Where Angels Fear To Tread
Part I: Biding Time
Azkaban. A place where angels fear to tread.
A place of your worst nightmares. A place where fear, hopelessness and despair are prevalent and hope and optimism all but nonexistent.
It was here that Sirius Black, convicted felon, murderer and traitor, sat huddled in the corner of his cell trying unsuccessfully to keep the misery and desolation from pervading his mind. It was small comfort to know that the genuine perpetrator of the afore mentioned crimes was in actuality running free while he was cooped up in one of the most heavily guarded cells in the bleakest prison on Earth.
Left to slowly but surely lose grasp of reality. To progressively lose his sanity, little by little, until he became akin to the screaming lunatics that were the other occupants of the prison.
Sirius shivered. The solitude was enough to make you mad even without the influence of the dementors guarding the inmates. He had been here almost three months by his admittedly poor reckoning and yet even after a few days he had been yearning for human companionship.
In an effort to comfort himself he attempted to picture in his mind the wedding of his best friend, James Potter, to the lovely Lily. It was a match made in heaven and the wedding had been splendid. The service had taken place outside and the sweet aroma of flora had permeated the air. His lips curved in a slight smile but even as he went to breathe in, the images dissipated into thin air, leaving behind the harsh facts of life and the bitter remembrance that James and Lily were dead.
A dark chasm opened in his mind and he found himself teetering at the edge of madness. As he looked down he could see that it went on for as far as the eye could see. Scrambling for purchase in the shadowy recesses of his psyche, he felt himself slipping inexorably towards the gap yawning at the edge of consciousness.
Then he fell.
He didn't notice as his body tipped sideways, spilling him onto the floor of his cell. His thoughts were all turned inwards. He briefly felt the distinctive sensation of falling before he was swallowed by emotions. Grief, rage, despair. Hate, fear, misery, desolation. They crowded his thoughts and swamped his mind, drowning him in his own worst memories.
The cold and calculating gaze of his late uncle as he purposefully raised the strap a cruel smirk twisting his lips…
The spiteful face of Severus Snape, his childhood nemesis, leering maliciously - triumphantly…
The burnt rubble of the Potters' hiding place and the small, round face of his best friend's son, with a searing slash across his forehead…
The victorious glint in the eyes of Peter Pettigrew moments before he blew up the street and transformed. The eyes of a friend-turned-betrayer. The eyes of a traitor…
Out of nowhere came his salvation.
He was innocent.
He took a tighter hold on his lifeline as reality came crashing back into his awareness. He opened his eyes to find himself splayed out on the rough floor. He pushed himself up and ran his fingers through his hair. It had grown long and unruly with no way to cut, wash or comb it.
As he came-to fully his brain registered the now familiar wave of intense cold sweep over him before infusing itself in his bones. But this time something was different. He was innocent. As he repeated that thought over and over, an ongoing litany engraved in his mind, the chill and prevailing emotions gradually lost potency until they were not quite so strong as to be overpowering.
He was Sirius Black and he was innocent. He was not going to lose his sanity because of a crime he hadn't committed. He was Sirius Black and he wasn't about to let the man who betrayed his best friend get off scot-free. He was innocent and he wasn't about to cop the blame for an offense for which he was guiltless for the rest of his life.
He wasn't a naïve man. He knew it would be tough. He knew that there would be times when all he wanted to do was give up. Let go. Relinquish his sanity to the Dementors guarding his cell day and night.
He wouldn't though.
He was innocent and he would never quit trying. He would stay sane, retain his wizarding powers, escape and then track down Peter and make him wish he'd never been born. He would, if it took him his entire life. He would avenge James, Lily, young Harry and anyone else Peter had made suffer through his treacherous schemes.
His only regrets were that he had trusted the poisonous parasite in the first place. It had been him who had insisted they use Peter in his place as a bluff, thinking that Voldemort would never imagine the Potters would use such a feeble, incapable thing like Peter Pettigrew. And to think he had suspected Remus as the spy.
A bitter smile formed and he shook his head absently. He had made some mistakes in his past but he had never betrayed his friends. He had been foolish at times but he would have died before going over to the dark side.
Peter had as good as killed a best friend, his wife and his child, murdered thirteen muggles and sent Sirius, another friend, to Azkaban. All without remorse.
But Sirius would get his vengeance. Maybe not this week or this month or this year. Maybe not even this decade. But he would get it.
He was just biding his time.
Thanks so much for reading. Now if you could PLEASE review. I love to know what you all think and know what you think was good/bad/needed improvement etc. Reviewers will be eternally worshipped whatever it is they say. OK?
This is a Two-Shot (basically two one-shots from different times, same perspective put together) and the next part will be updated shortly. As this is just after Sirius is imprisoned, the next will be on when he escapes. Hope to see you that too.
I'm also going to be writing another Pirates of the Caribbean fic – a proper story this time – and a Wheel of Time One-Shot and another Harry Potter one after that.
Thanks also to peachfreak for Beta Reading this for me. Love you all…