Harry Potter and the ? (Prisoner of Azkaban)

The Dementor's' Kiss

I love the parallels these books have with their chapter titles. Like the last one with Dobby’s Warning and Dobby’s Reward, and this one with The Dementor, and The Dementor’s Kiss, plus Owl Post and Owl Post Again. Random thing to point out...

Lily looked like she could get up and kiss him at that kind of news! While it would never not sting to forever realize she wasn’t going to be there for her boy, the fact that he had Sirius for him there now was the best second thing she could hope for! She was the only one who had really registered the news though.

Remus was still lost in thought, kicking himself into a grave and getting cold all over because he had seen that look Harry had given him at his exclamation, and he knew quite well what it meant. Even though Harry couldn’t say it out loud, Remus would never forgive himself if the rat really did get away because of him.

James looked like he wanted to be happy, he tried for the feeling, and it was certainly there on the level Sirius was suggesting, but something was holding him back. Of course he was ecstatic, he’d do anything in the world for Harry to get away from the Dursleys. Sirius would do a great job taking care of Harry...so why did he feel something foreign and not at all pleasant at the thought?

Sirius clearly didn’t notice as Harry tossed him the book, he looked more than happy to take it, looking like he’d sing it to the heavens the justice and triumph he was feeling, but was cut off by Lily.

Lily was shocked that she was the one to notice the time, and deciding to linger on whatever good mood this would afford them for as long as possible, she offered “why don’t we eat.”

The boys looked scandalized, and some private part of Lily would have laughed at this, but she insisted her point “I want to see him being turned in as much as anyone, but it’s about time for the baby’s lunch, and I’d rather pause now when we’ve got some good timing.”

They didn’t look happy, but no one argued the point either. The boys ate probably the lightest lunch they’d ever had in their life, food was the last thing on their mind after everything they’d just lived through, but forced down a bit each to at least get rid of some of Lily’s worry lines. No one brought up Remus’ condition again, it was a sore enough subject already and they would just have to deal with it after this nightmare book was done, there couldn’t be too much left.

The baby was fed and then put back in his playpen for a while longer, none of them wanted him in the room so long as the rat was going to be mentioned. Sirius went back and picked up the book and properly got to reading, still forcing a light feeling into his voice at what he wanted to hear, rather than the worry lingering he knew they all felt.

Harry followed the group along with Crookshanks in the lead, Pettigrew in between Ron and Lupin all chained together, then Snape floating along held aloft by his own wand, being supported by Sirius.

Sirius still adored every last drop of irony reading that caused him.

Snape’s head was currently being dragged along the ceiling, scraping it raw, but Harry got the feeling Black wasn’t trying to stop that.

Lily wanted to roll her eyes at this childish display, but after everything they’d just gone through she couldn’t even find it in herself to do that as all four boys gave little snickers at that mental image.

Black turned his attention to Harry though, showing a lot more interest as he asked him if he understood what this could mean, turning Pettigrew in?

“It’s not going to be much fun if you point it out every few minutes” James mumbled, and while Sirius gave him a confused look for how odd James sounded, he put it down to any lingering feelings he had about bringing up the rats name. He didn’t feel much better, but knew he’d chant that putrid name for an hour if it would get Harry out of the Dursleys.

Harry agreed that would mean Sirius could go free, but Sirius also added on that he wasn’t sure if anyone had ever told Harry, he was also his godfather.

“Well no one ever technically told me, I just sort of found out” Harry couldn’t help but give a little smirk, happy to see everyone did the same back. Maybe he was just being paranoid, surely nothing too bad was going to ruin this mood again so soon.

Harry agreed he’d heard, and Black sounded fairly unsure as he pointed out that as such a title he had been expected to take care of Harry should anything happen to his parents. Harry at first wasn’t sure what that could mean, so Black kept going by saying he’d of course understand that Harry would much rather stay with his aunt and uncle,

Harry laughed, but he was the only one who did. It was such a ludicrous sentence that he found it the appropriate reaction, but the others were still so foul tempered about everything that they half wished before Sirius properly took Harry in he’d make a visit to those Dursleys and show a bit more of that violent edge he’d displayed.

but if ever he wanted another option...

Remus couldn’t help but burst out laughing now when he realized Sirius had only known Harry for five minutes, and this was the first real question he asked him! It was made all the funnier under these circumstances, but he sobered out very quickly as he vividly remembered that his own self may prevent this and more from happening.

