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A Story of Battles and True Love by BeeBlack

Format: Novella
Chapters: 17
Word Count: 57,077
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Romance, Angst, AU
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, Sirius, Lily, James, Neville, Luna, OC
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, James/Lily, Remus/Tonks, Ron/Hermione, Sirius/OC

First Published: 07/28/2006
Last Chapter: 10/26/2013
Last Updated: 10/26/2013

Summary:






A mysterious woman appears in the Hogwarts grounds. Who is she? After the Final Battle, Harry Potter will not only find out who this woman is, but also much more about his family as the Marauders as well. Angst, fluffy, romance and a wedding in the end.


Chapter 1: Chapter 1. The Boy Who Lived
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Author's Notes:
I do not own any of these characters, except for Ariel Loiseau and any other character previously unmentioned by JK Rowling in her Harry Potter books!


‘Harry!’ Hermione ran to him, followed by Ron and Ginny. Harry looked at his three friends, hugging them at the same time. He was very grateful that, in spite of some scratches and dirt, his friends had bravely survived this battle. They smiled to one another and Ron, Hermione and Ginny looked at the floor, where a dark, smoky mark remained, a wand lying by its side. Harry looked at it for a moment and recollected the difficult battle. His arm still hurt, because of the tremendous strength coming from Voldemort’s wand and his own, but his scar was not aching anymore. Harry touched his forehead. The scar was still there and it would be for the rest of his life. He was the Boy Who Lived and the prophecy was right... ‘Neither can live while the other survives...’

The battle had taken place at Godric’s Hollow, the same place everything started, seventeen years ago. Of course Voldemort would not come by himself, so his Death Eaters had come along, but the Order of the Phoenix had been there to help, as well as the loyal members of the DA: Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Ginny and Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and of course, Harry Potter. When wizards and witches from all over the world had started Apparating, coming in their aid against the Death Eaters, Harry did not even have time to see who was helping them, and before he knew it he was facing Voldemort alone. But he did what he was supposed to do. Naturally, they had come out of the battle with many losses, but with the biggest of victories for the whole Magical World.

Harry felt a hand touching his shoulder and looked at his three friends. There surely had been many losses, but they had one another. By now, that was what mattered. They smiled one more time, the four of them relieved for being there.

‘I knew I could trust you, Harry,’ said an old and strong voice behind them. The four of them turned around, facing it. Ginny and Hermione gasped in awe, Ron stared with his mouth wide open and Harry looked as if he had just heard a ghost. Yes, he could only be seeing a ghost, that was the only possible explanation, but he seemed so... Material and touchable! Harry blinked, as if to clear his sight. ‘Yes, Harry... I know there is much to explain, but the important thing is that you did what had to be done and nothing would make me feel prouder of you than this.’

‘Prof-professor Dumbledore!’ said Ron.

'Hello, Mr. Weasley,’ said Professor Dumbledore, smiling. ‘I must say that I am very proud of all of you as well. You were very brave.’

'But... How?’ Harry asked, his hands trembling.

‘I will tell you everything, Harry. I assume you all know what happened that night at Hogwarts by now,’ said Dumbledore, looking around to see the damage and the Ministry’s Aurors arriving to arrest the few Death Eaters who survived; also, the many witches and wizards who came from everywhere to fight this battle along with Harry, his friends and the Order of the Phoenix. ‘Now, if you hold my hand we can all go back to Hogwarts,’ he said, grabbing a little rock from the ground. ‘It will take us back to school, where the Order will be waiting for us with Mr. Longbottom and Miss Lovegood.’

‘Oh Merlin... Are they OK?’ Ginny asked, her eyes open wide. ‘They were by my side, but that huge Death Eater attacked them and...’

‘They are fine, Miss Weasley. Fawkes took care of them after they both stunned their attacker at the same time, but Madam Pompfrey will take very good care of them,’ Dumbledore said and stretched his right hand. Harry looked at it and noticed it wasn't injured anymore. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny looked at one another and took hold of the professor’s hand, immediately feeling the tug on their navels. They whirled for a few moments until their feet touched the very well-known grounds of Hogwarts, by the Forbidden Forest, where some members of the Order of the Phoenix were already waiting for them.

‘Professor Dumbledore!’ a well-known male voice called, approaching them. Lupin.

‘My dear Remus,’ said Dumbledore, smiling.

‘Welcome back,’ said Lupin. ‘Hogwarts is eager to see you again!’

‘I believe so, Remus, but I also believe Minerva did a very good job this year,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. Lupin smiled. ‘Tonks... Bill... Arthur... Where is Molly?’

‘She will be here anytime, Professor,’ said Mr. Weasley with a smile.

Harry glanced at his three friends and looked at Dumbledore intently. ‘They all knew!’ he said, in search for words.

‘No, Harry, the only person who knew was Professor Snape, who helped me with the plan,’ said Dumbledore, smiling soothingly. ‘Then, I had to come to Professor Lupin, since Professor McGonagall asked him to help along this year. You see, Harry... I gave you all the help you needed, but you also needed to fulfill the prophecy alone. You needed to face Voldemort and put an end to his existence, and you needed to feel strong to do so. You needed to do it by yourself, and so you did. You proved, deep in your heart, that all the effort was worthwhile.’

All Harry could do was nod. Ginny approached him, holding his hand. Harry glanced at their intertwined hands and squeezed her hand tighter. Professor Dumbledore smiled and Harry looked back at him.

‘But still... I saw Snape kill you, Professor! I saw him cursing at you,’ said Harry confusedly.

‘What you saw, Harry,’ explained Dumbledore, ‘was Professor Snape doing something I asked him to do. I needed you there to tell the others what you saw, as well as I needed Mr. Malfoy and the others to testify what Severus did. He did not kill me, Harry. He cursed me so to look as though I was dead, especially in the eyes of Voldemort.’

‘But nobody here seemed to be surprised to see you when we arrived just now!’ said Harry, a little exasperated.

‘I asked Professor Lupin to tell them the truth a few days ago,’ Dumbledore explained further. ‘I knew the battle was coming and I knew you were going to Godric’s Hollow to find a letter your father had supposedly hidden for you in a tree. Something you learnt about from Kreacher, am I correct?’

Harry stared at him in surprise. ‘How did you know that?’ he asked. ‘There was nobody but Hermione, Ron, Ginny and I in the owlery when he came to tell me that!’ he added, looking at Hermione, who shook her head.

‘How was I supposed to tell Professor Dumbledore? I was at his funeral, remember?’ Hermione asked, indignant.

‘I’m sorry,’ Harry apologized.

‘It was not Miss Granger, of course not. It was someone else, and you will meet this person very soon. But now, there is something else you need to know,’ continued Professor Dumbledore. ‘Remember two years ago, at the Ministry of Magic, when Sirius died?’

Harry swallows hard. ‘How could I ever forget that?’ he asked.

‘I know you never will,’ said Professor Dumbledore with a smile, ‘and I would never expect you to do otherwise. But the outcome of that night was not exactly what you believe happened.’

Harry looked at him, once again, with confusion in his eyes. ‘What do you mean, Professor?’ he asked. ‘I was there and I saw everything that happened... I even saw Sirius being hit by...’ he hesitated, ‘Bellatrix’s curse.’

‘That’s what I saw too, Harry,’ said Tonks, speaking for the first time that night. ‘I even blamed myself for what happened.’

‘And you saw it right,’ continued Dumbledore. ‘Bellatrix cursed him indeed and he would have died if it were not for the place he fell into, Harry. I believe Miss Lovegood told you what that veil means, and she is right, but there is more, for that place is some kind of limbo, where those souls prepared to die stay for a while until they go to another level. However, those souls that are not prepared to die, that is to say, souls that die by accident or that are murdered can stay there forever, unless very powerful magic can join them again with their bodies.’

‘You mean love, Professor?’ asked Hermione, as if to break the spell Dumbledore’s words created.

‘Yes,’ said Dumbledore, smiling, ‘love is a powerful feeling. Many people loving one single soul can bring it back.’

A gleam arose in Harry’s eyes.

‘You mean that Sirius is not dead?’ Ron asked, astonished.

‘Yes, Mr. Weasley, that is what I mean. He even fought tonight’, Dumbledore said, looking at Harry. ‘But Harry, you must bear in mind that I also believed he was gone... At least until I received a call from the Ministry. It took months until we could wake Sirius up and help him remember about his life. He spent months in the hands of good healers, who helped him come back. I did not have time to tell you or explain it to you last year, and ultimately Sirius asked me not to, because you needed to fight this battle without worrying whom you should protect.’

The only sound Harry could seem to hear was the fast beating of his heart. Nothing else mattered now, he needed to know more about his godfather.

‘Where’s he? Is he here?’ Harry asked, his green eyes open wide. Dumbledore smiled and looked towards Lupin and Tonks. Next to them, a tall, beautiful, long and dark-haired man, wearing black pants and a black shirt appeared from the shadows. Harry felt as if he were staring in the Pensieve again and young Sirius had appeared, except that he was not that young anymore. He did not look like the Sirius who had escaped from Azkaban, for now his dark eyes were gleaming. Ron, Hermione and Ginny looked at one another. Harry’s eyes filled with tears and he smiled, receiving Sirius’ smile in return.

‘Hello, Harry,’ said the hoarsy voice. Without hesitation, Harry flung into Sirius’ arms and hugged his godfather. Sirius hugged him back for a few seconds, then they looked at each other and Sirius patted Harry’s head. ‘I’m sorry if I didn’t let Professor Dumbledore tell you, but it was for the best. Your best! I’m very proud of you.’

Harry looked at him and smiled. ‘Thank you,’ he said, ‘I did what I had to do. For my father, my mother, you, Cedric, Professor Dumbledore... And I thought of everything you all taught me, especially Professor Lupin. I had weapons and I wasn’t going to fail! And besides, I had the most faithful friends with me. And while I kept fighting, they stood there fighting, too.’

‘Yes, Harry, you are very lucky, because you have friends like no others,’ said Dumbledore, causing them to smile. ‘Well, you will have much time to talk to Sirius. I invited him to stay in the castle until your forthcoming vacations,’ he added. They smiled as Hedwig flew over them. Dumbledore glanced at the beautiful owl and stretched his arm, where she landed, as on a perch. ‘Oh, here she is! Hello, my dear.’

Harry, Hermione, Ron and Ginny stared at one another with a weird face. Dumbledore smiled and looked at Harry.

‘Harry, I want to introduce you to someone,’ he said. Harry looked at him with a confused face.

‘Uh, Professor, this is my owl Hedwig, I believe I know her already,’ said Harry, matter-of-factly.

‘Naturally, Harry,’ the Headmaster said, smiling, ‘but Hedwig is not an ordinary owl, are you, Hedwig?’ he said as he boosted the owl up, propelling her to fly.

As Hedwig fell to the ground, she transfigured into a woman: her long wings shortened into arms as her short legs stretched into long human legs. Her face extended, with her eyes taking an almond shape, still very blue; her nose sprang out small and nice and her beak shrank into gracious, fleshy lips. The owl’s white fur turned into beautiful white robes and her hair fell down her shoulders, long and black. Ron, Harry, Hermione and Ginny gasped. That was the woman with Lupin in the Forest!

‘But you are...’ Hermione started, just to be interrupted by Harry.

‘Ariel Loiseau!’ he finished the sentence.

Chapter 2: Chapter 2 - The Mysterious Lady
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A few months earlier...

The Gryffindor Common Room was almost empty, except for the presence of Harry, Hermione and Ron, who were sitting in front of the fire checking the Map for the 5th time that night.

‘Harry, I really think we should go to bed. It’s obvious that Professor Lupin is in his room right now and probably in his bed already and not going anywhere,’ said Hermione, tired.

At that very moment, an ink spot on the map, with the name Remus Lupin, started moving towards the door. Ron and Harry looked at Hermione.

‘You were saying...’ Ron said. Hermione sighed and got up, taking the map and the Invisibility Cloak from Harry’s lap.

‘Alright, alright, I never said I was always right! Let’s go, he’s going to the Entrance Hall,’ Hermione admitted.

Ron and Harry stood up and followed Hermione, walking through the Fat Lady portrait. They wore the Invisibility Cloak, trying their most to cover every single part of their bodies, and went to the Entrance Hall, following Lupin’s steps. They stopped by the stairs and Harry checked the Map again.

‘He’s going to the Forbidden Forest!’ he exclaimed.

‘Come on,’ urged Hermione. They left the Castle, still looking at the Map, when a black spot with the name Ariel Loiseau appeared by Lupin’s side. Harry, Ron and Hermione hid behind a tree, not very close to where Lupin and the woman named Ariel stood talking.

‘Here... This is what I’m talking about,’ said Harry, looking at his friends.

‘Who’s she, mate?’ asked Ron, curiously.

‘I told you, I don’t know,’ said Harry, a little frustrated. ‘But this is the third time I see her with Lupin.’

‘Maybe she’s from the Order,’ said Hermione. ‘I reckon we don’t know everybody from the Order.’

'I know,’ said Harry, ‘but they never mentioned her before and...’

‘I don’t know, mate,’ said Ron, ‘maybe she’s not from the Order. Maybe...’ Ron looked at Lupin and the woman talking. ‘What about Tonks?’

Harry and Hermione looked at him under the cloak.

‘What about her? Do you reckon they might...’ said Hermione with a suggestive look. Harry and Ron looked at each other and shrugged. ‘Come on, let’s come closer, I want to see her face,’ she urged.

They moved behind a tree closer to where Lupin and the woman were talking. They could now hear her voice, but could not figure exactly what they were saying. Her voice was deep and strong; a beautiful woman’s voice, but with a sad tone in it. She was beautiful, definitely beautiful. Ron and Harry looked at the woman mesmerized, while Hermione could not stop staring at her. The woman named Ariel looked like an angel in her white robes, long and dark hair and the most beautiful blue eyes she had ever seen.

‘Blimey, she’s... astonishing!’ muttered Ron, his mouth wide open. ‘Do you reckon she’s a Veela? She might have charmed Lupin and...’

Harry and Hermione glanced at him.

‘She’s not a Veela,’ Hermione stated firmly.

‘Who told you so?’ Ron asked.

‘Believe me,’ Hermione continued. ‘Lupin doesn’t seem to be charmed by her.’

‘Shush the two of you’, said Harry, ‘they will hear us!’

They turned their attention to the woman and Lupin. A few minutes later, they saw her pulling her long black hair back with trembling hands and start crying. Her voice rose a little among her tears.

‘If I were there, Remus,’ she said, ‘I would kill her with my own hands, but grandfather thought I shouldn’t show myself! Why?’ she added, sobbing. Lupin held her hands for a while, but she shook her head and continued, ‘now they are all dead and I have nobody else anymore, not even Har...’ she stopped mid-sentence and fixed her gaze on the tree where Harry, Ron and Hermione were hiding. Lupin looked at her.

‘Is there anything wrong?’ he asked, concerned.

‘We have company,’ she said. Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at her, confusedly.

‘Can she see us?’ Hermione whispered.

‘Oh, no,’ said Ron, fearfully, ‘let’s hope not!’

‘I reckon she does’, said Harry, just as Lupin turned around and glanced towards the tree, seeing nothing. Ariel wiped her tears.

‘I have to go, it’s Harry,’ she whispered. ‘He’s wearing James’ old Invisibility Cloak. Don’t be hard on them, better yet, don’t say anything,’ she said, smiling, ‘they are really the second generation of the Marauders.’

Lupin smiled. Ariel smiled back and disappeared into the woods. Lupin started his walk back to the castle with a grin on his lips, ‘Oh, Professor McGonagall is not going to like to know that some Gryffindors were wandering around in the night,’ he said out loud, in a playful tone, and began whistling.

Hermione, Ron and Harry looked at one another and as soon as Lupin disappeared in the yard, they ran back to the castle.

‘Licorice wands!’ said Hermione to the Fat Lady. They climbed the Gryffindor portrait hole and entered the Common Roon. Ron sat on the armchair and Hermione let out a sigh. ‘She saw us,’ she said, resigned.

‘Do you reckon we are in trouble?’ Ron asked.

‘I don’t think Lupin is going to tell Professor McGonagall,’ Harry said as he sat on the couch, ‘he was teasing us. But the thing is... How was she able to see us? We were under the Cloak!’

‘Maybe she heard us,’ said Ron.

‘It’s possible,’ concluded Hermione. ‘Some witches and wizards can see through Invisibility Cloaks, but... who is this woman? And who could she kill with her own hands?’ she wondered, sighing. ‘I will check it on the library tomorrow. Maybe there is something about Ariel Loiseau there.’

‘Yes, you do that,’ said Harry, nodding his head.

‘Why don’t we just ask Professor Lupin?’ Ron asked.

‘No, we better keep it quiet for now,’ said Harry, ‘he took the Map once, remember? I don’t want him to do it again,’ he added. Ron and Hermione just nodded in agreeance.

Harry could not sleep very well that night, thinking about the woman called Ariel Loiseau. She was a beautiful woman, but with sad eyes. What was behind them? Who was she? She and Lupin seemed to know each other very well. Maybe she was really from the Order. Hermione could be right... They did not know everybody from the Order of the Phoenix. Harry remembered very well when Mr Weasley said that witches and wizards around the world were very welcome to help, so maybe she was from another country, like France. Her name, for one, did not sound British. He was going to wait for Hermione’s research and if she did not find anything in the library, they would have to go through books about foreign schools. Harry looked at Ron, Neville, Dean and Seamus, all four sleeping and snoring. Harry sighed and covered his head with his pillow. He would try to sleep a little bit before the day broke in.

The following morning, Harry and Ron went to the Great Hall for breakfast and were soon joined by Hermione, who sat across them by the table. They looked at her as she took her seat.

‘So,’ Harry asked, hopeful, ‘did you find anything?’

‘Well, yes,’ she said. ‘Doesn’t her name ring any bells?’

‘Come on, Hermione, I told you I have no idea who she is,’ said Harry, a little annoyed. ‘I never saw or heard her name before.’

‘Well, turns out that I ran a search at the library and I found her name at the school’s Quidditch Cup records,’ Hermione explained with a smile.

‘What is it doing there?’ asked Ron with his mouth full of jello. Hermione looked at him and made a grimace.

‘Oh, Ron, that’s disgusting’, she said and looked at Harry again. ‘She studied here at Hogwarts and she used to play Quidditch in the Gryffindor team... With your dad, Harry.’

Ron and Harry looked at each other in disbelief, then at Hermione.

‘What?’ they asked in unison.

‘Here,’ she said, handing them a piece of parchment. Harry took it and opened it, seeing a picture of the team. James was by Ariel’s side, playing with the golden snitch, throwing it up and then catching it. Harry watched the picture, surprised.

‘I can’t believe it,’ he said, shocked, ‘she actually knew my dad!’ he added, looking at Hermione. ‘How come I never heard of her or remember her?’

‘Maybe because you are not supposed to know who she is,’ she simply said. Ron and Harry looked at her confusedly.

‘What do you mean by that, Hermione?’ asked Harry. ‘Maybe we never paid attention to it.’

‘That’s what I’m saying!’ she exclaimed. ‘And besides, you never saw her around the castle or heard anybody talk about her. I reckon she is more than we believe she is, because,’ she paused, weighing her words, ‘why now, that Professor Dumbledore is gone and... Sirius and... the war?’

Harry listened to her words and something clicked inside him. ‘That makes sense!’ he exclaimed, looking at the parchment, then again at Hermione. ‘Can I keep it?’ he asked.

‘Of course you can’, Hermione said, smiling. ‘Now, let’s get moving, or we will be late for Transfiguration.’

But Hermione’s words kept floating in Harry’s head. Why was he not supposed to know who she was? This was very weird. He tried to remember if anyone had ever said her name by accident, because if his father knew her, it was possible that Sirius or Lupin or... Snape’s pensieve! Yes, there was a brunette girl with his mother when his father and Sirius were assaulting Snape that afternoon, by the lake! He could not remember her face, because, obviously, he only paid attention to James, Sirius and Lily, but maybe it was her. He could only remember she was tall and had long black hair, but he could not be sure about that. Harry closed his eyes for a moment and sighed, then took the parchment Hermione gave him earlier and stared at it, watching his dad play with the snitch and wave. The girl next to him just waved and smiled.

He dropped the parchment on the bedside table along with his glasses and closed his eyes. Images popped in his mind: a Quidditch match against Slytherin. He could feel the wind in his untidy hair as he searched for the Snitch when he saw her; the beautiful woman called Ariel, wearing the Gryffindor uniform, and Merlin... She played so well, flying on her broom as if she had wings herself. Ariel got the Quaffle and threw it through one of the hoops... Score! Harry cheered along with his playmates, but as the match resumed he backed his attention to the Snitch, seeing it less than three feet from him. He held the broomstick handle tight and stretched his other hand just as Viktor Krum stretched his own hand. Harry looked at him. Viktor Krum? How come he was playing in the Slytherin team? Where was Malfoy? Krum stayed side by side with Harry, their both hands outstretched to get the Snitch, but Harry hit him with his shoulder and felt the little wings fluttering in his fingers. The audience burst into cheers. He could hear Luna’s lion hat roaring. That amazing sensation running through his body and then... Ariel in front of him. She smiled and hugged him, kissing his lips. Harry closed his eyes and hugged her back, but then it was not Ariel anymore, it was Ginny...

‘Geroff me, mate!’ Harry heard a male voice yelling at him and opened his eyes, very alarmed to see Ron in Ginny’s place. Ron pushed him off the bed and Harry fell on the ground, still a little drowsy and confused. Neville, Dean and Seamus woke up to Ron’s scream and burst into laughter as they saw him push Harry away.

‘Sorry, mate, I...’ Harry apologized and looked at Ron, confusedly.

‘What the bloody hell were you doing?’ Ron asked, enraged.

‘I was dreaming with’ Harry began, looking at the other three boys laughing at him, then back at Ron, whispering, ‘Ariel, then... Ginny,’ he added, embarassed. Ron shook his head.

‘If you weren’t my best mate, I swear I’d jinx you merciless for having dreams like that about my sister,’ Ron said.

‘I’m sorry, mate, I’m really sorry’, Harry apologized once more.

‘I’d move my bed if I were you, Weasley,’ said Dean, laughing. ‘These dreams can become frequent!’

‘Shut up, Thomas’, said Harry, laughing as well.

Harry went back to his bed, but this time, he could not sleep. He thought about Ariel, then Ginny and how much he missed her; but they had made the right decision. She was now safe without him, and until he destroyed Voldemort, they could not be together again.

Quidditch practice the following morning was not one of the best. Harry could barely look at Ginny, because he could still taste her lips. Or Ariel’s... No, it was definitely Ginny’s! The kiss he remembered so well and missed so much... He missed everything, the flowery smell of her hair, her touch, her laugh... Even if they still were good friends, it was not the same, but he had decided it was for her own safety. The practice ended and Harry did not even give instructions to the others, he just flew back to the ground, gathered the equipment and headed back to the dressing room. Hermione, who was watching the practice, watched him and Ginny shrugged, following Harry.

‘Harry?’ Ginny called.

‘What?’ he snapped back, not looking at her.

‘Why are you being such a git?’

Ginny. Harry felt his heart skip a beat and turned around, looking at her.

‘Ginny,’ he said, ‘I’m sorry, it’s not your fault.’

‘What is it, then?’ she asked. ‘Are you avoiding me?’

‘No, it’s just that things are crazy,’ he continued. ‘Coming back to school was not a good decision, that’s all.’

Ginny walked to him with sorrow in her eyes and held his hands. Harry felt his heart beat even faster and the butterflies in his stomach fluttering like mad.

‘You miss him, don’t you?’ she asked, sweetly. ‘It’s been very hard for you since the Triwizard Tournament, right? First, Cedric, then the Death Eaters and Voldemort at the Ministry and seeing Sirius die... Last year, even with you telling everybody to keep watching Snape and Malfoy, nobody paid attention to you and... Professor Dumbledore... I’m so sorry, Harry! I wish I could do something to make you feel better,’ she added, regretful. Harry looked into her eyes.

‘You can, but I can’t let you,’ he said, firmly. Ginny closed her eyes and took a deep breath, then looked at him again.

‘I know, but I want you to know that I’m here for you, Harry,’ she said, ‘especially if you need a friend to talk to.’

‘I know, Ginny,’ he said, with a weak smile, ‘and I’m very grateful for that.’

Ginny smiled as the rest of the team entered the dressing room, talking and commenting on the practice. She looked at Harry and went to get changed. Peakes, one of the Beaters, started talking to Harry as he kept the equipment into place, but he could not stop looking at Ginny, who was now talking to Demelza Robinson and the new Chaser, Meredith Stone. Harry had decided to break up with Ginny the previous year, at Dumbledore’s funeral, because if they had stayed together, he would have put her in danger and she would have been an easy target for Voldemort and his Death Eaters, if they wanted to get to his weakness. Besides, he would be away in search for the Horcruxes and could not be around to protect her. Now, he was back at Hogwarts after he, Ron and Hermione had been helped by Bill, Moody, Lupin and Tonks to find three of the four remaining Horcruxes in the summer. One, the locket, which had already been taken from the cave by Regulus Black, Sirius’s younger brother, was at Grimmauld Place among Kreacher’s things and had now been destroyed. But the last one was nowhere to be found, and it led to the only conclusion possible: if it was not in the outside world, it could only be under their noses, in the most obvious of places, Hogwarts. In fact, it was Hermione who had come to that conclusion and together, they had decided to come back to school, because, in the meantime, she would be able to search in every single book of the school for anything that could have to do with Horcruxes, or one particular Horcrux for that matter.

Harry felt a hand touching his right shoulder, bringing him back from his reverie.

‘Are you alright, mate?’ Ron asked. Harry blinked and looked at him, then at Peakes.

‘Yeah, yeah, I,’ he muttered, looking at Peakes, ‘you played very well today, but be prepared for the game next Sunday.’

‘Sure, thanks, Harry,’ said Peakes, smiling proudly and leaving to join the others. Ron faced Harry.

‘Now you can tell me what is really going on,’ Ron asked. Harry took a deep breath and pulled his hair off his forehead.

‘It’s just so many things that I wouldn’t even know where to begin telling you,’ he sighed, resignantly.

‘I know, mate,’ Ron said, smiling sympathetically, ‘never thought life would be so complicated,’ he added. Harry gave a weak smile and tapped on his friend’s shoulder.

‘Let’s go have lunch,’ he said, ‘it won’t do us any good being hungry.’

‘You’re bloody right,’ Ron said, smiling, ‘I could eat a hypogriff!’

‘Now, tell me something I don’t know,’ Harry said, smiling at his friend, who pushed him, making the both of them laugh.


Chapter 3: Chapter 3 - Explanations
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Back to the present...



‘Ariel Loiseau!’ Harry finished the sentence Hermione had just started. Dumbledore looked at Harry, then at Ariel.



‘Hmm...I see you know each other already,’ Dumbledore said.



‘He saw me in the Forest with Moony, grandfather’, Ariel said.



‘Grandfather?’ Ron and Harry asked at the same time, dumbfounded.



‘Yes, Ariel is my great-great-grandchild,’ Dumbledore explained. ‘I was married once, a long time ago. When my wife, Sophia, died, I dedicated my life to Hogwarts.’



‘They never mentioned you had been married in Hogwarts: a History,’ said Hermione, puzzled and everyone laughed.



‘I never told anybody about it, because it belongs to another lifetime,’ he continued, smiling. ‘Now, with no further ado, Harry, this is Ariel, your godmother and your mother’s best friend.’



Harry looked at Ariel, who smiled.



‘Hello, Harry,’ she said, smiling, ‘it’s good to be able to talk to you, at last.’



‘You’ve been with me for the last seven years and I never suspected anything,’ said a very astonished Harry.



‘I’m sorry for that, Harry, but grandfather asked me to do that, to take care of you while you were away from school especially! I know Mrs. Figg lived near you, but... you were now part of the Wizarding World,’ Ariel said, taking a deep breath. ‘Believe me, there were many times I wanted to be myself and talk to you, but I just couldn’t until it was time.’



‘You spent seven years of your life being an animal just to be around me?’ asked Harry.



‘I would have spent my life if it were to be around and take care of you, Harry,’ she said, smiling. Harry smiled. ‘And I’m sorry if I hurt you when I bit you occasionally,’ she added.



‘It’s fine, I probably deserved it,’ he said and they smiled. Ariel reached out and patted his hair. ‘Did I hear it correctly? Are you my godmother?’ he asked.



‘Yes, you did’, she started, but something called her attention and she looked towards Lupin and Tonks. Her eyes met Sirius’s and her face paled, her heart beating fast in her chest. ‘How...?’ she asked, confusedly. ‘I was told that you... you were dead! I cried so many nights, I...’ she went on, not making much sense.



They turned to the direction she was looking at and Harry saw Sirius standing there, smiling.



‘Your tears helped do the magic as well, it seems,’ he said. Ariel walked towards him slowly and he came closer to her as well. They stood facing each other and she touched his face. Sirius smiled and grabbed her hands, kissing them. She smiled as he looked into her eyes and held her chin up, leaning forward and kissing her lips softly. She closed her eyes and they held each other tight. Harry looked at Ron, Ginny and Hermione and they smiled.



‘Oh, yes,’ Dumbledore said, ‘they were engaged before it all happened,’ he continued matter-of-factly.


They looked at Professor Dumbledore and then at Sirius and Ariel.



‘Were they really, sir?’ Harry asked.



‘I bet she’s going to tell you everything,’ Dumbledore said, winking. ‘Ariel loves to talk and now that she can talk to you, she won’t stop.’



Everybody laughed. Mr. Weasley looked at Professor Dumbledore.



‘I reckon we should be going to the castle,’ he said. ‘Molly must be arriving at any moment now.’



‘Oh, yes, we don’t want to leave Molly waiting for us,’ Professor Dumbledore said and looked at Sirius and Ariel. ‘The two of you will have plenty of time to kiss later,’ he added with a smile. ‘We don’t want to deprive Molly from crying and saying the boys and girls shouldn’t have gone to Godric’s Hollow and that they could have been killed.’



They laughed. Sirius held Ariel’s hand and they all went to the castle. Harry pulled Ginny, waiting for them. They smiled and Sirius patted his head.



‘I’m sorry for spying on you and Professor Lupin in the Forest that night,’ Harry apologized. Ariel smiled.



‘Oh, don’t worry, Harry, you inherited your dad’s curiosity’, she said, smiling.



‘How did you know we were there?’ Harry asked. Sirius looked at his godson and smiled.



‘Harry, Ariel is one of the most powerful witches there are, believe me,’ he said.



‘I’m not, I just inherited my grandfather’s gift,’ Ariel said.



‘Don’t be modest,’ Sirius said and looked at Harry. ‘Do you know how long she took to learn how to transfigure? A month!’



‘Really?’ Ginny asked, curiously.



‘The boys helped me,’ Ariel said with a smile.



‘I want to know everything,’ Harry said, enthusiastically. Ariel looked at him and patted his hair again.



‘You will, Harry,’ she said, ‘you will know everything you want.’



As they entered the castle, Molly, who was standing in the entrance hall, saw Harry and Ginny and ran towards them, pulling them both into a bone-crushing hug.



‘Oh, Ginny... Harry,’ she cried, ‘I’m so glad to see you! I was so frightened that you... that you... would end up...’



‘Thanks, Mrs. Weasley, but I’m OK,’ Harry said with a smile.



‘You shouldn’t have gone there,’ Molly said.



Ron looked at her. ‘Mum, we are all fine,’ he said.



‘Yes, mum, and for the first time, we don’t have anything broken,’ Ginny added. Molly’s eyes filled with tears.



‘Oh, Ginny!’ she shrieked and this time, she pulled the four of them into a hug.



‘Geroff, mum,’ Ron managed to say. She looked at him with a concerned look.



‘I have to be sure that you are really here and besides, I am your mother, I am entitled to hug you every once in a while,’ Molly said matter-of-factly. Ron made a grimace. ‘You really shouldn’t have gone to that place by yourselves! You should have warned the Order! But I know you had a good reason not to do so. At least that is what I hope,’ she added.



Mr. Weasley smiled. ‘Molly, dear,’ he said, ‘let the kids breathe, they must be tired and starving.’



‘Yes, we are starving’, Ron added quickly.



‘Alright then,’ Molly said and let go of them. Ginny and Harry looked at each other and laughed. Molly looked at Ariel and Sirius and smiled. ‘Ariel, dear! You can reveal yourself at last,’ she added.



‘Hi, Molly’, Ariel said, smiling.



‘Welcome back, Sirius,’ Molly said, looking at him and smiling.



‘Thank you, Molly,’ he said cordially.



‘Where are Charlie and Bill?’ Molly asked her husband. ‘I talked to Fred and George earlier and they are fine.’



‘They are with Shacklebolt,’ said Mr. Weasley. ‘They must be arriving soon. Where’s Fleur?’



‘She’s at home,’ Molly answered. ‘She didn’t want to come, she said she wasn’t feeling well.’



‘Typical,’ Ginny muttered and shook her head.



They went to the Great Hall, where the huge Gryffindor table was covered with delicious food. They settled there and moments later, Moody, Shacklebolt, Charlie and Bill joined them for their meal, which could be considered either a late dinner or an early breakfast.



Harry couldn’t take his eyes off Ariel during all the meal. Hermione nudged him a few times, but it was pointless. Ariel looked at him and winked at him, smiling.



‘I can’t believe it! I still can’t believe it!’ Harry said and then looked at his friends. ‘I had an Animagus with me all this time!’



‘At least you were safe, Harry,’ Hermione said. ‘If anything happened to you, she would be there to protect you.’



‘Do you reckon she knew about Scabbers?’ Ron asked, looking at the others.



Hermione shook her head. ‘Probably not. She never tried anything against him... But he must know who she was, because he never tried anything against you either, Harry! His behavior did start to change when Sirius escaped from Azkaban, remember?’ she said.



Harry sighed and nodded, remembering the facts from his third year at Hogwarts and taking a mental note that later he was going to ask Ariel about Hedwig and Wormtail, if she knew he was an Animagus, not an ordinary rat; but if she did, Dumbledore should know also and it really didn’t make much sense, because the old wizard had always put Harry’s safety first. Well... he really did need to ask Ariel, if not later then eventually someday.



‘Mate,’ Ron said with his mouth full of food, suddenly changing the subject, and making Harry snap out of his reverie, ‘remember when you sent her to deliver that letter to Sirius and she took ages to come back?’



The girls looked at each other and giggled.



‘What are you laughing about?’ Harry asked, confusedly.



‘Fifteen days with Sirius, Harry,’ Ginny said.



‘Shush, she can hear us,’ Hermione warned them, looking at Sirius and Ariel, who were talking to Tonks, Bill and Lupin.



‘So, you were really engaged?’ Bill asked, smiling. ‘But when will the wedding be now?’



Ariel flushed and Sirius smiled.



‘That is a very good question, Mr. Weasley,’ Dumbledore said, looking at Ariel and Sirius over his half-moon spectacles. Everybody looked at the couple.



‘Well...’ Ariel started, a little embarrassed, ‘we have a lot to talk about. It’s been seventeen years and...’



Sirius looked at her. ‘So, it’s time I propose again,’ he said with a serious look on his face. Ariel looked at him surprised. ‘I’ve never stopped loving you over those seventeen years.’



‘But...’ Ariel managed to say.



‘You don’t want to marry me anymore? You don’t love me anymore?’ Sirius asked, concerned.



‘No!’ Ariel exclaimed.



‘No?’ Sirius asked.



‘No, I mean... Yes, I do,’ Ariel answered with a smile. ‘I was the only one who believed you were innocent and...’



‘So?’ Sirius asked with a smile. Ariel looked at Dumbledore and he smiled. Sirius looked at Dumbledore too and got up. ‘Sir, I know I did it once, seventeen years ago, and unfortunately I couldn’t fulfill what I promised, but if you give me another chance, I promise you this time that I will make Ariel the happiest woman in the world and will be by her side forever.’



Ron, Harry, Hermione and Ginny looked at each other and smiled.



‘Oh, my goodness!’ Mrs. Weasley cried, ‘I’m going to cry!’



‘So cry your eyes out, Molly, because Sirius,’ Dumbledore said and looked at Sirius with a smile, ‘you have my permission once more.’



