Don't worry. I am still working on Harry and Millie. In fact, I am about halfway through the next chapter. However, I just read a fic called Black and Bones: A Love Story, by Jenni Rose which intrigued me a lot. Some of the parts of it I didn't like that much, but the basic idea behind the story was very interesting and, as far as I can tell, unique, so I thought I'd try to make a similar one. The basic idea and many of the smaller ones behind the story are not mine, but the specific plot is. Her story started out when Harry first goes to Hogwarts, while mine starts right at the beginning, 25 nights after the Potters' death. So, in a lot of ways my story could almost be a prequel to hers, at least as far as I know right now. However, I think I'm going to change some things, so really it won't be much the same by the time Harry goes to Hogwarts. I don't even know if I'll get that far, anyway.I just couldn't get the scenes of this out of my head, unfortunately, so here we go.
Oh, and sorry about the Snape/Lily angst at the beginning. I kind of like that, and it seemed an interesting way to give a reason for Sirius to leave prison, so sorry. Snape may act a little out of character right then, but it is right after Lily died, while the Snape we know has had 10 years of bitterness and self-hate.
Disclaimer: I do not own nor ever had or will own Harry Potter.
Here we go, hope you enjoy:
Severus Snape stared blearily into the depths of the glass before him. The Firewhiskey floating inside moved in patterns as he watched, uncaring of all around him. He was drunk, he knew, but he just couldn't bring himself to care.
She was dead. His best friend…his only friend. He had accepted years ago that he wasn't good enough for their friendship, but now she was dead, and it was all his fault. He mumbled a curse under his breath and slammed his knee into the table.
He normally wouldn't have lost control so badly, wouldn't even think of drinking this much, but in this circumstance it was all he could do to not just kill himself then and there. At least he would see Lily again, even if that damned Potter would be with her too. Even if it was only at a distance, he wanted to see her red hair and her brilliant smile again.
But Dumbledore had convinced him not to. Dumbledore, he thought angrily. The old man had promised to keep her safe, and he had failed. Severus still was not sure exactly how the Headmaster had managed to keep him from committing suicide, but it was certainly not through respect. No, the most powerful wizard in the world didn't succeed in protecting Lily, and therefore he was worth no respect.
Besides him, the words of Lucius Malfoy interrupted his drunken thoughts. "Can't believe he's gone," he said, still looking surprised. "The Dark Lord…thought he'd live forever."
Severus turned to look at his old friend. No…not really a friend. More of an ally. Malfoy had never known friendship with any one, and picked his acquaintances out of pure self-interest. Still, he was the closest thing to a friend the Potions Master had had since…no he didn't want to think about that…didn't want to think about the day he'd lost Lily forever.
He could still remember her face, when he'd called her a Mudblood. She'd just looked at him, with a hurt look on her face, and left. Severus didn't blame her for hating him, he knew that he was what she'd always been afraid he'd become. And now she was dead, and it was all his fault.
Lucius was still looking at him with a quizzical look on his face, and Severus thought back. Oh…yes, he'd said something about the Dark Lord's fall. Severus muttered a noncommittal grunt of agreement.
"I don't know why he'd gone after the Potters either…weren't much use to anyone. Oh that Mudblood was pretty enough, but still…"
Severus barely restrained himself from killing the other wizard then and there. He strengthened his Occlumency shields, keeping his emotions well inside himself and again let loose a grunt. Lily was more than pretty, she was…had been…beautiful. And now she was dead, and it was all his fault. Severus' thoughts continually returned to that fact, and he knew that it was the truth.
Lucius didn't seem to notice that Severus was showing any emotion, or perhaps he assumed it was about the Dark Lord's death, for he continued. "How the little brat stopped the Dark Lord, I don't know. Wouldn't have thought anyone could."
Severus growled at these words. He wouldn't have thought any son of James Potter could do anything good either. Potter…how he hated the man. He had taken Lily away from him, and he had tortured him all throughout his school years. And now the child…it was the boy's fault that Lily was dead. The prophecy had been about him, and now Lily was dead.
No, Severus thought again, it was his own fault that Lily…beautiful Lily…was dead.
