Author's Note: The compilation of one-shot stories just wasn't working. So here they are, as stand alone fics.

24 Hours

The news had hit him like a bludger to his stomach. He blinked. Once. Twice. Somewhere in his mind he could hear owls outside of his window hooting melodiously. He realized he wasn't breathing. He couldn't breathe. He was transfixed and couldn't move or snap out of his trance as much as he would've wanted to. He suddenly felt like he was in a dream. Just floating in a dream watching it all happen. He knew he'd soon wake up…wouldn't he?

His eyes stared past his old friend still trying to register what he'd just heard. How could it even be possible? Of all the times he had imagined what it would be like or what he would do if the situation ever came up…he never imagined that it would actually happen. It had seemed to him like one of those things people talk about constantly but never occur. Or maybe, he'd made it seem that way for his own good. Had he ever really entertained the idea? Really pictured what it would be like? Of course not, thinking about it hurt him, and he didn't like that feeling. He'd pushed it all out of his mind and subconsciously convinced himself that it wouldn't happen. But it had.

He swallowed hard as he repeated the words in his head. Dead. Lily and James are dead.

How could it have happened? Where did they mess up? At what point did Dumbledore and the rest of the Order screw up? How could he have allowed this to happen to his best friends? Air entered his lungs again and burned his dry throat while hot tears began to well up in his eyes.

"Sirius, I asked you a question," Remus said staring at him.

Sirius looked at him in the eyes and saw that his friend looked worn out. He looked drained; his eyes were dull and weary. He'd obviously given up on everything. He seemed to be trying to understand, looking for answers in every place possible, just to match the pieces and make sense out of that vicious puzzle that had become their lives.

"Did you or did you not, Sirius?" Remus insisted, closing his eyes as if gathering up strength to ask the question just one more time; making a silent prayer in hopes that he would finally make sense out everything.

Sirius could only stare. He tried searching for his voice but he couldn't find it. He felt displaced from himself. He felt like he had stepped into an alternate universe where everything went wrong, where the good where doomed to a life of misery.

Remus had lost the last ounce of patience that he had so dearly grasped on to. "Dammit, Sirius Black, just answer the question! Did you or did you not betray Lily and James?"

"How dare you ask such a question, Remus!" Sirius suddenly bellowed. Where the strength to reply had come from he did not know. But a surge of rage had suddenly erupted through his body and he felt alive once again. He was back in his body. It was real. It was very real. Lily and James were dead.

"How dare you come into my house and insult me in such manner! You know nothing, Remus, nothing!"

"Of course I know nothing! You made sure I knew nothing! You pushed me out of your lives! How was I supposed to know anything?"

What was he thinking coming into Sirius's apartment accusing him of betraying his best friend and his wife? On what grounds? Remus had been out of their group for so long, he couldn't even remember the last time they'd spoken to each other outside of the Order of the Phoenix.

But now that he thought about it, he remembered. He looked at Remus who looked angered beyond reason. As a matter of fact, Sirius had seen no other side of Remus but his cold side since that last time when they'd argued…when James had still been alive. Today, Remus looked beside himself; probably the most livid Sirius had ever seen him. What happened to that shy and quiet boy he'd known at Hogwarts? The one who'd always tried to convince them to back out of mischief. What had turned Remus into this monster that accused him of selling his best friend, his brother, out to the most evil of wizards?

The answer was obvious: Lily. Lily had happened to him. Lily had clouded his mind, his thoughts and his senses. Lily had turned Remus into a vile being, or at least his feelings for her had. The shy and quiet boy had turned jealous, resentful, and spiteful. His obsession with Lily had become irrational and it was plain for every one to see. Remus had always envied James. James was popular, charismatic and well-liked. But when James got the girl the story had been a different one. Remus had become distant and non talkative, always locked up inside himself…obviously hiding something. Sirius had always known of Remus' love for Lily but he never thought it'd push him to the limits of betrayal…or at least that's what every one had suspected…

But now Lily and James were dead and there stood Remus blaming him for the very thing that Sirius had blamed him for only months ago.

