Disclaimer: Neither the characters nor the song lyrics are my own invention. Characters belong to Joanne Rowling; song lyrics to Gordon Sumner. Please enjoy.

Ten Years.

For the Reviews Lounge "Something Wicked This Way Comes" Halloween Challenge.

It's a special night for you tonight, isn't it, Sirius? Ten years ago this very night, Godric's Hollow. You and your old pal Wormtail.

(Ten Dementors. Like candles on a birthday cake. They've not missed a trick tonight)

He's still out there, you know. Scurried right off; faked his death. Probably stowed away on a cruise ship bound for Mallorca. He's a free man, enjoying the kind of life you'd always hoped for. He has your life, Sirius: sunshine, beaches, Spanish witches, discotheques… He's living La Dolce Vita, while you're huddled up next to mildewed stones in a dank cell in the North Sea. Little Peter Pettigrew, or

"Hey there, Little-Peter," you called out in a singsong voice. He whipped his head around to glare at you.

"I told you to stop calling me that, Sirius. I thought you said you'd stop." Oh, didn't you laugh heartily at that…

"I can stop calling you that whenever I want to," you boasted. Then again, did you ever really not boast when you talked? "I think I'll stop tomorrow. What do you think, James? Should we stop talking about Little-Peter tomorrow?"

When James laughed at that, he was laughing with you. But the James Potter you knew – the one you condemned to death – would he have taken advantage of a friend's insecurities like that? Do you see Peter's eyes, Sirius? Do you see them pleading with you to leave him be? Had you broken him already by then?

(That was first year. We grew out of it. I had stopped calling him that by Christmas of that year.)

Of course you did, Sirius.

"Ooh, Peter," you said with that ever-present sneer in your voice, "No date for the Marauders' first Hogsmeade trip. Are you sure you asked every third-year in Hufflepuff? What about Barksdale? I bet you didn't ask Barksdale. She'd probably let you have a go if you brought her to Honeydukes."

"Sirius," he whispered. Of course, only someone as crass as you would have shouted that in public. "She's got to be fifteen stone! Don't you think I could pull better than that?"

Good question, wasn't it?

"Oh, poor Wormy. Even Remus's gotten lucky. It's going to be on your tombstone, isn't it? Here lies Wormtail, the last Marauder Virgin!" The way he'd just hang his head when you laid into him, it was almost as if he believed it. Wonder if he remembers that tonight while he's pinning some Señorita's ankles behind her ears. Meanwhile you can't even get it up long enough to beat off, can you?

"Hey Wormtail, if you like 'em that young, I'll introduce you to my baby cousin." The jaunty wink always made the insult that much sweeter, don't you think?

She was seven the last time you saw her. Not that you remembered her birthday – no, Sirius Black couldn't be arsed to remember a seven-year-old girl's birthday. You can set your mind at ease though, Sirius. She hates you now, just like everyone else in Britain. So don't bother with the card for her eighteenth. She's at Auror School, just so that she can personally prune the rotten branch that is Sirius Black from her family tree.

(Andy's girl will be getting out of Hogwarts this year. Wonder if she met Harry. Wonder if Harry got to go to Hogwarts.)

Oh, what the good godfather. Not even able to watch your best friends' son – your own godson – go off to Hogwarts for the first time. That is, if he was able to survive without his parents with no godfather to look after him. Of course, the same godfather that allowed him to crash a toy broom at a year old, the same godfather for whom babysitting was such a chore when you had better things to do.

(We didn't feel safe leaving him with Remus, we thought… we thought…)

Your own, sweet Remus. Never hurt a soul in his life, and you picked him for a traitor. You couldn't even come right out and be honest about it. Look at his eyes when you gave him that lame excuse:

"Er, Lily says he goes to sleep easier if a dog is lying next to him."

Remus knew he was still in the crib, didn't he? He hadn't seen Harry in months, and James and Lily were barely talking to him. But you – he thought he could trust you.

"Sirius, you really don't think it's me, do you?"

"No, mate." You laughed through your lie, then softened up ever-so cynically to deliver the rest of your lines. "I know you. I know your heart, and you're a Marauder."

