Of Greater Ends and Lesser Means

If Sirius Black had been a more logical man.

Because I don't want to write my English Essay.

The day was November 2nd, 1981. In the Top Security Sector of Azkaban, recently subdued Prisoner Sirius Black was waking up. The two dementors outside the door kept him in a prolonged state of horrified grogginess, but eventually he became capable of rational thought. He was still horrified. James and Lily were dead, Peter was not, and the prison cell was hardly plush. In fact, it was slightly smaller than his closet at home. Which was to say, James' house. Alone, since Mr. and Mrs. Potter had been killed and James had gotten married. This was Azkaban. The dementor's confirmed it. There were two of them and they were so close and he was very cold. But he was sure they shouldn't be there, he hadn't had a trial yet.

November 3rd, he had not yet seen a human being in the prison. He was not sure about prison procedure, he had never been successfully arrested before, but this could not be it. Shouldn't he have legal counsel or something?

November 5th the human prison guards did their weekly walk-around, making sure the dementors hadn't missed anything important, and casting cleaning charms, and renewing the lights. All the things that needed more finesse than just the general torture. They generally spent about 10 minutes at every cell, never going in, rarely speaking to prisoners. (Though they joked all over on their way out, glad to be gone) Sirius tried to ask them about his trial but they cast a silencing charm and mocked him fiercely. Sirius would have been dumbfounded even if he hadn't been silenced. What were they saying? Did they really think that? Did everyone think that? He realized with a sinking feeling of abject terror that no one knew that they had switched, no one knew about Peter. They were never coming to get him for his trial, he was never getting out.

November 12th the guards came back. They found Sirius pacing furiously. As soon as they approached he pointed his finger at his mouth gesticulating wildly. Accustomed as they were to casting spells to last, they had cast the silencing in the same way. The only laughed the first week. The second week they mocked the more fiercely. They did not remove it for a month. Sirius had been terrified that he would never be able to speak again. Now that he could speak, he only sat gasping and making strange noises, and they were gone down the corridor again. Sirius worked hard to convince himself that it didn't matter, that one more week didn't make a difference at this point. Surely they would listen next week.

Sirius spent the entire week before December 10th practising his speech. It did not go as planned. The guards let him talk this time, but they laughed at the idea of a trial and told him that Death Eaters didn't get trials. When Sirius exclaimed in aggravation

"What about the people who aren't Death Eaters?" they scowled and listed his crimes.

"Tell us again how you aren't a Death Eater?" they crowed.

Sirius was at that moment far from rational, but he wanted his trial. He decided that if the guards would not listen to him, he would have to find some one who would. But how would he do that? It felt like he was thinking through ice. How would he find someone else? A new guard? A prisoner to be released? Moony… if he could just talk to Remus this whole thing would be cleared up.

December 17th when the guards came around there was no one there. The cell was empty. One swore. The other did too. No matter how his mamma raised him, this just needed it. A search of the Prison complex was organized… then a more thorough one. They did not tell the ministry about the departure until the 20th. It sat on a desk in a case of mistaken identity until the 24th, and was not read by the minister until the 27th. That was the same day that elsewhere in Britain, several other men were receiving letters.

Remus Lupin nearly spit out his tea when his owl arrived and he saw the handwriting.

Dear Remus,

Please read the whole letter. I know I'm slightly more prone to ripping up letters, but you must be stressed with all that has been going on.

I'm not sure really what is going on, or what you think. Do you really believe that I could have done all those things they tell me I did? But I also know what it must look like from the outside.

I was stupid, Moony. I didn't trust you. Someone was the spy and we didn't know who and I thought it was you so I went out of my way to keep you out of the loop and away from important information. It was stupid and I'm sorry.

One of the important things that I worked so hard to keep you away from was that I was not James & Lily's secret keeper. We switched without telling you. I was afraid that you knew too much about where I was hiding and so on. I was a afraid I was the obvious choice, that they would come after me and that I would succumb to whatever methods they used to wring it out of me. James insisted it wasn't you, but I know my insistence bothered him. In the end, we asked Peter to do it. I would cover him, he could cover James & Lily, layers within layers. But it didn't work, because Voldemort went under me. I went to check on Peter as planned and he was gone and I went to James & Lily's thinking, hoping, he had just gone to dinner. I went to James & Lily's and they were dead.

You must understand Remus. I was the only one who knew where Peter was. We had layered and layered wards, and hidden them all. There was no one key that was secret. You had to know this and do that and step here. There was no way in without making an impact on the wards, but there was no sign of a struggle. Peter wasn't taken, he left. Maybe you can take that and skew it and say I must have done it, I must have, I must have because Peter is dead and James is dead and even Voldemort is dead and I am alive and now I am out of Azkaban.

Except that Peter isn't dead, as much as I wish he were. Maybe you've heard all about our little confrontation in London. The guards in Azkaban seemed to regard that as the principle evidence against me.
It didn't happen quite that way. I tracked Peter down around noon in the middle of London. I drew, he drew, I know that's technically illegal right there, but I didn't care. I wanted to kill him. I really did, after everything he did, the lies he told. Do you want to kill me? Probably. I'd like to think James and Peter and I meant a great deal to you.

I was all set to blow him to bits or stun him or jinx or curse or I don't know what I would have done, but little Peter got the better of me. He yelled for the whole street to hear that I'd betrayed Lily & James, and then blasted the whole street apart with his wand behind his back. Then he cut off his own finger and transformed. I imagine he's still down in the sewer, with the other rats.

Remus, I don't know what I can do to make you believe me, but I swear to you that everything I say is true. I will swear on whatever you like. James' grave, or Voldemort's, or the full moon, or cross my heart and hope to die, I'll do it. I did not betray Lily & James. I would have died before I betrayed them. I didn't kill all those muggles, that's not my style in any case, and I never even got a chance to kill Peter.

Why am I writing you this? Do I expect you to believe me? No, I guess that's too much to hope for. Even a month in Azkaban can teach you not to hope too hard.

All I want is a proper trial, with judges and juries and truth serums and the lot. I know that's a lot to ask for, and for all that, I might be convicted anyways. There's precious little evidence for me, and so much against, but I am innocent and I want to prove it.

Sirius

There will likely be a second chapter of this with letters to Dumbledore and other members of the order, and perhaps a resolution (it may even be a surprising one. I have some plots in mind) but right now I really need to do… work. Like, real work and dishes and homework and crap.

Please, please tell me what you think. I am begging you. Also, there are typos. If you could tell me where they are so I can fix them that would be great.