‘Thank you, sir,’ Sirius said and knelt down in front of Ariel, looking up at her. ‘Will you marry me?’



Ariel smiled and looked into his eyes. ‘You are as crazy as the day I first met you, but... I gave you an answer seventeen years ago, Sirius, and I still love you the same way I did back then,’ she said.



‘Is this...?’ Sirius started.



‘Yes, I will marry you,’ Ariel answered and they smiled. Sirius held her left hand and with his wand, he conjured a beautiful Queen diamond platinum ring and slid it in her finger. The girls gasped at the sight of the beautiful ring and smiled. ‘Oh, Sirius!’ Ariel said with surprise in her eyes. ‘It’s amazing! You shouldn’t have done that!’



‘Don’t worry, Remus was saving it for me since the last time,’ Sirius said. ‘Two years ago.’



She smiled. Hermione and Ginny looked at each other and smiled. Ron looked at them with an interrogative look. Ginny rolled her eyes and Hermione only muttered a ‘Never mind... Boys!’



Molly pulled Ariel’s hand to hers and stared at the ring with a huge smile on her lips, and then she looked at Sirius.



‘Oh, Sirius, what a good taste you have!’ she said.



‘Thank you, Molly,’ Sirius said.



Dumbledore smiled and got up, raising his goblet. ‘Let’s have a toast! We have much to celebrate!’ he said. ‘To the future!’



They cheered and toasted. Dumbledore looked at Harry and winked. Harry smiled, knowing that, from now on, everything would be different. He would be part of a huge family who loved him, for the first time in sixteen years. He also had his best friends to help him, laugh with him and share whatever it should happen from now on. For the first time since Hagrid had told him he was a wizard, he was truly happy again!


Chapter 4: Chapter 4 - The day After
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The day broke hot and with a beautiful sun. In her room in the castle, the same room she had occupied since she was 6 years old until she moved to the Gryffindor Tower, next to Dumbledore’s room, Ariel woke up a little bit earlier than she was expecting, but after the battle last night, after she had finally met Harry as a person and found out that the man she loved and trusted since she was 16 years old was alive, she could not spend one more minute in bed. There was too much adrenaline in her veins. And besides, there were lots to be told and done. First of all, she needed to talk to her grandfather and tell him what she had done: she had avenged Sirius’s death, because at the moment of the battle, she had thought he was dead. She was not a child anymore, she was a grown-up woman and had been a great Auror for the Ministry and the Order for a couple of years before Lily and James died, but she was still Dumbledore’s Great Great Granddaughter and she loved to discuss things with him. And also... People had been killed. Bad people, but people all the same.


Ariel got dressed in one of her Muggle clothes comprising of a pair of jeans, a white shirt and finished her ensemble off with a pair of brown boots. After washing her face and teeth, she left her room and made her way to Dumbledore’s Study. Standing at the entrance to his office she looked at the gargoyle and smiled.



‘Strawberry ice cream,’ she said and the gargoyle sprang to life, hopping aside, allowing the wall to split in two and a spiral staircase to appear, moving down slowly. Ariel stepped on it, and the wall behind her closed. At the top of the stairs she knocked on the door and opened it. ‘Hello?’ she called and entered, looking around. ‘Hi, Fawkes! Is Grandpa here?’ she asked the phoenix. Fawkes tuned his head, looked at her and blinked.



‘Oh, if it is not my Great Granddaughter,’ said a man in one of the portraits. ‘Are you tired of being a bird already?’



Ariel turned around and looked at Phineas Nigellus’s portrait on the wall.



‘Hi, Grandpa Nigellus,’ she said, smiling. ‘And nope, if it is to protect and be with Harry, I could be a bird forever.’



‘What a waste of talent! Waste of energy! Protect that rogue!’ Nigellus said.



‘My Godson, Grandpa,’ she said. ‘By the way, Sirius says hi.’



‘I did not know you spoke with the dead,’ Nigellus said with a strange look on his face.



‘Uh, he’s not dead, he’s very alive and handsome, Grandpa,’ she said with a sigh. ‘Oh, and he proposed again,’ she added, showing him her hand with the ring. He looked at her for a few seconds.



‘That’s something I haven’t been informed about,’ he stated seriously. She smiled.



‘Grandfather, you are just a portrait,’ she said matter-of-factly. ‘It’s not like you need to know everything that happens with the Black clan.’



‘This answer is so typical of you,’ he said indignantly. ‘Dumbledore spoiled you.’



‘Oh, my dear friend Phineas,’ Dumbledore said from the stairs, ‘you should just be happy and proud of our girl’



They looked towards the stairs and Ariel smiled.



‘Grandpa! Good morning,’ she greeted him.



‘Good morning, my dear.’



‘Forever the same mistake... Shameful!’ Nigellus groaned.



Dumbledore looked at Ariel, who laughed, and shook his head.



‘Grandfather,’ she started, ‘can you have breakfast with me? I’m starving!’



‘Absolutely,’ he answered with a smile, ‘we have much to talk about.’



Ariel smiled and looked at the portrait of Phineas Nigellus.



‘Bye, Grandfather! I’ll be back late, so we can chat a little bit more,’ she said and left with Dumbledore, closing the door behind her, both ignoring Phineas Nigellus' grumble.



‘Always the same... I bet he’s going in search of Sirius to deliver some choice words about you and him,’ Dumbledore said and Ariel laughed.



‘Well, it must be a little bit boring to be a portrait, don’t you think?’ she asked.



‘Oh, Ariel... You will never change, will you?’ he asked her in a patronizing voice. She smiled with her cheeks turning slightly pink. ‘Looking at you is like going back in time and seeing you running around the castle or giggling with young Lily in the corridors.’



Ariel’s eyes filled with tears, but she smiled. Those were amazing times... The only thing that frightened them back then was their OWLs and NEWTs, or maybe not even that, but the next bloke they would have a crush on the following week...




HOGWARTS, OCTOBER 1976




The door to the dungeons opened abruptly and four boys came into the room laughing and talking, making all the people in the room turn and look at them.



‘Sorry, Professor,’ a tall, blond boy said, going to one of the cauldrons at the back of the classroom and he was followed by the three others, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew. Lily and Ariel looked at each other and Ariel rolled her eyes.



‘Boys,’ Lily said to her friend.



‘As I was saying before being interrupted by the four late gentlemen... Today we are going to study some of the most powerful potions there are! Can anyone tell me what they are?’ Professor Slughorn asked.



Ariel and Lily looked at each other and both raised their hands into the air. Slughorn smiled and looked at the girls. Sirius and James, at the back of the Gryffindor table, looked at each other and Sirius sighed.



‘Why do they always know everything? It’s annoying,’ he said with a grimace. James and Peter nodded. Lily looked at them, casting a disapproving glance at the same time. James straightened up and tried to smooth his untidy hair. Ariel tried to hide her laughter and Lily nudged her.



‘Miss Loiseau... Can you tell me what this one is?’ the Professor asked, pointing to the cauldron next to the Hufflepuff table.



‘It’s Polyjuice Potion, sir. It makes a person look like someone else for an hour,’ she replied.



‘Excellent, Miss Loiseau! And this one, Miss Evans?’ Professor Slughorn asked, pointing to another cauldron next to the Ravenclaw table.



‘It’s Veritaserum, Professor. It makes the person who drinks it tell only the truth,’ Lily answered.



‘Perfect! And this one?’ he pointed to yet another cauldron.



Ariel looked at Sirius and raised her hand again. Slughorn looked at the girl and smiled.



‘It’s Amortentia, Professor... It’s the most powerful love potion there is. It does not actually create love, but it makes the person who drinks it become obsessive with the person who gave it to him or her. Also, each person smells it differently. For example, I can smell...’ Ariel closed her eyes, ‘chocolate, jasmine and….’ she opened her eyes and glanced at the end of the table, towards Sirius’ direction, then at Professor Slughorn, ‘oak!’



Lily bit her lower lip, trying to contain her laughter this time, while James, Remus and Peter looked at Sirius, who, for the first time, felt his cheeks growing hot. Slughorn smiled.



‘Very interesting combination, Miss Loiseau! 20 points to Gryffindor for the excellent assessment, ladies!’ he said.



Ariel smiled timidly and Slughorn continued on with his lesson, asking them to brew a potion called Mens Sana, a potion to clean the mind and make it more appropriate to learning. After Professor Slughorn checked all the cauldrons, he asked the students to put their potions in vials and leave them on his desk. The girls packed their things and left the classroom, going to the greenhouses for their Herbology class.


‘Loiseau!’



Ariel and Lily looked towards the sound and James Potter smiled as he moved towards them.



‘Hi, Potter,’ Ariel said, smiling back at him. She looked at Lily, who sighed.



‘Hi... Hi, Evans!’ James said.



‘Oh... Hi, Potter’, Lily replied with an impatient look. Ariel looked at James, who was looking at Lily, and she smiled.



‘So, did you want to talk to me?’ Ariel asked.



‘Sorry?’ James said, not looking away from Lily.



‘You... Do you want to talk to me?’ Ariel asked again. James turned and stared at her blankly. ‘Yeah, you know you called me,’ she added.



‘Oh... Yes!’ he said with a smile and smoothed his hair, like he always did when Lily was around. ‘Uh... We have Quidditch practice tonight.’



‘Oh... alright,’ Ariel said.



‘Just wanted to make sure that you don’t forget it’, he said.



‘No, I won’t. Thanks,’ she said. ‘Is someone going to watch it?’



‘You mean...’ James asked.



‘I mean, the next game is against Slytherin, and there is always a spy there to try and steal our techniques, Captain,’ Ariel answered.



‘Yeah... always! But I don’t think they will tonight... Moony and Wormtail said they will be there,’ James said.



‘Oh, ok, then,’ Ariel said, ‘so your friend Sirius won’t have a fit during practice this time?’ she asked. James laughed.



‘Just ignore him and you’ll be OK,’ he advised her.



‘C’mon, Ariel, let’s go,’ Lily admonished.



‘Go on, I’ll be there in a minute,’ Ariel told her.



‘OK.’



Lily left them in the Entrance Hall and headed towards the Greenhouses. Once Lily had left they looked at each other and Ariel held her hair, twisting it over her shoulder.



‘So, Hogsmeade on Sunday?’ she asked.



‘Yeah, I guess,’ he said.



‘Don’t worry, James... she’ll be there, just... try not to mess so much with your hair! That is really annoying and... try to be more... not so arrogant in front of her and please... please ignore Snivellus!’ Ariel advised him. He looked at her impatiently.



‘You are asking me to do something almost impossible’ he sighed.



‘If you want to go out with Evans, you’ll have to try. Oh and take Remus with you, not Sirius! He causes too much trouble!’



James looked at her with a mischievous smile.



‘You don’t want me to take Sirius with me?’ he asked



‘Yes! I mean... If he wants to go to Hogsmeade, fine, but don’t bring him to the Three Broomsticks to meet us!’ she answered.



‘This is very strange... you of all people, asking me this!’



‘Why?’ she asked him defiantly, crossing her arms over her chest.



‘Because if I didn’t know you better, I’d say our Potions class was a lapse!’ he said with an amused face.



Ariel’s cheeks turned pink, but she took a deep breath, narrowing her big blue eyes.



‘What? What do you mean?’ she asked.



James smirked. ‘If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you!’ he said



She shook her head. ‘That’s right. You can’t be nice even when someone is trying to help you, huh? Fine!’ she said, a little irritated. ‘And wipe that smirk off your face, Potter!’



‘Ok, I’ll try to remember your advice,’ he said, still smiling.



‘Your... troop is coming!’ she said with an upset tone and turned around, heading to the greenhouse. James smiled and Sirius slapped his shoulder, wrapping an arm around it.



‘Inviting Miss Loiseau to Hogsmeade?’ Sirius asked, smirking. James looked at him and shook his head.



‘Of course not, we were talking about the practice tonight,’ James explained.



‘Yes, of course,’ Sirius said.



‘You know, Padfoot... You should start paying more attention in class,’ Remus said. Peter and Sirius looked at him with a blank expression, while James’s eyes met Remus’s and they both smiled.



‘What?’ Sirius asked.



‘Let’s go to class or we’ll be late,’ James said. Sirius spent all the way to the greenhouse pestering them to explain what Remus had meant.




PRESENT DAY




‘Loas of memories, I believe,’ Dumbledore said, examining her face and eyes. Ariel looked at him and smiled.



‘Yes... being here by myself, and walking among the students, is...’ she stopped and sighed, ‘well it’s like being home! I mean, Hogwarts was my home even when I was away!’



‘I know,’ he said and they smiled.



As they entered the Great Hall, which was still empty because of the early hour in the morning, they made their way over to the staff table and sat down. Immediately it filled with food and Dumbledore poured himself some tea while Ariel poured herself a cup of coffee.



‘How long do we have alone before the students start coming down for breakfast, Grandfather?’ Ariel asked.



‘Until nine, and once they are all here I will make an announcement’, he answered.



‘So, we do have some time?’ she said.



‘Plenty of it,’ he replied leaning back into his chair, resting his hands neatly on the table.



‘Poor kids, they will be terrified when they see you here’, she said, amused. ‘The Wizarding World reckons you are dead, Grandfather.’



Dumbledore smiled and nodded. Ariel shook her head and while sipping her coffee she gazed round at the familiar surroundings. Her eyes roamed to the ceiling; it was just like outside, cloudless, the sun shining and beautiful.



‘I am very proud of you, Ariel,’ Dumbledore said suddenly and she looked at him. ‘Yes... You did an amazing job during these seven years and you never hesitated, even when you thought I was dead... Or Sirius.’



‘I...’ she began, ‘I had Harry. Even if he didn’t know who I really was, I had him’



‘Yes,’ Dumbledore smiled, ‘Harry is special in so many ways, even when he is not aware of it.’



‘That’s what makes him so different from Tom Riddle. His childhood was hell and even so he knew how to separate things,’ she said proudly. ‘He’s a little bit of James and Lily, but he’s so... him. His temper is something though’



‘No one better than you to judge it,’ he said with a smile, ‘you know every side of Harry.’



‘Yes, I do’, she said, nodding.



Dumbledore held her hand and they looked at each other. ' Ariel,’ he said, ‘you were trained as an Auror, a fighter, and I know you are a different person now, with thoughts different than when you left Hogwarts twenty years ago, but you did what you had to do. In a war, we fight for our beloved ones. That is one of the reasons that make us go further,’ he added. Their eyes met and she bit her lower lip. ‘I know what happened between you and Bellatrix Lestrange.’



‘I’m not proud of it... It was revenge,’ she muttered.



‘Sometimes we do things that do not make us proud of ourselves,’ he stated. She nodded and hugged him tight. Dumbledore hugged her back.



‘Thank you, Grandfather.’



He smiled and kissed her forehead, then looked at the doors, which were open, allowing the Great Hall to be filled with students.



‘Oh, it is time, already,’ Dumbledore said with a smile. Ariel looked at the students entering the hall and then stopping in their tracks upon seeing their deceased Headmaster. The Great Hall burst into whispers and the students looked at the staff table with completely puzzled faces. Dumbledore watched as the Great Hall began to fill, and the whispers and looks towards the table grew. Professor McGonagall arrived and sat next to Professor Dumbledore, waiting until the place was completely full. Among the students, Ariel spotted the ‘trio’ and Ginny walking towards the Gryffindor table. Her and Harry’s eyes met and they both smiled.



Soon the Great Hall was filled with all the students, including Luna and Neville, both had just been released from the infirmary with scratches and Neville with a broken arm, all the staff joined them and Sirius, who sat next to Ariel. As he sat down they both exchanged a smile before he took her hand and kissed it. Professor McGonagall looked at Professor Dumbledore, who nodded and stood up, cleared his throat, and making conversation faded out. The students looked at him with surprise and confusion and the Headmaster smiled.



‘Good morning,’ he started. ‘I am absolutely certain that you are very surprised to see me here, especially because most of you attended my funeral last year, but all I am going to say about it at this moment is that Hogwarts is my home and as long as there are people who are faithful to me in these grounds, I will always be back home. I owe you all an explanation about my supposed death, but I’m certain that the Daily Prophet will explain everything.’ He said it with twinkle in his blue eyes. The students gave a nervous laugh still not believing that their former or current Headmaster was really there, alive. ‘Now, the most important announcement I have ever made in my whole life...’ he said and an eerie silence fell across the hall. ‘Today is a very special day for the Wizarding community. As you must be aware by now, last night was the end of the Second Wizarding War, for Lord Voldemort was defeated at last!’



The crowd involuntary shuddered at hearing Voldemort’s name, but the words ‘defeated at last’ that followed it turned the shuddering into cries of joy and an epidemic of hugs among the students. Dumbledore smiled as he saw the happy faces of the students.



‘We must never forget, however,’ he began again and the crowd turned its attention back to him, ‘that were it not for Harry Potter and his most loyal friends, Mr Weasley, Mr Longbottom and Misses Granger, Weasley and Lovegood...’ Harry smiled uncomfortably and looked at the others, blushing, then at Dumbledore, who smiled and winked at him, ‘who had the courage to fight and believed in the victory and freedom of the Wizarding World. and did what was necessary to free our world from the most evil influence in history! Naturally, some of his followers are still at loose, so it isn’t imprudent to be careful, but a new day has begun and we should do nothing but celebrate!’ he clapped his hands and goblets of butterbeer appeared everywhere. ‘To peace!’ he raised his glass in a toast.



‘To peace!’ the crowd cried in unison and they cheered.



Dumbledore smiled and drank his Butterbeer, then looked at the students again. ‘I have one more announcement to make: tonight, we will have a party to celebrate our victory and a message was sent inviting your families to come and celebrate with us,’ he added with a smile. ‘Oh, and I was almost forgetting... All the exams are cancelled! You can head home with your families tonight after the feast, so I advise you to pack.’



The crowd cheered and cried. Dumbledore sat down again and the food appeared on the tables, so the students started having breakfast. Hermione sighed and looked at the boys.



‘I can’t believe it... again!’ she said, exasperated.



‘Again what?’ Ron asked with his mouth full of food.



‘You don’t need to be tested, Hermione! Our greatest test was outside, fighting against Voldemort, the Death Eaters and the rest of his followers,’ Harry said with a smile.



‘Harry is right ‘Mione. And out there you not only proved how smart and powerful you are, but you also proved your loyalty’, Ron added. They looked at him.



‘Where did that come from?’ Ginny asked playfully. ‘My brother is using reason?’



‘My brain might be tiny, but it’s there!’ Ron said, pointing to his head.



‘No, mate... It’s not tiny at all! If it weren’t for your strategy, maybe today wouldn't be one of the best days of my life,’ Harry said with a grateful smile. Hermione’s eyes filled with tears and Ginny smiled. Ron’s face turned as red as a beetroot.



‘Oh, Harry,’ Hermione whimpered and held his hand. Harry smiled at her.



‘I’m serious, Hermione. We are a team, without you lot, I wouldn’t have made it,’ he said matter-of-factly.



They smiled. Harry looked at the staff table. Ariel, Sirius and Lupin were talking and laughing, probably reminiscing over something funny, since Ariel seemed to be mimicking and making grimaces.



‘Right, mate?’ Ron asked. Harry looked at him.



‘Err... Right,’ he said and his eyes met Ginny’s for a moment. He sighed. ‘Gin... Can we talk outside for a minute, please?’



‘Uh... Sure,’ she agreed. Ron and Hermione watched them as they got up and left the Great Hall and she smiled.



‘What?’ Ron asked.



‘Nothing, Ron. Nothing,’ she said and sighed, taking a sip of her pumpkin juice. Ron shrugged and turned his attention to the food, which seemed to be a lot less complicated than women.


Chapter 5: Chapter 5 - Ariel Loiseau
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It was time to tell Harry and his friends a little bit about herself, so, as she had promised them, Ariel invited them to go with her to the lake.


They sat by a tree next to it; the very same tree Harry saw his father and Sirius harassing Snape in the Pensieve. Harry smiled at the thought and how he had been disappointed to see his father and his mother arguing with each other, and then Sirius and Lupin telling him they were all idiots back then when he expressed his concern to them using Umbridge’s fireplace in his fifth year.


He was woken from his reverie when he felt Ginny’s hand holding his. Harry looked at her and they smiled.


‘Ready for the party tonight?’ Ariel asked.


‘Is it going to be a celebration party for the family of the students only?’ Hermione asked.



‘Well... I suppose, I mean...’ Ariel said and looked at them, smiling, ‘there will be a little ceremony to pay homage to you, Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, but it will be very short! Professor Dumbledore thinks the Ministry wants some credit for doing nothing... much, let’s say!’



They all laughed.



‘Ariel, is it for real? I mean... Are you and Sirius really going to get married?’ Harry asked. Ariel smiled.



‘I would like to elope, but I doubt my Grandfather would like this idea! I’m too old, but at the same time, he still thinks I’m 6 years old,’ she said and they smiled. ‘There will probably be a huge party here in the castle.’



‘That is amazing!’ Ginny said.



‘Yeah...getting married here, at Hogwarts.’ Hermione said with a dreamy smile.



‘Especially because Hogwarts is my home! Having been raised by Dumbledore...’ Ariel said and they looked at her with an intrigued look.



‘What do you mean, ‘being raised by Professor Dumbledore’?’ Ron asked curiously. Hermione snapped at him, nudging his rib. He looked at her, ‘What was that for?’ he asked, confused.



Ariel smiled and crossed her legs. ‘Well...’ she started, ‘my family was murdered. The Ministry never discovered who killed them, but Grandfather thinks that it is something to do with Voldemort, and his followers at that time. Unfortunately, I never remember if I saw something that night! I was 6 years old... My mother worked at the Ministry as an Unspeakable and my father was an Auror. The murderers entered our house and killed them, I wasn’t killed only because my mother told me to run and never stop until I found some place safe... And so did I, I ran into the woods and hid in a hollow tree, until my Grandfather found me, five hours later, when they couldn’t find my body in the house. Grandfather has his theories and in one of them, he really thinks it was Voldemort and his Death Eaters... revenge because Grandfather is always in his way! Maybe...’ she added.



‘I’m so sorry to hear that’, Hermione said. Ginny nodded in agreement and Ron looked down at the grass. Harry kept staring at the lake, not knowing exactly what to say. Their stories were very similar: both had their families destroyed supposedly by the same person, but she had been lucky to have Dumbledore, not the Dursleys as relatives.



‘That’s fine... I had a happy childhood,’ Ariel continued. ‘Grandfather thought it was the best for me to be with him, not with any other member of the Black family or the Loiseaux. The only Black family member I could count on was cousin Andromeda, but she is Narcissa and Bellatrix’s sister and besides, she had just gotten married to Ted Tonks. As for the Loiseaux, my grandparents were dead and my Uncle Albus was in Egypt, so I came to live here at Hogwarts with Grandfather Dumbledore. He was already the Headmaster and none of the other teachers objected. He made a very nice room for me, next to his own.’



‘Here?’ Ginny asked, surprised.



‘Yes, I will show it to you sometime. It’s not in his study, but it’s next to it,’ Ariel said with a smile. ‘I was happy living here. I didn’t have a regular childhood, but it was good enough.’



‘You must know the castle very well,’ Ron said with an excited look.



‘Yes, I do,’ she agreed with a smile.



‘She was very useful when we decided to make the Marauders’ Map, although she didn’t let us put her room in it, if that’s what you’re thinking, Harry,’ a voice said from behind them and they looked at the tall man with long black hair standing there. Harry and the others laughed. Ariel and Sirius smiled at each other, as he sat next to her.



‘Did you really help them?’ Harry asked.



‘Yes, she knows every passage in this castle,’ Sirius said proudly and held Ariel’s hand.


‘Well, I was only six when I came to live here,’ she repeated. ‘Grandfather reckoned it was good for me to have private classes with him during the day and then, I used to sneak around the castle to play with my dolls and toys the rest of the time!’ she said and they laughed. ‘I, sometimes, liked to be around the students, but they didn’t like my presence very much. When I turned eleven, I remember Grandfather telling me it was time to become a Hogwarts student, so he went with me to Diagon Alley and we had so much fun together. We bought my robes, my books... Everything I would need and then, we went to Florean Fortescue’s to have ice cream together. It was a perfect day!’ she said with a dreamy look in her eyes. ‘And I remember on September 1st, he took me to Kings Cross Station to put me on the Hogwarts Express, to arrive here like all the other students.’



‘And it was there that we... I can say... met one another,’ Sirius added and Ariel nodded.



‘How exactly did you meet?’ Harry and Ron asked curiously at the same time and they smiled.




KINGS CROSS STATION, PLATFORM 9¾, SEPTEMBER 5, 1971




The station was filled with students and parents saying goodbye to their children. The Hogwarts Express had its doors open, waiting for the kids to board it. Sirius Black, already inside the train, waved to his younger brother, Regulus and his parents, and went to find an empty compartment. He knew his cousins Narcissa and his favorite one, Andromeda, who was in the seventh year now, should be around, but he wanted to find a compartment to himself and maybe make some friends. He searched around the train, finding a compartment with a boy who had dirty blond hair and a tired and scared face, just as a boy with untidy jet-black hair and glasses stopped next to him. The three boys looked at one another for a moment.



‘Sorry, I reckoned it was empty,’ Sirius said.



‘There’s only me in here,’ said the boy in the compartment. ‘You can stay.’



‘Oh, thank you very much,’ the boy wearing glasses said and showed the door to Sirius. ‘You first, mate.’



Sirius smiled and they entered, accomodating their trunks and sitting. Sirius smiled to the boys.



‘I’m Sirius, by the way. Sirius Black,’ he said, introducing himself.



‘James Potter,’ the boy with untidy hair and glasses said, pushing the glasses up on the bridge of his nose. He and Sirius looked at the other boy for a moment.



‘I’m Remus Lupin,’ he finally said.



‘Hello,’ James greeted him. ‘So... it’s your first year at Hogwarts?’



The two boys nodded, Sirius with a huge smile on his face.



‘Is it yours as well?’ he asked.



‘Yeah... I was counting the days to come!’ James said excitedly. ‘When I got my letter, I made mum and dad go to Diagon Alley straight away to buy my supplies!’



They laughed. The boy called Remus looked out of the window when the train crossed a vast green field. James and Sirius looked at each other, and James shrugged.



‘So... what house do you lot want to be placed in?’ James asked.



‘I will probably be in Slytherin, like all my family,’ Sirius answered with a resigned face.



‘It’s a good house,’ James said, biting his lower lip, ‘I hope to be in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. And you?’ he asked Remus, who looked at them and shrugged.



‘I don’t know... any house,’ he answered vaguely.



‘Any house?’ James asked again, disappointed.



‘Yeah,’ Remus answered, then sighed, ‘maybe Hufflepuff... I really don’t know.’



‘Hufflepuff is a good house, too,’ James said reassuringly. Sirius nodded and Remus gave a weak smile.



‘But it would be really brilliant if we could all be in the same house,’ Sirius said with a smile and the other two boys smiled as well.



Just then, the compartment door was open and a fat, blond boy entered it and closed the door behind him. His clothes and face were covered with something similar to a troll’s bogey.



‘Sorry! Can I stay here for a while?’ the fat boy asked. The three boys looked at one another and nodded.



‘Sure, what happened?’ Sirius asked.



‘Some boys are chasing me just because I asked if I could sit with them,’ the boy said, looking at the other boys with suspicion. James shook his head quickly.



‘Don’t worry, we won’t do anything,’ he said.



‘You are safe here,’ Sirius said and stretched his hand. ‘I am Sirius Black.’



‘Pe... Peter Pettigrew,’ the fat blond boy said, taking Sirius’s hand and shaking it. James smiled and stretched his hand.



‘James Potter,’ he introduced himself and they shook hands, then Peter looked at Remus, who finally stretched his hand.



‘Remus Lupin! Nice to meet you,’ Remus said.



‘Same here,’ Peter said.



‘So, Peter, take a seat,’ Sirius said with a grin and took his wand, ‘let me help you with this.’



‘But we are not supposed to use magic...’ Remus started saying.



‘Don’t worry, mate,’ Sirius said and pointed at Peter. ‘Scourgify!’



Peter looked at his clothes and smiled. ‘Thanks!’



‘No problem,’ Sirius said.



‘Brilliant, mate,’ James said, impressed.



‘Thanks,’ Sirius said with a smile, ‘my favourite cousin Andromeda taught me this.’



‘Cool!’ James and Peter said together, impressed.



‘My father taught me some magic, but he asked me not to use it at home, only at school,’ James said matter-of-factly.



‘Yeah... err... my parents... they really don’t care about... you know... rules,’ Sirius said, ‘but I try to use it only when it is necessary.’



The boys nodded. Soon the conversation was about their favorite foods, pets they were bringing to Hogwarts, what they knew about the castle and so on. Around lunchtime, the witch with the snack trolley knocked on their door and the boys bought as many candies as they could carry, and they had fun sharing what they bought, laughing and chatting; even Remus joined the other three and was now more relaxed.



‘Is that true that you can only join the Quidditch team in the second year?’ Peter asked.



‘Yeah, I’ll try next year though,’ James said.



‘Me too!’ Sirius said enthusiastically. ‘When I play, I play as a Keeper, but I’m better at the Chaser position.’



‘My dad says I have good responses and can see from afar,’ James said, proudly, and then looked at Peter and Remus. ‘Don’t you lot play?’



‘No... My mum doesn’t let me,’ Peter said a little ashamed, ‘she thinks it’s too dangerous.’



‘No, I don’t like it very much... to play,’ Remus quickly added, ‘but I love to watch it.’



‘Quidditch? I love to play it!’ a girlish voice came from the door and the four heads inside the compartment snapped to look at it. A girl with long and straight black hair was standing in the doorway with a smile. ‘Hi! Can I stay here? I hate talking to the girls, they have been giggling and screaming since we got onto the train! I’m Ariel Loiseau, and you, boys?’ she closed the door and sat between Sirius and Remus. The boys looked at one another with an amused and perplexed face.



‘James Potter’, he said as he stretched his hand for her to shake.



‘Hi, James,’ she said, shaking it, then looked at the other boys.



‘Peter Pettigrew.’



‘Remus Lupin.’



‘Sirius Black,’ Sirius said, looking at her by his side.



She gasped. ‘Black!’ she said, widening her eyes. ‘Are you sure?’



The boys snorted.



‘Uh... if my parents didn’t deceive me...’ he said with a mocking face.



‘Maybe we are related... I’m a Black too! My mum was a Black, but she was cut off the family tree when she married my dad,’ she said with a shrug.



‘Oh, sorry,’ Sirius said.



‘That’s OK, they are dead now and I've lived with my Grandfather Albus in Hogwarts since I was six,’ she stated.



‘Really?’ James asked enthusiastically.



‘She’s joking,’ Sirius said.



‘I am not joking! It’s true!’ she said, looking at him. ‘But I asked him to come to London and go back to school along with the other students!’



‘Then tell us about the school,’ Sirius defied her.



Ariel gave a huge smile.



‘What do you want to know about the school?’ she asked.



The boys exchanged mischievous smiles.



‘Well... anything,’ James said.



‘OK... There are loads of secret passages in the castle,’ she started.



‘Oh, really? Now tell me something nobody knows,’ Sirius said impatiently.



‘Don’t be rude, Sirius,’ she said, slapping his hand. He looked at her in disbelief and the other boys tried to hide their laughter. Remus even looked at the landscape through the window.



‘Hey!’ Sirius said, looking at her.



‘I can make a map of the school and all the secret passages if you want,’ she said, matter-of-factly. ‘But I won’t! You really don’t deserve to know about it, Black!’



‘Forget about him, tell us!’ James said. Ariel smiled.



‘OK... Let me see...’ she made a thoughtful face, and then gave a huge and bright smile. ‘Well, in one of the rooms of the castle, there is a stone statue of a one-eyed witch... You must have a wand to open the passageway and touch it, saying Dissendium! The one-eyed witch will open the passage and you will find a corridor that takes you to the cellar of Honeydukes in Hogsmeade,’ she said and the boys widened their eyes.



‘Codswallop’, Sirius snorted.



‘It’s not and I can prove it,’ she replied.



‘That’s a challenge!’ Sirius provoked.



‘OK!’ she said defiantly and stretched her hand. ‘Next Saturday, first thing in the morning!’



‘Wait a minute,’ Peter said, ‘how do you know? Did you ever have a wand before?’



‘As a matter of fact, yes, I mean... no, but there’s a room where you can find loads of lost objects, you just need to need them!’ she tried to explain. ‘Well, I have to find this room again, I really can’t remember where it is.’



‘I don’t buy it’, Sirius said, still skeptical.



‘All right,’ she settled, ‘I will prove it to you lot! There are six passages and I will show you all of them!’ she sighed. ‘Or maybe not, you lot think I’m lying... Bad for you!’



‘No, no, no, we don’t think you’re lying,’ Peter said and looked at the others for support.



‘Yes,’ James said, ‘actually, Loiseau... I really like you! It’s not every girl that likes Quidditch and adventure!’



‘Thanks’, she said with a smile.



During the rest of the trip to Hogwarts, the five kids chatted and had fun together, laughing and telling stories; even Sirius seemed to forget teasing Ariel. Remus looked through the window, then at the others.



‘We must be close by now,’ he said.



‘I hope so,’ Sirius said. ‘I’m getting bored spending the whole day on this train.’



James nodded. ‘I can’t wait to see the castle’, he said. ‘My dad said it’s amazing.’



‘So did my mother’, Peter said, and then looked nervously at Ariel. ‘Do you mind my asking you how the new students are sorted in their houses?’



‘Oh, with a hat made by the four founders,’ she answered. ‘But I’ve never been in the ceremony, sorry.’



‘A hat?’ James asked, excited.



‘Yeah, the Sorting Hat. It stays in Grandfather Albus’ office,’ she added.



‘And I suppose you never tried it on?’ Sirius asked.



‘You are right, I never tried it,’ she said. ‘What for? And I believe that, if I had tried it, it wouldn’t have said anything to me.’



‘Say?’ Remus asked, curiously.



‘Yes, it’s an enchanted hat. All I know is that it sings and sorts you into your house,’ she answered with a smile. ‘But don’t you think I’m not nervous or excited, because I am! I... I don’t want to be in Slytherin, but my mum was from there, so...’ she mumbled and then looked at the boys. ‘I think we should get changed.’



‘Yeah, we should’, James repeated and winked at Ariel, who smiled and opened the compartment door. At the same moment a voice echoed through the train, telling the students they were arriving and asking them to change and leave their luggage in place.



Soon the train stopped at the Hogsmeade station and Hagrid took the first years to the boats. The four boys sat on a boat while Ariel took another with a red-head girl with bright emerald eyes, a blond girl with blue eyes and a boy with brown hair and eyes. When in the castle, Professor McGonagall appeared to explain the first rules to them and talk about the four houses. A few minutes later, the sorting ceremony started. The hat sang its song and Professor McGonagall started calling the names of the students. The first student, Neil Abrahms, was sorted in Ravenclaw and the boy ran to the table, where he was very welcomed by the Ravenclaw students. The second student, Angelica Arch, was sorted in Slytherin. The professor kept calling the students, and then it was Sirius Black’s turn. The boy looked at his new friends and went to the stool, taking the hat and putting it on his head. The hat shouted GRYFFINDOR almost immediately, to the surprise of all the teachers and some students in the Great Hall and to Sirius’s relief. He gave a huge and bright smile and went to the Gryffindor table, ignoring the murmuring ‘a Black in Gryffindor?’ or ‘Gryffindor, how is that possible?’ to his back. The redhead girl who came on the boat with Ariel, Lily Evans, was sorted in Gryffindor too and soon it was Ariel’s turn, who was sorted in Gryffindor as well. She smiled and looked at the Headmaster, who smiled and winked at her with his thumb up. The other boys Ariel met on the train, Remus Lupin, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew, were all sorted in the same house as her.



After having dinner and eating as much dessert as possible, the tables were instantly cleaned and the Headmaster got up to make the final announcements about the classes, the Forbidden Forest and the caretaker, Mr. Filch. As soon as he finished speaking, Ariel looked at him, who smiled and nodded slightly. She then waited for the students to start leaving the Great Hall and then got up, running to the staff table and hugging Dumbledore, kissing his cheek.



