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Chapter 1: Betrayal
'He would have killed them eventually. One by one, we’d all fall. I wasn’t ready to die.'
The words burned into Sirius, flashing through his hazy mind in painful, sharp chaos. The parchment they were written on was old, nearly decrepit. But the ink, that was new; the black colour of it had been too severe - it hurt him to even glance at.
Seconds after he finished reading those chilling words, the paper caught flame: ashes. Small, grey, dusty pieces that forever hid the truth.
Now he was hundreds of feet up in the hushed black sky; maybe if he remained there nothing would be concrete. The fears that his heart begged to be false would just vanish and he could be rid of the nausea that rolled through him.
But even the bitter cold gusts of air couldn’t numb him forever. He had to see. Alive or dead. He had to see.
Anger raged through him and coaxed the vomit to travel up his fragile esophagus, but he fought it down. It could all be a lie. The note could have been left to do just this, to send him in the wrong direction. Maybe Peter was captured and the Death Eaters wanted to throw Sirius off their trail. Give them more time to torture out the truth from the boy he had been friends with for half his life.
But his heart knew.
His heart knew.
Faster. Faster. Faster.
He tightened his fingers on the rubbery grip, coercing the bike to shoot a melody of vibrating war cries; the silence of the night broke under his speed.
Frosty bits of air were catching against the stubble that lined Sirius’s jaw. His dark sweep of lashes were coated in hot, terrified tears.
If it was real - it can’t be real! They can fight. James will fight.
In mere moments he’d be there. He’d send his growling Patronus to seek James and Lily: his family. They would come outside of the hidden home and usher him in. Harry would be fast asleep.
Oh God, Harry.
Would they kill Harry, too? An innocent baby? No, no. They’d all be alive.
Yes, Harry would be asleep and Sirius would bend over his crib to watch the rhythmic rise and fall of that miniature chest. His hands would be steady and gentle as they touched the delicate skin of the baby’s cheek.
He had never known the depths of his own emotions until Harry James Potter was born. His Godchild. His nephew. A creation of the two people he loved most.
They’re alive! Goddamnit! They have to be!
No amount of violent denial could cover up the truth that tormented his mind. They would be dead.
Peter had run.
Peter had given them away.
Sirius had suggested Peter.
His motorbike tore through Godric’s Hallow as he blinked away the tears that distorted his view - what he saw when those thick drops of salty water cleared, shattered his soul.
October 31, 1981.
The moment that Sirius went to check on Peter in his hiding place and found it empty - I think I could write a million words on it and never be over it. That moment solidified not only James and Lily's last few seconds on earth, it also ended Sirius’s life as a free man and best friend. Okay.. all done before I cry.
*Ashes, Ashes they all fall down is a reworded version the last stanza in Ring Around the Rosie.