lily and take her other hand. Sirius gingerly bent down beside her and took her hand gently. Lily squeezed it tight as she pushed making Sirius scream just as loud. After she stopped, James smiled widely over at Sirius who shook his head in disbelief.
"Ok, the head is crowing. Give me another push Lil if you feel ready?" Lily pushed hard as she screamed and squeezed James`s and Sirius`s hands. She inhaled and exhaled deeply at Shari`s command for a moment.
"We are almost there hun so give me another push and I mean PUSH!" Lily pushed hard but the baby wasn't out completely.
"Ok, now I know that I will be saying this for the last time Lil so here we go. Push." Lily pushed for the last time. Finally, the sounds of a new born marauder were heard in the kitchen of Grimauld Place. Lily smiled and breathed in a sigh of relief as she leaned against James. James laughed happily at the sight of their son. He kissed Lily on her head. Sirius had brought over more towels so Shari could lean off the baby and a blanket to wrap him in.
"Ok, you guys, we need to cut the cord. James? Lily?" Shari asked offering them a knife. James turned to Lily who was still exasperated. Lily smiled but suggested that Shari do it as her first duty as godmother. Shari looked at them in amazement before cutting the cord. Once she had, she wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in his mother's arms. Sirius had gone outside to ring for an ambulance from the payphone across the road.
"You did it Lil. I am so proud of you." James cried as he kissed Lily on her lips. She smiled widely at him as she kissed him once again.
"He is beautiful Lily. How does it feel to be a dad again, James?" Shari asked smiling.
"It feels wonderful Shari." James replied softly as he smiled at her while stroking his son`s tiny fingers.
"Ok, guys the ambulance is on its way. I still think we should have gone to St Mungos though."
"How is that Sirius? Lily isn't strong enough to disapparate even with James. Besides, it`s too risky with a new born. It may be too much for him and we have no form of transport to get them there. A muggle hospital is best and closest to us." Shari explained.
"Yes, all right point made, god mother." Sirius nudged her and winked as she smiled at her.
"I still can`t believe...you are serious aren't you?" Shari asked.
"Yes, Shars of course we are. If it wasn't for you, he wouldn't be here. I am so grateful to you beyond words." Lily reached out her hand, Shari clasped it. "Thank you." Lily cried with tears. Shari smiled warmly in response. Just then the back door opened as Regulus walked in.
"Oh, there you are. I was wondering if you were ever going to show your face again."
"I`m sorry Sirius but I just panicked. There was so much going on and I felt in the way or that I couldn't do anything..."
"Regulus, you are never in the way. You are part of this family, isn't that right Sirius?"
"Yeah, of course you are. You may be my brother but then again James and Remus are too. I figure you should consider them the same way by now."
"I`m going to keep a look out for the ambulance." Shari said as she quietly left.
"I appreciate that Sirius. I guess being part of a family, finding my niche is still pretty new to me. Oh, wow Lily. I can`t believe how tiny he is..." Regulus exclaimed as he rushed over to Lily.
"Oh hell, Prongs! In all this commotion we never told Remus or Harry. I`ll get onto it soon."
"The ambulance is outside. Can you walk Lily?" Shari asked
James and Sirius helped her up to her feet. She could walk but James thought it best if he carried her. James asked Sirius to bring the baby which he happily agreed. As he took him from Lily, he held him in his arms securely as he smiled down while he walked outside. Regulus looked on fondly but un-sure of what to do. He decided to go back outside. The paramedics were waiting outside with a stretcher for Lily. As they got there, James placed her on top gently. Sirius handed James his son as the paramedics were asking Lily general questions as they boarded her into the ambulance. James thanked his friends again for their help before joining his wife. Once the ambulance had left, Sirius and Shari headed back inside where they met Tonks coming downstairs.
"I heard a whole load of commotion. What was going on?" Tonks enquired curiously.
