Through Darkness and Light
A Light in the Darkness
The night was unusually cold for summer and the damp air caused Sirius's fur to stick together. He edged along an alleyway, nose low to the ground. There was an itch right between his shoulder blades and he glanced warily behind him.
A newspaper floated across the ground, but nothing else moved. His eyebrows narrowed, something didn't feel right. There was a strange scent in the air, but not completely foreign. There were moments when it seemed familiar, but for the life of him, he couldn't remember.
Silence settled about him, heavy and compressing. Muggle voices drifted from nearby homes, but they were picked up by the wind and tossed aside. The stars had only been out for a few hours and the place was deserted, with the exception of the lone boy dragging his large trunk.
Nothing could have prepared him for this feeling. For the first time in years Sirius felt hope.
A breeze blew by, tickling his cold nose. His head shot around. He knew that smell!
Sirius lifted his head towards the nearest dustbin. A cheeseburger! He pushed his nose against the lid. And that, oh he knew that one too. Pizza? Saliva dripped from his mouth and his belly rumbled.
He jerked his nose away. There would be time enough to eat; Harry couldn't wait.
Light poles lined the paved road, but the one closest to Harry flickered on and off. He rolled his trunk behind him and stared at the ground, obviously uncaring of where he was going on.
Was he running away? Did that mean he didn't like living with his Aunt and Uncle?
There just might be, if he could clear himself, a chance. My God has he grown, thought Sirius. Even from this distance, he could see how much Harry looked like James. That body frame and build, even the hair was a mirror image of James.
Harry stopped in front of a park and laid his trunk down. He paced back and forth, his hands clenched at his sides. Faint traces of words carried to Sirius and he watched as Harry mumbled to himself.
Perhaps if he got closer he'd be able to hear. It was a risk, but adrenaline pumped through him. There was Harry Potter, not twenty feet from him!
He snaked around the dustbins, stepping over cans, being careful not to knock them over. The itch in between his shoulders became more insistent, but he shrugged it away. Instincts or not, there was no way he was going to hide when Harry was so close.
Sirius remembered the last time he had seen Harry, right after he found Lily and James dead. Harry's lightening shaped scar had blazed in the night, as if lit by its own magic.
Seeing that mark, a hopeless feeling had settled over him. They were dead and he failed to protect them. He would never forget Harry's red eyes and face matted with tears.
Sirius knocked over a glass jar and froze. The glass clinked against the ground, but didn't shatter. The sound boomed in his ears.
Harry looked around and focused on the alley.
Sirius held his breath, not even daring to move. The small crystal phial that hung from his neck lit up, the clear liquid blazing and briefly illuminated the alleyway. He jerked back and pressed the glass against his fury chest, snuffing out the light.
Harry stepped closer and held his wand out. "Lumos."
The world dissolved and the only thing Sirius saw was the skinny thirteen-year-old boy with wire framed glasses.
So many conflicting emotions arose in Sirius, contentment but also sorrow. Time had been stolen from him. Twelve years, all taken away from a man who was once one of his closest friends. Wormtail.
A growl rumbled in his throat. Betrayed. Lily and James had been betrayed. And Sirius had as good as killed them.
He sank to the ground, unable to bear the guilt. He would have given anything to hold Harry that night, to believe that not everything had been destroyed, but Hagrid had his orders from Dumbledore.
Wait a second, get a grip on yourself, he thought. Why was he hiding? Harry had no idea that he was an Animagus. Sirius stood up from his hiding place and stepped around the dustbin to get a better view of his godson.
Harry's eyes widened and in his hurry to back away, tripped over his trunk. He hit the ground hard and Sirius winced when Harry's elbows smashed into the curb.
The Knight Bus zoomed into view and slammed on its brakes right where Harry had been.
Sirius cursed. Just wanted a quick look, it's not too dangerous, he mocked, couldn't have scared the boy more if I went up and introduced myself as the most infamous, and dangerous wizard to have lived.
His angry banter froze in mid-thought; Harry could have been killed.
The bus completely blocked Harry from his view. Sirius ducked back behind the dustbin just as Harry peered around the bus, staring into the alley.
The conductor in the purple suit stared as well, and gave Harry an odd look. "What are you looking at?"
"Nothing," Harry answered, but glanced back one last time.
The crystal phial vibrated against Sirius's chest, pulling on its thin silver cord. His ears flattened back in surprise, what is with this thing tonight? The only time the phial had ever awakened was when he last saw James and Lily alive.
Sirius trotted closer to the bus, careful the angle only allowed him to see Harry but where Harry couldn't see him. There was a pine tree not far off and he dashed for it.
