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A/N: I can't really explain why this took so long to post or why it took to write. It has nothing to do with length, it was just a matter of getting priorities straight. With so many things going on in my life right now it's been pretty hard to focus on just one thing, and what's more I don't really have a lot of time to write anymore or put a lot of focus on this story. There are probably a million errors, and one day I will go back and get it all beta'd and nice, but for now you will just have to make due with what I've come up with. I hope you enjoy, and just for future warning, the ending is horrible.

The Unraveling Chapter Two:

Danger Appears

With a start, Chloe woke up to hear her alarm clock blaring. Next to her, Sirius lay still, snoring lightly as the repeated beeping noise filled the silent morning air. Grumbling a little, Chloe switched the alarm clock off, wishing it didn’t read seven AM. It felt like she had barely slept, her dreams filled with constant reminders of the treacherous world it seemed she lived in these days. Even Sirius’s arms wrapped around her waist couldn’t send her worries away.

Slipping easily out of the bed, it only took Chloe two minutes to circle the bed and to the door, that was slightly agar – open just enough so that they could hear if anything was going on in Ryan’s room down the hall. The cold wooden floors offered little comfort to Chloe, a shiver running up her spine as she headed to the loo. It surprised her how cold the house was, and when she peaked into Ryan’s room she saw that in the night he had pulled the old quilt that usually hung on the back of his bed and covered himself with it.

After a few moments passed Chloe snapped out of her reserve, and returned to her original destination. Entering the loo, she flicked the light on and shut the door behind her. Breathing in lightly she walked over to the bath/shower and turned the two handles and water sputtered out of the tap. Running her hand underneath she let the slowly warming water run over her hands, turning the hot water handle ever so slightly until the water reached the perfect temperature. Pulling up the other handle the water stopped, and instead began pouring from the shower head. Wiping her hand on a towel that hung on the back of the door, Chloe stood up straight and began to peel her clothing off, quickly checking to see if there were any towels in the airing cupboard, and at last stepping into the steaming shower.

The hot water would scald most people into jumping back out but Chloe had long since gotten used to the hot water. There was no happy medium between cold and hot in the old apartment building she lived in, and no matter how hard she tried the ‘perfect temperature’ would only last the first few second of the shower itself. Letting the beads of water run down her body, beating against her back her body relaxed and she shut her eyes for a moment. Running her hand through her wet hair, she emerged herself under the water with a deep breath. Stepping back out to the end of the tub, she wiped her eyes and reached for the shampoo.

Fifteen minutes passed, and at last Chloe stepped out of the shower. She had always loved to take long showers or baths finding them very soothing and relaxing. Nothing made her forget everything like steamy water. Quickly driving her hair with the towel and wand Chloe dabbed some simple make-up on in hopes to hide the dark bags under her eyes, and wrapped a warm towel around her slim body and she exited the loo, leaving the door ajar to let the steam abate.

This time Chloe did not stop to check on Ryan, hearing once again his soft murmuring’s as he slept, and she headed straight for her own bedroom where Sirius lay still asleep as well. He had rolled on to his side, his back facing the door, and the snoring had disappeared. Chloe smirked a little as she saw his mouth hanging wide open and slightly smashed against the pillow. Once again closing the door only a little Chloe walked around the bed and over to her wardrobe, the doors open a little to reveal it’s contents.

Most of her clothes consisted of dark shades of red, blue, and grey. The ones that stood out the most however, were her four lime green uniforms she wore to work at St. Mungo’s. Chloe gripped the thin cotton uniform in her right hand, and let her left hand slip away from the towel, letting it fall to the ground. Throwing robes on a chair that was by her wardrobe she proceeded to get dressed. Only in her underwear, Chloe reached over for her robes when she heard a low rumble behind her.

Turning her head gently, not surprised by the sound Chloe’s eyes met Sirius’s. A thin smile was spread on his face as he lay facing her on the bed. No sign that he had just woken up showed on his face, and his eyes twinkled. “Did you ever know that you look even more beautiful in the morning sunlight?” Sirius said clearly, though it almost sounded like a whisper.

Hands on her hips, Chloe cocked an eyebrow at him. Was he trying to be romantic to make up for the night before? Most likely. Simply turning her back to him she picked the robes up from the chair and started to change. “Don’t even try, Sirius.” Chloe said to him once she had pulled on her trousers, and faced him, holding her shirt.

Sirius’s face showed no sign of feeling guilty. The blankets fallen away from his bare chest, and Chloe could spy the fresh scar on his left arm. She shivered thinking about it, and quickly glanced away from Sirius and pulled on her shirt. Chloe didn’t like how easy-going he had been about it, as if it happened all the time. In fact, now that Chloe thought about it, a lot of little scars had appeared on Sirius as of late. She wondered if the reasons behind them were similar to the one he had received the night before.

“Chloe, stop worrying about last night, it won’t do you any good.” Sirius spoke gently, but Chloe chose to ignore this just like he had ignored her comment.

“I’m off at three so I’ll be able to be home early enough to make dinner. Take Ryan to the park, it’s been awhile since he could go. Maybe you could ask Patricia next door if she and Daniel would like to join you; you know how he and Ryan get along.” Chloe suggested, as she took a pair of socks from her wardrobe and turned to look at a bemused Sirius.

“Chloe don’t be like this.” Sirius started, and paused to get out of bed. He went over to Chloe, holding on to her arms gently to make her listen. Staring up at him, Chloe could hardly ignore the pleading tone in his voice. “I love you,” he breathed.

