Screaming and darkness in his mind. Cold. Fear. Panic. Hopelessness. The dementors were back.
The young man laying on the dirty cot in the corner of the room shivered and clutched his hands over his ears to block out the sounds in his head. Dark shoulder length hair fell down obscuring his face, except where it stood up in the back like it always had, for some strange reason no amount of filth or grime could make it lay down. It didn't really matter if his eyes were closed or open, his glasses were gone, where he had lost them he didn't really know, all he knew was that once he woke up here they weren't on his person and he couldn't see anything more than dark blurs.
He had been here four months before he lost track of time.
The Dementors drifted past his cell again, they came every night, making sure the prisoners were subdued and weak. They usually lingered before his holding place to feed. He could feel himself slipping away, going mad, he could fight them at first, thinking for some strange reason against all evidence that someone was going to come for him, that someone would save him. Those thoughts had long gone, and the day he realized no one was coming was the day he stopped counting.
He was innocent. But since when did that matter? Half the people in the muggle prisons were innocent, why had he thought that Azkaban would be any different? His name was Harry Potter. He was 15 years old. He had been convicted of joining Voldemort's forces by none other than Albus Dumbledore and had been sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He had been betrayed by everyone and everything he had ever cared about. The boy repeated this to himself even as the screaming became louder and words from a woman long dead came to him. He clenched his teeth together and tried to hold on a little longer, but it was pointless. Everything went black and he lost himself to the void.
"James! Hey, James! Wake up, I smell the rats, they're close! Mooney told me about this place under the foxgloves, the rats like it there, I bet if we roust them we could get a few, they creep across my cage at night you know, I try to bite them but I always miss, there is a storm cloud in my head, the rats like it there, they gnaw it like wood chips, my mind that is, before the dark things come, maybe Lilly could get us out Prongs, she got us out once... James are you awake? Are you asleep? James!"
Harry opened his eyes and groaned, his headache was back in full force. He tried to ignore the person in the other cell next to his. Sirius Black was just a shadow even when he squinted but he already knew what he looked like, he had seen a picture of him before, two actually, one of the man he had been and one of the man he was now, Harry had come to like the poor wreck, even though most of the times he was like this, half mad, lost in the past, speaking to him as though he was James Potter. Carefully he pulled himself to his feet and leaned against the stone wall. The cold didn't help, but at least it was a few degrees warmer than the floor.
"James! James turn into Prongs and we can have a row! Would that cheer you up mate? Don't let them get ya down, the Slytherins always try to but we show em don't we? Come on we will show em!"
Harry smiled sadly and put his hand up to his face, pushing on his eyelids to help alleviate the pain. Dementors always had this effect on him. Without his wand there was very little he could do about it.
"You go ahead Padfoot, I will be along soon..."
Sirius grinned and then a moment later there was a shaggy black dog standing where he had been a moment before. He pressed himself against the bars of their respective cells and whined. Harry sighed and went over to pet him. It helped in some stupid primal way, it provided some form of comfort. Running his hands through the warm dirty fur of the mut that was his Godfather, Harry sat down again, closing his eyes and trying to think of something other than the darkness. The man beside him was innocent, just like he, Harry, was also innocent.
How he knew this Harry couldn't explain, all he knew was that once, he had been speaking to Sirius Black up close and had looked into his eyes for a moment, and he had seen things that he could only describe as memories. He had seen a young handsome man that looked like him, and a beautiful woman with red hair. He had seen two rowdy teenagers and a plump little boy that followed them. He had seen a pale black haired man that was being tormented. He had seen a full moon and a werewolf in the company of a stag, a dog, and a rat.
He had seen fire and death, and a bitter betrayal.
They were alike in more ways than one, and both had been wronged by the same man.
Padfoot pressed his muzzle through the bars and huffed in his ear. Harry leaned away from him and chuckled. Patting his nose and giving him some leftovers he had kept back from his last meal. Sirius was sick and needed the food more than he did.
"They didn't believe me Padfoot... They didn't even give me a chance... I will die here and they won't care... Why is my life like this? Why didn't they believe me? Didn't they know me better?"
Harry didn't even realize he had been speaking until Sirius put a thin skeletal hand out to grip his shoulder.
"It will be alright pup, you'll see, hell, we got out of worse than this, your dear old dad and I, we can get out of here, don't give up yet."
Harry felt a rush of gratitude that Serius remembered who he was and when they were.
He sighed and wiped at his eyes. The hand squeezed reassuringly.
"Come on pup, let's work on making you into an animagus eh? It helps, it really does, the Dementors can't get at you so much when you are a dog or a cat, come on, give it a try."
"I have been trying Padfoot, it's hard enough if you have a wand, without one its impossible."
"Nearly impossible, not absolutely impossible, come on, give it a go."