A/N: You know it. They are not mine. Harry isn't. Unfortunately neither is Sirius. All the characters and the world of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling. However, the plot... all mine!
Now being beta read by the wonderful ambush99! This story is completed, but was not beta read at the time it was published. We are now catching up on it and hopefully it will improve the enjoyment of the story! I am also rewriting parts of it. I won't change the plot but sometimes fill out a scene with more details, since I was in kind of a rush when I wrote the first chapters. I am also changing the quotation marks. When they are upside down, that is because my German computer does them that way. So don't get confused when they change in the middle of the story. We are up to chapter 5 right now. x Zaira
by Zaira Albereo
Chapter 1 - In The Darkness
It was a normal afternoon, as afternoons in number four, Privet Drive come. A small, skinny boy in overly large and worn clothes, who looked like six although he actually was eight, crouched in front of a big, over-weight man, who looked rather a little bit like a pig. Like a very big pig. And a very angry one, as it was. The boy's glasses were held together by sellotape and hung on his nose rather lopsidedly, obscuring his large, green and fearful eyes.
The boy's name was Harry Potter, and the large man was his uncle. Harry had lived with his Uncle Vernon, his Aunt Petunia and their son Dudley for as long as he could remember. And for as long as he could remember things had been like this.
''I'm sorry,'' the little boy whispered. ''Please! I fell... I didn't do it on purpose!''
''He fell! Do you hear that Petunia? He fell!'' the boy's uncle roared, although the only one in sight was an equally over-weight boy of probably the same age, who looked rather pleased. The man grabbed the little boy by his collar, almost ripping the too large shirt from him as he dragged him to his feet.
''How many times do I have to tell you to watch where you're going, boy?'' he bellowed. ''But you are useless!''
The little boy's head flew to the side as his uncle slapped him in the face.
''Too stupid to keep on your own two feet!''
''You think you can stroll around like your good-for-nothing father, do you?''
''You think you can disrespect me in my own house, you ungrateful brat!''
With each slap in his face Uncle Vernon made a step closer to Harry, and Harry was stumbling backwards blindly, trying to get away from his uncle. The man's face slowly reached the colour of a deep purple and Harry knew this to be a very bad sign. The shade of his uncle's face when in fury was directly connected to the extent of pain he, Harry, would later be in. Unfortunately he didn't have a lot of room to retreat because he was fast approaching the first floor landing. Slightly panicking, he made a mistake.
''It wasn't like that. Dudley -'' Mistake number 52: 'Never bring up Dudley when at the receiving end of a scolding.'
Uncle Vernon exploded. His right arm shot out. Then it connected with Harry's face, backhanding him with such force that he fell backwards and down the stairs. He crashed and tumbled down the staircase until he came to a rest at the far end, lying still.
Stirred up by the loud noise Petunia came running out of the kitchen. ''What have you done now, you horrible boy?'' she shrieked, even before she saw him lying on the floor. It was obvious that,whatever had happened, it would be Harry's fault. It always was.
When Petunia reached the stairs and Harry's crumbled form, she kicked at him. ''Get up! Don't lie there as if you're hurting! What have you done?''
But Harry was not moving. Vernon came down the stairs and gave the boy another kick, but it only resulted in pushing Harry onto his back, his head lolling sideways. There was some blood on his temple and it had smeared the floorboards.
''What's wrong with him?'' Petunia hissed, and Vernon shrugged his massive shoulders, not looking too concerned about the motionless body of his nephew.
''He fell down the stairs, the stupid git, maybe he's unconscious.''
Petunia looked down at Harry, biting her lip. He was breathing, if quite shallowly, but he could probably have a concussion.
Vernon crouched down next to Harry, slapping his face. ''Wake up! Wake up, boy!'' he growled. But there was no reaction.
Petunia hesitated. ''Maybe... maybe we should call an ambulance?'' she said.
Vernon huffed. ''And what would we say to them? Don't want them snooping around here, coming up with some wild theories about how it is OUR fault when the stupid freak can't keep his legs under himself.''
''Well, we tell them the truth. That he fell. But we can't really let him lie here like that,'' Petunia argued.
''Yeah.'' Dudley waddled up at the top of the stairs. ''How would we get up and down the stairs, with him in the way?'' he said.
In a prison cell out on a lone and stormy rock in the North Sea, another form was lying motionless on the floor. This one was bigger, even if it was just as skinny. His long black hair was tangled and filthy, and his eyes seemed to have crawled back into their sockets.
The man was a wizard by the name of Sirius Black, although he hadn't heard his name spoken for nearly seven years. There were times he wasn't even sure if this really was his name. And he did not really know that it had been seven years. Time became kind of unimportant in a place like this, where the only space of time that mattered was eternity.
What made him believe it was approaching seven years, were the six small stars scratched into the far wall of his cell. Each one put there on Christmas Eve, which was the only night in the year that the Dementors that guarded the prison would retreat beyond its walls – a small mercy for the lost souls that occupied it.
The other three-hundred-and-sixty-four nights the Dementors would glide through the corridors, freezing the place to the point where you felt a thin coat of ice spreading over your skin and your hair became stiff and crackled from the frost. The cold seemed to spread with every rattling breath the foul creatures were drawing, and everything warm and happy you had ever felt was sucked out of you until the mere concept of it was something you knew existed but couldn't really grasp.
The wizard who had once been Sirius Black wondered if it actually was Christmas already, because he could feel the cold slightly diminish. He mulled over the notion of Christmas for a moment, trying to remember what it was actually about, but it didn't really come to him.