Chloe felt her heart melt slightly, and she gave in a little. Leaning towards Sirius she stood on her toes and kissed him lightly on the lips lingering for a moment and pulled away. It still amazed her some days how she could kiss him and still feel the same electric feeling as always. “I love you too,” she repeated, and then kissed him again on the cheek, and pulled away from him for the door.

As she left the bedroom Chloe was aware of his eyes on her back as she walked away, and she hoped he would get the message that she was still annoyed with him. One way or another she was going to find out exactly what he and the other Marauder’s were doing along with Lily. Eventually she would guilt it out of Sirius, she knew. But until then she hoped she could maybe just get the truth from Lily or Remus, though she wanted to avoid asking Remus for she knew that it would probably tear him up.

A cry came from the room down the hall, and Chloe was being called. Smiling a little at the tiny whine, she peeked into her sons room, and saw him standing there, frowning deeply, his eyes half open. He was tired, and yawned as she approached him. “Did I wake you up?” she asked, picking him up in her arms. He was a lot heavier now, but still small for his age. Squeezing him tightly for a moment she put him down on to the ground, and he walked next to her as she went down the hall and to the kitchen.

“I’m hungry!” Ryan cried tugging on his mother’s hand as she pulled out a chair at the table for him to sit at.

“Keep it down Ryan, daddy is still asleep.” Chloe hushed him at once. Ryan seemed to ignore what she had said and continued to talk, singing random words loudly. Chloe merely rolled her eyes when he started to talk about Quidditch knowing that Sirius had probably spent another futile attempt the day before to teach him the rules of Quidditch.

Whipping up some toast quickly with her wand, Chloe cut Ryan’s toast in little squares, and placed it in front of him along with a glass of orange juices which he giggled at with delight. As he stuffed the toast in his mouth Chloe took an apple out of the fridge, and poured herself another cup of tea and sat down across from Ryan as he continued to eat. It seemed that the only time he was quiet was when there was food in his mouth. She had to marvel at the humor in that.

Most mornings were just like this one for Chloe. She would wake up early, shower, change, get Ryan up and eat breakfast and get him ready. This usually took two hours all together, and before she had to leave for work Sirius would wake up and take ‘control’ of Ryan. He had offered that he takes care of Ryan in the morning, but Chloe always argued that it was the only time she could be with him. She worked so much that she wouldn’t get home until six o’clock to which Sirius would have supper ready and by time that was over it would be time to put him to bed. James often teased Sirius about being the wife in the relationship, but it was necessary that Chloe work so much because Sirius was unable to find any permanent work because of his parents, and because people feared he was a Death Eater. Chloe knew it wore on Sirius, but she would take every chance she had to tell him how much she appreciated it all.

“Mummy!” Ryan whined, and Chloe shook out of her thoughts. She couldn’t keep the sudden guilt that had filled her when she had argued with Sirius the night before about keeping everything from her. Maybe she was wrong to do so? Maybe this was one thing that Sirius could have for himself?

“What bubby?” Chloe cooed the nickname she had given him.

“You hear my song?” Ryan asked.

Chloe nodded, smiling. “Yes, I heard it. It was lovely. Now why don’t you finish your breakfast, and then you get changed?”

“I’m going to the park today,” Ryan said cheerfully. It wasn’t a question.

“Yes, I’ll daddy to take you to the park today. But not for long,” Chloe added, talking more to herself then Ryan. She couldn’t help but think about the dangers that were outside her home. But again, she knew Sirius would be smart about everything.

“I’m done!” Ryan said in his shrill voice, pushing his crumb cover plate away.

“Okay,” Chloe muttered standing up. She put the plate and his cup into the sink and turned around to see Ryan all ready trotting to his bedroom with his usual big smile.

Feeling a little tired, Chloe followed him to his bedroom where he already was, rifling through his dresser, pulling out shirts and trousers. He always liked to pick out his own clothes, and tried to put them on but always did it wrong so Chloe had to undress him and dress him again. But she always laughed at the crazy outfits he would come up with. Some days he would choose his Muggle clothes, and some days just his Wizarding clothes. Most days though, he liked to wear both.

Today was one of those days as he held miniature black robes, trousers, and red and white striped long sleeved shirt. He had already pulled off his pyjamas, and was putting on the black robes, and proceeding to pull the striped shirt over top. He quickly whined that it didn’t fit when Chloe entered, and she burst out laughing, not able to contain herself. Walking over to him, she sat down on his bed and motioned for him to come over to him, and she started to pull off the clothing.

“I get it right once,” Ryan announced, as Chloe pulled the striped shirt over his head.

“Yes, you’ll get it all one day.” Chloe agreed, and held out his trousers for him to put on.

“But not today,” Ryan jabbered on, and Chloe laughed again.

Once she got his robes on, and his socks, she was a little surprised that his outfit actually worked. Tickling him, he let out his usual giggle, and shouted for her to stop. All thoughts of Sirius sleeping left her, as she and Ryan laughed and tickled each other until Ryan fell into her arms sighing with glee that she had stopped.

“You tickle me dead.” Ryan muttered, nuzzling his head into her stomach, and she pulled him on her lap.

“You tickle me tired,” Chloe told him, grinning at his grammar. He always had a magical way of making everything he did cute. Maybe she was a little biased on the matter, but Ryan was exceptionally cute, she thought.

“Is there a party going on in here?” Sirius’s gruff, soft voice filtered into the room, and Chloe turned to look at the doorway which Sirius was walking through. His face had transformed from the usual hardness he offered Chloe when they were alone, to the fatherly happiness he gave Ryan. She had to admit, she envied his ability to show his emotions from Ryan, and how he wouldn’t let them affect Ryan’s life.