Harry felt something bombard his innards, stumbling and cracking his own head on the ceiling as he blurted out he could leave the Dursleys!

Sirius couldn’t help a snort of amusement, he knew he understood now far better than he would have then Harry’s reaction to this.

Black took that reaction the wrong way, trying to retract he had no problems if Harry wanted to stay there, but Harry cut him off by demanding to know when he could move in!

Which gave them all a good laugh. Harry had only learned five minutes ago that Sirius wasn’t some insane murderer intent on killing him, but it became all the more depressing when they realized just how bad Harry’s life there must really be if he instantly said yes to the first person who offered.

Harry had a goofy smile on his face, he looked as pleased as anyone at this prospect and clung to the image already forming in his head desperately, refusing to admit that he wasn’t getting any real feelings about this becoming true. He also wouldn’t meet anyone’s eyes right then, the last thing he wanted was for someone to ask for details about why he was so eager to get out of there.

Black turned then to properly look at Harry, Snape’s head now being left to smash repeatedly against the ceiling.

That set them into giggling maniacs all over again, they wanted more than anything to spend the next set of years listening to Harry’s life like this with no concerns about the Dursleys, which with any luck Harry may well confide about to Sirius.

He was smiling down at Harry, a true genuine look that drained ten years off of his malnourished face and for the first time Harry got a glimpse of that picture he’d seen of him at his parents’ wedding.

James blanched, he still couldn’t picture that, didn’t want to. He glanced at his brother’s face now and saw him beaming with pride and it looked the most natural thing in the world, he just couldn’t understand how ten years would make him hardly recognizable...and he just kept remembering whose fault it was.

They didn’t speak anymore as they climbed out of the tree, Crookshanks had darted ahead and froze it for them. Harry could see ahead Pettigrew was still breathing extra hard and still letting out little sad noises.

Sirius hadn’t believed it possible, but he only read that with three quarters amount of hatred rather than all consuming. He was still too busy happily picturing in his head he and Harry getting to have all the moments properly in the future like they were right now.

Harry was the happiest he’d been in his life, realizing he could finally leave the Dursley’s, he was going to live with Sirius, one of his dad’s old friends! What would the Dursleys say when he told them he was going to live with that escaped prisoner they’d heard about last summer?

Lily cracked up laughing hardest of all, they all remembered making jokes about wanting that convict to come make a visit to those Dursleys, and now their wish was coming true in the best way possible!

Lupin still had his wand out, covering Pettigrew and threatening him if he twitched in a way he didn’t like he’d regret it. The procession continued towards the castle, when the clouds began to shift, and the moon shone above.

Sirius refused to acknowledge what that could mean, though he more than anyone should know better. He just couldn’t do it though, not now! Timing must be on their side, just this once, that the full moon wouldn’t peak and Remus would...

Remus went rigid at once, his face going an almost scary white, coupled with just how terrible he looked since he was going to transform this night he looked likely to keel over any second.

James and Sirius couldn’t stand that, James going back over to his friend and sitting down on his side to put him in-between him and Sirius as he comforted “hey, relax Moony, we’re all do for a bit of good luck, I’m sure nothing happens.”

Remus either couldn’t, or wouldn’t answer, flapping his hand and silently demanding Sirius go on so he could get his real answer.

Snape rammed into the three of them, because Black froze in place, forcing Harry and Hermione to stop as well as they all watched Lupin, who was beginning to shake.

Remus began hyperventilating at once, he’d been so stressed for so long that this really was too much. He couldn’t see anything, couldn’t make out any words, his nightmare was coming to life and oh he was well aware it was going to happen again tonight and he was probably going to kill Lily and Harry then, just like he probably killed everyone out there that night as well...

“James, we have to do something” Lily tried desperately to keep her voice from shrieking levels as she danced in place watching Remus shake all over, looking like he had fallen into a seizure and clearly not aware of anything. “He’s going to hurt himself!” She felt so useless and desperate she may well be heading towards her own panic attack soon.

Sirius tried to say in an analytical tone of voice, rather than how frustrated he felt he couldn’t seem to get through to Remus “most likely he’ll pass out here in a few minutes from oxygen deprivation.”

“That’s not helping” James ground out, trying to ignore the fact that Remus was folding in on himself and would have long since face planted the table if James wasn’t holding onto him.

