A/N: Written for Fire The Canon's Fanfiction Tournaments- October- Round I (Participants are to write a story using the character, Sirius Black as the central character. All pairings, genres, ratings, other character are accepted as long as Sirius is the main focus), 2012 Hogwarts Games: Swimming- Backstroke (Write a story over 2000 words without Romance), owluvr's Honeydukes Competiton: Trecle Fudge (It's a specialty of Hagrid's. It cements your mouth shut. So for this one, I challenge you to write a story with no dialogue. Not even the character talking to himself/herself), and Cheeky Slytherim Lass' Tim Burton Quote Competiton on the HPFC Forum. I had to ask for a number on the last one. I chose #12 and got the quote:
"You make the kill, but your pain doesn't die with Harvey. So you run out into the night and find another face, and another, and another, until one terrible morning, you wake up and realise that revenge has become your life." - Batman Forever
That is a long author's note. :P
Word count: 2,306
To forgive and forget is but a one-sided statement. One can forgive but never forget. Even if all the water in the well were to grow dry, the wishes it held would remain there forever. Just like the memories of the good, the bad, the easy and the hard, the evil and the good would remain within the minds of their witnesses. No matter how hard the witnesses may try to rid themselves of them.
A wishing well's words are lies, and Sirius has only just begun to figure that out.
He shivers in the shackles he wears, but then his eyes suddenly move from the bare wall to his feet and he realises he isn't wearing any. Oh goody, his mind is playing tricks on him again.
They had removed the chains from around his wrist and ankles and Sirius feels as though his bones have been melted down and sealed back together in cold-hard steel. They're freezing beneath his skin but his body is motionless. While he normally would feel a need to warm himself, something in the back of his mind is telling him that trying is merely hopeless.
But he tries anyway.
Slowly, his hand moves up to grasp his wrist and he begins to rub in vain, then a scream echoes through the halls and he jumps. One might have guessed he'd been electrocuted if the reason he'd jumped wasn't so painfully obvious. The scream is like a knife swiping through the air - quick, cold, and piercing.
Even though he's been here for a month, things haven't gotten any easier in terms of getting used to. You can't get used to the screams of those trapped within their own minds, you can't get used to the ever growing thoughts of what you might become. Questions rang through Sirius' head day after day - he can't help but wonder if listening to the other prisoners' screams meant listening to his future, and you can't get used to the loud thrashing of the waves, however calming they may be in the painfully silent nights.
His breath suddenly catches in his throat - it's freezing, like a waterfall of ice seeping through his mouth and down into his stomach. It soaks the inside of his body and the dog inside him whimpers - you can't get used to any Dementor either.
He knows the creature is far away - down the hall or even a story below. But he can still feel it. Perhaps, it's just below the floor he lies on. He doesn't sit on the bench, it's too cold, and even the fur of the dog doesn't help ease the pain.
The night wears on and the clouds shift to reveal the moon high in the star strewn sky. It illuminates the inside of Sirius' cell and he can't control the urge to watch it. It makes its way slowly across the sky and whimpers escape Sirius' muzzle, sounding more like trapped howls not quite ready to free themselves. He soon buries his face behind his paws just enough to cover his nose and keep the musky smell of the floor from seeping in through his nostrils, while his eyes reach over and continue to stare out of the tiny window. A faint smell of copper rises in the air - the blood of dead rats hidden behind the walls drape the lower bars of his cell. Sirius knows if he wasn't in his dog form he would never know the blood there remained. His precious nose can pick up scents from a mile away and he's already discovered the rotting skin of a Dementors' hands don't mix well with blood. He doesn't change, however, as a Dementor glides passed the door of his cell. He's more comfortable than he knows he could ever be.
The rattling breath of the creature disappears for a moment, and Sirius jumps to his feet with the little strength he has to move and inspect the bars near the door. He sinks his muzzle into the corner and cold cobwebs hitch onto his nose. He shakes them off, before taking in a breath. The scent of the rats' blood isn't as nauseating as he expected, but he soon draws his face away, never to become aware that if he were human he'd be shaking his head at himself. What went through a dog's mind? Even after he'd managed to conquer the skill of an animagus, he's never been able to remember all of the thoughts he would have - they disappear once he becomes human, never to run through his mind again. So the question remains.
But he and the dog are not separated from each other. The dog is a part of him and he knows it, and he uses it to his advantage.
His head hangs as he shuffles back over to the other side of the cell, sinking against the wall and looking up at what he can see through the window. The majority of his strength is yet to leave him, but he can't help but feel empty inside. The freezing cold penetrating deep into his veins makes him shiver, and the lightheadedness that has come from lack of sleep and proper food makes every attempt to move like labour. His eyelids droop - his mind begging for rest but he can't find it in himself to give in as fresh thoughts seep into his head. Why is he here? What had he done? They aren't new thoughts at all but they vanish through the day after long sulks in his cell, only to be replaced by thoughts of what had been, and what could've been. The Dementors are not kind.
Every day is a cycle.
The morning rises with little light - the sun just as cold as the water below it, and Sirius paces his cell.
Back, forth, back, forth, back, forth.
His paws softly patting the floor behind the bars as his thoughts reel, and the same questions remain - how long will he be here?
The sun drips lower over the sky.
Back, forth, back, forth, back, forth.
He soon discovers that time doesn't last.
Back, forth, back, forth, back, forth.