Lucius was still talking on, not realizing how close he was to making Severus have a full breakdown. "I wish I could get my hands on Pettigrew, though."
Severus refocused his thoughts on what Lucius was saying. Malfoy could hold his drink very well, but after only a few Firewhiskeys, Severus' thought processes began to dissolve completely. And there were now over thirty bottles lying on the table. Down the table from the pair, the LeStranges and Barty Crouch Jr. were passed out completely. He hadn't liked the look in their eyes earlier. They looked like they were going to try something stupid.
With effort, Severus again focused on Malfoy. He had been saying something about Pettigrew. "Pettigrew?" he asked, with effort.
Lucius sneered at him. "You never could hold your drink could you?" He then blinked blearily. Even though Malfoy was a heavy drinker, he did not normally have several dozen Firewhiskeys. But this was a special occasion. "Pettigrew led the Dark Lord to his death."
"What?" Snape croaked. Pettigrew had betrayed Lily? He had thought it was Black. "Pettigrew?"
"Oh, that's right, you weren't high enough in the Dark Lord's esteem to know that, were you? I was with the Dark Lord when Pettigrew gave up their location." It was almost funny that Lucius still was trying to expound on his own favor with the Dark Lord, even after the man…no, not really a man…the shade was dead.
"But Black?" Severus' attention was slowly focusing on the man before him.
Lucius sneered even more. "Yes, you would think that, wouldn't you? No, Pettigrew was the Potters' Secret Keeper. Just shows their idiocy."
Severus felt an odd sense of disappointment at the news. He could certainly imagine Black turning on his friends…the arrogant prat had had no sense of remorse for trying to feed him to the werewolf at age sixteen either. But Pettigrew? Severus could barely imagine Pettigrew getting the courage to disagree with Potter about the color of his robes, much less betray him to the Dark Lord.
"Why in Azkaban?" Severus said, carefully enunciating his words.
Lucius looked at him with his eyebrows raised for a moment, but then sneered. It was his habitual expression after all. "Oh, you mean Black. It's amusing isn't it? He gets thrown in Azkaban without a trial, while we both get off without even a fine."
Severus frowned. There was something pricking at his thoughts, but he couldn't quite recognize the feeling. Before he could ponder it further, Lucius grew bored with the conversation and walked to the other end of the table, where Augustus Rockwood was quietly conversing with Antonin Dolohov. He wondered if those two would be tried anytime soon. Lucius had already managed to get off from his prison sentence through the judicious use of fines given to Millicent Bagnold's assistant Fudge. Severus himself had been freed at the personal request of Albus Dumbledore, although that fact was only known to the Minister besides himself and Dumbledore.
But Severus had only been freed because he spied for Dumbledore, and now all of the old man's assurances were proven moot. Lily was dead. Severus sighed heavily. No matter what, his thoughts always came to her. He picked up his glass of Firewhiskey again, and drowned it in one gulp.
He would try to drown his sorrows in alcohol again, as he had done for all of the 25 nights since that awful Halloween. It never fully canceled out his sorrow, but at least it turned it from a consuming pain to just a nagging itch. Severus poured himself yet another glass, and stared into its depths blearily. She was dead, and it was all his fault.
Severus woke the next morning with a pounding headache. He blinked several times, trying to loosen the gum from his eyelids as the sun poured through the windows. He got up slowly, savoring the pain in his head. As long as he had that pain, he didn't think of Lily. Severus shook his head slightly to clear it, ignoring the jolt that shot through his system.
He felt a nagging feeling in the back of his head, but he couldn't remember what it was for. Something important he had heard…but he didn't know what.
Severus went through his morning ritually without thinking. He was turning into a robot, just functioning without really living. He barely noted that fact, but he just couldn't care about it. He didn't want to live in a world without Lily in it. Even if she was with Potter, she should still be alive. She should be smiling, laughing at one of Potter's stupid jokes or feeding her son, not dead. She was dead, and it was his fault. That thought never failed to pass his mind at least thirty times each day. And he knew it was true. It was his fault, and he would never forgive himself for giving the Dark Lord the motivation to go after the Potters.