“Daddy! Mommy tickles me dead!” Ryan shouted with glee, reaching his arms for him.

Sirius chuckled, meeting Chloe’s eyes for a moment before turning back to Ryan, and pulling him off of Chloe’s lap.

“But you can’t be dead!” Sirius exclaimed dramatically, “Not my only son!” Sirius held Ryan to his chest, pretending to howl in grief while Ryan started to laugh, and pounding on his father’s chest.

“I’m alive, I’m alive!” Ryan shouted.

Before Sirius could on, Chloe stood up. After glancing at her watch she saw that she was due at work in ten minutes and had to get going. Touching Sirius’s arm, she silenced him. “I’ve got to go now,” she told him, kissing Ryan on the cheek. “I suppose you can take him to the park for a little while today, if you think its safe enough. Maybe you can bring him by work on my lunch break.” Chloe suggested, kissing Sirius on the cheek.

“All right, bye then,” Sirius said sounding a little disinterested, and Chloe nodded and left the bedroom. Hurrying to the door, Chloe slipped her shoes on, and grabbed her bag and cloak. She hoped the day would be a good one, with no casualties or surprise attacks. As she went to open the door, she heard someone moving behind her, and knowing it was Sirius she turned to face him, just as he reached for her arm to turn her around.

His face barely an inch away from Chloe’s, he let out a suppressed breath. He held her right hand in his, and held it tightly. His breath warmed her face, and for a moment Chloe forget everything. “I forgot to tell you, before you left.”

“What?” Chloe asked, bewildered.

“That I love you.” Sirius told her with a smirk, and kissed her on the lips deeply, and Chloe relaxed completely.

Pulling away, breathlessly, she hugged Sirius tightly. “I’m sorry, I love you too.” She whispered in his ear.

“I didn’t want you to leave without me saying that to you.” Sirius murmured softly, and brushed his lips against her own before finally pulling away from her.

Chloe gave a faint smile, still feeling a little upset, but Sirius understood. Unlocking the door with a tap of her finger, she opened the door and stepped out into the hallway. Glancing back at Sirius one more time she found him giving her, her favourite smirk until he closed the door and she was on her way.

The walk to St. Mungo’s wasn’t that long from their flat. Of course, it would be easier if Chloe just Apparated or took the Floo network to the Hospital, but Chloe never liked using those forms of travel unless she had too. Walking, or taking train or bus just seemed more practical to her when you lived in a city like London. Sure, Sirius thought it was ridiculous, dangerous even, but Chloe could care less. She was a trained witch, if Death Eaters decided to attack her in broad day light in front of hundreds of Muggles, so be it. Until that ever happened, she would be walking.

Like every day Chloe stopped for a few minutes at a flower stall, where an elderly man sat with fresh flowers, even in the heart of winter.

“Grow ‘em in me Greenhouse out in countryside,” he would tell her every time she stopped to smell them.

“They are lovely,” Chloe said to him, picking a red and white carnation, and holding it to her nose. Digging in her jacket pocket, she gave him his money and walked quickly the rest of her way to work.

At the front entrance she offered her name, and was quickly admitted into the Hospital. The main waiting room was empty for the most part, only a few people with strange deformities, and in one case, an elderly man who was coughing up feathers. But Chloe ignored much of this, used to such wild and strange scenes. Smiling at one of the receptionist, Mary, Lily’s friend from Hogwarts, she continued on her way over to the lifts where one was open and waiting for her.

Running for it, she entered the lift, and stood next to a young healer, who was only a few years ahead of her. His name was Albert Abbes, and he was rather handsome. Always a little unshaven from the long hours he put in at the hospital, with sandy blond hair and bleached blue eyes that were hidden behind thick spectacles he needed to read. He had a good heart, and was a lot more reserved compared to some of the other healers. His sister had had a son when she was only sixteen, and he was completely okay with the fact that she had four year old son. Therefore he was someone that Chloe had become friends with immediately.

“Almost late again, Chloe. Tut, tut,” Albert teased, and Chloe nudged him gently in the side with her elbow. “It was that fiancé of yours again, wasn’t it?”

“Try my child,” Chloe disagreed, and then grinning. “You would have been laughing so hard if you had heard him this morning. He was singing about Merlin knows what, but it was so cute. Of course, I think he woke up Sirius, but still it was so adorable!”

Albert laughed. “So Ryan likes to sing, is he promising?”

Chloe laughed next. “I don’t think so; if Sirius has his way he’ll grow up and become an Auror or a famous Quidditch player.”

“That’s not too bad,” Albert agreed.

The lift stopped at the third floor, and Albert bade his goodbye, muttering how he wished he could be working on the Fourth Floor, where Chloe was headed. Now standing alone in the lift, the smile slid off Chloe’s face. She still hadn’t forgiven Sirius, and she hoped that he didn’t think she had after their actions before she left. Of course, Sirius knew her well enough that she hadn’t done so, and perhaps telling her he loved her was just him trying to push over. Then again, they never liked parting without telling each other they loved each other just in case the worst happened – something they tried to avoid thinking about.

The doors opened, and immediately Chloe’s name was called by the Head Healer, Pricilla Peabody, whose voice was strained and tired. Her graying red hair was frizzy even its tight bun that almost sat on the top of her head. It was so tight that Chloe and the other Healers joked that was what caused her face to be so smooth and almost wrinkle free. The ageing woman look exhausted, and when Chloe came towards her she could see that Pricilla was reaching her wits end.

