Turning Time

Godric's Hollow

24 July, 1981 17:08

I explained to James and Lily what I'd seen at Remus', and how he'd acted once I found him out.

Lily set down her tea. "I don't know, Sirius. It sounds like he was telling the truth. Everything else you described just seems normal, considering."

I bounced my knee, impatient. "But why wouldn't he have told me? It only makes sense if he was hiding something."

James shrugged, then hesitated before saying, "You still love him, don't you?"

"Of course I do. But we can't risk being killed over that."

James sighed. "Lily, what do you think?"

Lily chewed her lip. "Sirius knows him best. If he's questioning things, then I'd say we should follow. I hate all this mistrust, too, but we have to think about Harry. Remus will understand."

James rubbed his temple. "I dunno. Sirius, you don't think this has anything to do with your relationship with him?"

I didn't think it had. "No. It's just that the chances he's been recruited are very high. He could be under You-Know-Who's influence." I had the sense I was trying to sound more nonchalant and rational than I actually was.

"You think he's capable of betraying us? Of spying on us?"

"Anyone's capable."

"But why would he?"

"He's an undesirable, isn't he? Being a werewolf and all? He can't find work, he isn't treated equally. I suppose he could see the war as a way to change that. It's a stretch, but it's there."

James put his head in his hands. "Yeah, maybe."

"Look. You know I'm not saying I believe it. Just that it's a lot to risk your lives on. We're not children anymore, things aren't as simple as they used to be."

James nodded. "Once this is all over, I just—I don't want him to hate us."

"I know." I leaned forward and rested my chin on my clasped hands. "God, if this fucks everything up, I won't be able to live with myself."

25 July, 1981 20:54

"Remus, I think we should take a break."

He looked up at me as though I'd slapped him. "What? Why?"

"We can't afford distractions. You-Know-Who has to be killed before he kills James and Lily. If we waste—I mean, if we spend time on us, they could die."

Remus patted the bed next to him, and I sat down. After a moment, he asked, "Are you sure that's why? There's not another reason? Is there…is there someone else?"

"No, of course not. There's no one else." I looked Remus in the eye, knowing I wouldn't be able to lie. "It's for the safety of Lily and James. Having any connection to You-Know-Who could put them in danger. Because you're a werewolf—"

"You think I'll betray you? James thinks that?"

"No, I don't. Neither does he, but…it's better not to risk it."

"So, you told him about the letter, which I said I decided not to respond to, and he agreed to cut me out of his life?"

"It's only until the war is over. And you're not out of the Order, just—the fewer people who know about him, the better." Watching Remus shut down made me want to take it all back. I could see the cracks in our relationship spreading in his eyes.

Remus breathed in, slowly. I reached for his hand, but he shifted away from me, shaking a bit. "I've trusted you, Sirius, and I have just as much reason to suspect you for your family."

I blinked. "But I'm not associated with them. I've hated them since—"

"Then you of all people should understand. I renounced those like me that have joined You-Know-Who, as you have renounced your family, so why treat me like my choices mean nothing?"

I avoided his gaze, throat burning with the effort to keep my composure. "It's different because—well, because being with the werewolves after all society has done—perhaps you would feel a sense of belonging—"

"You obviously know nothing about how I feel."

I flinched. Remus stared at me, expression cold and distant. Perhaps now I had made it easier for him to leave.

Remus stood. "I hope we both survive this. That it wasn't for nothing. But if you're not in this with me, then I can't be more than friends."

As he began to walk out, I rushed to catch up. "Wait, Remus, I still—I love you."

Remus turned, glanced at my hand on his arm, then leaned and kissed me. Just as I began to taste salt on his lips, he pulled away. "Goodbye."

12 October, 1981 14:02

I balanced a glass of whiskey in one hand, my two-way mirror in the other.

James went out of frame for a minute to grab a drink, then picked up the conversation where we'd left off, in hushed tones, apparently so Lily wouldn't hear. "I can't even remember the last time Lily and I had sex. You know, with the pregnancy and all."