Not for the first time, he wished that life had been different. He wished that he had Lily by his side, that her firstborn had been a Snape, not a Potter. He shook his head again, pointedly ignoring the pain jolting through his head again. He needn't even care about that, he just wished that she didn't hate him, that she was his friend again, as she had been when they were both nine and hadn't a care in the world besides Petunia's jealousy and some neighborhood boys stealing the swings.
No, even that wasn't necessary. Severus would have done anything to have Lily alive again, even if she did hate him, even if she totally despised him and would as soon curse him as look at him. If she was alive, everything would be better. The world was a better place with Lily in it.
But she wasn't, and Severus felt the pain come crashing down on him again. She was gone, she was dead, and it was all his fault. She had probably died hating him, even if she didn't know that it was he who had given the Dark Lord the prophecy, even if she didn't know that he had caused her death and the death of her husband. He may not have led the Dark Lord to her house, but he still had as good as killed her.
Led the Dark Lord to her house…that was it. Severus suddenly remembered what he had heard the night before. So it was Pettigrew, not Black, who had betrayed Lily? At that moment, Severus felt some sympathy for Black. He had managed to kill the bastard who had given Lily up to the Dark Lord, after all.
After a second, Severus realized what he had just thought, and gaped at his reflection in astonishment. Had he really just sympathized with Black? The man who had made his seven years at Hogwarts a torture, the one who had nearly fed him to a werewolf? The one who had made Lily hate him?
Severus shook his head. No, Black hadn't made Lily hate him, no matter how awful the man had been. It was Severus himself who had made Lily hate him, and for a good reason. He hated himself, and didn't blame Lily for the same at all.
He had been an idiot, joining the Death Eaters, thinking that somehow they would give him power, allow him to make people respect him. They had been his only friends besides Lily, and it had all given him such a good feeling.
But that feeling was empty, and Lily was dead. Nothing would bring her back. He was exactly the person that Lily thought him, nothing more than a Death Eater.
He suddenly wished he could hear Lily's laugh again. Severus could remember exactly when the last time he had heard that sound had been. He had been in Diagon Alley, buying potions supplies from the Apothecaries. This had been only a few months out of school, when he had first begun working for the Dark Lord. He had come out of the store, and seen her. Lily had been walking down the street with Potter and Black, talking. She had been married a week or so before, and when he had seen her with Potter, he had felt a burst of anger and jealousy. But then Black had said something in her ear, and she had laughed.
It had sounded like sunlight on a rainy day, like a river rushing down its path. When he had heard that laugh, Severus could no longer make himself be angry. It brought him back to the days of their youth, when she had been his best friend and nothing could part them. He wished that he could hear it again, even if it was Potter and Black who made her laugh like that, and not him.
Black, he thought angrily. Why do my thoughts keep coming back to you?
The voice that was Lily whispered in the back of his head, because you know that I would want you to help him.
But he tortured me, Lily, Severus thought, in anguish. Him and Potter. He tried to kill me!
But he was my friend, the sweet voice sounded in his head, and he is innocent.
But I don't want him free, Severus thought angrily, I want him to suffer.
Oh, Sev, the voice sounded sad, you can't carry your anger with you all the time. You have to let go sometime.
But I don't want to! He all but screamed.
But the voice did not answer. Severus swore, aloud this time. He knew that he would eventually end up helping Black. He didn't want to disappoint Lily, even if she was dead and it was only a voice in his head. He kicked at a nearby chair, and walked to the Floo.
"Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts," he shouted, and stepped into the fireplace.
Severus came out into the headmaster's office, and spun on his feet a little. Apparently Flooing while half drunk and hungover was not a good idea.
"Ah, Severus," the Headmaster said kindly, his eyes twinkling, "What can I do for you."
Severus' anger at the headmaster rose again. The last time he had been in this office, he had ended up yelling at the old man. He felt the impulse again, as he looked at the man who could not save Lily.
He consciously controlled his anger and related what he had heard from Malfoy to the old wizard.
Dumbledore looked at him curiously. "You say you heard this related to you by Lucius Malfoy? What makes you think that he was telling the truth?"
