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 ‘You didn’t do anything wrong to ask for forgiveness from my parents. You shouldn’t feel guilty for something that wasn’t your fault,’ Harry said, wiping some stubborn tears from his green eyes, trying his best to hide the fact he was actually crying.



‘I should have fought over you, Harry. That was my duty. Your parents trusted me to do that and I didn’t.’




‘Even though…there was nothing you could’ve done. Professor Dumbledore said I had to stay with the Dursleys because of the blood bond and the protection he and my mum created.’




‘I know,’ she said and held his chin, their gaze met. ‘But I felt that I owed an explanation to Lil and James and so I gave it to them…and I went back there many times, Harry. I went back there to tell them about you…how brave, how wonderful you were…how beautiful your friendship is, how the Weasley family took you in and loved you as their own…to tell them about my feelings for you and how proud I am of you. It’s so good to have best friends to chat to, even knowing that they can only listen to you.’




‘I know,’ Harry said, looking at the lake and squeezing Ginny’s hand. Ginny gave a small smile and leaned forward, kissing his cheek. Harry looked at her and they both smiled. Harry, then, looked at Ron and Hermione, his best friends, both sitting side by side and Ron holding Hermione’s hand in an affectionate gesture, probably not even noticing his gesture. Then he looked at Ariel and Sirius, both his parents’ best friends; the ones that would give their lives to protect him and had been through so much. Ariel, who lost almost everything and even though, when she was needed, she never hesitated to return, and Sirius, who spent twelve years of his life in Azkaban and had the strength and courage to escape to avenge the death of his best friends…and now, they were here, telling him how much he was special and how proud they were of him.




Harry took a deep breath; he knew he had to say something, to show how grateful he was for having them. It would be difficult, but he would let his emotions come to surface, at least for this time.




‘When Professor Dumbledore asked you to change into your human form…it was a real shock to me, but not a bad one. I’d never imagined that Hedwig wasn’t really my own and I felt a weird feeling of loss. The only thing was that it didn’t last too long, because the moment I found out that you were my Godmother and that you had sacrificed seven years of your life for me…’




‘It wasn’t a sacrifice, Harry!’ Ariel said. ‘I’d do it all over again if it was necessary.’




‘That! You see? The same happened with Sirius. Everybody thought he had escaped from Azkaban to kill me, but no…it turned out that he was searching for Peter Pettigrew and…you said something, the same thing Sirius said that night in the Shrieking Shack…’ He took a deep breath, so much emotion trying to flow from his self, but he looked at them again, fighting these emotions and trying so hard to out them in words. ‘I am very lucky to have you both as godparents. It’s been difficult to express what I’m feeling, but…looking at the two of you and everything you went through all these years and how easy you say I love you…thank you! Thank you for loving me without even knowing me and thank you for protecting me always. Also…thank you for being so loyal to my parents and me, and never hesitating in saying that you'd rather have died to protect us. And…one more thing…I’m so happy that, apart from my friends, the Weasley family, Professor Dumbledore, Hagrid, Tonks and Professor Lupin, who are family to me, today I can say that I have a real family, because today I have two people, my mum and dad’s best friends, who were chosen by them to be my second parents.’




‘Oh, Harry!’ Ariel said with her blue eyes filled with tears. Sirius smiled and patted Harry’s hair.




‘Thanks mate! It means a lot to us.’




‘Yes, it does…can I hug you?’ Ariel asked and Harry smiled.




‘Sure!’ he said and she hugged him tight. Ginny, Ron and Hermione smiled to one another. A few seconds later, Ariel let go of Harry and wiped her eyes, then sat by Sirius side again.




‘Sorry…it’s difficult for me to get all emotional,’ Ariel said with a small smile.




‘That’s ok,’ Ginny said with a smile as well. ‘We understand. Besides…you have so much to catch up.’




‘Thanks!’ Sirius said and put his arm around Ariel’s shoulder, who looked at him and they both smiled.




Ron cleared his throat and they looked at him.