“Couldn’t you use that potion on him, the one you used on me earlier to make me relax” Harry tried, not wanting to wait for a response and go get it now, but he wasn’t sure where it was.

“Wouldn’t work on him” Lily moaned, logic nearly lost as it was taking everything in her not to do something similar.

James and Sirius were still alternating back and forth trying to calm him down in smooth, reassuring tones. Sadly this wasn’t even the first time they’d seen this happen to him, he’d acted like this a few times when he’d first woken up and seen how badly he’d harmed them when they’d first began their monthly transformations with him. Despite their scholarly research, it had taken them ages to convince him his bites wouldn’t harm them so long as they were animals, and even then he was left gasping and guilt ridden at how deep some of their scars were. The only thing that ever worked in breaking him out of these was just to let him wear it out, keep talking to him and remind him it wasn’t that bad, and try to keep the blood out of sight.

This time all of that was a little harder to pull off, because of how worried they were for the kids. Harry clearly hadn’t been bitten, but what about Ron or Hermione? Ron was literally chained up to Remus, without a leg to run on, but Moony would break out of those in seconds and turn on either him or the rat. It would be true irony indeed if the second were to happen, and the rat lost his life to Moony, but for now they were more concerned with convincing him he wasn’t going to hurt anyone.

Finally Sirius’ prediction seemed to have come true, Remus slumped completely as he lost the fight for air, but he seemed to snap out of it quick enough as he jacked back upright and crashed into Sirius’ nose.

“Ouch” Sirius grumbled, rubbing at the spot and grumbling this was a terrible time to be paying him back for that, but one wild look around and Remus realized what was happening and he nearly started all over again.

“Wait, Remus please, calm down” Lily quickly jumped in, trying to catch his eye. “No bites, see you didn’t attack him-”

“Or anyone” Harry quickly added on, before hissing in pain as white spots flashed across his eyes for remembering that too soon.

That one little action gave Remus a shot of here and now, seeing Harry in pain was as vivid a reminder as he could get, but it was the comfort he needed. He trusted his friends, and Sirius and James were going to be there for him tonight to make sure he never did this, and Sirius was even there for him then to make sure of the same thing.

It didn’t seem to help for long though, as almost at once he began having another spaz attack.

“Moony” Sirius groaned, he’d seen him relax for an actual second and they’d been sure he’d calmed down, what had made him relapse?

“Sirius, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, glory if I actually-” Remus had his eyes screwed tight shut and kept shaking his head back and forth, intermittently muttering “I am going to kill him” in between apologizing.

It took a moment for the others to catch up and realize why he’d be doing this, and then Sirius gripped his arm so hard there was likely to be a bruise as he hissed “you don’t get to blame yourself for one second for whatever that rat does. If he makes a run for it, Merlin help it, if he gets away, it is not your fault. You couldn’t have stopped him then anymore then you could stop him all those years ago from deciding to become an animagus. I hung back to talk to Harry, but Hermione couldn’t have done it either, there should have been one of us up there covering him. You don’t get to blame yourself for anything he does.”

Remus still looked miserable, so they couldn’t decide how much of that he’d taken to heart, but he didn’t look like he was going to argue the point, so that had to count for something, right?

They didn’t really want to at this point, just so sick and tired of everything that could go wrong would, but them hearing about it wasn’t going to change what did happen. Harry lived through it, and that was the most important thing to all of them, so despite the fact that Remus wanted to curl up into a hole and never come out, he didn’t protest either as James and Sirius convinced Lily and Harry to sit back down so Sirius could find out what really happened.

Hermione fearfully pointed out he hadn’t taken his potion, he would be dangerous.

“Least someone admits it” Remus huffed, never understanding how these two, well four he corrected, could still defend him and stand by him even at his worst moments.

He received a very sharp smack from James having heard that, giving him a threatening look to make it clear he’d do worse if Remus didn’t cut out the comments about himself. Neither he nor Sirius were delusional in thinking Remus wasn’t dangerous at those times, but he wasn’t this unbearable monster either like he tried to paint himself.

Black yelled at the two kids to run, but Harry wasn’t going anywhere, watching Ron who was still chained up.