"That's insane, mate."

"Well, don't feel bad for me, feel bad for her. She's been missing out on this body." James gestured to his bare torso and I laughed. "Seriously, though, can you help me set up something nice? And watch Harry for us?"

"Yeah, sure."

The next day, I arrived at Godric's Hollow. Lily greeted me at the door. "Sirius!" She air-kissed me on the cheek, then gestured to her lipstick to explain she didn't want to get it on me. "Right, we're heading out, we'll be home around ten. Harry's already tired, you can put him to bed now…oh, and his room is set up with, er, let's see—a spell that will amplify if he's crying, a spell that lets you know if his breathing is off, oh, and here," she handed me a pacifier, "this will light up if he needs attention." Lily noticed the groceries I'd brought. "Thank you. You'd think magic would make going into hiding easier, but not really…" She carried the bags into the kitchen, then handed me my payment.

I opened the envelope. "This is too much," I said, counting it up, fifteen galleons in all, but Lily pretended not to hear in her scramble to get ready.

"James! C'mon, love, the spell goes back into effect in ten seconds!"

James sprinted out of the bathroom and pulled on his shoes. "Let's go, then!"

They hurried to the door. Lily smirked, then ruffled James' hair. "I lied. We had two minutes. But we couldn't risk being missing it—see you soon, Sirius!"

"Padfoot, you're brilliant, thank you!" James called, and the door closed behind them.

I was in awe of their mood. Cooped up in the same house for weeks on end…I would've been miserable.

After looking through the cupboards for some food, I checked on Harry, then went back downstairs and sat on the couch. Before long, I began to nod off…

When I awoke, the living room light was on, but dimmed. Were they back?

I turned around, then realized why I'd woken up; James had just stepped out of the bedroom. I'd been sleeping this whole time? I checked the clock on the wall; I'd slept for three hours.

James gestured to the bedroom. "Do you want to join us?"

I blinked. "What?"

"You think I asked you to come over just to babysit?" James approached me. "We wouldn't risk leaving Harry alone just so we could get out of the house."

I rubbed my eyes and sat up, still confused.

James offered his hand, then helped me get to my feet. His serious facade cracked a bit and he said, "A threesome, Padfoot."

My heart pounded. "How'd you suppose that would work? I'm not into girls and you're not into blokes."

James, always a good salesman, grinned. "Funny you should mention that." He held up a purple bottle. "Temporary resexing pills. We'll all switch between male and female. Very expensive and difficult to find, but if you know where to go they don't have side effects and they'll adjust to sexuality. And, let me remind you, I'm attracted to—" James gestured to every part of my body except my dick. "most of you. So what d'you say?"

To answer, I took the bottle from him and swallowed a pill.

James smiled again and led me into the bedroom.

Lily sat on the bed, wearing one of James' shirts and a pair of his pants. "Hi, boys." She looked between us, mouth parted slightly. "Kiss for me."

James turned around and placed his hands on either side of my face, pulling me into a kiss. I moved my hands to his waist and his shoulder, and we inched closer to the foot of the bed. At first I was ashamed at how easily desire came to me, how I knew he wanted women, but he was here, choosing to kiss me, wanting me above all rational thought.

James pulled off my shirt, I pulled off his, and he pushed me onto the mattress. His mouth trailed down my stomach, which was no longer flat and slightly muscular, but soft, feminine. He tugged off my trousers and kissed the inside of my thighs, hands gripping my hips. His tongue glided over me as Lily—now in a man's body—kissed my lips. She rested a hand on my chest, chuckling a bit as I moaned, as though reacting to my surprise that James was—

"Fuck…" I managed, arching my back, spreading my legs wider. Lily's coarse red hair brushed my shoulder as she leaned over me and kissed my breast, tongue flicking over my nipple, hands tugging on my sides to pull James into me. My breathing quickened, and my entire body prickled with anticipation until I finally crested into sparks. James sat up, licking his lips, grinning at me, then glanced at Lily. His body began to change, and by the time he was a woman, Lily had reached him, back in her usual form, kissing him almost feverishly.

