Will be done in three parts, all focusing on Sirius. Reviews welcomed.

If Tears Could Build a Staircase
By Argenteus Draco

*If tears could build a staircase...*

It was Halloween, 1981. The night was quiet, and everyone was asleep.

Everyone, except Sirius Black.

Sirius wasn't sure just what had woken him. He thought, at first, that it might be the sound of the trees scraping on the windows, or the extra light thrown into his bedroom by the almost full moon. But, more than likely, it was the horribly vivid dream he had been having for several nights.

It was always the same. Sirius would be treading the familiar path up toward his best friend, James Potter's, house. It was a cool, clear night; stars sparkled through the treetops. Then, out of nowhere, there would be a blinding flash of green light, a scream, and Sirius would awaken, his ears ringing with a high, cold, mirthless laugh.

The young man rose from his bed, and slipped quietly down the stairs. After all, if he couldn't sleep, there was no point staying in bed. Thinking he might get a glass of water, then try to go back to sleep, Sirius flipped on the lights.

A passerby might think it strange, to see the lights of one house on while the rest of the neighborhood was dark. But these would be the people who didn't know Sirius Black. His house was often lit far past the time most people went to sleep. He would host parties that continued well into the night, more often than not with his old school friends, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, James, and James' wife, Lily.

The walls of every room were covered with wizard pictures of these occasions, all smiling and waving. Recent ones would also include a small boy, with a tuft of jet-black hair identical to his fathers, bouncing off James' knee. It was only in the older pictures that Peter appeared.

Peter seemed to have been growing away from the group for a while now. The four pranksters had been inseparable at Hogwarts, but now, all of them grown men, they seemed to have gone their separate ways. Remus was in training to be a teacher, something he had always wanted to do. Peter, they could only assume, had made friends at his ministry job, and possibly found a girl of some kind. Lily, always a part of the group despite the fact that she was never an official marauder, spent more of her time at home with the baby than out. Only Sirius and James had stayed together, both going into Auror training.

Heading back up the staircase, Sirius paused to look at one of the pictures. It had been taken at James' wedding. His best friend grinned back at Sirius, arm around his new wife. On James' left was none other than a younger Sirius. He, too, was smiling, grinning with all his might out of happiness for his friend. The James in the picture took a look at his best man and cuffed Sirius on the shoulder, laughing; if the picture could talk, Sirius would have sworn James had told Sirius he was grinning like a madman.

Sirius laughed as well, unable to stop himself. He continued to watch the picture. Lily ducked out of the frame, leaving the two overgrown boys.

For the second time that night, Sirius had a sense that something wasn't right; that something was going to happen to his friends. Quickly, he walked back downstairs, and knelt by the fireplace. Sirius blew on the dying embers to bring them back into flame, and then took a bag made of mint green velvet from the shelf. This he reached into and took a pinch of silvery white powder from. He threw the powder into the fire, calling out the name of his old friend.

"Peter!" Sirius called. "Peter, are you there?"

There was no answer.

Sirius tried again, with the same result. With a more pronounced feeling of dread, Sirius raced upstairs, threw a traveling cloak over his night-things, and set out for the place where Peter was hiding. It was Peter who was Lily and James' secret keeper; if something had happened, he would know.

Fifteen minutes later, Sirius found himself outside Peter's small apartment. The sense of something wrong hung thick in the air.

"Peter!" Sirius called, banging on the door. "Are you there?"

Again, there was no answer.

Sirius put a hand on the doorknob and turned. Surprisingly, it was open. Peter probably just forgot to lock up, Sirius reasoned, entering the house. He had always been forgetful at school; there was no reason to stop now. And yet, he knew what dark times these were...

Sirius stepped into the main room. "Peter?" he called again. "It's Sirius. Are you here?" He came to the small kitchen. There was a cup of coffee on the table, still steaming slightly. It seemed as though Peter had left in a hurry. Next to it, there was a stain on the wood, as though whoever handled the cup had shaken so violently they spilled. Sirius left the coffee, and made his way into the room that served as a bedroom, still calling his friend's name.

The bed was made perfectly. Peter hadn't even been in it.

Sirius puzzled over this for no more than a minute, before he began to search the room more carefully. His eyes locked on something that was all too familiar these days.

