Chapter 1 : Runaway
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Running. Always running. From parents, from family legacy, from professors and authorities and even a group of half-drunk centaurs.
(Still blame Prongs for that incident.)
And now running from Dementors and hell and probably half the Aurors in Britain.
Well, mate, you’ve really managed to bodge this up, now, haven’t you? Are you planning on running all the way to the continent?
Sarcasm really doesn’t become you. And maybe I am. Settled down for the night, curled up in an alleyway infinitely more comfortable than anything he’s had the last twelve years, last lifetime, last night. Have to find Wormtail first, though. And make sure Harry’s safe.
Shrug. I am his godfather.
You know, when James asked you to be Harry’s godfather, I’m fairly certain he imagined you to be more ‘bad influence’ than ‘fusty old grandmum’.
Huff. Not a ‘fusty old grandmum’. I gave him his first broom. And took him out on my bike.
Another smile. Yes. Yes, you did.
Yawn, curl body tighter, tail and snout overlap. See you in the morning, Lils.
Don’t call me ‘Lils’, Siri.
Last thought before sleep: He’satHogwarts
Have to make my way north. He’ll be at Hogwarts soon. All of them will be at Hogwarts soon. First Harry, to make sure he’s safe. Then Hogwarts, to murder the traitorous git I used to call my best mate.
Sigh. You know, I appreciate wanting to look after my son and ‘avenging my death’ and such, but do you really have to kill him?
Check phone book, try to find ‘Dursley, Vernon’, try to not be seen. (Dogs don’t usually read, you know.)
Not going to respond to that.
Harry looks fine, I suppose, if a bit jumpy.
Grin. Wasn’t expecting the Knight Bus to pop up on top of him, did he, Lils? Though I’d like to know why he said his name was Neville Longbottom.
Shrug. He probably doesn’t want to be recognized, Sirius.
Snort. Then he shouldn’t’ve been responsible for the downfall of the singularly most-feared wizard in the history of Britain.
Eye roll. It’s not like he could help it. He was one!
My point exactly! Move to shadows, truck coming this way.
Sigh. Sometimes I’m not sure which one of us is mad. This isn’t one of those times.
Gee, thanks, Lils.
Huff. How many times to I have to tell you? Don’t call me ‘Lils’!
Who the hell thought putting Dementors around Hogwarts was a good idea??!
Probably the same people who heard a convicted mass murderer had escaped from Azkaban and was heading this way.
Turn around, go back towards Hogsmeade. But I didn’t do it! You know that, Lily.
Sigh. I know that, and you know that, but no one else knows that, do they?
You know, sometimes I really hate that superior attitude of yours.
Sniff out (quite literally) suitable alleyway, settle down for night. Wait for response.
Shrug. Sleep. Tomorrow, find way into Hogwarts, check on Harry, murder Wormtail.
I don’t want Harry to see me.
Well, that’s—what? He’s your godson, for Merlin’s sake!
Chew absently on ham bone (The Three Broomsticks has the best scraps, need to remember that.) Shrug.
Don’t want to see him. Not like this. Not when he thinks I killed his parents.
Sigh and eye roll, this time. If you’re really planning on murdering his best friend’s pet rat, I don’t think avoiding him’s really possible.
Don’t respond, keep thoughts to self. Wizarding world, mates, everyone else hating him was fine, but not Lily and James’ son. Not Harry.
Tomorrow, find way into Hogwarts, murder Wormtail, avoid Harry.
Can’t let him see me.
Day after day, running, running, trying to find a way in, trying to get to Wormtail.
Finally paying off, sneaking down hallways to Gryffindor Tower, the Fat Lady’ll let me in, has to let me in, need to get to Wormtail.
I don’t like this.
Eye roll after checking corridor. You don’t have to. I’m going to do it anyway.
Eye roll. I mean, I don’t like this plan. How’re you going to get into Gryffindor Tower? Last time I checked, you didn’t know the password.
I’ll get in. Have to. Wormtail’s there.