As she went down on him, James locked eyes with me. His features were softer, exaggerated, and there was almost theatrical nature to his pleasure. In my male form, I reached down and slowly began to move my hand along my cock, holding his gaze. James moaned, face flushed. He lay back on the bed, Lily clasping his now smooth thighs as leverage, and closed his eyes, which caused him to change back into a man's body.

Lily leaned back and gestured for me to take over. Still touching myself with one hand, I took James in my mouth, and he rose into me, trembling with the urge to thrust.

"It's too much…Fuck, Lily, I can't…" he said to me, voice hoarse. I wanted to come then, so I stopped touching myself and instead traced the inside of James' thigh, replacing my mouth with one hand as I moved lower, tongue exploring every inch of his skin.

And just before James opened his eyes, Lily had replaced me, strap-on secured around her waist. James grinned, chest ruddy, as she opened a bottle of lube, running it along the length of the toy, then inside him. James gestured to me, hand draped casually on his lips. I crossed the bed to him, heart racing. He was so beautiful, lying there naked, radiating with desire. We kissed, fumbling and desperate, as though we hadn't kissed before. He moaned into my mouth as Lily began to move, slowly, one hand reaching to pull me closer toward him, our lips numb from the force of each other.

"I want you," James said, and I couldn't tell if he was speaking to me or Lily. When I hesitated, he said through gritted teeth and uneven breath, "For Christ's sake, Sirius—fuck, I—want you…"

I half-choked, half-gasped in surprise. Lily was already pulling out, and as she took off her strap-on, she turned into a man again. She moved slightly back on the bed, sitting up, legs out in front of her, and gestured for me to take over. I was numb, my entire body consumed with either ice or fire. I hadn't felt as though I were betraying Remus before, but now…It used to be easier. James wasn't fully into blokes, not like Remus, and we had used that as a boundary. It was how I knew it would never work out between me and James.

But I wanted him. I wanted to come inside James, to get revenge for his using me in sixth year. We came together. Lily finished herself, watching us moving in rhythm with each other. And that night, we lay together as three, James in the middle, a sleepy and satisfied smile frozen in his features. And I hated how content I was.

31 October, 1981 21:20

I walked over to the desk on which I kept my two-way mirror. It was black. Blacker than what I'd imagine to be normal, especially when the earliest James ever went to bed was eleven. "Prongs." I waited a minute, but there was no reply. "James." Still nothing.

I noticed there were tiny pricks of light in the black, as though it was showing the night sky. I broke out into a sweat. I told myself it didn't mean anything. I'd check in with Peter, make sure everything was okay…

I Apparated to Peter's hiding spot, a little cabin in Coombland Wood, near Exeton. The door wasn't properly protected, so I drew my wand and burst in, expecting Voldemort, or a Death Eater—

The house was empty. Peter was gone. There was no sign of a struggle, no sign that he'd been forced out…But he was explicitly forbidden to leave. Why would he leave now?

I took a breath. There had to be some explanation. I mounted my motorbike and sped to Godric's Hollow, stomach sinking.

I knew what had happened as soon as I found I was able to fly in to Godric's Hollow with total disregard to the Fidelius Charm. The only way for the charm to break and for Voldemort to know where the Potters lived was if Peter had voluntarily told him.

The roof of the Potter house had been blown almost entirely off; that explained the night sky in the mirror. I parked the bike on the pavement and, finding the door already open, ran inside.

By the fight they seemed to have put up, I had to wonder, maybe they escaped. Maybe they survived. Maybe—

My thoughts cut short. My body became numb as I stared at James' corpse. My mind rationalized it was just a trick of the light. I approached, my mind only saying it was curious, that it didn't yet understand, and needed to understand—until I saw his empty eyes.