On the dresser was the fastener of a cloak, that Peter had no doubt left by mistake in his hast to leave. Tiny emeralds glittered all around the design, the black onyx it was carved of gave off a brilliant shine in the half-light, and the serpent that the stone formed seemed almost to laugh.

It was the mark of a Death Eater.

Sirius glanced around the room again. Surely, surely it had been an attack. Peter couldn't be. He'd been their friend for years. But if he'd been taken against his will there should have been signs of a struggle. Everything was still perfect, made up as though it had been done ten minutes before.

Sirius tore out of the apartment again, and began running back to his own home. He didn't bother to enter the house; instead, he ran right for the shed where his bike was kept. He paused briefly to wonder about his helmet, then decided against it. He mounted the bike, and kicked off into the night. Sirius didn't bother to cloak himself magically, nor did he think to put a silencing spell around the bike. He roared through the air, the only thoughts in his head of James, Lily and Harry. He'd get there in time. He had to get there in time...

Sirius touched down on one of the sloping lawns that lead to Godric's Hollow. The town itself was still sleeping, and Sirius barely felt conscious of its other inhabitants. He looked around, and his worst fears were confirmed.

Lily and James' house was set away from the town, and, glittering over the spot the small house would be, was the Dark Mark. Small from where Sirius stood, it looked more like a constellation than a curse. Sirius blinked twice, willing it to become one with the stars, to disappear as though it had never been there, to take away the horrible thought that his best friends were dead.

Sirius rode the bike carefully up the main road, forcing himself to look in front of him rather than at the great, glittering skull in the sky. When he arrived outside the place the house stood, he stopped dead in his tracks.

It was in ruins, the top floor collapsed on the bottom. Slowly, Sirius picked his way through the rubble, looking for some sign of Lily or James... Anything to prove this was all a bad dream. What Sirius wouldn't have given at that moment to hear James coming out of the woods, telling Sirius he'd just preformed a spell slightly wrong, that no one was hurt, that Sirius looked as if he'd seen a ghost.

Something under Sirius' feet cracked. He looked down, to find that he had stepped on a pair of glasses. Sirius picked them up, feeling his eyes fill with tears. How many times had he seen James' bright hazel eyes staring back through those sensible silver frames? Gazing out with love for Lily... Dancing with laughter when the Marauders had preformed some crazy prank... Tearful when his parents had died... Full of triumph and delight after winning Quidditch games...

Sirius didn't know how long he stood there, staring down at the broken glass and bent metal; it felt like a lifetime. Suddenly, he looked up. Sirius could have sworn he heard something... There it was again. He listened closely, trying to think what the high-pitched sound was. Then it clicked. He was hearing a baby crying.

Harry was alive!

Picturing the little house in perfect detail, as it had been when it was standing, Sirius made his way to the place where Harry's bedroom had been. Sirius couldn't have been more thankful that Harry had been there at the time. If he'd been downstairs, the rubble would have crushed him.

Keep crying, Harry, Sirius thought. Let me know where you are. Coming to the charred remains of a staircase, Sirius turned right. The bits of singed carpet that had fallen with the rubble marked the long hall that had lead to both Harry's and the master bedroom. Coming to the end, Sirius gulped, and stopped dead. Lying in what had been a doorway, half covered with ceiling tiles and debris from the roof, was Lily, emerald eyes wide and staring. Forcing himself not to look at the body, Sirius took a bit of cloth that he recognized as the window hangings Lily had picked when she moved in, and laid it over the young woman's face.

Almost forgetting why he had come there in the first place, Sirius turned to leave when Harry cried out again. Quickly, he turned around, and searched the one-time bedroom more carefully, concentrating less on the body of Lily and more on all the possible places a year old baby could be hiding. Half expecting Lily to have tucked him away so Voldemort didn't find him, it took Sirius a moment to realize that Harry wasn't hiding anywhere, but that he was sitting in the far corner of the room, crying. Slowly, so as not to alarm the boy, Sirius approached.

"Hey Harry," he said gently. The tiny boy stopped crying at that moment, looking up at Sirius with baby blue eyes that would one day be as green as his mother's. He didn't make any noise at all for a full minute, just stared at the young man who he usually saw next to his dad.

"Harry's such a quiet baby," Sirius recalled Lily telling him. "You'll never know he's here."

"There's no way he's James' son," Sirius had replied jokingly. "Lily, are you hiding something from us?"

