Sirius wasn’t going to let him escape this time. Another crushing defeat like the last would be more than he could bear. So this time he set certain rules for himself; no messing around. No dramatics.
Everything that Sirius had to say to Peter had been said. The only thing left to do was capture him and not let him escape. As long as Sirius didn’t get carried away, it would all turn out. Just then, the door to the apartment opened. He marveled inwardly at just how stupid Peter was.
“Hey, Wormtail,” Sirius greeted, and then placed a solid, forceful punch over Peter’s eye. Peter probably didn’t know what was going on, and Sirius didn’t give him any time to figure it out: He stunned him as he crumpled to the ground. Sirius closed the door behind him and stepped back to admire his work.
“Far more efficient than last time, eh?” he said to the bloodied and stunned Peter. “But I’m not going to underestimate you… You aren’t a complete git all the time.” Sirius found Peter’s wand and confiscated it. “Just in case you try to pull a fast-one,” he explained, twirling Peter’s wand between his fingers. “I shouldn’t have stunned you. I suppose it’d be better if I’d petrified you because then you’d be able to hear what I’m saying.”
Sirius mulled over this, all the while vocalizing his thoughts, and asking the unconscious Peter for input. This made it all the more amusing. Finally, he came to a decision.
“Rennervate. Petrificus Totalus.”
Peter was stiff as a board on the floor, completely immobilized.
“That’s better,” Sirius said, leaning over Peter. “Can you hear me? Can you see me? Blink if you can… oh, right you can’t blink. But I know you can hear me. Your eye might be a bit too swollen for you to see me, though. It’s an effective curse, isn’t it? I wonder how long it would take to wear off… If I just left you here, no one would find you, of course. Which do you think would happen first? Would the curse wear off, or would starve to death? Well, I suppose, you’d dehydrate before you’d starve…”
Sirius caught himself. Right. No dramatics. Besides, there was something very unsatisfactory about threatening someone so unresponsive. But then again…
“Relax, Wormy,” Sirius said. “Loosen up. You seem sort of… tense.” He laughed at his own joke. “Sorry, I’m having too much fun. This is an amusing situation for me, I must say. Quite favorable conditions. Here I am, with two wands, and there you are, lying on the floor, unable to escape or defend yourself in any way. Do you find this comical, or am I the only one?”
Sirius waited as though Peter might respond. Of course, he didn’t.
“No? Well, I’m having a jolly good time, thank you very much. Now, what to do with you… I suppose I have several options. The easiest one would be to put you on trial and send you to Azkaban. Actually, they don’t do many trials these days, so you’d go straight to the dementors. You could be there by lunchtime tomorrow. But I have a problem with this first option…”
Sirius knelt next to Peter and leaned down so their faces were mere inches apart. To hell with no dramatics…
“You see, I’ve always been a fan of vigilante justice. And you’ve done me a personal wrong. I want you to know that I could kill you and get off scot-free. There’s so much chaos around these days, who would notice? Who would miss you?”
He sat back, and looked around the apartment room for a moment, giving his rhetorical question ample time to sink in. He opted to not tell Peter one crucial fact: Sirius doubted he could actually kill someone, let alone someone he’d known for so long. Peter may have been a traitor now, but first he had been a friend.
So, he wordlessly took hold of Peter’s arm and Apparated both of them to the only place he could think of.
* * *
“I will not keep a hostage in the school!” Dumbledore said, rapidly looking back and forth between Sirius and the petrified, black-eyed and bloodied Peter.
“He’s not a hostage, per se,” Sirius said. “That entails that I would give him back to someone for a price. Consider him more of a prisoner. Like a POW.”
Dumbledore was shaking his head adamantly. “Absolutely not… Take him to the Ministry and turn him in.”
“But that’s no fun!” Sirius blurted, realizing that he sounded like his teenage self again, arguing with Dumbledore about various school rules.
“This isn’t supposed to be fun,” Dumbledore said. “I can’t believe that you would bring him here in the first place. What were you thinking?”
Sirius grinned. “This is me we’re talking about, right?”
Dumbledore sighed. “So I’m to presume you weren’t thinking?”
“Of course not,” he said dismissively. “But just hear me out—this is the traitor. He’s the one who betrayed the Potters to Voldemort.”
“And he deserves to go to Azkaban,” Dumbledore insisted.
“Doesn’t that seem like a light punishment?” Sirius challenged.
“What would you suggest is more fitting? Feeding him to the giant squid?”
“I didn’t think of that…” Sirius smiled mischievously.
“Sirius,” Dumbledore said strictly, wiping the grin from Sirius’s face. “Take Peter to the Ministry now. I will not tolerate this.”
