Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
"Mr. Black, you do know that you are supposed to be in Azkaban right now, don't you?"
Sirius looked at his knees crossly, gritting his teeth. "Yes, Minister."
"Good. Some of the staff here were having a bet on whether or not you were crazy or not, but I guess your marbles are still rolling." The Minister chuckled innocently, playing fondly with his hat. Realizing the seriousness in the situation, he hurriedly sat back down again and looked gravely across the desk.
"I'm not going back to Azkaban. It's a hellhole and I don't deserve to be in there."
The Minister laughed underneath his breath, placing a hand on Sirius' shoulder in a strange, grandfather-like way. "Sirius, you killed thirteen people in one curse. It's a wonder I'm so calm right now–"
The delicate glass sculpture of Merlin that rested on the Minister's desk shattered and burst into a million uncountable pieces with a loud bang as Sirius roared in rage, "I DIDN'T KILL THOSE PEOPLE! YOU'VE GOT THE WRONG MAN!"
The Minister, looking quite windswept, had rapidly removed his hand from Sirius' shoulder and was recoiling slightly by his desk. He smacked his lips together, "Sirius, please. That temper of yours–"
"Peter Pettigrew killed those people, I swear, Minister, I'm not lying–" Sirius rambled helplessly, a pathetically heart-warming despondence pouring from his stricken eyes.
Calmly, the other man laid his palm on the smooth mahogany of his desk. "Hush," he commanded, "now how did you escape from Azkaban?"
Sirius stilled reluctantly, staring at his lap and running a hand through his matted hair. He hadn't had a real shower with soapsuds clinging to his skin in years; it was a wonder that the Minister hadn't opened the window yet.
He had been in the cage of a prison for six years now. Despite the fact that he had yet to spend a decade in the horrendous jail, he was no longer the fearless and foolish boy in school, his face shining with impishness and glee. It was still underneath his skin, and Sirius was still living on the fraction of sureness that he was still there, just not visible to everybody else. Sirius, of all people, now knew that what laid before him and behind him was not as important as what laid inside of him.
His incarceration was based solely on the misunderstanding of murder. It was a misunderstanding still being misunderstood as Sirius sat in his stiffly uncomfortable chair in the Minister's office.
Last week, Sirius had finally gotten the will to escape from his cell, and finally had the right timing to do so. He transformed to his shaggy dog, easy to slip into the shadows, run among people, and run for hours. He slipped from the bars after dinner trays were being picked up and just as Sirius had landed in civilization, he was turned in to the Ministry.
Sirius was silent for a moment, "No," he said quietly, "how about first, you tell me why I'm not in court with the Wizengamot being trialed by hundreds and chained to a metal chair?"
The Minister sighed, "I believe that your case is a very complex one, and therefore I thought that a more personal interview would be necessary."
"And, also the bet going if I'm insane or not."
The Minister shrugged meekly, "I have twenty galleons on it."
Sirius rolled his eyes. He leant back in the chair to be eclipsed by the shadows eerily. His face, pale and sunken wearily, still held a childish glow within his features. Sirius knew that a good shower and a good year without dementors as roommates would return him to his previous state.
"Minister, I just want to go home. I'm not a killer. I'm not a murderer of my best friend and his wife. I don't deserve to be here, and I don't deserve to go back into Azkaban, where I can rot for the rest of my life. It brings back memories of things I'd rather forget."
The elder man placed a hand on his chin contemplatively. "Do you have a family to support?"
"No," Sirius brushed off, "but I have a life that I had to put on hold for the last six years. I'm an innocent man who wants to be forgiven for things that weren't his fault. The question is not how I escaped from Azkaban, but why."
"Yes, yes, and why did you want to escape from Azkaban despite the fact that it brings out the horrors in your past?"
"I had to go through my best friends dying. I had to go through thinking that I could have stopped it by not switching positions with Peter. I had to go through the accusations of others saying that I killed my friends. It's not been an easy journey, Minister, and I want to see the last part of life that makes sense and that still wants to see my face."
"Ahh. And what is that, Mr. Black?"
"Remus Lupin." Sirius responded simply, a faint smile tugging at his lips as the name rolled of his tongue languidly.
The Minister scrutinized Sirius critically before he heaved a deep sigh and reached for his quill. Unscrewing his inkbottle, the Minister scribbled a few notes on a piece of paper before handing it to Sirius.
"As much I want you to go home to your friend and continue living your life, that would be very naïve of me, as well foolish. I cannot release a notorious criminal from Azkaban permanently without consent of any other officials!"
"Then please," Sirius begged pleadingly, "try to convince them to let me go–"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Black. It just wouldn't work."
Sirius still had not shown the slightest of interest to the parchment perched in his fingers. "But–"
The Minister sighed again, fidgeting with his hat nervously, "I'm sorry I didn't tell you this before, Sirius. A couple days ago, when we first captured you, the other officials made a decision about you without me."
Sirius furiously narrowed his eyes, "That's impossible! They're not allowed to make a decision about prisoners without the Minister's vote!"
The Minister looked around sheepishly. "I – uh. I fell asleep. I ended up agreeing to the notion without… uh, actually realizing what the group was talking about."
Sirius pursed his lips together, gritting his teeth into a fine powder in fury, "Minister, if my wand hadn't been snapped in half… let's just say that you wouldn't be in one piece anymore right now."