‘You see…I was wondering…err…what happened when… you know…Sirius escaped from Azkaban and…?’ he looked at Ariel, who smiled.




‘Well, Ron… You see, I never believed Sirius as a traitor and a murderer. So, when I heard he had escaped from Azkaban, something inside me gave me hope. I know Harry wasn’t in danger because of him…there was something bigger outside and he was looking for it. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was…I just knew what Grandfather had told me back then and Sirius’ reaction when I visited him in Azkaban before I left the Wizarding World. And when he broke into Hogwarts, I tried to confront him…’












‘Is that true, Grandfather?’ Ariel said, just after she transformed, after entering the window of Dumbledore’s studio. Dumbledore, who was pacing around the studio, scratching his long silver beard, looked at her with a concerned face.




‘I’m afraid so, child!’




'But why?!' she asked and looked out the window. 'There is something inside the Castle he is looking for.'




'Yes, there is and you know it,' he said and started to pace again.




Ariel turned around and looked at him in disbelief, with a slight anger in her blue eyes.




'You know as much as I do that he would never hurt Harry. Why is that so difficult to understand, Grandfather?! I spent those twelve years trying to convince myself that yes, he was the bad bloke in this whole story, but I 'm sorry…my heart doesn't let me. There's something out there that even you can’t figure out yet.'




Dumbledore stopped pacing and went to her, touching her face.




'I'm just a human being, Ariel. I might be right, but I might be wrong…but you, above all people know that we cannot risk the boy's life.'




'Let me talk to him.'




'No! It's too dangerous.'




'Why?! He would never hurt me, Grandfather. Let me talk to him. I can make him talk…and if he tries to attack me, I will finish him off’.




Dumbledore shook his head, looking into her eyes.




'I'm afraid, dear, that when the time comes, your heart might falter.'




'I won't. I…' she looked out the window, avoiding his gaze. 'I have to do that. I'm sorry, Grandfather.'




Almost as in a blink of an eye, she was in her Animagus form, flying out of the window. Dumbledore took a long and deep breath. She was an adult and a powerful witch, he just hoped she wouldn't falter if it was necessary. Sirius Black was a threat; that free and easygoing young man from Hogwarts hadn’t existed for a long time. Now he was a man full of hatred and pain. The years in Azkaban only helped him bring the madness out, and Ariel, even powerful and determined, still had the most amazing heart he would ever see. He knew she would never have the courage to finish off Black as she had said. She would be in great danger, but he also knew he couldn't stop her…it was a twelve-year battle she was struggling and it had to have an end.






Ariel flew out of the window, looking at the Hogwarts' surroundings with her owl eyes, searching for Sirius, or his Padfoot form. She could sense him around and she also knew he could do the same, he could smell her. After almost two hours flying around the Forbidden Forest, the lake, Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, Ariel had almost given up. He didn't want to face her, but he would. Sooner or later! She turned around to go back to the Castle, when she saw a black shadow moving towards the Whomping Willow and Hermione's cat, Crookshanks, stopping the tree. Was the cat helping Sirius? That was really odd behavior. Ariel, or Hedwig, flew directly to Hogsmeade again, entering one of the windows of the Shrieking Shack, going to the tunnel in which the Hogwarts' grounds were linked with, at the same time that a huge black dog emerged from the tunnel. She changed herself into her human form and the dog stared at her, growling, a furious face. Ariel breathed heavily, her heart aching from facing "the man" she loved for so m


any years, after so many years.




'Sirius…it's only me. I'm alone. Please…please?!' she pledged, her hands trembling and tears forming in her eyes.




The black dog growled more furious than ever, his teeth showing with anger. Ariel took a deep breath and gave a single step towards the dog, stretching her hand very carefully. The dog barked loudly, still showing his teeth and on an impulse, he jumped in her direction. Seeing his reaction, Ariel closed her eyes, waiting for the worse, but she only felt herself being pushed on the shoulders and falling back on the dirty floor; the black dog was nowhere to be seen anymore. Still on the floor, she put her hands on her face and let her tears fall for a long moment. After a few minutes, she took a deep breath, wiped her tears and sat on the floor, looking at her shoulder; the place where the dog had pushed her. It was scratched and it was starting to get bruised. Ariel got up and turned herself into her Animagus form, heading back to the Castle.






