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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?'


'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.


'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.


'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.

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