The moon rises above the sky. Sirius has discovered over many years that its face is unchangeable. It hides behind curtains of clouds and darkness, concealing its quarter, its half and its whole every other night - Sirius has learned this.
It's been his only friend, other than the rats the scurry across the floor of his cell.
Within his dog form, he lies on the freezing floor. His paws over his muzzle and his eyes sealed tight - blocking out any form of light. The little sun that passes in through the window is a nightmare of a blaze to Sirius now. He whimpers, falling softly onto his side, every ache one can possibly feel throbbing through his bones and muscles are seeping into his veins - turning his warm blood cold.
Every day is just another day now. However painful and lonely it is, he's become used to it now.
There are days when he does cry - cries the tears never to be seen, never to be let seen, and never to be heard.
Old memories are like tarnished photographs now. The kind one would look at and wonder 'did that really happen?' and 'it wasn't just a dream?' and 'what happened?'
He's gotten used to everything now. If being used to everything means never retreating from the corner because it isn't worth it, not worth it for himself.
He lies in the little sunlight seeping into the cell, wondering where his life had gone and if it will ever come back.
Then a door creaks open from down the hall.
The Daily Prophet lies open in front of his face - he's been staring at it for hours.
Peter lies on the boy's shoulder in a picture painted black and white, hanging there like the massive slob he's always been, shrunken into the tiny form of a rat. Sirius can envision the days Peter's had. From living in a family like the one he's looking at he surely slept well at night - curled up under the warm blankets of a boy's bed, he surely was well fed, he surely was let out to roam free across any form of land he could, but that's only if Peter hasn't turned into something so lazy, but something in the back of Sirius' mind is telling him that he has.
For once, he remains out of his dog form with the paper slowly crumpling in his grip. For once, his mind is clear and swarming with the thoughts of what had happened. He knows now, he knows Peter's alive and where he'll go.
He slowly slides down to sit on the floor, leaning against the wall. His eyes are wide and he never takes his eyes off of the paper. The Dementors glide passed his cell and stay for longer than normal, watching him. Perhaps his insanity is just a clever hider.
The Dementor's rattling breath retreats as it moves down the hall. Sirius can feel the burning behind his eyes but he refuses to let any tears fall, as his old friends' voices echo in his mind. Feelings of guilt, shame, and regret flood through him and he transforms into the dog once again, praying for relief.
The moon rises in the evening, just as it does every night and Sirius leans against the wall, arms crossed, his eyes slowly closing as soft mutters escape his lips.
He remembers Peter.
'He's at Hogwarts. He's at Hogwarts.'
He remembers Harry.
'He's at Hogwarts. He's at Hogwarts.'
Something inside him snaps.
His life really does have a point.
He's a Gryffindor and he would never say so with shame.
His paws make contact with the rough rocks on the island's beach, as the satisfying sounds of the prison's bells go off. The Dementors swarm - he can feel it.
It's just like old times. Sirius can remember when he and James would run from the teachers at Hogwarts, evading capture. Now he's running from the Dementors. A feeling of adrenaline rises in him and he smirks in his doggy form. The only difference is that James isn't by his side.
The water shines in the morning light in a glossy sheen. Sirius steps down from the rocks as quickly and carefully as he can, blood pooling on the rough surface as the skin on his paws tear with almost every step he takes. He takes only a moment to ready himself before plunging into the water.
It's like he's in his cell all over again, but the temperature is ten times worse. He wills himself to keep his muscles in action before he freezes to death. He paddles through the high waves, his head dunking below the water every few seconds as fresh pain rocks his body. Every move of his legs is grueling, and he can feel his breath and heart struggling to keep up. But he moves on, because he's free from the place he's been imprisoned for twelve years - he isn't going to go back now.
Sirius' mind is cloudy, his breath sharp with every small and fast intake of air - the cold piercing his lungs. But the moon is high and the waves are calm, his muscles relax ever so slightly with his slowing demands. Sirius feels a gush of happiness flow through him, even in his fatigued state. He's free, he's going to find Harry and he's going to see him after all these years, he's going to see Remus and apologize. Everything will be alright again.
He's going to find Peter and get his revenge, he's going to kill the rat if it's the last thing he does. Part of his mind tells him that keeping the rat alive and torturing him would be a far better path to go down, but he doesn't want to have to look at Peter's face anymore, no matter how much pleasure torturing him may bring. He wants him dead. He knows where the rat is, and killing him won't be hard, if only Hogwarts doesn't increase its level of protection.
A growl threatens to escape his mouth at that thought, but comes out as a tired whine instead.
He moves on, though.
When the time comes where he reaches the nearest shore, he collapses on the beach and falls into a deep sleep that goes on for an entire day. You can't rest when you're out at sea, when the only thing keeping you afloat is your constant movements.
Another day goes by and he's killed rats for food, imagining that each one was Peter, even though he knows the rats that scurry across the moist ground are far from him - they're skinny with barely any meat on their bones, but Sirius kills them with relish anyway. Even though he's well aware that every death will never satisfy him like finding Peter will, because you make the kill, but your pain doesn't die with any animal. So you run out into the night and find another face, and another, and another, until one terrible morning, you wake up and realise that revenge has become your life.
A/N: Yeah... Tell me what you think? Review? I'm not sure how well I used the quote... I wanted to use it in this so... But thanks for reading, anyway.
~ Painted Lady