A/N: Written for Round IV (four, I don't know why I like using Roman numerals...) of Fire The Canon's October Fanfiction Tournaments on the HPFC Forum.

Much love to Ebaz for beta-ing this for me!

Credit to cover image goes to Viria13 on DeviantART.

Enjoy, and please review!


The clock stands still, and the pain shooting through his body suddenly doesn't feel like pain anymore.

Sirius never knew what it felt like to die. To get hit by a curse is one thing, but to die is another. Something brushes against his shoulders. It's cold, oh so cold, like icy water raining upon his skin, like a dementor's hands clawing at his neck. He doesn't know what it is, but somehow it's soft and comforting and drains away his pain, billowing above his head. But his mind is leaving him and he's losing all feeling.

Sirius never knew the feelings of a slow death. Everything's fast but slow, everything's loud but quiet. Death taunts you and hangs you from a thread, slowly sawing away at the only thing that's clinging you to life - your pumping heart, but death cuts its strings and you realise you really do have no choice as you fall further and further into death's hands. His song cuts you in half, like an endless musical note strained by an unmoving needle - Sirius never thought something could last so long. But he's falling backwards and everything is a blur.

Harry's screams sound another note, never ending as they echo around the dark chamber. Sirius' mind is yelling for him to run, to take his godson in his arms and call to death that he loses. Sirius won't let himself die and let Harry cry, even though he isn't worth the pain and tearful bruises. But he's falling backwards, his limbs unmoving.

He sees her - Bellatrix - standing and watching, only barely visible from her place on the dais. But he can't see her eyes, he can't see her smile, he can't look her full in the face and challenge her once more. He fights, but death won't let him go.

He sees him - Remus - with his arms around Harry, trying to keep the boy from breaking into a run towards his godfather. Sirius thinks he can see a glance moving his way. But his vision is dying and he looks to the ceiling and away from his friend.

The feel of cold claws on his skin.

He's falling further and further beyond the veil.

The sound of his last breath.

He looks to Harry in the not so far distance. Something reaches into his chest and pulls at his heart, icy chains weave around that still but slowly pumping muscle. It isn't death this time, but he can't tell because he can't feel anymore.

The look of Harry's eyes.

The clock stands still, if only for a moment in time. Then everything's painted black and his vision ceases, never to go back.