"Oh, nothing much except that Lily had her baby which my amazing wife delivered." Sirius replied smiling widely. Tonks`s jaw dropped. She looked from one to the other, smiling.
"No way! That is great news. You go girl. Did Lily have a boy or girl? I`m sure Remus will want to know." Sirius smacked his forehead. "I knew I forgot to do something, again." He whipped out his mirror from his pocket as he contacted his friend.
"It`s a boy, Tonks. He is so beautiful, tiny fingers and toes...he is perfect."Shari replied beaming widely.
"It sounds like you are getting broody, Shari." Tonks replied winking at her.
"Oh, no I am not trust me. I have enough for the moment at least."
"Remus is delighted. He said he would tell Harry himself in the morning. It`s past ten o`clock so even if he isn't in bed, there isn't a whole lot he could do until then."
"Yeah, and after all of tonight`s events, I think I will go to bed. Are you coming Sirius?"
"I`ll be up in a minute Shar. I need to find Regulus and check that he is ok."
Tonks joined Sirius as Shari went to bed. They found him sitting outside on the patio with a few bottles of beer. Sirius and Tonks sat down at the table beside him.
"Wotcher Reg! How are you feeling after tonight`s drama?" Tonks enquired chirpily. Regulus smiled limply at her as she said
"It`s great news for James and Lily. I just choked. I had no idea what to do so I sat out here."
"It`s ok Reg but don't forget that you are family so no way are you useless or un-wanted."
"I know that Sirius, I really do. I guess I have just been away so long from people that when it comes to a crisis I freeze."
"That will come right eventually. Tonight was just exceptional. Not all crises here are as dramatic. You are really good with the kids and deal with whatever they throw at you. According to Shari you were the voice of reason when we had our rough patch."
"Yeah, you should listen to Sirius. You are doing great and if it makes a difference, I wouldn't have a clue what to do tonight either and I have two kids. What you need Reg is a woman." Sirius laughed out loud.
"Yeah, women make it all better." Tonks smiled sardonically at Sirius. "However, she does have a point. Lily`s friend Isabella will be coming here soon. All I am saying is to keep your options open. And on that note, I am going to bed. We need to be at the hospital early."
"Yeah, I think I might head off too. Goodnight, Reg."
"Night Tonks, Sirius." Regulus called out.
"Hey don't stay out here too long. It is freezing." Sirius said. Regulus nodded in agreement.
Back at Hogwarts, Harry was in having a nightmare which would soon wake up his entire dormitory. His pyjama top was saturated from his perspiration. His whole body was shaking from the stress his mind was under. In the dream, he saw a room within the department of ministry which contained what looked like snow globes. Why would there be a room like this there, Harry thought? He then saw the back of Arthur Weasley. On the ground there was a shadow. This shadow was heading straight for him. Harry could hear its voice but Arthur could not. Why was that? Then, it occurred to Harry that the shadow was of a snake and the only snake who could be there was Nagini. Harry shouted at Arthur to move but he couldn't hear him. Arthur slowly turned around as though he had heard Harry and saw Nagini right before she attacked him several times. It was at this point that others in Harry`s dorm started to wake. Arthur fell to the floor, covered in blood but still conscious from what Harry could tell. He snapped his eyes open. His mouth felt dry. His shirt was soaked. He muttered Ron`s name from under his breath.
"Harry, are you ok?" Neville asked.
Harry sat up in his bed and rubbed his eyes. He squinted but could barely make out Neville`s figure from the bed opposite him. He reached for his glasses as Dean and Seamus woke.
"What is going on?" Dean asked.
"Neville, it is 2 am. What is all the commotion about?" Seamus enquired.
"Harry has had a nightmare. How did you not hear him? He was screaming and everything."
Harry jumped out of bed and went straight to Ron; the only person who was still asleep. He began shaking him to wake up. Eventually Ron began to stir and murmured for Harry to go away.
"Ron! Wake up! It`s important. Your dad is in danger." Ron jerked his head to look at Harry with one eye open. He rubbed them roughly as he sat up on the bed and asked what Harry was talking about.
