"And Still He Wailed On"

Bodies. Screaming... terrible screaming. But they couldn't be screaming, they were dead. Who was screaming? The sound was raw agony ripping through him! Please, he wanted it to stop! He opened his mouth to shout at them to stop and realized his mouth was already open. It was him. He was screaming.

His throat, his lungs were raw, but he could not stop the horrible wailing. Please, please, no. No, please let it not be true. Wake up! Wake up, please! James, Lily, wake up. Oh God, wake up!

He sank to his knees, oblivious to the sharp shards of wood and glass cutting his knees and legs. He lifted the limp form of his friend James into his lap, patting his face, begging him to wake up. He clutched the limp form to him in an embrace and James' lifeless head lolled horribly away.

No! Sirius dropped him and began to claw and crawl his way across the rubble looking for Lily.

He found her in the back, her once piercing green eyes glassy and dead. Lily, no, no, no! please! He took her face in his hands and put his wet cheek to her cold one. "Please come back, please come back," he whispered but she did not respond. She, too, was limp in his hands.

Sirius tipped his head back as an explosion of inarticulate sound escaped him, cutting through the dark, silent night. He wailed until he was out of breath, and still he could not stop. It was as if he were trying to push all the breath out of himself so that he could die, too. His raw throat began to bleed and still he wailed on, dark spots gathering in his vision, growing ever larger, blocking out everything but the sound of his own screaming.

The sound of wailing, frightened crying was cutting through the blessed darkness, nothingness around him. Sirius sat up slowly, looking around him at the destruction that was not a nightmare, after all. He spat to rid his mouth of the metallic taste of his own blood and realized that this sound wasn't from him.

Harry? Could the baby still be alive? Where was he?!

"Harry! Harry where are you?! He screamed tearing through the rubble, casting aside parts of walls and pieces of furniture with his bare hands. The wailing grew louder but still he couldn't find the child. Things kept slipping out of his hands, which he noticed were slick with blood. Please, Please! he prayed. "Harry!"

Then he heard the banging of debris being thrown aside and another set of hands, large hands, was helping him move the bits of wall, the dining room table. At last they found him, pale, eyes wide with fright, screaming for all he was worth. A gash cut across his forehead, spilling blood down the side of his face, but he seemed alright, he was moving. Sirius reached out trembling hands to take up the child but felt another large hand on his own.

"Yer shakin' and bloody, Sirius, let me." the other man said, and somewhere in Sirius' brain he recognized the man as Hagrid. He looked up to see Hagrid paler than he'd ever seen him with huge tears rolling silently down his dusty face. He saw his own wild reflection in Hagrid's eyes and cringed back.

Hagrid picked Harry up gently and brought him to his shoulder. The baby clutched him so tightly that his little hands turned white and he began to hiccup as he cried.

"S'all right, there Harry, S'all right, I've got ye, I've got ye" the giant kept repeating to the wide-eyed child.

Sirius felt the sudden strange urge to throw himself into the half-giant's other shoulder so Hagrid could tell him, too, that it would be alright. But it wouldn't be alright. Lily and James were dead, they were dead and it was his fault. Even as the babe's cries quieted another howl of grief once again filled the air.

And Sirius awoke. Cold, clammy stone all round him. Dementor outside his cell. Azkaban. He was in Azkaban.

But still, he kept seeing James and Lily's eyes, their empty eyes. The last time he'd seen them their eyes were open and dead. He'd never seen them lying peacefully at rest. He'd never seen them laid out, eyes closed, as if in peaceful sleep. He was here, and everyone hated him, blamed him for the betrayal that caused their death.

Harry. How he must hate him. Sirius put his hands over his ears as the sound of the baby's terrified squalls assaulted his memory. His fault, his fault, his fault.

"But I didn't do it, it was Peter... DAMN HIM! It was PETER!" He screamed.

But no one who could hear him cared.