Warnings: Mentions of rape.
Pairings: None really.
Time: July, 1993.
Disclaimer: Ms. Rowling owns all recognisable characters and plot-points. This is being done for pleasure, not profit.
He remembers being fucked. Moaning in pleasure—or was it pain? He cannot remember—looking up into grey eyes that mirror his own, perfect lips parted, revealing pearl-white, predatory teeth, black hair—hers—hanging down, around their faces.
It isn’t a happy memory, he knows that much. Otherwise he wouldn’t still remember it, when his own name flits vaguely in and out of his memory and his once-perfect skin has turned parchment-coarse.
He was a beauty once, he knows, for all his scare-crow appearance and protruding bones, someone groaned it into his ear once, rocking into his body. Or was she the beauty and he the besotted lover?
Beauty…beauty…Bella…Belle…She lives up to the name, if it is hers. Bella. Bellatrix, he remembers one night, claws drawing blood, clutching his withered wrist harder, to imprint the memory, connect that name and this pain. They seem to belong together—like hatred and a pale, plump face.
Who was she, his beautiful Bellatrix? Was she his girlfriend? His fiancée? His lover? His wife? Merlin, was she his wife? Was he married? He remembers…nothing. Nothing. But if he was happy, if those memories were cherished, they will have been stolen.
Maybe he only remembers because they were angry that night—a lovers’ tiff, perhaps. He hopes it was nothing more. Prays he hadn’t hurt his lovely Bella. Was she sorry when he was sent here? Did she love him?
He remembers another body. A man’s, this time. Beneath him. Eyes protruding. Mouth open in a broken scream. Hurt. Because of him. Bleeding. Sobbing. Was that why he was here, in this living hell? Because he had hurt— raped, his tired mind supplies dully— that man? Who was the man? Was he alive? Was that why Bella had been angry with him? Was that why she had taken away his baby?
His baby. He had a son. He was a father once, a husband. Maybe his Bella was waiting for him to escape, so that she could show him his son. Did his son know where he was? Did his son love him? How old would he be? Ten? Twelve? He must be going to school—to Hogwarts. Another name, this one in grey stones, towers, turrets, teachers—hoarded in his treasure trove of memories, blanketed in sorrow.
He has trouble, usually, keeping his thoughts on track—they slip away whenever he wants to grasp them tighter, but later – hours? weeks? – he thinks of his son again, the perfect little baby his Bella gave him. He dreams that night of the last time he saw his boy. Dreams of stepping through the ruins to pick him up from a cradle, then walking around the broken house, holding his son. Dreams of rushing to a body lying slumped on the floor, hazel eyes wide-open and unseeing, blood gushing out where he hit his head while falling. Dead. “No,” his dream-self sobs. “Don’t die. Jamie. Jamie. James, don’t leave me. James.” Awakens, still crying, tears streaming down his face, soaking twelve years’ growth of beard, clutching onto the precious, beloved name, cloaking it in heart-break. The baby wasn’t his after all, but James’. James’ son.
Then Bella, lovely, laughing Bella, wasn’t his wife. She belonged to James. Maybe that was why it was a bad memory —he was cuckolding James, fucking Jamie’s wife. He begs gods he cannot name to make sure that James had never found out, because, among the nebulous mist of ‘maybe’s, he’s sure of one thing. James loved him.
But James is dead. Maybe Bella is raising her son alone somewhere. Maybe she will let him see the boy, even though they had cheated on James. But… James’ wife died too, didn’t she? So Bella is dead too, beautiful, beloved Bella.
James is dead. Bella is dead. That, he remembers, is why he is in here. They think he killed James and his wife. But he hadn’t. He hadn’t. Someone else had… but who?
“Here he is, Minister,” someone says from beyond the bars of his cell.
“Does he give any trouble?” He looks up—the voice stinks of fear and the Dementors are drawing closer—the others in this row have either gone mad or learnt his trick of sitting still and feeling nothing—this fool is a feast for them.
“Not usually, Minister. Nobody does, after twelve years in Azkaban.” That’s what this place is called. Azkaban. And the coward’s name is Fudge. “But the last week or so, he’s been muttering in his sleep, saying ‘He’s at Hogwarts’ over and over.”
“Really?” Fudge says, raising the newspaper he’s clutching in one hand to fan himself. “That’s really… disturbing.”
Has he been muttering? Maybe, he’s been thinking of the boy who isn’t his son. He senses eyes on him and looks up again. Fudge is peering worriedly at him, eyes half-shielded by a photograph of a family, a rat perched on the shoulder of one of the boys. A very familiar rat.
“Minister Fudge,” he rasps, unfolding himself from the floor with the fluid grace he still possesses. “I wonder if you would grant me a favour.”
