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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.

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