Another eye roll and a sigh. Fine. Go ahead. See how well this plan of yours works.
Staring at the Fat Lady, anger rising, disbelieving. No. You have to let me in. Wormtail is in there! Harry’s in danger!!
Fat Lady shaking her head—“No password, no entry.”
Angry and (more than) a little mad, pulling out knife, slashing painting, not caring if Fat Lady lived or not. “Need to get IN!! He’s IN there!! He’s HERE!!”
Slashing, cutting, tearing, ripping. Lily shouting, begging him to calm down.
STOP IT, Sirius! STOP. IT. NOW! You’ll be caught! We’ll be caught!
Voices down the hallway, someone coming. Panting, holding knife, need to get away, can’t be seen, not by Harry.
Transform, run in other direction. Hide behind the tapestry, find hidden passageway, back to Hogsmeade.
Days of planning, befriending Crookshanks, sneaking around Hogwarts’ grounds finally paying off. In the castle for the second time, a piece of paper in one dirty hand.
What kind of idiot just leaves this week’s passwords lying around?
Eye roll. I dunno, Lils. The kind of idiot who can’t remember six inches’ worth of gibberish?
Shut up, Sirius. And don’t call me ‘Lils’.
In front of the new portrait—“Password?”
Glance at sheet of paper, find tonight’s string of gibberish, read it off. Watch portrait hole open, climb inside, look around at the Common Room before making way upstairs.
Need to get to him before he gets to Harry.
In the Third Year Boys’ Dormitory, looking for the right bed, slashing the curtains on the first one available.
Lucked out, red hair, freckles, just need to find Wormtail. Looking, looking, knife in hand, ready to plunge…
Running, running, running, downstairs and out the portrait hole, keeping to the shadows, transforming without bothering to stop, tripping over feet as two becomes four.
He wasn’t supposed to wake up. He was supposed to stay asleep.
Wait for response while running down the hall and out a side door, dodging branches, hitting the knot, going down the passageway. No full moon tonight, maybe he’ll stay in the Shrieking Shack tonight, be more comfortable than in the alleyway.
Shrug, drag a raggedy blanket to the corner, settle down for the night.
Planning, always planning, trying to find another way to get at Wormtail.
Crookshanks saying the rat’s disappeared, run off because he knows who’s coming after him.
Angry at himself, at the redheaded boy, at the Fat Lady, at the Dementors, at Wormtail. Need to make sure Harry’s safe. Need to get to Wormtail.
No response. She’s been oddly quiet lately. Hasn’t spoken much at all. Are you alright?
Sigh. I’m fine, Sirius. Just tired.
Nod, understanding. Me, too.
Go back to planning and nosing through scraps.
Hiding on Hogwarts grounds, trying to find the murderous rat—that’s what he is, a rat—that was once his best mate.
Finding him at the same time as the Weasley boy, having to drag him into the passageway to get at Wormtail. Having Harry and the girl follow, trying to save their friend.
Angry at himself—again—and take it out on the boy. Want to apologize when the bone breaks, but the words won’t come out.
Lily talking, warning. Don’t get upset this time, Sirius. Please.
Need to get to Wormtail. Killed you. Killed Prongs. Framed me. Needs to pay.
Yes, Sirius, I know, and I understand, but please don’t get too caught up this time. They’re children, remember? And one of them’s your godson. Just… promise you won’t get carried away. Alright?
Harry and the girl walking up the stairs, inside the room. The Weasley boy talking, warning them, Harry turning around, staring at him in shock, wand pointed right at him. Mouth opens, sounds come out—a Disarming spell.
First word out of his mouth in months.
First word said to Harry in years.
Didn’t want him to see me, why’d he have to see me?! Don’t want him to hate me, can’t have him hate me, not Lily and James’ son, not Harry, never Harry
Talk, babble, stare at the boy who looks so much like his father with his mother’s eyes, trying to stop the stinging in his eyes, tears threatening to roll down sunken cheeks.