‘Thank you, Grandfather!’ she said with a smile.



‘You are welcome, my angel,’ he said, caressing her cheek. ‘And I will wait for your good night kiss every night, as we have always done in the past five years.’



She nodded and hugged him again.



‘Good night and I love you,’ she said and left the Great Hall with the other Gryffindors, led by the Prefects.



‘You know, when I’m wrong, I recognize it,’ a boy said in her ear. Ariel turned around and smiled when she saw the young Sirius Black boy by her side. ‘So... everything’s true.’



‘Yes, I told you,’ she said.



‘Friends?’ he asked, stretching his hand. She shook it.



‘Friends!’



They smiled and joined James, Remus and Peter.


Chapter 6: Chapter 6 - A New Friend Lily Evans
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Chapter 6 - A New Friend Lily Evans
‘Aww!’ Ginny said, smiling.

‘That’s nice,’ Hermione said and Ariel smiled.

‘He was really a very cute boy... It was hard not to like him,’ she said, ‘or any of the guys. Sirius was the prankster of the Marauders, together with James, but James sometimes thought with his heart. Remus was the reasoning of the four, but that does not mean that he was no fun, because oh, he was! And Peter... Well, Peter was...’ she looked at Sirius, and then continued. ‘Let’s not talk about Peter.’

The trio exchanged glances and Harry looked at Ariel.

‘How did you and my mother become friends? Professor Dumbledore said you were best friends,’ Harry inquired.

‘Well, we shared the same dormitory and had the same classes and on our first day at Potions, Professor Slughorn paired us together,’ Ariel said with a smile. ‘Lily was natural in Potions. I wasn’t bad, but my favorite subjects were Defense Against the Dark Arts and Transfiguration, whilst your mum’s were Charms and Potions,’ she added. Harry smiled. ‘It was hard not to like Lily immediately, she was very nice, fun... Well, but our friendship started the morning I was going to show the boys the secret passageway...’


SEPTEMBER 1971 — ONE SATURDAY MORNING


Ariel opened her eyes and the curtains of her bad, seeing the day was already up. She smiled and got up, going to the bathroom to wash up. They had set to meet in the Common Room in the wee small hours of the morning, so they wouldn’t have any problems with the caretaker or any professor or any other student.

She changed her clothes quickly and grabbed her wand. When she was about to leave the room, she heard a voice coming from behind her.

‘Where are you going?’

Ariel turned around to see Lily Evans, the redhead who had shared a table with her in Potions.

‘Err... To the Great Hall... Breakfast...’ Ariel stuttered. Lily looked at her very suspiciously.

‘It’s too early, it’s five in the morning,’ Lily protested.

Ariel sighed. ‘Why are you asking?’ she asked tiredly.

The other girl’s cheek turned slightly pink, but she took a deep breath and got up from her four-poster bed.

‘Because... maybe... we can be friends and I can go with you,’ she said. ‘Well, I know you are friends with those four boys, but a girl needs female friends to have fun with, you know what I mean! And I noticed you are not very fond of...’ she looked around and then whispered, ‘our roommates, are you?’

Ariel smiled and shook her head, absorbing the flow of words Lily had just emitted.

‘Not really,’ she whispered back. ‘They are too girlish, you know? They are always giggling around!’

Lily smiled. ‘But you are a girl and you are allowed to do that sometimes... Only sometimes, not all the time! I know what you mean’, she said and they both giggled. Ariel covered her mouth with her hand and Lily smiled sympathetically. ‘Don’t worry it comes naturally. Now...’

‘Erm... Alright, you can come along. I’ll show something to the boys, but you have to promise you won’t tell anybody!’ Ariel said, strongly.

Lily nodded vehemently. ‘I swear!’ she said and kissed her own fingers crossed. Ariel made a weird face.

‘What’s that?’ she asked, curiously.

‘Err... It’s a Muggle oath,’ Lily explained and then sighed. ‘Never mind.’

‘OK, go get changed. I’ll see if the boys are already in the Common Room,’ Ariel said.

‘OK, I’ll be right back,’ Lily said and headed to the bathroom, but turned around and looked at Ariel. ‘Are you sure we won’t get in trouble?’

‘Yes, I am sure,’ Ariel said, biting her lower lip.

‘You swear?’

Ariel smiled. ‘I swear!’ she said and kissed her fingers. They giggled and Lily entered the bathroom whilst Ariel went to the Common Room.

When she arrived there, the four boys were sitting by the fireplace. They looked at her and James smiled.

‘Ready?’ he asked, enthusiastically.

‘In a minute, a friend of mine is coming along,’ she said and they looked at her apprehensively. ‘Don’t worry, she won’t tell anyone.’

‘Oh, I really don’t want to get into trouble my first weekend here,’ Remus said with a concerned look. Ariel rolled her eyes.

‘Trust me, you won’t. I know every inch of this castle,’ she reassured him.

‘Fine! If we get detentions, you will pay for all of us, alright?’ Sirius said.

‘Fine!’ she said. ‘For all the five of you.’

‘Five?’ he asked, looking around.

‘Including my friend,’ she said.

At this exact moment, Lily appeared on top of the stairs. ‘I’m ready, Ariel,’ she said.

They looked at her directions. Ariel smiled.

‘Good! Let’s go,’ she said and the six of them climbed out of the portrait hole, leaving the Common Room and began following Ariel along the empty corridors. ‘Shh, watch out for Peeves! If he appears and yells, split and let me take the blame!’

‘But it’s not fair!’ Remus whispered in protest.

‘Don’t worry; the worse that could happen is I get detention. I can’t be expelled, I have nowhere else to live,’ Ariel said in a joking tone and winked.

‘Oh,’ Remus simply said.

They looked at one another, James and Sirius holding their laughter. Ariel led them to the third floor, to the stone statue of the One-eye Witch.

‘OK, so, who will do the honors?’ Ariel asked. Sirius grabbed his wand and touched the one-eye witch.

‘What’s the spell?’ he asked bravely.

‘Dissendium,’ she said.

‘Dissendium!’ he said and the eye of the witch enlarged, giving space for a small adult to pass.

‘Wow!’ exclaimed Peter. ‘She wasn’t lying after all!’

Ariel looked at him. ‘Of course not! You can go in and look around, but don’t enter the store, please! Otherwise, if something happens here, I won’t be able to let you know,’ she asked.

‘Alright, I’ll go first,’ Sirius said and entered the hole, followed by James and Peter. Remus looked at Ariel, who smiled encouragingly, and then followed the other three.

‘You can go, I will be here,’ Ariel told Lily with a smile.

‘No, I just... How did you know about it?’ Lily asked.

‘Well... I have lived here since I was six,’ she said. ‘Don’t look at me like that, I will tell you everything, but now, please, you look that way and I’ll look this one.’ Lily nodded. A few minutes later, the boys came back.

‘Wow, you are a genius, Loiseau!’ James said, beaming.

‘Thank you, but I am not,’ she said with a smirk. ‘The Founders are, I just sneaked around.’ They laughed.

‘We should get going, now. Soon the rest of the school will wake up for breakfast and we will be in...’ Remus began and then, stopped dead, just as the other five heard footsteps getting closer as well.

‘Oh, goodness, there is someone coming!’ Lily said and looked at Ariel apprehensively.

Ariel gulped, her blue eyes wide open. ‘You run and hide...’ she began.

‘Some of us can hide under my Invisibility Cloak!’ James said and pulled the cloak from his robes. They looked at him, confused, but Ariel just nodded.

‘You have an Invisibility Cloak?’ Peter asked astonished.

‘Can you hide you five under there?’ Ariel asked.

‘I reckon so!’ James said and pulled Sirius, Remus, Lily and Peter underneath the cloak, whilst Ariel tapped the statue with her wand and murmured something. She looked at them as the hole closed down.

‘Oh Merlin, it’s not working!’ she said, looking at them.

‘What? It must work!’ James began just as Mr. Filch and his cat, Mrs. Norris, appeared around the corner.

‘Well, well, well... I’ve always told your grandfather that you are pure trouble, just like your mom and dad were...’ Filch said, looking at Ariel, who looked at her five friends under the supposed Invisibility Cloak. ‘What are you looking at? Who else is here?’ he asked, suspiciously.

‘Er...’ she gagged, looking at him, ‘nobody, I... I got lost!’

He eyed her suspiciously.

‘You got lost? You know too much about this castle to get lost, little Ariel! You were born a trouble-maker!’ he said and grabbed her arm. ‘I’ll take you directly to your Head of House! Professor McGonagall will surely know what to do with you.’

‘But I didn’t do anything, I was just...’ Ariel protested.

‘I know your species! Hope this time they will let me use the old punishments... Maybe hang you by your wrists for a week or so...’ he trailed as he took her away.

Ariel sighed and gave one more glance over her shoulders towards her five friends, hiding under an Invisibility Cloak that, for her, didn’t work, but since Filch didn’t seem to be able to see them anyways...



‘Very well, Mr. Filch... You can go now. I will have a little chat with Miss Loiseau,’ said Professor McGonagall.

‘But Professor,’ Mr. Filch protested, ‘if you want, I can take care of her,’ he added with hope in his voice.

‘Thank you, but I can handle this,’ she said, leading him to the door and closing it behind him. She then turned around and looked at Ariel, ‘I was wondering when you were going to be brought here by Mr. Filch, Miss Ariel. What have you done?’

Ariel sighed. ‘Nothing. I woke up really early this morning and decided to take a walk. We are not supposed to wander the corridors at night, but it was morning already, so off I went. I got distracted trying to avoid Peeves, so I found myself almost on the other side of the castle, and besides... I was thinking that maybe I could visit my old room,’ she lied with a smile. Professor McGonagall eyed her suspiciously. ‘I swear, Professor! I didn’t do anything,’ she pleaded.

‘Your story sounds convincing and Mr. Filch couldn’t tell if you were doing anything wrong, but next time, let’s resist the urge to explore the castle and remain in your Common Room, shall we?’ suggested the Professor.

‘Yes, Professor,’ Ariel said with a nod. ‘Err... Is my grandfather in his study?’ she asked.

‘I believe so,’ McGonagall replied.

‘Thank you! I will talk to him if...’ she started and then looked at the Professor, ‘it’s OK, I mean... I am not disobeying any rules, am I?’

‘Of course not.’

Ariel smiled. ‘Thank you.’

‘You can go now, Ariel,’ said Professor McGonagall. Ariel nodded and got up, leaving her office. She closed the door and giggled, then ran to the second floor, to her grandfather’s office.

Ariel stopped in front of the gargoyle and sighed.

‘Raspberry jam!’

The gargoyle hopped aside, the wall split in two and the staircase appeared. Ariel jumped on the stairs, climbing the steps two by two. She knocked on the door and opened it right away. Professor Dumbledore, who was sitting by his desk, looked at her and smiled.

‘Good morning, my angel.’

‘Good morning!’ she said and ran to him, hugging and kissing him.

‘One week has passed and you haven’t been come to visit once,’ he said in a playful tone.

‘I know, I’m so sorry,’ she said, walking to Fawkes. ‘Hi, Fawkes,’ she said as she caressed the phoenix, then she looked at Dumbledore, who smiled.

‘You woke up very early today... It’s only half past eight in the morning,’ he said, analyzing her. Ariel sighed and sat on the chair opposite his.

‘I was... Showing off! I mean, Sirius Black challenged me because I told him I knew the castle very well and I took him and my other friends to the stone statue of the One-Eyed Witch on the third floor...’ she poured.

Professor Dumbledore gave her a patronizing smile and shook his head.

‘Ariel, Ariel, what have we said about displays?’

‘I know and I won’t do it again, but he pissed me off, I mean... Is he related to me in any way?’ she asked.

‘Yes, after all, you both come from the Black family,’ he answered simply.

‘Alya was disowned, Dumbledore!’ spoke a voice from behind them. Dumbledore looked at the painting and so did Ariel.

‘Oh... Good morning, Grandfather Nigellus,’ Ariel said.

‘Your mother was Orion’s sister, Sirius’ father’s sister, girl!’ the man in the painting said again.

‘Oh... He’s my first cousin, then?’ she asked and looked at Dumbledore, searching for an answer. He nodded.

‘Yes, I suppose you found a little bit more of your family here at Hogwarts,’ he said.

‘But he’s so... different from the other Blacks in Hogwarts, I mean, Narcissa Black, because Andromeda is nice,’ Ariel said, a little exasperated.

‘He was sorted into Gryffindor, wasn’t he? He really must be different’, Dumbledore said, matter-of-factly.

‘A shame! That’s what he is! Another blotch in the Black’s illustrious bloodline!’ Nigellus yelled from his portrait.

‘Anyways,’ Ariel said, turning to Dumbledore, ‘I took them to the secret passage and...something happened.’

‘Mr. Filch caught you, didn’t he?’ he asked, a little amused.

Ariel nodded. ‘Yes, he did and I told the others to run and hide, because it was my idea and I should be the one to take the blame, so James Potter pulled out what he calls an Invisibility Cloak and he, Remus, Peter, Sirius and Lily hid under it, but... It didn’t work for me, only to Mr. Filch, because he couldn’t see them,’ she told him. ‘But they were there, they put on that cloak, but it was as if they hadn’t! It frightened me,’ she confessed.

Dumbledore took a deep breath.

‘What you did was very risky,’ he finally said.

‘He took me to Professor McGonagall, then. I didn’t tell her the truth and she didn’t give me a detention.’

Dumbledore shook his head, then looked at her.

‘It’s very interesting that you are able to see through Invisibility Cloaks, because I have this gift, too,’ he explained. ‘You see, Ariel... You have powers inside of you that many other students don’t and some can be scared because of that.’

‘Because I can see through a stupid cloak? You just said you can do it too!’ she said.

‘Not only that...your other gifts, Angel, like...the way you move objects just by looking at them, or the way you can command people’s minds without a spell...or, like your father and I, the way you can cast a spell without a wand’, he said.

‘How did you know that?’

‘I’m your grandfather and you have lived with me long enough for me to know you well,’ he explained with a smile.

She looked down. Dumbledore got up and went to her, kneeling down in front of her and lifting her chin with his long fingers.

‘Ariel, it’s not a curse,’ he started. ‘It’s a gift that you should be proud of having. You come from an old and powerful bloodline of wizards and witches, not only on your father’s side, but on your mother’s as well.’

‘I know, I’m not complaining,’ Ariel defended herself. ‘It’s just that...it’s strange when you can do things your friends cannot.’

Dumbledore smiled. ‘That’s why they are in school.’

‘But I am in school too!’

‘But you are in school to perfect and understand your skills and magic,’ he said and kissed her forehead, then got up. ‘Ariel...I will be always here to help you.’

‘Yes...I know, Grandpa,’ she sighed. ‘I reckon I will go meet my friends in the Common Room or Great Hall, they must want to know if I got detention,’ she said and they smiled. Ariel got up and went to the door, then turned around and looked at her great-great-great grandfather. ‘Thank you for always being here!’

He smiled and winked. She turned to go, opening the door.

‘Ariel, try not to make Filch go crazy with you and your new friends, and try not to get yourself in much trouble, please? ‘

She laughed.

‘I will see what I can do! I love you, Grandfather!’ she said and closed the door behind her



Chapter 7: Chapter 7. Ariel and the Four Marauders
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‘So... What did you tell them?’ Ginny asked, curiously.



‘Is that true? You can move objects and make spells without a wand?’ Ron asked. Ariel smiled.



‘Well, first,’ she began, ‘I told them what I had told McGonagall and that I hadn’t gotten detention, and...Yes, I can, Ron,’ she added, looking at Ron, ‘I don’t know when it started, but I remember being able to do it since I was very little.’



‘Brilliant!’ Ron said very enthusiastically. ‘Can you do it right now?’



Ariel looked at Sirius and they both laughed.



‘Don’t leave him hanging,’ Sirius said.



‘No, I won’t,’ she said, smiling. She looked at Harry, then at Ron and blinked. Automatically, Harry’s glasses appeared on Ron’s face. Harry blinked as his vision blurred and he touched his face, not finding his glasses; Ron, on the other hand, felt his vision blurring because of Harry’s prescription glasses and took them off, looking at them in astonishment.



‘Wow...Wicked!’ he said and handed his glasses to Harry, then looked at Ariel with a smile. ‘This is brilliant!’



They laughed. ‘Thank you,’ she said.



‘Do something else,’ Ginny asked, her brown eyes shining.



‘Ok... Err... Are you hungry?’ Ariel said and pressed her hands together, then separated them and a box of Bertie Bott’s appeared out of nowhere. She threw it at Ron, who grabbed it. They laughed again. ‘Or... Hermione, have you ever thought about having blond and straight hair?’ she asked Hermione, whose brown and bushy hair turned blond, long and straight. They gasped in awe, but soon burst into laughter and Hermione smoothed her new locks. Ron stared at her for a few moments, taking in her new looks, then looked at Ariel.



‘Huh... Can you change it back?’ he asked.



‘Sure’, Ariel said with a grin and waved her hand, turning Hermione’s hair back to normal. ‘Better?’



‘Oh, yeah,’ he said, relieved.



‘I liked it,’ Hermione said, ‘not blond, though. Can you teach me how to make it straight?’



Ron looked at her. ‘Now, why would you do something like that?’ he asked.



‘Why not, Ronald?’ Hermione asked, intrigued.


‘Because you’re beau... Err... We like you the way you are, right, Harry?’ he quickly said, pleading for Harry’s help.



‘Err... Yes, but she is beautiful anyways,’ Harry said with a grin. Hermione’s cheeks turned pink instantaneously.



‘Err... Yeah... Well... Yeah!’ Ron said, stuttering. Ginny giggled on Harry’s shoulder. Hermione looked at Ariel, ignoring Ron and Harry.



‘So, Ariel,’ she began, ‘after your little adventure together, you and Harry’s mum became good friends?’ she asked.



‘Yes, very good friends,’ Ariel agreed. ‘Inseparable, to tell you the truth.’



‘Lily taught her how to giggle and whisper,’ Sirius said and they laughed.



‘Yeah, she did! But even when she and Prongs started bickering and she started “hating” him,’ she said, moving her fingers in the air to symbolize the quotes in the word hate, ‘she never told me not to be with them. And I liked being with her, but sometimes I liked being around them, like in the night they decided to draw a map of Hogwarts, in our 5th year... They were already Animagi and that was the night I met Prongs, Padfoot, Moony and Wormtail!’





GRYFFINDOR TOWER, COMMON ROOM — FEBRUARY 25, 1976





The portrait hole was opened and Ariel, Lily, Elena and Kara got into the room talking and laughing. Elena looked at Lily.



‘I don’t know why you don’t just go out with him, Lily! He’s gorgeous and fun and...’ Elena trailed.



‘Conceited, a prat... Annoying... Should I list more?’ Lily continued.



At that moment, a head with untidy, jet black hair emerged from behind the couch across the fireplace.



‘Ouch, Evans... It hurts!’ he said.



Ariel grinned and the other girls giggled. Lily shook her head.



‘Yes, Potter, the truth always hurts,’ she said and climbed the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.



‘Ouch!’ Sirius said and slapped James’s shoulder. ‘Come on, mate, we have loads to do.’



Elena and Kara climbed the stairs to the girls’ dormitory, following Lily. Elena looked back at Ariel.



‘Are you coming?’ she asked. Sirius looked at the girls.



‘No, she’s staying,’ he said, ‘we need to talk to her.’



Ariel looked at him, meeting his grey eyes, but he turned his head back to the boys.



‘Fine,’ Elena said and went upstairs. Ariel went to the boys, looking at the four of them.



‘What?’ she asked as she approached.



‘We need your help with something,’ Sirius said without looking at her.



‘What something? I won’t break any rules, I promised my Grandfather after spending three weeks in detention because of you!’ she warned them.



‘Not because of us... With us,’ Sirius said grinning. James, Remus and Peter help their laughter. She looked at them and turned around to leave, but Sirius grabbed her arm. She looked at him, then at her arm, a chill ran up her spine and it felt like lots of snitches were flying around in her stomach. Sirius looked at her and let go of her arm as if it were burning. ‘Please?’ he pleaded.



‘It’s important and only you can help us’, James said.



‘Why? Because I know all the Marauders’ secrets?’



‘Because you know all the Marauders’ secrets!’ Sirius said.



She looked at them for a moment. ‘Alright then. What do you need me for?’ she asked, sitting on the carpet.


‘What do you know about us, Ariel?’ Remus asked, suddenly. ‘Tell us everything.’



She looked at him and smiled, touching his hand.



‘That’s OK, Remus... Your secret is safe with me and... Yours, too,’ she said, looking at the other three. The four boys looked at one another and she smiled.



‘You know about Moony, Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail?’ James asked.



‘Yes, and besides... It’s not like you hide your nicknames from the school, but I...’ she said, hesitating a little, ‘I know why the Whomping Willow was planted there.’



‘What do you mean?’ Remus asked with some trepidation in his voice.



‘I heard Grandfather Albus saying a boy who had been bitten by a werewolf was coming to Hogwarts the year we all met, so... And when I became friends with you, it was easy to find out who the boy was. Lily and I saw you getting in the Whomping Willow with Grandpa and Madam Pomfrey one night and then the boys went after you and... Later, a rat, a huge black dog, a stag and a werewolf got out to the Forbidden Forest.’



The four boys looked at her completely astonished. She was too calm to be bluffing! Remus leaned forward, looking at her with concern.



‘How long have you known that?’ he asked, mirroring the others’ concern.



‘For some time, now, I mean... About your condition! About you lot being Animagi... Not much,’ she replied.



‘We haven’t been Animagi for long,’ James explained.



‘Oh, well... It was nice of you to become ones though, so you can be together in the tough hours,’ she said, smiling. ‘How did you manage that?’



‘Oh, it wasn’t easy,’ James said. Sirius looked at Ariel with a mischievous grin.



‘Well, well, well... Isn’t it just convenient?’ Sirius said and they looked at him. ‘If you help us with this, we’ll help you become an Animagus.’



Ariel stared at Sirius with a mix of anticipation and doubt. Was he speaking the truth?



‘Uh... What is it that you want me to help you with?’ she asked, curiosity winning over any doubt. Remus shook his head vehemently.



‘No, absolutely not! Sirius, this is out of question!’ he said, indignantly.



‘C’mon, Moony... We can give her what she wants and she can give us what we want!’ Sirius justified.



‘Yes, it’s perfect,’ Peter said.



‘If we can, she can too,’ James said, smiling.



‘Can’t you see this is completely wrong? It’s bad enough that the three of you went against the rules and now you want her to do the same? She’s Dumbledore’s granddaughter!’ Remus admonished.



‘So, what? She doesn’t need to tell him everything she does,’ Sirius said.



‘Can’t you see how serious it is? You can’t ask her to break the rules!’ Remus exclaimed.



‘Hey, stop talking as if I weren’t here!’ Ariel said, calling their attention. ‘Thank you for your concern, Remus... But I can decide it for myself and my answer is yes! I’ve broke enough rules already and most of them were with you lot,’ she said angrily. ‘So, what do you want my help for?’



Remus shook his head and threw his arms up in defeat. The other three boys smiled.



‘We need a map of Hogwarts. Wormtail here found out loads of nice places, but you know all the secret passages, so... Can you lot work together to draw a map?’ Sirius explained.



‘Of course! I just don’t know much about the Whomping Willow and the Forbidden Forest, but you know enough about it, don’t you?’ Ariel asked, smiling.



‘Oh, yeah,’ James said, smiling.



‘Great! When do we start working?’ she asked with a grin.





In the following weeks, the five of them worked together on the map, while James and Sirius taught Ariel how to become an Animagus; in the end of 4 weeks, she finally managed to morph into a beautiful white owl.



It was a night in March and the five of them were all in an empty classroom on the third floor. Remus was by the door, watching it, while Peter was in his rat form, watching the corridor and James and Sirius were with Ariel in the middle of the room.



‘Concentrate, Ariel! I know it’s hard, it took us three years, you just started four weeks ago,’ James said.



‘I know, but it’s frustrating!’ she whined, making a gesture with her hand and some butterflies appeared and started flying around the room. The boys smiled and Remus shook his head. ‘Give me the graphics again, I’ll do it tonight or my name is not Ariel Loiseau!’

James grabbed the graphics, which escaped from his hands and landed on hers as if she had accioed them. ‘Thanks,’ she said.



‘I’ll never understand how you do that!’ James exclaimed and she shrugged, examining the parchments.



‘Neither will I,’ she agreed. ‘I must be doing something really wrong. I never took so long to learn a spell or charm or transfigure something,’ she said and looked at her watch. ‘Merlin, it’s midnight already!’



‘We should go back to the Gryffindor tower,’ said Remus, a little apprehensive.



‘No, you are not going to stay here alone,’ Sirius said. ‘I promise you, tomorrow we’ll spend all our free time working on it.’



They looked at each other for a moment and she smiled.



‘Alright, then,’ she agreed.



‘Good! Let’s get going, then,’ James said and they waited for Peter, and then went back to the Gryffindor tower.



The Common Room was already deserted as they entered it. ‘Well, I’m going to bed,’ Ariel said, looking at them. ‘Oh, I will finish the map tomorrow. I put all the secret passageways in it, including the one on the fifth floor that takes straight here. Soon it will be Peter’s turn to work on the map.’



‘Don’t worry, I’m ready,’ Peter said.



‘Great. Good night and thank you’, she said as she climbed the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.





Ariel closed the curtains of her four-poster bed and laid down, looking at the ceiling, but after forty minutes of not being able to fall asleep, she decided to practice her transfiguration a little bit more. After almost one hour and a half, when she was about to give up, she felt her arms curve and a layer of white feather cover her arms and upper body. She opened her eyes wide and looked down at herself, but she turned back into her human form. She jumped out of her bed and ran out of the dormitory, going to the boys’. Ariel knocked on the door and opened it.



‘Guys... Guys, wake up!’ she hissed, running to the first bed and opening its curtains. ‘James, wake up!’



James sat up in a bolt and looked at her. The other three curtains were open suddenly and three sleepy faces looked at her.



‘What the bloody hell happened?’ Sirius asked, half-asleep, half-annoyed. James reached out to the bedside table and got his glasses, shoving them on his face.



‘Ariel, what time is it?’ he asked.



‘I have no idea! The point is,’ she said as she climbed onto James’ bed, ‘I managed something!’



Sirius sighed. ‘Couldn’t you wait until tomorrow morning to show it to us?’ he asked, impatiently.



‘No!’ she said, shaking her head. ‘Look...’ she concentrated, and this time, not only her arms shrank and her upper body covered with white feathers, but her whole body changed as well, turning into a one-feet-tall owl, snow white, with large amber eyes, a beak and claws. The boys watched the transfiguration in amazement. She had mastered in a month what had taken them practically three years to achieve! The little owl flapped her wings and managed to flutter above James’ bed for a few seconds, but the effort was too much and it transfigured back into Ariel’s very human form, who lay back on James’ bed, panting and smiling.



Sirius jumped from his bed to James’, almost climbing on Ariel, a huge smile on his face, and held her shoulders.



‘YOU... DID... IT!’ he screamed, beaming.



‘I did it! I cannot believe I did it!’ she said, smiling.



‘Alright, now we have to work on the transfiguration itself, because it didn’t last long,’ James stated, also smiling.



‘I know! I will manage that! I will practice and...’ she covered her face with her hands, then she laughed and looked at them. ‘I will be able to fly without a broom!’



She got up, standing on James’ bed and twirling around with her arms open and her long black hair dancing in the air. They laughed.



‘Learning how to fly first won’t be a bad thing,’ Sirius said, teasing her. She fell back on the bed and slapped his shoulder.



‘I bet you had to learn how to wag your tail, Black,’ she said, laughing.



‘Oh, no, he was a natural at that,’ Remus said matter-of-factly. They burst into laughter and Sirius threw a pillow at him. Ariel sighed and got up.



‘Thanks, you lot,’ she said and smiled. ‘I have to go back to my dormitory.’



‘Well done, Loiseau,’ Peter said with a wink.



‘Thanks, Pettigrew,’ she thanked politely and left the room, going back to her dormitory, humming and twirling like a ballerina.



Chapter 9: Chapter 8 - Alma Veritas
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Chapter 8. Alma Veritas


‘And then, Snowy was born’, Sirius said. ‘The fifth Marauder.’

She smiled. ‘Not really...only sometimes. Never on full moon, though,’ she added.

‘Never?’ Ron and Harry asked together.

‘Only once,’ Sirius said. ‘But Remus thought it was too dangerous for her.’

‘I didn’t argue, because it was their thing and besides, I had intruded a lot already,’ Ariel explained. ‘There were things we did together, but they were the troublemakers and the pranks were on them!’

They laughed. Sirius glanced at her.

‘She was different from the other girls’, he said. ‘She really caught my attention. One day she caught my attention, the next... I was confused, completely confused’, he added, looking at the lake. The others looked at him and Ariel smiled as she held his hand. ‘I mean, she was always beautiful, but one day she wasn’t just beautiful, she was...More than that! And I had this monster inside me that made want to hex the boys who approached her, at the same time that, whenever she was around, I couldn’t help being rude most of the time.’

The boys blushed. Harry glanced at Ron and noticed his ears turning a bright pink. Ginny and Hermione looked at each other and Ariel laughed.

‘Where did that come from?’ she asked. Sirius looked at her and laughed.

‘I don’t know, I just remembered when you kissed Daniel Nash after a Quidditch practice in our sixth year,’ he explained and then looked at the boys. ‘She was a Seeker like you, Harry, and a very good one! That bloke Nash was the Keeper, he was in the seventh year...’ he paused for a moment, as if thinking, ‘I remember I told Prongs not to recruit him, but he did it anyway. Your father and I were Chasers, you know?’ Harry nodded.

‘I never knew you were a Quidditch player,’ Ron said, a little surprised.

‘He was a very good one, too’, Ariel smiled. ‘He and James on the same team... No other team could beat Gryffindor.’

Sirius smiled. ‘She’s being modest, for she was an amazing player, she flies like no other. You will enjoy playing with her... She’s very tough’, he completed.

‘No arguing about the flying part’, Ron muttered. They laughed.

‘But you know, Sirius, I remembered that day this morning’, Ariel continued. ‘It’s funny you mentioned it.’

‘You did?’

Ariel nodded. ‘Yes, I remembered when you said you didn’t want my friendship anymore... I cried! And Lily had a plan...’


HOGWARTS — MARCH 1977


James whistled and signed for everybody to go down. Once on the ground, he looked at the Gryffindor team and smiled.

‘Great practice, everyone! We will definitely beat Slytherin on Saturday morning’, he said, encouragingly.

‘Of course we will!’ Karl Maze, one of the Beaters, agreed.

‘Good, you can go change now’, James said and they started moving to the changing room.

Ariel stopped to pull her hair back and someone stood next to her. She turned around and saw Daniel Nash, the Keeper of the team, and they smiled. Ariel grabbed her broom at the same time she felt a hand grabbing her waist and pulling her towards a muscled body; then, she felt something hot and wet collide with her mouth, capturing her tongue. Sirius, who was walking towards the changing room, stopped dead in his tracks, watching the scene in disgust.

Once the practice was over, Remus and Peter went to the pitch to meet Sirius and James, so they could go back to the Gryffindor Tower. They both looked at Sirius and then Peter turned to Remus and shrugged.

‘What are you doing, Padfoot? Go get changed!’ Remus admonished, but Sirius kept looking at Ariel and Nash. Remus followed his gaze, immediately understanding his odd behavior. ‘Hello?’

Sirius’s hand searched for something inside his robes and suddenly he raised his wand, but he was stopped by Remus, who held his wrist.

‘No, Padfoot! It’s none of your business,’ Remus pleaded.

Sirius glanced at Remus with an angry face, but a hurt look in his eyes.

‘The bastard is suffocating her and... She’s my... She’s my cousin!’ he muttered behind clenched teeth.

‘As much as your behavior is honorable, Padfoot, I really think you should let her handle it,’ Remus suggested. Sirius looked at him with a puzzled expression.

‘But...’

Peter tapped on his shoulder. ‘Let’s go, mate, let’s find James and go back to the Common Room.’

‘Yes, come on’, Remus said and led Sirius to the changing room.

A few moments after being caught by surprise, Ariel realized what was really happening. Yes, she was being kissed; it was really good and soft, but... She opened her eyes and looked at the boy who was kissing her. He was not Sirius. Not Sirius! Next thing she did was to push Daniel Nash away. He looked at her with a surprised face.

‘What the bloody hell are you doing, Nash?’

‘What do you mean, Loiseau? I’m kissing you! Come on’, he said with a soft smile and held her hand.

‘No!’ she said firmly and looked at him, ‘I’m so sorry! You are very nice, but I’m sorry, I... I like someone else.’

He snorted. ‘I see... Black, right? He doesn’t give a bloody damn for you, Loiseau’, he said, anger clear in his voice.

‘Never do that again, Nash! I don’t want to hurt you, or worse... Hex you and get detention! I’m warning you!’ she said with a serious tone and turned around, going straight to the Gryffindor common room.

As soon as Ariel climbed through the portrait hole, Sirius looked at her with a furious face. The other three Marauders sighed and Sirius turned around.

‘Sirius...’ James pleaded, trying to hold his arm, but he freed himself from James’ grip and crossed the room, standing in front of Ariel. She looked at him.

‘I thought you were different, but you really proved me wrong! I’m so disappointed’, he said. She looked at him, confused.

‘What?’ she asked.

‘I don’t want your friendship!’ he yelled and left the room, climbing out of the portrait hole. Ariel looked at the three other boys standing in front of the fireplace.

‘What happened to him? Is he mad?’ she asked.

‘Madly in love, I’d say’, Peter said, snorting. James poked him and Remus just sighed.

‘He’s OK, he’s just nervous because of the game against Slytherin on Saturday,’ Remus explained.

‘Sirius is nervous because of a stupid game? Yeah... He must really be mad! You should take him to Madam Pomfrey,’ she shook her head and climbed the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.


Down in the common room, the three boys looked at one another and James grinned.

‘Are they blind or what? I thought he was going to slap her, but when she saw him, I thought she was going to go starkers!’ he said, laughing.

Peter laughed and Remus smiled, shaking his head.

‘You know Padfoot, Prongs. He will never admit he’s in love with her’, Remus said. ‘But one thing is for sure... She likes him, unlike Evans!’

James snorted and walked to the portrait hole. ‘I’ll go talk to him,’ he said and left.

Remus laughed and grabbed his book, sitting in the armchair in front of the fireplace. Peter sat in the other armchair with a sigh.


Ariel marched directly to her four-poster bed and closed the curtains around her, lying on her bed and staring at the ceiling. Sirius was supposed to kiss her, not Nash! And now, for some reason she couldn’t understand, Sirius had said he didn’t want her friendship anymore. What was going on in the world? The last thing she could remember, when the world was still beautiful and perfect, was seeing Sirius flying on his broomstick, his black hair dancing with the wind and that beautiful smile of his, making her lose her focus on the practice and causing James to yell at her when a Quaffle hit her broom, almost making her fall.

She grabbed her pillow and covered her face with it, then screamed into it. The other girls in the room looked at one another and Lily, who was sitting on her bed when Ariel came into the room, sighed and got up, going to her friend’s bed and touched the curtains for a moment, just before opening them.

‘Get off!’

‘No!’ Lily said and climbed on the bed, closing the curtains again.

‘Leave me alone, Lily’, Ariel asked.

‘No, you’re my friend and I want to know what happened! Was it Sirius again?’

Ariel sighed and threw a pillow at Lily, who caught it.

‘Yes, I mean... I hate to admit it, but...’ she took a deep breath, ‘I fancy him! I really do! And I don’t know what’s wrong with that... Dog! In a minute he’s all nice and friendly, and suddenly...’

‘What happened this time?’ Lily asked again.

‘I don’t know! After practice, I... I had a little something with Nash, I mean... He kind of kissed me and...’ she said, a little embarrassed. Lily widened her eyes.

‘What? Daniel Nash kissed you?’

‘Yes...’ Ariel muttered.

‘I knew it! He fancies you! He can’t stop looking at you when you are around!’