Severus replied, "Malfoy was angry at Pettigrew. He believed that Pettigrew led the Dark Lord to his death."
Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling. "Ah, a very interesting story, I am sure. But Severus, you must think about who this is coming from. What better way to test your loyalty and attempt to free Voldemort's most trusted servant at the same time?"
Severus was in disbelief, so much so that he barely flinched at the Dark Lord's name. "You think that he was trying to test me? Why would he? As far as he is concerned, the Dark Lord is dead."
"Severus, I think that you must learn to say Voldemort's name. As I have found myself saying far too many times, fear of the name merely increases fear of the thing itself."
"What about Black?" Severus snarled, angry at the Headmaster's still twinkling eyes. He hated Black himself, but he had no doubt that he was innocent. It just matched up far too well to be anything but the truth.
"Sirius Black was without a doubt the Secret Keeper for the Potters. They told me so themselves several days before they cast the Fidelius Charm. And I have no doubt that Lucius Malfoy believes that his Master will return, or thinks to set himself up as the next Dark Lord himself."
Severus gaped at the Headmaster. "Headmaster, I know for a fact that Malfoy only thinks of saving his own skin, not waiting for the Dark Lord to return. And taking power himself? Malfoy is a coward who barely had courage enough to take on the Prewetts, even with fifteen Death Eaters behind him. And for Black, much as I hate him, this seems exactly the sort of thing he would do. Potter always did have far too much faith in his friends. He could have easily made Pettigrew the Secret Keeper and pretend that it was Black."
Dumbledore replied, "I do not know what goes on inside the head of those such as Lucius Malfoy, but I am sure that he has the ambition to try if he could. And although I do confess the plot you relate is something that James and Lily would do, I am sure that they would have told me if they had cast the Fidelius Charm using Black as their Secret Keeper instead of Peter Pettigrew. Sirius Black killed Peter and thirteen Muggles with one curse, just as Peter tried to avenge his friends. Those are not the actions of an innocent man."
Severus could feel his resolve weakening. The Headmaster's arguments did seem to make sense. Perhaps Malfoy was just lying to test his loyalty. But then Severus thought of Black making Lily laugh in Diagon Alley. Vicious he may have been, but Black was certainly loyal.
On a hunch, Severus suddenly strengthened his Occlumency shields. A feeling of pressure that he had not even noticed suddenly relaxed. It was all he could do to not stare at the Headmaster. Had the old man been purposely trying to control him? Or had it been something else?
"Are you well, Severus?" Dumbledore asked kindly. "I understand how hard the past month has been for you. Perhaps a Calming Draught?
"No thank you Headmaster," Severus said hastily. "I'm sorry for wasting your time."
"Not at all, Severus. Never hesitate to come find me. I'm always happy to help." The twinkling in Dumbledore's eyes strengthened.
Just before Severus left, he remembered another thing from his night at Malfoy Manor. "I noticed one other thing, Headmaster. Rudolphus and Bellatrix Lestrange and Bart Crouch Jr. are plotting something, I believe. They were hit most heavily by the Dark Lord's fall."
"Thank you, Severus. I will inform the Order that we cannot be complacent."
Severus bid his goodbyes, and left Dumbledore's office with a sense of relief. He stumbled to the Floo and came out back in his rented room in Knockturn Alley.
What had just happened? Severus knew that the Headmaster was powerful, but he had never felt the power in such a way before. He had felt that with the Dark Lord often enough, but he had always felt normal with Dumbledore. Was it just an effect of being so powerful?
Severus shook his head quickly. It didn't matter. If he wanted to keep his promise to Lily, his Lily, he had to find another way. He quickly ran through possible contacts in his head. None of the Order would help, not without Dumbledore's agreement. Same with all of the Hogwarts staff, except maybe Filch, and the Squib wouldn't be much use, even if he was willing. No Death Eaters would be willing to help, even the ones who thought that Black had been the Dark Lord's right hand man.