"Your dad is in trouble. I just saw him get attacked by Voldemort`s snake at the department of ministry. We have to go to Dumbledore immediately." Ron stared at him in shock.
"Are you sure?" Ron asked anxiously.
"We need to be sure either way now come on, let's go!" Harry shouted as he ran down to the common room. Ron jumped off his bed as he followed Harry.
In the common room, Rob was sleeping on the couch. Harry shook him fervently until he woke.
"What is it Harry?" Rob asked groggily.
"I don't have time to explain but I need you to get Fred and George up to Dumbledore`s office as soon as you can. Tell them it's an urgent family matter."
"JUST DO IT, ROB!" Harry bellowed.
Rob jumped but agreed nonetheless. As Harry and Ron ran through the portrait hole, Ron thought of something.
"Harry, if dad really is in danger then Ginny should be notified too."
"Ok well I guess we can ask DOBBY to help..."
"You called Harry Potter?" Dobby asked as he appeared before them.
"Dobby, I need you to notify Ginny Weasley to come to Dumbledore`s office. Her father is in danger. If you can`t get in to the girls dorms then please find someone who can."
"I am on it Harry Potter." Dobby disappeared and Harry and Ron ran to Dumbledore`s office.
As they arrived at the stone gargoyle, Harry uttered the password and they both ascended the stairs. Once they reached the top, they jumped off. Ron was in a daze as though it had finally hit him.
"We will get your dad some help Ron, should he need it." Ron nodded as Harry knocked loudly three times on Dumbledore`s door. He was commanded to enter. Dumbledore eyed him curiously as he and Ron entered.
"Harry, whatever would bring you here at this time of night?" Dumbledore asked as he looked at Ron who seemed exceptionally despondent.
"Sir, I saw Ron`s dad being attacked by Nagini at the department. I`m sorry to bother you so late but we had to know if what I saw were true. Have you heard anything?"
"No, Harry I haven't but I will certainly check." Dumbledore turned around to face the portraits hanging on his wall. He asked a couple to check at the department if what Harry saw were true. In a few moments they confirmed the worst. As Dumbledore was requesting portraits to convey word at Grimauld Place, Remus entered with Mc Gonagall, Snape and the other Weasley`s. Fred, George and Ginny looked at Harry to confirm either way. He nodded as Ginny began sobbing. George embraced her as Fred checked on Ron who was still unresponsive.
"Did Rob come to find you Remus?" Harry asked.
"No. Fred and George were down in the kitchen and they bumped into Rob outside my door conveniently enough which I heard because I couldn't sleep. I told Minerva who told Severus. Are you ok though Harry?"
"I will be once I know Arthur is."
"Albus, what are we to do? We must send these children home. They will want to see their father." Minerva cried as she stepped closer to Dumbledore.
"Yes, Minerva I know. I have informed those at Grimauld Place of the accident. Sirius and Tonks are on their way to help Kingsley transport Arthur to St. Mungos. I am sure Molly will be expecting you all so please follow me." Dumbledore walked up to the fireplace where he would transfer the Weasley clan by floo powder.
George, who was still supporting his sister, offered his hand to Harry in gratitude for saving their father. Fred patted him on the shoulder and smiled. He also promised to take care of Ron who still had not said much. As they reached the fire place, they left one by one. Dumbledore would soon follow to explain what had happened. First, he asked Remus to help Harry with occlumency immediately. He also asked Mc Gonagall to check on the other Gryffindors and to explain what had happened if any were distressed. Finally, he requested to see Snape first thing in the morning and Harry in the evening. Both of them agreed. At that, Dumbledore left for Grimauld Place.
Mc Gonagall walked towards Harry and smiled warmly.
"Don`t worry Potter, Arthur Weasley will be fine thanks to you. I will see you both in the morning." She then left. Snape eyed Harry curiously.