‘He does not,’ Ariel said, rolling her eyes. ‘The thing is that when I left the pitch, everybody had left already and I was so mad at Daniel Nash that I came directly to the common room, then... When I stepped inside, Black came up to me and said he didn’t want my friendship, that I had disappointed him! Why, I don’t know! I swear I almost hexed him, but instead, I came here.’

Lily looked at her with a suspicious face.

‘Sirius Black said that?’ she asked and Ariel nodded. ‘By any chance, do you know if he saw it when you and Nash... Kissed?’

Ariel looked at her. ‘No... Why? I don’t think so, because he was talking to Remus and Peter Pettigrew...’

Lily smiled. ‘You know, Ariel... There is this potion that makes the person declare if he or she fancies someone’, she said. ‘Professor Slughorn talked about it a few weeks ago... It’s called Alma Veritas. It’s not difficult to make it, we just need the ingredients.’

‘What do you mean, Lily?’ Ariel asked with a grin. ‘Am I hearing correctly? The perfect Prefect is planning to steal some potion ingredients from her favorite Professor?’

‘To help my best friend, yes’, Lily said a little too matter-of-factly. ‘Actually, I am, and I can tell you that he won’t even notice it.’

Ariel smiled and sat on the bed.

‘What are you planning, exactly?’

‘Shh!’ Lily said and came closer to Ariel, whispering her plan to her. Ariel bit her lower lip and smiled.

‘So, you think he fancies me, am I correct?’ Ariel asked, Lily nodded. ‘Well... I like your plan, but, you are completely mad, Lily! Of course he does not fancy me...’

‘Oh, really? I think you are wrong and blind!’ Lily said with a playful smile.

‘Lily, he...’

‘Ariel, are we going to do it or not?’ Lily interrupted her and asked. Ariel grinned.

‘Yes, we are,’ she answered.

‘Perfect!’ Lily said and both girls giggled.


Next morning, the girls had everything planned. During the break after Charms, they ran to the dungeons, where Professor Slughorn had just dismissed his class. They waited for the last student to leave, and then they knocked on the door. Professor Slughorn was at his desk, marking the essays the students had just handed in.

‘Professor, excuse us’, said Lily.

He looked at the girls and smiled. ‘My dear Miss Evans, and Miss Loiseau. What do I owe your presence to?’

‘I was wondering, Professor’, Lily started, ‘you asked us to create our own potion for next class, and I thought about a protection one. I wanted to ask you some questions about the ingredients.’

‘Of course, of course! Sit down and let’s talk’, he said with a satisfied smile on his face. ‘I always like it when you come with your new and brilliant ideas, Miss Evans’, he said as he gestured towards the chairs. ‘And you, Miss Loiseau? Did you have any ideas about your assignment?’

‘Oh, yes, sir, but today I only came to give Lily some company’, Ariel said, smiling and sitting on one of the desks.

‘Mmm... Very well’, he said, a little disappointed. ‘Your grandfather must be very proud of you’, he added and then, turned to Lily. ‘So...’

‘So’, Lily started talking about her potion and Ariel turned to the cabinet where Professor Slughorn kept his ingredients.

As soon as she noticed the professor was totally absorbed in Lily’s conversation, she murmured the names of the ingredients she wished and they flew into her hand. She immediately put them in her pocket, one by one: lavender, vetiver, fern seeds, belladonna and mandrake roots. When she had all the ingredients safe in her robes, she looked at Lily and got up, getting her books.

‘Professor, Lily... I’m so sorry to interrupt you, but we are going to be late for Herbology class’, Ariel said. ‘Professor Sprout asked us to be there as early as possible, remember?’ she asked with the most innocent of smiles.

‘Oh, yes’, Lily said quickly and got up. Professor Slughorn looked at them with a disappointed face, but smiled.

‘You should go, then. Don’t be late, girls! And besides, my students must be arriving for the class at any moment’, the professor said.

‘Thanks, Professor’, Lily thanked him. ‘You helped a lot.’

‘It’s a pleasure, Miss Evans! It’s a pleasure! Now, off you go.’

‘Thanks, Professor’, Ariel said and they both left the dungeons as fast as possible. When they were far enough from it, Lily looked at Ariel and they burst into laughter.

‘Did you get everything?’ Lily asked.

‘Everything! I cannot believe he didn’t see the bottles flying from his cabinet!’ Ariel said, laughing. ‘You are a genius, Lily Evans!’

‘No, you are!’ Lily said, laughing. ‘I cannot believe it, I’m a Prefect and I just mugged my favorite teacher!’

They burst into laughter again and ran to the greenhouses.


‘How long does it take, Lily?’ Ariel asked, sitting next to Lily on the floor.

‘Did you get the sweets?’ Lily asked.

‘Yes’, Ariel said, handing it to her. ‘Here.’

‘Just thirty more minutes... It’s easy and quick, don’t worry.’

‘I’m not worried, I just hope no other Prefect decides to take a late bath, or a certain Quidditch captain’, Ariel trailed off with a grin. Lily shrieked.

‘Don’t even joke about it!’ she said and Ariel laughed.

‘We should have used the girls’ bathroom on the first floor, the one where Myrtle lives’, Ariel insisted. Lily looked at her, shaking her head.

‘No, she would have made fun of us.’

‘Actually, she would just moan about her... Death! But let’s go with that.’

Lily laughed and thirty minutes later she looked at Ariel. ‘Done! Alma Veritas! Professor Slughorn would be very proud of us!’

Ariel grinned. ‘Indeed... We mugged his personal supplies cabinet, prepared a potion we are not supposed to prepare... Yes, he would be delighted’, she said with a laugh. Lily laughed and took the candy, injecting the potion in it. Both girls looked at each other with a grin. Ariel took the candy back, examining it. ‘Alma Veritas... The true love potion! Let’s find out if Sirius Black is just a stupid geek or if he really fancies me.’

‘I’d bet it’s the second option... You should look at him when you’re around’, Lily said.

‘Shut up, Evans’, Ariel said with a huge smile on her lips.

Lily smiled and cleaned everything with her wand. ‘Just don’t mess up the candy and end up giving the right one to Potter or Lupin’, she added.

‘I won’t,’ Ariel said and they laughed again.


PRESENT DAY


‘Did you take a love potion?’ Ron asked with his jaw dropped open.

Sirius looked at Ariel with an amused face. ‘Almost. Something came up that they were not expecting’, he said. Ariel rolled her eyes with an annoyed face.

‘It’s not a love potion Ron, it’s a very harmless potion. If someone takes it and he or she is really in love with the person in question, he or she will only declare their love, telling the truth about his or her true feelings. If not, nothing will happen’, Hermione explained. ‘He or she will not fall in love with the person who gave it to him or her, neither be obsessed like when someone takes Amortentia.’

‘Tell me about it’, Ron snorted.

‘Ron took a love potion in our sixth year’, Harry explained. Ariel and Sirius looked at him with an amused face.

‘Did you really?’ Sirius asked.

‘Oh, it’s a long story’, Ron said. ‘You tell yours and later you’ll know about the best seventeenth birthday of the century. Go ahead’, he added.

‘Oh, Ron’, Hermione said and rested her hand on his shoulder with a sorrowful face. He looked at her with a weak smile. Harry and Ginny laughed.

‘So, what happened? Did you find out about the potion?’ Ginny asked.

‘Alright...’ Sirius continued.


GRYFFINDOR TOWER — MARCH 1977


Remus Lupin climbed through the portrait hole and almost immediately spotted his three fellow Marauders gathered around one of the tables, murmuring to one another. He approached them, standing by the table.

‘You lot...’ he said and they looked at him. ‘Upstairs, now!’

They glanced at one another, then at Lupin.

‘Is there a problem, Moony?’ Sirius asked, confused.

‘I will tell you in the dormitory’, he said as he headed to the stairs.

The three looked at one another and James shrugged getting up. They followed Remus upstairs to the boys’ dormitory. Once inside, Remus checked that there was nobody else in and closed the door, then looked at the other boys, who were staring at him curiously. He grinned.

‘I just witnessed the most interesting thing in the Prefects’ bathroom’, Remus said. ‘Can you guess who was in there brewing a forbidden potion?’

‘Don’t have the foggiest, Moony’, James said.

‘A certain Gryffindor Prefect and a certain white owl...’ Remus answered, grinning widely.

‘What?’ James and Peter asked, incredulously. Sirius’s expression stiffened.

‘What were you doing alone with Loiseau in the Prefects’ bathroom?’ he asked. Remus stared at him with an amused expression.

‘Well... Now I know she won’t need the potion she’s brewing’, Remus said and smacked Sirius on the forehead. Sirius looked at him surprised.

‘Ouch! What was that for?’ Sirius asked.

‘How many Prefects does Gryffindor have, Padfoot? And why would I be brewing a potion with Loiseau?’

‘Lily Evans?’ Sirius asked with his jaw dropped.

Remus rolled his eyes. ‘Right you are’, he said.

‘What kind of potion? What are they planning?’ James asked.

‘I knew that girl was trouble’, Sirius said with a huge grin. The three boys looked at him in disbelief.

‘They are plotting against you, loverboy’, Remus said.

Sirius looked at him, confused. ‘Me? OK...’ he said, his expression becoming serious. ‘Spill it, Moony!’

‘Well’, he started with a smile, ‘I was about to enter the bathroom to take a long and relaxing bath...’

‘Spare us from the details, Moony’, Peter said, impatiently.

‘OK’, Remus continued. ‘As I stepped into the bathroom, I saw Evans and Loiseau in a corner, talking in a low voice... I realized they were up to something, so I sneaked in as silently as possible to try and find out what they were doing... That’s when I heard them talking about having mugged Professor Slughorn’s personal supplies and saw Loiseau injecting a potion into a chocolate candy...’ he stopped and grinned. ‘Can you guess what potion it is?’

‘A love potion?’ Peter asked.

‘Not exactly, Wormtail... Alma Veritas’, Remus said. Peter looked at him confused, James widened his eyes and Sirius became pale.

‘What?’ Sirius said. ‘And they are planning to give it to me?! Do you know what happens if I take it? I would tell her...’ he trailed off, looking at them.

‘That’s exactly what they want... Oh, let me quote Loiseau’s words... “I want to find out if Sirius Black is nothing but a stupid geek or if he really fancies me”!’

Sirius looked at him dumbfounded. James and Peter chuckled and Remus laughed.

‘I...’ Sirius started, ‘I can’t believe she reckons I might be a geek!’

‘So, you do fancy her?’ Remus asked, amused. Sirius stared at him for a few seconds.

‘Shut up, Moony’, he said, the boys laughed. ‘So, she’ll offer me a candy...’

‘Please, don’t take it’, Remus warned him.

‘Don’t worry mate. I will accept it and she will think her plan has worked, but she will have a surprise’, Sirius said, tapping on Remus’ shoulder.

‘That’s the spirit’, Peter said.

‘Mate... Easy! Don’t put yourself in trouble’, Remus said with a worried expression.

‘I won’t’, he said and looked at James, who grinned.


That night, the girls had dinner very quickly and Ariel barely finished her dessert and got up.

‘Lily, I’ll say good night to grandfather and then we can go... I cannot believe I completely forgot Professor Blutegel’s essay!’ Ariel said.

‘I will wait for you’, Lily smiled and Ariel nodded, going to the staff table. The four boys, specifically Sirius, followed Ariel with their eyes. Ariel kissed and hugged Professor Dumbledore; they spoke to each other briefly and laughed, he smiled and caressed her long black hair. Ariel smiled and hugged him again, then put her hands in her pockets and handed him two candies. The Headmaster smiled and she said something; he nodded and she came back to the table.

‘Ready’, she said as she approached.

‘Good, let’s go’, Lily said and got up.

‘Where are you going?’ Kara asked.

‘To the Common Room... Ariel forgot about the essay for tomorrow’, Lily explained.

Kara nodded and Lily and Ariel headed to the door. Sirius looked at James, then at the others and got up. Remus sighed and got up, following Sirius. Peter and James looked at each other.

‘Let’s go’, James said, ‘I cannot eat anything else!’

Peter nodded and they got up, joining the other two. They left the Great Hall just as the girls were starting to climb the first steps of the Marble Stair.

‘Hey, Loiseau!’ Sirius shouted and they both turned around. ‘Hi!’

Ariel handed a candy to Lily and looked at him. ‘I reckoned you weren’t talking to me since last night you said you did not want my friendship anymore’, she said with a hurtful voice. Sirius’s expression softened.

‘I know and I’m so sorry for that, Loiseau, but listen...’ he started.

‘No’, she simply said.

‘No what?’ he asked, confused.

‘I won’t lend you my essay’, she said. ‘Isn’t that what you want?’

‘Uh... No, I... I was wondering if you could, at least, lend me your notes.’

‘Ask Moony, he’s your friend... You made it very clear last night’, she said.

‘He has already, but I don’t have notes,’ Remus said in Sirius’s defense. Sirius looked at him, not believing he was helping him, and then he looked at Ariel with a pleading smile.

‘Please?’ he asked again.

‘No’, she said, firmly.

Sirius nodded, then looked at the candy in her hand.

‘Can I have one?’ he asked. She looked at the candy in her hand.

‘Why should I give you one?’ she asked. Sirius sighed.

‘Look... I’m sorry about last night, I didn’t mean it’, he said. Ariel sighed.

‘Right.’

‘Come on, Ariel’, Lily said as she opened her candy and took a bite on it. Ariel looked at her, then at Sirius and handed him her candy.

‘Here’, she said and got three more candies from her pocket, giving one to each boy.

‘Thanks’, Sirius said, smiling.

‘Thanks’, the boys said. Ariel nodded and grabbed Lily’s hand, climbing the stairs.

As soon as the girls disappeared, the four boys looked at one another.

‘I’m afraid of eating it’, Peter said.

‘Nonsense... Only Padfoot’s is... Let’s say... Blessed’, James said with a smile as he opened the candy and put it into his mouth at once. Peter looked at him and shrugged, doing the same. Remus eyed his candy suspiciously and opened it carefully, taking a small bite. Sirius took a long look at his candy and played with it, bouncing it up and catching it in the air, finally keeping it in his pocket as they went back to the Gryffindor tower.



The four boys climbed through the portrait hole and entered the Common Room. Sirius’s eyes searched for Ariel around the room, finally spotting her in front of the fire with Lily. He marched towards the girls, stopping in front of them. James, Remus and Peter sat on a table, watching Sirius and his plan. Both girls looked up and Ariel arched her right eyebrow.

‘Yes, Black?’ she asked. Sirius cleared his throat.

‘Can we... Talk? I mean... Would you care for a walk around the lake with me? I would like to talk to you’, he said.

‘You can talk here’, she said, matter-of-factly, trying her best to hide the snitches flying freely in her stomach. Yes, Sirius wanted to talk to her, that meant only one thing: he had eaten the candy and she would know once and for all what he felt for her, but now that it was really happening Ariel was a little bit afraid of hearing what he had to tell her. She sighed deeply at the same moment he looked around the common room, then at her again.

‘No, not here’, he insisted. ‘It’s too crowded. Please?’

Ariel and Lily looked at each other. Lily gave an encouraging smile to her best friend. Ariel sighed one more time and slowly, she nodded.

‘Alright’, she said and got up.

‘I’ll ask for James’ cloak’, he said.

Ariel nodded and he headed of to the boys. A few minutes later, Ariel and Sirius were under James’s Invisibility Cloak heading to the lake, without saying a word to each other. They stopped by a tree by the lake’s edge and Sirius took off the cloak, staring at the lake for a couple of minutes. Ariel looked at him, waiting. After what seemed to be an eternity, he looked at her, meeting her blue eyes with his gray ones.

‘I am sorry for being rude with you last night after the practice... I did that because...’ he started and held her hand. ‘I didn’t like what I saw.’

‘And what did you see, Sirius?’ she asked with a trembling voice.

‘You and Daniel Nash... Together’, he said and sighed. ‘And when you entered the Common Room, I wanted to hurt you the way you hurt me.’

She opened her mouth to speak, but he put his finger on her lips.

‘Let me finish...’ he continued. ‘I didn’t know what I was feeling until last night. You were just Ariel, the smartest girl I ever met, the most prankster, fun, clever and suddenly... You were more than that!’ he said and caressed her cheek with his finger. ‘I fancy you, Ariel, I really do.’

Ariel touched his hand, her heart beating fast in her chest and gave a small smile.

‘Sirius... I don’t have anything with Daniel Nash! I was really mad with him and his behavior and I almost hexed him and...’

Sirius’s lips touched hers gently. Ariel closed her eyes when his tongue opened the way between her lips and she allowed her tongue to meet his.

‘You are beautiful, Ariel’, he said when they pulled apart. Ariel looked at him for a moment, then looked at the ground, biting her lower lip.

‘No’, she said and took a deep breath. ‘This is not right’, she added and looked at him. ‘You just said all of this because I made you do that, Sirius... I gave you a candy with a potion so you would tell me what your feelings are! You did... But you didn’t do it because your heart demanded it, you did it because I made you, I forced you...’

He looked at her for a moment, a little amused.

‘What?’ he asked.

‘Lily and I... I was so choked and hurt with what you said last night that Lily had an idea... We kind of stole some ingredients for this potion, Alma Veritas, and...’

Sirius smiled.

‘You don’t really think I am a geek, do you?’ he asked. She looked at him, confused.

‘What? How do you...?’ she asked. Sirius caressed her face and laughed, putting his hand in his pocket and showing her the candy. Ariel looked at him, more confused than ever. ‘What...’ she started again.

‘Moony saw you and Evans in the Prefects’ bathroom and he told us what you lot were up to’, he explained.

‘Oh, Merlin...’ she exclaimed and covered her face with her hands. ‘OK... I got it, you did all of this just to humiliate me’, she said, her eyes filling with tears. ‘I should have known... How was I supposed to know that you hadn’t eaten this stupid candy?’ she asked, grabbing the candy and throwing it on the lake. Sirius looked at her and touched her arm. ‘Don’t touch me!’ she warned him.

‘No, Ariel, you don’t understand...’

‘I don’t want to hear anything anymore! Well done, Padfoot... I’m feeling horrible! You accomplished your task!’ she said, tears rolling down her cheeks; tears of sadness, humiliation and anger.

‘Ariel’, he said, holding her by her shoulders. She tried to free herself, but he didn’t let her go. ‘Think! If I wanted to humiliate you, I wouldn’t do it here, I would do it up there, in front of everybody’, he said and took a deep breath. ‘Look... I meant every word! I fancy you... No, no... I love you, Ariel, and I want to be with you.’

She looked at him for a while. It made perfect sense; he wouldn’t humiliate her in private. She smiled. Sirius smiled back and cupped her face with both hands, kissing her again. He hugged her tight and she hugged him back.

‘You are so good... Just the way I imagined it’, he said with a smile. She smiled and pulled slightly back, to look at him.

‘What do you mean?’

Sirius smiles and kissed her lips softly. ‘You taste like chocolate and smell like vanilla and broom polish...’

She laughed. ‘Merlin, do I smell like broom polish?’ she asked. He smiled.

‘In a good way, of course’, he said. ‘It’s one of my favorite smells’, he added. She smiled and caressed his face. ‘Stay with me’, he asked.

‘Yes’, she nodded and looked at him. ‘I love you too, Sirius! Can you feel it?’ she asked, taking his hand and putting it on her chest, on her heart, which was beating really fast. He smiled.

‘Wow, mine is like that too’, he said and hugged her, kissing her again.

They spent a long time by the lake, kissing and talking, and then Sirius held her hand and threw the Invisibility Cloak over them, taking them back to the castle. They climbed through the portrait hole and saw the other three Marauders chatting in front of the fire. Ariel and Sirius smiled.

‘Well, I’m going to bed’, she said.

‘OK’, he said and tucked a lock of her hair behind her ear. They smiled and he kissed her softly. ‘Good night.’

‘Good night’, she said and climbed the stairs to the girls’ dormitory.

Sirius took a deep breath and smiled, looking at his friends. The three of them were looking at him.

‘Did I see it right? Did you just kiss Ariel Loiseau?’ Peter asked. Sirius sat next to him, tapping his back.

‘Yes, we are officially dating’, he said. James looked at him suspiciously.

‘Is this a plot, mate? She’s very nice, and our friend... Don’t hurt her,’ James stated.

‘No, it’s not a plot’, Sirius said as he laid back on the couch, putting his hands behind his head. ‘I am really in love!’

‘What?!’ Peter exclaimed and shook his head, James and Remus smiled.

‘Did you tell her that?’ Remus asked.

‘Yes and she said she loves me too’, Sirius said with a smile.

‘Congratulations, mate!’ James said. ‘She’s amazing! I’m really glad you finally found out you fancy each other!’

‘Thanks, Prongs! I feel like... I could spend all my life with her’, Sirius said, dreamily. Remus smiled.

‘Now, wait... You are intoxicated with love’, he said. They laughed and Sirius threw him a cushion.

‘Bear in mind that nothing is going to change... We will always be the Four Marauders and this is how the next generation of Lupin-Irving, Potter-Evans, Pettigrew-Perkins and Black-Loiseau will know us!’ Sirius said with a laugh.

Peter snorted. ‘Tell Perkins that, you’d be doing me a huge favor!’ he said and the boys laughed.

‘Just... One remark, Padfoot’, James began, Sirius looked at him. ‘Don’t try to protect her at the game on Saturday morning.’

‘Do you want to see me on the ground? She would hex me until I’m dead!’ Sirius said and they laughed.

‘I’m glad you know that’, James said.

Chapter 10: Chapter 9 - Musk and Mint
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

‘You were very brave, man’, Ron said.

‘Oh... Why? Thank you, Ron!’ Ariel said, laughing. Ron’s face turned red.

‘No, I mean...’ he stuttered, ‘to declare himself to the girl he loved, I mean... You are... you know... look at you... you... I mean...’ he went on, becoming redder and redder. They laughed.

‘No problem, I get it. Thanks’, Ariel winked with a smile. He smiled shyly.

‘Your time will come, mate’, Harry said, laughing and tapped on Ron’s back.

‘Shut up, Harry’, Ron said.

‘It’s not that hard’, Sirius started with a smiled, ‘although I admit that, had I not known of her intentions to “poison” me, it would have taken a little bit longer... Or a lot, we’ll never know.’

‘That’s fine’, Harry said. ‘But judging by what you are telling us, you were made for each other and you were like, part of the Marauders, Ariel... But my mum and dad were the opposite, she... hated his guts and he was really... what she thought he was, I mean...’ he trailed off. Ariel shook her head.

‘Harry, they were all, like they say in the United States, “a bunch of stupid geeks”’, Ariel said with an American accent and they laughed. ‘Really, but they got together in our seventh year... Head Boy and Head Girl...’

‘Right... Everybody tells me that, but how did they get together? Why does nobody want to talk about it?’ he asked, a little upset.

‘I don’t see any problems in telling... Actually, it was very cute when Lily finally opened her heart and they stayed together for good’, Ariel said.

‘So, please... tell me’, Harry pleaded.

‘Alright’, Ariel agreed, smiling. ‘As you know, it was in our seventh year and she was kind of used to having the boys around because of Sirius and me. She was my best friend and James was Sirius’s, but that year especially, James decided to take my advice and stopped acting stupid when she was around, like... messing with his hair to look cool, among other things’, she said and they laughed. ‘Well... Everything started on Halloween that year...’


GREAT HALL — HALLOWEEN PARTY — OCTOBER 1977


Sirius put a marshmallow into Ariel’s mouth and she smiled, kissing his lips quickly yet softly. He glanced up at the Staff table to make sure Dumbledore was not looking. Of course Ariel had told her grandfather about their relationship, and Sirius had even asked to speak with him to explain his intentions towards his granddaughter. Dumbledore seemed very pleased with them being together and made it perfectly clear to Sirius that he approved of their relationship as long as Ariel was happy. Still it was kind of strange to kiss the Headmaster’s granddaughter in front of him.

‘Oh, stop with the mush, Padfoot! I’m getting nauseated’, Peter said with a grimace. Sirius looked at him with an amused face.

‘So, get a girl’, he suggested.

‘Elisa Gale can’t stop looking at you, Wormtail’, Ariel said, smiling. ‘Go talk to her!’

‘Really?’ he asked, looking at the Ravenclaw table. A brunette was looking at him and smiling.

‘Nice one, Wormtail!’ James said, tapping on his shoulder. Peter’s cheeks turned red immediately.

‘Stop it, Prongs’, he said, burying his head on his plate. They laughed.

James looked in Lily’s direction and she smiled at him. He smiled back at her, and then turned to talk to his friends, meeting Ariel’s eyes. They smiled.

‘Be nice’, she murmured and he nodded.


Later on, after the feast, they headed to the Common Room and sat in front of the fire. Most of the people headed to their dormitories, leaving only some boys from the fourth year, the Marauders, Lily, Ariel and Elena chatting and laughing, but Lily couldn’t stop looking in James’ general direction.

‘Did you lose anything there, Lily?’ Elena asked teasingly, with a grin. Lily looked at her quickly.

‘What?’

They laughed. ‘You know, Lil... he’s not that bad. And...’ Ariel said, then glanced at James and then Lily, ‘he did his best to change a bit... just for you.’

Lily looked at her.

‘What do you mean, Ari?’

‘I mean that he really fancies you and stopped acting like a prat because of you. You should try and give him a chance’, Ariel advised. Lily looked at the boys, then at Ariel again.

‘He’s so...’ Lily started, but shook her head.

‘Handsome? Popular?’ Elena suggested. ‘C’mon, Lily... Don’t give HIM a try, give it to YOU!’

‘Yes, Elena is right,’ Ariel said. Lily sighed and Elena looked at Ariel.

‘Uh... Ariel, do you think Remus... Umm...’ Elena asked, Ariel laughed.

‘Want me to ask him?’

‘No, no!’ Elena pleaded.

Lily looked at both girls. ‘I don’t think he fancies me anymore’, she blurted out.

‘What?!’ Elena said incredulously, looking at Lily as if she were mad.

‘Lily, you will only know the answer to that if you act! You made me...’ Ariel said.

‘Don’t!’ Lily muttered, nodding slightly in Elena’s direction. Ariel nodded in agreement.

‘Made me do it with Sirius,’ she finished. Lily smiled, relieved.

‘I know, but... he never asks me to go out with him anymore and...’ Lily continued.

‘So, now, YOU ask him!’ Ariel said with a smile.

‘No! Absolutely not!’ Lily shook her head.

‘C’mon!’ Elena said, pushing Lily to the boys. Lily looked at her flustered, but took a deep breath and looked at the boys.

‘Erm... Potter?” she began and the four boys looked at her. Lily’s cheeks became pink.

‘Evans?’ James said.

‘I... erm...’ she looked at the three other boys. Sirius grinned.

‘As I was saying...’ he said and Remus and Peter turned their attention back to him. Lily sighed and looked at James, who was still looking at her.

‘Erm... I... I was wondering if you would like to go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend,’ she asked. Sirius stopped talking abruptly and the three of them looked at her, while James was still looking at Lily with a surprised face. Lily took a deep breath, alternating her support foot, impatiently. James opened his mouth to reply, then closed it, then opened it again and closed it once more. ‘Fine... You could at least say no, not only stare at me and humiliate me, Potter!’ she said, her temper rising. James stood up immediately.

‘No! No, Evans, I mean... Yes, yes! I would love to go to Hogsmeade with you, of course!’ he accepted enthusiastically. Lily gave a small smile.

‘Oh... Good! Fantastic! It’s settled, then’, she said, nodding.

‘Sure!’ he said, smiling brightly.

‘Sure’, she repeated. They looked at each other and smiled, and then Lily turned around and joined the girls. Ariel and James looked at each other and she showed him her thumbs up. He smiled, happy.


NOVEMBER 6th, 1977


On Saturday, when Lily headed downstairs to go to Hogsmeade, James was already in the Common Room, waiting for her with only Sirius and Remus, since Peter was in detention with Professor McGonagall. They looked at each other and Lily gave a nervous smile. James smiled back.

‘So... ready?’ he asked.

‘Yes, ready’, she replied. Sirius looked around.

‘Wait... where’s Ariel?’ he asked, Lily looked at him.

‘She’s coming with Elena’, she said and looked at Remus, who turned his head to the fire, his cheeks turning slightly pink. Sirius tapped on Remus’ shoulder.

‘Right. Thanks, Evans’, Sirius said, grinning. Lily nodded and looked at James, who smiled.

‘Moony, Padfoot... See you later, mates’, he said.

‘Have fun, Prongs’, Sirius said and then, Lily and James left.

A few minutes later, Ariel and Elena went downstairs and the four of them went to Hogsmeade; after going to Honeydukes and Zonko’s, they met James and Lily at The Three Broomsticks.

Madam Rosmerta looked at the three couples as she handed them their Butterbeers.

‘Where’s the short one? Why isn’t he here with his girl?’ she asked.

‘He’s got detention with Professor McGonagall.’ James answered.

‘Oh... take him a Butterbeer when you go back to the castle’, she said, smiling.

‘Sure’, said James, smiling, ‘thanks.’

Madam Rosmerta smiled again and left. Sirius grinned.

‘Wormtail has a fan’, he said and they laughed. Ariel looked around and nudged Sirius. ‘Ouch!’

‘Shut up and look who’s here’, she said, nodding towards a group of Slytherins, including Snape. Sirius’s eyes brightened.

‘Oh, no, no, no...’ Remus said, looking at the both of them. James looked down at the table, then up at Lily, who was staring into her Butterbeer. He shook his head.

‘C’mon, Moony’, Ariel started, ‘it’s just for fun, and besides, remember yesterday, at breakfast? You almost cut your lips with your goblet because he nudged you on the back on his way to the Slytherin table,’ she said, refreshing his memory. Lily looked at her and Remus sighed.

‘I saw that! I almost hexed him’, Elena said matter-of-factly.

‘Yeah, he was a stupid prat,’ Lily said absent-mindedly and they all looked at her in surprise. Ariel grinned and Lily looked up upon their sudden silence. ‘But it’s true!’ she said and then sighed. ‘Make him think we are not doing anything, just having fun without realising he’s here!’

‘All right, but I cannot get too much into his mind, I don’t know why’, Ariel said. ‘Who’ll do the honours?’

Sirius opened his mouth to speak, but Lily arched her right eyebrow.

‘I’ll do it’, Lily said. They all looked at her again.

‘Evans...’ Remus started.

‘What, Lupin? I can do that! And besides... I didn’t like what he did to cause Pettigrew to get detention!’ she added. James looked at her.

‘What are you talking about?’ he asked, confused.

‘Well... Snape and Crabbe set Pettigrew’s table on fire’, she said.

‘What?!’ Sirius and James asked at the same time, in disbelief.

‘Are you sure, Evans?’ Sirius asked. She nodded.

‘Quite sure. I saw it, but...’ Lily said and sighed. ‘I don’t know why I didn’t say anything. I should have said something, but then, Kara called me and I forgot about it.’

‘I cannot believe the prat got away with it!’ James said, furious.

‘And made Gryffindor lose fifty points!’ Sirius said and started to stand up, but Ariel grabbed his arm.

‘Calm down, Sirius’, she said. ‘Don’t do anything or you’ll get in trouble.’

Lily nodded and grinned.

‘Watch me!’ she said and pointed her wand at Snape’s Butterbeer. ‘Evanesco Butterbeer!’

At that moment, Snape grabbed his bottle and took a sip of it, but it was empty. He looked at the bottle and put it on the table. A few minutes later, Madam Rosmerta brought him another one and when he was about to drink from it, it was empty again. Lily repeated the spell five or six times until Snape started to look around the room, searching for the funny guy, but when he looked at the Marauders’ table, Lily turned around, quickly pulling James by his robes and kissing him full on the lips. Elena and Ariel looked at each other and choked, while Remus and Sirius looked at them both in shock. A few seconds later, they pulled apart and looked at each other for a moment.

‘I...’ Lily mutters.

‘That’s fine’, James said, ‘I understand.’

She nodded and looked around to the others.

‘You know’, Ariel started, smiling, ‘we should go back to the castle. It’s getting a little cold.’

‘Yes, good idea’, Sirius agreed.

‘We’re going with you’, Elena said and then looked at Remus. ‘Right, Remus?’

‘Sure’, Remus said and got up, looking at James and Lily. ‘See you lot at the castle.’

Elena grabbed his hand and the four of them left the tavern.


BACK TO THE PRESENT


‘And that was the beginning of everything’, Ariel said with her blue eyes glistening with tears. Sirius held her hand and squeezed it in a caring way. Ariel smiled. ‘They were inseparable from then on.’

‘Yes’, Sirius agreed, taking a deep breath and looking at the lake.

Harry stared at the ground for a while and sighed, then looked up at them again.

‘I am sorry... I shouldn’t have asked that’, he said, apologizing.

‘No... no, Harry’, Ariel said stretching her hand and grabbing his, ‘of course you should! You can ask whatever you want! You have the right to know the story of your parents’, she added, smiling. ‘They were amazing people and fantastic friends... and, of course it hurts, but at the same time, it’s so good to remember and maybe, if you know their story, you will understand many things.’

‘Yes’, Sirius nodded and looked at them, smiling. ‘I remember when James proposed to Lily.’

Ariel smiled and Harry looked at them waiting for more, a small smile forming on his lips.

‘I remember when Ariel started Auror training...’ Sirius started. ‘We graduated and Dumbledore invited us to join the Order, and even though she was determined to be an Auror, she bought a flat in South London. I had my own house, the one I bought when I was seventeen, and your dad was living there with me for a while, whilst he waited to propose to Lily...’


LATE SEPTEMBER 1977

~* Ariel’s flat *~

Ariel kissed Sirius’ lips and got out of the shower, grabbing her towel and wrapping it around her body.

‘Don’t take so long, I’m hungry!’ she said.

‘Me too. What are you cooking for us?’ he asked.

‘Me? Nothing! You cook!’ she said, teasingly.

‘Do you want to end up in St. Mungo’s? Because that’s what’s going to happen if I cook’, he said, amused. She smiled.

‘I know.’

Sirius laughed. ‘Are you really willing to take a risk?’ he asked.

‘No, I bought some pizza when I came back from training. I love Muggle fast food’, she said.

‘I can see that’, he said. ‘But that’s OK, because this is one of my favorites, too.’

She smiled. ‘OK, don’t take long, love’, she said and went to the bedroom.

Sirius finished his shower and went to the bedroom. Ariel was brushing her hair in front of the mirror, with nothing but her panties on. He hugged her from behind, kissing her neck. She smiled.

‘I wonder what your grandfather would say if he caught us like this’, he said. Ariel laughed.

‘He knows. I am an adult, now... You know, remember the last meeting of the Order?’ she asked.

‘Yes, the one Prongs and I left before you and Evans?’ he asked. She nodded.

‘Yes... Lily left shortly after the two of you and I stayed to talk to him and he said he was happy about us, because I have always been a cheerful girl, but when I’m with you, it’s different. He said he can sense love’, she said. Sirius smiled and turned her around, to face him.

‘He’s a very wise man! And he’s completely right’, he said and she smiled.

‘But, what would you do if grandfather caught us?’ she asked, amused.

‘I reckon we wouldn’t be seeing each other for the next ten years’, he said and they laughed.

At that moment, they heard a soft pop and they both pulled apart; Ariel reached for her wand and looked at where the sound came from. Sirius turned around abruptly, pointing his wand. Ariel, then, widened her eyes.

‘James!’ she shrieked and jumped behind Sirius, hiding herself.

‘Prongs, you gave us a bloody fright!’ Sirius said, putting his wand down.

‘Thank Merlin you are at home’, James said with a nervous voice.

‘What happened, mate?’ Sirius asked, worried. Ariel pointed her wand at the armchair, “Accioing” her shirt and wearing it.

‘It’s tonight’, James began and sighed, sitting on the bed and resting his arms on his thighs, leaning forward and looking down.

Ariel and Sirius exchanged a glance and she went to James, kneeling down in front of him.

‘What’s tonight?’ she asked. He looked up at her.

‘I’m about to go over to Lily’s and...’

Sirius grabbed his pants and put them on.

‘And what, mate?’ he asked again.

‘Tonight is the night I’m going to propose!’ James exclaimed. Ariel smiled.

‘Oh, she will say yes, mate’, Sirius said matter-of-factly.