"No," I heard myself say. I bent down at his side. "No…" I repeated. I touched my fingers to his neck, checking for a pulse, but there was nothing.

I heard Harry crying upstairs, but didn't register it at first.

James couldn't be dead. He was too strong, too alive, too young to be killed so needlessly. I cradled his face, my tears dropping onto his cheeks. "I loved you, goddammit." I pressed my forehead to his, then kissed him. But I instantly regretted it; Lily should've been the last to kiss him, not me.

I forced myself to my feet. "Lily? Are you okay?" Hearing nothing, I made my way shakily up the stairs.

I pushed open the door. Harry was whimpering, but of course he couldn't tell what had happened to James. Where was Lily—?

She was dead, too. Body as lifeless as James', without the peacefulness of sleep. She had died thinking Harry would be killed, making everything for nothing.

I squeezed my eyes shut. I had no one left, and it was all my fault. I insisted they change Secret-Keepers, I insisted Remus stay away…

I went to the crib and picked up Harry. His face wobbled when he saw my expression, so I tried my best to smile. "How did you survive, Harry?" I studied the scar on his forehead.

Harry started to cry, so I held him closer and bounced him. "He was supposed to kill you. If he couldn't kill you, it has to mean…" Voldemort was dead.

"How did he die, Harry?" I said, voice still light, but no longer bubbly. "Do you know what I should do? What should I do, they're dead, Peter killed them…"

Hagrid burst through the door, then stopped upon seeing me. "Sirius?" Tears streamed from his eyes into his beard.

"Voldemort killed them. Harry survived. I'm gonna take Harry, get him somewhere safe. As his godfather—"

"I'm under Dumbledore's orders to send Harry to Lily's sister."

I shook my head, the shock preventing me from reacting much. "But Petunia is awful. She and Lily weren't in touch. Look, I can—" and then it struck me. I couldn't take Harry if I wanted to hunt down Peter. "Okay. Fine. Just—do you know if I'll be able to see him?" I felt myself crack. "I can't lose him, too."

"Ah, don' cry, now. C'mere. You'll see him again." Hagrid opened his arms, and I entered them despite knowing I'd be nearly crushed to death. I didn't care.

When he let me go, I collected myself. "Take my motorbike. I'll make it big enough for you." I'd kill Peter, then take Harry back. The Dursley's wouldn't want him, anyway.

"Where're you goin'?" Hagrid pulled a handkerchief out of his coat.

"Something I have to do. I'll see you tomorrow to—to coordinate the funeral, or whatever we need to do next."

Hagrid nodded listlessly, and I ran back down the stairs.

I stopped before leaving out the door to look at James. I let fury build up, whirling inside me, then stormed out. With a flick of my wand, I engorged the motorbike, then Disapparated.

I went back to Peter's hiding place with the intention of getting one of his things to track him, but found he had stupidly returned.

"Peter, you—" I started in his direction.

Peter whipped around. "Protego! Stupefy!"

I was flung backward.

"No one can know they switched Secret-Keepers. And as you're the only one who knows, I have to kill you."

"YOU BLOODY CUNT!" I lunged after him, but he Disapparated. I heard the second crack farther down the path and Disapparated as close I could to that spot. We kept up like this until we reached a nearby town.

"WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING, PETER?" I couldn't see him; he must've transformed. "You sold them out, you MOTHERFUCKING TRAITOR! WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU RUNNING AWAY, YOU COWARD, YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT, YOU BLOODY TWAT, YOU—!"

I stopped as Peter cut off his finger, threw it to the side, and ran into the street. "It's your fault! You killed the Potters! You betrayed James and Lily Potter!" he shouted, face bloodless, voice shaking. He was cradling his hand.

"What the fuck do you—" I started to step into the street to cross.

"GET AWAY! HELP! HELP!"

And the street exploded.

I was almost knocked unconscious, but was just out of reach of the worst of the blast. After a moment of lying in pain on the cement, I got shakily to my feet. "What the hell…?"

