24th July 1993
Laughter ... that strange yet familiar sound. It was quite some time since he had heard that sound coming out of his own mouth ... it had been eleven years, eight months, nineteen days, one hour and thirty five minutes, if the newspaper sitting there and his still functioning pocket watch could be believed ... eleven years, eight months, nineteen days, one hour and thirty five minutes ... four thousand two hundred and seventy nine days, one hour, thirty five minutes and zero seconds ... not that he was counting of course. After all, who would do that?
Oh wait, he would.
Then again, he didn't have much of a choice. There isn't much one can do when one is trapped in such a drab place. He looked around at his ... room (for the lack of a better word) critiquing its appearance, acting as if it was the first time he had laid eyes on it as opposed to eleven years, eight months, nineteen days, one hour and thirty five minutes ago when he had been chucked in here. Sunken grey eyes surveyed the only two items of furniture in the otherwise bare and dingy room which in reality was a cell; the pallet that served as a bed with a thin threadbare blanket on top and the dingy commode that mercifully stayed clean all day long.
Mother would not have approved was the fleeting thought that first went through his mind. This caused him to snicker (another sound that had not been heard coming out of his mouth!). Of course his mother would not have approved! He remembered that she used to be rather obsessive about cleanliness and how she considered a lack of at least one piece of expensive antique furniture in a room an offence that should be punishable by death. The look on old man Malfoy's face when they had gone to visit dear cousin Narcissa... Then again, the room here was something even he would not approve of!
The thought that he may actually have something to agree with his mother immediately shut him up.
Shaking his head, he cleared his mind. Where was he, oh yes, laughter. It definitely had been quite some time since he had last laughed (and he was not going to think about the exact time again, thank you very much!). But then, he supposed that there wasn't much to laugh about in Azkaban. What with the dementors floating around ... And if that wasn't enough, the Aurors and guards stationed there were of the opinion that their jeering and taunts made up for the few minutes those fiends were absent.
Frankly he did not know which was worse, the guards or the dementors. At least the dementors couldn't speak. The rattling did get old rather fast though as did the tortured screams that assaulted his highly sensitive dog ears. At the same time, it was quite entertaining to hear cousin Bella banter with the guards. How that woman stayed sane without an Animagus form to protect her was beyond his comprehension. Then again, she wasn't exactly sane before she was tossed in here.
He supposed that it was a good thing that they were in the high security wing of the prison. That meant that the guards were too cowardly to open the door and step inside the cell to get physical with the inmates. After all, they had nearly lost one of their own to Bellatrix when a guard had tried to get ... intimate with her. Sirius had no idea that it was possible to use your own hair to strangle another person, and, judging by the look on their faces when they saw their colleague's dead body, the guards didn't either. And they weren't even going to try to get close to him, Sirius Black, "the most notorious Death Eater". A man, so powerful and depraved, that he was capable of killing twelve Muggles and one wizard with a single curse. Voldemort's secret right hand man ... his supposed heir. The fact that he did not seem as affected by the dementors only added to the myth, and consequently the fear. He heard that there was a rumour going about saying that he was actually part dementor. Come to think of it, his mother was disturbingly like a dementor...
Ever since the hair strangling incident, the guards had elected to stay outside and shout insults from behind the bars. Acting like those yobs he had seen at one of those Muggle zoos when he had gone out with his godson...
Thoughts of his godson got him thinking about the past and more specifically, the events that had led to his incarceration.
2nd November 1981
‘PETER!’ Sirius Black screamed as he spotted the rat like man among the throng, scurrying around looking for an empty place to Disapparate. It had taken him a day to find the rat-bastard. A full twenty four hours of no sleep and near – constant Apparating and Disapparating. But he finally had the traitorous snivelling twat cornered in a busy part of Manchester. He was going to haul the pudgy tosser to the D.M.L.E. and have the pleasure of sending him to Azkaban for the rest of the fat man’s natural life. Who knows, Peter would probably lose some much needed weight there! He might even look handsome enough for somebody (probably a desperate dementor) to take notice of him.