‘Sirius!’ Ariel admonished him; he shrugged.

‘What? It’s obvious,’ he added.

Ariel shook her head and sat by James’s side on the bed, holding his hand.

‘You know, you don’t need to be worried. She loves you and I’m quite sure she will say yes’, Ariel said with a soothing smile. James smiled nervously.

‘Thank you’, he managed to say.

Ariel kissed his cheek and he looked at her, smiling. ‘Don’t be nervous. Besides, her dad and mom reckon you are charming and perfect for Lily. Just don’t tell them I told you so’, she said.

James smiled brightly.

‘Do they really?’ he asked, hopeful.

‘Yes, but keep it among us’, she said, smiling. ‘Do you have the ring?’

‘Yes...’ he said as he took a black velvet box from his pocket. James took a deep breath and opened the box, showing them the ring. Ariel widened her eyes and Sirius came closer to take a peek.

‘Wow, mate...’ Sirius said, surprised.

‘James, it’s amazing’, Ariel said, looking at the ring, an emerald-and-gold engagement ring to be exact.

‘Do you reckon it’s good enough for her?’ James asked.

‘Are you joking, mate? Lil is going to love it’, Sirius said, smiling. James took a deep breath and got up.

‘All right... I’ll do it!’ he said, resolute, and looked at Sirius and Ariel. ‘And... I’m sorry to interrupt you.’

‘What? No, you didn’t!’ Ariel said. ‘We were about to have dinner when you arrived.’

James looked at them amused.

‘In your knickers? I doubt it’, he said. Ariel’s cheeks turned pink and Sirius laughed.

‘Really, mate, don’t worry about that’, he said.

‘Wish me luck’, James said.

‘Good luck’, Sirius said. The guys hugged each other and James looked at Ariel, kissing her cheek.

‘Thank you’, he said. She smiled.

‘You’re welcome’, she said and to that, James smiled and Disapparated.


James Potter Apparated in front of Lily’s house. He took a deep breath and walked to the door, ringing the doorbell. A few minutes later, a tall, dark-haired man with brilliant emerald eyes opened the door and smiled upon seeing James.

‘James, hello’, he said brightly.

‘Hello, Mr Evans’, James replied.

‘Come in, Lily is helping her mother with dinner.’

‘Oh, I’m sorry to come by at such hour! I can come back another time and...’ James excused himself and motioned to turn around, but Mr Evans put a hand on his shoulder and looked at him with a smile.

‘No, no, no, young man, don’t be silly! You are welcome anytime. Come in’, he said.

James gave a shy smile and entered the house. ‘Thank you, sir.’

Mr. Evans smiled.

‘Sit down, will you? I will let Lily know you are here.’

‘Erm... sir? First, I would like to talk to you... Man to man, if it’s possible’, James said, gathering all the courage in his being and feeling a knot in his throat, his hands sweating inside the pockets of his jeans. ‘In private, please?’

Mr. Evans looked at him and smiled.

‘Sure, follow me’, Lily’s father said and headed to his study with James in tow.

James looked around when they entered the room. It was immense, with a big desk and huge shelves covering the walls, filled with many, many books; huge windows with a view to the ample garden; a fireplace in the corner and across that, three leather armchairs and a mini-bar. Mr. Evans pointed to one of the armchairs and James sat on it, whilst the other man went to the mini-bar and served a glass of whisky. He turned to James and smiled. ‘Would you care for a drink?’

‘Erm, thanks sir, I’m fine’, James politely refused.

Mr. Evans nodded and walked to the armchair in front of James’s, and sat down. He sipped his drink and put the glass on the side table, and looked at James.

‘So, young man... What is so important?’ he asked with a smile.

James looked at the man in front of him and cleared his throat, pulling his hair back with a deep sigh.

‘Sir, I came here tonight, sir... Lily and I have been seeing each other for 10 (ten) months now and I love her with all my heart...’ James said and pulled his hair back again in a very nervous way. ‘We’ve been talking about the future and... Sir, I want to spend my future, the rest of my life, with her! I cannot imagine my life without her smile, her soft voice... I want to make her happy always...’ he added, and then took a deep breath. ‘And I am here, sir, right now, to ask your permission to marry her.’

Mr. Evans stared at him for a moment, making James even more nervous, and then took a deep breath.

‘You are a very brave young man, James... I appreciate you coming here and asking for my permission before talking to Lily’, he said.

James nodded nervously. ‘Of course, sir... If you give your permission, I will talk to her. If you reckon I’m not good enough to marry your daughter, sir, I will do my best to prove you wrong. I would do anything to make Lily happy and protect her’, he said.

Mr. Evans smiled and patted on James’s shoulder soothingly.

‘That’s very good to hear, son, but it won’t be necessary, because I know my daughter, and I know she reciprocates your feelings, so... I give you my permission to marry Lily’, the older man finally said.

James stared at him for a moment, a huge smile forming on his lips.

‘You do, sir?’ he asked, a little incredulous.

‘Yes, I do, son. Now, go talk to her. She will be very surprised to see you here’, he said and smiled, getting up. James got up.

‘Yes, sir. Thank you, thank you very much!’ he said and hugged Mr. Evans. The man laughed and tapped James’s back.

‘They are in the kitchen’, he said.

James nodded and left the room, going to the kitchen. Lily was taking the plates to set the table when she saw by the door.

‘James?! What are you doing here?’ she asked and a smile appeared on her face. Mrs. Evans looked at him and smiled.

‘Hello, James’, she said.

‘Hello, Mrs. Evans. Do you mind if I borrow your daughter for a few minutes?’ James asked.

‘Only if you promise to stay for dinner with us,’ the older woman said. James looked at Lily, who was looking at him with a confused face, but smiled and nodded.

‘Thanks, Mrs. Evans’, he said.

‘Come on, James’, Lily said, stretching her hand. James took it and she led him to the back garden. They looked at each other and Lily smiled. ‘I didn’t see you arriving’, she added.

‘Yes, your father answered the door and I needed to talk to him first’, he said. Lily looked at him quizzically.

‘To my father? About what?’ she asked.

James took a deep breath and looked at her in the eyes.

‘Lily...’ he started and took something from his pocket, getting down on his knee. Lily stared at him in awe. ‘I love you so much that every second away from you hurts! Merlin, I’m nervous...’ he said and took a deep breath, looking down for a second and then, he opened the box, revealing the ring. ‘Lily, will you marry me?’

‘Oh, James!’ she said with her green eyes filled with tears. ‘I don’t know what to say... I...’

James smiled. ‘Say yes.’

She nodded, the tears rolling freely on her face now. ‘Yes, of course! Yes!’ she exclaimed.

James stood up and took the ring from the box. Lily stretched out a trembling hand. He smiled and held it, sliding the ring on her finger, and then he kissed her hand.

‘I love you’, he said.

Lily looked at the ring on her hand, and then threw herself on his arms. James hugged her tight.

‘I love you so much, James!’ she said. They looked at each other and kissed. James caressed her face and they smiled. Lily hugged him again and then pulled apart, taking his hand and pulling him towards the house. ‘I need to tell my mum! She’s going to... She loves you!’ she added, excitedly.

James just smiled and followed her in.


Chapter 11: Chapter 10 - The Potters
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Chapter 10. The Potters


‘They got married three weeks later’, Ariel said, smiling. ‘They decided they did not want to wait anymore. It was a small and private wedding and your grandmother almost went crazy with all the preparations... After all, it was a wedding, small or not’, she added.

‘Was it a Muggle or a wizarding wedding?’ Ginny asked curiously.

‘It was a wizarding wedding’, Ariel answered. ‘James was OK with either, but Lily said it was a way to show a little bit more of our world to her parents’, she said with a smile. ‘Amazing people, they were.’

‘Yes’, Sirius said. ‘Just like Prongs’ parents! They were like my own parents.’

Harry smiled. He remembered Sirius had run away from home when he was sixteen and his grandparents, James’ parents, housed him as if he were their own son.

‘Well’, Sirius continued, ‘the wedding ceremony took place in the mountains, in a chateau. Your mom was beautiful and your dad was scared to death...’ They laughed, but Sirius went on. ‘But when he saw Lily walking with your grandfather, in his direction, he forgot everything.’

‘Aww!’ the girls said at the same time and Harry snorted, while Ron rolled his eyes.

‘They moved in together, to their brand-new house in Godric’s Hollow’, Ariel said, smiling. ‘And then, a little less than one year later, on Halloween, they told us they were expecting you.’


OCTOBER 31st, 1978 — HALLOWEEN’S PARTY AT THE POTTERS’ IN GODRIC’S HOLLOW


Lily closed the door after saying goodbye to the last guests and sighed with a smile on her lips.

‘Well... Finally! Now our real Halloween party can start!’ she said, walking towards the Marauders and Ariel, before sitting on James’ lap. He looked at her and they exchanged a secretive smile. Remus looked at them with a suspicious expression.

‘What’s up with you two? You’ve been acting all secretive since yesterday’, he said. James and Lily laughed.

‘Should we tell them, Lily?’ James asked.

‘I reckon so’, she agreed, smiling.

‘Tell us what?’ Sirius asked.

James looked at Lily, who gave a very bright smile. Ariel looked at them both and covered her mouth with her hand. ‘Oh, my goodness!’ she exclaimed and they looked at her.

‘What?’ Sirius asked, confused, and both girls exchanged a knowing smile. Lily nodded slightly. Ariel yelped and gave Lily and James a true bear hug. ‘What’s wrong with you lot? Have I missed something?’ he insisted.

Ariel let go of them and sat on the floor between Sirius’s legs. James laughed and held Lily’s hand. ‘Well, we have an announcement to make’, he started and glanced at Lily, who was smiling. ‘Lily and I are going to have a baby.’

They all smiled and Sirius was the first to get up and hug his best friend, followed by Remus.

‘Mate, this is amazing’, Sirius said and hugged Lily, kissing her cheek. ‘This is fantastic! Perfect!’

‘Congratulations!’ Remus hugged James and kissed Lily. ‘You two will be amazing parents, I’m very happy for you!’

‘Thanks’, James said with a huge smile on his face.

Peter got up and hugged them both, congratulating them on the great news. Remus smiled and with his wand, he filled the mugs with more Butterbeer, and then looked at James and Lily, raising his own mug. ‘I want to propose a toast to the first member of the next generation of the Marauders!’ he said. They all laughed and raised their mugs as well.

‘To the first member of the next generation of the Marauders!’ the six of them said at the same time and toasted. James and Lily looked at each other and smiled. He pulled her towards him, kissing her lips.

‘I love you’, he said.

‘I love you’, she replied, kissing him back.


BACK TO THE PRESENT



‘And after that, life became a mess’, Sirius said. ‘All the girls seemed to talk about was babies and baby stuff!’ he added and they laughed. ‘Even Ariel! She surprised me with how much she knew about babies.’

‘And scared you’, she said, making them laugh once more.

‘Yeah, I reckon so’, he nodded.

‘Well, it came naturally, especially after Elena had had her baby, remember?’ Ariel asked Sirius, who nodded.

‘Yes, vaguely’, he said.

‘Professor Lupin’s Elena?’ Ginny asked. ‘Are you saying...?’

‘No, no’, Ariel said, laughing. ‘They broke up just after our N.E.W.T.s.’

‘Why’s that?’ Hermione asked, interested.

‘Well, he reckoned people couldn’t deal with his situation and he’d end up hurting other people’s feelings as well as his own. He really hurt El’s feelings, because she loved him, but he made it very clear that he didn’t love her’, Ariel said. ‘Rubbish! And they could never have a life together, because he was too dangerous for her. Basically the same thing he did and said to Nymphadora, but she and Elena are very different’, she added and Sirius nodded in agreement.

‘Tonks knows what she wants, she’s very determined... A little bit clumsy, but very determined’, Sirius said. ‘Well... They are together, aren’t they?’

‘Yes’, Ariel said, nodding. ‘Anyways... They broke up and soon after we graduated, she told us she was engaged to her father’s friend’s son, Edward Michael Corner.’

Sirius looked at her. ‘How do you remember the name of Elena’s husband? You saw the bloke once or twice in your life!’ he asked, astonished. Ariel laughed.

‘Well, Elena was my friend, why wouldn’t I remember?’

‘Corner?’ the four teenagers said at the same time and Sirius and Ariel looked at them.

‘Yes, if I’m not mistaken, her son is at Hogwarts with you. His name is Michael, I think’, Ariel said.

‘Michael Corner?’ Hermione asked and looked at Ginny, who felt the Weasley blush creeping up her neck. Ron rolled his eyes.

‘Ginny snogged him’, he said.

‘I didn’t snog him!’ Ginny protested. ‘He was my boyfriend back in third year!’

‘Same thing’, he said, shrugging.

Ginny rolled her eyes and looked at Harry, who smiled reassuringly.

‘And that’s pretty much Moony’s love life’, Ariel concluded, laughing.

‘C’mon, Ariel, don’t be mean’, Sirius said, also laughing.

‘I’m not being mean, but after Elena, he was a born again virgin’, she said matter-of-factly. ‘At least until he and Dora... You know, got together...’

Ginny and Hermione tried to stifle a snort, but Ron and Harry laughed openly with Sirius.

‘Don’t let him hear you saying that’, Sirius warned her playfully, she shrugged.

‘He can’t take me... Neither can you, Black’, she teased.

‘Oh, really? And how about the day we baby-sat Harry here, so Lily and James could have a special night out?’ Sirius asked with a mischievous grin. Ariel looked at him and slapped his arm.

‘No...You are NOT going to bring that up!’ she scowled. ‘I was tired from work and you were on your day off! It’s not fair!’

Sirius chuckled and looked at the four teenagers in front of them, who were anxious to hear the rest of the story. ‘Well, Lily asked our beautiful friend Ariel here to baby-sit her godson, because it was Prongs’ birthday and she wanted to have a special night with him, so they took Harry to Ariel’s flat. I think after Hogwarts and Godric’s Hollow, Ariel’s flat was the safest magical place in Britain.’

‘With a little bit of Grandfather’s magic, too’, she said and Sirius nodded.

‘Anyways, Prongs and Lily took baby Harry to Ariel’s flat, so she and I, who happened to be there, could stay with him...’


ARIEL’S FLAT — APRIL 1981


That day, Ariel had arrived from her Auror training extremely exhausted, but she had promised Lily and James she was going to baby-sit little Harry. Thank Merlin Sirius was going to spend the night and help. Besides, she could hardly wait to take care of the nine-month-old baby. Ariel and Sirius could spend hours just looking at him sleeping, but that night, Harry was very excited and restless, as if he knew he was going to spend the night with his godparents, the fun people who let him have and “do” whatever he wanted.

It was almost nine o’clock in the evening and the baby was still fully awake, playing with his stuffed animals, a phoenix and a Hungarian Horntail dragon, which sometimes snorted some smoke, making Harry giggle.

Ariel lay on quilt by Harry’s side and shook her head. ‘This is kind of barbarian, you know? Why did James give a stuffed Horntail to the baby?’ she asked.

Sirius laughed his bark-like laughter and came from the kitchen holding a bottle with warm milk.

‘It’s just a toy, love’, he said, sitting next to her and looking at Harry. ‘Want some milk, boy?’

Ariel smiled and took Harry in her arms, sitting him on her lap. ‘Yes, he does, right, my beautiful baby?’ she said, kissing the baby’s pink cheek and tickling his little tummy. Harry giggled. Ariel and Sirius smiled.

Sirius handed the bottle to her and Ariel started feeding the baby. Sirius looked at her for a while, then kissed Harry’s forehead and next, Ariel’s lips. She smiled. ‘What?’ she asked.

‘You are beautiful with him in your arms’, he said.

‘Thanks’, she said and kissed the baby’s forehead. ‘I love him so much... I’d do anything for him.’

‘I know you would’, he said. ‘So would I’. They smiled. Sirius kissed her lips again and she closed her eyes with a sigh. ‘Are you tired, love?’

‘Yes, a little bit’, she nodded.

‘Do you want me to handle the little one?’ he asked.

‘I don’t know, I just want to take a bath, but I wanted to stay with him a little more’, she said.

‘Ok’.

Ariel finished feeding Harry, but the boy was still very much awake. They played with him a little bit more and Ariel ended up falling asleep on the floor. Sirius touched her hair and face.

‘Wake up, love’, he said. She opened her eyes and looked at him.

‘Oh... Where’s Harry?’ she asked.

‘Here, playing’, he said.

‘Does he ever sleep?’ she asked, sitting up and rubbing her eyes. They laughed. ‘I reckon I’ll take a shower... Can you stay with him?’

‘Of course I can’, he said.

‘But no flying, Sirius! This is a Muggle neighborhood, your motorcycle is calling too much attention already’, she warned him.

‘I promise I won’t do anything to regret later’, he said.

‘James, and especially Lily, would kill you, so keep out of trouble, Mr. Black! And you as well, Mr. Potter!’ she said, kissing them both. ‘Sirius, it’s half past ten. Please, make him sleep!’

‘I will, stop worrying’, he said with a smile.

She smiled and kissed Harry again, then kissed Sirius’ lips and went to her bedroom. She conjured a crib for Harry, took a shower and then went to the living room tiptoeing. She peaked at them: Sirius was with the baby Harry asleep on his chest, walking around the room and humming. She smiled. Sirius turned around, spotting her at the doorway, and smiled.

‘C’mon, let’s put him to bed’, she whispered and he nodded.

They went to the bedroom and Sirius put the baby in the crib Ariel had conjured. She covered him and caressed his jet-black hair, then kissed his head and looked at Sirius, who pulled her against him and kissed her lips.

‘I’ll take a quick shower and meet you in bed’, he said.

‘Ok’, she smiled.

Sirius went to the bathroom and when he came back, both Harry and Ariel were sleeping soundly. He climbed on the bed, lying by Ariel’s side. She just cuddled to him and he hugged her tight.


Ariel opened her eyes the moment she heard the baby crying. She looked at the crib and got up, going to him.

‘Hey, sweetie’, she said, taking Harry in her arms. ‘Are you hungry? Yes? Ok.’

Ariel conjured a bottle with warm milk and fed him, then lay him on the bed and knelt down to change his diapers, taking her wand and charming the diapers to do it by themselves while she played with Harry’s little hand, but she dozed off, forgetting about the baby and the diapers. A few minutes later, Sirius heard a giggle and turned on the bed, seeing Harry on their bed playing with a bottle of powder, covered by four diapers and being wrapped by another one, while Ariel was sleeping, sitting on the floor with her arms on the bed and her head rested on them. Sirius grinned and touched her arm gently. ‘Love?’

Ariel moved her head and opened her eyes, looking at him with a confused look. ‘What?’

He smirked. ‘Do you want to be sure that you won’t need to change Harry again during the night?’

‘What?’ she asked, confused. He pointed at the baby and she saw the pile of diapers. ‘Oh, goodness...’ she took her wand and with a movement, she stopped the diapers. She got up and took Harry in her arms. ‘Oh, my baby, I’m sorry!’

Sirius laughed. ‘At least you didn’t charm the powder’, he said.

‘Oh, shut up, Black’, she said and he laughed even more. Ariel started unwrapping Harry, leaving him with one diaper only and his pyjamas. She kissed his forehead and got up, pacing the room and singing to him. A few minutes later, Harry was asleep. She put him on his crib again and lay back on the bed. Sirius hugged her.

‘You’d be a great mum...Even sleeping in the middle of the baby’s diaper changing’, he said with a smile. She laughed.

‘Stop mocking me! At least I woke up with Harry crying’, she defended herself.

‘I know, I know’, he said and kissed her cheek. She smiled and cuddled on him.


BACK TO THE PRESENT


‘So, if I hadn’t woken up, next morning we’d have found you covered with loads of diapers’, Sirius said, laughing, and they laughed.

‘I know, but it was not my fault’, Ariel said. ‘It was Moody’s fault, he liked to make me suffer at Auror training.’

‘I reckon it proves that you’re not that unbeatable’, Hermione said with a smile, then looked at Harry. ‘Although you must have had loads of fun!’

‘Oh, he did’, Ariel said. ‘I was so relieved that he didn’t manage to open the powder! Lily would have killed me.’

‘Well, she and Prongs laughed so much instead’, Sirius added. Ariel smiled.

‘Yeah, I really reckoned James and Lily would never leave you with me again, but they did, and every time, we had so much fun together’, she said. Harry smiled.

‘By any chance, erm...Have I ever flown on your motorcycle, Sirius?’ Harry asked. They laughed.

‘Oh, yes, you have! And you loved it’, Sirius said. Harry smiled.

‘Wicked!’ Ron said. ‘Dad used to have a charmed Ford Anglia, but... Err... Harry and I had a little problem with Platform 9 ¾ and it’s in the Forbidden Forest now,’ he added.

‘I remember that’, Ariel said with a thoughtful expression. ‘I really reckoned we were going to get ourselves killed somehow’.

‘Oh, that’s right, you were there’, Ron said and they laughed.

Ariel looked at Harry and their eyes met for a moment. ‘You know, Harry... You started being loved the moment your mum told us she was expecting you,’ she said and took a deep breath. ‘And I love you so much! It was so real the day you were born and Lily put you in my arms for the first time and told me I was going to be your godmother!’ she continued, tugging a thread of her straight, black hair behind her ear. Ginny looked at Harry and held his hand one more time, squeezing it tight. ‘When everything happened... I wanted so much to stay with you and take care of you... Give you the life you deserved to have, knowing every little thing there was to know about your parents, their friends, your family... But I couldn’t, because you were not my blood’, she said sadly, but then smiled. ‘But you have always been part of my heart.’

Sirius nodded. ‘Yes, Harry... Knowing you were alive also gave me the strength to survive Azkaban and the Dementors and go after Wormtail.’

Harry stared at the grass, suddenly becoming very interested in it. Ariel reached his hand and held it. Harry looked at her, his emerald green eyes glistening with unshed tears.

‘Harry... Grandfather may have made the wrong decision when he gave you to Petunia and her husband, but he did it to protect you. He’s explained that to you already and I still support his decision, even if I wanted so desperately to have you. But unfortunately, only my love wasn’t enough... Although I would have died to protect you... Always’, Ariel assured him. ‘And when I asked Grandfather to stay with you, he explained why Sirius and I couldn’t have you, and it hurt a lot.’

‘You wanted to stay with me? Like...’ Harry asked and Ariel smiled.

‘Of course I wanted it, not only it was your parents’ wish when they asked us to be your godparents, but because of my love for you, and I believe Sirius’ love’, she said. ‘That’s why, I learnt later, he had a vision and so desperately wanted to go to Godric’s Hollow to try and stop Voldemort, but it was too late. The damage had already been done.’

Harry nodded, but it was Hermione who spoke. ‘And what did you do?’ she asked.

Ariel sighed. ‘I... I did not have anything for me here anymore. My life had been torn apart, so I ran away.’

‘You ran away? What do you mean?’ Harry asked with a hoarse voice, very alike James’ when he tried to be serious, or was worried about something.

Ariel took a deep breath and looked at the four pairs of eyes looking at her, filled with curiosity. ‘I decided to live as a Muggle.’

Chapter 11: Chapter 11. A New Chosen Life
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Chapter 11. A New Chosen Life


‘Live as a Muggle?’ Ron asked, surprised.

‘Well’, Ariel bit her lower lip, ‘after graduation at Hogwarts and starting my Auror training I bought a small and cozy flat in London. I loved to live there and Sirius used to spend loads of time there when we weren’t at James and Lily’s in Godric’s Hollow’, she said and took a deep breath, ‘but everything changed on the night of October 31st , 1981...’


LONDON — ARIEL’S FLAT - OCTOBER 31ST, 1981


Ariel and Sirius were sitting on the fluffy rug in front of the fire, drinking their Butterbeers. It was a chilly and dark October night, there was a different smell in the air, but nothing that could be called unusual, only another Halloween night. And while people were celebrating the date outside, two young lovers were cuddling up to each other, celebrating their time together.

Sirius Black hugged Ariel Loiseau by her shoulders and kissed her head, making her smile and cuddle to him, while making herself more comfortable in his strong arms. The way they liked to be since their time at Hogwarts in the Common Room, when only the two of them were the ones left after everybody had gone to bed.

‘James asked me again when you were finally going to make me a decent man, because we have been engaged for a while now’, he said with a smile on his lips, making Ariel laugh.

‘It hasn’t been that long. Only four months to be exact. Besides... Don’t he and Lily get tired of asking this or trying to find a wife for Remus and Peter?’

Sirius laughed. ‘I don’t suppose so’, he said and kissed her neck. ‘But I understand them in a way.’

‘You do, don’t you? Why is that?’ she asked. ‘I like to have you around, but it’s good to know that this place is only mine’, she added with a sigh. ‘Maybe because after my parents were killed, I didn’t really have a normal house like a normal kid does...’

Sirius smiled fondly and looked at her. ‘You are lucky I am not an ordinary fiancé and understand your reasons, because I like my place as well’, he said with a grin. ‘Besides, were I like any other, I’d say you’re afraid of taking our relationship to the next level’, he added and she looked at him. ‘Don’t worry, I’m not going to push you... I’ll send you a note letting you know when I change my mind.’

‘Ok, then’, she said laughing and then turned around, kissing his lips. ‘I love you, Padfoot.’

He smiled. ‘I love you too, Snowy.’

They kissed once more. Ariel took the bottle of Butterbeer from his hand and got up.

‘Another one or do you want some tea?’ she asked.

‘No, I’m fine’, he replied.

‘Ok’, she smiled and went to the kitchen, saying something about a meeting from the Order in two days. Sirius looked at the fire, paying attention to nothing in particular, just listening to her voice coming from the kitchen while she prepared the tea. A few minutes later Ariel came back to the living room and looked at him, he was in the same place, still staring at the fire. ‘Love, are you sure you don’t want some tea?’ she asked, stretching her mug in his direction, but he kept on looking at the fire as if in some kind of trance. ‘Sirius?’ she called again, but nothing. Ariel knelt down and put her mug on the coffee table, then touched his black, silky hair. ‘Sirius, are you alright?’

He blinked and looked at her, his gray eyes held a serious expression.

‘Wormtail... I was supposed to check on him before coming here tonight’, he said. ‘Prongs and Lily...’

‘What?’ she asked, confused. Why did he have to check on Peter and what did it have to do with Lily and James?

‘Voldemort!’ he said.

Ariel felt her blood being drained from her body and her breath became heavy on her chest. Suddenly, Sirius stood up, grabbed his wand from the table and went to the door. Ariel got up as well, still confused and scared by his reaction.

‘Wait, what’s going on?’ she asked. ‘What did you... Sirius, wait!’ she called as he opened the door and flew downstairs. She ran after him and managed to reach the front of the building, seeing him already on his flying motorcycle. ‘Sirius, wait! I can go with...’

He looked at her for a moment. ‘I’ll be back as soon as I can. I love you forever.’

‘No, Sirius, wait!’ she called him, but he started the motorcycle and left. Ariel stared at his disappearing form, then turned around, entered the building and ran upstairs. Sirius had mentioned Peter, James, Lily and Voldemort... What had he seen? What was happening? A chill ran through her body and she thought the only thing possible at the moment: she needed to firecall her Grandfather and tell him something was really wrong, and then go to Godric’s Hollow.


Ariel sat on the couch and sighed. She had firecalled her Grandfather and he had told her to wait for Sirius. He was the Potters’ secret keeper and nothing bad could happen if he never said where the Potters were. Something inside her was telling her to act, to find Sirius, to check on the Potters, to check on Peter, even not knowing what there was to check on him, she was an Auror after all, but something was holding her back, so she was doing what Sirius and her Grandfather told her to do: wait! She waited and waited the whole night. She sat on the couch by the fire, she tried to read; she walked around the flat, she bit her nails, she looked through the window in the hope of Sirius coming back and telling her everything was OK, but nothing! At six the following morning, when she could not hold it anymore and was about to grab her wand and Apparate to Godric’s Hollow, she heard a tap on the window. She looked at it and recognized the barn owl from Hogwarts. She went to the window, opening it and taking the letter from the animal’s leg.

Ariel,

Come to Hogwarts immediately.

Grandfather

She looked at the owl and caressed its head. The owl took flight and left. Ariel closed the window and went to the bathroom to wash her face and teeth, brush her hair and grab her robes. A few minutes later, she Apparated in front of the gates and transfigured into a very white owl, heading to the tower where her Grandfather’s study was. Fawkes looked at her when she stopped in front of the Headmaster and transformed back into her human self.

‘I see you got my message’, Dumbledore said with a smile. ‘The owl was very quick, I’ll have to reward it later.’

‘Yes, it was. What happened, Grandfather?’ she asked, anxiously. ‘Where’s Sirius? Last night we...’

Dumbledore raised his hand and pointed to the chair in front of his desk. Ariel sighed and sat down.

‘There is so much to tell you, sweetheart’, he said, suddenly looking older than ever. ‘Last night, James, Lily and little Harry were attacked.’

‘What?!’ she yelped with panic in her voice and motioned to get up, but Dumbledore raised his hand again.

‘They were attacked by Voldemort, Ariel. Sirius betrayed them.’

‘No, he didn’t! He would never do it! What are you talking about, Grandpa?’

‘Calm down, Ariel! I know this is too much for you, but I want you to listen to everything I have to tell you, then I want you to tell me what you know.’

She nodded, and then looked at him with her blue eyes as they filled with tears.

‘They are dead, aren’t they?’ she asked and Dumbledore nodded calmly. ‘Oh, God...’

Ariel, listen to me’, he said. ‘Do you remember when James and Lily decided to make the Fidelius Charm?’

‘Yes’, she nodded, crying.

‘A week ago, they did it, and Sirius was their Secret Keeper. I offered myself to do it, but James said he wanted it to be Sirius.’

‘I know that! They are like brothers, of course it had to be Sirius, but... What are you telling me?’

‘Sirius Black betrayed James and Lily last night. He told Voldemort where they were hidden and Voldemort went to Godric’s Hollow and killed them. Harry survived, though’, he said and looked at her, who opened her mouth to speak, but he raised his hand again. ‘I believe Lily sacrificed herself to protect little Harry and with that, she created a powerful bond of love, so powerful that, when Voldemort tried to kill the baby, the curse backfired and hit him instead.’

‘Harry is alive? And Voldemort is dead?’ she asked, shocked.

Dumbledore nodded. ‘Yes, Harry is alive and Voldemort fell. I cannot assure you he is really dead, but he has disappeared for now. Maybe he lost his powers and is weakened... Maybe he is hidden, waiting to come back, I am not sure. But people believe he is dead and are celebrating it, and Harry Potter is now known as the Boy Who Defeated the Dark Lord, the only person who survived the Killing curse.’

‘Where is he? And where is Sirius?’ she asked.

‘Harry was taken to live with his Muggle relatives, Ariel.’

‘What? Are you insane?’ she said, standing up. ‘With those horrible people? You mean, Lily’s sister?’

‘Yes, with Lily’s sister. I myself took him there and left a letter, explaining everything.’

‘Why did you do that? Sirius and I can raise him, we are his godparents! Why did you do that?’ she asked, infuriated. ‘You should have waited! Where’s this place? I’ll go there and pick him, I’m sure Sirius will go there with me! He loves this boy as much as I do and...’

‘You will not do such thing, Ariel’, he stated with a strong voice. Ariel looked at him. ‘He belongs there and he will remain there until he is ready to come to Hogwarts.’

Ariel shook her head. ‘No!’

‘Quiet!’ he thundered. ‘I asked you to listen to everything I have to say, so listen, I am not finished yet! Sit down, Ariel.’

She stared at him for a moment, then took a deep breath and sat down again.

‘I’m sitting.’

‘Very well’, he said. ‘You cannot raise this boy because, as I told you, when Lily died to protect him, she activated this ancient magic, unknown to Voldemort: love. The blood bond. And when Petunia Dursley took little Harry, she sealed the magic I cast. As long as he lives there, where his mother’s blood dwells, and calls it home, he cannot be touched or hurt by Voldemort. He is completely protected there. Do you understand now why you cannot stay with him? It is only for his own safety’, he explained. She nodded.

‘Yes, I do understand’, she said, sadly.

‘Now, Ariel, I want you to listen very carefully to why I am saying that Sirius Black betrayed James and Lily Potter. Just listen, then you will talk and I will listen’, he said and entwined his fingers, leaning on his desk and looking at her over his half-moon spectacles. ‘When we found out what happened in Godric’s Hollow, I asked Hagrid to go there and bring Harry to me. He did what I asked, of course, but there, he met Sirius, who lent him his motorcycle. Now, the question remains: how did he know what had just happened in Godric’s Hollow? Maybe he heard something and went there to check if it was true or... He knew what was going to happen’, he added. Ariel once again opened her mouth to speak, but he glared at her and she sighed. ‘In the morning, Peter Pettigrew met him in London, they argued and he killed Peter...’

‘No... No!’ she said, shaking her head.

‘He killed Peter and some Muggles when he set off an explosion in a street’, he said.

‘No! Sirius is not a murderer! He is not, Grandfather! You know that! He would never betray James and Lily or any of us, he would rather die! He’s the most honest and trustworthy person in the world and he loved the Potters, Grandfather!’ she said, her tears rolling down her cheeks. ‘He would never kill Peter, there’s something very wrong here!’

‘Ariel, he was the only one who could have handed the Potters to Voldemort. He was their Secret Keeper and the only one who could tell him where they lived.’

‘No, maybe Voldemort tortured him!’

‘No, sweetheart. Black did it all of his own will’, he said, sadly.

‘How can you know that?’ she demanded with anger in her voice. ‘How can you say that?’

‘You are a member of the Order too Ariel, and you know we were suspecting that someone had gone over to Voldemort’s side and was giving him information.’

‘It wasn’t Sirius! I bet my soul, it wasn’t him!’ she said, exasperated.

‘I’m sorry, dear, I did not want this to happen to you. I know how much you love him, but unfortunately, we will never know why Sirius did it.’

She shook her head and wiped her tears with her fingers, then got up.

‘No... No, it wasn’t Sirius and deep inside of you, you know I am right! You would never let me stay with him if you doubted he was a traitor! You know that!’

‘I know, but I trusted him. I never thought he would become one of Voldemort’s followers.’

‘He’s not a Death Eater, Grandfather!’ she said pleadingly. ‘He doesn’t have the Dark Mark, he is too faithful to the Order and to his friends!’

‘I’m so sorry, Ariel.’

‘I was with him... He left my place without telling me anything. He sensed James and Lily were in danger... It was too late, then!’

‘No, dear. He must have left because Voldemort summoned him.’

‘No!’ she shouted. ‘He’s not a Death Eater! I know that, I know that!’

‘There are other ways to be summoned by the Dark Lord, Ariel, and you know that’, he explained calmly.

‘No, I know Sirius’, she said and sighed. ‘Where is he?’

‘He was caught at the crime scene and the Aurors took him to Azkaban.’

‘The Aurors? Who took him?’ she asked and took a deep breath. ‘How can you believe Sirius is...’ she started and looked at him. ‘He’s a member of the Order, one of the most loyal ones, Grandfather!’ she said and covered her face with her hands, pacing the room. ‘This is so wrong... Everything is so wrong...’

‘Ariel...’

‘Stop it!’ she said as she stopped walking and took a deep breath. ‘I’ll go to Azkaban! I want to see him, I need to see him and talk to him! And you are going to take me there! I don’t want you to go to his cell with me, but you’ll take me there! You owe me this, Grandfather! Since I’m a new Auror, I’m not allowed to go there yet!’

‘If that’s how you think... Very well, Ariel. I’ll talk to the Minister and get a warrant for you to talk to Sirius Black’, Dumbledore said.

‘Now!’

‘I’ll see what I can do.’

She nodded. ‘I’ll wait in my old room’, she said and left his study, heading to her old room right next to it. As she arrived there, she lay on her bed and could not stop her tears.


Ariel stopped in front of a dark cell and looked at the man inside of it. The man she loved more than anything, the man people were judging as a cold, bloody murderer. The man who had been laughing and playing around with his friends three days earlier, the easy-going, brave, caring and happy man she loved. She took a deep breath and entered the cell. Sirius looked at her, then turned around.

‘What are you doing here? Go away!’ he said.