Perhaps Andromeda Tonks? Well, she would be willing to help, probably, but Severus barely knew her and she didn't have much influence. Influence…influence…Ah. Black's mother, Walburga Black. She was well known to be an old fashioned blood-purist, very old fashioned. And she was rolling in lucre.
If he went to her and told her that Black had been helping the Dark Lord, she would probably fall over herself in trying to get her son a trial. Of course, with a mother like that, Severus was not surprised that Black had turned out the arrogant and vicious man that he was.
Walburga Black strode through the darkened corridors of the Ministry of the Magic with a sure step. Above her she could hear people still celebrating in the atrium for the Dark Lord's death. Fools! They should have realized that the Dark Lord had been the best chance to protect the wizarding world from the inflow of Mudbloods and Half-breeds and werewolves and all kinds of scum.
It was really a pity that he fell. Oh well, the Most Noble and Ancient House of Black would continue on, as it always did. Always Pure. That was the family motto, and it had been lived by for well-nigh on seven centuries.
Walburga smiled, in a frightening sort of way. She was very glad that her eldest son had not turned out to be quite the disappointment she had thought he was. She had been utterly shocked when he had become a Gryffindor, and was friends with the son of Charlus Potter, her husband's bitter political enemy. But now she had found out from that most respectful Snape boy that he had actually been working for the Dark Lord after all.
Perhaps her lectures and punishments to him as a child had not been in vain after all. That was most pleasing to her. It was really a shame that Regulus had backed out at the last moment. She couldn't blame him, of course. Even the Dark Lord shouldn't think that a Black would resort to such…distasteful actions. Not that she cared about the Mudbloods on whom those acts were committed, of course. But a Black shouldn't stoop to such levels. Mudbloods were not worth dirtying their hands for. Still, Regulus should have realized that the Dark Lord was unforgiving. She had thought she had raised him to be smarter than that.
Regardless, the Black family name had been redeemed. She was glad that Sirius had finally remembered where his loyalties lay. Now it was only left to her to get him out of jail. The nerve of those Aurors. Putting a Black in Azkaban! She would soon take care of that.
Walburga turned at the end of the hall, making her way to the office of the Special Undersecretary to the Minister, Cornelius Fudge. Fudge…now there was a man who knew how things worked in the world. It was not up to fools like Albus Dumbledore or that infuriating Bartemius Crouch to decide to place a Black in Azkaban. No, with a little persuasion, Fudge would surely see reason.
And as the Snape boy had told her, he had brewed an antidote to Veritaserum, so it would be less costly to clear Sirius of charges than otherwise. All she had to do was convince Fudge to give her son a trial, and he would soon be freed.
The Snape boy…it was really a pity that he was only a half-blood. He was such an intelligent boy, and he understood the way the world moved. And he was a Prince by his mother's side, one of the purer families remaining in Britain. If he had been a pureblood, and if there had been any remaining Black women unmarried, he would have made a satisfactory match.
Walburga shook her head to clear it from those superfluous thoughts as she knocked on Fudge's door. It was time to free her son from Azkaban.
Sirius Black lay curled up in the corner of his cell, whimpering. He could feel the ever present chill of the Dementors through the cell wall. Memories whipped through his mind, torturing him.
James and Lily sat on their living room couch, talking quietly. As Sirius walked in the room, they looked up. "Hey, Padfoot." James said, cheerily. "Come to be our Secret Keeper now?"
Sirius responded, "Listen, Prongs. I've been thinking—"
"Don't hurt yourself, Padfoot," James said cheekily, "I've heard it's bad for your health."
Sirius said, "I'm serious, Prongs."
"We know you are," Lily said, a small smile on her face, "It's not like we don't know your name after nine years."
"No, really," Sirius said desperately. "I don't think I should be your Secret Keeper."
James straightened up to look at him curiously. "Why? Who better than Harry's godfather? You know I think of you as a brother, Padfoot."
Sirius sighed. "I know. That's why it shouldn't be me. I'm too obvious. They'll go after me, and I don't know if I'll be able to stand up to You-Know-Who's torture."
Lily, her smile gone, responded, "Sirius, I'm sure you'll be safe."
"It's not me I'm thinking of," Sirius said, "It's you two and Harry. I don't want to risk your lives."
