You Can't Keep a Good Dog Down By Luxx
A/N: Normally I would leave messages for my reviewers until the end of the chapter, but I have to say this. Sweet Sixteen Movie Buff, you are my personal hero. When I first wrote this, you were the only person to give me feedback on the first chapter, and now that I've posted the second one, you're the very first review. I can't even describe how happy your review made me. I would still post even if no one did review, but knowing that my work is appreciated makes me feel all the more eager to write it. I hereby dedicate this story to you. If there's anything that you feel you would like to see in this story, tell me and I'll see what I can do (as long as I can fit it into the plot)
Oh, also, to anyone else reading this as well as Sweet 16 Movie Buff, I realized the other day that at the end of chapter one I promised a bunch of stuff that was going to happen in chapter two. Originally I had planned to introduce an OC in chappy 2 and move along with Sirius being discontent, but I decided to go in a different direction with it. Sorry I lied.
Chapter Three - To Win a War
One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
-Agatha Christie (1890 - 1976)
"Well Sirius, it's been a whole year." Harry said, feeling quite awkward standing in front of the stone slab bearing the title:
MAY HE REST IN PEACE
Remus had come to the school and brought him out here, but Harry wasn't quite sure what to say to a hunk of rock bearing his godfather's nickname and date of birth, followed by the painful date of death. He had never spoken to his parent's graves. He wasn't even sure where they were buried to be honest. Remus had laid a careful hand on his shoulder, and then walked away to give him some privacy, as if he were about to start losing it to a stupid ruddy grave marker that didn't even cover Sirius' body. It was really like sitting around talking to thin air for all it was worth, but he was here now, so he might as well do the thing properly.
"I hope you're, er, well wherever you are. Things haven't changed much around here. Fred and George have been making a lot of money with their joke shop, and Mrs Weasley finally accepted it, because of the war and all. I just don't think she wants to take the chance of fighting with them, and then never seeing them again.
"School's almost over for the year. I can't beleive that I'll be graduating next year, it seems like only weeks ago when I first saw you in Magnolia Crescent when I was in third year. My marks are pretty good, I'm surviving Snape's O level potions class, even if he is a great evil git who I can't stand. Ron's doing good, the same as always, playing quidditch and annoying Hermione. I'm not quite sure how Hermione is really. She's been really pale, and just after Christmas she was spending so much time in the library, I was pretty sure she wasn't even eating. She's doing better now, I just wish I knew what was bothering her." Harry sighed, still feeling awkward, but less so than before. He looked up and saw Remus, standing just out of earshot with his eyes closed.
"I'm sorry Sirius." Harry said, laying a hand on the cool stone. He wasn't sure exactly if he had meant sorry he had to leave, or sorry that Sirius was dead in the first place, but he didn't want to investigate the feeling. He just wanted to go back home to Hogwarts and lose himself in the busy school life, and not think about it anymore.
When Harry caught up with Remus, they exchanged a weary smile.
"Feeling alright Harry."
"Yeah, just kind of tired. I'd like to go back to the castle." Harry said simply, and began to walk towards the gates of the cemetary. Remus cast one last glance over to his old friend's tombstone. On top of it lay a yellow rose, that Remus had been sure that Harry had not put there. Squinting his eyes, he saw a slight shadow move out into a shady area beyond the graves, and disappear.
This kind of thinking was actually quite rare nowadays. When he first arrived, Sirius had felt out of place and longed for nothing more than a return to his old home. Even though he had loathed the place with every fibre of his being, he had known his place. It had been quite awkward settling into this version of the cottage he had once loved so much to visit. He would wake up everyday and Lily would call him for breakfast and he would sit down with her and James and eat and then they would playfully fight over the shower and who did the dishes today, as he sat and watched silently. They had always been so very kind, his best friends, but he had some feeling deep down that they couldn't possibly want him there. Oh they wanted him around, that much was obvious, but they were a happy couple, filled with love and kisses and joking. He got the strong impression that, although he was welcome to share their home, they would be happier if he found one of his own. There was one slight problem with this however, there were no vacant homes. There were no jobs to be filled, even though there were people that worked selling vegetables or renting videos or working in bookstores. Even then, he wasn't quite sure that money existed here. He had gone with Lily more than once to the market, and never had he seen any type of currency at all. It had seemed like a joke, that people worked without purpose here. How was it heaven if half of the people worked labourous jobs without recieving a cent in compensation?