"What is on your mind, Severus?" Remus asked calmly as he placed both hands on Harry`s shoulders from behind.
"I know that it is a good thing you saw what you did tonight, but you really must try to seal off whatever connection you have with him Harry."
"Yes, thank you Severus, we are going to work on that right now. Goodnight." Remus quickly left with Harry leaving Snape alone in Dumbledore's office.
"Remus, why didn't my dad go with Sirius? Is he ok?" Harry asked anxiously on the way to Remus`s office.
"Yes, Harry he is absolutely fine. The only reason he didn't go is because he went to the hospital with your mother. You have a brother, Harry." Remus explained smiling. Harry stopped walking as he stared at Remus in shock.
"Are you for real? That is incredible news! When can I see him?"
"Oh, I don't think it will be possible Harry. Lily went to a muggle hospital near Grimauld Place. It was Shari who delivered him. I expect your mom will be home in a few days. You will be back home in two weeks..."
"Yeah, but Remus, aren't you going to see him?"
"I don't think so..."
"Ok, well how about we make a deal? The first time we both see him will be when we go home for the holidays?"
"That is a deal Harry. Now come on, let`s practice occlumency."
At the hospital, Molly waited with her four children, Tonks Sirius and Kingsley. The doctors were working on Arthur who upon arrival was un-conscious.
"Oh, what is taking them so long?" Molly uttered as she began pacing up and down the waiting room.
"Molly, please try to stay calm. I am sure the doctors will inform us just as soon as they can."
"Oh, Tonks how did this even happen? What was that thing doing there? It just goes to show how right Dumbledore is: he warned us that this time Voldemort will try to bombard the ministry. He is already starting."
"Molly, you need to calm down. I appreciate your anxieties and we will uncover what actually happened tonight..."
"You shouldn't have left him Kingsley! You should have been there to help in case..."
"Molly, this is not Kingsley`s fault. If he had known what was going to happen, we all know he would have stuck to Arthur like glue to paper."
"Sirius, it is fine. I accept that I am partially responsible. All I can say is that I am sorry. I never wanted this to happen and I swear it won`t again."
"Oh, I know that Kingsley. Don`t mind me. I am just worried about Arthur..."
"Mrs. Weasley?" Molly stood up as Dr. Fletcher approached her.
"Oh, yes doctor, how is Arthur? Will he be all right?" Molly asked anxiously.
"Yes, mam, he will be just fine. He does have a broken arm and a few cuts and bruises so he will be sore for a while. Luckily, the snake did not penetrate his skin so there were no traces of venom but he does have a slight concussion which is why we will be keeping him here for a few days."
"Thank you doctor. May we go and see him now?"
"Yes, of course. We have him sedated so don't expect too much and please don't stay too long. He does need his rest."
The next morning, James and Sirius arrive at Hogwarts. Harry and Arielle arrive down for breakfast with a few others including Rob and Ryan. They rush over to the marauders excitedly asking questions of last night`s events.
"Whoa! How did you know? I thought Remus was going to wait until morning."
"Oh, yeah, dad I asked him when I heard that Sirius and Tonks were going to the ministry and not you and Sirius."
"Ah, I see. Well I am happy to report that you have a baby brother, Harry, Arielle."
"Can we see him? Oh, please dad, pretty please." Arielle pleaded fervently.
"I`m sorry sweetheart but you are going to have to wait until next week. Your mom needs her rest."
"Has he got a name?" Arielle asked.
"Why next week dad? The school term isn't over until the following week.
"I am going to arrange with Dumbledore to have ye home once both of you have finished your end of term exams. As for the name...we are still un-decided. Lily is insisting on James but I`d rather not. I never wanted to name my kids after me. I felt that they are their own person and so should have a name of their own. My compromise is a name beginning with "J" if she wants."
"How about Jamie?" Arielle enquired. James continued to converse with his daughter on the topic as Harry approached Sirius who seemed solemn.
"Sirius how is Arthur?"