"Then who?" James asked. "I think you're the best choice."
"I was thinking Wormtail." Sirius responded. "Who would suspect him?"
Sirius groaned at the memory. I killed them, he thought, It's all my fault. Now James and Lily are dead, and Harry…Harry. How could I have abandoned him like that?
Another memory flashed through his head.
Sirius strode through the crowd purposefully. Ahead of him he could see the back of a very familiar head of mousy brown hair disappearing into the distance. Sirius wouldn't let that traitor get away. He fingered his wand in his pocket lovingly. The traitor! He should have never convinced Lily and James to switch Secret Keepers.
He broke into a run as he shoved his way through to the edge of the crowd, moving to the less crowded street that he had seen Peter run into. He accidentally shoved a woman walking by into a wall with his shoulder, but kept running, barking an apology over his shoulder.
There he went! Sirius drew his wand, looking for the traitor in the crowd. Muggles around him backed away nervously, seeing the tall man with a mad stare on his face and some sort of weapon in his hand, extended outwards. Finally, he could see the traitor fully, who had run into a dead end at the alley, and turned nervously.
Sirius extended his wand, preparing a spell. Before he could, Pettigrew yelled, "Lily and James! How could you, Sirius?"
Dumbfounded by Peter's words, Sirius did not fir. Before he could react, the street exploded around him, and Sirius was thrown to the grown. Dazed, Sirius saw Peter mutter a few words, and his finger dropped off with a squishy sound onto the ground. He could do no more than watch as Peter waved his wand, moving some blood and flesh from the dead Muggles around them onto the spot where he had been standing, and transformed.
Sirius staggered upright, staring around him madly. There were dead bodies all around, and a small rat was disappearing into the gutter. Sirius raised his wand, but Wormtail had vanished.
Sirius heard cracks around him, but he could do no more than laugh madly at the awful sight. He faintly realized that he was in hysterics, but barely noticed as Aurors confined him.
Sirius groaned again, shivering as he curled into a tighter ball. He tried repeating under his breath the words, "I'm innocent…I'm innocent." But he just couldn't hold onto that thought. It was his fault. He had killed James and Lily. Maybe not directly, maybe he hadn't handed them over to the Dark Lord himself, but he had as good as killed them.
Suddenly, Sirius felt an odd warmth flow over him as a silver light flowed into his cell. He barely noticed the relaxing of the Dementors' affect as he stared at the silvery white animal that flowed into his cell. It was a ram, an oddly spotted sheep with curled horns and a deeply penetrating gaze. Sirius stared at the ram as it walked calmly into the cell and stood in front of him.
Sirius did not notice that someone had entered his cell until he heard a harsh voice say, "Get up, Black, you're getting a trial."
He turned to see a square-jawed witch staring at him with a challenging gaze. She held herself proudly, with short brown hair and the patch of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement on her brown robes.
Sirius staggered to his feet with a grimace. "A trial?" he asked faintly.
"Yes, Black, a trial. Merlin knows why, as we all know you're guilty."
The prisoner staggered to the door. "Harry," he said. "I want to see Harry."
The witch stared at him. "You killed his parents. You are going nowhere near Harry Potter."
"He's my godson. I need to make sure he's all right."
"You are a prisoner. You'll be going right back into this cell as soon as you get reconvicted. You only got a retrial because your mother bribed the Ministry." The witch said that last as if it left a distasteful taste in her mouth. She looked as if she thought bribing the Ministry was a personal offence on herself.
"A retrial?" Sirius asked. "Never had a trial." His vocal chords, strained from long disuse, hurt as he spoke.
The witch stared at him for a long moment. "Nonsense. We gave every Death Eater a trial. Some got off," her mouth twisted again, "because of bribery. But you are going to have a fair trial. No getting off through bribery for you, Black. So don't get your hopes up."
"Didn't have a trial." Sirius insisted, though he didn't know why he cared what this witch thought. "Where… are we going?" he croaked.
"You are going to a Ministry holding cell for tonight. Your trial is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday morning," the witch replied, though she was frowning at Sirius' insistence that he never had a trial.
