Wednesday, August 6th, 2003 09:00 am
Summary: Trapped in a world where he can be neither seen nor heard, Sirius Black struggles to communicate to his friends that he may not be as dead as they think he is... and that something dreadful lurks beyond the veil.

Dedicated to the SBRL list and the noble cause of denial.

07. The Space Between

If there had been any doubt in his mind - which, honestly, there hadn't - Snape's observation would have erased it. Remus fought down a whole-body shudder even as he heard Harry gasp. He wasn't going to let it happen - he was not going to let it happen. Sirius would not be prey to the Dementors or their kin - not ever again.

"We have to get him out of there!" Harry was saying - all but shouting, in truth - as he jumped to his feet. "We have to do it right away, before Voldemort uses the mirrors again - we have to do it now!"

Snape stared at Harry, his lip curling in a sneer. "Did you miss some part of the conversation, Potter? There is no way to retrieve Black. You can spend your whole life casting Patronuses if you like, but when you're gone he'll still be as helpless as he is now."

"There is a way," Harry said in a low tone that contrasted strikingly with his previous words. "The ritual - the witch found a way."

Snape actually laughed, sharply and bitterly. "But did she ever come back, Potter? She certainly never seems to have bothered to write it down, if so - strange, don't you think? No-one would be fool enough to try--"

And then Snape caught Remus's eye, and Remus saw the realisation strike him. The Potions Master leapt to his feet - but Remus was faster; he was on his feet with his wand pointed right at Snape's heart when the other's was only halfway out of his pocket.

"Expelliarmus," Remus said coolly. Snape's wand flew across the room; Harry had pulled out his own and held it ready for anything, taking a step sideways so that he was next to Remus.

"The theory is sound," Remus said calmly. "I took a few moments to look it over, earlier. I also consulted Sirius, who knows more about certain areas than I do. The theory is sound."

"Theory?" hissed Snape, his whole body poised as if to strike. "Theory! Throw away your lives on a theory! Oh, of course, how very Gryffindor of you - rushing to the rescue - do neither of you remember how it ended last time?"

Remus saw Harry flinch out of the corner of his eye, but the boy's wand didn't waver.

"It's your fault Black's in this mess, Potter!" Snape shrieked, apparently incensed beyond the point of endurance. "And now you're going to do the same thing over again! On the off-chance that a theory from over a thousand years ago might happen to be right!"

"It's more than a theory," Remus continued in the same even tone. "She was very thorough. All the component parts add up. She tested everything. The only thing left was to undergo the ritual herself, and that is the only thing she failed to record."

"Because, no doubt, she died or suffered an even worse fate!"

"She may have died, but it might have been before she had a chance to try what she had created. Or perhaps..." here he faltered. "Perhaps her... loved one... was lost to the Dementors before she could succeed."

Snape's fists had balled themselves by his side; Remus almost thought he was about to launch himself physically forward.

"Is that why you're so sure of her?" Snape demanded sarcastically. "Seeing yourself in her, are you, Lupin? Pursuing your lover into the afterlife? Just desperate to play Orpheus, aren't you, Lupin? Are you sure Black will appreciate--"

"Enough!" Remus felt his control crack dangerously. "That's enough," he repeated in a calmer tone. "I apologise in advance, Severus, but we're going to have to leave you here, disabled..."

"You will do no such thing," Snape hissed venomously. "I am going straight to Dumbledore and you will surrender yourselves to me immediately--"

Halfway through the sentence, Snape flung himself sideways, making a desperate lunge for his wand.


It was Harry who uttered it, a split second before Remus could get his wand around. He cursed himself silently for three kinds of idiot; he should've expected such a ridiculous demand to be a cover for some sort of action. Fortunately, Harry's Seeker reflexes had served them both well: Snape was flat on the floor, swearing loudly.

There was an odd look on Harry's face.

"I saw my dad do this," he said quietly. "He took Snape's wand away and Sirius knocked him down."

Remus was momentarily at a loss for what to say. He wanted to tell Harry that the circumstances were different - that James had been different, even as little as a few months later - that Harry was different, could never be the same man his father had been... but the words wouldn't come.

Harry walked over to Snape. Remus suffered a horrible moment where he thought that Harry would perform the counter-curse and turn on him... and once again reprimanded himself as an idiot when the boy picked up Snape's wand instead.

"I don't like you," Harry said unexpectedly to the prone man. "But I'm not doing this because of that."

Snape spat something unrepeatable at him. Harry shrugged and turned away.

