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Chapter One: A Letter to Sirius

Dear Sirius.

I hope this letter will make it to you somehow.

I know, way too much time has passed by now, but it has taken us a while to figure out what to do.

I think it will be best if I just give you a short summary of what has happened since you went through the Veil.

Voldemort was at the Department of Mysteries and tried to get hold of the Prophecy. He sent me a vision of him holding you captive to lure me there so that I could retrieve it for him. As I had been neglecting my training in Occlumency, a mistake I bitterly regret now, I believed what I saw and went there. You know some of what happened then. We could keep the Prophecy from him, but it was destroyed in the process. After that, he tried to kill me once again, but Professor Dumbledore stopped him. Ron, Hermione, Ginny and Neville were wounded during the fights, but thank Merlin they recovered rather quickly. Neville's nose is slightly crooked now and the poor chap got teased quite a bit about how it looked like Snape's.

After I became very angry and wrecked part of his office, Professor Dumbledore decided it was finally the right time to tell me about some things. I can't write down everything here since I don't know who might read this, but it seems that it all comes down to the Prophecy saying that a child born at the end of July whose parents had defied the Dark Lord three times will have to fight Voldemort, and one of them will live while the other dies. Only I and Neville, of all people, fit this description. It seems Snake-Face somehow liked me better for an archenemy, though by now I think it's entirely possible that the child of the Prophecy is in reality Neville. He has changed much over the year and has grown into one fine Gryffindor. Well, we'll see who will be the lucky guy that eventually gets to blast Voldemort into oblivion.

Oops, I just noticed I used Snake-Face's name again. Bad me. Ron would surely give me The Look now, if he knew. He has taken to doing that since the start of term, since Mione has finally managed to convince him that 'calling the Dark Lord by his name is an important part of defying him'. Well, needless to mention she caused quite an uproar with that and the Slytherins are still glaring daggers at her whenever they see her. But as she set a new record with her OWL results and is the most obvious candidate for the Head Girl position, the slimy little gits didn't have the nerve to go any further than shooting her dirty looks. Actually, she already has her badge. She told me yesterday that in regard to the ... unusual circumstances, Professor Dumbledore wanted to inform them of their new position personally rather than per mail.

Unusual circumstances, my ass. Something is wrong, I can feel it with every fiber of my body. But then, something is always wrong, isn't it? What is it about life that when you think it really can't get worse now, it always seems to find a way to show you otherwise...

Things have definitely not gotten much better since the disaster of Fifth Year.

Sorry about the whining. I guess it was a hard time for us all.

We all missed you dearly, especially Remus, but he tends to keep his worries to himself, doesn't he? However, we came to a silent understanding over the summer and he agreed to act as a temporary substitute for you as my godfather, but neither he nor I consider it permanent and we are still waiting for you to come back as soon as possible.

I had to stay at the Dursleys' for the obligatory month, but this time, I was kept informed better. Encoded letters told me of Neville's, Ron's, Ginny's and Mione's recovery and transfer to the HQ. The Dursleys left me mostly alone, thanks to the threat of my 'freakish friends' (Moody gave them a mouthful when they came to get me from King's Cross). Nevertheless the month seemed endless to me, until my escort arrived at last.

After I was done with my wallowing in self-pity, and had come over my guilt and grief, I went in denial and Ron, Mione and I looked up everything we could about the Veil. Which was pretty much nothing. At least, as long as we stuck to the students' side of the library. Fortunately, everyone had far too much on their mind to take an interest in what we were reading up in the your parents' library, and where I might have had problems imagining your family as Dark Wizards, their choice of books quickly cured me of that. In the dark side of the shelves, we finally found some clues that helped us along. As well as a few other useful spells and potions. Ginny helped us a great deal, but it was Neville who kept us going on. He's matured a lot, and the lion in him surfaces more and more with every passing day.

Our return to Hogwarts was a grim one. Too much had happened that last term. There were a few good things though, to provide us with enough hope to keep going on.

Professor Dumbledore is Headmaster again and has been restored to all of his titles and privileges.

Hagrid is back as well and seems to have managed to bring some new monsters along.

Firenze and Trelawney have divided Divination between them, and teach the classes together. Trelawney is much easier to be around now, and even manages to refrain from predicting my untimely death every time she sees me. Sometimes I think I miss it ... Just kidding, I can live without it quite well, thank you very much.

Remus has come back with us as the new DADA teacher, and I'm still unsure whether that was a good thing because while he doesn't have to stay at the HQ any more and has something to keep him occupied, Hogwarts might remind him too much of what he has lost. He's the last of the Marauders now, until you come back, save for Wormtail who doesn't count. We haven't told him of our research yet, neither concerning the Veil nor of some of the other things we found. Suffice to say that with the notes you and Dad took and Mione's genius, we are well on our way to accomplish what took you and the others several years. We haven't found out what our forms will be yet, we just know that Mione's has feathers, Ginny's, Neville's and Ron's fur and mine scales. Urgh, I just hope I won't end up as a snake ....

