The Lady of Azkaban

by Cahira of the Dawn

AN: Thanks to all who reviewed! I know there are a lot of unanswered questions, but everything will make sense in time. Trust me on this ^_^ Now onto the story!

The ministry officials came almost every day during the first few months of his imprisonment. I hid deeper within Azkaban where I hope they would not find me. But sometimes, when curiosity got the better of me, I would slink into upper levels to watch them. It didn't take long for me hate them.

They were fat, pompous old men. Men ruled by their greed for power and money. I knew they fought some sort of evil being, but it almost seemed like their enemy had a reason to fight them. They were so blind, so stupid! They were the people who had locked sweet, gentle Serenity away from her color filled world. They were the cause of my mother's death and Serenity's. I hated them for that, and for making me suffer the life I had lived.

Serenity once live in a world of light. I was unfit to approach it...

During the night - or at least - what I guessed was night, the officials left. It was during those times that I watched him. I had no reason to talk to him. I wanted no friends, no companions. Yet he fascinated me somehow. There was an aura about him that none of the other prisoners possessed. He was calm yet angry. Young yet old. And most importantly of all, he wasn't mad.

There was a strange comfort in watching him. His quiet endurance of his fate, his efforts to block out the dementors search for fear: I understood it. I knew there was more to this man than met the eye.

Then one night, I learnt one of his secrets.

I went to his cell, just as usual. I expected to find him staring into space, as he often did when he should have been resting. But he was gone. The cell was dark and cold. There was no human life, no shadowed figure alone in his prison. Just gray dank darkness.

"No..." I whispered, "Not again..."

I cared. I couldn't pretend any longer. I never needed to talk to him. He was a friend to me just by being there. I was alone again. Why did I keep caring?!

"You can't be gone!" I cried, "Its just not fair!"

Then out of the shadows it began to move. I stared in surprise as a large black dog slunk out of the darkness. His dark eyes regarded me for a moment, before his whole shape began to melt away.

And then, before me stood the man the officials called Black.

"Who are you?" he demanded. "Why were you watching me?" His dark eyes flashed ominously.

I frowned. This wasn't how I had expected our first conversation to begin. But then, I hadn't thought we would ever talk in the first place.

"I am Hotaru." I stated, "And you are Black."

"Sirius Black."

I shrugged, "What your name is doesn't matter to me."

I turned to walk away, but I stopped as he said, "What are you doing out of your cell?"

That made me angry. I was no prisoner. I was free within these walls. Azkaban was my home, not my prison!

"I don't need to be locked up, unlike some people. I'm no murderer, but I guess you are. Your all murderers." I gestured to the other cells. "And your all mad! But I'm not. The dementors can't harm me. I'm not a killer." And neither was Serenity.

He drew back further into his cell. I had clearly struck a nerve. I wonder what he did? It must have been a truly horrifying act if the number of officials who visited him were anything to go by.

"I killed no one!" he hissed, "I'm innocent. I would never hurt my friends!"

His words did not surprise me. People always talked like that. They all claimed they were innocent at first, but it was never true. Yet he sounded so convinced of his own words. So truthful...

And if anyone could put an innocent man in prison, it would be those bumbling old fools.

"You don't believe me," he said bitterly, "But what should I expect? The evidence is all there. That's why they locked me up after all."

Silence. I could already see the depression in his face. The dementors were breaking his soul, and Black would not be able to fight it for long. Not even Serenity had been able to fight forever.

"Maybe I believe you," I whispered, "Maybe I don't. But never become bitter because of the past. It will only destroy your chances for a future. And..." I hesitated, "And I may visit you sometimes. I might even be your friend if you promise not to give up fighting."

Then I ran, back down to the cells which had once been my mother's; leaving a bewildered Sirius Black in my wake.