The conductor didn't seem to be paying Harry any mind, and bent down to retrieve his trunk. The skinny man grunted and shoved it onto the first step.
"Come on now, we've got to get going." He tugged the handle and dragged it over the last step. The conductor gave no outward notice of Harry's scar, and Sirius didn't smell any surprise coming from the man.
Harry reached to pick up his wand, but stopped.
"Now what are you waiting for?"
The phial throbbed as if it were a beating heart. What do you want now? The phial didn't answer, but pounded against Sirius's chest, tugging him in the direction Harry was looking.
Sirius scanned the street and where the road curved was the faint outline of a person. The words 'Death Eater' raced through his mind.
His lips pulled back to reveal large yellowing teeth. No one would harm Harry.
As if to answer his challenge, a breeze brushed past his ears and there was a voice, a fleeting whisper that dissolved as soon as he heard it. The phial was more insistent now. Sirius crouched, ready to spring.
I won't let anyone hurt him.
The pulsing ceased and he blinked several times. No, it couldn't be. But how? The person was gone, disappeared right before his eyes. Yet, he hadn't heard any loud pops so the person couldn't have Disapparated.
An engine rumbled and Sirius's head shot up. The Knight Bus streaked into the air leaving behind a trail of tire tracks and its purple color faded into the dark night.
Sirius's heart fell. For years he had longed to see Harry and now he was gone. Those precious moments flashed by, but he would treasure them as if they were his last.
The phial had returned to its normal self, a liquid that swayed in the glass. It had awakened at the worst possible moment, shortening his time with Harry. The phial had always been a mystery to him, including everyone else in the wizarding world.
From somewhere deep in his memory he heard the woman's voice, "You will need this, a guide through the darkness if that path presents itself."
Who was she? Why could he still not remember that night? The only clear images he had were of his fight against a group of Death Eaters and a blue light.
This phial had become one of his small joys through those long years in Azkaban simply because no one could get it off him. Sirius found the situation hilarious.
Whenever someone tried to remove it, their hands were burned. Even with spells of protection the thing just wouldn't budge. He couldn't even take it off, no matter how many times he tried.
Wizards and witches of every Order had claimed it was dark magic. The only one who probably believed his story about a strange woman was Dumbledore.
The truth was he would not have survived Azkaban without it. The phial became a thin veil of protection, transparent but it was still there. The dementors had never been far from his cell, but their presence wasn't as strong.
If he ever saw that woman again it wouldn't be a pretty sight. He still owed her back for that thumping she gave him.
This glass may have become his protection from the dementors, but no one had pure motives. He would find out who she was and what her plans were, but first there were more important things to worry about.
Pettigrew would be at Hogwarts again with Harry and in the perfect position to strike, finishing what he had started. The fur on Sirius's back raised. He would stop Peter and avenge Lily and James. There would be no going back to Azkaban, only death.
Calrheane Elessar hid behind the side of a building and gripped her cloak closed. Sirius and Harry had seen her. She peered out, checking to see if they were still watching.
Harry was gone, but the large black dog stood in the road gazing into the darkness. Even from this distance she could see the crystal phial resting against his fur. She sucked in a breath as it glowed. Did it recognize her?
She ducked back behind the building. How was that possible? Had Ingwe or Galadriel known that would happen?
Calrheane shook her head, it didn't matter in the end; there was nothing she could do. He wore the phial now and she had to trust it.
Her hand brushed against the building and the rough brick scratched her skin. Her breath came out as a mist. The human side of her felt the cold, but she pushed it aside.
Something wasn't right. The stars were out and the light of Erandil shone high overhead. The familiar sight comforted her. While the world changed with each Age some parts remained steadfast.
In the distance her keen eyesight narrowed on a flickering star and then suddenly blinked out. Stars across the sky disappeared, as if their light was suddenly blocked.
A gust of wind blew back the hood of her cloak and she spat out a few strands of hair. What was going on? The ends of her cloak whipped about her.
She glanced at Sirius.
He was crouched in the middle of the road and his white teeth glowed in the dim light. Her sensitive ears picked out his growling over the wind. His tail was stretched out behind him and he stared in her direction, but at the road beside her.
A fog crept down the road, its gray haze darkening before her eyes. She stepped away from the safety of the wall.
This must not be happening. It was too soon.
The fog's tendrils reached out, slithering around light poles and cars. No light could be seen through the blackness, forming a barrier between her and the other side.
It was starting. Was she ready?
Frost covered the grass she was standing on and crunched when she shifted her weight. Whether she was ready or no longer mattered; Zirak was awakening.