The Unexpected Visitor

Chapter 14

"Is Beaky going to be okay?" Rose asked Sirius, sounding scared for the Hippogriff; she had grown fond of Buckbeak over the past several months and seeing him injured was frightening.

"He's a strong animal love, he'll be okay in no time. Don't worry." Sirius, who looked grim, sat down beside Buckbeak as he tended to the creature's wounds.

There was not much for Rose to do as she stood next to Sirius, save being able to keep Buckbeak calm. She was slowly caressing his feathers while Sirius worked with bandages and magic; there was blood on the wooden floor but Rose did her best not to look at it.

They had no idea how something like this could have occurred. This morning had started off as usual, just a regular June day, with the two of them waking up and making breakfast together before checking in on Buckbeak and he most certainly had not been injured then; it seemed that somewhere between late afternoon and early evening when Sirius and Rose were relaxing in the library did something happen. And yet, no one had visited the house all day long… not even Mundungus… which meant that there was only one explanation for this.

“Rose. I need you to go and find Kreacher. Now.” He spoke softly but in a firm tone and when Rose heard him call her by her name, she realized what he was trying to say.

“Okay…” Rose was a little worried now, she hadn’t seen Kreacher around very much lately but if he was here and had done this to Buckbeak, it was hard for her to understand why. She trusted Sirius and knew that even though he was upset, maybe there was a simple answer to all of this.

However, just as Rose started to head downstairs and go searching for Kreacher, the door suddenly was thrown open as Lupin entered, looking worried. He was wringing his hands and the moment Sirius stood up and turned to face his friend, Rose knew that something was very wrong.

“Moony? What is it? What’s wrong?” Wiping the blood from his hands, Sirius stepped away from Buckbeak and observed Remus closely; he hadn’t seen his friend like this in a long time.

“It’s Harry.” Lupin said, as he tried to remain calm and explain what he had only just learned himself a few minutes ago.

“What happened to Harry? Is he okay? Where is he?” Sirius was seconds away from bursting out the door and running out of the house, but he needed to know where Harry was before he did anything.

“He’s trying to get to the Ministry. Something happened while he was giving his O.W.L.s. and Snape said…” Tensions were already running high in the room and once Lupin mentioned Snape’s name, Sirius interrupted him before he could say anything else.

“Snape? What does he know?” Frowning deeply as he tried to make sense of what Lupin was trying to tell him, Sirius didn’t understand what Snape had to do with all of it.

“He’s here. He told us that Harry had some vision… of you being tortured at the Ministry… Dumbledore thinks that You-Know-Who is going to attack.” That was all Lupin managed to say before Sirius suddenly dropped everything he was doing and ran downstairs.

Rose followed them hastily, wondering what had happened to Harry… this day was starting to be a stressful one for everybody. She heard Lupin saying something about the Ministry and Dumbledore’s name but didn’t know what it meant. In no time, Sirius had already reached the living room and saw Tonks, Mad-Eye, Kingsley and… Snape standing there, getting ready to… fight? Whatever was going on with Harry, it was a serious matter no doubt. Rose had never seen Snape very often for she would retreat to her bedroom whenever there were Order meetings and he was not one to stay behind afterwards like the others would.

“Black! What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Snape sneered at Sirius when he saw the other man starting to join the group.

“I’m going after Harry.” Sirius said bluntly, not caring about why Snape was in his house. He didn’t know anything but the fact that he had to go and help his Godson.

“No.” It was one word, but Rose could hear the tone in Snape’s voice and knew that things were getting much more intense.

“I wasn’t asking for your permission Snivellus.” Snapping his head to glare at Snape, Sirius scoffed, not wanting to waste his energy arguing with him of all people. Harry was his only concern right now.

“Dumbledore’s orders are for you to stay put Black. He’s on his way here and I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to explain everything to you.” Snape wasn’t about to back down; he was here at this time only because Dumbledore had ordered him, regardless of his own opinion on the foolishness that Harry was getting himself involved in.

“I’m not going to sit around and just be ordered around by everyone! My Godson is in danger right now; he has no idea what he’s walking into and if you don’t get out of my way Snape, you’re going to regret it.” Sirius’s voice rose as his temper started to flare up; he wasn’t going to let anything happen to Harry if there was something he could do to stop him.

“Sirius… maybe there’s a way to stop Harry before he does something reckless.” Lupin placed a hand on his shoulder, hoping to talk some sense into his friend. “Snape said that he saw Harry and Hermione going into the Forbidden Forest with Umbridge; they were being detained by her. Maybe he’s back at the Castle now.” He knew that the others were watching Sirius carefully, seeing him act first and think later; it was dangerous waters, but Lupin only wanted to make sure that they had all the facts before rushing in blindly.