"How could you do this, Sirius? James was your best friend," Remus said, his voice sounding weak.

"I did not do it, Remus!"

"Then who? Because we both know now that I couldn't have been the one to do it!"

"You were in love with Lily! You were the obvious suspect!"

"Yes, I was." Remus lowered his tone and calmed himself down, looking more now like the Remus Sirius knew. He closed his eyes once more as if he were in pain.

"You're right, I was in love with Lily…and I still am. But I was never who you made me out to be, Sirius. I would've never hurt her…I would've never hurt James."

Sirius dug his hands through his hair and shut his eyes tightly as the room began to spin. Nothing was making sense. How could Remus not be the one?

"You shut me out unjustly." Remus continued. "You never bothered to hear me out. You made your own conclusions about me and just ignored whatever I had to say. I'm not ashamed of admitting it, Sirius. I did love her; I love her more than life it self…"

Remus paused and Sirius could hear him breathing deeply trying to regain his composure.

"Heck, if I could I would rewind time right now I'd go right to Godric's Hollow and give up my own life for her!"

Sirius buried his face in his hands and took deep breaths. He could feel the tears coming and he tried to fight them. He wanted to scream and yell and curse everything in sight but there was knot in his throat that would not allow him.

"I just wanted her to be happy! I wanted her to be safe! All I did was keep my distance from all of you because I just didn't feel right. I just wanted time for myself to sort my feelings out, to overcome my feelings for Lily. But you and James could not see or understand that. You assumed I was keeping secrets. You just stuck to your wands and pointed fingers at me. You called me a traitor, you accused me of being greedy, of wanting her for myself….you said I would do anything in my reach to separate her from James…you said that and much more. You talked about me as if we hadn't spent seven years living under the same roof…as if you had never known me!"

Remus stopped speaking and Sirius heard him breathing heavily. He dragged his hands down his face as he looked at his old friend once more. Tears were streaming down old Moony's face, and Sirius couldn't recall seeing him cry before. Yet through the tears his face was red with fury.

"Why'd you do it, Sirius? Why? Was it another one of your reckless adventures? Did someone put you up to it? Or were you just bored?"

"I didn't do it," Sirius muttered closing his eyes. Everything seemed so surreal. Remus was not being himself. The death of Lily and James had affected him terribly and if once Sirius had thought he'd known Remus' dark side he'd been wrong. This was Remus' dark side. This was Remus pushed to the limit. Not Remus in love, secretly hurting in his miserable solitude…solitude that Sirius and James had left him to. This was Remus hurting to the deepest part of his soul, the one and only thing he cared about most in the world was gone. Sirius could understand that, but why was he blaming him? Sirius was, after all, feeling the same pain Remus was.

"Sirius, I want to believe you, but I can't…all the evidence points to you!"

"I didn't do it!" Sirius spat out. "James was my friend! He was my best friend! I would never do that to him! I would willingly give myself to Voldemort and his Death Eaters before I did something like that to him!"

"Then why didn't you! You were their secret-keeper! Why did you have to go and rat them out?"

Sirius's eyes widened. With one word all the pieces fell into place. Everything was suddenly clear. He held his breath as a million thoughts rushed into his head all so quickly but yet so clear. The shock of James and Lily's death had blanked him out, but he should've thought of that first. It was all starting to make sense to him now…

"Rat," he whispered as he stared into space, his heart sinking even deeper.

"I hope you're happy now, Sirius. I hope your cunning plan worked. Blame the werewolf; of course, who could ever trust a werewolf?"

Sirius ran his hand through his hair and though he could hear Remus, his voice sounded distant. He should've seen it coming…

Remus sniffed for a second and wiped his cheek with the back of his hand. "I don't know why you did it, Sirius, and honestly I don't think I want to know anymore."

He should've known from the very start. He should've known from that very first day. How could he have been so blind? Now James and Lily were dead…

"…and it's all my fault…" Sirius said out loud.

"At least you admit it," Remus said. "But I really doubt honesty is going to help you now."