"He is doing ok. According to the doctor in St. Mungos no skin was broken during the attack. He does have a broken arm and ribs but they will heal."
"Well that is good news but why are you so glum?"
"I just can`t shake the thought that while we were bringing a new life into the world last night, Arthur was fighting for his. That sick bastard has got to be stopped and I am just concerned at the cost."
"We will get him Sirius, you know we will." Harry assured him.
"Yeah, I know kid. Anyway, how do you feel about having a new brother?" Sirius asked with a smile. Harry nodded as she smiled lightly.
"Yeah, it`s great news. I can`t wait to meet him." Sirius smiled as clapped his hands together once and said:
"Oh, I totally forgot! We are having a Christmas party at Grimauld Place and we are thinking of moving back home because of the house is getting too crowded."
"Are we really going home? I miss that place." Rob interjected.
"Yeah, me too and oh Rob your uncle and his family are coming over for the holidays also."
"Do you mean Dylan is really coming?"
"Yes, he is. We are recruiting him for the order so hopefully he and his family will be based here really soon."
"That sounds cool."
"Yeah, anyway James we need to talk to Remus..."
"Yes, ok Harry, Arielle, I`ll sort that out. In the mean time, look after each other." They smiled at their father as he left with Sirius.
As they reached Remus`s room, they found him sitting at the top of the classroom. They walked up and sat at the table in front of him.
"So, Harry knew before I had the chance to tell him, Moony." James said smiling playfully. Remus laughed lightly as he apologised.
"No, I don't mind but we need to talk about something."
"Ok, are Lily and the baby ok?" Remus asked gravely.
"Yes, both are fine thanks but what I wanted to talk to you about comes from Lily. You know that you and Sirius are my brothers; always have been and always will be."
"Yes, James of course, the same goes for you and Sirius." Sirius and Remus smiled at one another respectfully.
"That is great to hear because once again the love of my life has put me in an awkward position. I hate choosing between you guys and believe me this isn't even a choice on my part but Lily insists that the baby should have a godfather and she is allowing me to decide between you both. I don't know what I am to do fellas." James inhaled deeply as he stood up from the desk and began walking around the room. Sirius and Remus watched him for a moment.
"Well who is the godmother?" Remus asked.
"Shari." James answered. Remus looked at Sirius who was watching James.
"So, shouldn't it be Sirius then?"
"I guess but I don't know. Sirius I love you and you know that..."
"Prongs, if you want Remus to be godfather, then just say. I am not going to be put out."
"Well, there might be an easier way James. I am godfather to Arielle and to Samia which makes me one over on Sirius. Harry has always worshipped Sirius and he has always been there for him. However, Harry is growing up. He is reaching the stage where he doesn't really need Sirius as much, no offence Padfoot." Sirius laughed.
"None taken Moony."
"So I vote for Sirius." James sighed. He folded his arms as he looked at Sirius.
"I couldn't think of anyone better for my son. Are you sure you are ok with it Remus?"
"Yes, of course. I can't believe you thought you had to ask." James nodded and smiled his appreciation.
"Sirius, are you ready to be godfather once again to another one of my sons?"
"You bet I am. And for the record, I like the name Jake."
"Jacob Potter does have a nice ring to it." Remus admitted.
"That is true. Let`s hope his mother agrees."
Back at the hospital, Lily was waiting on news from James. What had he decided to do regarding names and godfathers? James walked in with a large bunch of flowers and a teddy bear for his son. He approached his wife, kissed her and did the same to his son who lay sleeping in a cot beside his mother`s bed. James took a seat beside them as he smiled.
"It`s Sirius isn't it?" Lily asked smiling at her husband.
"How did you know?" James asked curiously.
"Oh, I had a hunch that it would be. If I know Remus, he would have helped you to decide on Sirius and if I know you and I do, deep down you wanted to ask him too but didn't want to leave Remus out."