I stared at the dead body of the woman in front of me. Hot fury poured through me. He couldn't have just killed innocent people. He wasn't a monster.

I ran through the rubble, drowning out the screaming around me, desperate to catch him. "Fuck." I ran my hands though my hair, the dam of shock in my mind threatening to break into panic.

I saw the rest of the bodies and snapped. I started to laugh. Tears ran down down my face, but I was laughing. It was—it was absurd. Unthinkable. Peter killed James and Lily…and I didn't have the pleasure of avenging them…

I was laughing when the Department of Magical Law Enforcement arrived on the scene. Peter had brought James and Lily down, and I was going down with them…

Thanks to the nearby Muggles' statements of what Peter had said, I was sentenced to life in Azkaban without trial by the following morning.

As two guards moved me from my temporary cell, I went hoarse with yelling. "IT WAS PETER PETTIGREW! HE KILLED THEM, NOT ME! I'M INNOCENT! HE SOLD OUT JAMES AND LILY!"

"Silencio!" The guard shouted, and I nearly choked with the force of the gag.

I still showed my resistance, but was forced to cooperate as the guards pulled me onto the boat. Resist too hard and I was mad, resist too little and I was guilty. Yes, a part of me blamed myself, but the larger part wanted to go back in time and snap Peter's neck. The only consolation I had was that Peter was dead, that he paid for his betrayal.

My cell was, like every other cell in Azkaban, small, dark, isolated, and cold. After the guards locked me in my cell, I could feel the depression seeping in. The War might've been over, but I wasn't there to pick up the pieces. What became of Harry? And Remus? I might never see them again, whoever died first, and they would think I killed James and Lily.

I imagined Remus' reaction when he found out about each part of the events—ending with my imprisonment. Eventually, though, I couldn't feel sorry for him anymore. My life had to be worse than his. He was free to live his life, I was in prison to rot. Had I deserved this? I'd decided Remus was guilty, so the Ministry had decided I was guilty. It was fair, perhaps.

Somedays I was so sick with anxiety I vomited, and had to be left with the smell until guards came back later that week. On most days, though, I curled in my cell and tried to sleep, unaware of how much time passed. I forced the memories of James and Lily down, especially of the night of the pills. We'd been so immature, so naive, to fuck each other. It made things too complicated.

By picking up on the guards' conversations, only a few words each week, I had a sense of the years passing. I eventually grew past the point of reacting to mistreatment, of the outside world; I had died. At least, I was dead to anyone on the outside, and my senses had dulled to the point where I could no longer feel pain. I was all consciousness, and emotion, and I had reworked the events leading up to my imprisonment to the point that they were unrecognizable.

On good days, when the dementors grew bored of feeding on my energy, I fantasized about seeing Remus again. In my dreams, he brought me back from the edge, believed that I was innocent…and while inevitably we fucked, I spent more time thinking about what it would be like to be held by him again. I thought about him appearing at my cell and wrapping his arms around me, warm and full of love and life, flesh real and—mine.

The dementors always came back at the peak of my pleasant dreams to suck the energy away. I would curse at them to leave me alone, let me have the moment to myself, but it seemed to make them crowd in higher numbers.

Eventually, I thought I had to be actually dying, withering away slowly from the inside out. Others went mad in Azkaban, while I focussed on my innocence. Others wanted to die, while I knew I had to stay alive to wait for justice. How I would get justice, I didn't know.

Until Fudge dropped in for a visit. He left me the day's newspaper, the first news I'd received in—

I read the date. 23 July, 1993.

