Author: Noldo PM
The runup to the fateful Hallowe'en of 1981. Sirius is suspicious, Remus worries, Peter is afraid to speak, and James is about to be dead. Chapter Two: PeterRated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Angst - Sirius B. & James P. - Chapters: 2 - Words: 1,984 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 09-14-05 - Published: 08-20-05 - id: 2543088
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Azkaban rises out of the roiling sea, a grim hulking mass just where the skulking shadows swallow the moonlight, where the smoky clouds drift by.
Outside it, forms black and insubstantial glide slowly, almost elegant, drawing haunting, chilling, decaying breaths; inside there echo a thousand deathly screams, a mind-numbing litany of terror, prisoners crying out to masters far-away, to loves lost, to friends betrayed, to a thousand things that lay beyond the howling night and the tortured granite walls of their prison.
(For the prison walls are tortured, if nothing else; shaped massively, grotesquely, like some giant hand had swooped down from the heavens and cloven the stone into two with clenched fist, not caring for accuracy or for beauty, and what walls that housed people like these, the scum, the rejects, the most loathed, accursed fiends in society, would not share some part of their torture, or be tortured by sheltering them from the cruel night?)
He does not feel. He has begun, slowly, to cease to feel. And this is a good thing, for feeling in this place is a weakness and a failing and a tool for them to use, feeling is the lever they will use to break your mind and feed on the pieces.
But in the night, he dreams.
He is searching desperately, desperately, for something the name of which he does not remember, and that he is not sure why he wants. And then the dream seems to shiver and twist and resolve itself into the hollowed shell of a familiar house, a house where there had been hopes and dreams and sighing loves and rather appropriately named 'stag' parties, where hands had held the baby and voices shouted in jubilation, where Lily had been charming and beautiful and intelligent and Prongs had been Prongs.
He dreams of the flickering green light, and of seeing them lying spread-eagled amidst the smoking ruins of their home, James' unruly hair like a dark mockery, green light glinting in Lily's eyes.
James does not have his glasses, and this troubles Sirius, because he knows that James is blind without them. He rummages through the blackened rubble until he finds them, tearing apart the last desolate remains of the house, and gently places them on James' face, telling him that it will be all right, as if by that simple gesture he can take back a thousand mistakes, and somehow bring James back to life.
But he is more comfortable seeing James with his glasses on, perched askew on his crooked nose.
I'm sorry, he says, trying to close the dead eyes. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
There is no-one left to hear his apology, but he always says it. He feels a little lighter for it, somehow.
He is a dog very often these days, changing back only when he hears footsteps and voices approaching. They do not come often, because no one wants to brave the Dementors to visit a traitor. He is left alone to the howling, haunted mazes of his own mind.
He has almost cloven himself into two – Sirius and Padfoot, man and dog, and he rarely thinks like Sirius. Life in that place is much easier when he is a dog; in human dreams, the roiling abysses of his memory drag him inexorably back to Hallowe'en, to watch and re-watch everything he loves slipping away from him again; when he is a dog, Padfoot dreams of rabbits.
He tried to kill himself, once, and almost succeeded, almost drowned himself in a pool of his own blood, but in Azkaban even the criminally insane are not allowed to determine their own ends, and if any of the few human guards felt a stab of pity for the hollow-eyed boy, sitting awash in a sea of filth and red, they dismissed it quickly – death was too good for him. They would not, they resolved, let themselves be swayed by some pretty-boy Death Eater barely out of his teens. He'd fooled the Potters in that way.
Sometimes in the dark of his cell he hopes for a saviour, hopes for a powerful figure to burst in at the door and cry out his innocence, tell the world that someone else was the traitor. But there is no one left who can, for Dumbledore does not know and Remus is heartbroken and James and Lily are dead.
When the moon's cold light shines down – for the moon is full – and reaches even his remote cell, he imagines that he hears a howl, and thinks of Moony, of Prongs, who did not deserve to be betrayed – and of Wormtail. Traitorous Wormtail, who should by all that is right be languishing here in this cell instead of him.
He hates Wormtail, hates him almost as fiercely as he had once loved all his friends. His hate is one of the few emotions he allows himself to feel, and in his head there drums one thought, unrelenting and incessant, and perhaps that thought helps him stay sane, a constant in a sea of tumbling chaos –
My name is Sirius Black (Padfoot, blood traitor, prankster, wrongfully imprisoned, loving friend and fierce enemy, Purveyor of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers), and I am innocent.