James had explained this to him one day, catching his friend walking around a strange suburban neighborhood. They had gone for drinks in the pub which seemed miraculously able to make them both lightheaded, but never sick or unable to focus. People came here with a place to be. He had explained.
"The place that you loved most in the world is suddenly yours again mate, and you can just take it. The people that work here only work cus they loved doing it when they were alive. This is heaven Sirius, they give you everything that you ever loved back, and make it better than before." Sirius had understood clearly then. He was taken to Godric's Hollow because it had been the place he had loved most in the world.
"But, that's not right. I mean, now you're stuck with me living in your house being a pain and you can't ever get rid of me is what you're saying! What if two people who absolutely hated each other had the same dream home? What then huh?" James had given him a look then that had made him feel like a complete idiot.
"They each get their own then." He said with a shrug. It took a moment, but comprehension dawned on Sirius. He lived in Godric's Hollow because he loved it more than anyplace in the world. He wanted it. He lived there with the Potters because they wanted him. His heart swelled with affection for his two best friends, and he never fell into depression about the matter again after that.
Everyday, of course, there was the nagging in the back of his mind that told him his friends were down on Earth fighting a war, and that he should be right there fighting alongside them. It had all ended so abruptly for him, that he was left with a strong desire for closure. He hadn't even really fought in the war, he had just left them all as it was just beginning. And it wasn't even as simple as feeling guilty, because he didn't really. He felt guilty for not feeling so guilty. Yes, he wanted to fight Voldemort until the end, but it wasn't like the first war. He didn't want to fight specifically for the good of the people. He wanted to fight for himself. He wanted to end the life of the bastard who had stolen his own. He wanted to be a free man. He wanted Peter Pettigrew to suffer as no human has ever done. He wanted to fall in love, and have children, but more importantly he wanted to have a home with Harry and finish raising him like he had promised he would. He wanted to be that rich, charismatic, undeniably attractive man he had been just after Hogwarts, who had had the world at his feet. Who could go anywhere in life he wanted to.
But then he thought of what he has here.
As odd as it was, Sirius could actually claim to be happy in heaven. Alright, so maybe it wouldn't be that strange for most, but it felt quite odd for a veteran of Azkaban. He supposed that he was probably one of the only resident's of Azkaban prison who had ever made it to the bright shining light. Most had either been guilty, had their soul devoured, or had killed themselves thus sending themselves straight to... the other place. For the most part, the days were the same. Dull as it was, it had a type of peaceful finality that he very much enjoyed. He got out of bed, just as he did everyday. He went down the warm cheery hallway and down the stairs to the kitchen, where Lily would be making pancakes. He would kiss her on the cheek and settle into his spot at the table and watch as James would follow not long after into the kitchen and kiss his wife and sit down across from Sirius. They would chat for a minute or two before Lily put down a large stack of pancakes in front of them, and she would dangle the syrup just out of James' reach, giving him a naughty grin filled with promise. Sirius didn't eat the syrup. When they were done breakfast, all three of them stared each other in the eye for a moment, before bolting as fast as they could towards the only bathroom. As always the winner gets first shower, and the loser gets cleanup duty. Today, Lily won, and gave Sirius and apologetic look as she yanked James into the bathroom with her and Sirius himself headed off to do the dishes, shaking his head at her seemingly insatiable appetite for her husband. Knowing what his two best friends were doing in just the other room wasn't awkward at all. Living in a dorm room for seven years where it was not only easy, but likely to walk in on something that should not be observed had caused dissensitisation. About an hour later the kitchen was cleaned and the Potters came fully dressed out of the bathroom and headed for the door with promises to see him at the park at noon. He waved them off and headed for a shower himself.