“The mirror. If I can talk to Harry and tell him that I’m right here and I’m okay then…” And suddenly, for a second, everything was calm once more.

“What is he talking about Remus?” Kingsley suddenly spoke up, having watched this entire panicked exchange playing itself out.

“It’s a two way mirror.” Sirius explained as he crossed the room, opening all the drawers, trying to remember where he had left his half. “I gave one to Harry before he left for Hogwarts last year. We haven’t really used it… keep missing each other… but maybe he has it on him now.” Tossing everything out, his frustration started to return when he couldn’t find the mirror anywhere.

Rose, who was standing on the staircase, looking at Sirius frantically searching for something suddenly realized what he meant by two way mirror. It was that tiny piece of glass which he carried in his pockets sometimes; he had told her about the magic behind it and how two pieces were able to be used to talk with someone else. She also knew exactly where this object was at this very moment and ran back upstairs as fast as she could.

“Mirror or no mirror, we have to go and check out the Ministry; make sure there are no Death Eaters waiting for Harry to suddenly show up.” They were all prepared for any danger that they would possibly face and Kingsley was certainly taking charge of this operation now.

“How is he going to do that?” Tonks chimed in at last, “I mean, Harry can’t apparate yet and there’s no way to get to the Ministry without help.” She tried to sound hopeful but realized that after everything she’d heard about Harry from Sirius and Remus, it was probably not so simple.

“Unfortunately Harry can be very clever when it comes to situations like this; if he’s already with Hermione and meets up with Ron, there is no telling what the three of them will think of.” Lupin started to say, “I fear that if Harry believes that Sirius is in danger, he will find a way to the Ministry… we just have to make sure it’s not too late.”

“Wait!” Rose suddenly called out, as she reappeared, holding the mirror in her hands. “I found it.” She hopped down the stairs and ran over to Sirius, who instinctively kissed the top of her forehead.

“Thank you love.” He said to her, sighing in relief as he truly felt glad to know that she was here with him.

She didn’t say anything else but watched as Sirius attempted to use the mirror to try and contact Harry. The next few minutes were agonizingly long as everyone waited with bated breaths for an answer; Snape was the only one who made his impatience show even though he remained silent. When Rose saw Sirius hesitate on the fifth try, she knew that maybe this was not going to work and she didn’t know what else to do.

“Let’s go.” He said at last, handing the mirror to Remus who took it without question; Sirius wasn’t about to waste anymore time.

“Sirius… are you sure…” Kingsley began to say but this time it was Moody who cut him off.

“There’s no time to sit around, if the boy’s in danger then we could use Sirius’s help.” Mad-Eye was not one to prolong this either and he knew it was pointless to try and reason with Sirius.

“I’m coming. Harry’s my Godson.” There was no need for any other explanation on Sirius’s part; he could be stubborn when he wanted to and knew the dangers of leaving the house, but he was doing it for Harry.

“What about the girl? Are you just going to leave her here?” Snape had no reason to bring up Rose’s name other than the fact that he knew she was under Sirius’s care as well.

Rose perked up when she heard Snape mention her and suddenly all the adults were looking at her. She didn’t know what to say; it was obvious that everyone was planning on leaving now to go after Harry and there was no chance that Sirius would take her with him because of the danger. And he seemed to sense the dilemma he was in now, for he took the moment to kneel down in front of her, holding both hands in his as he tried to figure out a solution to this problem.

“Rose… love, I need you to do something for me.” Sirius said, “I have to go and help Harry now, and I want you to go upstairs to Buckbeak’s room and wait there until I return.” He explained to her, “The house is safe, there’s magic everywhere. Can you do this?” The pain in his eyes showed that he didn’t want to do this, that he was torn, that he didn’t know what else to do.

“Yes. I will.” Nodding her head, Rose understood what she was being asked to do. She wouldn’t be alone if she was with Buckbeak.

“Good girl.” Managing a half-smile, Sirius was about to leave when Rose suddenly grabbed his wrist and opened her mouth to say something.

“Will you come back?” She asked him directly, not shying away from the fear that had been building in her heart for a few minutes now.

“Yes. I will… I promise you.” Sirius hesitated for a split second before he made her the promise but he meant what he said. “I’m coming back, love.” He understood what she was going through and knew that no matter the dangers which lay ahead for him, Rose was counting on him to return.

