Day 7: Last re-encounter

Sirius had pierced the veil. The last thing he remembered was Bellatrix's spell hitting him and tripping him. Harry's lament was the last thing he'd heard, and then...

Nothing.

He had not fallen into a hole of darkness, nor had he entered a space-time tunnel that would take him to a specific place. He had simply appeared on the other side of the veil, where he could barely see anything and nothing seemed to exist but an infinite gray ground.

But then, a stabbing pain in his temple had made him close his eyes, and suddenly he felt that unpleasant sensation typical of apparition again. Suddenly, everything stopped and he felt the firm ground beneath his feet.

His head was still aching and he still hadn't opened his eyes. A wince of pain contracted his handsome features. With both hands on head, he fell to his knees. But the blow was not as hard as he thought it would be, the sand had cushioned it and he felt sand everywhere. Wait, sand? Then, he was aware of the sea breeze ruffling his hair and the sun warming his cheeks.

Little by little, he managed to open his eyes.

He was on a beach.

But it wasn't just any beach. He recognized the sandy area he was in and the palm grove stretching out behind him. He looked to the right for something and raised both eyebrows when he found it. The red sign, now rusty, containing an arrow on which it read 'Maître-nageur sauveteur'. Below, some funny tourist had placed another arrow in the direction of the sea with the legend "Happiness (100 m)".

Of course he knew the place.

He was in France, in the 'Côte d'Azur'.

He looked past the old sign and found the boardwalk. He could almost see himself, thirteen years younger, walking behind James and Lily, as he laughed with Marlene at some prank on Remus.

"You're lost?"

Someone spoke to him from behind and laughed. That flirtatious laugh was very familiar, but it was impossible. That voice... More than a decade without hearing it, he thought he would never do it again and yet it had sounded just as it did in his memories. He turned to her with wide eyes.

And there she was.

With long blond hair, with her flowery dress fitted to the waist and the skirt to mid-thigh. It was Marlene, twenty years old, just as she looked when he last saw her, before she was murdered.

He could not believe it.

"Marlene."

The girl looked at him longingly. Her heart was racing again and her stomach heaved, like when they were still teenagers and they hadn't kissed for the first time. She stretched an arm toward Sirius' face and brushed it with her fingertips.

"I thought..." he cleared his throat, "I thought I would never see you again."

Then she fell into his arms and buried her face in his chest. Sirius held her tightly and breathed in the scent of lavender from her hair.

Marlene whispered.

"Finally, you're here. With us."

He looked at her questioningly. Who did she mean by 'us'?

She just laughed, mysterious. Then she took his hand and pulled him onto the boardwalk. She turned to him keeping a smile and said:

"Come on, James and Lily are waiting for us."