Sirius did not even think of needing to fight. After all, he was a full – fledged Auror, one of the youngest and best trained by Moody himself who was of the opinion that he would be one of the greatest Aurors ever. Peter Pettigrew on the other hand was nothing but a fat, traitorous, lazy rat – like thing whose only claim to fame was becoming an Animagus at the age of fifteen. He was a mediocre student at best and a failure at worst. Never had Sirius felt so much regret at helping the sod out in school.
So it was a big surprise when instead of snivelling about and asking for clemency, the worm looked around and shouted at the top of his voice while drawing his wand, ‘Lily and James, Sirius! How could you?’ and started heaving out great wracking sobs in that high grating squeaky tone he used to use after a painful session with one of the teachers for being caught breaking a rule. That never failed to annoy James and Sirius. It was quite pathetic really to see a fifteen year old bawling like a five year old after a few swishes.
‘If that is the best you got, Peter, then I suggest you give up now,’ said Sirius, quickly regaining his wits. The nerve of him to accuse Sirius of being the traitor! What was almost comical was the fact that in his nervousness Peter was holding his wand in his off hand.
It was when Peter looked up from the ground and into his eyes that Sirius first knew that something was wrong, a feeling that only increased when he noticed that the wand that Peter was pointing at him was somebody else’s. His eyes widening, Sirius instinctively threw up his strongest shield as the wand arm that he noticed just now hidden behind the other man’s back let loose a black light from a second wand that it held between its fingers.
As soon as the light hit the ground, a loud rumbling sound was heard and the few curious Muggles that were standing there around the wizards in a circle only had time for their eyes to widen before a flash and a large bang vaporised those standing between the Wizards and behind Pettigrew.
Sirius, on the other hand, suffered only a few minor cuts and bruises caused by the flying shrapnel. His shield had taken the brunt of the blast, saving him and a few Muggles fortunate enough to be behind him.
Disoriented, he made to straighten up. The flash of light had blinded him momentarily, and so he did not see the red light of the disarming spell headed his way until it had divested him of his wand and thrown him back.
His vision clearing, he looked at the scene around him. It was a perfect circle of destruction; the concrete was cracked and littered with body parts and pools of blood while water was spewing from the epicentre from a burst pipeline making the area look like a parody of a fountain. Still dazed, Sirius could only watch as Pettigrew approached him, holding his Hawthorn wand and Sirius’s own African Blackwood wand in one hand as he pocketed the wand that he had fooled Sirius with.
The Death Eater raised his wand and bound Sirius before he could do anything. He then sent what Sirius recognised as a memory charm to the two Muggles behind him.
His mission accomplished, Peter then turned on Sirius, a sinister grin that the pure-blood scion of the Black family had never seen on the half-blood’s face. ‘So long ... old friend ...’ with that he sent an overpowered cheering charm at Sirius.
Sirius barely registered the bonds tying him down vanishing as he was laughing hysterically. He did notice Peter tossing his wand at his feet before cutting off his finger and then shedding his bloodstained robes. Scattering both the items to the ground, he transformed and disappeared in the sewers.
Things rapidly went downhill from there. The contingent of hit-wizards that arrived on the scene had gazed at the scene for barely a minute before stunning Sirius. When he next woke up, he found himself in a holding cell. A few minutes later, the door opened to allow Barty Crouch, the head of the D.M.L.E., reputed for being as ruthless as the Death Eaters he zealously fought, and Minister of Magic Millicent Bagnold.
‘Barty!’ said Sirius. ‘I have something I need to tell you –‘
‘Save it Black. We have seen all we need to see. There is nothing more that I want to hear from Death Eater scum like you!’ Crouch snapped with hatred in his eyes.
‘You truly have outdone yourself here Black,’ said the Minister. ‘I have to admit that it was quite a stunt you pulled here. To think that you had deceived all of us ...’ she paused for a moment, taking a deep breath. ‘Well, looks like the game, as they say, is up. The evidence has been examined and witnesses questioned. You will spend the rest of your miserable life in Azkaban for what you did!’ she said with a vindictive smile.