"Ok, yes you are right. Sirius also said that he likes the name Jake and I can`t disagree."
"No, I can`t either but I was thinking also about the name Christopher. Christopher was the name of my father and coincidently, Michael was your father`s name. So, how about Christopher Michael Potter?"
"Christopher Michael Potter has a nice sound to it. I think we should go with it."
"Brilliant! And even better news is that we can come home tomorrow."
"I can`t think of anything I would like better." James admitted as he kissed his wife.
A few days before Christmas Shari`s brother and his family arrived at Grimauld Place as expected. Due to the increasing protection, they were escorted by the marauders. Dylan and his wife had four children. Josh was fifteen, Simon was fourteen and the twins April and Noah were ten. Shari and Lily were waiting anxiously in the kitchen for their new arrivals. They heard voices coming towards the kitchen. Shari smiled excitedly at Lily who reciprocated her friend`s anxiety. Finally, the door swung open and in came the marauders with Shari`s brother and family. Shari stood up upon seeing her brother who smiled fondly at her. Dylan stood at six foot two inches tall, dark brown hair tightly cut and glasses. His wife Angela stood beside him at five foot seven, long blonde hair that ran below her shoulders. Shari ran over and hugged her brother tightly. After they relinquished, she hugged Angela in turn.
"It is so good to see you both here. Do you remember Lily?"
"Yeah, but it has been years. How are you Lily?" Dylan asked approaching Lily and kissing her on the cheek.
"I`m well Dylan thank you. Angela it is wonderful to have you here too." She and Angela hugged lightly.
"Thanks Lily but we didn't come alone you know. We have four monsters with us." Angela replied as Lily and Shari laughed lightly. Their four children were behind them so they entered one by one. Josh was solemn and clearly un-happy to be there. Noah and April were intrigued by the size of the house and Simon appeared to be the happiest of all. Upon being introduced to everyone Simon was the only one who hugged Lily and Shari in turn.
"Simon it is so good to see you." Shari cried as Simon hugged her tightly. After he released her, he stood before her smiling broadly. He stood at five foot eight inches, golden blonde curly hair that was tightly cut,light blue eyes and very slim. Josh was six foot, muscular in build; his head was tightly shaved but was of a dark brown colour which matched his eyes. Noah and April were both five foot even. Noah had wavy fair coloured hair which resembled Harry`s messy fashion. His eyes were deep green in colour. April had blonde hair, which hung loose at her shoulders; a lighter shade than Simon`s. Her eyes were hazel in colour. Both she and Noah stood shyly by as Simon hugged Lily and shook Sirius and James`s hands while smiling. Josh stood by brooding over his younger brother`s behaviour.
"Well at least we have one kid who is happy to be here." Sirius exclaimed as Simon smiled brightly.
"I know I may come off a little strong for some people but I do try my best to have a positive attitude Sirius. What is the point in being miserable? I believe that it wastes a lot more energy. Josh I know doesn't agree." Simon replied turning to face his older brother. Josh merely rolled his eyes.
"I`m just tired. I`m sorry if I seem...off."
"Don`t worry about it Josh. I understand." Sirius replied as Josh smiled lightly at him.
Harry, Arielle, Samia and Kyrah entered the kitchen to greet their new arrivals as Shari and Lily were sitting down at the table with Dylan and Angela.
"Hey Harry, Arielle I would like you to meet Shari`s nephews Josh and Simon."
Josh waved and smiled lightly at Arielle as he took Harry`s offering hand. Arielle smiled brightly at both. Simon hugged her lightly in greeting which caught Arielle off guard. She now stood at five foot 3 inches while Harry and Simon were equal in height.
"My brother, the hugger." Josh uttered grumpily.
"I`m sorry Arielle I didn't mean to freak you out." Simon said lightly.
"Oh, no Simon it was nice. You are a great hugger." Light laughter was heard around the kitchen.
"Josh do you play quiddtich?" Harry asked.
"Yeah, I play keeper at my school. Do you?"