It was a rather lazy day today, and he knew it would be one of the longer ones. It felt like Sundays had when he had been alive. A long long day with nothing to do but relax. He spent ages in the shower, just taking in the feeling of warmth and he stood there under the spray of water until his fingers began to look pruny. Sirius loved showers, perhaps because he had been lacking them for so long while in Azkaban and even the first two years he had spent on the run. When he was younger, he had always been very certain to shower everyday no matter what. He had hated feeling grimy. Perhaps it was part of his near aristocratic upbringing that he had never quite been able shed. As a young child, his mother had made him wash his hands at least twenty times a day, always convinced that he wasn't quite clean enough. He remembered being absolutely disgusted when James would come in from quidditch practise wet from the rain and covered in mud and simply kick off his shoes and hop into his bed. James had always been a slob about his appearance, and very neat about his surroundings, whereas Sirius had always been the exact opposite. His bed in the Gryffindor dormotories had always seemed to be floating in an island of every kind of junk, surrounded by the painfully clear spaces surrounding James and Remus' beds. He couldn't remember if Peter had been as stubbornly tidy as the other two. He didn't think so, but then, he didn't really give it much thought.
He pulled on a pair of blue jeans and a black button down shirt - no need for a robe in this weather. He very much enjoyed the freedom of movement provided by muggle clothes, and today he would use it to his full advantage. He pushed his hair back out of his eyes, It had grown just long enough to graze the tops of his ears (the way it had before Azkaban) It was almost time to meet Lily and James from the looks of it outside the window. He stepped out into a beautifully cool fall breeze, Not that there were actual seasons in this place of course, but the air was fresh and strong and blew many coloured flower petals across the grass. The smell of the air was the true smell of life. It was riding a broomstick, or having a leaf fight as children, or discovering the mountain caves on the outskirts of Hogsmeade. The memories seemed almost endless, and he felt an amazing sense of elation. Drawing in a deep breath, he transformed into a large shaggy black dog. He wanted to be quick in meeting Lily and James, and in all honesty he had alway loved running around as Padfoot, bounding out into the open on all fours.
He rushed across large stretches of luscious green grass, spotted here and there with beautiful wildflowers on his way to the park. It had always quite reminded him of home really. His real home that is, not his mother's home. Just after leaving Hogwarts, he and Remus had lived in a quite nice flat and nearby there had been a beautiful park almost identical to the one to which he was heading. There were wrought iron gates and some sort of purple flower. There was a dirt path, that wound it's way throughout, breaking off here and there into other paths that lead to little nooks perfect for picnicing. In the fall of 1980, they had done just that. He remembered James carrying baby Harry, and fussing over the boy like he was a prince, as Sirius and Remus flanked Lily on either side, Remus carrying the large picnic basket, while they both attempted to teach Lily to howl. She had always been very suited to the fall. The cool air made her pale cheeks glow, and her long red hair, pulled back into a ponytail matched perfectly with the colours of the falling leaves. They would try their hardest to make her laugh, and when she did it wasn't just a girly giggle, but a full blown expression of her absolute joy. She would throw her head back, and howl (with laughter, she had never learned how to truly howl) her eyes would be squeezed closed and she would clutch at Remus' arm to keep herself steady. A breeze blew a large orange leaf into her hair, and she grabbed it, giving it to Harry who treated it as some treasured gift. She had loved the fall. She died in the fall.