‘Sirius...’ she said as she came closer and stretched her hand to touch his shoulder, but he turned around and looked at her.

‘Get out, leave me alone! I don’t want to see you! You don’t deserve me!’ he yelled.

‘No, don’t say that! It’s all a mistake! I know it, I’ll take you out of here and...’

‘Shut up! I killed James and Lily! I deserve to be here!’ he shouted. ‘Now, go away! Leave me alone, Ariel! Get out!’

‘I know you didn’t kill James and Lily, or Peter! I know it, Sirius! Please!’

‘I killed them... I killed my best friends! Get out of here! GET OUT! LEAVE!’ he shouted again. She looked at him for a while, a lump in her throat. She took a deep breath, controlling herself not to cry, and then left his cell.


Dumbledore and Ariel left the island where Azkaban, the prison, was located, without a word. When in land, Ariel looked at him, trying hard not to cry, and sighed.

‘You can go back to Hogwarts, I need to go to the Ministry, to the Headquarters, and then I’ll go home’, she said.

‘Very well, but remember, Ariel... Hogwarts will always be there when you need it.’

She nodded slightly. ‘Goodbye’, she said and Disapparated, not to the Ministry, but to Godric’s Hollow. She had to see with her own eyes. She could not think about her life without Sirius, James, Lily and Harry. She stared at the ruins and allowed her tears to flow down her cheeks. She closed her eyes for a moment, remembering everything they had done together there, with their best friends... With Harry giggling and crawling around; the laughter, the parties... Ariel looked around her when she heard footsteps behind her and saw a very sad and tired Remus Lupin. They looked at each other for a moment, then he came closer.

‘Hi’, she said in an almost whisper.

‘Hi’, he stopped by her side, both looking at what one day was a beautiful and cozy house filled with love and friendship. ‘They said it was a gas explosion... Both here and in London.’

She nodded. ‘I went to Azkaban.’

He looked at her. ‘You did?’

‘Yes... He didn’t want to talk to me, he... He said he killed James and Lily, and maybe Peter...’ she said and bit her lower lip. ‘But I know it wasn’t him!’

‘I didn’t want to believe it either, Ariel, but... He was their Secret Keeper, he was the only one who could tell where they were hidden.’

‘No, he would never betray his friends, Moony! And you know that!’

‘I don’t know... When a wizard decides to join Voldemort, nothing can stop him! I never thought Sirius would do such a thing, but... You can’t deny he’s a Black! Look at his family, they...’ Lupin trailed off.

‘I am a Black too! Nobody can deny it either! My mother was his father’s sister!’

‘But you are part Dumbledore’, he explained.

She shook her head. ‘A name doesn’t make a person you know that! Not even the beast inside of us can make us different... You, for example...’ she added.

‘I know what you mean...’

‘You are loyal! The most caring and amazing friend I ever had and in the nights of full moon, you are another you’, she said and looked at him. ‘You too believe it was Sirius, don’t you?’

‘I’m sorry, things are very complicated, and I don’t know who to believe anymore!’ Lupin said.

Ariel nodded and looked at the ruins again. ‘I have to go... I’m going to the Aurors Headquarter to resign’, she said. He looked at her.

‘What? You cannot do that!

‘I can! And I will! I lost everything in what, two days? Everything I knew and loved fell apart... And I’m leaving, Remus!’

‘Where to?’ he asked.

‘I don’t know. I’ll try and rebuild my life’, she said and sighed. ‘I’m leaving the Wizarding World. I don’t know if this is going to be permanent, but that’s what I need right now.’

‘Did you talk to anyone about that?’ he asked.

‘No, only you and I hope you can keep it to yourself. And besides, I decided it when I left Azkaban with Grandfather.’

Lupin nodded sadly and smiled weakly.

‘Don’t be a stranger... I don’t want to be alone in the world for too long,’ he said. She nodded and hugged him tight.

‘Good bye, Moony!’ she said and Disapparated.


Ariel got up from the table and left the flat keys, the piece of parchment addressed to Dumbledore and the quill on it, then took a deep breath, picked up her Muggle backpack and went again to the door, opening it. She turned around, looking at the house. She loved the place, the living room so well decorated, the huge fireplace... The kitchen... But she did not belong there anymore, at least for now... She needed to fly free, to find herself again and try to rebuild her life! No more magic, no more Order, Aurors, raids, spells... From now on, she would live as a Muggle. Well, a Muggle with a wand, but it was more for her protection. She wanted to leave the Wizarding World and leave it behind, because maybe she would never come back. If her grandfather wanted to contact her, she was sure the owls in Hogwarts were going to do the job and know where she was, but she also knew her grandfather would give her time to do what she needed to do to get healed.

Ariel took a deep breath and closed the door. She left, taking a bus and heading to the train station. Her first stop: Malaga, Spain.

Chapter 12: Chapter 12. In the Muggle world
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Chapter 12. In the Muggle world


Ariel smiled and looked at Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione, who were looking at her with much interest.

‘Well, that’s it,’ she said.

‘Merlin… That must have been the worst decision you’ve ever made!’ Hermione said, matter-of-factly.

‘It was really hard, but I had to do that… For me, for my sanity… And I didn’t come back for ten years,’ she explained.

‘And what did you do in the meantime?’ Ginny asked.

Ariel smiled and cuddled to Sirius, who kissed her forehead. Harry smiled, still thinking how weird it was to see Sirius and Ariel together. Weird, but nice.

‘Aren’t you guys tired of hearing about me?’ Ariel asked, smiling.

‘Not at all,’ Harry said, smiling. ‘You’ve known everything about us since we were eleven, but we know nothing about you, and besides, Sirius and Professor Lupin never told us much about their days at Hogwarts or afterwards.’

‘I still can’t understand it,’ she asked, looking at Sirius, who shrugged.

‘Well, Harry would eventually know who you really were and you’d tell him everything,’ Sirius said. ‘You know, Harry, as I told you, Ariel is a very powerful witch. She can control the ocean if you need, she can hex you without a wand… But she cannot control her mouth.’

They laughed. Ariel scowled at him and slapped his shoulder. ‘You… Dog!’ she said.

‘I’m not offended,’ Sirius said, laughing.

‘Shut up! I have a story to tell the guys. You just stay there, being beautiful, listening to my words and holding me!’ she said with a smile.

Hermione and Ginny giggled. Harry laughed and Ron looked at Sirius with a grin. ‘I would get her later for the shut up, be beautiful and listen thing,’ Ron said.

‘Good point, mate, I will definitely do it later,’ Sirius said.

‘So, you left the Wizarding World and what did you do? You went to Spain…’ Hermione recapitulated. Ariel nodded.

‘Yes, I went to Malaga, in Spain,’ Ariel continued. ‘I lived there for four months. I rented a little apartment and decided to work as a waitress in a restaurant, but then, one day, I woke up and decided that Spain wasn’t far enough from Britain, at least not as much as I wished it were… So I decided to go to Santorini, in Greece. At first I didn’t realize the mistake I was making, because we…’ she looked at Sirius. ‘Sirius and I always talked about visiting that place together,’ she continued and Sirius nodded, squeezing her hand slightly. ‘At first I was excited to be there, I rented a small apartment on the rocks, I was doing well as a Muggle… I cooked, I cleaned the house without much magic, and I was proud of myself. But after a week there I started to get depressed and couldn’t find a job, I just wanted to spend the day looking at the ocean or swimming.

‘One day, I met this old man, who reminded me so much of Grandfather, and we became friends. He took Muggle pictures of tourists and he taught me how to do it and develop the images, so I spent six more months there, working and pitying myself. But again, one day, I woke up and realized that there wasn’t the place I wanted to be anymore. I needed to be even farther, and then I saw this movie on TV, showing San Francisco, in California, United States. I just packed and next thing I knew I was living there, in a nice Victorian building…’


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — SEPTEMBER 1982


Ariel stopped in front of the building, which looked like a huge Victorian house, and looked up, smiling. This was definitely a new beginning! Eight thousand kilometers away from Britain. And the city was beautiful, very sunny and with lots of slopes and a nice tram. Also, there were very alternative kinds of people, nobody seemed to care about what the others were wearing or doing. That was definitely a very nice and eclectic place. Well, not that she was much different from Muggles now. She was wearing jeans, sneakers, a black sweater; her long black hair was up in a ponytail and she was even wearing sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses was weird, but when you got used to it, it was nice, and the man from the lens crafter told her that it protected her eyes from the rays of the Sun. He was right. Every time she wore her sunglasses and went out onto the street, her eyes were relaxed and it was a very good feeling.

She grabbed her backpack as she heard a voice right next to her.

‘Hello, I’m Josh Williams, I live in 32B! Are you new here?’ he asked her, stretching his hand. She studied the tall, blond, handsome man in front of her for a moment. He smiled. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.’

‘Oh, no!’ she stretched her hand and shook his. ‘I’m Ariel Loiseau!’

‘Beautiful name! So… You are new here.’

‘Yes, I am! Just moved in, I’m in apartment 42A.’

‘Oh, nice! Want some help?’ he asked.

‘Oh, no, that’s OK, thanks!’

He smiled and looked at her. ‘I don’t quite recognize your accent… Are you from…’ he trailed off.

‘Britain.’

‘Cool! I’ve been there once, nice place!’

‘Yes, it is,’ she said and they smiled. ‘So you are my neighbor?’

‘Yes, it seems you moved to the apartment on top of mine and my friend Lucas’.’

‘Oh, don’t worry! I’m not very noisy. You will barely hear my footsteps,’ she said, they laughed.

‘That’s what we are going to find out,’ he said, smiling. ‘You really don’t want any help?’

‘No, thank you, I’m fine!’

‘Ok, then. Well… Welcome to the building! And if you need anything, you know where to find me.’

‘Thank you,’ she said and went inside the building. Weird people, but nice.

She climbed the stairs, going to her new home. Ariel opened the door and smiled. The apartment was small but very spacious; it was already furnished with very nice furniture. And the place did not need a widening charm! She peeked at the kitchen from over the counter and smiled, then went to the bedroom, finding only a huge bed and a wardrobe. Of course she could conjure some stuff or make it more comfortable. She smiled again and left the room, going to the bathroom. Good, there was a bathtub, a very nice bathtub, and the apartment was very bright and warm. Ariel sighed and smiled, then went back to the living room and opened her backpack, taking out some things, like pictures of her and Sirius, her friends, baby Harry, her and Dumbledore and her parents, some books… For that she was using some magic, but there was no way she could travel with so many things in her backpack without a little bit of magic. And besides, she was not hiding.

She spent the afternoon working on the apartment, making it look as Muggle as possible; she even cast a spell to keep the pictures still. For some reason, she had this feeling that, for the first time in her life, she would have Muggle friends and visitors. Maybe this was the real beginning of her new life, the life she so wanted, forgetting everything bad in her past. As she had said to Remus, she needed to rebuild her life and now she was sure she was on the right path.

At night, Ariel was at home, having just arrived from a walk in the neighborhood and some shopping, when the doorbell rang. She grabbed her wand and closed the refrigerator door, walking to the front door to open it, her wand at the ready behind her back.

‘Hi! A welcoming gift to our new neighbor,’ Josh, the guy from the apartment downstairs said as he stretched a basket full of fruit, wine and chocolate in front of her.

‘Oh, thank you,’ she said as she hid her wand in the back pocket of her jeans and covered it with her white t-shirt. ‘I just arrived, sorry,’ she smiled and took the basket. ‘Would you like to come in? It’s kind of messy, but… You’re Josh, right?’

‘Right, and this is Lucas.’

‘Oh, hello, Lucas, I’m Ariel’, she said and shook his hand. ‘Come on in!’

The guys entered the apartment looking around. The three of them looked at one another and smiled.

‘I’m so sorry to bother you, Ariel, but we wanted to bring you the basket and let you know that, if you need anything, you can call us,’ Josh said.

‘Thank you very much, but… Have a seat! You are not bothering me at all,’ she said, pointing to the sofa. They sat down. Ariel put the basket on the counter and looked at them, smiling.

‘So… Josh told me you are from England,’ Lucas said, speaking for the first time.

‘Yes, I mean… I lived in Scotland for twelve years, then I moved to London when I graduated,’ she explained. ‘And you, are you from here?’

‘I am, born and raised,’ Lucas said.

‘I’m from Boston, Massachusetts, but I came to San Francisco to go to Med School,’ Josh said, smiling.

Ariel looked at him with a puzzled expression. ‘Med School? What is it?’

The two guys looked at each other, then at her again. ‘Uh… Medical School. To become a doctor, you know?’ Josh explained.

‘Oh, sorry,’ she said, smiling. ‘Doctor! I thought about being a Medwi… Uh… A doctor, but I decided to become an Au… Agent from the Ministry, you know? Like… Police?’

‘Oh, so you are a Law person?’ Josh asked, impressed.

‘Not anymore, I…’ she said, looking down and taking a deep breath. ‘I resigned a year ago when I lost some friends.’

‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ the guys said together.

‘That’s fine; I’m still healing and travelling to find my new place in the world. Maybe I’ll go back home someday,’ she said with a smile and her eyes travelled to the pictures on the mantelpiece, stopping at the picture of her and Sirius. The guys followed her gaze.

‘Is he one of them?’ Lucas asked. Ariel looked at him and nodded slightly.

‘Yes, he was my boyfriend,’ she explained and smiled.

‘I’m sorry.’

‘Nah, it’s past,’ she said. ‘So, are the both of you doctors?’

‘No, I actually have a club downtown,’ Lucas said.

‘Really? That’s nice,’ she said. ‘I love to dance.’

‘You are invited to go there anytime… No, no, no: you are summoned to show this pretty face of yours there as soon as possible!’ Lucas said and they smiled.

‘I would love to, thanks.’

‘You’re welcome,’ Josh said. ‘Well, we’ll let you settle yourself and… You know, if you need anything, just call us.’

Ariel smiled. ‘Thank you very much and if you blokes need anything, you know where to find me, too.’

The three of them got up and she went to the door with them. ‘It was very nice to meet you, Ariel,’ Lucas said.

‘Nice to meet you too,’ she said and shook their hands.

‘See you tomorrow.’

‘Good night!’ she said and they left. She closed the door and smiled. They were very nice people and now, more than ever, she knew she had made a very good choice in going to California. People were really easygoing and she could swear to Merlin that Josh and Lucas were more than roommates. She turned the lights off and went to take a shower, then headed to bed.

The following days, Ariel walked around the city, getting to know the neighborhood. She visited some places, like Chinatown, the Buddhist Temple in Berkeley, the Golden Gate Park; the only place she did not venture visiting was the infamous Alcatraz Prison, on Alcatraz Island. It was very much like Azkaban and that was something she really did not want to think about for a long time, or else she would never really heal.

One night, two weeks since she had moved to San Francisco, she was at home reading a Muggle book when she heard her neighbors leaving the building, probably going to Lucas’ club. She closed the book and smiled. She was going to dance! They were always inviting her to go to the club with them, so, that night, she was going to meet them there and have some fun with her new friends. She wore some jeans (she loved wearing jeans, it was the best Muggle invention in the world), a white canoe-neck shirt with ¾ sleeves (after all, they were in the 80s) and black high-heel boots. She put her wand inside her boots, like she used to do when she was still an Auror, and left.

She paid the cab driver and entered the club, looking around to see if she could find Josh or Lucas. A few minutes later, she saw them behind the counter and walked over to them.

‘Hello, you guys,’ she said, smiling. They both looked at her and smiled as well.

‘Hey, you made it!’ Josh said and got out from behind the counter, going to her and hugging her. Lucas kissed her cheek.

‘I’m glad you came,’ he said.

‘Thank you,’ she said, smiling. ‘I love it here! It’s a very nice place!’

‘Thanks! Sit down,’ Lucas said, pointing to the high stool. ‘What would you like to drink?’

‘Uh… I don’t know, what do you have?’

‘Oh, beer, vodka, whisky… Everything! You name it and we have it!’

She looked at the wall, taking in the different drinks, then looked at Lucas. ‘Surprise me,’ she said, they laughed.

‘You heard the lady, Lucas! Do that one with pineapple,’ Josh suggested and sat next to her. They smiled.

‘You know, Josh, I want to go back to school,’ she started. ‘I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and on Sunday, when you showed me your stuff from school, I reckoned maybe it would be a good idea. I told you I wanted to be a medic before I joined the Law Enforcement,’ she explained.

‘Really? You would love it! It’s tough, but if you can handle it in the beginning, you’ll go all the way,’ Josh said with a bright smile.

‘I’m quite sure I can,’ she said, nodding. ‘I’ve always been fascinated with the human body and my best subjects at school were…’ she stopped talking and looked at them. ‘Related to organisms and plants and their use! It was quite a different school, you see?’ she added.

Josh and Lucas, who was finishing preparing her drink, looked at each other.

‘It mustn’t have been boring, that’s for sure,’ Lucas said, putting the glass in front of her.

‘Thank you,’ she said and took a sip of her drink. ‘Wow, this is really good! It has mint, pineapple and vodka, right? Amazing!’

They smiled. ‘Glad you like it,’ Lucas said.

‘Yes! And my grandfather would love it, too,’ she said, smiling. ‘He loves sherbet lemon.’

‘Do you have a grandfather?’ Josh asked, curiously.

Ariel nodded. ‘Yes,’ she said before taking another sip of her drink. ‘He’s the Headmaster of the school I went to, in Scotland.’

‘Is he that old man in the picture on the mantelpiece?’

‘Yes, that’s him,’ she smiled fondly at the memory of her beloved Grandfather. ‘He’s kind of eccentric, but he’s an amazing man all the same. I miss him very much, but he gave me time and space to live my life on my own.’

‘You are a very mysterious girl you know that? Especially when you look at something with a question in your eyes, like when you saw our vacuum cleaner,’ Josh said, amused. They laughed.

‘Sorry! The thing is that I’ve never been very useful in the kitchen or in households,’ she explained. ‘I’m still learning! I lived in a huge place all my life and we always had house-el… maids.’

‘Oh, I get it now,’ Lucas said, nodding in understanding.

‘I’ve been learning how to deal with everything since I started living on my own, but there was always my friend Lily, who loved to cook and things like that,’ she said. ‘And when I lived in Spain, I learnt a few things too, but I was just a waitress and in Greece, I was a photographer, so I was always eating out.’

They laughed. ‘Do you still take pictures?’ Lucas asked.

‘Uh… I did that to spend the time and see if I would adjust in Santorini and, of course, to make some money, but I’m not sure if I want to do that again, I mean… Not as my everyday job, at least. I like to take pictures of the places I go to and of the people I meet, but that’s all,’ she answered and thought for a moment. ‘Actually, I need to find a job here.’

‘A job?’

‘Yes, I need a job! I will start searching for one next week,’ she said.

‘No, you are hired,’ Lucas said.

‘Excuse me?’ she asked, looking at him puzzled.

‘Yes! You liked the place and we need someone we can trust to work here, especially when Josh is studying and I can’t be here... Like a manager, you know?’ Lucas explained.

‘What?’

‘Yes, what do you think? We will always be around, but we want someone we can trust and will take care of this place if it’s necessary.’

‘Oh… I don’t know!’ she said, truthfully. ‘We’ve known one another for only two weeks! How do you know you can trust me?’

‘Well, Lucas has this thing,’ Josh started explaining. ‘He can read people and since the first night we went to your apartment, he’s liked you,’ he said.

‘Oh, like a third eye?’ she asked, smiling.

‘Yes, like a third eye,’ Lucas said. ‘And I can tell you I’ve never been mistaken.’

‘I believe you,’ she said. ‘Few people can see inside the others, it’s a gift,’ she said and took a deep breath. ‘Well… I accept your offer!’

‘Perfect!’ Lucas said and they smiled.

‘That’s great!’ Josh added.

‘When do I start?’

‘Tomorrow, if you want to,’ Lucas said.

Ariel nodded. ‘Tomorrow it is, then,’ she said and took another sip of her drink. They all smiled.


The following night, Ariel would start working with the guys at the club. In the afternoon, she went with Josh to Berkeley, where she talked to the Dean and they settled she would get all the necessary documents to enroll in the University. She would start her classes as soon as everything was done, since the classes had already started two weeks previous. Next thing she had to do then was search for the Wizarding community in San Francisco, but that would not be too hard. She said goodbye to Josh and entered her apartment, finding a barn owl on the windowsill, looking at her. Ariel smiled and closed the door, going to the window and opened it.

‘Hey… Hello, you,’ she said as she stretched her arm to get the owl, which climbed on her arm. ‘Is there a letter for me?’

The owl stretched its leg and Ariel untied the envelope, taking a letter and two other parchments. She opened the letter and read it.


Dear Ariel,
I reckoned you might need some documents to start your term in the Muggle School. Just give them three taps with your wand on the blank parchments and they will Transfigure into whatever you need.
I miss you very much.
With all my love,
Grandfather


She smiled and kissed the letter. ‘I miss you too, Grandpa… And I love you, too!’ she said in a low voice, then took her wand and did what her grandfather told her to do, making the Muggle documents appear before her eyes. She looked at the owl and caressed its feathers. ‘Stay the night to rest and tomorrow morning, you’ll take a letter and a surprise to Headmaster Dumbledore, OK?’

‘Hoo!’

Ariel smiled and put some water in a mug, giving it to the owl, then took a notebook and started writing:

Dear Grandfather,
Since I was a little girl I’ve always wondered how you know so much, and you always surprise me. Always! But I want to say thank you for giving me the time and space I need and thank you for being by my side, even with a distance of eight thousand kilometers between us.
Also… Thank you for forgiving me for having left nothing but a note to you and for telling you I would not come back to the Wizarding World. Well… I don’t know if I will come back someday, but now, at this moment, I want to stay where I am. I have new and good friends; a new job and I will start a new career. That you know already, but I felt the urge to tell you… After all, you’ve always been my family, my mentor and my best friend.
Anyways… Come and visit me in San Francisco, I would love to spend some time with you, talk to you and be your little girl again! I love you, Grandfather! Oh… And you will love the city. People are simply… Different! Nobody cares if you are walking around the street naked or anything! Not that I do it, of course not, but just to let you know how different people are here.
I am sending a gift to you. It is some pictures I took with my Muggle camera and developed myself. They are pictures of some of places I’ve been to that I’d love to share with you! And there is a picture of myself my friend Josh that I took the other day. I thought about charming it for you, but no… This is my world now and I’m doing my best not to use magic.
Thanks again for everything. And please, don’t hesitate in coming! I miss you like crazy!
Love you with all my heart,
Ariel


She put the letter in an envelope addressed to Headmaster Dumbledore and smiled, then went to get changed for work. That night, Ariel left the window open, so the owl could go hunt. The following morning, she sent the owl back with her letter and the pictures. In the afternoon, she went to the University to enroll in Med School. Three days later she would have her first day at Muggle School.


Chapter 13: Chapter 13 - The Witching Hour
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Chapter 13 - The Witching Hour

‘You are a doctor?’ Hermione asked. ‘A Muggle doctor? What kind of doctor?’

Ariel smiled. ‘Yes, I’m a Muggle doctor. I graduated in Berkeley, California. I was an Obstetrician,’ she said and they looked at her surprised. ‘I was tired of death, so I wanted to bring new life to the world!’ she added and they smiled. ‘But I only worked as a doctor until I came back here and became Hedwig, and while I was in the castle, not in the Owlery, I gave some advice and helped Madam Pomfrey a little bit, but I don’t think she liked the idea!’

They laughed.

'I know… Wizards don't trust Muggle Medicine', Hermione said.

'Yeah… But they should! Well… I'm too suspicious to talk about it', she said, smiling. 'And you, boys?'

Harry and Ron looked at each other, then at Ariel.

'We don’t know how things will be from now on, but…We still think about being Aurors', Harry said and Ron nodded. 'Perhaps share a flat…the three of us…'

Hermione looked at the boys and Harry smiled.

'Yes, Hermione…What do you think about that?'

Hermione's eyes shone with pleasure and she and Ginny smiled.

'Are you certain about this? I mean…'

'Of course we are. We would never leave you behind', Harry said and held her hand. They smiled. Ron cleared his throat and they both looked at him.

'Yeah, you know, Hermione…We are a trio. Without you it would be…' he cleared his throat again. 'Kind of…Weird.'

'Huh…Thanks, Ron. I appreciate it', she said, looking deep into his eyes and he nodded again, turning slightly pink on his neck and his ears.

'And you, Hermione? What do you intend to do? Go into Auror training with the boys?' Sirius asked, making her attention turn towards him, to Ron's relief.

'Well…I reckon I had too much about fighting evil and dark wizards…I would like to work doing something that I could help the others with, like…I would love to work in the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures…'

'Oh, no! SPEW again!' Harry and Ron said in unison. They all laughed.

'It's not SPEW… Its S.P.E.W.', she said, upset. 'Honestly!'

'That's great, Hermione…You will do very well', Sirius said.

'Thanks.'

'Moony will be delighted to know that', Sirius said, smiling.

'He is one of the reasons I would like to work there', she confessed.

'That's nice…and I believe you will do great things once you are inside', Ariel said and smiled, then looked at Ginny. 'And you, Ginny? I know you still have a year ahead, but… do you have any idea of what you would like to do?'

'Well, yes. I would like to became a healer', she smiled. 'That's always fascinated me and besides, I can help the boys when they are fighting the dark… They break it on duty and I fix it', she said very naturally and they all laughed.

'That's very useful and thoughtful', Sirius said, laughing.

Ginny looked at Ariel with a curious face. 'Is Muggle Medicine too different from ours? I mean…'

'Muggle Medicine is fascinating. Of course they cannot deal with things we deal in our world, like…werewolf bites or some kind of poisons. Actually they do not look beyond what the patient is feeling; instead, loads of machines work to find out what is the real problem in the person's body. But most of the time, their medicine and work do miracles. They don't brew potions or use incantations…they have their own kind of potions that are manufactured in series and they sell it in a place they call Chemists', she said with her blue eyes sparkling.'

'I reckon Muggles are mental. That's a fact!' Ron said

'Ronald!' Hermione said in a reprehensive tone and they laughed.

'Ariel…do you still talk with your Muggle friends?' Ginny asked Ariel, ignoring Ron's comment. Ariel smiled.

'Yes, I do. We have not seen each other these past seven years, but every time I could I wrote to them or talked to them on the phone. Such great friends are always with us forever, even over such a long distance.'

They all smiled and Ginny nodded.

'And…did you ever tell them you're a witch?' Hermione asked

'Oh…' Ariel smiled, remembering the day the guys had found out about her abilities with a wand. 'Well…when you have friends who enter in your house at any hour of the day without knocking…yes! I can tell you they really found out I was a witch.'

'What happened?' Harry asked curiously.

Ariel grinned.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — NOVEMBER 1986.

Four years. Four years had passed since Ariel had stepped onto the streets of San Francisco and she loved being there. The wounds she had the day she arrived in the city had bled like crazy, now they had closed and only sometimes, when she was alone, did they still hurt, but that was something that would be with her forever. After all, James, Sirius, Remus and Lily had been her best friends and family since she was eleven…yes, Peter too, but there was something about him; they did not match very well. And now, there weren't the Marauders anymore, or Ariel and Lily, or baby Harry, only good and bad memories from those amazing and happy times they had spent together.

That Sunday morning Ariel was sitting on the counter drinking some coffee and eating a bagel with the newspaper spread out and reading the news, the television was also on the Weather channel. Ariel took a sip of her coffee when she heard a flutter and a big barn owl landed on top of the newspaper.

'Oh…hello, little fellow', she said, smiling and the owl hooted. 'A letter from Grandfather? Thank you!' she untied the letters, one from Dumbledore and a surprise, one from Remus Lupin. Ariel smiled and cut some pieces of her bagel, offering them to the owl, which started eating it happily.

Ariel started to read the letters just when Josh opened the door and looked at her with a smile.

'Hi gorgeous. Already up?'

Ariel looked at him, then to the owl and to him again.

'Hey…yeah!'

Josh came close, smiling.

'Lucas will be…oh my Goodness! What is this owl doing here?'

Ariel looked at the owl again, then at him and Lucas, who had just entered the apartment.

'Good morning, beautiful!' he said and looked at the owl. 'What…'

'Erm…it appeared at my window last night. I reckon it's hurt, so I’ll let it stay until its feeling OK to fly', she said and caressed the owl's head.

They stared at the owl resting on the counter and accepting Ariel's caresses quietly.

'I never heard of an owl being so…not…wild!' Lucas said, analyzing the animal.

'Well…I told you. I reckon its hurt. I'm not a veterinarian. Anyways…I will let it rest and leave the window open, so it can fly home when it wants. Sounds good, don't you think?'

'Yeah…and it seems to be harmless', Lucas said, coming closer to the counter and touching the owl. 'And maybe if it likes you, you can keep it.'

'I don't have time to take care of a…pet. No!' she said smiling. 'But it can come and visit me, right?' she said, caressing the owl.

'Hoo!'

'It can talk!' Josh said and they laughed.

‘So, what brings my favorite boys to my place so early this Sunday?’ she asked.

‘Letters? From whom?’ Josh grabbed the letters from the table.

‘Oh…my grandfather and a friend from Hogwarts’, she said without paying attention.

‘Hogwarts?’ Josh and Lucas asked together.

‘Huh?’ she asked, looking at them.

‘Hogwarts, you just said that’, Lucas said, smiling.

‘Oh, yes’, she smiled, ‘it’s the school in Scotland where my grandfather is the… Principal. It’s a boarding school for boys and girls. I never talked about it?’ she asked them.

‘No, not that I remember’, Lucas said.

‘Oh, well’, she smiled and shrugged, ‘maybe you never asked.’

‘Probably’, Josh said, smiling. ‘So, ready?’

‘For what?’ she asked.

‘What do you mean ‘for what?’? For the barbecue at the Golden Gate Park with Morris, Steve, Karl and Jones!’ Josh said.

‘Oh, I had forgotten!’ she exclaimed. ‘I’m sorry! Well… I need to change quickly and we can go then’, she said, getting out from behind the counter and going to her room. Ariel wore a pair of jeans, brown suede boots, a white t-shirt and a brown V-neck sweatshirt. ‘Ok, I’m ready. Let me just chop some vegetables to make a salad.’

‘Sure, do you have some beer?’ Lucas asked.

‘In the fridge. Go ahead’, she said, taking the salad bowl and the knife. ‘And since you are there, help me out and get the vegetables.’

‘Yes, ma’am’, Lucas said as he opened the fridge and handed her the vegetables, before taking a beer out for himself.

‘Thank you!’

She started working on the salad while Lucas drank his beer and stared at the owl, who was perched on the arm of the couch, sleeping. Josh shook his head and looked at Ariel.

‘So, your car or ours?’ he asked.

‘Mine, it’s at the front of the building already, since last night’, she said.

‘Hmm…what time did you arrive last night?’ Josh asked with a grin.

‘Before the beautiful couple here!’ she said, laughing and pointing at them. They laughed.

‘Well, we stayed at the club a little bit more. And…what about the blond guy with blue eyes?’ Lucas asked.

‘Shut up!’ she answered, laughing.

‘Really, girl…in the four years you’re here, I haven’t seen you dating once! And I mean really dating, not just flirting’, Josh said.

‘My heart is still with Sirius. I’m still healing’, she justified.

‘Well, it’s about time’, Lucas said.

‘And besides, I haven’t found any interesting guys’, she continued. ‘You American blokes just want sex and I’ll call you later.’

‘Some of them do call later, even if only for more sex’, Josh said.

‘But don’t give up, there are good guys around’, Lucas added.

‘You two…why do you have to be a couple? This is really sad for the female species!’

They laughed.

‘Sorry, beautiful’, Lucas said. ‘Don’t think we men are the only ones who disappoint you, women.’

‘I know’, she nodded. ‘Oh, by the way…I bought something for you lot…it’s on my bedside table.’

‘Ok’, Josh said and went to her room. A few minutes later, he came back with a “My Fair Lady” VHS in one hand and a stick of wood in the other.

‘Did you find it?’ she asked, not paying attention to him.

‘Yes and…I found this on your bed, too. What is it, naughty girl?’ he asked and pointed the stick of wood at her. Lucas and Ariel looked at it and she felt all her blood disappear from her body. ‘Ariel?’ he asked, worried. She blinked and looked at him, composing herself.

‘Oh, it’s a…a…’ she stuttered.

‘A?’ he asked.

‘It looks like a baton’, Lucas said, coming closer and looking at it. ‘Or…Merlin’s magical wand’, he said with a smile and Josh snorted.

‘Merlin never used a wand, but a stick’, she said.

‘Hmm…who knows?’ Lucas said while Josh continued examining the wand.

‘Seriously…why do you have this on your bed? What is it, exactly?’ Josh asked.

‘It’s…my wand’, she said with a sigh.

‘Your wand? Aren’t you too old to be playing Tinkerbell or a fairy?’ Lucas asked, amused. She looked at them and went to them.

‘Oh, shut up! Too many questions…I like it and that’s all!’ she grabbed her wand, which released white sparkles.

‘Wow! How did you do that?’ Josh asked with his eyes wide open. ‘Is there some kind of button or…’

‘No!’ she said and took a deep breath. It was time to tell them the truth. They were very good friends who would never tell who she really was. ‘I’m a witch.’

They looked at each other, then at her.

‘Oh…that’s nice’, Lucas said. ‘You never told us before…why not? We are open-minded people.’

‘I know, it’s just something I want to leave behind and usually, you Muggle people don’t believe in magic’, she explained.

‘Muggle? What do you mean?’ Josh asked, confused.

‘Non-magical people’, she continued and then, took a deep breath. ‘I’m sorry, uh…I’m really a witch, I don’t dance naked under the full moon or something like that’, she added. They looked at her for a moment, then Josh took a deep breath like she did.

‘So, you are more like a…Psychic person?’ he asked.

‘Like a Seer? No…although I can read a little bit on the tea leaves, but…no, I was born a witch, I came from two old families of witches and wizards,’ she explained. ‘My great-great-great grandfather is one of the most powerful wizards in the Wizarding world and he was the one who raised me when my parents were killed.’

‘I don’t understand’, Lucas said.

‘It doesn’t make any sense, Ariel’, Josh completed. She sighed.

‘Look…Accio tape!’ she said, pointing her wand to Josh’s hands and the tape flew over to her hands. They both gasped and jumped back.

‘How did you do that?’ they asked at the same time.

‘Like…’ she said and took a glass, throwing it on the floor. It shattered into thousand pieces, so she pointed her wand at it. ‘Reparo!’

The glass recomposed itself in a blink of an eye.

‘Ok, I’m sorry, but now I’m scared!’ Lucas said. Ariel sighed.

‘I guess we are not going to the Park anymore, right?’ she asked, then showed them the couch with her hand. ‘Sit down, we have loads of things to talk about.’

The boys sat in front of her and Ariel took another breath, looking at them. She had been their friend for four years now and she knew she could trust her life to them. They not only had offered their friendship, but their help, they gave her a very nice job, were always there when she just needed to cry, never saying a word or asking anything when she made stupid questions like ‘how do you fix stuff with this white paste?’ referring to a bottle of glue, or even on her first night in town, when she asked what Med school was.

‘Well’, she started and looked at them, biting her lower lip, ‘I never said anything because first I wanted to live a Muggle life, I did not want to be part of the Wizarding world anymore, since I had lost so much…and second because…you lot accepted me the way I was, saying funny things all these four years without thinking I was some kind of freak or something.’

‘We thought you were, uh…a little…clumsy, that’s all’, Lucas said, looking at Josh, who nodded.

‘Well, I don’t blame you’, she said with a weak smile, ‘but I couldn’t tell you who I really was. You see, this connection between Muggle world and Wizarding world is very weak. Even in Muggle families, when a wizard is born, only the closest members know the truth, like the parents and siblings. And of course, the Head of Government knows about it as well’, she added and sighed. ‘I was going to tell you eventually and it was not like I was lying to you lot, I was just omitting some facts, not important though, ‘cause it’s been like ages and I don’t use magic anymore. The only thing that I still do is using the owl to send letters to grandfather because I cannot send them by regular post to Hogwarts and…you found my wand because it’s my protection.’

They looked at the owl, resting on the arm of the couch, a little skeptically.

‘So, this owl is a…mail pigeon?’ Lucas asked, intrigued. ‘It flies from Britain to here?’