There was no reason for her to doubt his words, she believed in him more than anyone else in the world and so, Rose simply hugged Sirius quickly as she watched him leave with the others. It took them only a few seconds to apparate away to the Ministry and when the house was empty again, she made her way up to Buckbeak once more. Now was the time to wait.

The sun had already set a long while ago, but Rose had not moved from her spot by the window as she stared out, watching the moon and the clouds, searching for the stars and wishing with all her heart that Sirius, Harry, Lupin, Tonks and everyone else would return home safely. In spite of the restlessness she’d felt, the idea of walking up and down around the whole house didn’t sound helpful to Rose; if someone were to come back, then she had to remain here with Buckbeak.

And as she sat on the windowsill, those worrying thoughts which had been on the back of her mind started to resurface again - what was happening with Harry? Was he okay? What about his friends? Had Sirius reached them in time? Was he safe? Rose couldn’t stop herself from thinking these questions, but she certainly could try and stay hopeful that everything would turn out for the best. She didn’t know how many hours had passed, but just as she started to feel that her eyes were closing; there was a noise which startled her awake.

“Beaky?” Rose called out softly; the room was dark now but she could see the Hippogriff remained asleep as he had been, since that afternoon.

Getting to her feet, Rose wondered if there was something she could use to defend herself in case of any danger. She had eaten her dinner by the window which meant that there were plates which would come handy if need be or perhaps the big leather book she’d carried up from the library. Before Rose could make a move to grab any of these items, there was a bright light that suddenly illuminated the room and a tall figure was clearly visible to her.

“Hello Rose.” It was Dumbledore. Of all the people that Rose expected to see, she had not thought about the Headmaster himself.

“Dumbledore Sir!” She exclaimed loudly, relieved to see a familiar face after what had felt like forever.

Running over to him, Rose didn’t hesitate before hugging the old Wizard. There were so many questions in her mind, what he was doing here, where the others were, if Harry was alright, why had he come, but the only one which mattered was…

“Sirius! Is he… where is he Dumbledore Sir?” Rose wasn’t about to let her worst fears come true; all the time that Sirius had been gone, she believed with all her heart that he was going to come back.

“I’ve come to take you to Hogwarts, Rose. I shall explain everything when we get there; it is not safe for you to be alone.” Dumbledore said mysteriously; from the light of his wand, Rose could tell that he looked tired… as if he had been in a fight too.

“But… what about Beaky?” She realized that there was no way she would be able to leave the Hippogriff all alone by himself. “He’s hurt! I can’t leave him!”

“Ah, yes.” This was the first sign of Dumbledore acknowledging the creature and realizing that Rose was right in wanting to stay behind but he couldn’t have that. “I wouldn’t worry about Buckbeak, Rose. I will send Hagrid here as soon as we get to the Castle. He will be able to take care of him better than you or I.”

It was enough for Rose to listen to Dumbledore’s words and with one last glance at Buckbeak, she took hold of his hand and apparated to Hogwarts. When she opened her eyes a few seconds later, she realized that they were standing in the Hospital Wing… and almost everyone was present there. Her eyes scanned the room and saw the extent of injuries that the others had sustained - Ron was half conscious but had scary markings on his arms that looked like veins, Neville was holding a handkerchief to his nose which was no longer bleeding but seemed broken, Ginny had a bandage on her ankle and mostly looked sleepy, and Hermione seemed to be asleep. There was no sign of Harry, but on the other side, Rose finally noticed Sirius… laying on a bed… and not moving.

Sirius!” Rose cried out when she saw him and didn’t think twice before running to his bed in a state of panic.

“My dear child…” Madam Pomfrey, the matron who had just finished tending to Sirius was a taken back when she saw Rose climb on to the bed, but just as she looked to Dumbledore who merely shook his head, she didn’t say anything else.

“What is wrong with him?” Her fingers were inches away from touching his cheek, but Rose was trying to check his signs of breathing and almost collapsed on top of Sirius when she was sure he was still alive.

“He’s been injured, a lot.” Dumbledore answered her softly, “Madam Pomfrey has him stabilized but the toll of the fight was too much for Sirius… he’s unconscious… for now.”

Rose wasn’t listening to what Dumbledore was telling her, all she knew was that Sirius was here with her and that he hadn’t broken his promise. Neither was she aware of everyone else’s eyes on her as she stayed there by his side without another word. After that, there was little else to be done; Dumbledore stayed for a few more minutes, observing his students and telling them that Harry was in his office, before leaving the Hospital Wing to go speak with him. Madam Pomfrey, who had briefly met Rose a year ago, now understood her concern for Sirius and smiled when she returned to check on him and saw that the girl was slowly drifting off to sleep, with one hand resting on his chest.

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