Harry’s face was set now, fully saying he wasn’t going anywhere when Ron was in danger, which gave them all yet another warm flood of happiness when they remembered all over again what good friends, pretty much family, those three were, and felt a terrible wince all over again when they couldn’t say the same for their whole family anymore. They all really hoped this wouldn’t start showing up every single time now, desperately hoping they could come to grips and the rat’s betrayal would stop coming to mind every five seconds soon.

Harry tried to run forward, but Black threw him back and yelled at them to run, then he vanished, a black dog in place. Harry was still watching Lupin though, as dark fur began sprouting everywhere, his arms and legs were dipping on to the ground and sprouting claws.

Remus was still curling into himself in shame and disgust, he’d never had his transformations explained to him in such vivid detail and he just couldn’t stand how calm Sirius was forcing himself to sound about it. How was he not disgusted, afraid, he’d been asking himself that his whole life and knew he could never understand when talking about a real life monster.

The werewolf howled, and tore itself free of the chains, but didn’t get a second to do anything as the bear like dog caught him at the neck and began dragging him away.

Harry couldn’t help but startle in remembered horror at these two doing this to each other. He’d only seen once before two street cats fighting in an alley, but even that hadn’t been as brutal as when these two beasts went at it. He’d heard the term fur flying but never before had he understood how bad that could be, watching the literal flesh be pulled off of each other as at least one of them would have gone for a mortal blow.

The two canines went at each other, teeth and claws going wild.

Lily couldn’t help but shrink into Harry, just a little bit. For obvious reasons she’d never been near Remus during this time, and her boys had never gone into such detail of how violent these nights could get. It certainly explained why more times than she could count the Marauders would show up with more than just Quidditch injuries, but no one had ever questioned it too deeply because of all the insane things they got up to. She regretted the action at once when she saw Remus flinch like she’d slapped him, and she wanted to apologize and insist she didn’t mean it, it had just been shock, but Sirius hadn’t noticed a thing and seemed determined not to stop until he got his answer of what happened to the rat during this mess. She still determined the second this was over she would have a proper talk with him, all three of these boys needed it.

Harry had been watching them, so he missed why at first Hermione started screaming, but then he turned and saw Pettigrew going for Lupin’s dropped wand.

Remus was trying to get away from his two friends, trying to go back to his own corner of the room or something because he couldn’t stand just sitting here and listening to not only taking a bite out of Sirius but how it was unarguably his damned fault that rat really was going to get away now!

Neither of them were still having it though, Sirius was multitasking by digging his elbow into Remus’ ribs and reading loudly, trying to get to the part already where hopefully Harry came to his senses and tried to pin down the rat long enough the spell would wear off and he could be stunned again.

James now practically had Remus pinned to his side, all earlier anger at him forgotten and to be dealt with later. His annoyance Remus had turned on Sirius so easily was nothing compared to what Peter had done to him, and he was far more concerned now making sure Remus knew he could look past it, he would make amends to both of his brothers and keep them going just like they did for him every day in this unforgiving war.

Ron overbalanced and didn’t have a chance as a shot of light hit him, and he fell.

Harry swore violently, making a move like he wanted to go for his own wand for anyone cursing his friend! His only comfort which he quickly told the others was that it had been a flash of red light, he’d only been stunned.

One more spell was let off towards Crookshanks, who also collapsed.

“Was the cat really necessary” Sirius grumbled to himself.

Harry finally got a spell off, Expelliarmus, and though Lupin’s wand shot away and Harry ran forward, yelling at Pettigrew to stop, the man changed form and he was already running away on all fours as they reached Ron.

“No, no, no, no!” They all kept muttering in varying levels of hatred and shock. They still couldn’t understand how he could do this to them, to Sirius! He was really running again, leaving Sirius in that exact same circumstance, leaving Harry to deal with an angry werewolf...just leaving like it meant nothing to him.

Sirius was only reading on autopilot now, he couldn’t even find it in himself anymore to feel hopeful something good still worked itself out, just wanting to finish this already whatever the answer. He knew Remus was fine because Sirius wouldn’t let him attack anyone, Moony would be his priority and he’d let the rat escape, and he couldn’t bring it in himself to resent it. He cared more for Remus’ sound mind when he came out of this then his own revenge, finally making the right decision. If he’d tracked down the rat once, he would do it again, now with Remus’ help.

Harry spun around at the sounds of howling, and he watched as the werewolf made a shot for the forest.