“There was an attack during the night on a Muggle family. All have had their memory altered, and we have currently induced sleep on the two children so that when they wake they will be in the Muggle Hospital. They had severe spell damage; we assume the cruciatus curse was used on all four, but more extensively on the father.” Pricilla went through the list of spells she and other healers had come to assume was used on the family. Chloe’s mind reeled as she was told, and wondered what the parents looked like as it sounded they had been tortured the worse. She didn’t understand why Death Eaters seemed to find it so amusing; doing such a thing to people when they’re real ‘problem’ was with other wizards.

“The Drew family is currently in the Warbeck Ward,” Pricilla instructed, and Chloe nodded and went over to the front desk where she spotted Kathy Fay, her good friend from Hogwarts. She was tapping patient records with her wand lightly, muttering quietly under her breath the correct spells to place what she wanted.

“Hey Kathy, do you have the Drew family chart?” Chloe asked, smiling brightly as her friend.

Kathy glanced up and smiled. “Oh, yeah, they’re right here. They’re scheduled to be transported at noon.” Kathy said grabbing a clip board from the wall behind her, and proceeding to tap her wand on it and appeared the documents, and information Chloe needed.

“Thank you,” Chloe said taking it from her, “I like the hair colour by the way,” she commented as she turned to leave, remarking on the new dark brown shade Kathy was adorning.

“Thank you, Remus says he liked it blonde though.” Kathy replied, sounding a little disheartened at the thought.

Chloe grinned. It amused her how those two had dating for so long and still it was as if they weren’t. Remus would go on the occasional date with her, but for the most part they were friends. Remus often said it was because of his condition, he didn’t want to bring Kathy into it. He said she deserved better, and Chloe figured Kathy was too shy to admit she thought different. So her two friend would continue their long courtship, with the occasional breaks, until one of them finally took the next step to something more serious.

Chloe walked down the hall, saying good morning to the few healers she passed by. It amazed her sometimes, how quiet St. Mungo’s could be when it was the only magical hospital in all of Great Britain. Perhaps it was because most witches and wizards obtained enough self-based knowledge of medical procedures to take when a spell went wrong or a potion went foul. But also, it seemed everyone was being a lot careful in such dangerous times that the only patients you would get were Aurors or other innocent victims like the ones she was about to check up on.

Entering the Warbeck Ward Chloe could see now what carnage the Death Eaters had left her behind. The only occupants at the time, the family all lat in identical beds of white linen, all asleep and oblivious to the strange world they were surrounded in. Healer Zeller was leaning over the oldest child, a fifteen year old girl who had a long pink line running down her face and continued down her neck, disappearing below her dressings.

“I’m not sure if we can get rid of the scar,” Zeller murmured under his breath as he rubbed a potion on her fair complexion.

“It’s a shame, she’s pretty.” Chloe muttered, frowning at the young girl. She couldn’t imagine what it would be like, to have to wake up after such an ordeal with such a scar and a reminder.

“They’re going to have to come up with a pretty good story with this one.” Zeller said conversationally, moving around the girl.

Chloe nodded, deciding it would be best she started on Mr. Drew, a man who looked to be in his early forties. He didn’t have any obvious injuries, but Chloe read his board and saw that he had some potions he needed to take to help re-grow bones, replenish blood, and to continue his sleeping. Setting the board down, Chloe collected the right potions needed and returned to the ward and started to administer them.

She spent another hour helping Zeller take care of Mrs. Drew, who like her daughter, was cut up far more. The son was another story. It seemed out of the four he had received the worst of the damage. Cuts adorned his face, arms, and legs. He had many broken bones, and the blood vessels in his eyes had been burst, something that Chloe was thankful had already been prepared. As much as she loved being a healer, dealing with children often bothered her. He was only eight years old and something about him struck fear into Chloe’s heart. It was probably because he had the same curly black hair as Ryan, but like many times before she pushed those thoughts out of her mind.

When she had finished taking care of the Drew family it was time for them to be moved, and Chloe was quickly reassigned to other patients. She was a little said to leave, she had grown a little attached to the family after how well they were doing after such a tragic event. She followed Healer Peabody on her rounds, a little annoyed that was being treated like a Healer-in-training, when she was already a second year Healer. Then again, it took four years before you became a full Healer. When you were in-training you mostly spent it in classrooms a floor below the main entrance, and did minor practical work in the actual hospital. Then, in your second year you chose what specialty you wanted to go into (in Chloe’s case she chose Spell Damage) where you then finished you three years to become a Healer.

Sighing heavily, Chloe lowered herself in a chair in the tearoom, Albert and Kathy sitting across from her chattering about the goings on at the Hospital. Grabbing her spoon, Chloe ate her stew in silence. Her life was starting to feel a little futile at the hospital. When she had started there she had hoped for helping people, for doing good, but more often then not her patients would die of what ever frightening injury had befallen on them by Death Eaters, and she prayed this fate would not fall open the Drew’s.

“Are you and Sirius still coming to dinner tonight?” Kathy asked, looking hopeful at Chloe.

“Dinner where?”

Kathy frowned. “At my house, I’ve invited the entire gang and Albert here. You said a week ago you would come,” Kathy looked at her hopeful.

“You have to come, Chloe. I want to meet Ryan.” Albert urged.

“I’m so sorry Kathy, I completely forgot. I’ll write Sirius and let him know about the change in plans.” Chloe assured her friend.

Kathy flashed a smile. “Great that’s settled then. Everyone agreed to meet around six thirty at my flat - that gives you enough time right?”

“Yeah, we’ll be there.” Chloe assured Kathy, and stood up. “I should get going; Peabody is probably already having a fit that I have five minutes left on my break and I’m not back yet.” Chloe grumbled, and packed her things and said good bye to Kathy and Albert.