Pushing thoughts of his friend's laughter away, Sirius returned his attention to Harry. He seemed unharmed, except for a single cut on his forehead, shaped like a bolt of lightning. The cut, oddly enough, wasn't bleeding, and Harry didn't seem to have noticed it was there.

"You've been through Hell and back tonight," Sirius remarked, running his fingers across the wound without gaining so much as a twitch from Harry. "And you're barely more than a year old."

In response, Harry reached out his tiny arms for Sirius, demanding to be held. The young man obliged, hugging the little boy tight to his chest. He looked so much like James' already...

Making up his mind in that instant, Sirius turned Harry's head to look at him again. "Lets go find your dad then," he said, as though it were a simple matter of getting James back to the common room late at night after he'd gone off with his invisibility cloak.

Trying to shield Harry's eyes from his mother's dead body, Sirius carried him out of the room, retracing his steps to the front hall. Trusting pure instinct, Sirius turned to the left, into what had once been the family room. A closet obviously had been above it, and the guest bedroom; besides the remains of a couch and book shelves there were blankets, towels and what looked as though it had once been a bedpost.

Sirius began to move around the room, still holding Harry. He looked down, and found a burnt picture identical to the one Sirius had looked at in his own home just an hour before. The James in the picture was still laughing, still grinning merrily at Sirius while he laughed as well. Lily's head poked around the corner, calling James.

Harry started to squirm in Sirius' arms, as though something had alarmed him. Tearing his eyes from the picture on the ground, Sirius picked his head up and listened carefully. Loud footsteps were echoing around in the dark night. Trying his best to calm Harry, Sirius turned and half-ran back to the front of the house. A giant of a man was coming up the path, wild tangles of bushy black hair hiding a kind face and beetle black eyes that were over-bright. Sirius didn't know that his own eyes held much the same expression.

"Sirius," Hagrid said, once he had reached the house. His normally ruddy voice was solemn. "I shoulda expected I'd find yeh here."

"I... had a feeling," Sirius replied quietly, "that something wasn't right. I just wish I'd come sooner." Or warned them, he added to himself, remembering the dream that had woken him in the first place.

"Yeh couldn'a done anythin' Sirius, yeh know it," was the steady reply. Then, as an afterthought, "We'll all miss 'em."

Sirius nodded, but otherwise didn't reply; he didn't trust his voice at the moment.

Hagrid's eyes left Sirius' face then, and moved to the small boy in Sirius' arms. Harry hadn't made a sound since he'd heard Hagrid approach, and it had taken until then for Hagrid to realize he was there.

"Sirius," he began, "I'm here on Dumbledore's orders. I'm te take Harry to his family."

Sirius paled. "You don't mean, you can't mean the muggles Lily's related to. Hagrid, I've met them, they're awful. Let me take him. I'm his godfather, I'll look after him."

At that moment Hagrid wanted nothing more than to give the young man his wish. But Dumbledore had given him strict instructions. It was better that Harry grow up away from everything until he could take it. Sirius would understand.

"I'm sorry, Sirius. I really am. But Dumbledore knows wha's best I think. We jus' gotta trust him."

Dumbly, Sirius nodded. Blinking furiously to clear his vision, which had gone suddenly blurry, he handed Harry to Hagrid. Slowly, the giant turned to leave.

"Wait!" Sirius called suddenly. "Take my motorbike. You'll get there faster. And... I won't need it anymore," he added simply. Sirius didn't feel like explaining at the moment that he didn't want to keep something he and James had dreamed of together since they were little kids.

Hagrid looked uncertain for a minute, then moved forward, and mounted the bike. He kicked it into life, and took off into the night sky. Sirius watched him go, feeling rather empty inside. He turned back to look at the ruined house, and the emptiness was replaced by something Sirius hadn't known he could feel: cold, mirthless hate.

Two of his best friends were dead. He'd just turned Harry, all he had left of Lily and James, into the hands of muggles. And all of this had happened because Peter had betrayed them. Peter had turned them in to the Death Eaters. Peter had killed Lily and James.

A sort of reckless rage came over Sirius. He set off around the back of the house, not wanting to be there when Ministry officials and muggle police arrived on the scene, or when they removed the bodies from the ruined house. He didn't want to help; he didn't want to think about his friends. All he wanted to do was find Peter. Find Peter, and make him pay for what he'd done.

And so Sirius Black set off into the night in search of his one time friend, barely noticing the warm, salty tears that were now spilling freely down his face.