Remus sighed in relief, not caring whatever he’d heard to drag him away, just thankful it was getting him away from Harry and those innocent kids. He wasn’t nearly so forgiving of his actions this night, he’d hate himself no matter when the rat was recaught because he’d gotten away this time because of his own stupid, useless, life.

Harry shouted for Sirius, telling him that Pettigrew was making a run for it, and though bleeding from multiple wounds,

Sirius hardly sounded like he cared, he’d survived Azkaban for cripes sake, a couple of scratches shouldn’t faze him for long.

Remus didn’t hold nearly the same feelings at the news, but reflected it wasn’t the worst thing he’d done to his friend recently.

and went charging in the direction the rat had disappeared in. Harry and Hermione turned their attention back to Ron, and though breathing, they weren’t sure how to help him. Harry was looking desperately around, his eyes catching on Snape who was still floating there.

James released a violent noise, like he wanted to laugh about that all over again, but couldn’t grasp the emotion, he was too caught up on other things. Lingering hatred and annoyance still clung in there as well at Snape even being there, he’d done nothing useful this whole night except to wrongly attack the friends he shouldn’t be.

Harry suggested they went to the castle to get help, but then he heard a dog whimper.

Remus made a pretty good attempt at that sound now, thinking he’d gone back around and went for Padfoot again. The others didn’t really agree, but trying to think up something else that would attack Sirius right now wasn’t pleasant either. Had he chased the rat into the Forest or something?

Harry felt so bad for all of them he asked the first question that came to mind “Why didn’t he just leave the grounds in the first place, why did he hide out at Hagrid’s?”

No one needed to ask which he Harry meant, as Harry realized it was hard enough hearing the name whenever it popped up in the book now.

James didn’t really want to sit around and think about these things, but he wasn’t going to deny his son either. “He was probably hoping Sirius would get caught again, and he could make a miraculous return to Ron, why leave his cushy life if he didn’t have to.” The terrible bitterness coloring his every syllable left no one wanting to add on further.

Harry muttered Sirius’ name in fear, torn between staying and helping Ron, or running after Sirius who sounded like he was in trouble.

Sirius couldn’t help a little bubbling of warmth, that Harry was already running off to help him like that, though he knew he didn’t really want Harry anywhere near what was going on between him and the rodent.

Sirius won, as Harry realized there was nothing he could do for Ron and both he and Hermione went running to the lake, not taking notice of how cold it was getting...

Lily nearly screamed again, the sound was certainly trying to build up in her throat but kept getting lodged there. She couldn’t help it though, she just wanted to scream as loud as she could ‘no!’ Over and over again until someone proved her wrong this wasn’t about to happen! Not to Sirius, he’d been through so much already, he didn’t deserve this!

Sirius either didn’t notice, or didn’t register why the others would be freaking out. Maybe he was still too intent on reading about catching the rat, maybe he was forcing his own denial, either way he kept going.

The sounds of the dog died off, and Harry was watching Sirius as a human.

There was a horrible beat of silence where Sirius froze up, trying to understand why he would do that, but he wouldn’t let it last long, blinking past suddenly blurry vision to force out.

He was still on all fours, moaning ‘no’ as the dementors arrived.

“Why!” Harry yelped clearly startling them all badly, they’d each frozen up and gone into lockdown, strangled breathing a kind description, fear was doing so much to them, but Harry cracked and let out a stream of questions “why did you change back! Why didn’t you keep running? Why would you collapse, you’ve had years of being around them and you do this now!” His voice kept rising, anger bleeding into his tone, but as Sirius watched him he recognized it wasn’t the actual rage at him, but for what Harry was well aware was fixing to happen to him. “Why didn’t you just use a Patronus, surely you still had Snape’s wand! Why-” he finally strangled himself off, just watching Sirius desperately. He somehow just knew that Sirius was in trouble, that he needed to save him, something went terribly wrong...

“Harry!” Lily finally got out, wanting to scold, but he just looked so desperate she couldn’t find the right tone, she was more concerned than ever something really was fixing to happen to Sirius! The worst part was no one could find it in themselves to say anything. Harry’s reaction really did lead them all to believe that Sirius was about to be Kissed, and they really couldn’t stand that. Not after everything they just went through, getting the truth and then having it smashed down on their lives, they could not deal with the fact that Sirius would still take the fall in the end, leaving Harry like that.

They were all out of anger, they’d spent it out on the rat. Now they were just left feeling empty, scared, and desperate.