“Wha... what is it, Mr. Black?” Yes, that’s his name. Sirius Orion Black, of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. He remembers now. So, it seems, does Fudge.
“A trifling matter, Minister.” He approaches the bars, looming over Fudge. He was a beauty once, he knows, and wishes fleetingly that he still were because he really needs this and looking like he does considerably worsens his odds. “Nothing you cannot easily grant.” At any rate, even skeletal and ragged, he is far more intimidating than the puffed-up little popinjay trembling on the other side of the bars, and, for the moment, that will do. “Are you quite done with the newspaper?”
“What?” Fool. “The newspaper, Mr. Black?”
“why, yes, Minister. I rather miss working out the crossword. The Prophet always comes up with such grand ones; finishing it affords quite a sense of accomplishment, doesn’t it?” Thank all the gods for his breeding—the glib speech falls effortlessly from his cracked lips.
“Well, I suppose there isn’t any harm…” Fudge shoves the paper vaguely in his direction and he catches hold.
“Thank you, Minister,” he drawls, hooding his eyes in a pseudo-bow. “I won’t be detaining you any longer.” Good old Fudge recognises dismissal when he hears it and meekly shuffles off like the arse-licking politician he is.
As soon as the little convoy moves out of sight, he sinks back down, devouring the article. A happy family… won a lottery… on vacation in
It was Peter who killed James. Peter, not him. Peter is free. Peter is going to Hogwarts. James’ son is at Hogwarts. Peter will kill James’ son. Nobody will be able to stop him. Nobody knows that Peter is alive. Nobody except him.
He has to get out of here. Has to. But how? The Dementors will sense him, capture him, suck his soul out and he isn’t ready to surrender that, not now, not when he has remembered such a lot.
He laughs suddenly. Remembered such a lot and forgotten the one thing that has kept him sane all these years. He will slip out and the poor blind sods will never sense him. Oh no.
But it all depends on one thing. Will they be fed tonight? They sometimes aren’t, the human warders often instruct the Dementors to kip one row or another. He knows, rationally speaking, why they do it. Each row has at least thirty prisoners and skimming off the money the Ministry allots for a meal allows the warders to add to their admittedly meagre salaries.
But, stomach growling for the pathetic gruel most people wouldn’t feed their Crups, he thinks of the other reason the warders do it. The same reason they visit the younger prisoners in their cells when they are newly-caged. The same reason they barricaded themselves into his cell, all ten of them, the third day of his stay, when his voice was hoarse and his throat torn, sobbing for James and begging them to kill him, please, please kill him. It gave them a sense of power to fuck Sirius Black, no matter that Sirius Black was a twenty-one year old boy who couldn’t have fought them off even if he hadn’t been chained down and starving for two days, who was whimpering and crying for mercy long before even one them was finished with him.
They don’t visit him now, of course. He’s ugly and twisted and foul to the senses. But for the past—year, he thinks—they’ve been entering the cell beside his, regularly, almost on weekly basis, if not more often.
There’s a girl in there. Beautiful, he remembers thinking, when she was dragged past his cell, golden hair and pink lips. She’s in jail for murdering her rapists, which he finds terribly ironic. But he never finishes his gruel just in case they fuck her and she needs a drink afterwards. He likes her. She reminds him of someone, but he cannot remember who.
“Rhonda,” he whispers now. “Rhonda.”
“Yeah?” She’s so young, barely nineteen, already half-broken by a year in Azkaban.
“I have something for you.” He has torn out what he needs and now pushes the rest of the paper out of his bars.
“A paper?” she screeches, snatching it from him, nearly ripping it in half. “How’d you get it?”
“Fudge. Weren’t you listening?”
“Was a bit…preoccupied.” The wardens were fondling her through the bars, he realises, remembering that they’d disappeared while he was talking to Fudge. “Givin’ it to me?”
“I’ve read it.” Poor girl needs it a lot more than he does. “Finished your water, Rhon?”
“Yes.” Stupid girl. So has he. No water for Rhonda tonight, if she gets raped.
“Read the paper, Rhon. Don’t think of the bastards. Cause…”
“They’re not worth it. I know, Sirius. I…thanks for the paper and…!
He doesn’t answer her. What’s to say? He knows things about the girl he never should have and, now that she’s begun to accept and live with the inevitability of his knowledge, that he’s become the one she tells things that her mum would faint to hear, he’s doing his best to leave.
A door clangs open in the distance and he retreats silently to the other end, heart beating wildly. They’re being fed.
He transforms when gruel is pushed in, three cells away. The world loses all colour and finally, finally, the door to his cell is opened.