He thought he knew your heart, too. He didn't know you'd moved on by then though, did he? He didn't know you'd had someone else in your bed just the night before. But he did know that you couldn't look him in the eyes that whole conversation.

"Sirius, what aren't you telling me?" He grabbed your hands, pleading with you. "Don't lie to me, Sirius – not after all this time."

But you couldn't stand to look at him. Couldn't muster the courage to look him in the eyes the last time you'd ever see him. Who do you think ran with him during last week's full moon?

(Hopefully he's found someone better)

He's found someone who isn't you. He can't stand the thought of you. He wants to wash the stain of you from his body just as he's flushed you from his heart. Why else wouldn't he have been 'round to see you, Sirius? Even if you were to get out of here, who would there be? Who would believe you after all this?

You just had to have that fourth flagon of Old Ogden's that night, didn't you? Of course – it was Halloween, and he was a chaser for Falmouth. Or was it a seeker with Ballycastle? Didn't much matter to you at the time, did it? But he was important enough for you to convince James and Lily not to have you as the secret-keeper. You couldn't be bothered to personally protect them. Not from Voldemort, and not from the man you drove to him.

(We did it to protect them. We changed because I was the logical choice!)

"Every little thing he does is magic, everything I do just turns me on…"

Aren't you a sight when you're carousing? You'd tied one on pretty tight by the time 9 o'clock rolled around, just like every other self-obsessed pouf in the place. Damn near splinched yourself getting back to Godric's Hollow.

"Even though my life before was tragic…"

Voldemort had reached their house by this time. You were dancing on the table, and James and Lily were being butchered by the Dark Lord. What kinds of horrors did Lily see that night? Was she raped in front of her infant son?

(At least it didn't look as though she'd been violated by them. At least it wasn't a revel.)

Small comfort, isn't it? She'd only known the Wizarding world for ten years, and there she was, killed by its prejudices. Killed by a man funded by your own fortune, your own family. How much blood is on your name, Black? How many people did your father kill in the name of purity? How did it feel to see that mark on Regulus, your own brother?

(And Regulus. They'd killed Regulus, too.)

"Sirius, I'm done with them. You're going to have to hide me. Please, they're already looking for me."

"Piss off, Death Eater."

"Sirius, please. Whatever we've been through, we're brothers, I'm – "

"I said, fuck off! I'm no brother of yours; you took me off the family tree yourself."

My, my. Did your parents teach you that gesture? Or that language? Certainly they taught you to look after your younger brother.

(He's gone. Mum's gone, died since I've been in here. Dad didn't want me at his funeral. Cissy's with that fool Malfoy. Andy's convinced I'm a Death-Eater. Bella's screams keep me up nights. There's no one. I've stuffed it with Remus, James is dead, Peter's escaped. There's no one.)

There was Harry though, wasn't there. You got there; sobered up pretty quickly when you saw the house in ruins. And you picked up your godson. Cold, scared, orphaned… You picked him up, and then put him down to face Peter. Remember "Little-Peter"? He wasn't that little that night, was he?

"Wormy – Peter! What did you do?" you shouted into the darkness. Pity no one heard this, isn't it?

"The Dark Lord, Sirius. He protected me. He wanted me around. He was my friend."

"James was your friend, Peter. Lily was your friend. What in blazes did you do?"

And it was then, wasn't it? While you were monologuing. He cut off his hand, cauterized it, blasted a hole into the muggle street, transformed and scampered off. And those twenty muggles he killed, did you even know their names? Did it even matter to you at that point? Can you see their parents, their children crying over them when you sleep, Sirius?

(Like Harry.)

By the time the Aurors arrived, you'd forgotten all about Harry. Cold, scared, orphaned Harry. Might they have believed your story if he were in your arms when they found you? Does it matter? What would they have done in a trial, anyway?

You had James switch secret-keepers so you could keep a date. You goaded Peter into betrayal. You tossed away your family. You thought your own Moony was the spy. You belong here, Sirius. They'd have put you here anyway.

And it's not as though anyone's noticed. Where do you think they all are tonight? Celebrating Halloween? Celebrating ten years without Voldemort; without you? Where's Remus -- who's he with? Where's Peter?

He's still out there, you know. Scurried right off; faked his death. Probably stowed away on a cruise ship bound for Mallorca.