Before returning to Spell Damage she asked the secretary to write to Sirius for her to let him know the change in plans. She hoped he wouldn’t disagree; he was very anti-social as of later. After three more hours of work, in which Chloe treated minor spell damage, usually just patients coming in with wings instead of arms or making animals noises instead of talking. These things were common with younger children who find their parents wands and play with them. It was why Chloe always made sure that her wand or Sirius’s was kept well away from Ryan’s hands as Merlin knows what kind of damage he would cause.

When the hour finally got closer to five, Chloe was happy to see the patient waiting list was low, and there were enough Healers on staff that she could leave early. She got the feeling that Peabody wanted her out of the way anything. Chloe couldn’t blame her though; she was dead weight when her mind was else where, on a certain person. Sirius hadn’t escaped her thoughts. She assumed because Sirius hadn’t written back detesting the idea of going to dinner that he had agreed to the plan. Well, if he got his knickers in a knot about it she would just leave him behind and take Ryan to dinner.

It wasn’t that Chloe liked being in a bad way with Sirius but when he was being as impossible and as distant as he was it was hard to care. It bothered her that he wasn’t telling her the truth, and it made her mad that he wouldn’t let her help at all in the battle against Lord Voldemort. She understood why, but she didn’t like it.

As she grabbed her cloak to leave she said goodbye to some of the other Second-year Healers and the others and made her way to the lift. It was empty, nobody joining her on the trip down to the main floor where she could Apparate home. She didn’t feel like walking after being on her feet all day. Due to protective spells Sirius had found necessary to put on the house Chloe had to Apparate in the maintenance closest down the hall, and she nearly fell on her face after tripping on a mop in the dark room.

Entering the flat, Chloe heard Sirius talking to Ryan from the loo, and Chloe quickly shoved her cloak and purse into the closest. There was the sound of water splashing and at once Chloe knew Sirius was giving him his daily bath. Turning down the hall, Chloe walked slowly towards the loo at the end of the hall. She could see through the open door, Sirius kneeling in front of the tub, wet, trying to wash Ryan’s hair.

“It’s a little earlier to be giving him a bath.” Chloe said gently, not wanting to surprise Sirius.

He turned to look at her, no surprise on his face and Chloe guessed he had heard her come in. “I figured it would be easier if he was clean before we went to Kathy’s.” Sirius explained.

“Daddy’s all wet!” Ryan squealed from the tub, splashing his hands against the water sending it in a wave every where. Sirius was soaked all down the front, and he groaned loudly.

Chloe laughed “Did you need a break?”

“No, you go get changed.” Sirius told her, but before she could walk away, he grabbed at her legs, and pulled her towards him. Hugging her waist, Chloe looked down at him baffled by his behavior. “Bad day at work?”

Chloe smiled for a second, but it slipped away quickly. “I hate this war,” she murmured.

“I know,” Sirius whispered, and stood up straight and hugged Chloe tightly for a few more seconds before she pulled away.

“Finish with Ryan,” she mumbled, “I’ll set out his clothes in the bedroom.”

As she left the loo she heard Ryan shout and squeal more things as Sirius settled down to finish his bath, and Chloe walked away, rubbing her temples. Making a quick detour in Ryan’s room she pulled out his best clothes and set them out on his bed. Then she went to her own room, and started to strip off her uniform, leaving it on the floor as she walked over to her wardrobe. Running her hands across her clothing, she absent-mindedly stared at them without choosing what to wear.

The days events, the Drew Family, and all those other patients seemed to weigh on her now, more then ever. It wasn’t the first time she had come home with a heavy heart. Sirius usually told her it was time to find a new job, one that she wouldn’t always be so miserable by. But it was pointless to find a new job. She liked the one she had now. She was just having difficulties with these useless deaths that surrounded her.

She hadn’t realized it, but nearly twenty minutes had passed, and she could hear the television in the living room being turned on as Sirius settled Ryan in front of it so he could change. The bedroom door opened just slightly as Sirius entered the room. Chloe didn’t even turn around to look at him, just turned her gaze to the bedroom window.

Sirius’s calloused hands ran across her bare stomach, and his unshaven chin rubbed against her shoulder. He pulled her tightly to him, and inhaled her fruity scent. Chloe trembled in her arms, forcing the tears away, and sinking into Sirius’s arms. Her anger towards him was gone, and she wasn’t thinking about their fight at all. All she wanted was to be comforted, and he had known just what to do.

“We don’t have to go to dinner tonight if you don’t want to.” Sirius said in a hushed tone, his warm breath running along Chloe’s collar bone.

“No, I want to go. I just can’t get their faces out of my head… there was a little boy.” Chloe whispered hoarsely, still fighting tears.

Sirius brushed his lips against her neck, nuzzling his face close to her, and she turned to face him as tears began to fall. He began kissing her every where; her chin, her eyes, her cheeks, her lips, before at last just pulling her even tighter against him, wrapping his robes around her bare body. She gripped him tightly as she choked on her tears. It was a few minutes before she could stop.

“I should get ready.”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes, I just needed to cry a little, and now I’m okay. I really want to go and see everyone. I can’t remember the last time we all got together.” Chloe meant it, and finally Sirius let her go. As she pulled out some worn jeans and a sweater, Sirius changed into some fresh robes, pausing for a moment in front of the mirror.

“Should I shave?”

Chloe grinned. “Nah, I like the look. Besides I think Kathy will get a kick out of it.”

“Oh ha ha,” Sirius grumbled, but didn’t show any signs of shaving. Once she had played with her hair a little bit Chloe left Sirius alone and went out into the living room.