A Dementor drifts in with the food, leaving the door unguarded for a moment. All he needs to slip out, skidding to a halt in front of the bars of a cell near the end of the row, looking back. The Dementors are blind and both Rhonda and Gus, the old thief on his other side, are generating enough emotions that they don’t notice the absence of his.
He steals out of their row, then silently races down two empty corridors. Stairs. Hard to navigate, with four legs, but he manages.
Another row of prisoners, also being fed. Wardens must be in a good mood. He stays close to the bars of the cells, knowing instinctively that this will make him harder to catch. I t works. The Dementors pay him no heed, probably assuming him to be a spike in the emotions of the inmates. Neither do most of the prisoners, sitting listlessly staring at walls, or counting their toes and muttering.
One woman looks up, eyes dancing with glee. “What a pretty puppy,” she croons. “Will the pretty puppy play with me?”
He backs away, hackles raised, fighting down a growl. He knows that voice, that woman. It’s Bella, he realises, racing down anther flight of stairs, then running full out, down a long corridor. He can smell the sea.
It’s the work of a moment to slip through the massive bars. Then he’s scrambling down the steep slope, tripping over rocks in the dark, cruelly cutting the soft flesh of his huge paws. The vicious slicing pain is a relief, almost a pleasure, after the numbing misery of his cell.
James’ wife had hair as red as the blood oozing from his wounds, he remembers, almost at the shore, and her eyes were green, not the grey of the sea in front of him. Her name was Lily, he remembers, the memory as sudden as the crash of the cold water against his emaciated body. Her name was Lily and he loved her almost as much as he hates Bella.
He begins to swim – has to, or the waves will dash him to pieces against the rocks, and he isn’t willing to die yet. It’s ineffectual at first, and awkward. But he remembers being good at this, remembers swimming in a Scottish loch as both boy and dog. With James. James who loved him. James, whose son is in danger.
Harry. The boy’s name is Harry. Harry James Potter. His godson. Harry is at Hogwarts. Harry is in danger. Harry might die.
He swims harder now, legs thrusting against the force of the sea. When he stops, exhausted, he can barely see the fortress.
He transforms back into a man, scooping up salt water in cupped hands to pour over his head. He daren’t duck under – tired as he is, he would probably drown. But the water feels wonderful, even as the salt stings his cracked skin.
He must have swum out further than he thought, or Azkaban is located closer to the shore than popular opinion holds, because after a while he can almost make out the faint outlines of land and it makes him redouble already-strenuous efforts.
His feet hit land when the east sky has begun to fade from purple to pale pink and he wades the last few yards to lie full-length in the soft sand.
He looks around a while later, sitting up and trying to obliterate the impression his body has left in the sand. The beach is deserted enough that he can stay as he is without much fear of being seen. Even if anyone does see him, they’ll probably think him a tramp. It is very unlikely anyone knows he has escaped. Yet. Soon, maybe from tomorrow itself, he will have to be more careful, maybe stay entirely as the dog. As Padfoot, that’s what the dog was once called.
He remembers another beach – less stark, far more beautiful than this one. His Uncle Alphard’s villa, by the
But he can’t go. He has a boy to take care of. James’ son. Harry. He had almost forgotten. He must go to Hogwarts to save Harry from Peter. Harry is at Hogwarts. Harry is in danger. Harry might die.
Wait. Hadn’t that article said something about a vacation in
Where is he? The house was destroyed and Harry was a baby, is still a boy, barely more than a child. He must have been placed with a family. But who? There were traitors even in the Order. He is one, according to almost everyone. Who would be trusted to raise little Harry Potter, who had unwittingly vanquished Lord Voldemort?
But Harry hadn’t vanquished Voldemort, had he? Or had it been his parents’ blood, sacrificed for him, that had acted as a shield? From what he remembers about blood-rites, and he has forgotten more than most ever learn, Harry would have to be placed with immediate family in order for the protection to continue.
James was an only child and his parents are long dead. Lily’s parents were divorced, her mother hadn’t exactly loved little boys, he remembers vaguely, and her father he cannot recollect at all. Maybe he had been a good man, but Lily, who had written regularly to her mother and sister, despite replies being a rarity, had hardly ever spoken of him. Her sister – Penny? Pansy? Patricia? – had been married, and lived somewhere in
He tries to stand up, unwilling to waste another second, but his legs buckle and he falls to his knees. Rest it is, then. It’s a long way to
He settles down stretching out on his back, watching the sunrise. The villa is in Pthia, he remembers. He went there the summer of ’77, distraught and confused, desperate to put as much distance between himself and James as possible. He’d blocked the Floo and put up spells to deflect owls. James had arrived a week later, furious and worried sick, having trawled the houses of all their relatives, even
He remembers wanting to make love.
- Current Mood: quixotic