Sirius looked at Remus. How blindly he had judged him, how unfair he had been! Remus had always been Remus. He'd simply wanted Lily and James's happiness. He wouldn't have hurt anyone. He had only been another tormented soul, caught in the middle of his affection for James and his love for Lily. And Sirius had let himself be fed lies about him. It had never been Remus…

"I'm so sorry, Remus…" Sirius said and he felt the first tear roll down his cheek.

"I can't help you, Sirius." Remus replied. He was back to being himself, serene and levelheaded Remus. "Even if I wanted to I couldn't. I doubt I could even try."

"I'm so sorry, Remus…it's all my fault…I should've stopped it…I should've known…please forgive me…"

Sirius fell slowly to his knees as an immense mixture of emotions began to wash over him. His chest fell and rose quickly, feeling as though he would soon stop breathing. His head was pounding but what was worse was the feeling in his chest, as if someone had just stabbed him and torn his insides. The tears began to come freely now. James and Lily were gone. They were dead and it was his fault.

"I don't know if… if I could ever forgive you, Sirius. Look to higher powers for forgiveness because you may never find it in human kind. What you did was…the most monstrous thing you could ever do; there is no name for it…you killed an innocent man and his innocent wife…and now their helpless, innocent child has to wander the earth without the love of his parents…"

Sirius looked up from where he was kneeling on the floor. "Harry!"

He got to his feet and looked around. He spotted his wand feet away on a glass table. He marched towards it and picked it up.

"What are you doing?" Remus asked.

"I'm going to get Harry," Sirius replied stuffing his wand into the back pocket of his jeans.

"Sirius, don't you dare hurt a hair on that boy's head!" Remus exclaimed standing in Sirius's path so as to block his way.

"I have to go for him, Remus, don't you understand? I'm his godfather!"

"You've already done enough damage! I won't let you! The authorities will be coming for you soon!"

Sirius pulled his wand out but Remus was just as quick. They both stood there wands pointed at each others' chests.

"I have no time to argue with you, Remus! I have to go and get Harry!"

"And I'm not going to let you!"

Sirius could not wait anymore he raised his wand and exclaimed, "Petrificus Totalus!" at the same time that Remus began to say "Expelliarmus!", but this time Sirius was a split second quicker. Remus' hands and legs snapped stiffly at his sides as he fell hard to the floor.

"Forgive me, Remus," Sirius said as he walked over his friend's body and bolted out the door. He found his black motorcycle sitting outside right where he'd left it. He'd only last used it a few hours ago, never imagining that the next time he got on it it'd be to go pick up his godson from what was left of what had once been his hiding place. He threw a leg over the seat and grasped the handlebar tightly in his hands. He'd already screwed up with Lily and James; he wasn't going to screw up with Harry. He spoke loud and clear to his motorbike and said, "To Godric's Hollow!" And with a loud roar the black motorbike took off into the night sky leaving a cloud of gray smoke behind.

Once again Sirius felt as though he were dreaming. He stared up at the house picturing the different ways in which his friends had fallen. Evil had left this house only moments ago. The house was mostly destroyed. The roof had blown off and most of the east side of it had completely crumbled.

"Oh God, please let this be a nightmare," he said to himself. He placed his hand on the wall of the entrance gate to the gardens for support. "How could I have let this happen?"

He looked around one last time and took a deep breath. He then took one step forward and made his way slowly to the front door. He felt that familiar knot return to his throat as he pushed the door open and stepped into the house. Lily's perfectly neat house was in shambles. Walking down the narrow corridor, amongst the rubble, a table had been tossed to the middle of the floor and a shattered vase lay not far from it, its white lilies scattered over the pieces. He followed a trail of large, muddy footsteps past the table, vase and lilies to the staircase that lead to the bedrooms upstairs. Its once beautiful mahogany banister was now completely nonexistent. Pictures that had once lined the white walls of the stair case were now strewn on the steps, mixed with the dust, rubble and wood that now cluttered it.

Sirius stood on the last step and looked towards Lily and James' bedroom. He sucked in his breath at the sight of a lifeless hand protruding out of the room over the threshold.

"James," he whispered.

