Chapter Fifteen

The Aftermath


"We will linger only for moments..."

The air filled with the sound of a motorbike thundering through the sky. Sirius Black tried to focus on driving, but his mind was over-active, thinking about Pettigrew's hiding place. Why hadn't Peter been there? Doubt was prickling the rider's nerves, but Sirius couldn't –

He brought the motorbike to a rumbling stop, setting down in Godric's Hollow.

His hands shook.

"No..."

He dismounted the bike and began to walk forward. His steps were slow. His eyes ran over the broken cottage, taking it in.

There was a person lying in the hall.

No, not a person. A corpse.

James was dead.

Sirius remained where he was for some time, staring at the body of his best friend. Numbly, he continued on, leaving what had once been James behind.

Soon he was looking at Lily's shell. Her tangled hair was cast about her head, one red tendril over her throat.

That meant – Sirius wheeled and ran to Harry's cot: it was empty. The man shouted and sprinted from the cottage. He collided with something huge.

He recoiled, rubbing his head with one hand and drawing his wand with the other. His gaze fell on Rubeus Hagrid. The gigantic wizard was holding something small, swathed in blankets.

There was no need to ask what happened; he did not want to hear – "Is he... alive?" Sirius trembled as the syllables left his lips. His ribs were creaking in his chest.

Hagrid gave smallest nod. "Yeh... 'e's alive."

Sirius' skin grew pallid. He clenched his hands. Tremors ricocheted through his muscles. Hagrid held out a hand to steady him but Sirius would not be helped; Hagrid did not understand, no one could ever understand –

"He's gone!" yelled Hagrid. "'E couldn' finish lil' Harry – 'e's gone, Sirius!"

Sirius breathed deeply. Hagrid's elbow had drooped. Sirius glimpsed all that remained of the Potters: their tiny little boy, Harry, sleeping peacefully. On his forehead was a scar, shaped like a lightning bolt.

The sight clawed the man back to his senses. Pale, he stared up at Hagrid, and as calmly as he could manage, began, "Give Harry to me, Hagrid. I'm his godfather. I'll look after him –"

But Hagrid shook his head. "I can'," he said. "I have express orders from Dumbledore; Harry's off ter live with his aunt and uncle."

It was Sirius' turn to shake his head. "No," he said grimly, "Lily's sister – they're Muggles, they hate magic –"

"It's Dumbledore's orders –"

"James would have wanted –"

"I know," said Hagrid heavily, "I know."

The continued to argue. Hagrid was privately amazed by Sirius' rationality: it was better, surely, for Harry to grow up with a wizard who could protect him, with family who could provide a stable upbringing? But the Keeper of the Keys continued to insist that Dumbledore had plans, that Dumbledore knew what he was doing.

Eventually, Sirius' shoulders sagged. He focused on Harry. He ran his hand through the boy's hair once, sighed, and then said:

"You can use my motorbike. I don't need it anymore."

Sirius Black walked away from the house, away from Lily and James, away from Hagrid, away from Harry... he turned back once, the wind dragged its nails across his handsome face, and his eyes, his eyes gleamed, as though –

And then he smiled, and he was gone.


The final quote is from James.

Thank you for reading.