It was a chilly night in late October. Jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and witches stared down through the windows of the shops on the high street. A man with shaggy black hair hurried around a corner, striding with purpose toward the large crowd gathered on the street corner. A house stood in the sharp relief of the street lamp, with a large chunk of the upper floor of the house blown away. Sirius Black slipped between the people, catching snatches of their conversations.

"It must have been a gas leak," whispered an awestruck woman to her husband.

"It's funny. I walk down this street everyday and I never noticed this house here before," whispered an older man who shivered and wrapped his dressing gown more tightly around himself.

Sirius stuck to the shadows, attracting no attention from the crowd. His heart was hollow, knowing exactly what he was going to find inside. He quickly circled the house, opening the kitchen door and entered the house.

"Homenum Revelio," Sirius whispered. Nothing happened. He breathed a sigh of relief.

The kitchen looked exactly as it had when he'd left it last. A high chair towered in the corner and a few dirty dishes were left to soak in the sink. Sirius looked around one last time before pressing on through the kitchen door. His heart sank as he noticed a familiar figure lying at the foot of the stairs.

James.

Tentatively, Sirius stepped forward, his breathing heavy. Fighting the urge to turn and run, Sirius recognized the body as his best friend. James Potter was dead. Panic rose in Sirius' chest, knowing that where James went, Lily soon followed. Pulling James by his armpits, Sirius moved him from the bottom of the stairs. It was strange, he thought, to know he had been here just days ago celebrating a successful recon mission and now here he was finding his best friend, his wife, and their son's body. It was maddening. Sirius wanted to believe he was dreaming, but there was just no way his mind would come up with this kind of pain.

He climbed the stairs with shaky legs, praying he wouldn't find what was at the top of the stairs. Debris was strewn everywhere. Bits of plaster and dry wall spread through the landing and the door to the master bedroom was hanging from a single hinge. A shudder rippled through him as he placed his hand on the nursery door. He paused for a moment and almost thought he could hear baby Harry crying.

Sirius pushed open the door and what he saw was far worse than he could have expected. The walls to the room were disintegrating, broken glass, splinters of wood and bits of plaster coated the floor. Lily laid motionless on the floor at the foot of the crib, baby Harry in her arms. Sirius knelt down beside her, scooping baby Harry from her arms. The baby let out a soft, squeaky snore and Sirius felt his heart stop. Harry was alive. Sirius felt as though he could scream for joy for just a moment. He snuggled the baby closer to him silently thanking whatever God it was for saving him.

A sound from the floor beneath him pricked his ears. A low, thudding footstep; it was a sound he knew anywhere. Hagrid had arrived, probably on Dumbledore's orders. Sirius pulled his wand from his pocket, and quickly flicked his wand at Lily, who floated a few inches off the floor. Waving his wand, she floated toward the stairs. Sirius arrived at the bottom of the stairs as Hagrid entered the living room. Even from several feet away, Sirius could see large tears dripping into his shaggy beard.

"James is dead. James Potter is dead," Hagrid sobbed quietly, speaking to himself.

Sirius magicked Lily to lie next to James and turned to Hagrid.

"James and Lily are dead. Harry lives," Sirius could get no more out. His voice was as hollow as he felt. Shock flowed through him like a river.

"I'm to take him to Dumbledore, Sirius," Hagrid spoke softly, "Y'know if it were up to me, I'd let you take him; bu' Dumbledore's orders."

"I'm his godfather, Hagrid. He's coming with me. I don't care what Dumbledore says. James and Lily would have wanted me to take him," Sirius was agitated. He'd just discovered his godson was a live and Dumbledore wanted to take him away? Fat chance.

"Lily and James would've wanted wha's bes' for 'im. An' tha's to go to Dumbledore," Hagrid shot back fiercely, "I can't believe you'd even show yer face aroun' here after betrayin' your bes' friends. Lily and James are dead, you son of a bitch, AN' YOU KILLED 'EM! THIS IS ALL YOUR BLOODY FAULT!"

Sirius blanched and Hagrid's words, "It wasn't me! I didn't betray them! It was Pettigrew!" Even in his own ears, his pleas sounded like false testimony. Sirius sighed and held out baby Harry, a deep need for revenge filling his heart.

"Take him Hagrid. My motorcycle is around the corner, in the pub's carpark. Take it. It will get you to Dumbledore faster. I have a rat to catch," anger pulsed in Sirius' voice as he turned and left through the kitchen door. He knew just where to find Pettigrew. He knew just how he was going to kill him. In the deep chill of the early morning, Sirius turned on his heel and apparated.

In the next second, Sirius found himself on a residential muggle street, not unlike the street he just left. A rustling in the gutter told him he had found what he was looking for. He quickly turned himself into his familiar dog form, and scooped the rat up into his mouth. He ran along the street, turning into a deserted alley, situated between two houses and spit the rat out. Turning himself back into a human, he forced Pettigrew to do the same.

"YOU BASTARD! YOU BETRAYED OUR BEST FRIENDS! HOW COULD YOU!?" Sirius' screaming reverberated from the surrounding brick, "THESE PEOPLE SHOULD HAVE MEANT EVERYTHING TO YOU!"

A small group of muggles now encircled the alley, wondering just what it was that had disturbed them from their slumber. Sirius didn't care that they were watching him. He only wanted to murder the man standing in front of him as painfully and slowly as he could. He felt madness, a need for revenge driving every one of his actions and every one of his words. There was nothing he could but to kill this traitor as painfully as he could.

Pettigrew smiled a disturbing, twisted, sinister smile that shut Sirius up.

"You don't get it do you? I would suppose not. My master gives me power which James and Lily, nor even you, ever could. Don't you see, Padfoot? I can have anything I want and more by following my master. He is great, unlike the rest of you. You're all weak. Too afraid to go after exactly what is that you want and too pathetic to follow in the footsteps as someone as great as the Dark Lord."

Sirius shuddered, but said nothing. He trained his wand on Pettigrew's heart. Pettigrew looked surprised for a moment and then began to laugh manically.

"Surely, you won't kill me. You're too much of a coward."
Pettigrew drew a knife from his boot and began slicing through the skin and sinew of his right index finger, while Sirius watched in horror. The finger came free from his hand, and Pettigrew held it up as though a prize. Before Sirius could react, Pettigrew fled, running into the main street. He gave Sirius one last, manic smile before pointing his wand at the ground, tossing the finger and disapparating on the spot.

Sirius felt the ground beneath him split and rumble, caving in upon itself. He managed to jump back far enough before the pipe burst, unleashing a torrent of poisonous gas. After what seemed like only second, he felt a full body bind curse placed upon him, restricting his movement. He felt the curse lifted and his hands bound. He knew that he was being arrested. Sirius laughed, a deep, hollow, humorless laugh.

"Sirius Black? You are being arrested for the murder of Peter Pettigrew. All that we could find that poor boy was a finger. We have questioned several witnesses. There will be no need for trial. You are being sentenced to life in Azkaban, to begin immediately," a deep voice from his left said, the sound of contempt rising from deep within. Sirius didn't care. He just laughed and laughed. He didn't even feel himself moved by side-along apparition.