He approached the hand and stood at the entrance of the darkened room looking in. He kneeled next to James' body. He stared at him for a while feeling tears begin to sting his eyes. He wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his jacket and sniffed loudly.

"Oh God, James… oh God, oh God, oh God..."

"Who's there?" asked a familiar gruff voice.

Sirius stepped into the room and saw the shadow of an enormous figure standing at the far corner of the room pointing a pink umbrella at him.

"Hagrid!"

The half giant was holding little baby Harry in his arms. He looked around and saw Lily's body on the floor behind him, her red mane covering her face. There were black smoke lines on what was left of the wall above her as if an explosion or a fire had taken place.

"Sirius, I didn' know yeh was comin'," Hagrid said. Harry looked and Sirius and smiled showing off four little white teeth. He began to clap his hands and Sirius managed to give him a faint smile.

"You've got Harry," Sirius said walking over to where Hagrid stood.

"Poor thing was lying in a pile o' rocks," he replied.

Sirius looked around. That's all there was left now – rocks and bits of things that were no more. His eyes darted over to Lily's body once more and he felt chills running up and down his spine. How was this possible? How did he let things get this far? His best friends were dead and it was his fault. He could've stopped this tragedy from happening. He leaned over Lily's cold body, and pushed her hair away from her face.

"Lils…" Sirius whispered. Her once bright green eyes were open and dull, a look of fright still upon her delicate face. He placed a hand over her eyes and closed them.

"It's horrible, ain't it?"

"Horrible isn't the word." Sirius replied. He looked at tiny Harry in Hagrid's large arms and he felt a tear escape his eye. He raised a hand to wipe it away.

"Yeh okay, Black?"

Sirius didn't reply. He just stared in awe at the images around him. It was real. So real that just looking at it hurt. His body was numb and he could feel himself grow sick to his stomach.

"Oh, Lily, I am so sorry…" Sirius said his voice hardly audible.

A sob escaped his throat as he kneeled next to her body. He took a couple of deep breaths and stood upright trying to control himself.

Sirius felt a huge weight fall upon his shoulder and he jumped, turning around to see what it was. Hagrid had placed his massive hand on his shoulder. "I'm sorry, Black. I wish der was sumthin' I could do. But yeh'll be alrigh'. Little Harry here is going to be alrigh' too. A hero he is. Killed…You-Know-Who tonight."

Sirius looked at Harry and his eyes fell upon his forehead. He noticed something that hadn't been there before, a scar in the shape of a lightning bolt.

"Harry, I'm so sorry," Sirius said reaching out to touch the baby's forehead.

"Don't blame yerself, Black."

Sirius nodded politely but found himself holding his breath once more as he stared at the scar on Harry's forehead.

"We should get out of here."

"Righ', the muggles should be comin' soon."

"Here," Sirius began extending his arms out to Hagrid. "Give Harry to me, Hagrid, I'm his godfather. I'll look after him."

"Sorry, Black, but I've got me orders from Dumbledore. He said ter go take Harry ter his aunt and uncle's." Hagrid explained.

"The muggles?" Sirius asked. "Hagrid, you can't take him there!"

"It's not up ter me; if it was I'd give him give ter yeh, but Dumbledore said—"

"But I'm his godfather! Those muggles are not going to treat him right!"

"Sorry, Black, orders are orders."

Sirius closed his eyes and took a deep breath. How could Dumbledore even consider sending Harry to live with those people? He knew he was Harry's godfather, why wouldn't he let him take him?

Then something Remus had said echoed in his head. The authorities will be coming for you soon. The sick feeling returned to his stomach. Sirius stepped away from Hagrid and Lily's body. He turned around leaned over and this time he wasn't able to keep himself back. He coughed and threw up over broken perfume bottles, broken picture frames, and more rubble.

The Ministry of Magic was out looking for him. Everyone still thought he was the secret keeper. They all believed he had been the one to betray the Potters. Everyone thought he was the traitor…and now they were looking for him.

Sirius wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his jacket. He stood upright but felt as if he was about to lose his balance. He was seeing spots and he rubbed his eyes with his hands to make them disappear. He took a few deep breaths and turned back around.

