All right, everyone, this is the prologue of Dark Days. It is all in Sirius's perspective and first person. This part is present tense--and so is any part at this hearing. However, it's all in past tense when he's telling the story.

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Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any of the characters. I do own the plot and my characters, who are Sarah Stevenson, Rebecca Holloway, Emmy Lewis, and several others.


Prologue

"The date is September 19, 1981. Please state your full name for the record," demands Barty Crouch from his seat behind the judge's bench. He stares down at the witness—me—dangerously, and I certainly don't like the look that appears in his eyes. I get the feeling he doesn't particularly like me that much, but I'm not surprised in the least.

This isn't exactly my sort of fun, but how could I possibly have gotten out of it? It's Wizarding law, after all, so I can do nothing but look back at Crouch and say, "Sirius Orion Black."

"A pureblood," he easily observes, and the sound of his voice is somehow ominous, like that mere fact makes me a Death Eater. Shows how smart he was.

"Yes," I answer, nodding but nowhere near emphatically.

"All right," he says, nodding as well but not to me, "the questions will proceed." He clears his throat, glances around at the other members of the Wizengamot, and, then, when none of them voice any questions, he proceeds himself. "How well did you know Muggle Detective Sarah Stevenson?"

I shrug at the question—not my favorite topic, but I have no choice at all. "I'd like to say that I know her well," I reply as indifferently as possible. "It's true that I've only known her since November, so that's just eight and a half months, but I've spent a lot of time with her since our first introduction."

"From several of your coworkers," he continues, and I steal a glance at James and Lily dubiously, "it has come to our attention that you had a rather intimate relationship with her. Exactly how intimate?"

"The intimacy or lack thereof is none of the court's business," I snap aggressively, but I know I'm in dangerous turf. It'd be quite unwise for me to anger Crouch. "Sorry, but it has nothing to do with this."

Nevertheless, he is angered. "Mr. Black, we are trying to paint a picture here. If you don't cooperate, how can we be sure we have all the details correct?"

I mentally groan and say, "I admit that she became a close friend during the past eight months and I shared… certain information with her that I probably shouldn't have because it put her in far too much danger for my liking and hers as well. However, anything we did that had no effect on the case has no place in this courtroom."

"What certain information did you tell her?"

"As she was aiding Aurors Alastor Moody, James Potter, and myself," I state with an air of professionalism, "I felt it necessary to give her full knowledge of what was happening. I also felt it was necessary to not tell anyone about this until it was a little too late. My partner, James Potter, learned before I decided to tell anyone, but we convinced him not to breathe a word upon pain of telling his wife, Lily, exactly why he named their cat Fluffy."

"So, under your tutelage, Detective Stevenson acquired information about the workings of the Wizarding world and how that pertained to your case, correct?"

"Yes, that's correct."

"In your personal opinion, did this information help her or the case in any way?"

I nod fervently. "Yes, I'd have to say so. Without it, I doubt that she'd have been able to make as many correct inferences or even have a well-rounded opinion on any of the matters of relevancy to the case."

Finally, another member of the Wizengamot spoke, a woman that I recognize but can't place, but it's just nice to hear a different voice. Really, Crouch's is quite annoying. "Was enhancing Detective Stevenson's ability on this case the first reason you told her about the Wizarding world?"

I shake my head at that. It's not something I want to deny, anyway. "Actually, I'm not sure I was thinking very clearly at the time. She had been pointing an armed Muggle weapon at me, which, though I didn't know what it was or how it worked, appeared quite lethal. It didn't take much effort after that for her to convince me to tell her everything."

A different man speaks this time. I recognize him but can only register his last name as being Lancaster. "Do you regret telling Detective Stevenson?" he asks in a calm, serene voice.

"No," I reply quite honestly. "No, I don't. Our relationship changed after that, and we were able to trust each other's judgments and suggestions more than before. It definitely helped the case, and I don't think we would have become friends if I hadn't told her."

The woman speaks again. "Did your feelings for the detective ever surpass friendship? I ask only because I know that any sort of bond beyond friendship can strain a case, as I, too, was once an Auror." That's where I should have recognized her from. I was sure that I'd seen photographs with her in them but had never known the woman.

I shrug at the question. "I suppose that they did," I admit begrudgingly, "but it was rare that any such event occurred between us because of the case." I don't feel bad about lying about that, but it's not even really lying. I was just understating a little bit too much. Of course, it's not like they're find out, so why would I need to tell them exactly how many times I had let my emotions and my hormones get the best of me? Not any of their goddamn business, anyway.

"So you admit that the intimacy was beyond friendship?" snarls Crouch. Jeez, he must be behind schedule—didn't I just say that? Hmm, maybe he needs some sort of hearing aide.

"I just did, didn't?" I reply, rolling my eyes and crossing my arms over my chest. "It's not like I was hiding it, anyway. I just don't feel the need to explain my personal life to the court when it's got nothing to do with the actual case, if you had forgotten, Crouch."

He scoffs at me. Big surprise there, huh? "Mr. Black," he says, leaning forward toward me, his eyes and voice coated in malice, "please explain to the court your part in the case, including all encounters with the Muggle detective."

I sigh and begin reluctantly.