‘Yes’, she answered. ‘Sorry for lying about this! But I couldn’t just tell you he was bringing my letters’, she added.

‘He?’

‘Yes, his name is Felix. He’s a barn owl from the school’, she explained and sighed upon their skeptical look. Ariel grabbed a piece of paper and pen and scribbled something on it, then folded it and looked at the owl. ‘Felix, wake up… I have a job for you.’ The owl looked at her and flew to her shoulder. Ariel patted its head and put the paper on its leg. ‘Take it to Grandfather and bring his answer back. Go!’

‘Hoo!’

The owl took flight, leaving the apartment. Josh and Lucas looked at each other, then at her.

‘Ok, and it knows where to go?’ Lucas asked.

‘Yes’, she answered. ‘You don’t need to believe me and I can fix it…I can erase this conversation and you will never know anything that happened today. The only thing is that…I wanted you to be part of my life, to know who I really am’, she said with a tingle of sorrow.

‘You understand that this is very hard for us to take, don’t you?’ Josh asked.

‘Of course I do.’

‘What made you not to want to be a witch anymore?’ Lucas asked, suddenly, and they looked at him.

‘What I told you is true’, she continued. ‘I lost three best friends. It (That) was the main reason…’ she sighed and got up, hugging herself by her waist. ‘My world was in a war between good and evil. Voldemort, a powerful dark wizard, was threatening the Wizarding community for years until something that no one could expect happened: a prophecy was made and two boys could cause the fall of the Dark Lord. That’s why I became an Auror…’ she paused at their confused expression. ‘Like an agent of the government, we were trained to fight against dark witches and wizards, especially Voldemort and his followers, the people he called Death Eaters. We were trained to fight and die fighting, but as I told you, this prophecy was made and Voldemort went after the boys, and one of them was my godson, Harry Potter. My grandfather suggested that James and Lily, his parents, do this spell called Fidelius, in which you have to choose one person to be the Secret Keeper and only this person can tell where his/her protégé is hidden, and this person was Sirius…’ she took a deep breath again and continued. ‘For some reason, Voldemort found Lily and James and killed them, but when he tried to kill Harry, the curse, one of the Unforgivable curses, backfired and he disappeared from Earth. Sirius was accused of telling Voldemort where the Potters were and breaking the spell, and he was also accused of killing one of their best friends, Peter Pettigrew, and a bunch of Muggles on a street in London. Now he’s in Azkaban, the Wizarding prison…it’s like Alcatraz, but much, much worse, and he believes he’s guilty, but I don’t!’ Ariel emphasized the last part, feeling her eyes fill up with tears. ‘He would never betray his friends, Sirius would have died to protect James, Lily and Harry!’ she said and took a deep breath before continuing, but the tears rolled down her face anyway. ‘And Harry was sent to live with his horrible relatives! Lily’s sister, her husband and her son…she hated Lily, I can’t even imagine how my baby is!’ she finished and looked at them. Both guys were staring at her in astonishment. ‘I’m so sorry! Oh, Merlin…I’m so, so sorry! I shouldn’t have spilled all of this on you lot!’

‘No, it’s OK’, Lucas said and got up, holding her hand and wiping her tears.

‘No, it’s not! Now you’ll think I’m a crazy witch…crazier than you already thought I was and I don’t blame you! Maybe if I were a Muggle, I wouldn’t believe in myself!’ she said, still crying.

‘No, we don’t think you’re crazy! Of course this is the craziest thing I ever heard, but it doesn’t mean you’re lying’, Josh said.

‘I’m not lying’, she said and looked at her wand on the coffee table, soon taking it and putting it in her back pocket. ‘And it was because of that that I left the Wizarding world. Not to hide, but to find myself, to find an Ariel who didn’t need magic in her life and I thought I was doing well, I mean…I’m studying Muggle medicine, working in a Muggle place…I’m even using the laundromat around the corner, I have a telly and a telephone at home and…a car! I don’t fly on broomsticks anymore, or watch my favorite Quidditch team playing…or…I don’t know…’ she blurted out and looked at them. ‘If you want to sack me, I’ll understand.’

Josh took a deep breath and looked at Lucas, then at Ariel.

‘One thing at a time…we’ve had too much for today’, he said and got up, looking at Ariel and touching her face. ‘Thanks for coming out.’

She nodded. ‘You did the work, I just confessed everything…but thank you for listening to me’, she added.

‘Always’, Josh said and pulled her in a tight hug. ‘If you need anything, we’ll be downstairs, beautiful.’

‘Thanks’, she said and Lucas pecked her on her lips softly.

‘Bye, honey.’


Chapter 14: Chapter 14 - The Visit
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Chapter 14 - The Visit

‘After you told them who you really were, did they keep talking to you or...you know…did you lot grow apart for a while?’ Harry asked curiously.

‘Oh, no!’ Ariel answered, smiling. ‘Later that day, they ordered a pepperoni pizza and we all went upstairs. We had some fun eating pizza and drinking beer.’

‘Did you show them anything else?’ Ron asked.

‘No, we decided not to talk about it anymore’, she said. ‘If I wanted to live as a Muggle and really leave the Wizarding World behind, they would help me and stay by my side. And that’s what they did, I mean…after Josh asked me what Quidditch was and if I really flew on a broomstick’, she added and they laughed. ‘There isn’t much to tell about the following years. I kept on working in the club until I started my residency at the hospital.’

‘And did you date anyone?’ Ginny asked, biting her lower lip and glancing at Sirius, who laughed.

‘That’s OK, Ginny. She probably did’, he said, amused. ‘Don’t look at me like that!’

‘Sorry’, she said.

Ariel smiled. ‘Yes, Ginny, I dated some blokes. Josh and Lucas said it was going to be good for me, but it never worked for long. I mean…except for Mark, the guy I dated the longest. He was a doctor from the hospital and we stayed together for a year’, she explained. ‘He actually proposed to me and then I decided to tell him the truth about who I was. The boys said that, if he loved me the way he used to say he did, he wouldn’t mind, he would understand, but…he did mind. I told him I was a witch and the bloke freaked out’, she continued, with a smile. ‘It was funny, though. He made me so mad, that I hexed him with a Body Bind spell, that’s when he freaked out, so I Obliviated him and ditched him, saying I wasn’t ready to get married. I reckon he doesn’t really understand what happened that day, even now’, she added with a thoughtful face. They laughed.

‘Poor bloke, Ariel!’ Sirius reprimanded her.

‘Yeah, I bet that, if he sees you on the street, he will run away from you!’ Ron said, laughing.

‘Actually, yes’, she added with a laugh. ‘After we broke up, he spent the next two weeks looking at me with a suspicious look, then he asked to be transferred to the General Hospital in Los Angeles’, she said. ‘Oh, and I heard he never ate lasagna again…that’s what we were eating that night.’

They laughed again.

‘What is lasagna?’ Ginny asked.

‘Oh, lasagna is an amazing Muggle dish!’ Ariel explained, enthusiastically. ‘It’s made of a kind of pastry and loads of cheese or chicken or meat, whatever you want.’

‘It’s very good, indeed’, Hermione added and Harry nodded. Ron looked at Hermione and smiled.

‘Maybe you can cook it for me someday, ‘Mione’, he suggested. Hermione looked at him and smiled.

‘Maybe, Ron, but only if you behave’, she said playfully, winking at him. Ron gulped and Harry and Ginny looked at each other with grins on their faces. Sirius and Ariel laughed.

Ginny looked at Ariel with very curious eyes and smiled. ‘Did Professor Dumbledore ever visit you when you were living in the US?’ she asked.

Ariel smiled. ‘Oh, yes, he did! It was a very happy day for me, but he only visited after almost eight years of my living there. He came to San Francisco for my graduation of Med School.’


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — JUNE, 1989


Josh, Lucas and Ariel stopped in front of her door; loaded with bags from the groceries they had done that morning. Ariel put the key in the keyhole to open the door and looked at the boys.

‘Why don’t you two come in? I can prepare something for lunch’, she asked them.

‘You know, miss? That’s a really good idea! We’ll come with the wine’, Lucas said.

Ariel smiled. ‘Pe’fect!’ she said and opened the door, stopping in her tracks just as she stepped in. The boys bumped into her.

‘What’s the matter, girl?’ Josh asked. Ariel’s eyes sparkled and she smiled.

‘Oh, goodness…Grandfather!’ she said and practically threw the bags on the nearest couch, running to Dumbledore’s arms. The man stood up and hugged her tight. The boys stopped by the door, looking at Ariel and the tall man with a long grey beard and half-moon spectacles, wearing midnight-blue robes decorated with silver moons and stars. ‘I missed you so much!’ she exclaimed.

Dumbledore smiled. ‘Let me look at this beautiful face of yours’, he said, holding her face. They smiled and she hugged him again. Dumbledore kissed her forehead.

Josh and Lucas looked at each other and Josh cleaned his throat. Dumbledore and Ariel looked at them and she smiled, letting go of her grandfather.

‘Grandfather, these are my good friends, Josh and Lucas’, she said, introducing the guys to Dumbledore.

‘Hello, sir’, Lucas said, stretching out his hand. Dumbledore smiled and shook hands with him. Josh did the same.

‘Hello. Ariel is very fond of you, and I am delighted to finally meet her two best friends in America’, Dumbledore said with a smile.

‘Thank you, sir’, Josh said.

‘Call me Albus or Dumbledore. Everybody fancies calling me Dumbledore, you see’, he said as he sat on the couch, grabbing Ariel’s hand with both of his. Josh smiled and looked at Ariel.

‘Well, girlie…I think we’ll leave you to enjoy your Grandpa. Call us later?’ he said.

Ariel smiled and nodded. ‘Thank you guys. I appreciate it’, she said. ‘I’ll talk to you later.’

‘Nice to meet you, sir’, Josh said and Dumbledore waved.

The guys left and Ariel looked at her grandfather. They smiled and she held his hand.

‘I’m so happy you are here Grandfather that I don’t even know what to say!’ she said. Dumbledore smiled and patted her hand.

‘And I am happy that you are happy. You have built a great life for yourself here, Ariel, and I am very proud of you. But your Auror robes are still there, waiting for the day you decide to come back home’, he said and she nodded.

‘I know Grandfather, but’, she said and sighed, ‘I am afraid I’ll never be an Auror again. That part of my life does not exist anymore and…I live here now, it’s my home.’

Dumbledore nodded and made a thoughtful face, then sighed.

‘Yes, I reckon so’, he said and smiled. ‘Anyway I have come to attend your graduation in three days time.’

She smiled and sat on the floor, in front of him.

‘Yes! I am very excited about it, you know?’ she said. ‘I am doing my residency at the Memorial Hospital and I love it! My supervisor asked me if I want to work there after my graduation and I said yes, of course!’

‘Of course you said that, you are very talented and you will save many lives with your gifts’, he said with a smile.

‘Thanks’, she smiled.

Dumbledore touched her face and she looked at him.

‘But you are not complete, as you used to be’, he pointed out matter-of-factly. Ariel’s eyes filled with tears and she sighed.

‘The war changes people, and this particular one took almost everything from me. I changed…I am not the Ariel you knew, the Auror, the easygoing one’, she said and looked at him. ‘Have you seen him there?’ Dumbledore shook his head and she nodded. ‘And Harry?’

‘Once in a while. He is fine, not the way I would like him to be, but he is protected and that is what is important’, he said.

‘Yeah, that’s what’s important…his safety’, she said and gave a soft smile, then stood up and looked around. ‘So, Grandfather, what do you reckon?’

Dumbledore smiled. ‘It is very much like you, only…without magic’, he said.

‘Well, Grandpa, that’s the point!’ she laughed softly. ‘It is very nice to live as a Muggle. I’ve learnt so many things! They are brilliant and you know they have their magical way to make things work and…without a wand’, she added.

Dumbledore smiled again. ‘Yes, Muggles are brilliant’, he agreed.

Ariel smiled and sat on the couch in front of him. ‘Grandfather, I know you so well! You didn’t come all the way from England just to see me graduating from a Muggle school and since you arrived here, you already mentioned my going back there. Is it something from the Order? Are you needing me in some other way that another person cannot help you with?’ she asked, very curious.

Dumbledore sighed, staring at her for a long moment, then he got up and started walking around the living room, stopping sometimes to look at some photographs or watch any other object closely, like her TV set, VCR or telephone, and the Muggle books on her bookcase, then he turned around and looked at her. ‘Tolkien?’ he asked.

She nodded. ‘Yes, Muggle fiction about the Medieval Era and Wizards and Goblins and giant spiders…’

‘Interesting…very interesting my dear’, he said, genuinely intrigued. Ariel sighed and crossed her arms over her chest, tilting her head.

‘So, Grandfather, what is it all about? Are you going to tell me the real reason of your visit or should I try and guess?’ she asked again, a little bit more impatiently this time.

Dumbledore walked to the couch in front of her and sat on it, looking straight at her. ‘You know why I came, Ariel. However, I reckoned I could persuade you to come back home with me after your adventure in the Muggle World, but it seems I was wrong. You see, my dear, your grandfather is becoming old and sometimes he fools himself’, he said. Ariel took a deep breath.

‘Grandfather, whatever you say won’t make me go back, unless it is something very special, like…Harry, or Sirius! Only they can make me go back to where I once belonged. Besides…I am not living an adventure in the Muggle World. This is my life now, that’s the way I live, I built it and I want it to be like this. Since I was six, the Wizarding World just brought me pain! Of course I had great moments as well, but…’ she paused for a moment, then continued, ‘for a six-year-old little girl, seeing her parents being killed and starting a new life with strangers, ‘cause yes Grandfather, you were a stranger to me when you found me in the forest. I learnt to love you as my family and now I cannot think of a better way to describe how happy and safe I was with you, and loved by you, but…I grew up and destiny once more played its cards and showed me I was not that safe anymore, and you also showed me a new path when you did not believe me about Sirius’ innocence’, she continued non-stop and Dumbledore looked at her, but she went on. ‘Because yes, he is innocent! He is paying for something he would never do, he loved James and Lily, and Harry of course, the same way I did! We were a family together…’ she shook her head and rubbed her face, ‘but it’s past. There’s nothing we can do to reverse the situation now. And when you sent Harry away…’ she said and sighed, biting her lower lip. ‘You see, I am not blaming you for you did, what you had to do, and I believe your reasons to do so, and you also know how much I trust and believe you and your wisdom!’ Ariel added and got up, going to him and kneeling in front of him. She grabbed his hands and continued. ‘Grandfather…you know I love you and I’m grateful for everything you have done for me, but don’t ask me to go back to England, unless…unless it’s for something really special.’

Dumbledore only looked at her in the eyes and patted her long black hair.

‘Child’, he started, ‘I believe you do not blame me. It is in your eyes. However, there will come the day in which you will have to decide if you have accepted or not my decisions and not judge my actions. Not only you, but people I have hurt and those that I will hurt along this path, according to the decisions I might have to take in the future.’

Ariel shook her head. ‘Why are you saying this? If you know the decisions you might make in the future might hurt people, don’t make them!’ she exclaimed.

‘I cannot predict the future my child. And I hope now, in the present, I have made a wise decision, so nobody will be hurt’, he explained.

Ariel nodded and sighed. ‘Just…answer me this: do you still believe Sirius is a murderer? That it was he who betrayed the Order and the Potters?’ she asked.

Dumbledore looked at her for a long moment. Ariel bit her lower lip, waiting for his reply. Then, finally, he sighed, a tired sigh, and patted her hand.

‘I understand you believe young Black is innocent, because you believe it with your heart, but I have my own reasons not to take back what I saw in you eight years ago’, he answered.

She nodded, her blue eyes filled with tears. ‘He will never leave Azkaban, will he?’ she asked.

‘I’m afraid not’, he answered truthfully.

‘Yeah…’ she said, crossing her legs in front of her body, hugging them. ‘But still…I believe in his innocence with all my being and if…someday, remotely I know, but if someday he leaves Azkaban, I will be there, waiting for him. That day will be the only day I will leave the Muggle World behind’, she said, looking at her grandfather. ‘Only Sirius or Harry will make me go back to the Wizarding World.’

‘Yes, Ariel, I know’, he said and patted her head. ‘But now, don’t you want to show me your new world? I know you have a Muggle car…I would love to take a ride with you, visit the Muggle shopping centers and the famous Golden Gate Bridge, is that correct?’ he asked with a smile.

She looked at him and smiled. ‘Are you sure?’ she asked.

‘Of course I am. I will even dress properly as a Muggle’, he said and she laughed.

‘Alright…we can have lunch in a Chinese restaurant, then I can show you around and at night, we can have some hot dogs in the park. There will be a band playing there and stuff like that’, she said. He smiled.

‘That’s just perfect’, he said.

Ariel got up and hugged him.

‘Thanks, Grandfather, for being here and being there at my graduation! It means a lot and…you are my only family. I love you’, she said.

Dumbledore smiled and kissed her forehead. ‘I love you too, my beautiful child.’

They smiled at each other and she let go of him, stretching her hand.

‘Let’s go…you’ll have loads of fun’, she said.

‘I know I will’, he said, smiling, then, with a flick of his wand, he transfigured his blue robes into a maroon suit.

Ariel winked at him and grabbed her leather backpack purse and her car keys, opening the door, with Dumbledore following her to the Muggle World.


Chapter 15: Chapter 15 — A Very Unusual Request
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Chapter 15 — A Very Unusual Request

'It was one of the best nights of my life since I’d left the Wizarding World.' Ariel said with dreamy eyes and a smile on her face. 'We had so much fun together, but the day after the graduation ceremony he left for home and I was left feeling really hollow inside. As if something had gone with him…but I realized I had missed him and hoped he could have stayed with me a little longer. But life should go on and I put all my energy into my work, at the San Francisco Memorial, and my two best friends.'

'And why did you decide to come back then? Eight years had passed, Sirius was still in Azkaban and I was living with the Dursleys. What made you reconsider coming back?' Harry asked, interested, his fingers playing with Ginny's.

Ariel looked at him and smiled.

'You! I came back ten years later, not eight. I was working in the hospital, I had a good life, but something was always missing and when you were about to turn eleven, Grandfather came to me one more time…


SAN FRANCISCO, CA — JUNE, 1991 gathering


The day was hot in the California Coast; the sun was shining like mad on this Sunday, which Ariel and her two best friends were enjoying together at her place. That day off, after having danced almost all night long at Lucas' club, they had decided to have lunch together, so the guys had brought lots of beer, while she cooked a very English meal: fish and chips.

The three of them were in the living room eating, drinking, chatting freely and laughing when a soft pop attracted their attention. At first, the guys thought something outside had fallen or broken, or that it could be the exhaust pipe of a car on the street, but Ariel knew what it was and turned around slowly to face her grandfather standing in her living room, two years after they had last talked. She grinned.

'Hello, Grandfather.' she said, her blue eyes twinkling.

The guys looked at where she was looking and Lucas took a deep breath, murmuring.

'Oh God!'

'I apologize for frightening you lot.' Dumbledore said with a smile on his lips. 'And I'm sorry for interrupting your little get together, but a matter of utmost importance brings me here.'

Ariel's eyes locked with Dumbledore's and she got up, her heart racing in her chest. Since their last conversation two years ago, when she had made clear that only two reasons would make her come back, she could read in his eyes that the reason that had brought him here was one of them.

'Is it Sirius or Harry, Grandfather?'

'Harry.'

'What do you need me for?' she asked.

Dumbledore crossed his hands in front of his night blue robes and took a deep breath.

'The time has come for you to take your position by your godson's side if this is your wish, but with one and only condition.'

'What condition?'

'It is not time for you to show him who you are. You know he must remain living with his relatives until he comes of age and the blood bond is no longer his protection.'

'Yes, I understand that. What do you want for me, Grandfather? I'll do anything to stay by his side', she said coming closer.

'Even give up the life you built out of the Wizarding World to remain in the shadows? Because that is what I am proposing to you: to be by his side, protect him during his seven years at Hogwarts in your Animagus form.'

Ariel stared at him, her hands sweating, her heart racing mad in her chest, her head swirling. Be Harry's owl for seven years and never tell him who she really was?! Was it worth it? She had built an amazing life for herself, as her Grandfather had told her, but her desire to be with the boy she had always loved as a son, even if he did not know her or would never know who she was, was stronger than anything. Besides, it was Lily and James' wish when they had chosen her and Sirius to be Harry's godparents, to be there no matter what if some day they were not. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes. Yes, that was what she wanted with all her heart and soul. Be with Harry no matter what. Dumbledore looked at her for a few seconds before he sighed.

'That's what I have to give you right now, Ariel. I will come back when you have an answer to my request.'

'No… I have an answer right now, Grandfather.'

Dumbledore looked at her and smiled, knowingly.

'Very well', he said and handed her a pocket clock. Ariel nodded. 'It will be activated in eighteen hours directly to my study at Hogwarts', he said and smiled, then nodded at the guys sitting on the couch on the living room, who were watching the scene with confused and surprised faces, then he Disapparated with a very soft pop.

Ariel kept looking at the spot where her Grandfather had stood for a few minutes, digesting every word of his brief visit and conversation, realizing that she did not belong to the Muggle World anymore and that it was time to go back home.

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, turning around to see a pair of curious eyes, looking at her… Her best friends, the ones who never questioned who she really was, not even in the beginning, with her stupid questions or in the end, when they finally found out about her abilities and secrets.

She knew it would be difficult to leave everything behind, but this time she had something to look forward: Harry! Her beloved and precious godson she had not seen since he was one year old. And even him not knowing her in her real form, at least she would be there to protect, be with him, see him become a man and accomplish his dreadful task. Also, she would be there to help and support him over the next seven years and one day, maybe, tell him the truth about herself. Many would say she was sacrificing her life, but she would say she was giving a sense of hope and direction to it.

She closed her eyes and smiled. She could spend the rest of her life thinking about Harry and all the things ahead of them, but for now she owed those two wonderful men in front of her an explanation of what had just happened. Ariel opened her eyes again and looked at Josh and Lucas.

'What just happened here, Ariel?' Lucas asked, getting up.

She took a deep breath and beamed at him.

'It's time for me to leave…to go home.'

The boys looked at each other, then at her again and Lucas shook his head.

'What are you talking about?! You are at home!' he said

'Yes, but I have to get back to my world.'

'Why? You are happy here', Josh said, desolate.

'Yes, I am. You won't believe how happy I am with you both…happier that I ever thought I would be again, but now everything has changed. I will be with Harry, my godson', she explained, coming closer to them and sitting on the couch in front of them, then looked at the pocket clock still on her hand and dropped it on the coffee table.

Josh looked at the clock, then at her.

'When are you leaving?'

'Tomorrow morning I won't be here anymore.'

'So soon? How is that possible? How are you going to…' Lucas started.

'Lucas, don't ask, please!' she said and gave him a warm smile. 'Thank you so much you two for everything you've done. Your respect, your friendship…it will never die!'

'No…it won't', Lucas said and got up, sitting by her side and hugging her by her shoulders. Ariel smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder.

Josh looked at them both and took a deep breath.

'But we won't see each other anymore…'

'No, of course we will! Someday! I'll keep in touch', she said and looked up at the guys. 'I will send you an owl once in a while and you can send a reply by it, if you want', she smiled sadly. 'Well… It will be the only way you will be able to reach me though.'

The guys nodded and Lucas looked at her.

'Are you going to see him?'

'Him?' she asked confused. 'Harry?'

'Your fiancé in Azkaban.'

'Sirius? No! I won't! He probably doesn't even know who he is. Grandfather told me the Ministry made an agreement with those horrible creatures, the Dementors, after the fall of Voldemort and they guard it now…' she said, looking at their confused face, then she sighed. 'The Dementors are creatures that suck your happiness and soul. Besides… I don't even know if he is alive. Ten years in that place with guards like those…Maybe the Ministry…' her voice faltered, but she took a deep breath. 'Maybe the Ministry ordered the kiss already. I really don't know.'

'Kiss? What do you mean?' Lucas asked.

Ariel shook her head.

'It's complicated. A Dementor's kiss is worse than death itself. They suck your soul and you become only a body, completely hollow', she said honestly. There was not any reason not to tell them the truth. They deserved it, especially as they had never judged her and were always by her side as very good friends.

Josh widened his eyes and whistled. Lucas only shook his head.

'Oh…'

'I shouldn't be telling you stuff like this. That's why there is this barrier between the Muggle and the Wizarding World.'

'And you wizards have the worst', Lucas said, looking at her.

Ariel smiled and held his hand, caressing it with a sympathetic look in her blue eyes. 'No, it's not the worst, it's different and we have the magic. It helps us with the differences between our worlds.'

Josh got up and went to her, sitting on the coffee table in front of her. Ariel and Lucas looked at him. 'You are our family, you know?' he said. 'To be here without you, after so many years of having you, won't be the same, but…you do what you have to do and we will be here if you need us, whenever you want. We love you for what you are! You never judged us, never asked questions, you just accepted us and that meant a lot to us', he said.

Ariel nodded, her eyes, filled with tears.

'I didn't cry when I left my world, but you guys will make me do it now', she said with a lump in her throat.

Josh and Lucas laughed and they both hugged her tight at the same time.

Ariel looked around and sighed. She really did not think it was going to be so difficult to leave, but she knew something much bigger was waiting for her. She knew she owed this to James and Lily and her love for that boy she did not even know anymore. She sighed again and smiled. The boys, her best friends, would take care of the stuff she could not shrink to put in her bag, like furniture and her car, of course. Also, on the previous night, they had asked to stay with her until she left, but she had refused. She did not want to cry, after all now they were her family too, so she had asked them to go home.

At eight o’clock, Ariel grabbed the pocket clock and looked around one more time at the place she had called home for almost ten years. Now it was time to start over. She closed her eyes the moment she felt the Portkey being activated and the old familiar tug behind her navel, just to open them, what looked like an eternity later, in Dumbledore's study at Hogwarts, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and finding herself on the floor with her bag and her great-great-grandfather looking at her with an amused expression on his face and a winkle in his eyes.

'Had I known you'd lost your touch, my dear, I would have padded the room in awaiting for your arrival', he said with a grin.

'Very funny, Grandfather', she said as she got up and dusted her clothes. 'Where is he?'

'He's still at the Dursleys, but you will meet him soon enough', Dumbledore explained.

'I want to see him first!' she protested.

Dumbledore looked at her for a moment, pondering on her request. Ariel was a very intelligent witch and would not ruin whatever plans he had devised just because she missed her godson. Plus, if she saw him beforehand, the chances of her emotions overcoming her on Diagon Alley would be much smaller. He smiled.

'Alright, you can see him. But you have to be very discreet', he warned her.

She smiled. 'Fine! Take me there!'


Ariel sat on her old bed, in her old room in the castle, and sighed. She had seen Harry. He was healthy, dressed with large clothes that did not seem to belong to him, but dressed all the same. She sighed again and lay on her bed, closing her eyes. It was for him, to be with and protect him, to love him even if he did not know who she really was, but it was worth it. In two weeks, she would be in her Animagus form for the next seven years.

The following morning, after having breakfast with Dumbledore, Ariel decided to walk to Hogsmeade and look around the Wizarding village, and maybe go to the Hogshead to say hello to her great-great-great uncle Aberforth and then, to The Three Broomsticks and drink some Butterbeer.

Ariel opened the Entrance Hall oak doors and blinked when the sunlight touched her blue eyes and the warm breeze of summer touched her body. She smiled and left the castle, heading to the gates to go to the small village, when she saw a huge figure entering the gates and whistling very distracted.

'Hello, Hagrid!'

Rubeus Hagrid, the Keeper of the Keys and Grounds of Hogwarts, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, looked at the direction of the female voice.

'Blimey! Little Ariel!' he said, his lips breaking into a huge smile. 'My favorite troublemaker is back at Hogwarts!'

'Yeah, how are you?' she asked and hugged him. Hagrid returned the hug and they beamed at each other.

'Fine, fine. Where have you been? Your grandfather said you were living in the Muggle World,' he asked, she nodded.

'I was living in San Francisco, California, in the United States. I was working and studying…I graduated as a Muggle doctor and…stuff', she explained briefly.

'A Muggle doctor? Blimey! In the United States? It's pretty far from here, isn't it?' he asked, amazed.

'Well, kind of', she said, smiling. 'Anyways, are you coming from Hogsmeade?'

'No, from Diagon Alley. Getting some pesticides', he said.

'Right.'

'Care for a cup of tea later? I see you are going to the village', he said.

'Sure, I'll come visit when I come back', she said and smiled again. 'It was really good to see you!'

'Sure it was, sure it was! Well, see you later', he said.

'See you later', she said and waved, then left the Hogwarts grounds and took the road to Hogsmeade.

The Wizarding village had not changed at all. The same streets, the same shops. She smiled remembering the times she had spent there with Lily and the Marauders, how they were carefree and full of life and energy, full of dreams. She walked around the village until she reached the Shrieking Shack. Ariel stopped in front of the old house for a long moment. The Shrieking Shack! She had been there only twice in her life. First, when the Marauders had invited her to join them in their full moon adventure as Animagi and werewolf, and once more in the end of seventh year…with Sirius. All the broom cupboards seemed to be full that night! She smiled at the memory and shook her head. Yes, they were very young and in love with their lives and friends. Friends…it had been a long time since she had seen her friends. Or at least visited their graves in Godric's Hollow. The last time she had been there was almost ten years before. Ariel closed her eyes, the image of the ruins of the house that one day was full of life inside invaded her mind. Next thing she felt was the indescribable sensation of being compressed until you could not breathe, and when she opened her eyes again she was facing the ruins of the old Potters house. Ariel stayed there for a few moments, staring at what was left of the cottage, then took a deep breath and followed the path that led to the graveyard where she knew James and Lily had been buried. Ariel came closer to their graves and her eyes immediately filled with tears. Once more, she took a deep breath, reading the names of her best friends carved on the stone: JAMES AND LILY POTTER — 1960-1981 — BELOVED FRIENDS AND PARENTS. WE WILL MISS YOU FOREVER.

'Yes, we will', Ariel said after reading the last lines and with a wave of her wand, a single red rose appeared on her hand. She knelt down and put it on the grave, looking once more at it for a few minutes, as if gathering all her Gryffindor courage from inside. But she finally cleared her throat and gave a small and sad smile.

'Hi, James! Hi, Lily', she said with a weak voice. 'It's been a while, yeah?' she took a deep breath. 'I miss you so much. I missed you so much all these years! Oh boy, I promised I wouldn't cry…' she took another deep breath. 'I'm so sorry for having run away after what happened, but I did that for my own sake! I couldn't stay and face the fact that…the both of you, Harry and Sirius were taken from my life so abruptly! It hurt so much and…it will never heal! It was like losing my family all over again and I simply couldn't have stayed! I wouldn't have survived…' she said as her tears ran down her cheeks. 'Sometimes I think that I should have fought more, but that time…leaving the Wizarding World was the only thing I could think of! And now I'm back to finally try and take my position in Harry's life…I'm sorry I couldn't do anything to keep him and give him what I promised you I would the day you chose Sirius and I to be his godparents…everything happened so fast…I still cannot believe Sirius betrayed you…deep in my heart I still have hope…but it's so hard, it's so difficult…it hurts so much to be here, to come back…Sirius and I disappointed you! You, of all people, who always gave us your love, your friendship. Oh, Lily, James…I'm sorry, I failed, but back then I felt so weak when grandfather told me I couldn't keep Harry and that Sirius had betrayed you…' she took a deep breath. 'I came here today to see you and ask for your forgiveness, for being so…weak, so not me! Yes, Ariel, the Brave, the Mischievous, the…' she stopped and shook her head. 'Left all behind and never fought again. It makes me feel so ashamed…I put it all behind, and in those years, I never thought, I never allowed myself to think that you still are my family in my heart and even not being able to go back in time and change everything, you will always be part of me. And I promise you; I will never leave Harry alone again, ever! I'll die for him if it's necessary…I'll fight for him, but he'll feel loved and protected! I won't disappoint you this time! And I never had the chance to say thank you…thank you for everything you've done for me and shared with me…and made me feel! I love you with all my heart!' she gave a small smile and wiped her tears. 'I'll come back and tell you about how our boy is doing, I'll do my best for him! Forgive me for my acts in the past!' she said and got up, sighing. 'I still need to see someone else…someone that I kept in touch with all these years, but I failed as a friend…I should have been there for him, too.'

'You didn't fail, Ariel! You did what was the best for you and I, Lily and James understand that.'

Ariel turned around and her blue eyes met another pair of tired blue ones.

'Moony!' she said, a small smile cracking on her lips.

Remus smiled mischievously. 'Come on, Loiseau! After all those years, your wolf friend does not deserve a hug?'

'Oh, Moony!' she said and hugged him tight. 'It's so good to see you! How did you find me here?'

They look at each other and Remus held her hand, patting it.

'It wasn't difficult. Your grandfather sent me an owl this morning to let me know you were back. He invited me to the castle to see you and stay with you for a while…I saw you Disapparating from the Shrieking Shack and I knew I'd find you here, so I came to see you, but don't worry, I gave you some time alone with our friends', he explained.

Ariel smiled and hugged him again. 'Thank you! So…amazing, Remus! You've always been like this, always knowing what people need!' she said with tears in her eyes. 'I missed you so much!'

'I missed you too, my beautiful friend! It's so good to see you again', he said.

'Yes, I am back for good…to stay with Harry', she said and he nodded.

'It will be a difficult task for you, but I'm sure you'll make it worthy!'

She nodded. 'Yes, I will,' she said and they smiled. 'Let's go back to the castle…we have so much to catch up!'

Remus laughed. 'Oh, yes, I believe we have! Starting on this mixed accent of yours…' he mocked her and they laughed.

'Let's go!' she said and glanced once more to her friends' graves, feeling her heart a little lighter. She had said everything she wanted to say and most importantly, she had asked them for forgiveness for having failed them and Harry. Remus smiled.

'To the Hogwarts gates?' he asked.

'To the Hogwarts gates!' she replied and Disapparated, followed by the last Marauder, Remus Lupin.

Chapter 16: Chapter 16. Snowy and Padfoot
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 ‘You didn’t do anything wrong to ask for forgiveness from my parents. You shouldn’t feel guilty for something that wasn’t your fault,’ Harry said, wiping some stubborn tears from his green eyes, trying his best to hide the fact he was actually crying.

 


 

‘I should have fought over you, Harry. That was my duty. Your parents trusted me to do that and I didn’t.’


 

 


 

‘Even though…there was nothing you could’ve done. Professor Dumbledore said I had to stay with the Dursleys because of the blood bond and the protection he and my mum created.’


 

 


 

‘I know,’ she said and held his chin, their gaze met. ‘But I felt that I owed an explanation to Lil and James and so I gave it to them…and I went back there many times, Harry. I went back there to tell them about you…how brave, how wonderful you were…how beautiful your friendship is, how the Weasley family took you in and loved you as their own…to tell them about my feelings for you and how proud I am of you. It’s so good to have best friends to chat to, even knowing that they can only listen to you.’


 

 


 

‘I know,’ Harry said, looking at the lake and squeezing Ginny’s hand. Ginny gave a small smile and leaned forward, kissing his cheek. Harry looked at her and they both smiled. Harry, then, looked at Ron and Hermione, his best friends, both sitting side by side and Ron holding Hermione’s hand in an affectionate gesture, probably not even noticing his gesture. Then he looked at Ariel and Sirius, both his parents’ best friends; the ones that would give their lives to protect him and had been through so much. Ariel, who lost almost everything and even though, when she was needed, she never hesitated to return, and Sirius, who spent twelve years of his life in Azkaban and had the strength and courage to escape to avenge the death of his best friends…and now, they were here, telling him how much he was special and how proud they were of him.


 

 


 

Harry took a deep breath; he knew he had to say something, to show how grateful he was for having them. It would be difficult, but he would let his emotions come to surface, at least for this time.


 

 


 

‘When Professor Dumbledore asked you to change into your human form…it was a real shock to me, but not a bad one. I’d never imagined that Hedwig wasn’t really my own and I felt a weird feeling of loss. The only thing was that it didn’t last too long, because the moment I found out that you were my Godmother and that you had sacrificed seven years of your life for me…’


 

 


 

‘It wasn’t a sacrifice, Harry!’ Ariel said. ‘I’d do it all over again if it was necessary.’