Harry couldn’t help it though, hadn’t even realized how loudly he’d been shouting because his wide green eyes just kept watching Sirius with horror and he knew he didn’t want to lose him again!

Sirius was the first to come out of his shock, watching his little pup like that wrenched at every part of him and he’d do anything to get rid of that look, so he blurted out answers to his abundant questions, just for everyone else to hear him talk now, just so he could prove to himself he was still alive even if this was the last thing in the world he wanted to talk about. “I’m no expert on dementors, but I can tell you now that years of being around them only would have decreased my ability to fight them off, not the other way around. The shock of having been away from them for so many months, and then forced back around even one, would have shocked me so bad I’m not surprised if I lost my hold on being Padfoot and reverted.” The silence continued, so he just kept talking, trying to fill a void that kept lingering in the room.

“Same reason I wouldn’t have been able to produce a Patronus again, or kept running, or anything. It was probably a lot of shock. Not to mention if they really are there to Ki-” he stuttered out, even he couldn’t say that with a straight face, but since they all knew what he meant he kept going in a forced relaxed voice like talking about his imminent death was Sunday brunch “well that’s two different things. A dementor gives off a powerful aura, their natural state is what causes the depression most people feel, but when they’re set on doing, err, that other thing, it becomes ten times more powerful. Even I never would have been around that. Not to mention the realization that the rat escaped would have put me at an all-time low” he finished, unable to keep the sour filled disgust out of that last part.

Remus snapped first, pulling him into a tight hug despite Sirius’ protest and grumbling “would you let me go! I’m not dead yet, so quit acting like you’re staring at my funeral! And if you even start apologizing, any of you, I will personally set out to make every last serious and dog pun in the world!”

“Padfoot that’s just cruel” James whimpered, running his hand furiously against his eyes and unable to put any real emotion into his voice.

Sirius finally managed to wrestle himself away from Remus, giving the others a warning look in case they planned on doing the same. “Now I am going to finish this, and, and Harry’s fine so that’s-”

“That doesn’t make this okay” Harry growled, still shaking terribly and looking ready to keep screaming any second. Maybe not at his godfather, but at something about all this injustice.

“You” Lily snapped, moving with lightning speed and snatching the book away “are not reading that! None of you are.”

“So glad you can” Sirius grumbled, not expecting Lily to smack him over the head with the book. “Ouch, what was that for!”

“Because you deserved it” Lily snapped right back, taking his momentary distraction at him rubbing his head to dash back to her seat and try to read, hoping that she could continue to smack him for fifty years to come, hoping that her doing this would distract him for the next seven books...and starting to run out of hope.

At least a hundred of them,

Well that distraction lasted all of six bleeding words! A hundred! It’s no wonder Sirius had such a reaction! She really was doubting even she could do this. Hadn’t they all suffered enough? Harry had heard both her and James’ death, he’d had his life destroyed by one of James old friends, Remus had tried to attack him this night, and now Sirius was going to die! She still hadn’t fully wrapped her head around the rat’s betrayal, she’d accepted it, but she hadn’t had time to process and think. She knew she was still in shock when she could think the words ‘Sirius would no longer be around’ and not burst into endless tears. All of this had come out in less than a year to Harry, less than two days for them, and she really wasn’t sure how she could keep doing this. Then Harry wrapped an arm around her, his live warmth cutting through the worst of the cold and dread, and though she forced herself to keep going as fast as possible, like hearing the words slurring together would make it less painful to hear, she kept glancing up every other word to find the three boys huddled into each other. Still alive, still breathing, still here with her.

coming forward, encircling them. Harry yelled at Hermione to help him, latching onto the memory of Sirius telling him he was going to leave the Dursleys, to live with his godfather.

Sirius couldn’t help a little jolt of shock. He was already Harry’s happy memory? He remembered back to Harry choosing to leave the Dursleys and come to Hogwarts had produced his best Patronus, until that game where he’d summoned one, even around those fakes, and adrenaline and his love for the game had caused something even more substantial. Now Harry was trying to project another one in his defense, using him and his promise...and it wasn’t going to be enough. Glory no wonder the kid had reacted so badly, he must blame himself! It was a miracle Harry and Hermione had even survived this night, dementors weren’t known for their discretion. He was now just thanking his lucky stars Harry and Hermione hadn’t been Kissed as well!