“Are you thirsty Ryan?” Chloe asked Ryan as she went to the kitchen. Ryan sat on the floor, his legs tucked close to him as he watched the television program.

He made no answer, so Chloe simply chose to make the decision for him. Grabbing his sippy cup she poured him some juice, and went back into the living to give it to him, sitting on the couch. He took it without complaint and started to drink, still submerged in the program. A few minutes later Sirius entered the main room, running his hand through his hair.

“We should go soon,” he said softly, sitting next to her on the couch, watching Ryan closely as he giggled at something on the television.

“Are you ready?”

“As ready as I can be.” Sirius smirked at Chloe, and jumped off the couch. Creeping up behind Ryan, sliding his arms underneath his shoulders, Sirius swept Ryan upwards. “Time to go see Aunty Kathy!”

Ryan shrieked loudly as Sirius picked him up, trying to push his father away from him. “No! Telly!” the little boy yelled as Sirius walked over to the closest.

“There’ll be one at Aunty’s,” Chloe said, following Sirius and getting Ryan’s little cloak and giving it to Sirius to put on him. It was a few more minutes before they all had their things on, and Chloe grabbed Ryan’s carrying bag before they both exited the flat. They walked down the hall, Sirius still carrying Ryan, as they went into the maintenance closest to Apparate to their friend’s house.

“Do you want me to take him?” Chloe asked once she had closed the door behind them.

“No, it’s fine. You go first.” Sirius told Chloe, and she didn’t bother arguing. With a faint ‘pop’ she left the dark room and landed in a park that wasn’t too far from Kathy’s townhouse. She moved aside; glad to have the darkness as a cover, waiting for Sirius and Ryan to Apparate. It was only a few seconds before they appeared, and immediately Ryan’s low whimpers sounded.

“I’ll take him,” Chloe said taking Ryan from Sirius’ arms. Ryan hated Apparating; in fact he hated most Wizard ways of travel. They had tried everything, and the only thing that was okay was a broomstick, but Chloe didn’t even dare doing that in long distances. Humming softly, Ryan calmed down, and with Sirius at her side, his arm around her waist the three walked down the rural street of London on which Kathy lived on. It could be seen happy Muggle families sitting in their homes, watching television, or eating dinner. Loud laughter and talk surrounded them, and it was sort of sad to Chloe as none of these people knew of the evils that were at play.

Kathy’s townhouse looked like all the other’s that surrounded it. A short set of steps that led to a small patio. Her front door was painted the same blue as the others, and the one window that showed into the main room was painted with the same white trim. Sirius knocked on the door, and they could already hear talking and laughter on the other side. It was even colder outside then it had been in the morning and Chloe felt a shiver run up her spine. It was nearing the end of October and it wouldn’t be long before Christmas. Chloe hadn’t even thought about that.

“Chloe, Sirius!” Kathy’s high pitched tones filtered down the street as they were herded into the house. Everyone was there, popping their heads out of the dinning room and kitchen to say hello. “He’s so big!” Kathy exclaimed taking Ryan from Chloe’s arms so she could take her cloak off.

Chloe laughed, and searched the crowd of people for Lily. “Where are Lily and James?” Sirius asked before she could.

“Oh, they said they had to stay late today at work. Apparently there’s a big case.” Kathy explained, heading towards the kitchen, still holding Ryan in her arms.

Chloe glanced at Sirius curiously, but he wasn’t looking at her. He was moving towards Remus and Peter who were both standing by the dinning room looking at him expectantly. And they soon went into the dining room to talk. Chloe longed to follow them, but Kathy was walking towards where Nadine, Albert, and his friend Jacque with Ryan and she couldn’t do anything else but follow her. They all went into the kitchen, after greeting each other with hugs and kisses.

“How old is he?” Albert’s friend, Jacque asked. He looked to be a few years older, around twenty-five, just like Albert. He was handsome, with sandy-blond hair, piercing blue eyes, and towered over everyone.

“Ryan?” Chloe asked, setting Ryan on the counter and starting to remove his coat and gloves. “He’s turning four in less then a month.”

“And were going to have a big party right?” Nadine asked, winking at Chloe.

“Oh yeah, Ryan won’t know what hit him.” Chloe laughed.

“Mama, I’m hungry. Where daddy?” Ryan sputtered.

“Did you want to see daddy?” Kathy intervened, and took Ryan from Chloe and started for the door. “Aunty Kathy will take you,” Kathy said as she went through the swinging door and into the dining room.

“She gets way too excited about these things.” Nadine rolled her eyes, opening the fridge and pulling out a butterbeer. “Anyone thirsty?”

“I’m fine, thanks.” Chloe responded, but both Albert and Jacque took a butterbeer, Jacque insisting on mixing it with some fire whiskey.

“That has got to be disgusting.” Nadine wrinkled her nose.

Jacque persisted it was the best thing in the world, but Chloe didn’t pay much attention. They all moved into the sitting area, where Sirius, Peter, and Remus had all gone. Everyone broke off into their own groups, and Chloe found herself sitting with Remus, watching Ryan from the corner of her eye as he played with some of his toys on the floor.

“Don’t you think Lily and James would be here by now?” Chloe asked him.

“Yes and no.” Remus started heavily. “Technically they should be, but for all we know something else could have popped up at the ministry forcing them to stay later.”

“Well I don’t like it,” Chloe mumbled, and looked at Ryan. He was playing with his toy train, making loud choo-choo noises.