'Wow!' Ginny exclaimed, looking at the couple in front of her with her brown eyes wide.




'That was…intense!' Hermione said biting her lower lip. 'Weren't you frightened of him? I mean…twelve years had passed and things had changed a lot…'




'I was afraid of what she had heard all those years. The last time we had seen each other was right before I was sent to Azkaban. She was an Auror, everybody thought I was a traitor and a murderer…' Sirius said and looked at the four of them. 'But her eyes…' he took a deep breath and looked at Ariel, who gave him a small smile. 'She was the enemy that day…I had a purpose and I'd die trying to accomplish it. Only things went the way they weren't supposed to.'




'No…Harry found out the truth about you and so did many others,' Ariel said




'Snowy, you were the only one who never stopped believing I was innocent.'




'Because I knew you…I know you! I know your soul and your heart with my soul and heart,' she said and smiled, kissing his cheek. Sirius looked at her and caressed her face, smiling.




'I know. And I'm the luckiest men because I have you.' He said and gave her a soft peck on her lips.




The girls smiled and the boys looked away, embarrassed. 




Ariel looked at Hermione,




'But answering your question, Hermione…no, I wasn't afraid of him. I knew he'd never hurt me. Never, no matter what.'




The girl nodded with a thoughtful face, but looked into Ariel's blue eyes.




'Would you have killed him if it was necessary?'




Ariel sighed and thought for a few seconds, then looked at Sirius, then at her again.




'If it were necessary… Yes, I would! It was Harry's life in jeopardy,' she said and the four of them looked at Sirius, who laughed.




'Don't look at me. I would do the same.'




'Would you kill her if she…?' Ron asked in surprised.




'Wouldn't you for Hermione?' Sirius asked, making Ron's ears turn beet red. Ariel nudged Sirius.




'Or for Ginny, or Harry…?' Ariel said quickly.




'Err…yeah! I suppose!' Ron muttered.




Harry grinned, trying hard not to chuckle, while Ginny giggled, hiding her face behind Harry. Hermione looked at them and shook her head, annoyed by their reaction, and then she looked at Ariel.




'So, you didn't talk. And what happened? I mean…did you find out about Pettigrew?'




'That night in the Shrieking Shack, when the three of you found the truth about Padfoot, I was talking with Moony in his office…I didn't know Harry had the map, so Moony called me to talk about what to do: hand the map to Grandfather and tell him the truth, he knew I was an Animagus, but he never asked me how I managed to become one and also he didn't know about the other. Or destroy it forever? It was really a weapon in the wrong hands. But something caught Moony's attention. He saw the three of you leaving Hagrid's hut accompanied by…'




'Peter Pettigrew!' Harry completed her sentence and she nodded.




'Yes! At first we didn't want to believe it. Peter was dead, everybody was so convinced Sirius had killed him, but then…I just knew! I knew it from the beginning. He wasn't here in Hogwarts to kill Harry, he was here because somehow he had found out that Wormtail was here as well. I had told Grandfather that he was here for something and not for Harry. My heart just knew, as I knew he was innocent about James and Lily's death and the murderer he was accused of doing.'




'And I wasn't prepared to face Ariel yet. Not after our last meeting in Azkaban,' Sirius said. 'Besides, to me, she was still an Auror working for the Ministry and I'd always believed she thought I was guilty.'




Ariel looked at him.




'Because you are silly. If you had looked inside yourself, inside your heart, you would know the truth,' she said




'People change, Ariel.'