Sirius walked unsteadily through the cell door with the ram Patronus, barely noticing when the witch followed behind him. He could feel her wand pointed at his back, but he couldn't bring himself to care. The Ministry witch's Patronus led him through the winding corridors of Azkaban. Sirius felt and saw Dementors nearing him and his escort, but every time they drew too close the ram tossed his head threateningly and forced the Dementor to back off.
Finally, after a journey of what seemed like hours, during which Sirius' long unused legs gave out twice, forcing the witch behind him to cast a Lightening Charm, they reached their destination. The witch went to the desk at the Azkaban entry point.
"Hit Wizard Amelia Bones, to bring Sirius Black to the Ministry for a retrial."
The squat, balding wizard who sat behind the desk stared with beady eyes at Sirius and his escort. "Very well. I'm opening Floo number Three." He pointed his wand at one of a row of fireplaces against the wall of the entry point, which burst into flames. "It will only connect to the Floo at the Ministry holding cells."
"Thank you, Johnson," the witch, apparently named Amelia Bones, said.
Sirius barely noted that the ram had disappeared as she walked ahead of Sirius to the fireplace, drawing a pinch of Floo powder from the pouch at her waist and shouting "Ministry holding cells." She pushed Sirius in, and he felt himself fly through the Floo.
He reappeared in a dimly lit room, unadorned with any decorations. Three wizards were sitting in chairs at the other end of the room, apparently in the middle of a game of some sort. When he came through the Floo, they stood and pointed their wands at him, though they did nothing.
When Bones appeared behind him, Sirius let out a slight sigh of relief as the Hit Wizards lowered their wands. She took him none too gently by the arm and led him to the end of the room, where a metal door led to a new hallway. Along this hallway were rows of cells, three of which held people.
At the last cell in the hallway, Bones opened the door at brought Sirius inside. "Now, I'm going to return tomorrow to take you to your trial. In the meantime, I was told to bring this note to you. I don't like it, but it was checked out and no magic signature was detected on the note."
Sirius watched as the older witch vanished down the hall, leaving Sirius alone with an envelope and the feeling of being free from Dementors for the first time in nearly a month.
Sirius opened the envelope carefully. If it was from his mother, it was half-likely to be cursed just for fun, even if the Aurors did check it for any kind of magic.
Two pieces of parchment fell out of the envelope when he opened. He read over quickly and discarded the first one, which was from his mother saying she was proud of him for betraying James and Lily. He growled under his breath as he realized that the only reason he was getting a trial was because his mother thought him guilty.
He did do a double take at the passage in his mother's letter that suggested that Snape was going to provide a counter to Veritaserum. No one had ever made a defence to Veritaserum, and why would Snivellus ever give it to him? No doubt the slimy snake was a Death Eater and thought he was too, else why would he be trying to help him?
When Sirius eyes ran over the second letter, though, his mouth dropped open and all thoughts fled for a few seconds. This letter was from Snivellus himself, and it was nothing like what he would have thought.
Black, the letter read,
I have no liking for you. In fact, I hate you from the bottom of my heart. However, I have found that you are innocent of betraying Lily. I understand that Pettigrew, not you, was the Secret Keeper.
I have told your mother that I am brewing an antidote to Veritaserum. That is not true. If you are indeed innocent, then you will be able to clear your name using the Veritaserum. If not, then you will return to your cell and rot in Azkaban for what you did to Lily.
If you are innocent, then I will tell you that I do not do this for you, or for Potter. I do this for Lily's sake, for the friendship she had with you. She would not have wanted you to be in Azkaban for a crime that you did not commit. I would not care myself, but for Lily's sake.
Sirius stared at the letter open mouthed. Snivellus was the one who had convinced his mother to bribe the Ministry for a trial? Who would have ever thought it?
Despite the questions and thoughts running through his head, Sirius slept more soundly that night than he had during the 27 days since James and Lily died. He would get a trial tomorrow, and he would soon be able to see Prongs Jr.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the first chapter. Please read and review. I love constructive criticism, as much or more than encouragement.
Thanks for reading.