"I`m the seeker on my team. There are some friends outside playing now if you want to join us?"
"Yeah, sure that sounds like fun." Harry and Josh smiled as they headed outside to the garden.
"How about you Simon? Do you play?"
"Simon isn't the sporty type are you son?" Dylan shouted from across the kitchen.
"No, dad I am not but I do have other interests."
"Yeah, my wonder boy the magician." Simon smiled lightly but there evident sadness on his face.
"Why don't we go outside and watch?"
"I`d like that Arielle." Simon answered politely
"Why was your dad so mean to you just now Simon?" Arielle asked curiously.
Simon who was sitting beside her at the table on the patio looked at Arielle quickly and then looked away. He smiled brightly as he looked at the ground saying
"My dad doesn't approve of everything that I do. He tries to mould me into being what he believes is right." He looked at Arielle who eyed him sadly.
"I`m sorry Simon. That must be so hard on you. Would you like to talk about it?"
Simon sniggered and said
"Do you know you are the first person to ask me that in the longest time? Most people just tell me to suck it up, even my own brother but I gotta tell ya it is difficult living a double life. I do believe though that I have mastered it."
"What are you talking about?" Arielle asked anxiously.
Simon shook his head saying
"It doesn't matter."
"It does to me."
"Why? We just met. Why do you care?" Simon asked curiously.
"I just do. You seem like someone who needs a friend; I know I do."
Simon looked at her curiously. He could see sadness etched across her face. He felt that she didn't want to be probed so he didn't.
"Hey Simon, I`d like you to meet the others in our group. This is Ron, his twin brothers Fred and George and their sister Ginny." Simon smiled warmly as he stood up and shook Ron and his brothers hands. He hugged Ginny lightly. She smiled as she blushed a little. Arielle looked on curiously. She had never met someone who was as cheerful as Simon appeared to be. Could he be hiding a dark secret she thought? If he was, did she really want to know what it was? Incidentally, upon meeting Ryan he slapped his palm and embraced him a light hug. He knew Rob from his time in America and they got on famously. Rob, who stood at five foot ten, raced up the garden to welcome Simon. Simon smiled widely on seeing his cousin and leapt into his arms excitedly, throwing his arms around his neck. Both he and Simon laughed jovially with the others on the patio. Arielle continued to look on intrigued. There was something about this guy that caught her attention but she could not explain it. After talking for a few minutes, Ron and his siblings departed to help Arthur moving back to the burrow. The marauders would be returning to their homes in the next few days. Harry and Rob went with the Weasley's as Ryan went in doors. Arielle and Simon were left alone on the patio. Arielle turned to Simon and asked him the same question as earlier.
"Are you going to tell me what is up with your dad?"
"Are you always this nosy?" Simon asked playfully with a smile.
"You are avoiding the question Simon Stilton." Arielle replied with a soft smile.
Simon nodded his head and sighed. He sat back in the chair as he looked at her. It wasn't clear to him why he believed he could trust her. He had learned to not trust many people after being let down so many times. Arielle did seem different. There was honesty and kindness reflected in her eyes that he had not seen in anyone in a very long time. Therefore, he decided to take a chance.
"My dad and I have had problems for many years now Arielle. Over time I have learned to accept it as it is. I am different to my siblings as I am sure you have probably seen."
"Yeah, I have but different is good." Arielle offered sincerely. Simon smiled widely and replied:
"Try telling my dad that. We moved around a lot when I was growing up. I can`t even count how many American cities I have lived in to be honest."
"Why did ye move so much?" Arielle asked delicately.
"My dad got into some problems. He is a trained auror and a pretty good one at that but he couldn't settle in his job. My dad worked in security but he never really enjoyed it. He got bored easily so he started drinking a lot. One night he was on duty and another auror who was working with him suggested they play a game of cards for money. That was the beginning of the end. After that he got into gambling and he was really good at it but a lot of the time he cheated. My mom didn't know about this for a while but when he finally did tell her she was furious. The reason we kept on moving from city to city was to help my dad beat his addictions. He would settle into a new job but there were always temptations around. Finally, he kicked his habit when my mom threatened to leave him and take us with her."