'But I didn't,' she sighed. 'But now this is past. Anyway…Remus told me he was the one going to the Shrieking Shack. I wanted to go, I had to, but he said I should alert Grandfather and I couldn't just show up there and change into human in front of you. You would have surprises enough for one night. Besides, if something went wrong, someone from outside should know the truth and this someone should be me. So I agreed and flew to Grandfather's tower to tell him what was happening, while Moony went after you. The rest you know already.'




'But after the Dementors attacked Harry and Sirius by the Black Lake, didn't you try to talk to him in the tower he was locked in?' Hermione asked, trying to understand the delicate situation the two lovers went through.




'I, actually, went there in my Animagus form, but…it wasn't time or place. I reckon I chickened out. At the same time I so wanted to talk to him, I was afraid of what he would say to me after all those years I never tried to visit him or tried to prove his innocence or… ' she shook her head. ' Also, I had risked my 'disguise' so much and I had promised Grandfather, James and Lily that I was there to protect Harry, so I went back to Grandfather's study and waited to know what had happened and would happen.'




Harry nodded and looked at her.




'And what happened? When did you finally meet?'




'Grandfather told me what had happened and I was aching to go after him, but as I said, I couldn't. I should wait for you, Harry. You should be the one to take the first step and send me to him… And you did. When your scar hurt during the summer and you wrote that letter to Sirius. I was worried sick with you and it was the best you could have done,' Ariel said with a sigh. 'We needed that time to finally face and talk. It wasn't easy, but we managed to understand each other.'




'At first I got scared she was after me because Fudge had sent her, but she told me everything and I felt as if part of my soul had been washed. She always believed in me, in my innocence and it was a really good feeling,' Sirius said and linked his fingers with Ariel's.




Harry smiled thinking the day he had sent Hedwig to Sirius and she had taken two weeks to come back. Ginny, as if reading his thoughts, nudged him.




'And that's basically it. We decided it wasn't time or place to be together. We had too much in our minds to think about romance,' Ariel said, smiling.




'That's it?' Ron asked incredulous. 'After thirteen years apart?'




'That's it. At that time our concern was about the Order,' Sirius said. 'Even when we were at Grimauld Place.'




Ariel laughed and they looked at her.




'What?' Ron asked confused.




'I remembered about Grimauld Place and the way I met your mum and dad. It was a shock for them,' Ariel said




Ginny smiled.




'So, tell us!'




















Hedwig or Ariel had left her cage and the Dursley's with only a purpose: go to Hogwarts and talk to Dumbledore about what had happened in Little Whinging. What were Dementors doing so close to the Muggle community?!




She entered by the window of her Grandfather's study, to find him pacing back and forth with a worried face. Ariel changed into her human form and Dumbledore looked at her.








'I knew you would come. I was just waiting for you, child,' he said.




'But how…'




'I don't know, it seems that nobody can explain what Dementors were doing there,' he explained. She nodded and sighed.




'And what should I do? Go back to the Dursleys or…'




'Go back to Privet Drive. I'll send some people from the Order to take Harry. He is probably waiting for you to send letters asking for explanations. When he sends you away, go straight to 12 Grimmauld Place. The Weasleys and Miss Granger are there already and I need you there. It is time for Molly and Arthur to meet you, they must know they can trust you in both forms,' he directed.




She nodded. 'But…Grimmauld Place? It's Sirius',' she asked.




'Yes, it is. Sirius lent us his old house to be the new Headquarters of the Order,' he explained.




She nodded again, grinning. Walburga Black, Sirius's mother, would be turning as crazy into her tomb. Ariel shook her head and looked at Dumbledore again.




'Do you think the Ministry has anything to do with the Dementors attack?' she asked.




'No, I don't believe the Ministry has anything to do with it.'




'Maybe not Fudge…he's too much of a coward to believe that Voldemort is back in flesh, blood and pure evil,' Ariel stated, 'but it can be someone inside the Ministry. They still say that the Dementors are under control, but if they are, how were two Dementors seen on a Muggle street?'




Dumbledore nodded, playing with his long silvery beard. 'Yes, indeed.'




