I OWN NOTHING! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ CHAPTER 35: THE BEGINNING OF AN ERA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Eighteen years later Harry Potter put down the Daily Profit, an enormous grin spread across his face. “What are you grinning about handsome?” a soft groggy voice asked. He felt his girlfriend of four years plant a well-deserved kiss on his cheek, before plopping down next to him at the kitchen table in his flat. He turned his head, and leaned over to give her a long searing kiss. She sighed and kissed back with eagerness. “Enough of this, what is that?” a teasing voice inquired above them. “I understand that your going out and all, but when I wake up in the morning, that’s not one of the things that I enjoy seeing.” Harry reluctantly backed up, smiling happily at the beautiful, blushing, red head sitting in front of him. “I don’t see you complaining when Hermione’s here?” Harry said tilting his chair, so that it balanced on the two back legs. A smirk lifted the corner of his mouth as he glanced up at Ron standing in the doorway wearing a maroon bathrobe. Ron’s cheeks flamed with embarrassment. “That’s different.” “Is it?\" he asked, dropping the chair legs back to the ground. “Yes…anyway, there was no need for that in broad daylight. What was it anyway?” he asked Harry with raised eyebrows. Harry turned to smile at Ginny. He stared into her warm brown eyes; red curls fell in waves around her pale face. She smiled back at him with a shrug. “Just celebrating.” “What are we celebrating?” Ron asked pulling out a kitchen chair and straddling it. He was giving Harry, and his sister a semi-disgusted look. Ginny also looked slightly confused at the celebration. “Sirius is free! After the defeat of the dark lord, they found Peter Pettigrew’s body at the same site, brutally mangled, apparently he died along with the dark lord, good riddance in my opinion.” Harry said grinning. He stood up, and walked over to the screaming teapot. He reached up into the cabinet and pulled down three tea cups, before closing it with a small snap. “Want some?” he asked, reaching for the now steaming teapot, after he\'d turned off the burner. Ron nodded, while Ginny said: “Yes, Please.” Harry nodded, and poured them some tea. “This is great, so, you can move in with Sirius now?” Ron said happily. “You don’t want to live with me anymore, Ron?” Harry asked looking hurt, he watched Ron begin to fidget uncomfortably at the table. “What? No…Harry, I didn’t mean it like that! I just meant you have the option,” he said. Harry chuckled, and placed the teapot back on the now cool burner. “Ron, calm down, I know…….and yes I could…….well, at least until Ginny and I get married.” Ron dropped the toast that he was in the process of buttering, and gaped at his friend like a goldfish out of water. “Ron! You’ve got butter all over the table!” Ginny shrieked, standing up quickly, making her way to the sink where a wash rag was thrown over the faucet. She wet it down, and walked back over to where Ron was sitting, his hair mussed up from the night\'s sleep, and his mouth open quite unattractively. She began to wipe up his mess, all the while muttering about irresponsible men. There was a silence that descended on the room, except for the strokes of the washrag upon the table, and Harry’s slight chuckles. A few uncomfortable moments passed, before Hermione finally made her appearance known. She stepped out of the fireplace in the living room of Harry and Ron’s flat. She walked into the kitchen, and watched the scene curiously. Her hair was pulled back tightly into the normal long, brown, and straight ponytail. A loose tendril fell over her face, as she broke into a huge smile, surveying the occupants of the room. “What’d I miss?” Ginny threw the wash rag back into the sink, moved closer to Harry, and slipped an arm around his waist. She rested her head on his shoulder, and looked back and forth between her fiancée and her brother, who seemed to be having a staring contest. “You…You?” Ron tried, ignoring Hermione’s presence completely, which she didn’t take to kindly at all. “Hello! What’s going on, Why’s Ron all flustered?” she asked as she sat down at the table opposite the gaping Ron, “and why are you all so quiet?” she asked fidgeting uncomfortably. “Did I come at a bad time?” “No,” Ginny said smiling. “Perfect timing actually, I can tell you now! I just slipped to Ron that I had asked his sister to marry me, and that she said yes.” Harry grinned, at Hermione’s stunned expression. She stood up, and engulfed both of them in hugs at the same time. Harry and Ginny\'s heads bumped together as Hermione squished them to her. “Congratulations you guys! Oh Ron isn’t that wonderful?” she said happily, her face flushed with excitement. “Hermione, let him get over his shock, it may take awhile.” Ginny said quietly, slipping out of Harry’s grasp, and into a seat at the end of the table in between Ron and Hermione. “What…When…” Ron managed to croak out. “Last night.” Harry