Title: Sirius Grief
Rating: PG-13, or whatever rating is used now.
Warnings: Character Death, Dark!Fic, Language
Word Count: 1946
Notes: I love to write Sirius in Azkaban even though I detest Sirius as a character.
Each breath brought with it the pungent odor of mildew and damp dirt. The dampness made the cold air heavy. He liked to think that the darkness was more oppressive than the cold. Every day the darkness moved in a centimeter more. Soon it would suffocate him -- but it was nothing less than he deserved. He had a penance to pay for surviving. Three months in this cell wasn't enough. One day he would wake up and he would know when he could forgive himself. He knew that today wasn't that day.
Sirius made a move to hug his tattered robes closer to his body. Beneath his fingers he could feel the layers of dirt caked on to his prison issue robes. They were gritty and stiff and disgusting. He had to wait until after the crude excuse for a chamber pot was emptied and the tin tray used to serve his meals was taken away before he could assume his Animagus form. He didn't want to risk detection. Sometimes, a person was actually sent into the maze of the prison to make sure that the dead were removed. He would leave this island before that happened to him.
Sirius ran his tongue over his lips. They were chapped and cracked. He recognized the tangy taste of fresh blood. He sucked on his bottom lip for a quick minute and then released it. His tongue darted out again; the blood had clotted. He ran his tongue over his teeth and for the millionth time he wished for a toothbrush. He had to focus on the tactile things or the thoughts would return to him. He just had to wait until they came to collect those things and he would be able to focus on his thought.
Sirius couldn't sit any longer. He stood up and leaned against the rough stone wall of his prison cell. He ran his hands over the rough stone walls. He savored the rough texture against his palms. If he pressed harder he knew he could make himself bleed. Any calluses he had were long gone. His hands were soft enough to put a Malfoy to shame he was sure. If he were able to, he would have laughed at that. Not one of the maniacal laughs of those teetering on the edge of sanity, but a genuine laugh like the kind he used to share with James and Remus and, ... and Peter.
There was nothing more he could do to keep the memories away. Sirius closed his eyes and saw James' lifeless corpse staring up at him.
James' eyes had been open and staring into nothingness when Sirius had found him - and that was how he was forced to remember his best friend on these days. There was the blue tinged flesh and the peaceful expression on his face and those eyes ... those eyes that Sirius had looked into so many times and had read so many cues to start trouble and in his memories they were glazed over and dead. Dead like James. Dead like Lily. Dead like himself. Sirius reached out and closed James' eyes. He didn't want to risk looking down at them again and seeing disappointment or worse yet, blame.
Sirius pulled at his hair and stifled a frustrated yell. He began to pace in his cell. Three steps to the left, spin on his heel, three steps to the right, spin on his heel. Three steps to the left... His breathing became heavy and the images started to come up again. The dead eyes.
James' dead eyes, the wand on the stairs - the stairs that led to Harry's room. There was the mad dash up the stairs and through the hallway toward the door to Harry's room. Sirius tried to push the memory from his mind at the same time he pushed the bile back down into his stomach. He didn't want to remember this. His hands pulled at the edges of his tattered robes, he could hear the rip of fabric as he was forced back into Harry's nursery room.
Sirius remembered the contrast of Lily's red hair next to her blue tinged skin. She was lying face down on the carpet. He knew she was dead, yet he had to turn her over. She too stared up at him from death with her lifeless eyes. Even in death, Sirius could see she was pleading. Her eyes were begging him to do something, but he didn't know what. Then he heard the cry. Harry. Even in death, Lily was pleading for life- the life of her child.
Sirius left her corpse where it lay, staring into nothingness and pleading, while he searched for the source of the cry. The grotesque images of a maimed and tortured child flashed through his mind.
Imagination is always more vivid than the reality of the situation. Sirius sank to his knees and the cold, hard, dirty flagstone scraped his knees. He allowed his torso to fall against his folded legs and his hands began the work of scraping at the dirty floor. In his memories, he was digging through rubble to find Harry.