Sirius looked at Hagrid, his face fallen and every ounce of strength left in him was gone. He didn't know how he managed to keep himself on his two feet. In one day his world had managed to turn upside down. Why was his happening to him? He'd just lost his best friend, Remus thought he was a traitor, he had to give his godson to muggles, and now he was going to lose his freedom?

Everything was that rat bastard's fault. He'd planned everything so accurately…who could've ever imagined that the sniveling, pathetic fool could ever come up with such a clever plan. But Sirius wasn't going to let him get away with it. If he was going to give up his freedom, it would not be unfairly to the death of those he loved…it'd be to the one he'd grown to hate in just a matter of minutes, the one responsible for the whole catastrophe. If Sirius was going to be accused of murder then so be it, but it would be for the rightful one.

Blood began pumping through his veins faster and faster. He could feel it boiling inside of him. He was suddenly overcome with such hatred so quickly that for a second it scared him, but he pushed the fear aside. He didn't care anymore; there was nothing left to fight for. But he would make him pay. The bastard would pay for the innocent lives he had taken, and for the ones he had ruined. Sirius would make sure of it.

"Black?" Hagrid said snapping Sirius back to reality.

Sirius found himself balling his fists tightly at his sides. He looked at Hagrid, his chest rising and falling quickly. He suddenly had so much energy he felt that he could run to where ever the slimeball was hiding and kill him with his bare hands.

"I'm taking little Harry now," Hagrid said.

"Take my motorbike, it's parked right outside."

"Yer motorbike?" Hagrid's small beady black eyes widened. "But yeh love that bike!"

"I won't be needing it anymore."

There were a few seconds of silence in which Sirius just looked around the room and Hagrid started at Sirius in amazement.

"Alrigh' then, we're gonna get goin'. Say goodbye to Sirius, Harry." Hagrid said holding the baby out to Sirius.

Sirius looked at Harry and took him in his arms. The rush of hatred he had been feeling left him and he was taken over by the feeling of that small creature in his arms. He would never be able to give Harry the kind of life he deserved. He felt so responsible and so guilty for everything that was happening.

"Please, don't grow up to hate me," Sirius whispered in Harry's ear as he held him close to him. He pulled back and kissed his forehead. "I'll always keep you in my heart, don't forget that okay?"

Harry placed his tiny hand over Sirius's eye from which a tear had just fallen and rolled unto his cheek.

"Goodbye, Harry."

Sirius handed the baby back to Hagrid, who wrapped him up tightly in a blanket.

"See yeh around, Black."

"See you."

With that Hagrid turned and began walking carefully over the rubble, crushing it more with his large feet. Sirius watched as he left the bedroom with Harry waving goodbye over his shoulder. Sirius raised his hand to wave back but they were already out of sight. He checked his back pocket and there his wand still was. He pulled it out and stared at it. Where would that bastard go? Where would he hide? He'd proven to be much smarter than anyone had given him credit for…but how smart was he really? The little conniving vermin...it didn't matter if he had to go to the ends of the earth to find him, in the end he would, and then Peter Pettigrew would pay.

With a loud crack, Sirius Apparated on Johnstains' Street and faced the old, decaying building. The once green paint had turned gray and was peeling off the walls. It wasn't a big building but it looked exactly like the person that had resided within it --revolting. Sirius's heart was pounding against his chest. He was anxious and nervous and had to keep himself concentrated or he might've hurled all over his shoes again. He hoped against all hope that at least in this situation, Peter had turned out as predictable as he'd always been. It'd only been a few hours since James and Lily's death and the most reasonable thing would be for him to be packing his things and getting ready to scram. But over the last twenty four hours Sirius had come to realize he didn't know who Peter Pettigrew was. He'd never known. He didn't know what to expect anymore, and that scared him a little, but he pushed the feeling away. He thought of James and Lily's lifeless bodies, and Harry, only one year old and already orphaned. Pettigrew had to be there, life couldn't be that unfair.