Then Sirius really looked at Harry, and realized he was actually crying now. He met Sirius’ eyes for a second, then he got up and tried to storm away. Sirius pounced at once, grabbing his shoulder and trying to turn him back, and though he did turn back and face him he still screamed “I could have saved you! You shouldn’t have been there, you only were because of me!”

Sirius wasn’t having that, growling right back “you shut that trap kid. You don’t get to feel guilty about this, the patronus just wasn’t in your capability yet, nothing could have been done. I would have tracked that rat anywhere in the world and then come looking for you, this is his fault, not yours.”

Harry couldn’t help but wobble then, wondering what about that felt off... he lost it.

Sirius saw the indecision though, the hesitancy, so he kept going. “You were a thirteen year old kid, it was my job, my responsibility, my decision, and his fault. The world’s a damned cruel place you had to watch this, but I’ll stand here blue in the face till you realize this is Siriusly my problem.”

Harry couldn’t help it, that was so random he cracked and let out a weak little chuckle.

Looking quite pleased with himself, he nudged Harry back to his mother’s side and soothed the room at large now “that go’s for all of you. You can cry at my funeral, so long as you make sure to get my best picture up there.”

James’ hand twitched, like he wanted to smack the living daylights out of Sirius for actually making jokes at a time like this, but he supposed it was all what they needed. Watching his brother use his vanity and name at a time like this was just so, Sirius. It gave them a shot of fresh air that what they kept reading was not set in stone. Harry must have come back to this time and place for a reason, they must be able to fix this!

Sirius took back his spot, except now in between his friends again, and eyed Lily expectantly. She shook her head at him, a look Sirius had seen practically his whole life of Lily Evans, well Potter now but that wasn’t the point, exasperated at the Marauders and everything they did, but it was better than that dead eyed look of loss she’d held seconds ago. Sirius would ignore his own feelings on the matter, and keep babbling all he wanted to until this was done with.

Harry was forcing his mind to concentrate on Black,

Remus couldn’t help but randomly wonder why Harry was still referring to Sirius by his last name. He recognized the look of consternation that crossed Sirius’ face every time he heard it as well, that was still there right now in the middle of all this, which caused him to finally crack a smile. Maybe Sirius was exaggerating the face, maybe Remus just needed something to smile about before he lost himself, but that did it.

as he cried Expecto Patronum! Black gave one last shiver, but then he rolled over, pale as death.

Sirius was already starting to run out of things to say, recoiling along with the rest of them, knowing he wouldn’t be able to keep it up when the moment came and his life was likely to flash across his eyes as surely now as it would then, and he could no longer look upon half of it with any kind of happiness because of the tainted person.

Harry refused to acknowledge that, insisting he was going to be fine and still shouting the spell over and over again, but the dementors were paying this no mind, still coming closer, and the screaming began in his head.

Lily was not stumbling through this as fast as she’d planned, the words kept getting jumbled together and she just knew she was going to vomit here in a second. The only thing still keeping her going was a near constant glance up at the black haired youth, sitting next to her husband. When he caught sight of her staring he put on such a brave face she had no choice but to smile until she kept going.

Only a small bit of silver came out to protect them, and Hermione passed out without even doing that, and Harry was left alone.

Again! Again, and again, and again, Harry just kept getting left on his own to deal with these things, it always felt like he was abandoned at the worst of times, now Sirius was the cause of it! Sirius finally lost any last drop of comfort he was going for in sake of the others, now wanting to hurry the process up and just greet the Reaper by this point he felt so ashamed.

Harry wasn’t quitting though, still saying the spell over and over again, but then one dementor passed through his feeble patronus, and it began to lower its hood.

Sirius swore violently and scrambled to his feet in a real life panic now. All of them were when they realized that thing was going to Kiss Harry! The dementors were acting on orders about attacking Sirius, it didn’t make them hate them any less, but if there was one thing to kick them from misery to fire tempered protection it was Harry being in trouble.

What could they do though, what could anyone do? The only living person they could have counted on for help was running around in the Forbidden Forest, Remus wouldn’t even realize what was happening until morning, and what could a werewolf do against a dementor? Harry blinked in shock and blurted out “do dementors affect werewolves? I mean, like, the actual werewolf part.”

