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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.

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