Remus quickly levitated their furious captive into a fairly comfortable position on the sofa, and bound him with thin cords. Snape struggled uselessly as the jinx wore off.

"Hold onto that," Remus instructed, although Harry didn't look like he was going to let go of Snape's wand any time soon. He walked over to Snape, the silver-bound book in one hand, his own wand in the other. He wished he could take off his gloves; his palms were becoming sweaty and over-warm within the unnecessary insulation. "Forgive me, Severus."

Snape glared at him from behind the greasy black hair that had fallen into his eyes during his manhandling. He was silent; Remus thought he was preparing more insults.

Instead, he bit out quietly, "You're a fool, Lupin."

For a moment, Remus actually wavered. There was something in the tone... If Snape thought that the risk was so great that he was worried...

Remus pushed the doubt away. He looked around; Harry was standing next to him, waiting. There was a lot to do.

"We'll need to get some things first," he said briskly, turning away. "And we'll have to Floo there. You'll need your broomstick to cross London when we've bought what we need."

As they left the room, Harry asked, "Where's going to be open at this time of night?"

Remus smiled grimly to himself. "Oh, there are places."

It was the second time in under two weeks that Harry had been in the Ministry of Magic late at night. This time couldn't have been more different from the last, however; the Atrium was still in ruins, the fountain had yet to be restored, and there were half a dozen people occupied with various tasks around the room. Several of them turned to look when the visitors' lift descended; one or two even raised their wands warily.

"Security's increased at last, then," Remus murmured next to him. Harry nodded, wondering how on earth they were to get past all this, and shifting his burden to the other arm.

One of the people who'd turned to look, however, came hurrying forward, her hair the same bubble-gum pink it had been at the station. Tonks grinned half-heartedly at them; Harry wished they could tell her about Sirius. She was his cousin, after all. She deserved to know.

"Hey, Remus," she said as she approached. "'sup, Harry? Getting into the habit of this, aren't you?"

Harry managed to smile at her, although it felt weak and forced. His heart was racing. Snape's wand was in his pocket, but Remus didn't seem to feel this would detain the Potions Master for long; he'd hurried as if they were pursued by the Furies themselves. Harry entertained, for a moment, the image of Snape as a shrieking, hell-bent vengeful spirit, and discovered there was not much difference.

"Look, Remus," Tonks was saying earnestly now, "I've done what I can. I can get you in the gate, I think, as long as you try not to look, er... suspicious..." She eyed the bags Remus was carrying, and Harry's cloth-wrapped bundle, with some anxiety. "But I dunno, past that - they've really been bolting the stable door around here."

"Anything you can do will be fine," Remus said quietly. "Shall we go?"

Tonks nodded and led the way across the Atrium. Harry wondered what Remus had told her; he only knew that they'd talked briefly with the two-way mirrors (he was starting to realise that everyone in the Order had one, although he suspected that his own had only been linked to Sirius's) and then they'd Flooed to Knockturn Alley.

Harry had thought, when he'd first found himself lost in Diagon Alley's darker twin, that it was a place in which he never wanted to set foot again. When he and Remus had emerged into a dingy bar room, however, he'd taken a certain grim satisfaction in knowing they could get what they needed here - no matter how unusual or how late the hour. They'd searched as quickly as possible for the harder-to-get items - drawing some considering looks that made Harry glad the dim light obscured his scar - and had left as soon as they could. Remus had kept his gloves on throughout; Harry had wondered, in an brief pause while they waited for service, if he wore them every time he went out. After all, sickles were solid silver, weren't they?

"It was so quiet when I was here before," he murmured now. Remus glanced sideways at him.

"Because the Death Eaters had ensured that it would be," he said gently. "Didn't you realise? They wanted to be certain you got in without interruption."

Harry felt the familiar flush of shame. Of course. The trap had been so obvious it might as well have been labelled in neon lights. And he'd still walked in open-eyed. And Sirius...

Remus's hand touched his arm briefly. He didn't speak, but Harry remembered what he'd said earlier. Okay, so it was his fault - it would always be his fault - but it would be downright arrogant to say it was all his fault. And he was not arrogant - no matter what Snape said - no matter how like his father Sirius said he was.

They had reached the wreckage of the golden gate; Tonks was speaking to a guard there. He was wearing a security wizard's robes. The man raked them over with a suspicious glance.

"I don't know," he said doubtfully. "What's in the packages?"

Harry braced himself.