The Minister hastily held up a hand, "The decision they reached upon is not irrational, Mr. Black!" he convinced swiftly, "they simply said that as a criminal, they do not want you in the country or entering the country ever again."
"I – what?" Sirius asked, baffled.
"They've taken away your permanent residency."
For a silent, frozen moment in time, Sirius gaped at the Minister in shock before he finally mustered up his voice enough to say feebly, "I – no! This is my home! I'm English, I'm not an immigrant! How can you ask me to leave?"
The Minister put his elbows on the desk, interlacing his fingers together importantly, "Mr. Black. It's either this, or Azkaban. It's only fair that you, as a criminal, is evicted from the–"
Sirius rammed his fist on the desk. All of the objects jumped with the shake before returning to their places shakily. "I'm not a bloody criminal!" he insisted, his eyes flashing.
"Sirius, you have to listen to me! You can stay in England if you either work for the Ministry full time for at least a year and remain under an official's supervision at all times, or if you have conclusive proof that you have a partner you are married as long as they are British."
An idea, rapid and impulsive, flashed through Sirius' mind. Cocking his head to the side, Sirius let his brain rattle down all of the possible consequences in a nanosecond's time.
Sirius smiled slyly, a hint of his childish impishness returning to his face. "But I am married, Minister."
The Minister readjusted his glasses perplexedly, blinking surprisingly. "Excuse me?"
"My friend and I are married."
"But… you said you didn't have a wife to support." The Minister recalled, squinting bafflingly across the table into Sirius' eyes.
"I don't think my friend would appreciate you calling him my wife."
The other man blinked again, stunned. He wiped his glasses on his robe, "Sirius, are you saying that your spouse is a man?"
Sirius nodded, "Yes. My friend, Remus Lupin? We've been married for a few years now. Why else would he be the first friend I'd want to visit?"
"Because all of your other friends are dead, Mr. Black."
Dryly, the smile fell off of Sirius' face, "Thank you for reminding me of that, Minister."
The Minister recapped his inkbottle after surveying Sirius crossly. Then, brushing his hands together, he wiped off the tip of his quill and laid it down delicately on the edge of his desk.
"All right then. If Mr. Lupin is your husband, then please, bring him in. We'd like to get to get this documented. We'll be keeping tabs on you, Mr. Black, so please remember that fleeing off won't get you anywhere but Azkaban, are we clear?"
"Like glass, Minister." Sirius' half-hearted grin slowly faded as he brushed his hair from his forehead and stood up from the chair. "I'll bring him in tomorrow. He'll be… uh… thrilled." Sticking his grimy hand across the table for a handshake, Sirius smiled briefly at the elder man before disappearing from the Ministry.
He needed to find Remus Lupin.
And he needed to find him within twenty-four hours.
Just because Sirius had not seen his werewolf friend in six years didn't mean that he couldn't remember the street his home was on and the number of his apartment. As he mingled along the sidewalk, hands in his dirtied pockets, many people murmured discreetly about his filthy attire with sharooshed faces, but Sirius smiled encouragingly at all of them.
His reputation wasn't the matter on his mind right now.
He had not seen Remus in seventy-two months. And considering Sirius' deformed appearance right now, he wasn't sure if the other man would even recognize him. Sirius hadn't changed at all in personality – he was still the immature, childish, impish boy he was years ago – but without a shower and some extensive grooming he would never resemble the handsome boy that everyone thought was drop-dead sexy again.
Even if Remus didn't recognize him, that was not Sirius' issue. It was that after six years of separation, he had no confidence in his plan that Remus would pretend to be not only homosexual, but also play the part of Sirius' partner. It was asking a major favor of his old friend, one he had not seen in what seemed like forever and a half in Sirius' head, just so he could remain out of Azkaban. Remus would probably scoff in his old friend's face when Sirius would tell him about the horrors of living near the iciness of dementors, falling asleep to the wailing and shrieking of other cellmates, and constantly having the remembrance of times rather wished forgotten. He would say that compared to his monthly transformations, a week in Azkaban would be a walk in the park, because Sirius learned that no one knew how bad Azkaban was until they spent time in it themselves.
And not only would Remus refuse him, but what if he still believed that Sirius was a bloodthirsty murderer that killed James, Lily, and Peter?
Sirius skipped deftly up the musty stairs to Remus' apartment, and when he saw the peeling letters of one hundred and six, he rapped on the door.
An elderly woman peered out the door before shrieking out loud in a frenzy, shouting, "Sirius Black!" and slamming the door shut.
Eyes wide, Sirius swiftly hurried away from the apartment. He had almost forgotten the fact that he was a notorious criminal and that a call to the Minister could be just minutes away. He hastened up another flight of stairs, racking his brain for the correct address of Remus' home.
Finally, he came to the conclusion that two hundred and six was the werewolf's apartment number. Desperately pleading for his friend not to have moved, he knocked on the door cautiously, remaining a safe distance away from it at the same time.
Instead of wispy, faded and dull orbs connecting with his, and instead of a shriek of terror filling his ears, he was met with familiar amber eyes staring into his before an almost inaudible gasp was heard faintly.
"Sirius," Remus breathed, "why aren't you in Azkaban?"
Sirius smiled dryly, "I've missed you too, Remus."
AN: Expect the next chapter up soon! I know that I'm the type to do chaptered fics often, but I wanted something that I can really pace myself with... so I present to you another R/S story! Enjoy!