These thoughts were not as dark as they had once been. Seeing how much happier his friends seemed everyday, made the pain lessen exponentially. But he would not think of those things today anyway. It would be a bright beautiful day, and he and Lily and James would perhaps play tag like children, or climb up the rocks by the river, or maybe even throw around the quaffle. Things that they did often, but never seemed to lose their lure of pure innocent fun, the kind that many do not get to enjoy after reaching the age of twenty. When Sirius came bounding up the trail, still in dog form, the first thing he saw was Lily's fiery red hair that shone like a beacon in the bright sun. She and James were standing, facing the opposite direction, holding hands. Sirius was preparing to pounce upon James and surprise them both, but then he caught a wiff of something on the air, and he skidded to a halt. It was something that he had never smelt here in this place, but that had seemed to haunt his every footstep on Earth. It was the sharp and unmistakeable scent of fear. But what was there to be afraid of in Heaven? He transformed back into himself and walked slowly and cautiously over to the Potters.
"What's happening." He asked them in a gentle, concerned voice. James stood completely still, staring out across the ground in front of them. They were at the edge of the park, and almost the very border of Heaven itself. The gravel and grass smoothed out into a white and fluffy ground, that was very much like a cloud, except solid and strong. Not far from where they stood, was the enormous golden gate and the area where the new dead were received by their friends and families. There was a crowd there now, which was not completely unusual as many people die everyday, but he had never seen quite so many. It was ridiculous really, there hadn't even been another person to die at the same time as him, and yet here there were about fifty people milling about down there. Lily turned to him, her voice sounding forced she responded:
"They've lost the horn."
The night was black as pitch, not a single star showing in the sky as if it too were in mourning. Hermione Granger laid awake in her bed, staring at the ceiling of the 6th year girls dormotory, not tired at all even though it was about three o'clock in the morning. It was a fitting type of day, she thought, it had been exactly one year and three hours and sixty two minutes from the moment that Sirius Black had died. Harry had flooed to London earlier today with the permission of professor Dumbledore, to visit the grave marker they had left for him. Not that there had been a body to bury, but Mrs. Weasley had suggested having something to represent Sirius, a place for his soul to visit. At the time, Hermione had thought it was a very good thing to do, but pondering it now, it seemed like a childish story in an attempt to soothe away the pain.
She wasn't quite convinced that Sirius' soul was capable of visiting, considering how he died.
She almost wondered why she even thought of it at all really. That night last summer, when she and Harry had fought, the loss had been so fresh. She had gone upstairs and cried, curled up in the middle of the bed that she used. It had struck her then how much time she had spent at Grimmaul Place. The bed there had been his property, and it belonged in his house, and she was crying and that made the feeling even worse, illogical as it was. It was true that she hadn't been that close to him, she could not claim to have loved him, she couldn't even say she had fancied him as she had suspected Ginny had in that idolic way that young girls sometimes fancied men twice their age. She had however, admired him. Many people wouldn't see it, but she had always looked up to Sirius Black in a way that she had never quite looked up to anyone else before. It wasn't his intelligence, (although she knew he could be quite clever when he applied himself) and it had nothing to do with his magical abilities. It had nothing to do with anything that could be learnt or taught, and lord knows she rarely agreed with most of his ideas anyway. No, what made Sirius Black a man to care for was quite deeper. It was not his brain, but his heart. His loyalty and determination knew no bounds, even if it did get him into trouble often enough. She had never met anyone in her whole life who she was certain was quite as... capable as Sirius. She had always been quite certain that he was one person that could overcome anything, escape everything, but at the same time remain a good man through and through. That was his magic.
Back then she almost believed, as she knew Harry did as well, that it wasn't really over for Sirius. That he would walk back through the door to number twelve Grimmauld Place one day, and laugh at the shocked look on all of their faces. It would all be one big joke, and then life would go on as it always did. It had to, because if Sirius couldn't do it, if he really couldn't escape... then it all became so real. But time went on, they went back to school, and Sirius never did walk back through the door. Not one of the letters that Harry received all that year were written out in that familiar messy scrawl. In all the times that she had stayed up late in the common room alone, not once did she see his grinning face amongst the flames in the fireplace.