'Anyway, I need to go back. I was supposed to be out hunting. See you at Grimmauld Place.'




'I'll know as soon as you get there,' he said and she nodded.




Dumbledore kissed her forehead and she gave a small smile, then turned herself into Hedwig and left by the tower window.








In spite of understanding Harry's frustration about the situation, sometimes she could not believe how much he looked like Lily and James at the same time. He had treated her as if it was her fault that the damned Dementors had attacked. But there she was, just like Dumbledore had predicted, carrying three letters: one to Sirius, one to Hermione and another to Ron.








Ariel was still waiting for Dumbledore's orders to show herself to Molly and Arthur Weasley. Since she was there, she hadn't been sent to hunt with Pig, but that night, after dinner, Ron had opened the window and both owls had flown away, but to Hedwig, or Ariel, she was just waiting for everybody to go to bed to talk to Sirius. She could sense him, smell him, feel him and she knew he could feel her as well.




So, she waited for darkness to overcome the house and apparated with a very soft pop in the middle of the kitchen.




'I knew you'd come,' said a hoarse voice from the shadows.




'Hi, Sirius.'




He took a deep breath. 'Your Grandfather will be mad when he finds out you've been here without his consent.'




'Well, too bad for him. He doesn't own me,' she said. 'Besides, it's not like I am showing myself around. I took care to be sure the kids are in bed, even the twins and their Extendable ears.'




Sirius smiled and they looked at each other.




'I see…'




'It's been…weird to be here,' she said.




'It's been weird to have you here and not to be able to talk to you.'




She came closer to the table. 'I…I just wanted to see you, to talk to you a little bit. Since last year…'




'I know Harry is in first place, his safety and his life, but I've been wondering if we've made the right decision,' he said.




She tilted her head and crossed her arms in her chest. 'What do you mean?' she asked.








'Sirius, we agreed we don't have time for…that.'




He nodded. 'I know, I reckon all this time stuck in here is making me mad…I think too much…' He said and she smiled. He got up, walking around the kitchen, then stopped in front of her. 'Even though, I want to kiss you. Three things made me sane in Azkaban: Harry, you and Wormtail.'




She smiled and shook her head. 'I never stopped thinking about you either…' she said with a sad smile.




'So, do you still reckon we are doing the right thing?' he asked and she took a deep breath.




'I don't know. We are doing what's necessary for…'




'Us or our godson?' Sirius interrupted her. She locked her blue eyes with his gray ones. 'We are alive, we have been fighting this War together for twenty years now…and your Grandfather always says the key is love. And I love you.'




Ariel closed her eyes for a moment, trying to control herself, then sighed.




'But do you reckon we'll always be apart? We'll barely see each other,' she asked.




'I'll know your heart still belongs to me and you will know it as well,' he said, coming closer.




Ariel closed her eyes and his lips touched hers at the same time the kitchen door was open and Molly and Arthur Weasley entered it, whispering. They both pulled apart quickly and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley looked at Sirius, then at Ariel, with a very confused look on their faces. The couples kept looking at one another without knowing exactly what to say or do, then, with a flick of her wand, Mrs. Weasley turned the lights on.




'Who is she?' she asked with a frown.




'Molly, shush! I'll explain everything, just…close the door,' Sirius asked and looked at Mr. Weasley with a pleading look in his eyes. He nodded and closed the door behind them, putting an Imperturbable charm on it, so nobody could listen to a word on the outside.




'Who is this woman, Sirius?' Mrs. Weasley shrieked, pointing her wand at them.




'Put your wand down, Molly, she's one of us,' Sirius said calmly.




'One of us? What is she doing here in the middle of the night? And I never heard of her, Dumbledore told us about everybody who is…'




'Molly, dear, let them explain,' Mr. Weasley asked, putting his hand on her shoulder. She looked at him, shooting daggers with her eyes.




'Explain? An unknown woman is here in the middle of the night! How did she get here?' Mrs. Weasley argued.