But everything spins out of control, out of his control, out of everyone’s control, and now he’s fighting with his godson, and the girl has quite the kick, and even though the Weasley boy’s hurt, he’s still fighting, and this is typical, of course they’re all in Gryffindor, why couldn’t Harry have been Sorted into Ravenclaw instead?
Fighting turns quickly to begging, begging Harry to understand, to listen, dammit, just listen, why’d you have to be so much like James, never listening, always jumping to conclusions? More words coming out of his mouth than since before Azkaban, since before Peter’s betrayal… And Harry looking at him with hard, green eyes, angrier than Lily’d ever been, and hurt, so hurt…
He hates me. He hates me. Harry hates me. Harry James Potter hates me.
And then Moony runs up the stairs, saving him from his own godson—wasn’t supposed to happen like this, wasn’t supposed to see me—asking him a question, asking where Wormtail is.
He’s not killing me.
Snort. Astute observation, Mr Holmes.
Oh, shut up.
Remember the question.
Still in shock (he’s really not killing me), pointing a finger at Wormtail with the Weasley boy, Harry and his friends looking confused. Moony still talking, trying to work everything out for himself, then pulling him to his feet and hugging him. Hugging him.
He’s really not killing me! Moony’s hugging me!
Amused. Do you need a moment?
He’s busy thinking up a witty response when the girl shrieks.
After that, the conversation starts to make him dizzy, all the voices talking, one right after another, more voices than he’s heard in years. Remus trying to explain everything, Harry yelling, accusations flying. Try to keep up, follow what’s going on.
Need to get him, need to make him pay
He finally catches up with the conversation when Remus asks for the Weasley boy’s rat.
Determinedly not looking at his godson. Not a rat.
Remus explaining, telling them about Peter, meeting disbelief.
He can explain all he wants. Wormtail has to pay. Lunge, try to get at Wormtail, wanting, needing to wring his sorry neck.
Have to kill him, have to make him pay, he killed Lily and James, have to make him pay
Sirius, don’t. No. Sirius, don’t lose control. Sirius!
Remus holds him back, tries to reason with him. Don’t understand, Moony! He killed Lily and James, have to make him pay!
Remus still holding him back, shouting that he owes Harry the truth.
He shouldn’t have seen me.
But he did, Sirius, and just think about what could happen if you told him. He won’t hate you, Sirius. He’ll have a godfather.
It’s my fault, though. Switching was my idea, no one would’ve thought of Peter, and you and James died, Lily, you died and it’s my fault
Just try, Sirius. Please.
Fine. As long as Peter paid in the end. He had to pay, in the end.
Only way things could happen.
Explaining everything takes what seems like forever, long enough for Snape to turn up in more ways than one, long enough for his godson to defend him, thank Merlin Harry doesn’t hate me, long enough for three thirteen year old students to knock out one of their professors, he had it coming, don’t worry, he always has it coming, Harry
And now, staring at Peter, the little rat, watching Peter beg and try to talk his way out of the situation. Talking when spoken to, but focusing more on inside his head than out. You can’t talk your way out of this one, Wormtail, do I look like your mum to you? You murdered Lily and James and framed me for it, left me to rot in jail for twelve years, longest years of my life, get ready to die you murderous git
Don’t lose control, Sirius, please. Don’t kill Peter. He was one of your best friends, remember? You and Remus and James and Peter. You haven’t even heard his side of everything—at least give him a chance to explain himself. Just one more chance, Sirius.
Shake head, both at Peter and Lily. I don't give second chances. I'm that kind of man.
Pleading. No, you’re not. You gave James a second chance. And you convinced me to, as well.
I’m not that Sirius anymore, Lily. He left twelve years ago.
Stony. Maybe he shouldn’t have.
Look at Remus, nod, shoving tattered sleeves up bone-thin arms, the words of the spell he wants on the tip of his tongue.
Try to ignore the stony silence in his brain.