An hour later Kathy decided there was no use to waiting for James and Lily anymore, and everyone went into the dining room to eat. Sirius hadn’t said much to anyone since they had arrived, most of his attention on Ryan. Chloe could see the worry on his face, and just like Remus he had no idea where Lily and James were either. This didn’t help Chloe at all. She had hoped, that maybe Sirius had known about some thing that they had to do for what ever thing they were all a part of.

Half way through dinner, after Kathy and Nadine finished a funny story about finding a drunken man on their front porch believing that he lived there, Chloe nearly screamed when a flash of light entered the dining room through the open bay window. Everyone was surprised as they stared at the blinding patronus that was in the shape of a doe.

“James was hurt; we’re at St. Mungo’s. Lord Voldemort has made an appearance.”

The familiar voice reverberated around the room, and before Chloe, Kathy, Nadine, or the other boys could react Remus, Sirius, and Peter were on their feet, wands drawn.

“What the bloody hell was that?” Jacque cried, having spilled a glass of wine on himself. He cursed as he tried to wipe it clean.

“Was that Lily’s voice?” Nadine asked in wonderment.

Ryan had started to cry from the shock, and Chloe quickly bounced him on her knee, holding him close, and looking to Sirius. “What’s going on?”

Sirius looked at her, fear and worry adorning his face. “It was Lily’s patronus, its how we learned to get a hold of each other fast.” Sirius looked at Remus.

“You and Peter go, I’ll stay here with the girls.” Remus said.

“No way, I am going. Albert will come as well, I’m sure we can both be a help at the hospital.” Chloe argued, standing up.

“This isn’t an argument.” Sirius debated.

Before anyone could say anything else, Jacque had stood up. “I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m thinking I’m going to leave now. Sorry, I’ll see you later Albert. Nice dinner while it lasted.” Jacques didn’t stay to hear anyone arguments, not that there were any. Chloe was still staring Sirius down while Remus explained to Kathy, Nadine, and Albert that none of them what had happened or what was going on.

“They are my friends too, and I am a Healer. If there is anyone who can help, it is me.” Chloe breathed heavily.

“We have to go Sirius,” Peter whined. “Just let them come – she’s right.”

Chloe didn’t know if it was because everyone was looking at him or if Sirius truly just didn’t want to argue anymore, and wanted to see his friend, but he gave in. Chloe made sure to have all of Ryan’s things, and everyone Apparated in pairs. Sirius took Ryan, and Chloe went with Remus after. It was complete chaos when Chloe found herself standing in the main waiting area. People were every where, most of whom looked to be Ministry officials.

Sirius came over to Chloe, and she took Ryan back. “Have you found what happened?”

Sirius nodded. “Voldemort and his followers tried to take over the Ministry – Lily and James were in the Atrium when they swamped it. I still haven’t been able to get near the front desk to ask where James is.”

“I’ll take care of that,” Albert had joined them, an took long strides through the crowds of people and went behind the front desk.. Chloe watched anxiously, everyone gathering around her. And then Albert looked up and held his hand showing the number four with his fingers and Chloe groaned her heart dropping.

“Spell damage – let’s take the stairs it’s much faster.” Chloe said, and turned towards the stairwell doors, Sirius taking Ryan from her.

Albert joined them on the second floor landing and filled Chloe in. “His chart says that he’s been hit with an unknown curse that has caused severe lacerations across his chest, thigh, and arm. He’s in critical condition, the blood won’t stop-”

“He’s going to die,” Chloe whispered as they rushed up the last set of stairs. Her eyes had gone wide as she began to understand what was going on. James had been hit with the very hex that so many others had died from.

“I know, but we can’t let them know.” Albert answered, nodding at the other who was right behind them.

When they entered the Fourth Floor it was just as chaotic as the main entrance had been. Kathy moved up front going behind the desk where Peabody stood, shouting things out to passing Healers.

“Roberts what are you doing here?” Peabody called to her.

“My friend, James, is here.” Chloe said approaching her boss.

“James Potter?” Peabody said, going through some charts that she held. “He’s in the third ward – I’m assuming your friends with his girlfriend. She’s been trying to see him, but she is not allowed until he is stable.” Peabody handed her James’ chart. She looked past Chloe and at the other people in the room. “No one is to pass the yellow line unless they work for this hospital!” She called, and looked back to Chloe. “See to you friend then.”

Chloe nodded, and looked back at the others. Albert stepped forward, and they both went to go get James. It didn’t take long. Lily was outside of his room yelling at a first year named Marissa who looked very distressed as she told Lily she wasn’t allowed in while Healers worked on James. Chloe was quick to move, and as she neared the Marissa she looked at her.

“Chloe, can you –”

“Chloe?” Lily called shrilly, moving over to Chloe and gripping her shoulders.

“It’s all right Marissa, you can go.” Chloe told her. Marissa looked as if she was going to argue, and then quickly thought better of it, letting Chloe take control of the situation. Albert glanced at Chloe before entering the ward, and Chloe could hear the urgent calls of Healers as they tried to help patients.

“You came? Where is everyone else?” Lily asked breathlessly. Black was smeared around her eyes, and her face was wet from angry tears. Her was wild, and there were small cuts on her face.

“There in the waiting room, why don’t you go and sit with them?” Chloe suggested.

“No, no, I need to see James. He wasn’t awake when I saw him last – they won’t tell me anything. I know what’s wrong with him though, I know how to fix it. He was bleeding so much…” Lily’s voice became ghostly and another tear cascaded down her cheek. Chloe brushed it away.

“He’s in critical condition right now… what are you talking about though? How do you know how to stop the curse?” Chloe asked, bewildered.