Remus gave Harry a look of utter disbelief. He seemed remarkably calm now, still confused and upset like the others, but not particularly concerned for his life. Considering his reaction to Sirius a moment ago, it gave him a real pause and a blatant reminder Harry had survived. How? No one knew, but he certainly wanted that answer, so instead of cursing and screaming and unnecessarily producing a patronus right now, no matter how much he hated that animal, like he knew they all wanted to do, he answered “I have no idea. As far as I know the two have never intersected. The werewolf’s base emotion is to attack, that’s certainly not a happy feeling, so I doubt the dementors could effect that.”

Harry grinned in appreciation, watching the others wearily sit back down as they realized what Remus had. They wanted their answers more than swearing to the heavens those things existed. They’d spent so long being angry at what the rat had done, and now were so low at what was going to happen to Sirius, the fact that Harry was okay was the only thing keeping them going.

Below was a gray skull, with empty eye sockets and a jagged shape for a mouth, which was trying to suck up more than air.

James hands wouldn’t sit still. Wanting to reach over and grab hold of Sirius, to never let go so long as he just kept breathing. To reach for his wand and do something, anything to make this go away. To hold and cuddle his baby to his chest, to go and hug his son now so that he had something to cling onto who despite all odds lived when the rest of them hadn’t. No one had ever looked under a dementor’s hood and lived, and now James had a mental image he never wanted, and it still wasn’t the worst thing to happen to him today.

Harry lost the hold on his spell, the little of his patronus faded away.

Sirius felt like that was his own lifeline that had been snipped. He fell back against his friends and probably would have kept falling forever if they weren’t both there now, each holding tight to him to make sure he wasn’t really going anywhere.

Still he fought back, grasping hold of Sirius’ arms, trying to insist he was innocent, they weren’t going to take him.

Harry felt torn in two, he wanted to go to Sirius and cling to him now, promise himself that a connection to his family really hadn’t been lost this night, but Remus and James weren’t leaving much room, Sirius looked nearly smothered, and he wouldn’t leave his mom now.

The dementor cared nothing, its clammy hands holding fast to his throat, raising him up to meet the replica of its face, and the last thing Harry would ever hear was his mother screaming in his head.

His mother’s great sob was his answer, she definitely needed him more, as he curled tightly into her and promised he wasn’t going anywhere, and Lily had to blink ghosts and tears and screams away for several minutes, watching the book in her lap and all the little wet spots on the pages that still weren’t enough to erase the words, and just wanting this to be over.

Just behind the fog of white in his brain, something silver was moving towards them. Suddenly Harry was back on the ground, face first, the dementor had let him go.

Lily finally felt like she could breathe again, clutching the lifeline of little print that promised her something had changed, whatever had saved her son’s life was happening!

The light continued to grow brighter, it was now galloping in a circle around the three of them, and once all of the dementors were gone it went back across the lake.

‘A patronus,’ they all realized at once. Though what, who could have sent it? Maybe a teacher from the school had come down and realized what had happened. Galloping, that implied a horse like shape to whoever owned it, but there were just too many possibilities, and they were just too exulted in breathing air again to care. Harry was safe...but what about Sirius? Had the dementors gotten him while Harry was being attacked? They had come from all sides...

Fighting against a black swirl, Harry forced his eyes to focus, and as the bright creature came to its end, Harry saw someone oddly familiar greet it...but it couldn’t be.

“Who did it look like” Sirius quickly asked, his voice no longer sounding like his own, but just wanting to think of anything but a shell of his body being left behind for Harry to find.

Harry didn’t answer though, he was blinking and squinting at nothing like he couldn’t see clearly, still holding tight to his mother and throwing fear filled looks at Sirius. Clearly whoever he’d seen had startled him, but the fact that he didn’t answer wasn’t promising. Lily just wanted to get the book out of her own hands at this point so finished.

His body failed him, and he fainted.

Lily let out a pitiful moan as she pushed the book away, letting it land on the floor and just clinging to her son because that was all she could think to do. The boys weren’t much better, each of them stuck on the idea, but unable to say it, spit it out, it even hurt to think it, because Sirius just couldn’t be dead.

So yeah, been dropping little hints for a while that Harry was going to remember something soon that wasn’t going to be good, and it was this. Harry remembers how he felt when Sirius died, and has no way to tell them otherwise, but this was the wrong time, so they get to spend this and most of the next chapter thinking Sirius is dead...I am a cruel person and I regret nothing.

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