That's when he heard footsteps approaching his cell and his head came up slowly, startled. Dementors had no feet that he knew of, they didn't make any sound other than their rattling breaths. This might be a new arrival, but it was so long ago that something like that had happened, that the memory had dissolved somewhere in the foggy margin of his mind.
He slowly sat up, peering through the bars. A man was coming up the corridor. He was wearing a cloak and a bowler hat and the wizard thought that he looked somewhat familiar, but he couldn't place him.
The man stopped in front of his cell and looked down at him with disgust. ''Ah yes, Mr. Sirius Black, I believe,'' he said.
Something about hearing his name spoken out loud after such a long time stirred his numb conscience. He looked up at the man with his dead eyes. You would have had to look really closely to see just the tiniest spark of life in their recess.
''Who are you?'' the prisoner asked, his voice thin and rough from lack of use.
The man with the bowler hat raised an eyebrow. He had not expected a response. Most of the prisoners he had seen so far were almost catatonic. ''I'm Cornelius Fudge, the new Minister of Magic,'' he said, his voice brimming with self-importance. ''I'm inspecting the facilities. See if everything is well in order and as it should be.''
The wizard inside the cell didn't know if it was the unusual event of being spoken to or the fact that the Dementors seemed far more distant than they normally were, but he felt his thoughts clear by the second. ''Is that so?'' he heard himself rasp. ''Well, I hope you find our home satisfactory.''
Cornelius Fudge looked at him strangely. This was most unusual behaviour for a prisoner in this facility. He cleared his throat, slightly nervous. ''Ah, yes... yes, indeed, most satisfactory... ehm... is there anything I can do for you?'' he asked more out of nervousness than out of concern.
The prisoner looked at him as if he was mad. Then he chuckled, which came out kind of rumbling as if his chest was in fact a hollow place. ''If you could lend me your newspaper, sir,'' he said with a sarcastic sneer. ''I miss doing the crossword.''
Cornelius Fudge was too confused to object and with a stunned expression handed the prisoner the newspaper.
After the Minister had gone, the wizard leaned against the wall, his bony knees bent, staring at the newspaper and all its moving pictures and flashing headlines. It had been a while since he had seen anything like this. The biggest headline was about the Quidditch World-Cup, and he felt a fading echo of something he enjoyed once wafting through him.
Then his gaze fell to a second, smaller headline over a blurry picture. It seemed to have been taken from afar, and showed a small, dark haired boy being led out of a pair of Muggle sliding doors by an extremely portly man and a thin, horse-faced woman. Both were looking stern and exasperated.'Boy-Who-Lived out of hospital after home accident' the headline read. It was followed by a short article about the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, saviour of the wizarding world, being released from a Muggle hospital after what presumably had been an accident that occurred in the house of his guardians, his Muggle aunt and uncle.
When he looked at the picture, there was a sudden pain in the wizard's chest which was different from all the pain he had experienced in the last years reliving all the worst moments of his life. Oh and weren't there a lot of them... But this was different, this pain was fresh, as if all of a sudden blood was pumping again through his cold and shrivelled heart.
''Harry!'' he croaked, stroking the small head in the picture with a bony finger. There was a flash in his head that lasted no longer than a second, a flash of himself in a brightly lit room, throwing a little dark haired baby boy up in the air and catching him, hugging him close while the boy shrieked and giggled in joyful laughter. ''Harry...'' he whispered.
When night fell over the lonely rock and the starving prisoner, and the freezing cold had once again crept into his filthy cell, the wizard fell into an uneasy sleep. His nightmares were so recurring, they were almost like old acquaintances. Unloved acquaintances, but acquaintances none the less.
There was the cold face of his mother, her piercing eyes full of disgust, as she looked down at him as if he was something utterly despicable before she simply turned her back at him, leaving him behind, alone in a crowd of people that towered over him. He saw her vanishing, while she held on to the hand of a smaller boy with black hair who walked beside her, chatting in an animated way.
There was the equally towering form of his father above him, while he was lying on the floor. His face was a mask of cold fury as he ripped out his wand, pointing it at his son and bellowing 'Crucio!'. Searing hot pain shot through every nerve he possessed, almost blinding him. And the cold eyes of his father, that looked at his screaming son without a flicker of remorse or pity.
And then there were the broken and burned ruins of a house and the dead eyes of his best friend - his brother really, in every way that counted - staring at him, shock and fear carved in his usually boyish features. He broke down next to the still body with the overwhelming feelings of loss and guilt and horror, as only one thought remained in his struggling brain. James was dead and it was his fault.
But then something changed. Something that had never happened before. James' head turned towards him and his eyes looked at him, as if he was actually seeing him.
''Where is Harry, Sirius?" James asked, his tone somewhat accusatory.
''I... I don't know," the wizard mumbled, tears running down his face. ''I'm sorry, James. I'm so sorry!"
''You promised me, Sirius. You promised!"
''I know. It's my fault. It's all my fault! I'm so sorry James!"
''You promised you would take care of him! Why haven't you taken care of him, Sirius?"
And then all he saw was the crumbled form of a small boy with black hair and a lightning-bolt scar as he lay motionless on the floor, blood dripping from his temple.
The wizard woke up with a sharp intake of breath, the last image lingering in his mind as clearly as if it was in front of him.
''Harry!" he whispered. ''What have I done?''
A/N: This is my first Harry Potter story ever. I simply love Sirius and his relationship with Harry. This AU has some classic elements, but hopefully you'll find that it has a new and original take on it.
Reviews are very much appreciated! Thank you!