“Because I know what curse that was used on him. You have to listen to me, it’s complicated. Only one other person knows it…” Lily breathed, her bottom lip shaking.

Chloe didn’t know what to do, and she had no idea what Lily was saying. It was impossible that she knew something that the Healers didn’t. They had researched every counter, in every area of magic. They looked at ancient spells used in Greece, Egypt, and in Turkey. There was nothing they could do. Every spell they used either quickened the bleeding or nothing at all. Lily probably was thinking of something they had already tried, and there was no way in hell she would allow Lily feel that she was responsible for James’ death, that would be coming soon.

“Chloe, you’re my only hope, only you can get me in there. I just need five minutes, is all, I can fix him. I tried at the Ministry, but there were so many people it was hard to do it and protect James from getting hit with any other spells. Chloe, listen to me.” Lily begged.

Chloe was torn. Everything was telling her to ignore her friend, to let fate follow through, but at the same time she couldn’t let James die. Even if it was based on a slim chance that Lily actually knew something. Finally Chloe made her decision, and looked Lily in the eye. “Stay here, I’m going to see what’s going on.”

Chloe went into the ward where six patients were, all suffering from severe wounds. James was surrounded by the most Healers, however. All were trying to stop the bleeding using different spells that weren’t working. Albert stood with his hands on James chest, his white shirt stained with blood as he muttered counter spells that would give very little effect on James’s state. Chloe stood next to him; her hands trembling she tried to pull gloves on, and pulled her wand out.

“Albert,” Chloe said, trying to force the hysteria out of her voice. “I think I know how to stop this, I just need to admit Lily. She says she knows a spell that can stop the curse, and stop the bleeding.”

“Chloe you know that isn’t possible – we’ve tried everything. He doesn’t have much longer – it would be better if we just faced the fact that he’s not going to make it.” Albert said between breaths. Sweat trickled down his brow, and he was red in the face. He looked at Chloe for only a few more seconds before pulling away and continued to say counter jinx’s that would be no use.

Chloe had started to cry. She couldn’t bare to look at James, his eyes closed, and dark blood seeming to surround him. Everyone around them was tired, and they looked like they were about to give up. She took hold of Albert’s arm, and shook him hard. “It’s worth trying then, isn’t it? Maybe she knows something we don’t… maybe… Albert I’m bringing her in.” Chloe made the decision, and Albert didn’t answer. He was the only one who could make the decision, but Chloe assumed he had given in because he made no attempt to stop her.

Chloe got Lily, who broke out in a sob when she saw the blood on Chloe’s shirt, but allowed Chloe to explain before asking questions. “He’s not looking too good, Lily. But you can see him. I just need you to be prepared – ”

“I’m an Auror, Chloe. I’ve seen worse.” Lily tried to wipe the tears from her face, gripping her wand in a sweaty palm.

“Yes, but this is James. Not just another victim.” Chloe replied fearfully.

“I know.”

Lily’s response was solemn sounding, and Chloe knew there was nothing else she could do. They both entered the ward, and made there way over to James, and Chloe took the same position she had been in before, keeping an eye on Lily who had gone white, but her face was much more focused now. There weren’t as many Healers around James now, only Albert and a fifth year that Chloe did not know the name of.

Lily gripping James’s shoulders for a moment before pointing at the wounds with her wand and began muttering an incantation that sounded like a song. It was a foreign sound and Chloe watched in amazement as the blood seemed to cease from flowing as she repeated the incantation over and over again until at last the blood had stopped and the wounds began to heal. The skin started to stitch together, and Chloe was mesmerized by it. It seemed as if the whole world had stopped.

In fact, it had. Everyone in the room had stopped what they were doing to watch the spell work its magic. At last James’s wounds had formed long red scars, and Lily leaned against James in exhaustion. His eyes were still closed, having lost so much blood. This seemed to snap everyone back to life, and people were asking what spell Lily had been using. It turned out that in reality the spell Lily had been using nobody had heard of, and many thought that what she had said was true. Chloe couldn’t fathom it, but her thoughts had turned to a memory when she was in Hogwarts and Severus Snape had caused small cuts appear on James’s face. Chloe had the sinking suspicious that what ever spell Lily knew was one that Severus had made up.

It wasn’t long before everyone learned the spell, and James was moved into another room to rest and to be monitored. Though they had gotten through the worst, they still had to wait for James to wake up. It was no telling if the blood lost had affected him neurologically and there was no telling when he would actually wake up. Faithfully, Lily and Sirius were at his side, both sitting with stony faces.

Chloe left Ryan with Remus and changed into some spare scrubs and began helping. Twenty people had been hit with the same spell as James and like wildfire people were trying to stop the bleeding. Already five had died, when it was too late. Four people were sent to the Ward 49 to be assessed for mental stability, and it wasn’t until eight o’clock in the morning that James woke up with a sore head, but in good humor.

“He’s okay,” Lily repeated over and over when Chloe came to say hello.

“Yeah, he’s okay.” Chloe said, her eyes flashing to Sirius. For a moment they stared at each other, before he finally stood up and together they left the ward. Out in the hall, Sirius pulled Chloe into a tight hug. “I don’t want to fight anymore. I get it, I know why I can’t join. But I just want to know.” Chloe cried into Sirius’s shoulder.

“I don’t want to fight either,” Sirius kissed the top her head, breathing in the sweet scent of her hair. “Let’s go somewhere to talk,” Sirius suggested, and together they went to the tearoom. Chloe let go of any hope of ever being allowed to help her friends in what ever order they were in, she knew it was too dangerous for her, as much as she didn’t want to admit it. >

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