Mr. Weasley sighed and looked at Sirius and Ariel, then at Mrs. Weasley again.




'Let's sit down and let them explain everything. Please, dear,' Mr. Weasley pulled the chair and Mrs. Weasley sat down reluctantly. He sat by her side, she still holding her wand and pointing at the younger couple.




Ariel and Sirius looked at each other, then at Mr and Mrs Weasley.




'I am really sorry to frighten you like that. It wasn't supposed to happen, not like this anyway. My name is Ariel Loiseau and I am Dumbledore's great-great-granddaughter,' Ariel said.




'What?' Mrs Weasley asked and Arthur frowned. 'Dumbledore doesn't have a great-great-granddaughter!' 




'Yes, he does, and that is me. I've known Sirius, Remus, James and Lily since Hogwarts and we were inseparable, until Voldemort…' Molly winced at the name, while Arthur took a deep breath. Ariel continued, 'killed my best friends and almost killed my godson…our godson.'




'Harry?' Mrs Weasley asked. 'You are Harry's godmother?'




'Yes, I am. He doesn't know me; he doesn't even know he has a godmother. I've been with him since he entered the Wizarding World,' Ariel explained a little more. 'Grandfather wanted to introduce me properly, but since I sort of blew my disguise for you,' she said and sighed, 'I've been with Harry in my Animagus form. I'm Hedwig.'




'Is this a joke?' Mrs Weasley asked, trying to stand up, but Mr Weasley touched her hand. 'Arthur, this woman can be a spy! She can be luring Sirius into…'




'She's not luring me into anything, Molly. Ariel and I,' Sirius said and glanced at Ariel, 'she's my fiancée…was! Before I went to Azkaban. She is from the Order before you even knew it existed and Dumbledore trusts her with his life…and so do I.'




'Sirius,' Ariel said and touched his arm, then looked at the Weasley couple in front of them. 'I'm really sorry for this mess. I should have been more careful and waited for Grandfather, but I understand your concern. The only thing that I ask you both is please, do whatever you want with me, but don't let Harry or the others know about me! It would ruin everything. I've sworn to protect Harry and that's what I'll do. If I have to give my life for that, then I will.'




Mr Weasley cleared his throat. 'I don't think she would be able to get in here if she were not who she says she is, Molly. So, I think it's only fair to do what she asks and…trust her and Sirius' word,' he said.




'Thank you,' Ariel said. 'And I'm so sorry for the times I stayed at your home without telling you the truth about who I was.'




Mr Weasley shook his head. 'No matter. Times are difficult and the measures are not always clear.'




Ariel nodded, then looked at Sirius.




'I should go now. I'm quite sure Grandfather will contact you or be here as soon as possible,' she said.




'Yes, I suppose,' Sirius said.




'Well, nice to meet you, Mr and Mrs Weasley,' Ariel said.




'I still think…' Mrs Weasley started.




'Molly, dear,' Mr Weasley touched her shoulder, and then looked at Ariel. 'Nice to meet you.'




Ariel smiled and in a blink of an eye, she was in her Animagus form and flew out of the window. Mrs Weasley covered her mouth with her hand and Mr Weasley hugged her by her shoulders.




'And that's what I can tell you about that night,' Ariel said, smiling, then looked at Sirius.




'Well, not much happened after you left, I said good night and left as well. Molly wasn't really convinced with our story,' Sirius said with a mischievous smile, and they laughed. 'But Dumbledore solved the situation.'




'Have you ever met them again?' Ginny asked, curiously.




'Yes, of course. I had a very nice talk with your mum,' Ariel answered. 'I owed her an apology; after all, I had spent summers at the Burrow in my Animagus form. We’ve become quite good friends, fighting for the same cause and protecting our beloved ones, and also, she lent me a shoulder to cry on when,' she paused and looked at them, 'well, when Sirius died in the Department of Mysteries. It was in that morning, soon after Grandfather told you, Harry, about the prophecy.'



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