couldn’t stop smiling, which was a new thing that Ron Hermione and Ginny weren’t currently used to. “Tea Herms?” Hermione smiled and nodded at Harry’s happy expression. She hadn’t seen him this happy in years, probably due to Voldemort’s rise to power. Sure he was happy whenever Ginny was near, but not as happy as he looked now, he positively glowed. A flicker of nervousness passed over Ginny’s warm chocolate eyes, as she stared at the tablecloth. Harry glanced at her, and his smile faltered. “Luv? What’s wrong?” He asked bewildered, pausing with the tea pot poised over the cup. “Nothing….I was just wondering…..do you think….do you think he’ll like me?” Ginny asked Harry seriously, looking at her twirling hands. He didn’t need to ask whom. Harry grinned, placing the teapot back on the burner, and walked over to kneel in front of her. He turned her head to look at him, “Ginny, he already likes you!” “But he’s never even met me!” She said her eyes wide. “And....I’m just not sure.” “Well from what I told him about you, he’ll absolutely love you! Just like I do!” Ron rolled his eyes, while Hermione reached over the table, and slapped his shoulder. “WHAT! Jeesh, Herms…!\" he glared at Hermione, messaging his shoulder before continuing. \"Gin, this is Sirius we’re talking about! He loves everyone, as long as they’re not Voldemort, or Peter Pettigrew.” Ron supplied. “Or Death Eaters.” Harry added. Ginny nodded reluctantly seemingly convinced. Harry smiled, leaning in to peck her lips. His life was perfect. He had his friends, Voldemort was gone, the Potter line had succeeded again, Sirius was free, and most of all he had Ginny, and he would start a family with her, soon, very soon. Just then an odd sort of owl, pelted into the hard glass of the flat window, causing the occupants of the room to jump at the sudden intrusion. Harry fell back on his heels and stared wide-eyed at the disgruntled bird. Hermione, while holding a hand to her rapidly beating heart scurried over to the window and pulled it open. The owl flew in, and perched importantly on the windowsill. Harry recognized the bird as a school owl from Hogwarts, but why in the world would they be getting mail from Hogwarts? Ron, Harry, and Hermione had graduated the year prior and Ginny had graduated just that year. Hermione took the parchment from the owl, and ripped it open. Her eyes just scanned the first line of the page, before squealing excitedly. “Harry! It’s from Sirius! He’s free?” Harry jumped up from his position on the floor near Ginny\'s chair, and took the letter from the fidgeting Hermione. Ron gave her a funny look. “Where have you been all morning?” Ron asked with a smile. “We knew that earlier, we were talking about it with you in the room.” Hermione’s eyes went wide. “Oh, so that’s why Ginny was asking about him liking her! Well it’s not like you made it obvious, you didn’t say right out, ‘Hermione Sirius is free,’ that would have been nice!” Hermione gave them a penetrating gaze as she slumped back into the seat, and watched Harry read the parchment, as everyone in the kitchen seemed to be doing. Harry excitedly read the entire letter, his stomach twisted with happiness. Prongs Jr, I’M FREE! WHOOOOOOHHHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! I owe all of this to you, I hope you know, I’m a free man now, because of you! I can walk around in public as myself now! Do you know how great that feels? I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to be a man. As of right now, I’m on my way to Lupin’s house, until I can find my own place, where you can live if you want, or whatever I don’t know what your plans are, and I’m not trying to impose, honestly. But you’re always welcome; I should be there later tonight. I want you, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny to come and visit with me, I want to meet this girl, from what you’ve said about her, she sounds an awful lot like you mother. And to top it all off, she’s a Weasley and has red hair! What is it with Potters and red haired woman? Your grandmum had red hair as well. I really miss them; James and Lily, but they live within you now, you basically are James, with Lily’s eyes, kinda creepy actually. Corny I know, but it’s true. Well that’s all for now I guess see you tonight!!!!!!!! With love, Your Godfather, Monsieur Sirius Black. Harry chuckled, and folded the parchment up, before tucking it into the pocket of his robes. “What did he say?” Ron asked. “He’s going to Remus’s now, and that he wants to see us tonight.” They looked at him with excitement. Ginny smiled at him, and taking his hand, she gave it a short squeeze. He sank down into his earlier occupied seat, and kissed his fiancée again. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Professor Delfin sat quietly at her desk, a cup of black coffee sat, cooling, and resting on a stack of papers that she need to grade. She watched as her students filed noisily into the classroom. She’d been in America for eighteen years, and had grown quite attached to it. Her students were fascinated with her accent, and even more fascinated with the fact that she went to Hogwarts, and was best friends with the famous Potters. She would always smile when one of her students would mention them, one had actually asked her about Harry, and what he was doing now, but she had been sorely annoyed with herself, to not be able to answer that question. She thought about Sirius all the time, even cry at night, she still loved him, more than she probably ever had. Absence really did seem to make the heart grow fonder. And the more she thought about, she just couldn’t believe that he did what he supposedly did, it just didn’t make any sense, she knew Sirius, and he wasn’t a murder. However, she couldn’t piece it together? But honestly what could she do? It was impossible to bust someone out of Azkaban… “PROFESSOR DELFIN! LIKE…OH.MY.GOD!” Alexandria Cambridge, one of her third year students from her potions class stormed into the room, clutching a newspaper in her right hand. Her long brown hair flew out behind her as she hastily stood in front of May’s desk. Her large brown eyes sparkled excitedly, and her cheeks were flushed with exhilaration. “Oh my, what is it Alex?” May asked, thinking that something was amiss. “You are going to flip!” she said smiling wildly. “Absolutely FLIP!” “What is it?” May’s eyes narrowed. “Ok here goes, you know how you were friends with the Potters?” May’s stomach dropped. “Yes,” she said quietly. “Well, their son, Harry, defeated Voldemort at the end of last term!” she squealed and handed May the folded piece of paper. May’s heart seemed to stop, as she stared down at the wrinkled parchment. She glanced up at the students all sitting around the room, watching her with interest. She blushed, unconsciously, and picked up the parchment with caution. She unfolded it with shaking fingers, and her eyes scanned the page. Alex had gotten a copy of the American wizarding weekly, and they were doing an article on the dark lord’s defeat on the front page. Her eyes hungrily scanned the page, devouring every word. When finally, her eyes stopped at one particular part of interest. Her stormy gray eyes grew as wide as saucers. All of her fears, and conflicting thoughts were dashed instantly from her mind. Sirius was found innocent, and Peter Pettigrew all along had set him up! They’d cleared Sirius’s name. She felt the metal claw of hate for Peter Pettigrew clench her stomach and the heavy weight of guilt, having run from all of it, from Sirius, fall painfully in her stomach like a lead weight. She stood up, clutching the now sweaty parchment in her hand She turned to the class, her eyes filling with tears, despite themselves. “I…I…have…to go.” Her class stared after her in astonishment. And with that she ran, picking up her legs, and running as fast as she could toward the headmaster’s office. He was innocent! She had to get back to England; she had to get back to him. She had to tell him how much she loved him. She ran, ignoring the pain in her side, her protesting legs, and the tears pouring down her face. He was free, innocent and free! She flung the door to the head master’s office open, and the tall brown haired man turned abruptly at the intrusion. “Miss Delfin, can I help you?” He asked kindly, pushing his glasses further up his large nose. “Actually yes, I need to quit. Can you find a substitute for today, and then a permanent teacher for my position?” He stared at her. The silence thickened as he stared at her, as though searching her. Finally he nodded. “I take it you’re on your way back to Britain?” He smiled, as her eyes grew wide. “Well, yes.” He nodded. “Go.” “Can I…?” She gestured toward the fireplace. “You can, but that fireplace only goes to wizarding schools around the world, so basically, you will end up at Hogwarts.” “That’s fine, I need to go.” “As you wish, and his lit the fire with the wave of his wand, as May walked to the fire place, visibly shaking. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ May glanced down at the parchment in her visibly shaking hands. The parchment read 1857 Mandia Gold Street. The sun was sinking, casting shadows behind her. She quickened her pace, her excitement mounting. She was going to see Sirius again! They would finally be together. Well, at least she hoped they would be together if he ever forgave her, and if he wasn’t married, or dating. A pain coiled around her chest at the thought of him being married. She rounded the corner. The wind picked up, and lifted her short black hair around her head. She smiled as she practically ran toward her goal. She was almost there. But when she stood in front of the house her stomach gave a lurch, and she almost lost her lunch. She gazed at the tiny house in front of her. It looked as though it could barely hold three people. The paint was flaking, and the address number was hanging crooked on the side of the house. Though there was something that stood out above all the rest, there was a small garden in front of the house that was filled with flowers, mostly lilies. She felt a tear collect behind her eye, and she had to use all of her power, to get her feet to move. She stepped up to the door, and raised her hand to the wood. Before she knocked, she was sure that she heard laughter in the house. She smiled, ‘they were still the same.’ She knocked twice. There was no answer for a moment. She knocked again. “Yea! Hold on!” A masculine voice said through the door. It wasn’t familiar, but she figured they must have changed. The heavy wood door swung open. A tall red haired man, that looked to be around 19 stood in the doorway. He gave her a quizzical look. “Hello?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. “I’m sorry, does…” she gulped, “Sirius Black….live….here?” His eyebrows snapped together in wonder. “Um…yea….” The boy said slowly. He looked behind her shoulder, as if expecting someone to come out from behind her. She glanced over her shoulder, curiously, before turning back to the boy, with raised eyebrows. “RON! Who’s there? Let them in!” A medium height girl stepped up behind the tall red haired boy. She seemed to be about the same age as the red haired boy. Her brown hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail. She studied May quizzically. “Hello, are you looking for someone?” The girl asked politely. May gulped, ‘this looked harder than it was. “Is Sirius here?” “You’re a friend of Sirius’s?” The girl asked her eyebrows came together in wonder. “Yes, an old one.” The girl broke into a huge smile. She held out her hand, in front of the boy, and May took it. “Then it’s really nice to meet you, come in.” May stepped into the room, uncomfortably. “I’m Hermione, and this is my boyfriend Ron.” “Hello.” Ron gave a small uncomfortable wave, and bounded into the kitchen. Hermione rolled her eyes, and turned to May. “Sirius isn’t here right now, he went to sign some papers, up at he ministry.” May nodded, “If you don’t mind me asking, how do you know Sirius?” May couldn’t help but ask. Hermione smiled, and gestured for May to follow her into the living room. There were loud clanking sounds, and laughter coming from the kitchen. “He’s a friend, more like a second father.” Hermione smiled. May sat down on the couch, and looked around the room. Hermione stood stiffly behind the couch. “Can I get you something to drink?” “No, I’m fine.” “Is someone here Hermione?” A weak voice asked from the hall behind May’s chair. May’s eyes went wide with recognition. “Yes, it’s a friend of Sirius’s, um…I didn’t get her name.” May stood up, and turned toward the voice. Remus stood in the doorway, his mouth gaping like a goldfish. She didn’t look a day older, than the last time he saw her. The only difference in her was that she no longer had the blue highlights, and her hair was short, very short, it bounced happily around her face. Her gray eyes stood out on her pale face. “May?” he asked quietly. He took a few steps closer. A tear fell down her eye as she nodded. The one thing that May noticed was that Remus was weaker. His usually blonde hair was sprinkled with gray. He looked older, but healthy despite his condition. She ran to him, and hugged him tightly. “My God, it’s so good to see you!” May said tearfully. Hermione watched the two in awe. This was no ordinary visit this was a reunion. Should she go get Harry? Would he know what’s going on? She quietly made her way toward the kitchen, just as Ron was being thrown out. “OUT! OUT! OUT!” Hermione heard Ginny’s voice shriek from the kitchen, accompanied by Harry’s bombing laugh. “Aww, come on, Gin!” Hermione saw a pair of hands push Ron, then Harry forcefully out of the kitchen. Harry was covered in flour, while Ron was laughing hysterically. Hermione was floored with embarrassment. She stood rigidly examining their appearance. Harry smirked at Ron, and reached into his pocket, to retrieve Ginny’s wand. Ron burst out laughing, and backed away from the door, his hands were out in front of him, admitting innocence. Hermione’s eyes grew wide; the last time Harry took Ginny’s wand. “POTTER!” A stomach-churning shriek amplified through the small house. May’s head snapped over, wide-eyed, surprised by the burst from the kitchen, particularly one that reminded her of her fallen friends. Hermione put her head in her hands, and waited for the inevitable. The door swung open, and an irate Ginny jumped Harry. They fell to the floor, and Ginny perched on Harry’s stomach. Harry was laughing so hard, tears were rolling down his face, as he reached up, and tried to lift Ginny off of him, but he couldn’t due to his laughing so much. He finally gave up, and handed her, her wand. May’s eyes were wide, and she looked over at Remus who looked at her apologetically. “Sorry about them, they’re engaged,” as if that explained everything. “Is that….?” “Harry?” Remus asked with a smile. “Yea.” “Hey Harry!” Remus shouted from behind the couch. There was a thump, and a shriek, as Ginny’s head fell from view behind the couch, and Harry’s head replaced it. “Yea?” he asked smirking. He