The sun was rising and the sky was slowly turning to a light shade of pink. Sirius gripped his wand tighter in his hand as a chilly breeze blew and he marched towards the building.
A gate made of metal with a lock was the building's entrance. He'd only been here once before, but he and his friends had avoided it, due to the fact that it was a muggle building in a muggle neighborhood and they had to be extra cautious using magic around them. Why Pettigrew would choose to live there was beyond him. After all, wasn't hating all non purebloods and muggles his new life-style? The one for which he'd betrayed his lifelong friends for? He pitied the muggles that lived in that same building with Pettigrew. Sirius felt disgusted at the thought of sharing a dorm for seven years with the bastard.

Sirius pointed his wand at the lock and whispered, "Alohomora"

The lock clicked open and he pushed the metal gate in. He stepped inside and stared at the door with a rusty brass number 3 nailed to it. Sirius inhaled and walked towards the door. He took a few steps back and said, "Bombarda"

The run-down wooden door with the number 3 flew open and Sirius stepped inside to find that he had been right. Even the cleverest of plans had to have a flaw. And there it was standing just feet away from him.

"You filthy, stinking…" Sirius hissed.

"Sirius!" Peter squeaked. He was standing over a small, black and battered suitcase with parts of clothes sticking out of the edges. "What a pleasant s-surprise. I wasn't expecting you…"

"Oh, you were expecting me alright, you pathetic parasite."

Sirius was aiming his wand at Peter as he stood in the doorway.

"W-what's the matter, Sirius? You seem ups-set…" He cast his eyes around the room as if looking for something. He fumbled with the button on his robes and took small and cautious steps backwards. His watery eyes were filled with fear as they darted all over the room.

"Thought it was going to be easy, didn't you, Peter? Thought you'd get the job done and then wash your hands clean and leave? Well, guess again."

"Sirius, you're not being yourself…"

"Well, maybe because it turns out nothing it like it is anymore!" Sirius bellowed taking a few steps forward.

Peter's eyes seemed to find what he had been looking for but Sirius didn't look; he didn't dare take his eyes away from him. Peter leaned over and grasped the backrest of a wooden chair that lay next to him by a small wooden table. He looked at Sirius then looked at whatever it was that was on the wooden table. He stood up straight again and stared at Sirius. Beads of sweat had begun to cover his forehead and his hands were clearly shaking as he held on to the chair's back rest.

"Let's be reasonable, Sirius." Peter took a few steps forward. "I really…think we…need to…talk!"

As he pronounced the last word he picked up the chair threw it in Sirius's direction. He dashed towards the table he'd been looking at before and picked up what Sirius could clearly see now was his wand. But Sirius saw the chair coming right for him and he aimed his want towards it making it explode into tiny pieces that began to fall now as bits of wooden rain. It was too late; Pettigrew had already gotten the advantage. Quicker than Sirius had ever thought him to be, he pointed his wand at Sirius and exclaimed, "Expelliarmus!"

Sirius was thrown backwards, out into the hallway as his wand flew out of his hand and landed a few feet away from him. He didn't have a second to waste though, as he rolled on his side and reached out for it, but chubby Peter was already darting through the door, through the main entrance to the building and into the street.

Without hesitation he aimed blindly towards the gate through which Peter had left and yelled in return, "Expelliarmus!"

Sirius sat up to see Peter trip and fall face flat on the ground, wand flying out of his hand. He rose to his feet and ran to where the loathsome, pathetic rat lay. He picked him up by the back of his robes and turned him around. With one leg at each side of the blubbery idiot he stuffed his wand in his back pocket; he kneeled over him, grabbed him by the collar of his shirt with one hand and smashed his fist against his fat jaw.

"You bloody bastard!" Sirius yelled as he continued to disfigure Peter's face with his fist. Peter groaned with every hit as blood began ooze out of his mouth.

"We trusted you, you traitor! How could you do that to them? How could you sell James and Lily out to Voldemort like that?"

"Sirius—" Peter began but another one of Sirius's punches interrupted him.