"Misused Muggle artefacts," Remus said easily. "For Arthur Weasley; I think he said something about wanting to get these singing mirrors away before anyone else went deaf."

The guard took a step backwards, eyeing Harry's bundle warily. He glanced around, then finally - to Harry's deep relief - nodded.

"Misuse of Muggle Artefacts is on level one, just go up as far as the lift'll take you. Don't try to go anywhere else; there're guards all over the place, and they're kind of jumpy right now."

Nodding and thanking him pleasantly, Remus took the lead past the broken gate and towards the lifts.

"This is where it gets tricky," Tonks said in a low voice. "They've got Aurors on some of the floors - you'd be okay if you really wanted to get to Arthur's office, they don't think that's worth watching - but there's no way they're gonna let you go down." She caught hold of Remus's sleeve and tugged, rather like a child trying to get its parent's attention. "Remus, what are you doing? You know I trust you, but how do you think you're gonna get into the Department of Mysteries alone when the Order's been trying for months?"

Remus just smiled. They had reached the lifts; Harry saw Remus check behind them to see if anyone was watching.

"I need you to go up," he said to Tonks, "so that they think we all have. Harry and I will take another lift at the same time. Hopefully they'll just look at the one in the centre and miss ours completely."

Tonks opened her mouth - to protest or question, Harry didn't know which - but Remus stopped her with a gentle shake of his head.

"Please trust me," he said simply.

Tonks sighed the sigh of one much put-upon. "Okay, okay. Just... careful, okay?" Her usually cheerful face was worried. "I don't want you in Azkaban, Remus. Or..." She stopped, searching his face intently, and Harry had an idea of what she was thinking. But then she glanced at him, and seemed to decide that no-one contemplating suicide would bring a fifteen-year-old boy along to help. "Well... just be careful."

She punched the button to call the lift; a few moments later, Tonks was heading up and Harry and Remus were plunging down.

"We don't seem to have alerted anyone yet," Remus said lightly.

"Department of Mysteries," the lift chimed serenely, and the doors opened.

Harry shuddered to see the corridor that had haunted his dreams for a year. It was no longer empty, however; at the end, by the forbidding black door, were two Aurors. Their wands were out and pointing at the lift.

"State your business," said one sharply.

Harry swallowed hard. Remus looked at the two wizards for a long moment and then, to his utter shock, said calmly, "I work here."

The Aurors exchanged glances.

"You're an Unspeakable?" asked the one who'd challenged them.

Remus nodded.

"Your name?" asked the other.

Remus raised an eyebrow. "You know that's not how we operate."

The two exchanged another glance. This one was uneasy.

"We need ID of some sort..." began the first; he stopped when Remus raised his wand, carefully pointed away from the two Aurors.

Again, Harry braced himself for conflict. Remus merely murmured something he couldn't catch, however, and from the end of his wand flew a set of three golden question marks. They swirled around each other and then linked together. A small cloud of silver stars accompanied them.

Harry stared. And the Aurors, looking relieved and nervous at the same time, stepped aside.

"Many thanks," Remus said politely as he and Harry walked down the corridor. Harry tried the door; this time it was locked. Remus tapped it with his wand, and it sprang open.

It was only when the door had shut behind them and the room had finished rotating that Harry turned to Remus in bewilderment.

"How did you do that?" he demanded.

Remus was studying the many doors intently. He raised his wand and commanded, "Direct me to the Death Chamber." His wand glowed golden, spun around and indicated a door on the left.

"The same way I got the Order through the department in time to help you last week," Remus said as he walked towards the door. Harry followed, feeling like the world had fallen out from under his feet.

"I don't understand."

Remus opened the door, and Harry saw the Death Chamber waiting silently for them. The veil blew softly in an unseen breeze; knowing what it was only seemed to enhance both his fear and the fascination it held for him.

Remus let the door fall shut behind them. They stood in silence for a moment, then Remus said firmly, "Look away now, Harry."

Harry found it hard to obey, but he managed by concentrating on his unanswered questions.

"How did you know how to get us in here?" he asked. "You can't really be an Unspeakable - I know you can't."

He didn't add, because he'd seen how shabby Remus's clothes were these days, but Remus seemed to pick up on it anyway. He smiled wryly.

"No, I'm not an Unspeakable," he said. "But I was once." Harry stared at him. "It was a very long time ago - when your parents were still alive."

Remus began to walk down the tiered stone seats. Harry trailed behind, carefully averting his eyes from the archway below.