 

 


 

‘That! You see? The same happened with Sirius. Everybody thought he had escaped from Azkaban to kill me, but no…it turned out that he was searching for Peter Pettigrew and…you said something, the same thing Sirius said that night in the Shrieking Shack…’ He took a deep breath, so much emotion trying to flow from his self, but he looked at them again, fighting these emotions and trying so hard to out them in words. ‘I am very lucky to have you both as godparents. It’s been difficult to express what I’m feeling, but…looking at the two of you and everything you went through all these years and how easy you say I love you…thank you! Thank you for loving me without even knowing me and thank you for protecting me always. Also…thank you for being so loyal to my parents and me, and never hesitating in saying that you'd rather have died to protect us. And…one more thing…I’m so happy that, apart from my friends, the Weasley family, Professor Dumbledore, Hagrid, Tonks and Professor Lupin, who are family to me, today I can say that I have a real family, because today I have two people, my mum and dad’s best friends, who were chosen by them to be my second parents.’


 

 


 

‘Oh, Harry!’ Ariel said with her blue eyes filled with tears. Sirius smiled and patted Harry’s hair.


 

 


 

‘Thanks mate! It means a lot to us.’


 

 


 

‘Yes, it does…can I hug you?’ Ariel asked and Harry smiled.


 

 


 

‘Sure!’ he said and she hugged him tight. Ginny, Ron and Hermione smiled to one another. A few seconds later, Ariel let go of Harry and wiped her eyes, then sat by Sirius side again.


 

 


 

‘Sorry…it’s difficult for me to get all emotional,’ Ariel said with a small smile.


 

 


 

‘That’s ok,’ Ginny said with a smile as well. ‘We understand. Besides…you have so much to catch up.’


 

 


 

‘Thanks!’ Sirius said and put his arm around Ariel’s shoulder, who looked at him and they both smiled.


 

 


 

Ron cleared his throat and they looked at him.


 

 


 

‘You see…I was wondering…err…what happened when… you know…Sirius escaped from Azkaban and…?’ he looked at Ariel, who smiled.


 

 


 

‘Well, Ron… You see, I never believed Sirius as a traitor and a murderer. So, when I heard he had escaped from Azkaban, something inside me gave me hope. I know Harry wasn’t in danger because of him…there was something bigger outside and he was looking for it. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was…I just knew what Grandfather had told me back then and Sirius’ reaction when I visited him in Azkaban before I left the Wizarding World. And when he broke into Hogwarts, I tried to confront him…’


 

 


 

 


 

HOGWARTS CASTLE, 1993


 

 


 

 


 

‘Is that true, Grandfather?’ Ariel said, just after she transformed, after entering the window of Dumbledore’s studio. Dumbledore, who was pacing around the studio, scratching his long silver beard, looked at her with a concerned face.


 

 


 

‘I’m afraid so, child!’


 

 


 

'But why?!' she asked and looked out the window. 'There is something inside the Castle he is looking for.'


 

 


 

'Yes, there is and you know it,' he said and started to pace again.


 

 


 

Ariel turned around and looked at him in disbelief, with a slight anger in her blue eyes.


 

 


 

'You know as much as I do that he would never hurt Harry. Why is that so difficult to understand, Grandfather?! I spent those twelve years trying to convince myself that yes, he was the bad bloke in this whole story, but I 'm sorry…my heart doesn't let me. There's something out there that even you can’t figure out yet.'


 

 


 

Dumbledore stopped pacing and went to her, touching her face.


 

 


 

'I'm just a human being, Ariel. I might be right, but I might be wrong…but you, above all people know that we cannot risk the boy's life.'


 

 


 

'Let me talk to him.'


 

 


 

'No! It's too dangerous.'


 

 


 

'Why?! He would never hurt me, Grandfather. Let me talk to him. I can make him talk…and if he tries to attack me, I will finish him off’.


 

 


 

Dumbledore shook his head, looking into her eyes.


 

 


 

'I'm afraid, dear, that when the time comes, your heart might falter.'


 

 


 

'I won't. I…' she looked out the window, avoiding his gaze. 'I have to do that. I'm sorry, Grandfather.'


 

 


 

Almost as in a blink of an eye, she was in her Animagus form, flying out of the window. Dumbledore took a long and deep breath. She was an adult and a powerful witch, he just hoped she wouldn't falter if it was necessary. Sirius Black was a threat; that free and easygoing young man from Hogwarts hadn’t existed for a long time. Now he was a man full of hatred and pain. The years in Azkaban only helped him bring the madness out, and Ariel, even powerful and determined, still had the most amazing heart he would ever see. He knew she would never have the courage to finish off Black as she had said. She would be in great danger, but he also knew he couldn't stop her…it was a twelve-year battle she was struggling and it had to have an end.


 

 


 

 


 

Ariel flew out of the window, looking at the Hogwarts' surroundings with her owl eyes, searching for Sirius, or his Padfoot form. She could sense him around and she also knew he could do the same, he could smell her. After almost two hours flying around the Forbidden Forest, the lake, Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, Ariel had almost given up. He didn't want to face her, but he would. Sooner or later! She turned around to go back to the Castle, when she saw a black shadow moving towards the Whomping Willow and Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, stopping the tree. Was the cat helping Sirius? That was really odd behavior. Ariel, or Hedwig, flew directly to Hogsmeade again, entering one of the windows of the Shrieking Shack, going to the tunnel in which the Hogwarts' grounds were linked with, at the same time that a huge black dog emerged from the tunnel. She changed herself into her human form and the dog stared at her, growling, a furious face. Ariel breathed heavily, her heart aching from facing "the man" she loved for so m


 

any years, after so many years.


 

 


 

'Sirius…it's only me. I'm alone. Please…please?!' she pledged, her hands trembling and tears forming in her eyes.


 

 


 

The black dog growled more furious than ever, his teeth showing with anger. Ariel took a deep breath and gave a single step towards the dog, stretching her hand very carefully. The dog barked loudly, still showing his teeth and on an impulse, he jumped in her direction. Seeing his reaction, Ariel closed her eyes, waiting for the worse, but she only felt herself being pushed on the shoulders and falling back on the dirty floor; the black dog was nowhere to be seen anymore. Still on the floor, she put her hands on her face and let her tears fall for a long moment. After a few minutes, she took a deep breath, wiped her tears and sat on the floor, looking at her shoulder; the place where the dog had pushed her. It was scratched and it was starting to get bruised. Ariel got up and turned herself into her Animagus form, heading back to the Castle.


 

 


 

 


 

'Wow!' Ginny exclaimed, looking at the couple in front of her with her brown eyes wide.


 

 


 

'That was…intense!' Hermione said biting her lower lip. 'Weren't you frightened of him? I mean…twelve years had passed and things had changed a lot…'


 

 


 

'I was afraid of what she had heard all those years. The last time we had seen each other was right before I was sent to Azkaban. She was an Auror, everybody thought I was a traitor and a murderer…' Sirius said and looked at the four of them. 'But her eyes…' he took a deep breath and looked at Ariel, who gave him a small smile. 'She was the enemy that day…I had a purpose and I'd die trying to accomplish it. Only things went the way they weren't supposed to.'


 

 


 

'No…Harry found out the truth about you and so did many others,' Ariel said


 

 


 

'Snowy, you were the only one who never stopped believing I was innocent.'


 

 


 

'Because I knew you…I know you! I know your soul and your heart with my soul and heart,' she said and smiled, kissing his cheek. Sirius looked at her and caressed her face, smiling.


 

 


 

'I know. And I'm the luckiest men because I have you.' He said and gave her a soft peck on her lips.


 

 


 

The girls smiled and the boys looked away, embarrassed. 


 

 


 

Ariel looked at Hermione,


 

 


 

'But answering your question, Hermione…no, I wasn't afraid of him. I knew he'd never hurt me. Never, no matter what.'


 

 


 

The girl nodded with a thoughtful face, but looked into Ariel's blue eyes.


 

 


 

'Would you have killed him if it was necessary?'


 

 


 

Ariel sighed and thought for a few seconds, then looked at Sirius, then at her again.


 

 


 

'If it were necessary… Yes, I would! It was Harry's life in jeopardy,' she said and the four of them looked at Sirius, who laughed.


 

 


 

'Don't look at me. I would do the same.'


 

 


 

'Would you kill her if she…?' Ron asked in surprised.


 

 


 

'Wouldn't you for Hermione?' Sirius asked, making Ron's ears turn beet red. Ariel nudged Sirius.


 

 


 

'Or for Ginny, or Harry…?' Ariel said quickly.


 

 


 

'Err…yeah! I suppose!' Ron muttered.


 

 


 

Harry grinned, trying hard not to chuckle, while Ginny giggled, hiding her face behind Harry. Hermione looked at them and shook her head, annoyed by their reaction, and then she looked at Ariel.


 

 


 

'So, you didn't talk. And what happened? I mean…did you find out about Pettigrew?'


 

 


 

'That night in the Shrieking Shack, when the three of you found the truth about Padfoot, I was talking with Moony in his office…I didn't know Harry had the map, so Moony called me to talk about what to do: hand the map to Grandfather and tell him the truth, he knew I was an Animagus, but he never asked me how I managed to become one and also he didn't know about the other. Or destroy it forever? It was really a weapon in the wrong hands. But something caught Moony's attention. He saw the three of you leaving Hagrid's hut accompanied by…'


 

 


 

'Peter Pettigrew!' Harry completed her sentence and she nodded.


 

 


 

'Yes! At first we didn't want to believe it. Peter was dead, everybody was so convinced Sirius had killed him, but then…I just knew! I knew it from the beginning. He wasn't here in Hogwarts to kill Harry, he was here because somehow he had found out that Wormtail was here as well. I had told Grandfather that he was here for something and not for Harry. My heart just knew, as I knew he was innocent about James and Lily's death and the murderer he was accused of doing.'


 

 


 

'And I wasn't prepared to face Ariel yet. Not after our last meeting in Azkaban,' Sirius said. 'Besides, to me, she was still an Auror working for the Ministry and I'd always believed she thought I was guilty.'


 

 


 

Ariel looked at him.


 

 


 

'Because you are silly. If you had looked inside yourself, inside your heart, you would know the truth,' she said


 

 


 

'People change, Ariel.'


 

 


 

'But I didn't,' she sighed. 'But now this is past. Anyway…Remus told me he was the one going to the Shrieking Shack. I wanted to go, I had to, but he said I should alert Grandfather and I couldn't just show up there and change into human in front of you. You would have surprises enough for one night. Besides, if something went wrong, someone from outside should know the truth and this someone should be me. So I agreed and flew to Grandfather's tower to tell him what was happening, while Moony went after you. The rest you know already.'


 

 


 

'But after the Dementors attacked Harry and Sirius by the Black Lake, didn't you try to talk to him in the tower he was locked in?' Hermione asked, trying to understand the delicate situation the two lovers went through.


 

 


 

'I, actually, went there in my Animagus form, but…it wasn't time or place. I reckon I chickened out. At the same time I so wanted to talk to him, I was afraid of what he would say to me after all those years I never tried to visit him or tried to prove his innocence or… ' she shook her head. ' Also, I had risked my 'disguise' so much and I had promised Grandfather, James and Lily that I was there to protect Harry, so I went back to Grandfather's study and waited to know what had happened and would happen.'


 

 


 

Harry nodded and looked at her.


 

 


 

'And what happened? When did you finally meet?'


 

 


 

'Grandfather told me what had happened and I was aching to go after him, but as I said, I couldn't. I should wait for you, Harry. You should be the one to take the first step and send me to him… And you did. When your scar hurt during the summer and you wrote that letter to Sirius. I was worried sick with you and it was the best you could have done,' Ariel said with a sigh. 'We needed that time to finally face and talk. It wasn't easy, but we managed to understand each other.'


 

 


 

'At first I got scared she was after me because Fudge had sent her, but she told me everything and I felt as if part of my soul had been washed. She always believed in me, in my innocence and it was a really good feeling,' Sirius said and linked his fingers with Ariel's.


 

 


 

Harry smiled thinking the day he had sent Hedwig to Sirius and she had taken two weeks to come back. Ginny, as if reading his thoughts, nudged him.


 

 


 

'And that's basically it. We decided it wasn't time or place to be together. We had too much in our minds to think about romance,' Ariel said, smiling.


 

 


 

'That's it?' Ron asked incredulous. 'After thirteen years apart?'


 

 


 

'That's it. At that time our concern was about the Order,' Sirius said. 'Even when we were at Grimauld Place.'


 

 


 

Ariel laughed and they looked at her.


 

 


 

'What?' Ron asked confused.


 

 


 

'I remembered about Grimauld Place and the way I met your mum and dad. It was a shock for them,' Ariel said


 

 


 

Ginny smiled.


 

 


 

'So, tell us!'


 

 


 

'Alright.'


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

GRIMAULD PLACE, 1995


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

Hedwig or Ariel had left her cage and the Dursley's with only a purpose: go to Hogwarts and talk to Dumbledore about what had happened in Little Whinging. What were Dementors doing so close to the Muggle community?!


 

 


 

She entered by the window of her Grandfather's study, to find him pacing back and forth with a worried face. Ariel changed into her human form and Dumbledore looked at her.


 

 


 

'Grandfather…'


 

 


 

'I knew you would come. I was just waiting for you, child,' he said.


 

 


 

'But how…'


 

 


 

'I don't know, it seems that nobody can explain what Dementors were doing there,' he explained. She nodded and sighed.


 

 


 

'And what should I do? Go back to the Dursleys or…'


 

 


 

'Go back to Privet Drive. I'll send some people from the Order to take Harry. He is probably waiting for you to send letters asking for explanations. When he sends you away, go straight to 12 Grimmauld Place. The Weasleys and Miss Granger are there already and I need you there. It is time for Molly and Arthur to meet you, they must know they can trust you in both forms,' he directed.


 

 


 

She nodded. 'But…Grimmauld Place? It's Sirius',' she asked.


 

 


 

'Yes, it is. Sirius lent us his old house to be the new Headquarters of the Order,' he explained.


 

 


 

She nodded again, grinning. Walburga Black, Sirius's mother, would be turning as crazy into her tomb. Ariel shook her head and looked at Dumbledore again.


 

 


 

'Do you think the Ministry has anything to do with the Dementors attack?' she asked.


 

 


 

'No, I don't believe the Ministry has anything to do with it.'


 

 


 

'Maybe not Fudge…he's too much of a coward to believe that Voldemort is back in flesh, blood and pure evil,' Ariel stated, 'but it can be someone inside the Ministry. They still say that the Dementors are under control, but if they are, how were two Dementors seen on a Muggle street?'


 

 


 

Dumbledore nodded, playing with his long silvery beard. 'Yes, indeed.'


 

 


 

'Anyway, I need to go back. I was supposed to be out hunting. See you at Grimmauld Place.'


 

 


 

'I'll know as soon as you get there,' he said and she nodded.


 

 


 

Dumbledore kissed her forehead and she gave a small smile, then turned herself into Hedwig and left by the tower window.


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

In spite of understanding Harry's frustration about the situation, sometimes she could not believe how much he looked like Lily and James at the same time. He had treated her as if it was her fault that the damned Dementors had attacked. But there she was, just like Dumbledore had predicted, carrying three letters: one to Sirius, one to Hermione and another to Ron.


 

 


 

 


 

 


 

Ariel was still waiting for Dumbledore's orders to show herself to Molly and Arthur Weasley. Since she was there, she hadn't been sent to hunt with Pig, but that night, after dinner, Ron had opened the window and both owls had flown away, but to Hedwig, or Ariel, she was just waiting for everybody to go to bed to talk to Sirius. She could sense him, smell him, feel him and she knew he could feel her as well.


 

 


 

So, she waited for darkness to overcome the house and apparated with a very soft pop in the middle of the kitchen.


 

 


 

'I knew you'd come,' said a hoarse voice from the shadows.


 

 


 

'Hi, Sirius.'


 

 


 

He took a deep breath. 'Your Grandfather will be mad when he finds out you've been here without his consent.'


 

 


 

'Well, too bad for him. He doesn't own me,' she said. 'Besides, it's not like I am showing myself around. I took care to be sure the kids are in bed, even the twins and their Extendable ears.'


 

 


 

Sirius smiled and they looked at each other.


 

 


 

'I see…'


 

 


 

'It's been…weird to be here,' she said.


 

 


 

'It's been weird to have you here and not to be able to talk to you.'


 

 


 

She came closer to the table. 'I…I just wanted to see you, to talk to you a little bit. Since last year…'


 

 


 

'I know Harry is in first place, his safety and his life, but I've been wondering if we've made the right decision,' he said.


 

 


 

She tilted her head and crossed her arms in her chest. 'What do you mean?' she asked.


 

 


 

'Us.'


 

 


 

'Sirius, we agreed we don't have time for…that.'


 

 


 

He nodded. 'I know, I reckon all this time stuck in here is making me mad…I think too much…' He said and she smiled. He got up, walking around the kitchen, then stopped in front of her. 'Even though, I want to kiss you. Three things made me sane in Azkaban: Harry, you and Wormtail.'


 

 


 

She smiled and shook her head. 'I never stopped thinking about you either…' she said with a sad smile.


 

 


 

'So, do you still reckon we are doing the right thing?' he asked and she took a deep breath.


 

 


 

'I don't know. We are doing what's necessary for…'


 

 


 

'Us or our godson?' Sirius interrupted her. She locked her blue eyes with his gray ones. 'We are alive, we have been fighting this War together for twenty years now…and your Grandfather always says the key is love. And I love you.'


 

 


 

Ariel closed her eyes for a moment, trying to control herself, then sighed.


 

 


 

'But do you reckon we'll always be apart? We'll barely see each other,' she asked.


 

 


 

'I'll know your heart still belongs to me and you will know it as well,' he said, coming closer.


 

 


 

Ariel closed her eyes and his lips touched hers at the same time the kitchen door was open and Molly and Arthur Weasley entered it, whispering. They both pulled apart quickly and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley looked at Sirius, then at Ariel, with a very confused look on their faces. The couples kept looking at one another without knowing exactly what to say or do, then, with a flick of her wand, Mrs. Weasley turned the lights on.


 

 


 

'Who is she?' she asked with a frown.


 

 


 

'Molly, shush! I'll explain everything, just…close the door,' Sirius asked and looked at Mr. Weasley with a pleading look in his eyes. He nodded and closed the door behind them, putting an Imperturbable charm on it, so nobody could listen to a word on the outside.


 

 


 

'Who is this woman, Sirius?' Mrs. Weasley shrieked, pointing her wand at them.


 

 


 

'Put your wand down, Molly, she's one of us,' Sirius said calmly.


 

 


 

'One of us? What is she doing here in the middle of the night? And I never heard of her, Dumbledore told us about everybody who is…'


 

 


 

'Molly, dear, let them explain,' Mr. Weasley asked, putting his hand on her shoulder. She looked at him, shooting daggers with her eyes.


 

 


 

'Explain? An unknown woman is here in the middle of the night! How did she get here?' Mrs. Weasley argued.


 

 


 

Mr. Weasley sighed and looked at Sirius and Ariel, then at Mrs. Weasley again.


 

 


 

'Let's sit down and let them explain everything. Please, dear,' Mr. Weasley pulled the chair and Mrs. Weasley sat down reluctantly. He sat by her side, she still holding her wand and pointing at the younger couple.


 

 


 

Ariel and Sirius looked at each other, then at Mr and Mrs Weasley.


 

 


 

'I am really sorry to frighten you like that. It wasn't supposed to happen, not like this anyway. My name is Ariel Loiseau and I am Dumbledore's great-great-granddaughter,' Ariel said.


 

 


 

'What?' Mrs Weasley asked and Arthur frowned. 'Dumbledore doesn't have a great-great-granddaughter!' 


 

 


 

'Yes, he does, and that is me. I've known Sirius, Remus, James and Lily since Hogwarts and we were inseparable, until Voldemort…' Molly winced at the name, while Arthur took a deep breath. Ariel continued, 'killed my best friends and almost killed my godson…our godson.'


 

 


 

'Harry?' Mrs Weasley asked. 'You are Harry's godmother?'


 

 


 

'Yes, I am. He doesn't know me; he doesn't even know he has a godmother. I've been with him since he entered the Wizarding World,' Ariel explained a little more. 'Grandfather wanted to introduce me properly, but since I sort of blew my disguise for you,' she said and sighed, 'I've been with Harry in my Animagus form. I'm Hedwig.'


 

 


 

'Is this a joke?' Mrs Weasley asked, trying to stand up, but Mr Weasley touched her hand. 'Arthur, this woman can be a spy! She can be luring Sirius into…'


 

 


 

'She's not luring me into anything, Molly. Ariel and I,' Sirius said and glanced at Ariel, 'she's my fiancée…was! Before I went to Azkaban. She is from the Order before you even knew it existed and Dumbledore trusts her with his life…and so do I.'


 

 


 

'Sirius,' Ariel said and touched his arm, then looked at the Weasley couple in front of them. 'I'm really sorry for this mess. I should have been more careful and waited for Grandfather, but I understand your concern. The only thing that I ask you both is please, do whatever you want with me, but don't let Harry or the others know about me! It would ruin everything. I've sworn to protect Harry and that's what I'll do. If I have to give my life for that, then I will.'


 

 


 

Mr Weasley cleared his throat. 'I don't think she would be able to get in here if she were not who she says she is, Molly. So, I think it's only fair to do what she asks and…trust her and Sirius' word,' he said.


 

 


 

'Thank you,' Ariel said. 'And I'm so sorry for the times I stayed at your home without telling you the truth about who I was.'


 

 


 

Mr Weasley shook his head. 'No matter. Times are difficult and the measures are not always clear.'


 

 


 

Ariel nodded, then looked at Sirius.


 

 


 

'I should go now. I'm quite sure Grandfather will contact you or be here as soon as possible,' she said.


 

 


 

'Yes, I suppose,' Sirius said.


 

 


 

'Well, nice to meet you, Mr and Mrs Weasley,' Ariel said.


 

 


 

'I still think…' Mrs Weasley started.


 

 


 

'Molly, dear,' Mr Weasley touched her shoulder, and then looked at Ariel. 'Nice to meet you.'


 

 


 

Ariel smiled and in a blink of an eye, she was in her Animagus form and flew out of the window. Mrs Weasley covered her mouth with her hand and Mr Weasley hugged her by her shoulders.


 

 


 

'And that's what I can tell you about that night,' Ariel said, smiling, then looked at Sirius.


 

 


 

'Well, not much happened after you left, I said good night and left as well. Molly wasn't really convinced with our story,' Sirius said with a mischievous smile, and they laughed. 'But Dumbledore solved the situation.'


 

 


 

'Have you ever met them again?' Ginny asked, curiously.


 

 


 

'Yes, of course. I had a very nice talk with your mum,' Ariel answered. 'I owed her an apology; after all, I had spent summers at the Burrow in my Animagus form. We’ve become quite good friends, fighting for the same cause and protecting our beloved ones, and also, she lent me a shoulder to cry on when,' she paused and looked at them, 'well, when Sirius died in the Department of Mysteries. It was in that morning, soon after Grandfather told you, Harry, about the prophecy.'


 

 


Chapter 18: Chapter 18 — Old Friends
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Author's Note: Completely AU story and my homage to one of my favorite characters, Sirius Black and, of course, Dumbledore. So... Bare in mind that what you are going to read there's nothing to do with the end of the Harry Potter books, especially because it was written way before book 7. As I said... Totally Alternative Universe, but the ones


Chapter 18 - Old Friends

That morning she had talked with her Grandfather and told him she wanted to invite her two Muggle friends from San Francisco, Joshua and Lucas, to her and Sirius’ wedding. So, in less than fifteen minutes, Dumbledore had managed to arrange an authorized Portkey for her — and Sirius if he wanted — to go there, invite them and come back twenty-four hours later. He also managed to get an authorization, so the two Muggles would be allowed not only to see Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, but walk freely among the witches and wizards there.

The term had just finished five days before, so since she didn’t have a house and Hogwarts had always been her home, she had decided to stay at the Castle. So did Sirius, especially because the wedding would be in three days.

Ariel ran towards the room Sirius was occupying while there, close to the Gryffindor Tower. She stopped in front of a painting of a witch reading a book and smiled.

‘Bookworm!’

The witch frowned at her.

‘I’m sorry, dear?’

‘The password… Bookworm.’

‘Oh. All right. You can get in, but Sirius Black is not in there. He just left.’

‘Oh… erm… Thanks, anyway. I will go look for him.’

‘No problem, dear.’

Ariel smiled and left, thinking where he could be. It was past eight in the morning, so, maybe, he could be having breakfast in the Great Hall. She went straight there, finding not only Sirius, but Remus and Tonks as well.

‘I’m so glad you are here. Come on… I’ll take you to a place you’ll love’, she said, pulling him by his wrist.

Sirius got up and held her hand. ‘Where are we going?’ he asked confused at her sudden outburst.

She smiled with a mischievous smile. ‘To Muggle San Francisco, in California.’

‘What?’

‘To the place where I lived for ten years,’ she said and took an old quill from her jeans pocket, and then she looked at him. ‘Hold it.’

Sirius looked at Lupin and Tonks, then at Ariel and smiled, holding the quill.

‘Don’t wait for us for lunch or dinner, I guess’, she said and winked to the couple.

Remus and Tonks laughed. ‘Have fun!’ Tonks shouted, laughing at the same time Ariel smiled and took her wand, touching the old quill.

‘Thanks! And you two behave,’ she said and looked at Sirius. ‘Don’t worry, Padfoot. It has been authorized. Portus!’ she said and the old quill glowed blue, trembling for a few seconds in their hands, then became still again. ‘1, 2 3…’ she said and they both felt the familiar sensation of being hooked behind their navels and that they were spinning and spinning in a whirlwind full of sounds and colours, until they finally reached the wooden floor of a place which looked like a house or flat, only being lit by the light coming from the street lamp.

Sirius looked around the place, then at her. ‘Where are we?’ he asked.

She smiled and put the quill back on her pocket again, then went to the wall and turned the lights on.

‘At Josh and Lucas’ place.’

Sirius looked around again, then at her. ‘But… where are they? Do they know we are here? Did you send them an owl explaining we were coming to visit?’

‘No. I mean… No!’ she shrugged and Sirius laughed.

‘You broke into a Muggle house?’

‘What? No!! Of course not… They are my friends, very good ones.’

‘Who haven’t seen you for seven long years, dear. The blokes are going to be frightened when they realise there is someone in their home.’

She looked at him for a few seconds, then tilted her head and crossed her arms on her chest. ‘When did you become so… Responsible, Padfoot?’ she asked.

He laughed and went to her, hugging her and kissing her lips. ‘All right. I just don’t want them to hex me from here to England.”

She smiled. ‘Well… they can’t. They are Muggles, but they could punch you, especially…’, she stopped talking and turned to the living room door, pointing her wand at the same time two men stopped, one of them holding a baseball bat.

The four of them looked at one another for a few seconds, until Ariel put her wand down and smiled. Josh widened his eyes and Lucas put the bat down as well.

‘Oh, my God… Ariel!’ Lucas said covering his mouth.

‘Ariel?!’ Josh was the first one to come closer. He hugged her. Ariel hugged him back for a few moments then they fell apart and looked at each other. ‘Look at you, girl!’

‘Hi, guys!’ she said, and it was Lucas’ turn to hug her tight.

‘I can’t believe you are here…’ Lucas said.

‘Neither do I. I… Gosh, it’s so good to see you, guys,’ she smiled with her eyes full of tears. They smiled. ‘Well… I want to introduce you someone very special,’ she said and the boys looked at Sirius, who just smiled. ‘Someone that you know already so much I talked about him in the past… This is my fiancé, Sirius. Love, these are Lucas and Josh, my great friends.’

They all shook hands.

‘Hi, man! Nice to meet you,’ Josh said, smiling.

‘Hi, mate. Hello,’ Sirius said while shaking the boys’ hands.
‘But…’ Lucas started, then looked at Ariel. ‘You said he was in that Wizarding prison…’

Ariel smiled. ‘Oh, well… Yes, he was, but he escaped and... it’s a very long story, and I’ll tell you everything, of course!’ she added. ‘But you must be wondering why we are here, unannounced…’

‘You see, beautiful… I am so happy to see you that it didn’t even cross my mind! Seven years!’ Lucas said.

They laughed and Ariel held his hand in an affectionate gesture.
‘I know! It’s so good to see you again and be here again, looking at you both as if time hadn’t passed at all,’ she said and they smiled. ‘But we came here for a purpose.’

‘Shoot!’ Lucas said. ‘Do you need us somehow?’

She smiled and looked at Sirius, who smiled, then she looked at them again.
‘Uh… Yes, I need you! You see, Sirius proposed again…’ she stretched her hand, showing the ring. Lucas widened his eyes and held her hand, both men looking at the beautiful engagement ring on her finger.

‘Oh my God! Congratulations!’ Josh said and hugged her.

‘Thanks,’ she said, hugging him back. Lucas hugged her after Josh released her.
‘I’m so happy for you! You deserve it, you know?’ he kissed her cheek, then looked at Sirius. ‘Congratulations, man!’ he said and stretched his hand, which Sirius shook. ‘I know you will make her very happy.’

‘Yeah, you are the only one who can make her smile like this!’ Josh said, smiling and shaking Sirius’ hand after Lucas.

‘Thank you, mate.’

‘Well, let’s sit down…’ Josh said and pointed to the couch.

They all sat down. Ariel and the guys looked at one another and smiled.
‘Man… I still can’t believe you are here!’ Lucas said and they laughed.

‘Yes, I am, and as I said before, we came here because we need you. It’s a special occasion and… we came here to invite you two to attend our wedding in four days… I mean, three days now… I’m confused!’ she said and they laughed. ‘Anyway, Saturday at Hogwarts!’

‘Wow!’ Josh said and Lucas smiled.

‘Are you serious?’ he asked.

‘Of course! Grandfather got a special Portkey to take the two of you there with us in… 24 hours,’ she said.

‘Wait! What is a Portkey?’ Lucas asked.

‘Oh, well…’ Ariel started.

‘Portkey, man, like in RPG! An object that takes you from one place to another!’ Josh said, very proud of himself.
Ariel tilted her head and laughed. Sirius smiled with a surprised and intrigued face.
‘What is RPG?’ he asked.

‘It’s a game,’ Josh said. ‘People create characters and play the game as if they were acting on a play…’ he looked at Sirius. ‘You know what a play is, right?’

‘Yes, like theatre?’ Sirius asked, in confirmation, and Josh nodded.

‘And generally it’s all about magic and wizards and stuff like that,’ he said.

Ariel laughed. ‘So you won’t have any trouble in Hogwarts. It’s all about magic!’ she said with a mischievous look, and they laughed. ‘So, are you coming?’

‘We wouldn’t miss your wedding for anything!’ Lucas said and held her hand. ‘Even not being here, you’ve always been part of our lives.’

‘So have you, guys! And I’m so sorry for the lack of letters, but I did my best to keep in contact!’ she apologised.

‘That’s OK! We understand… But, what about your godson and the Voldemort crazy guy?’ Josh asked.

‘Oh, Muggles…’ Ariel said and she and Sirius laughed. ‘Harry is… great! He’s an amazing, brave and loyal lad! These past seven years have been tough for him, but he accomplished his task and… well, as you said, the Voldemort crazy guy is no longer a threat!’

‘That’s great, isn’t it?’ Josh asked, looking at Ariel and Sirius, and they both smiled.

‘Yes, it is,’ Sirius said.

‘Well, you two go to bed, then. It’s too late, but since Sirius and I just woke up in Scotland, I’ll show him the city I lived in for ten years,’ she said.

‘Be careful and… here!’ Lucas took a keychain and gave it to her. ‘We still use it sometimes… We couldn’t sell it.’

‘Oh, Merlin…’ Ariel said with a surprised face. ‘My car?!’ she asked and they nodded.

She hugged them both and smiled. ‘Thank you!’

‘You know what? With you here, there’s no way we are going back to bed!’ Josh smiled. ‘Let’s have some fun together!’

‘Like in the old times?’ Ariel asked with a huge smile on her lips.

‘Just like in the old times!’ Josh said and they slapped hands.

~~~

‘Are you two ready?’ Ariel asked, holding the quill in the middle of the living room. Sirius went to her and kissed her cheek.

‘I liked it here! And I’m really glad you found such great friends like those two, only… isn’t it odd? There’s only one bedroom and one bed for the two of them!’ he asked with an innocent look. She laughed and slapped on his shoulder.
‘Shoosh! They are coming!’ she said, and they looked at the guys, who were getting in the living room, each of them carrying a backpack.

‘Ariel, do we have to wear a tuxedo?’ Josh asked.

She smiled. ‘No, don’t worry about that! It will be a very small and informal wedding, some jeans and a shirt are just perfect,’ she said.

‘Are you sure? We don’t wanna look shabby!’

‘I promise you! Nobody is going to be wearing fancy robes!’ she calmed him.

‘What?’ they asked at the same time.

‘Like tuxedos!’ she said. ‘Now, let’s go! The Portkey will be activated in a few minutes!’

They guys nodded and went to her. Josh grabbed his camera and looked at her.
‘Are we allowed to use this?’ he asked.

‘Yes, you are, now touch the quill,’ she said, looking at her watch. The guys looked at each other, but they did as she asked. ‘All right, ready? Five, four, three, two… One!’

Next thing they knew, they were crashing on the ground of a huge room with four long tables, settled one next to the other, and Sirius and Ariel standing by their side. The guys looked at each other and slapped their hands, laughing. Ariel laughed and Sirius grinned.

Even being only 8.30 in the morning, the Great Hall was deserted, so the guys could be more comfortable; instead of being rushed and introduced to the people of the Castle. Ariel stretched her hands and the boys took them, getting up.

‘That was…’ Lucas started.

‘Incredible!’ Josh finished.

‘Amazing!’ Lucas added. ‘How is that possible? Where are we?’

‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry! My home!’ Ariel said, smiling. ‘In Scotland! And this is called the Great Hall, where the students have their meals and feasts.’

‘Oh, my God… Is this really a castle?’ Josh asked, amazed.

‘Yes,’ Sirius replied.

‘Well, I will take you to your room and then we can have something in the kitchen, and then I’ll show you around,’ Ariel said, smiling.

‘Just bear in mind that you will see many different things around here and, well, keep them to yourselves,’ Sirius asked, seriously.
‘You don’t even need to ask, dude! Nobody would believe us anyway,’ Josh said, his eyes travelling around.

Ariel and Sirius looked at each other and smiled.
‘All right! Well, I’ll find Moony. There are some things I need to discuss with him before the wedding,’ he said.

‘What things?’ Ariel asked.

‘Men things, my beautiful!’ he said with a mischievous smile then cupped her face with his hands and kissed her lips. He nodded to the boys and left the Great Hall.

Ariel looked at Josh and Lucas and smiled. ‘All right then, let’s go! Also, my godson and his friends will be arriving tonight, and you will meet him!’ she said with a twinkle in her blue eyes, they smiled.

‘We can’t wait to meet them,’ Josh said.

‘Well, come on. There are some things I need to explain to you, for example… about the ghosts and Peeves, the poltergeist!’

‘What?’ Lucas asked with his eyes wide open.

‘It’s no big deal… Come on!’ Ariel said and they left the Great Hall.

During the day, Ariel spent all the time possible with the guys, showing them everything and at night, they had a very nice meal in the Great Hall with Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Professor McGonagall, Hagrid and Headmaster Dumbledore. Josh and Lucas were very happy to meet Harry and Remus and tell them how much Ariel loved and talked about them back in San Francisco all the years she had spent there. Also, they shared lots of stories from their time together and how much fun they had had, and how they missed her the day she had left, leaving everything she possessed to them, especially her car, and a small note saying goodbye.

Sirius and Remus also shared stories of the Marauders and Ariel when they were still in school. Dumbledore, with a happy smile and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, told them stories about the Marauders and Ariel as well, especially the ones in their Animagus form with werewolf Lupin in the grounds of the castle, leaving Sirius, Remus and Ariel gawping at him in disbelief and making the others laugh.

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