1993. I was too dehydrated to cry; the best I could manage was a wheeze. How could it have been twelve years? Twelve years in this damn prison. Twelve years, a third of my life, spent rotting in a cell…

I read every word of the paper, soaking in every detail, comparing my ideas on how society had become with the reality. There was scant mention of Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

I even read the seemingly mundane articles:

MINISTRY OF MAGIC EMPLOYEE SCOOPS GRAND PRIZE

Arthur Weasley, Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office at the Ministry of Magic, has won the annual Daily Prophet Grand Prize Galleon Draw. A delighted Mr. Weasley told the Daily Prophet, "We will be spending the gold on a summer holiday in Egypt, where our eldest son, Bill, works as a curse breaker for Gringotts Wizarding Bank." The Weasley family will be spending a month in Egypt, returning for the start of the new school year at Hogwarts, which five of the Weasley children currently attend.

I noticed something on the shoulder of one of the boys. A rat. I leaned in to see the picture more clearly. Something was off…the rat, in the picture: it was faint, but I could tell: the rat was missing a toe on its front paw.

Peter. I laughed. There he was, in the bloody paper, in Egypt, of all places. Well, it'd be the last holiday he'd live to see. I am going to kill that son of a bitch. He would finally pay for what he'd done, know that I knew where he was. One of the Weasleys would no doubt bring him to Hogwarts.

I starved myself over the course of the week until I knew I would be thin enough to slip past the dementors. When they opened my cell to deliver my food and get a little energy in return, I transformed into my Animagus form and slipped, undetected, past them.

I couldn't keep my balance or focus as I hurried down the stairs as a dog. Not only had it been years since I'd been on stairs, I was running on only a few bites of bread from the day before. At the ground floor, I gagged, but nothing came up.

I had to find a wand. If I could just find a wand and Apparate to land…But there weren't any wands, I knew that, it was too dangerous to have them anywhere within the reach of the prisoners.

There had to be a Muggle-warding spell surrounding the island. Maybe the range of an hour's swim? After that, I had to count on a ship passing through.

I pushed the door of the prison open, a difficult task due to my Animagus form and malnourishment.

I turned back into a human and looked up to the night sky for the North Star. My time in Azkaban seemed the blink of an eye compared to the time I spent swimming, arms circling endlessly, struggling to keep my head above the waves, to not drink the water around me, and especially not to stop. When the wind calmed down in the hours before the morning, I just closed my eyes and floated.

I awoke to the sounds of a motor. In surprise, I flipped onto my stomach, taking in a mouthful of water, before I regained my senses enough to look around.

A boat was passing, just a couple hundred meters away.

I transformed back into a dog and barked as loud I could. Water splashed into my mouth, down my throat, but I kept it up, desperate.

After a minute of doubting they'd ever see me, they started in my direction. What would've taken me ten minutes to cross took them ten seconds.

"It's a bloody dog!" one of the men said as he laid a net across the side of the boat for me to climb.

"Jesus, what's he doing out here? He's starving, look at the bones stickin' out of his side, he's like a bloody skeleton! Frank, d'you have anything for lunch we could give him?"

"Give him as much as he wants, let's look around, see if anyone else is stranded, then head back to the docks. I'm sure the paper'll want to hear what happened."

"Why don't you keep him? You've got kids, and look, he's nice. Thatta boy, have a sandwich…I reckon he hasn't had summin to eat in days."

One of the other sailors fetched his canteen and streamed water into my parched mouth. After they searched for an hour with no luck and decided to take me back, I tried to seem cold so they wouldn't want to keep me. I had to keep moving, and I couldn't stop to be pampered. Besides, whenever they patted me, I couldn't help feeling a surge of alarm. I hadn't been touched in over a decade.

"It's odd, there weren't a storm or nothin', not since over a week ago, you don't suppose he's been out that long?"

"Can't have. He'd have to've been swimmin' that whole time, nothin' to drink or eat…"

As they tried to work out the circumstances of my survival, I planned what I would do next. I couldn't go to Remus, though I wanted him to understand, understand what had really happened with James and Lily, that he had every reason to hate me, just not because I killed them, he couldn't think that anymore…But I'd only be putting both of us in danger. More truthfully, I didn't want him to reject me like I rejected him all those years ago.

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