"They were getting desperate, during the first war; too many people had died, and others were scared. The Order helped me cover up what I was, and the Ministry simply didn't check it as thoroughly as they do now. The Order needed someone in the Department of Mysteries - we had our suspicions that Voldemort was trying to penetrate it."

Remus set down his bags on the dais that supported the archway. He began to take out certain things. Harry leaned the wrapped mirrors against one of the tiers and stretched out his aching arms.

"I worked here for... oh, six or seven months, I think. Not long enough to learn any of the greater Mysteries. Long enough, though, to gain certain useful knowledge for the Order; long enough to understand what they did here and to know that I wanted no part of it. Only my loyalty to Dumbledore kept me here." Remus's eyes had gone very dark. "I would've left, otherwise, long before..." He broke off.

"At any rate..." Remus took a piece of chalk and a length of string and started marking out a circle on the dais. "They found out what I was eventually. It was... not long before James and Lily..." He stopped, and started again. "Desperate or not, they weren't having a Dark Creature amongst their innermost secrets. I was lucky to escape with my life, I think; even Dumbledore couldn't have intervened without jeopardising the entire Order of the Phoenix." He looked up. "Could you help me set these runes at the cardinal points?"

Harry took the small, velvet bag and began to set out the dully gleaming metallic runes according to the diagram in the book, which Remus had propped open on the floor.

"How did you get away, then?" he asked.

"James," said Remus simply. "He threatened, argued and bullied his way in to me. He offered to vouch for my character then and in all the years he'd known me, and to take Veritaserum or anything else they had handy to prove it. Then he threatened to reveal some of what the Order had learned - the Ministry was pursuing certain questionable lines of defence at the time - if I wasn't released immediately. Then he mentioned, off-handedly, that they hadn't allowed me to eat all day and that it was a full moon that night. They didn't even stop to Memory Charm me. They revoked my authority and threw us both out, but they never removed the knowledge of the identity charm that I used to get past the guards."

Remus was now marking a series of interlocking lines inside the circle, stopping every so often to check it against the book.

"But if you could do this," Harry said slowly, "why didn't you use it to guard the prophecy...?"

Remus sighed and sat back on his heels.

"I could only do it once," he said quietly. "I couldn't even have attempted it fifteen years ago, when everyone knew I'd been fired. Now - it was luck that those Aurors were quite young. Luck that we didn't run into any real Unspeakables. I was... supposed to keep this in reserve for if we ever really needed it."

He looked up, a defiance in his eyes that made Harry really realise, for the first time, that Remus was as much a Gryffindor as his father and Sirius.

"We need it now," Harry said. "Sirius needs it."

Remus smiled tiredly. He didn't speak, but returned his attention to the chalk marks in front of him. Apparently satisfied, he began to set out small, flat candles along the rim of the circle. Harry watched silently.

"Re-- um, Prof-- um, how is it going to work?" he asked finally.

Remus nudged a candle slightly to one side and leaned back. He examined the circle critically for several seconds before answering.

"There is a short ritual," he said, looking up and pushing his hair absently out of his eyes. "It's supposed to encourage a trance state. Then there are certain charms for protection and guidance. The circle..." Remus glanced down again at the neat chalk marks in front of him, "... the circle must not be broken. It's the container for the spell; it holds open the space between for the caster."

Harry slowly walked around the circle. Remus stood up as he approached, a slightly tense look on his face.

"What do you mean," Harry asked quietly, "it 'holds it open'?"

Remus regarded him warily.

"The caster has to pass into the mirrorworld," he said.

Harry stared at him.

"The veil can only be pushed aside if someone living lifts it," Remus continued in a steady voice. "But they have to lift it from the other side. And yet, anyone who has passed the veil from this side can't manipulate it in any way. That's the paradox that prevented the ancient coven from bringing back those who had been lost."

"Then how...?" Harry began, alarm and the beginnings of anger colouring his voice. He had a sudden, horrible feeling about this.

"The witch who created the ritual found that she could dreamwalk physically into the mirror world," Remus said softly. "She was then within the space between and able to traverse it to the veil, which she could lift to allow both herself and her lover to escape. She noted that the physical distance was important: the circle has to be constructed as close to the Gate as possible, to minimise the distance once inside the mirrors."

"We're... we're going to walk into the mirror?" Harry whispered.

Remus took a deep breath.

"No. I am going to walk into the mirror. You're staying here."

Remus hadn't been expecting Harry to take that particularly well, and he was right. The boy looked as though he was about to hex him on the spot.