caught sight of May, and his eyes grew large, and he blushed in embarrassment. “You could have warned me we had company Rem!” Remus just chuckled. “Like I had time to warn you.” “Oh my god!” Harry moaned. He stood up, and dusted himself off. Ginny slowly stood up behind him, watching him with interest. “I’m sorry, Miss,” he stepped in front of the couch his face flaming. He reached his hand out to May to shake. “I’m not usually like that.” May had to fight back the tears that were going to fall. He looked so much like James. Harry noticed her eyes mist over, and he grew very uncomfortable, as she took his hand, and shook it. “I can’t believe this.” May muttered. “I’m sorry if I offended you.” Harry said confusedly. Remus burst into laughter. “Harry! Stop, she’s an old friend of your parents, she’s probably just happy to see you.” Harry’s face broke into a smile with realization. “Oh!” “Can I…can I?” May moved forward, and pulled a stunned Harry into a hug. “My God, he’s exactly like James.” Harry patted her back, and glanced over her shoulder at Ron, Hermione, and his fiancée watching from the corner of the room. May backed up, and looked up at him. “Last time I saw you, you were just a baby,” she gave him a watery smile. Harry smiled. “May I asked what your name is?” Harry asked. May blushed. “I’m so sorry, it’s May Delfin. I was your mother’s best friend.” “She’s also your godmother.” Remus added. Harry broke into a huge smile. Just then the front door opened, and they heard the jingling of keys. May sucked in a breath, and waited. They heard a thump, and a crash. “Shit,” a masculine voice muttered. “Remmy? You didn’t like these flowers, did you?” They heard footsteps coming closer to the living room. “Hello? Rem? Harry? Ron? Hermione? Ginny?” May stood straight, and stared at the entranceway, her hands twisting in front of her. Sirius came into the room then, but he instantly bent down to swing his bag off his shoulder onto the ground. When he glanced up his eyes grew wide, May watched his shoulders stiffen. He slowly stood up, not breaking eye contact with May. He stood back, straight, eyes-wide, staring fixedly at May. Harry could almost hear his heart beat speed up. “Come on Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, let’s go finish dinner.” Remus said quietly, and ushered the four stunned adults into the kitchen. Tears streamed down May’s face. “Hey Sirius.” “May?” She nodded tearfully. Sirius took a few steps closer, until he was standing a few feet in front of her, amazement in his eyes. “I thought I’d lost you for good?” Tears trickled down May’s face. She shook her head. “I’m so sorry Sirius, so sorry.” He gave her a confused look. “For what?” “For leaving.” She said her voice cracking. Sirius hesitantly reached over and pulled May into a hug. Warmth washed over him immediately as her familiar scents assaulted him. “It’s not your fault. I would have run to.” “I’m sorry I didn’t believe you! I believe you now!” Sirius rested his cheek against the top of her head. He nodded, and felt the start of tears prickling behind his eyes. She backed up, and looked up into his eyes. “I’m sorry! I never stopped loving you, everyday I was gone I wished I was with you! I couldn’t believe that you would do something like this…and I’m so ashamed that I ran away from every thing…I’m so sorry! God, Sirius! I’m so sorry.” She was hysterical, flailing her hands about. Sirius reached up and covered her lips with his finger. “It’s in the past.” May smiled. “I was planning what I was going to say to you when I saw you again, and now my words seemed to have left me…” she gave a sniffly laugh. “Are you seeing anyone?” He gave her a look. “How could I see anyone that wasn’t you? And there really wasn’t much option for love in Azkaban.” “Oh God, was it awful?” His dark eyes clouded over. “Let’s not talk about that.” May nodded, and looked down. “I hate to be so forward…” “What?” Sirius felt his heart pause. “I want to pick up where we left off. I love you Sirius…like I said before…I never stopped.” Sirius’s heart seemed a bit lighter as he reached over and crushed May’s lips to his. He kissed her urgently, but at the same time passionately. He cupped his hand on the side of her face, and gently ran his thumb over her cheek. When they broke apart, he leaned his forehead against hers, and smiled into her stormy gray eyes. “Of course.” He leaned forward, and kissed her nose. “I want to be apart of your life again, with Harry and everyone.” She added. Sirius nodded. “Course, May?” “Hmm?” “You said you wanted to start where we left off right?” “Yes.” “Can I be forward?” “Course.” He reached down to her right hand, where the familiar ring was shining from her ring finger. He picked it up, and removed the ring. May’s heart sped up, as he lifted her left hand, and slipped it on her left ring finger, the one, that assured people that she was taken. Tears swam in May’s eyes as she shared another kiss with her long postponed fiancée.
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