"Oh, Simon I am so sorry. It must have been very hard on you being around that growing up."
"Yeah, it wasn't always fun so that`s why I made my own fun."
"How do you mean?"
"My mom was the first in her family to go to Hogwarts so naturally she is from a muggle background. When we moved, we always ended up living in a muggle suburb because that was where the best facilities were for my dad to kick his habits. He was checked into these rehab clinics which my grandmother told my mom about. We stayed in Dallas, Texas the longest because we all loved it there and it was the best place for my dad apparently. Anyway I made friends with some of the neighbourhood kids who were muggles and we went to a lot of carnivals together. You know what carnivals are right? They are like these fun fairs with amusement rides and stands where people perform and stuff. Anyway, I really enjoyed going to them. For starters they offered a reprieve for life at home but also made me see a world outside the magic I was raised around. It turned out that muggles have their own magic which doesn't involve wands or spell books. It`s more about using your mind to see things differently. For instance they do these really cool card tricks that I can show you later or they can make visible objects disappear but it's all about illusion. I was fascinated by it so after a while I started befriending the people running the shows and after much practice I was able to partake a little bit too. One night my dad shows up with the rest of my family. They didn't know I was there so as soon as my dad saw me performing muggle magic, he dragged me home and slapped me a few times. I guess he thought that would discourage me from doing that stuff again but it didn't. He made living at home miserable and this was my way out of the misery. We moved soon after that but I went to other carnivals which my dad found out about. He was going to beat me but my mom stepped in so our final move was to Los Angeles. I wasn't left go anywhere on my own after that because my dad would freak. Instead I stayed in my room a lot of the time and kept practicing my carnival tricks. It helped keep me sane because that was when I was happiest. My dad knows I still do it but I think he figures if he ignores it long enough I will start acting like a "normal wizard" but it`s not going to happen Arielle. I love to entertain people. I live to see people smiling because of something I have done you know? I know that people at my school look at me as a freak but I don't care. There aren't many I can say I trust and there is nobody I can say I trust 100%. You are very lucky to be in a family where there are people who care about you."
"Simon, your family cares about you."
"Yeah, in their own way but I feel like I can't be myself completely around them. My mom is concerned my dad will kill me so she tries to control my fascination as she calls it, Josh just thinks I`m weird, Noah is passive about the whole thing but April thinks my tricks are funny. I feel isolated all the time so I block out the pain by being cheerful. I have always been cheerful and full on with hugs but I guess in recent years I became more so. I figure if I act happy, eventually I will feel happy so I won't have to pretend anymore."
"Oh, Simon that is so sad. Nobody should feel like that especially around your own family. I am so sorry for everything that you went through. You know I sometimes feel isolated too. My parents and practically everyone in the house is so consumed by protecting Harry and defeating Voldemort that I scarcely get noticed. I don't get half the attention Harry does but I do understand why. It is hard but I guess I know if I need anything, I can go to them. I realise my situation is a lot different to yours but why don't we make a pact to be the friend that we both need? I need someone who understands my situation without me seeming selfish and you need someone to understand you."
"I have never had a best friend before Arielle. I rarely let someone get that close but I guess if anybody was going to, I would like it to be you." Simon and Arielle smile softly at one another as they embrace fondly.
A/N Ok, I know it was a seriously long time since I updated but I hope it was worth the wait. I`ve never gone through labour so I hope my depiction here was plausible, if not, feel free to say. If James or Lily`s father`s names were mentioned in the books, again you can tell me. Finally, I hope you like the new family of Stilton's. I`m not sure how many of you are fans of the T.V. show The Mentalist, but I am basing Simon`s character on Patrick Jane – the lead protagonist of that show. I hope you like.