"You have got to be joking," Harry said in a very dangerous tone of voice.

Remus waited. Harry stared at him furiously, then took a step towards him.

"You're not leaving me here!" he shouted. "You're not going to tell me to sit out like a good boy and wait for you to come back! You're risking your life and I'm supposed to sit back and let you do it alone? No way in hell!"

Remus waited.

"If you go in there and don't come out..." Harry trailed off, staring at the circle, then at the as yet unwrapped bundle a few paces away. "I can't..." His gaze snapped back to Remus, green fire burning in his eyes. "You're not doing it! Either we both go in there, or neither of us does!"

He raised his wand, his hand trembling. Remus didn't move. He waited, watching Harry try to get up the nerve to curse him.

"What does Sirius think about this?" Harry demanded.

"I haven't asked him."

"Well, I think we should!" Harry fumbled one-handed in his pocket and pulled out the mirror. Remus thought, momentarily, that he heard an excited rush of whispering from behind the veil. "Sirius! Sirius, tell him not to do it!"

Remus waited, as Harry's expression faltered from anger to confusion. "I don't... understand..."

Remus pulled out his own mirror and turned it so that he could see. Sirius was standing by Harry, looking even angrier than his godson. He appeared to be yelling at them both.

"I suspect," Remus said quietly, "that Sirius is forbidding either of us to enter the mirrorworld." Sirius looked at him, his eyes both furious and pleading. "My mind is made up, Padfoot," he added very softly.

"Then we're both going," Harry insisted forcefully.

"Are you ready to listen to me yet?" Remus inquired mildly.

Harry glared at him. Remus waited. Finally, the boy lowered his wand.

"The ritual can only be performed by one person," Remus said simply. "In any case, if both of us were to cross into the mirrorworld, the circle's enchantments would be stretched to their limits. There would be far greater risk of one or both of us becoming lost--"

"That can happen?" Harry interrupted urgently.

"Yes, if the guidance charms fail." Remus looked straight at him. "That's why you have to stay here, Harry. You must not let the circle be broken. If you do, I'll have no way of finding the veil."

Harry stared at him unhappily. "I... I can't..." he said finally, his voice wavering. "Please, don't make me sit out and wait - I have to do something to help find Sirius - can't I be the one who goes in?"

Remus quickly crossed the distance between them and caught hold of Harry's shoulders. He noticed absently that Harry was gaining height rapidly these days.

"You haven't got the experience," he said quietly. "It's going to take a lot of concentration even to enter the mirror. Then I have to lead Sirius to the veil - and there will be others watching - the beings of the space between. I need you to guard the circle, Harry, and to use your Patronus if the shadows find me..."

Harry looked less angry now than frightened. "Can't you--?"

"I don't think it's possible to use magic in that state," Remus finished for him. "I'll be defenceless apart from the circle's protection and anything you can do for me. Neither of us can do this alone."

Harry looked stubbornly up at him. "You're still doing the most dangerous part."

"It's mine to do."

Harry shook his head. He made no move to shake Remus's hands from his shoulders. "I should do it. It's my fault that Sirius is there."

Remus sighed and closed his eyes for a long moment.

"But I have nothing left to lose," he said finally, so quietly he almost couldn't hear it himself.

When he opened his eyes, Harry was watching him silently.

"You love him, don't you."


"Like my dad loved my mum?"


"Good," said Harry, trying hard to hide the tremor in his voice. "Then you'll bring him back."

Then, to Remus's surprise, Harry hugged him tightly. He blinked, too startled to move. Casual physical contact was something he rarely experienced - except with Sirius... except with James... - either through people's fear or his own reserved nature. He almost didn't know how to respond.

I would have been godfather to James's second child, he thought irrelevantly.

A lump in his throat, he hugged Harry back.

A moment later they stepped apart, both a little embarrassed and not sure what to say. Finally, Remus turned to the last package waiting off to one side.

"The mirrors, then," he said.

They quickly unwrapped the two mirrors. They were about as tall as Harry, oval-shaped and framed with simple wood. They were made of polished silver, and Remus had to handle them at arm's length. It was the work of a minute to set them in the places ordained by the ritual, and fix them there with support charms.

"Now what?" asked Harry quietly. His face bore a look of resolve that suited him better than anger or resentment.

"That's everything," Remus said, studying the circle. The mirrors were slightly angled; not quite opposite one another, so that their reflections formed a curving tunnel that stretched into infinity.