"You fed lies to us about Remus! Told us he was so crazy about Lily he might betray us! Then agreed to switch secret-keeper with me so you could run to your Dark Lord and rat them out, you filthy stinking rat!"

Sirius clutched his large throat with both his hands and squeezed with every bit of strength that he contained. "Did you honestly think you could get away with it? You bloody traitor! I'll bloody kill you right here!"

Peter's face was slowly turning from red to blue and Sirius though he was almost gone. But the next thing he knew Peter was swinging his arm upwards and smashing a rock against the side of his head. Sirius let out a shriek and fell sideways holding his throbbing head. For a second he thought Pettigrew had cracked his skull and that he was done for. He'd die right there in the middle of the street without having avenged his friends.

Sirius suddenly felt the warmth of the early morning sun prickling the back of his neck and he decided that while he still had some life left in him he'd fight. Pettigrew would not get away. He wouldn't let him.

He rolled onto his back still holding the side of his head, his eyes squeezed shut. His hand was wet and he knew it was blood because he could already smell it. He pushed himself up with his other hand and saw Pettigrew not far off on all fours trying to get up.

Pettigrew stood upright and turned to face Sirius who was scrambling to his feet. Several people had begun to gather around them, all staring in terror at the two men who were beating each other senseless in the middle of the street. Sirius stood and looked around. He took several steps back as he tried to regain his balance. Just then his back hit something flat and hard. Sirius turned his head to see a tall, white wall behind him. He rested a few seconds against it taking in short quick breaths.

Peter had fear plastered across his face. His eyes quickly scanned the streets at the muggles that were witnessing the spectacle.

"They're not going to save you now, Peter. I'm not afraid of them watching me kill you…because this…this is where you die…"

"No!" Peter cried. He had begun shaking and sobbing. "I won't let you…after everything you've done…after betraying them like you did…I must seek justice!"

Sirius furrowed his eyebrows. What on earth was he talking about? Had he finally gone completely mental? Had Sirius beaten him out of his mind?

"Lily and James, Sirius! How could you?"

Sirius was about to open his mouth to speak but he saw Peter's hand move slowly behind him, but Sirius was smarter than him, he could detect any suspicious movements before an attack. Without waiting a moment to think Sirius reached behind for his own wand. But Peter had been just as quick. Just as Sirius pointed his wand at Peter, with one quick and swift movement of his wrist, unnoticeable to the untrained wizard's eyes, Peter pointed his wand behind himself and the last Sirius saw of him was a malicious smirk on his face.

The earth moved beneath them all and trembled like an earthquake. Asphalt, dirt and rocks had begun flying everywhere. The explosion was so intense that Sirius was thrown back against the wall behind him. Dust and smoke had risen everywhere and Sirius closed his eyes and coughed. All that could be heard were the screams and anguished yells of the people standing around them.

"It was magic! I saw it!"

"Somebody help us!"

"They had real wands!"

The dust began to settle and Sirius sat on the ground with his back against the wall. His whole body ached, the side of his head throbbed. He swallowed and tasted dirt on his tongue. What on earth had just happened? Had Peter killed himself?

He tried pushing himself up, but he slid back down. He inhaled then coughed as dust went up his nose and into his throat. There were water droplets falling on him; was it raining? He pushed himself up again, stood up and leaned against the wall. He began to look around through squinted eyes.

There was an enormous crater in the middle of the street and Sirius saw the source of the water. The crater was so deep that it had cracked the sewer below making water sprout out of it. He took a few wobbling steps closer to the crater closing his eyes to the remaining dust in the air. He felt his foot step on something that didn't feel like hard ground and he stepped back. He opened his eyes and stared at what lay in front of him on the ground. Peter's blood stained clothes…and his finger.

Sirius looked across the crater. People were running around yelling and screaming. There were bodies scattered on the ground and people crying over them. Down in the sewer several scared rats were running for safety. Sirius felt a chuckle rising in his throat, and it surprised him when he heard it out loud coming from his mouth.