But it can’t be that simple, never as simple as two words and the end of everything. Peter begging, Lily silent—really, truly silent—for the first time since she arrived, getting angrier and angrier.
Yelling, shouting, voice louder than it’s been in years. Yelling at Peter, wanting everything to shut up and be quiet and let me kill the rat already, just let me kill him, he needs to die let me kill him let me kill him
Lily doesn’t comment.
And just when the rat’s about to get his just rewards, just when he’s going to be killed like he deserves, Harry jumps in between, blocking him.
Stand there, gobsmacked. What’s he doing, doesn’t he get Wormtail has to die, he has to die, he killed your parents, Harry
And then his godson says something that jars that little bit of him, the bit he thought was gone, back into place.
“I'm doing it because—I don't reckon my dad would've wanted them to become killers—just for you.”
No, he wouldn’t have. James wouldn’t have wanted that.
He’s closer to being happy than he’s been in a long time.
Hesitantly offer Harry a place to stay, with him, praying the whole time Harry says “yes”.
Feel like jumping for joy when he does.
Lily’s still silent. But he’s got her son on his side now.
Harry doesn’t hate me!
The feeling can’t last, of course. He knows there’re Dementors around, he knows they’re patrolling, and they run right into them, and Peter’s run off, and Remus transforms, and the happiness is gone, and the feelings are gone, except for the guilt and the despair and Lils, where are you, Lils, please don’t go away, please stay with me, please
And then the darkness takes over, and there is no feeling anymore.
Head hurts. Something’s pounding on his brain.
Open eyes slowly, look blearily at the ceiling.
Someone brought him inside the castle.
Get up slowly, make way to door. Pull experimentally.
Well, that’s just peachy.
Look around. No guards, closed window. Walk to the window, look out.
Seven floors up. Typical.
Sit in chair, back to window, waiting for the door to open. Remus is in the forest, Harry and his friends are Merlin only knows where, and who’d believe them anyway?
Please let Harry be okay. And his friends. Let all of them be alright.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for forever, knowing there’s no way out this time and he’ll get the Kiss for sure when there’s a knock at the window.
Turn around, see Harry and the girl on a hippogriff of all things, bobbing up and down. Drop jaw.
He really is James’ son, isn’t he?
No response. Lily’s still avoiding him, it seems.
No matter, though. Hurry to window, try to open it.
Locked. Of course.
The girl yells at him to stand back, and, pulling out her wand, manages to open the window whilst balancing on the back of a flying hippogriff.
He thinks she might be one of his favourite people he’s ever come in contact with.
Then he’s climbing through the window, and Harry and his friend (really should learn her name) are helping him on the hippogriff, and they’re flying off, pausing on top of the tower to let Harry and the girl off.
And then he’s asking after the boy, and Harry and the girl (maybe Hera? No, it’s longer) are yelling at him to GO, already, and then the hippogriff’s flying up, up, up, and I’m free, I escaped, Harry doesn’t hate me, he doesn’t hate me
Wormtail got away, and Lily’s still silent, but Harry doesn’t hate him, and that’s more than enough for now.
Make way south, maybe the continent. Someplace warmer than Azkaban.
(If he’s on the run, he might as well be relatively comfortable.)
Stop in London to stock up on supplies. Food, water, and, most importantly, clothes.
He’s finally in something other than rags. Finally in something clean.
It feels wonderful.
Take the time to write a letter to Harry, find an owl to mail it. Not an official mail owl, so he can’t be tracked. And while he’s got doubts that the small owl can carry the letter, it’s certainly eager.
Maybe Harry's friend (Ron, was it?) can keep it. After all, it’s his fault he hasn’t got a rat anymore.
Give the owl the letter, see it off. Walk around London for a bit. Haven’t seen much of anything in over twelve years, might as well.
Pause halfway across the Tower Bridge, look around. Smile.
He loved this bridge as a kid. Always running off to see it, always pausing halfway across to look up in awe at the towers. Used to drive Mother and Father absolutely mad. Andie, too, when she took him out.