‘I’m not getting a trial?’ said Sirius in shock. ‘But I am innocent! Surely I have the right for a trial! I demand to speak to Dumbledore!’
‘Ah yes, Dumbledore. Well, he was the star witness against you, you know... Gave us the information that you were the one that betrayed the Potters! And your friend the Werewolf told us all about your shenanigans at school ... how you nearly got another student killed. It was decided unanimously that there is no need for a trial. After all, the evidence is rather conclusive ... why should we waste Veritaserum or the time to give you one? Take him away, boys.’ With that parting shot, they left Sirius to the Aurors.
And so Sirius was left in the company of the dementors of Azkaban. At first, he held out hope that Dumbledore would see reason, and convince Crouch and Bagnold to hold a trial for him or that the Potters’ will would be unsealed and prove that he wasn’t the secret keeper as they had mentioned that fact in the will. But that hope soon faded as the days passed by. The feeling of betrayal deepened even more when he found out that Bellatrix, his psychotic cousin and a proven Death Eater got a trial for her part in torturing Frank and Alice into insanity.
Was his service, his dedication to Dumbledore and his Order of the Phoenix, the light, and the Ministry all for nothing that they did not even give him the courtesy of a trial? How was it that proven Death Eaters got a trial while he got tossed into Azkaban without one? Was his mother right in saying that they could not be trusted? That in the end, the Light was just as bigoted and as blind and narrow minded as the Dark? Was there any point in switching over to the Light?
Sirius had a ready answer to the last question at the least. It was worth switching sides. At least because of that, he had found great friends ... well friend at the very least. Peter was a Death Eater and Remus was just as good as a traitor for testifying against him like that. How could he bring up that incident all those years back when he had sworn that it was in the past? He did not have the luxury of denying knowledge of the switch. Not when Sirius himself had seen the letter detailing the switch included with the package they normally sent him every month which he had delivered personally to Lupin’s house.
At first, Sirius was ready to give up and die. Let the dementors work their evil magic on him and release him from the hell he was now in. Then he heard about his godson. His little Harry, who he found out from Fudge (how did that fool become Minister anyway?) had been placed with Lily’s sister, Petunia.
Sirius had met the spiteful magic-phobic Muggle and knew deep in his bones that she would not treat the boy well. She was basically like Snape, only female and ... well ... a Muggle: Mean, petty, and capable of holding a grudge till the end of time. He knew that Lily would have never wanted her boy to grow up with those animals, and he knew that she had told Dumbledore that. So in his mind, that was another thing the man had done to betray him and his brother in everything but blood and his wife.
This fact gave Sirius new hope. He knew that he should hold onto his sanity and his magic: If not for himself, then for his godson. That rat would slip up one day ... and then Sirius will be free. Free to take Harry in. And free to exact his vengeance.
And so, filled with determination, Sirius started to shift into his Animagus form every time one of those ghouls was around. He knew that they were blind and so would not be able to tell the difference between a man and a dog. His dark pelt also made it easy to blend into the shadows where he could easily shift back should a human come by.
Taking the form of a dog also had the added benefit of dampening the effect the dementors had. The dog did not feel anguish, guilt, sorrow or any of the complex emotions that come from having a larger, more intelligent brain. The only emotion that a dog had in abundance was happiness. The amount of doggy joy he had derived from simply chasing his tail was enough to counteract all the depressing thoughts of the betrayal that he felt on a good day.
Sirius shook his head as he felt the familiar coldness of the dementors approaching. Quickly shifting, he settled down for the night as the beautiful symphony of his cousin’s dementor – induced screams of anguish started anew.
The rat had finally slipped up was the gleeful thought that ran through Padfoot’s mind as he grinned a feral wolfish grin, his tongue lolling out remembering the elation he felt upon spotting the rat’s picture. He will be at Hogwarts in a few weeks ... Oh Peter, I’m coming for you!
After he exposed Peter, he was going to take his godson and get the hell away from Britain, perhaps head to France. There he and Harry could start a new life. And Albus Dumbledore won’t be able to do a thing. Not after Sirius was through with him.Thinking sweet thoughts of revenge, the man in dog form closed his eyes.