And slowly, very slowly, a part of her died and was taken away to wherever Sirius was now. It was the part of her that beleived that one man could overcome any obstacle, the part that beleived that good would always triumph over evil. It was the part of her that beleived that praying can make you heard. They can't possibly hear, all of those people. And the battle wore on. It had been very subdued in truth, far less horrifying and overt than she had thought it would be. Deatheaters attack random homes, aurors chase the deatheaters, the deatheaters go to Azkaban, and half of them promptly escape because the dementors are no longer there to keep them weak. And life at Hogwarts just went on as usual.
Bellatrix Lestrange was back on the streets somewhere.
Sirius was dead.
And she had thought she was over it, really she had.
Of course she missed him, but over the past few months his memory had begun to fade into the background and she no longer got upset or cried. She knew that he had only been the first soldier to hit the ground, and that many more had and would soon after join him. This bothered her often enough, but she tried to be proactive, to think of a plan of attack, rather than all the losses. Things had gotten much better.
That's when the dreams started.
Or at least they started as dreams. Sirius generally featured largely in them, and this is what confused her because she really had thought that she had put it behind her. Sometimes there were other people though. Harry, and Voldemort and a woman. A very beautiful woman, she knew even if she couldn't ever remember what exactly she looked like. In the dream she had always glowed with power. But the dreams weren't where it ended. She would be sitting at the Gryffindor table in the great hall, when all of a sudden there would be a quick piercing pain in her head and she would see something. At first she didn't understand what it was, but she now knew it was the veil from the department of mysteries. Sometimes she would see great gates shuddering under some unseen pressure, quite often however, it was Sirius that she saw. She dreamt about him, got these strange flashes that showed him to her, but she couldn't understand. She was sure that they were glimpses of the past, he looked so young and strong, but she could never understand what these strange flashes meant. Ron and Harry (neither of whom she told about any of this) thought she was going mad, constantly rushing off to the library (moreso than usual) barely eating, skiving off classes. This hadn't lasted long, but only for the first few weeks of January, until she realised that there was nothing in the Hogwarts library about great bloody migraines that come with pictures of the past.
All of the walls that she had built up to protect herself were starting to fail under the pressure. Tonight the dream had been longer, very different from before. She saw Sirius, just as she had every night, but something was different. Rather than just seeing fleeting glimpses of his face, she saw moments, actions, pain. Everything was always very distorted, as if she herself were very very drunk, and wobbling all over the place. She saw Sirius, falling back back back, Harry standing there, watching. Sirius writhed in pain and clawed at his throat. He sat up, silver eyes dull and she heard a voice, high pitched and lauging.
She woke up then, taking deep breaths and covered in cool sweat, but a searing pain crossed her forehead again and she bit her lip to keep from crying out and waking the others. The images began to assault her again, even though she was awake. She saw Harry again, running to the door, screaming for Sirius to come back... that he had promised he would come back.
"Better go help him." said another voice. "wouldn't want him to get himself killed."
And Harry turned, but it wasn't Harry. She rubbed her eyes to clear them, as if she were really seeing everything in front of her face rather than in her head. Suddenly, the pain receded and everything went black. That was when she laid herself out and began staring at the ceiling. She had been doing this for about three and a half hours now, mind racing, unable to sleep, images of her best friend's dead godfather racing through her head.
She didn't miss Sirius. She was obsessed with him.
Next chapter's gonna be good, I promise. It's when all the mytery begins - aside from my little bit with Hermione which I put in here instead. Please if you're reading, keep on reading! and If you're reading and not reviewing, please send me something! The more reviews I get, the faster I work yanno.
Speaking of reviews once more
Lady Taliesin: My second reviewer. All I have to say is, you're awesome, you're stuff is awesome, and it's awesome that you like my stuff. I'm loving two way mirrors, it's one of my favourite stories. It's really awesome to have an author that I admire, tell me that they like my stuff. Both you and Sweet 16 Movie Buff deserve a giant plate full of cookies for being so awesome! Have I said awesome enough tonight? It's kinda late and I'm on that incredible, just made this the longest story I've published yet high.