He’d told James to propose to Lily here. As good a place as any, he supposed, and less over-done than a restaurant.
Smile. So you’re who gave James the idea.
Grin, leaning against the guard rails, still looking up. Well, he asked. And I thought you’d like this better than some hoity-toity restaurant.
I did. Thank you, by the way.
Shrug. For convincing me James wasn’t some horrible, pretentious prat. For giving him the idea to propose to me halfway across the Tower Bridge. For watching out for my son. For being you.
Shrug, grinning sheepishly. You’re welcome, I suppose. Don’t see how I could do any different.
Smile. Well, thanks anyway.
Pause. Silence again, but this time it’s comfortable. Like goodbye between friends who’ll be seeing each other again soon. (But not too soon, he hopes. He’d like to live a bit.)
I’ll miss you.
Smile. Me, too.
Still leaning on the guardrail, head tilted up. To anyone passing, he’s looking at the towers and sky above him. To him, he’s busy saying goodbye to his best friend and his best mate’s wife.
(There’s a difference?
Of course there’s a difference.)
Bye, Sirius. Be good. Don’t get in too much trouble.
Smile, eye roll. Yes, Mum.
Seriously. Don’t get in trouble. You’ve got Harry to look after, now.
Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of him.
I know. She turns away, smiling at something (or someone) he can’t see. James says hello. And to watch over Moony. He’s probably lost his job by now.
He grins. Don’t worry, Lils, I’ve got it. Watch over Harry and Moony, stay out of trouble, don’t be a fusty old grandmum.
She grins back. Precisely. Be good to yourself.
I will. You, too.
She turns away and soon, all too soon, there’s a silence in his brain that hasn’t been there in days, months, years. And it’s sad, but at the same time, he’s happy.
As he looks back down at the earth and turns to walk off the bridge, get the hippogriff and fly far, far away, the voice in his head makes one last comment before falling completely quiet.
But don’t call me ‘Lils’!
A/N: No, I’m not dead. I know, big surprise, right? :P OMAM’s been giving me issues, so I decided to step back and write something else, see if it helps. I dunno if Andie and Ted are going to cooperate more now, but at least we know my ability to string words together hasn’t gone completely down the drain. XD
As I said in the summary, this is for two separate challenges: The “Doctor Who Quotes Challenge” by Raielle on HPFF, and the “Man on a Bridge Challenge” by .Indigo on TGS. For the first challenge, I had to include a quote from Doctor Who: “I don’t give second chances. I’m that kind of man.” For the second challenge, I had to have a man stand on a bridge at some point in the story. Just in case you completely missed the quote, Sirius thinks it to Lily while in the Shrieking Shack. If you missed the bridge part… well, then you obviously didn’t read to the end. :P
Characters (especially Sirius, Lily, Harry, Ron, Hermione, James, Remus, Peter, Crookshanks the Cat, the Dementors, the Dursleys, Neville Longbottom, the Fat Lady, Buckbeak the Hippogriff, Snape, Sir Cadogen, and anyone else that might’ve been mentioned in the course of this story) and places specifically mentioned in the books don’t belong to me. (This includes Hogsmeade and Hogwarts, unfortunately. :D ) While the Tower Bridge in London isn’t specifically mentioned in any HP book, it doesn’t belong to me, either. (The idea that Sirius especially liked the Tower Bridge as a kid, though, does belong to me.) General plot line is taken from PoA. The line “He’s at Hogwarts” is from page 66 of Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling. “I’m doing it because—I don’t reckon my dad would’ve wanted them to become killers—just for you” is on page 376 of PoA (still by JK Rowling). “I don’t give second chances. I’m that kind of man” is said by David Tennant in the Doctor Who episode “The Christmas Invasion” (Season 2, episode 1). I don’t own them. Please don’t sue me.
As always, reviews are appreciated and wanted. ;) I’d especially like to know what you thought of this—I kind of branched out with this piece. It’s not every day one writes a story from the POV of a half-mad character. :D Did I do well?