Voldemort has kept a low profile over the year, I had not even one vision or other episode. Other than getting the rest of his followers out of Azkaban, he remained quiet. Professor Dumbledore took it upon himself to teach me Occlumency during the summer holidays, so that I had a solid base when Snape resumed the lessons. Our animosity seems to have reached new heights, as I somehow managed to scrape a sufficient grade to get into his NEWT potions class. Not that I enjoyed it, on the contrary, if I ever get hold of the brainless idiot who decided that a potions NEWT is necessary to become an Auror, I'll make him severely regret it. So thanks to some sadistic Ministry official, I have to see Snape much more often then I'd like to. By now, we have got into a routine, he's nastier to me than ever, sometimes downright mean, and I ignore his baits and try to keep a rein on my temper. Somehow it seems to work. He doesn't look well. Snape, I mean. I guess his 'colleagues' give him a hard time. But that's none of my business.

Malfoy is back to his usual unpleasant self, now that his father is free again, but he, too, doesn't look good. But again, that's none of my business.

Mione somehow managed to acquire a pass for the Restricted Section, so that we don't have to use the cloak anymore. We asked her how she did it and she just smiled that scary smile of hers and said she'd tell us another time. We didn't ask her again. I guess I don't really want to know.

We continued our research about the Veil and we are absolutely certain that we can bring you back. Well, as certain as we can be, regarding the fact that very little is known about it. According to what we found, it is a Door into some kind of Realm. Mione found a really ancient book where it was referred to as the 'Archway To The In Between'. Legends tell of a place apart from space and time where the souls that have unsolved affairs left, but didn't stay on Earth as ghosts, exist until an other fulfills their purposes in their stead. I had to think of the Priori Incantatem then. Could it be that those were really the souls of my parents I saw? Might the spell have called them from the Realm behind the Veil and allowed them to take on form for a short time? We will continue to look deeper into it when we're back at the HQ. Ron is already persuading his father to get us the permission to return to the Department of Mysteries, officially to say goodbye, but in fact to see if we can contact the Voices behind the Veil. I better not write too much of it down as it is a very delicate matter.

I think that covered the most important things in a nutshell.

Exams were two weeks ago, and together we managed to get even better grades than last year. What a term without any death-threats can do to academic skills .... The Leaving Feast is the day after tomorrow, and Gryffindor is about to win the cup once more.

I hope that the month at the Dursleys will pass quickly and that we will be able to bring you back and complete our ... other task before Voldemort goes after me again.

Now all I have left to say is that I am very, very sorry for what has happened. I know that it is because of my short-sighted, hot-headed actions that you are stuck behind the Veil. There are no words to tell you how much I regret what I have done. But I will get you out of there and then I'll make it up to you, I promise.

I miss you.

And I love you.

Hope to see you soon,


PS: If Mum and Dad are there with you, please tell them I love them, too, and I will try my best to make the three of you proud of me.


*Oh, Harry. I love you, too! I wish I could be there for you now. But I'll be waiting for you. I know you'll make it!*


"Well, well," the Dark Lord practically purrs, "so Harry Potter is going to return to the Department of Mysteries with his two loyal sidekicks on Friday? What a perfect opportunity to get rid of him once and for all."

"What are your orders, my Lord?" the masked Death Eater kneeling in front of his throne-like armchair asks meekly.

"See to it that the way into the Ministry is free and that no one will disturb us. The rest shall be over soon with the right spells," his master replies, a malicious smile on his pale face.

The Death Eater shifts nervously before he dares to demand humbly: "My Lord, please forgive me my curiosity, but how do you plan to dispose of the boy? He has proved to be hard to kill several times already."

Voldemort's eyes glow brighter for a moment, and the black-clad figure before him stiffens in anticipation of punishment. But the Dark Lord just continues to smile and otherwise remains motionless.

"You have done well, my servant, and for that you shall get an answer to your question. I will not use Avada Kedavra on Potter. The risk of him reflecting it again is too great, though my hatred should now be strong enough to overcome his mother's protection, even without the use of his blood for my return. But there is something that is far more powerful than those weak emotions of love or even hate." His smile grows broader as he pauses briefly.

"Time, my faithful Death Eater," he continues, "Time will succeed where the Killing Curse failed. For even Harry Potter is powerless against aging."

His servant gasps in surprise. "So you will use the Aging Curse on him? My Lord, that's ingenious!"

The Dark Lord half-closes his eyes in satisfaction. "I know. This time, there will be no escape for the boy. Even Dumbledore won?t be able to help him. Next Friday afternoon, Harry Potter will die."

His high, cold laughter rings through the darkness.


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