I Broken bits of wood that had been a crib were tossed aside. Torn bed sheets were flipped over his shoulder, still there was no child and the crying wouldn't stop. Sirius began to cry as he searched for Harry. Harry had to be alive. He could hear him. Over and over a tiny voice in his head tried to reason it was merely a ghost and that there was no way a child could have survived. As he was about to stop, he cast a glance at Lily and her pleading eyes and he went on. In the corner of the room was an upturned toy box. The contents of said toy box were littered all over the room. Sirius couldn't help but notice the toy broom stick he and James had spent hours convincing Lily was both safe and rite of passage for the one year old was broken in half and tossed to the side. Sirius stared at the broomstick and then his gaze found Lily's eyes again. There would be time to dwell on the past later.
There was no doubt that the crying was coming from the toy box. Sirius braced himself as he placed a hand on either side of the white washed wooden box and pulled it up. He took a deep breath as he set it down careful not to look down just yet. He couldn't handle seeing another set of lifeless eyes. The crying became more insistent. Sirius set down the toy box and forced himself to look down. He fully expected dead eyes and a pool of blood. Instead he saw a set of eyes hidden behind a mask of tears. Harry was alive. Sirius scooped the boy up in his arms and covered his eyes to keep him from the horrors of the house.
Sirius ran from the house and to his motorcycle. Hagrid greeted him. Hagrid told him he was to take any survivors back to Hogwarts. Sirius couldn't go there, he had vengeance to claim. Sirius handed Harry to Hagrid.
Sirius was relieved for the grating sound of metal against metal to signal the opening of the chute. He was granted momentary reprieve from his thoughts. The worst part was yet to come. There was a dementor standing outside of his door now. He couldn't see it, but he could feel it - and it was pulling away any ability he had to escape the torment. Today he would see it. Today he would relive the most painful memory he had. Try as he might the memory was ripped from its hiding place deep in the recesses of his mind. There was no gentle re acquaintance with this monster - he was thrown violently into a reunion that consumed him. Sirius rolled onto his back and screwed his eyes shut as he pulled at his hair in an effort to create enough physical pain from the emotional torture he was set to endure.
Harry was clinging to Sirius' neck, like he always did. He was calling for 'Mum' and 'Dad' and he was shaking with his violent sobs. No amount of rocking could calm the child down. Hagrid had gone into the house after he learned James and Lily were not reduced to ash. They would be given a proper burial and their corpses would not be left behind to be disrespected. Hagrid had one portkey and he would use it to send the bodies to Hogwarts. Sirius had decided that his motorcycle could go with Hagrid. Sirius moved into the doorway just as Hagrid was coming down the stairs carrying Lily in his arms. She looked like a rag doll with her head lolling back the way it was. Sirius noted Hagrid hadn't yet shut her eyes and still they were pleading. He had to look away and as he did Harry let go of his neck and saw his mother. He shrieked for her as he tried to lunge for her. Sirius nearly dropped his godson. He couldn't say anything. He merely pulled Harry into his arms as the baby shrieked and tired to break free of his grasp. Hagrid set Lily next to James, activated the portkey, and sent the couple on their way.
"I'll be takin' 'im now, Sirius. Unless you're comin' with us," Hagrid said gently.
Sirius silently pried Harry's tiny hands from his neck and handed the him over to the half-giant. Hagrid moved to put the baby in one of the pockets of his mole skinned coat and Harry looked back at Sirius. There was a sick feeling in Sirius' stomach as Harry looked at him. Harry had his Mother's eyes. His Mother's pleading eyes. Sirius turned away and Apparated without a second look. As soon as he was where he wanted to be – away from the abject horror -- he vomited.
Sirius was released from the chokehold of the memory in time to turn on his haunches and vomited. As he wretched the three sets of haunted eyes stared back at him from his memory. All he could read in those sets of eyes was loathing, blame, disappointment, and contempt. The darkness would only let those things through. When he was done he focused his energies on his transformation. At least as a dog he could escape the eyes and find comfort in the darkness.
Sirius padded over to the corner of the cell and circled the spot where he wished to lay three times. The flagstone felt rough under the tender pads of his paws. He liked to feel the stinging scraping sensation under his paws. It distracted him as the remnants of the memories ebbed away and the mantra of innocence took their place.
Sirius folded himself up into a tight ball and rested his head on his front paws. He forced his breathing to slow. He found the intensified pungency of the odor in his cell to be comforting. He allowed the coldness to embrace him and the darkness to envelop him. Centimeter by centimeter, the darkness devoured him and he let it. Maybe tomorrow would be the day he would wake up and forgive himself for living. Maybe tomorrow would be the day he set off to have his revenge.