Oh, Padfoot, it should never have been this way.
It should've been you, me and Moony against the world. We should've realized
Wormtail was the traitor. But we didn't, and now Moony's alone, I'm dead, and
you're… you're in Azkaban.
Azkaban. When we were younger, we used to joke that you'd end up in Azkaban. We
never dreamed that it would turn out to be true, and Azkaban is nothing to joke about.
Your mother came here yesterday, do you know that? I guess you don't, I guess they
wouldn't tell you. She arrived here, though… I hear she died of grief. I'm sorry,
Sirius. She thought you were guilty – they all think you're guilty, the living ones.
Even Moony does. She cried when she heard you were innocent, you know. She came
here to watch you, but left after a short while. Very few of your friends watch you.
It's not that they don't care for you, it's that they can't bear to see you like this. You
look awful, Padfoot. Your hair's all matted and tangled, hanging past your shoulders.
You're all gaunt, and you're completely pale. You look like a skeleton. I'm the only
one who comes here often. Whenever I'm not watching Harry – you should see him,
Sirius. He is so sweet, even though he has to live with the Dursleys. It's simply awful,
the way they treat him. Lily cries when she sees it. She really cries, Sirius. She never
used to cry at school. I hate it when she cries…
The others don't watch the living much. They don't understand why I spend so much
time watching you. But… I don't want you to be completely alone in this hellish
place. You may not know I'm here, but I'm sure that somewhere, on some level of
consciousness, you realize that you're not alone and hear what I'm saying.
You're talking to me, now. Calling my name. I'm here, Sirius! I'm listening! What do
you want of me?
Forgive you? You want me to forgive you? But, Padfoot, there's nothing to forgi-
All right, I forgive you, I forgive you! Now please stop screaming, Padfoot. Please? It
hurts so to hear you scream.
You can't hear me, can't you?
* * * * *
I'm here again, Padfoot. Yes, it's me, James. I still come to visit you every day,
although it's been a long time. Twelve years, to be exact.
Harry's going to be starting his third year at Hogwarts soon. I wish you could see him.
He's in Gryffindor, of course, and plays Quidditch better than I do! He also has a
knack of getting into dangerous, life-threatening trouble through no fault of his own…
there was an incident with a basilisk last year… He still lives with the Dursleys. If
only you were free, you could take him away from those awful people. As soon as
Vernon, Petunia or Dudley dies, I'm coming to meet them at the gate to the afterlife.
And shout at them. And shout at them. Then shout at them some more…
You're not screaming anymore, thank God. I hated it when you screamed. You seem
quite stable. I was afraid you'd go insane in the first few years. Or kill yourself. You
tried, several times, but the wardens always managed to pull you back. You may not
think so, but they were right to do so. Your time isn't up yet. If you die, I'll meet you
to shout at you, same as with the Dursleys. And if you die, who'll rescue Harry from
I see Fudge is coming. Inspection. He doesn't look too happy, does he? Afraid of the
famous /mass murderer/ Sirius Black. How can they all think you're guilty? They
have to realize that you'd /never/ betray me! Even with all the evidence, /someone/
must realize that you'd never go over to Voldemort.
Fudge is asking the cell guards about you. Please, say something, Sirius. I haven't
heard you speak normally, rationally, in twelve years.
Perfect. Asking him for his newspaper, that's brilliant. "I miss doing the crossword,"
indeed! Fudge's expression is simply /priceless/… I wish I had a camera! I know you
don't think it's funny – you don't even remember what funny is, do you? – but later,
when you've joined me up here, we'll laugh for /days/ about this!
Fudge has left, I see. Still looks very shaken, ha! Serves the buffoon right!
What's that you're looking at in the paper? That's Arthur Weasley's family, isn't it? I
remember the oldest son was five years below us at Hogwarts. My, seven children…
the youngest boy, Ron, is one of Harry's best friends, you know. They've become a
substitute family for him. You might think I'm jealous, but I'm glad. That way Harry,
even if he can't be with you, has /someone/ other than the Dursleys…
Oh, you're looking at Peter. Yes, Sirius, that's right. Peter's alive, and in hiding. As a
rat, as Ron's pet. Yes, as Harry's best friend's pet, Sirius. He sleeps in Harry's dorm.
Harry is in danger, Padfoot, and you're the only one who knows it. Peter's at
Hogwarts. He's at Hogwarts. Hear that? He's at Hogwarts.
* * * * *
You've escaped, Sirius! I would never have thought it. You always wanted to be on
the front page of the newspaper once, although I suspect being the first person to
escape Azkaban wasn't /quite/ what you had in mind.
I see you, standing on the beach. You really do look awful, like a vampire. But you're
laughing. It's the first time you've laughed in twelve years. And don't think all of
your friends hate you, now, Sirius. Up here, all of your close friends are having a
party. Me, Lily, your Mum and Dad, Jessica, Geoff, everyone. You know what else?
Moony's coming to teach at Hogwarts. Professor R. J. Lupin, I laughed when I heard
that. Fits him, though, he's much more dignified nowadays. I know he thinks you're
guilty, but he knows you really well. You'll be able to convince him, Padfoot, I know
you will. And when you catch Peter, /everyone/ will know. You'll be able to get Harry
away from the Dursleys. You'll be able to rebuild your life. You're free, Sirius. Free.