Little, harmless Peter Pettigrew had struck again. Sirius stared in disbelief at the remains of Peter and he chuckled again, this time louder and with more gusto. He'd outsmarted them again. Innocent, unsuspecting Peter Pettigrew had finished off what he'd started. Who would've ever thought that someone as insignificant would turn out to be Voldemort's loyal servant, a spy in the Order of the Phoenix, the one to betray his best friends, frame him for all of it, and then make such a smooth, unquestionable escape?

He couldn't even believe his own eyes. Who would ever believe that story? Sirius laughed louder now. There was no justice in the world. It was as unfair as it could get possibly get. The rat had gotten away. He'd slipped right through his fingers.

Sirius had now set on a manic, frantic laughing frenzy. He didn't know where this was coming from. Maybe it had been the last straw for him. Maybe this is what it felt like to finally go insane. As much as he thought about stopping he couldn't. He was completely disconnected from what was reality and what was not. Nothing made sense anymore, absolutely nothing.

There were several sounds that resembled gunshots, but Sirius did not bother to glance around, he already knew what they were. The crowd let out several frightened yelps, while others watched Sirius in utter bewilderment.

"Sirius Black!" yelled a loud male voice. "Drop your wand and put your hands behind your head!"

Sirius looked at the man approaching him, wand aimed directly at him. There were several others who stood around him doing the same. Sirius simply watched them and laughed even harder. The men looked at each other.

"We're Hit Wizards from the Magical Law Enforcement Squad and you are under arrest for the murder of Peter Pettigrew and twelve other muggles and for being suspected of collaborating to the Potter's death and having dealings with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." The man continued as they got closer to him.

One man pointed his own wand at Sirius's which hung loosely in his fingers and said, "Expelliarmus!"

The wand flew out of Sirius's hand and into the man's but Sirius didn't even seem to notice. There was a loud bang and soon ropes were flying towards Sirius and tying his arms together behind his back. He continued to laugh as the men safely approached him now.

"He's mad." He heard one of the men say.

Everything had been in vain. He'd lost his best friends. James and Lily were dead, and to Remus he was dead too. To Sirius, Peter had better die soon because if he ever came across him again he would kill him and that time he wouldn't fail. He'd lost his godson and now he would probably grow up to believe him a murdering traitor.

Sirius knew, as the men grabbed him by the arms and dragged him along to where someone was apparently charming a portkey, that he would probably never see daylight again. He'd heard of Azkaban prison and had only heard horrors of it. He'd heard of the Dementors, those vile beings that fed on your happiness, drove you mad and sucked out your soul. But to the horrors of the real world that didn't sound half bad. What happiness would they suck out of him? He had none left. He had nothing left out here. Azkaban might be a step up from a world of injustice, where evil always came out on top, where the ones who fought for the good and well being of mankind were always stepped on. Who wanted to live in that kind of world? Not him. He deserved to be locked up because everything that had happened was his fault. He should've seen the truth from the beginning. He should've known that the sniveling, cowardly rat was not to be trusted. And Remus, how could he have misjudged him so badly? He was alone now too and that was also his fault. He'd cursed Remus' love for Lily and made it into a horror tale. James's jealousy had contributed to that, but he should've known better. He should've been the one to remain level headed, but in truth it had always been Remus, but he hadn't seen that and now he would pay the price.

And of course there was still Harry. It was his fault his parents were dead. If he had remained secret-keeper none of this would've happened. He should've never switched with Pettigrew. Of all people, not with Pettigrew. That had been his biggest mistake. He should've never trusted him.

Fury, incredibility, guilt and grief were all swelling up inside of him and Sirius could not take it anymore. He stopped laughing and began yelling and struggling against the grip of the Hit Wizards. They, in turn, held on to him tighter and pointed their wands at him. It was over for him. It had been over from the minute he befriended that bastard rat. If he could have one wish it'd be to never have met Pettigrew. Their lives had been doomed from the moment he'd walked into them. Peter should've just killed him. Why hadn't he been the one to die? Why did he have to live on for the rest of his days to endure the torment of all that he had caused?

To Sirius Black there was nothing left in the world worth living for. There was nothing left to look forward to. There was nothing left to fight for. There was nothing left for him at all.