Remus silently held out his two-way mirror to Harry. He dared not look into it, lest Sirius do or say something to weaken his resolve. He walked over to the circle, Harry following with a lost look in his eyes.

"You'll need to stand here, facing the Gate," Remus said quietly as he stepped into the centre of the complicated design. "That way you'll be able to see into the mirrorworld - you'll be able to see me, for a while."

"For a while?"

"I'll vanish from sight as the distance increases." Remus carefully pulled off his gloves and threw them out of the circle. "It's considerably further within the mirrors."

Harry nodded. He looked at Remus's bare hands.

"Won't the mirror burn you?"


Remus took a deep breath. He raised his wand.


The candles sprang to life with clean, cold flames that marked the edge of the circle like stars fallen to earth. The small trencher of incense began to smoulder.

Harry took a step back, his eyes fixed on Remus, watching his every move closely. Remus concentrated on setting the charms that would protect him the mirrorworld and guide his steps towards the veil. The witch hadn't been sure how much protection they would really provide, but she'd done her best. He modified one or two of them with tricks he'd picked up over the years, reworking them according to his own style. He remembered Flitwick's voice, Rivane's, McGonagall's, Dumbledore's, explaining that the truly great wizards adapted magic to fit themselves, rather than following prescribed methods to the letter; he remembered Sirius laughing that he'd always wanted an excuse to improvise, James boasting that he'd always done that anyway; he himself had simply turned to books and notes and come to his own conclusions through work and thought, as he always did. The smell of incense pervaded everything, rendering the memories unusually vivid and sharp.

Remus drew the last glittering line of power in the air and threw his wand to Harry, who only just caught it.

"Don't put it in the same pocket as Snape's," he said, surprising himself with a touch of humour. "They might, er... react badly to each other."

Harry didn't smile, but Remus saw an answering glint in his eyes.

He drew in a long breath of the sweet-scented air. He closed his eyes for a moment.

When he opened them, Sirius was in the mirror. His own image stretched a thousand times around the curve of reflected reflections, himself standing back to back with himself - but Sirius appeared only once, as if he were standing in the gap between mirrors. Sirius no longer appeared angry. He looked deeply, deeply unhappy - worried - and frightened.

They stared at each other silently, trying to say everything that needed to be said without actually speaking.

Slowly, Remus drew from his pocket a long piece of soft material. He raised it to his face and bound it securely across his eyes.

"Why are you doing that?" Harry asked from his right.

"To me," Remus said quietly, "the space between will appear as a place in its own right. The guidance charms will lead me to the veil, but it would be easy to... become distracted by the reflections..." He checked that the blindfold was tightly bound and lowered his hands. "And I've no wish to test my sanity against the mirrorworld."

There was a tense, thick silence. Remus prepared himself, mind and body, for what he was about to do.

"I..." said Harry, his voice cracking. "Remus?"

"Yes, Harry?"

"Promise you'll come back."

"I have every intention of doing so." Remus raised his head, blindly facing the mirror. "Are you ready, Sirius?"

"He nodded," Harry supplied quietly.

Remus lifted his hands towards where he thought the mirror was. One finger brushed its surface and burned; he forced himself not to jerk back from it.

"Sinite me," he said clearly, "in locum imaginum intrare."

Grant me entry to the place of echoes.

Remus was aware, around the edge of the blindfold, of light flaring all around him.

Remus stepped forward. His outstretched hands slipped through what felt like boiling acid, but beyond lay coolness, and before he had time to think about it, he plunged forward through the surface of the mirror.

Harry flinched, throwing up a hand to shield his eyes, as suddenly the two mirrors became incandescent. Through his fingers, he saw Remus step forward.

He disappeared into the mirror. The radiance died, although the candles still burned. The lines of the circle now shone with a clear, white light.

In the mirror, he could see Remus walking away. Sirius was beside him.

Then the door to the Death Chamber flew open. In an eerie echo of the events of a week ago, Harry turned in time to see Dumbledore, Mad-Eye Moody, Snape and a white-faced Tonks come racing in.

Harry raised his wand defensively.

"Harry--" began Tonks, horrified, her voice somewhere between anger and shock.

Dumbledore's ice-blue gaze took in the circle, the mirrors, the candles, and Harry standing alone. He said nothing, but held up a hand to stop the others rushing forward.

"Well, Harry?" said Dumbledore quietly.

"You're too late," Harry said, surprised by his own cool tone. "He's already gone. And if you break the circle, neither of them will ever come back."

- end chapter seven -