“Please, sir,” Sirius implored. “He might know something. Can’t we just keep him here temporarily? What if he knows about the Horcruxes?”
He could see that Dumbledore was giving this serious consideration. Sirius had always known how to get his way with the headmaster. You just had to know how to talk to him…
“I’ll give you one week,” Dumbledore said finally.
* * *
Understandably, Dumbledore was surprised when Sirius didn’t want to interrogate Peter immediately. But Sirius doubted Peter would be of much help, and he wanted to go tell Lily of his success. Dumbledore told him where she was, and he left as soon as Peter was secured inside a rat-proof room. Sirius had had to tell Dumbledore about the Animagus situation. He seemed only a little surprised, mostly impressed, and promised to keep a close watch.
Sirius was now in a strange forest and was squinting through the haze and trees, searching for a tent.
“Lily?” he called. “It’s me, Sirius. Lily?”
He waited for a while—no response. He called again in a different direction. After several minutes, he was beginning to wonder whether he was in the right place, or if they had moved on already.
“Sirius?” said a voice from behind him.
He turned around and was instantly confused. There was Lily, but… there was another person next to her. He had long black hair and a hooked nose… Sirius felt the familiar enmity burning in his chest before he fully realized who this man was.
“Snivellus,” he snarled.
Snape was glaring back at him just as harshly. “What is he doing here?” he hissed at Lily.
“I could ask the same thing,” Sirius said.
Lily, looking rather nervous, moved between them. “Guys, calm down. We’re all on the same side now.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure,” Sirius argued.
Lily sighed. “Sirius, Sev had been helping me with the Horcrux Hunt.”
Only one word registered with him. “You’re calling him ‘Sev’ again? Have you forgotten what he did to you? What he said to you?”
Snape’s face grew even paler as he trembled with rage. Yet he remained silent.
“Honestly, Sirius, forget about your silly school-boy grudge. This is about avenging James and—”
“How exactly are you avenging his death, anyway? By hanging around with the one person he always despised?”
“That’s a little dramatic. Sure they didn’t like each other, but—”
“No, Lily, they hated each other. Apparently you didn’t know James so well after all.”
Suddenly, something smacked Sirius hard in the side of the face—really hard. He fell to the ground with a thud, feeling rather light-headed. He tasted blood in his mouth.
“Sev, you shouldn’t’ve punched him. That’s really not going to help this.”
“You think I was going to let him talk to you like that?”
“Please, I could’ve handled that myself. I was getting ready to give him a nice slap round the face, but you beat me to it.”
Sirius picked himself up off the ground, holding his throbbing jaw. Lily narrowed her eyes when she saw him.
“If you ever say anything like that again, I’ll blacken your other eye. Permanently,” she threatened.
Sirius didn’t doubt that. “I’m sorry, Lily, I—”
“You better be. I mean, I bloody married him! I knew him a little better than you did. So let’s be clear—James didn’t hate Severus. He was just irrationally jealous.”
“Jealous?!” Sirius and Snape blurted in unison.
“Of me?” Snape sputtered.
Sirius could understand his surprise. How could James ever have been jealous of that slimy scumbag? It didn’t make sense.
Lily nodded, but didn’t explain further. “But Sirius—why are you here?”
Sirius smiled—he’d forgotten all about it the moment he’d seen Snape. “I got Pettigrew.”
Lily’s jaw dropped. “You… you got him? Sirius, you didn’t…”
“No, no, I didn’t kill him,” Sirius clarified. “I captured him. He’s a Hogwarts now.”
Snape snorted. “Because that’s the logical place to keep him…”
Sirius turned to him, wondering how Lily would react if he punched him… Snape’s nose would look better for it. Technically, he would be doing him a favor.
“Well, with Dumbledore there, it’s not like he’s going to escape, and we can still get information from him this way, so, yeah, it is the logical place to keep him.”
Snape’s glare intensified, but he didn’t argue.
“Well, that’s great Sirius!” Lily exclaimed. She smiled guiltily as she cleaned the blood off his face. “Sorry about that. Is anything broken?”
“I don’t think so,” Sirius replied. “And you don’t have to apologize. You’re not the one who socked me.”
Lily turned to Snape, who pretended not to notice the pleading look in her eyes. Sirius didn’t care—he didn’t want Snape’s apology.
“So, how’s it been going?” Sirius asked casually. “The Horcrux Hunt.”
“I just found another Horcrux earlier today,” Snape answered.
Sirius tried not to let his surprise register on his face: Another?! “So… How many have you found?”
“Two already!” Lily exclaimed. “Can you believe it? Come on, we’ll show you.”
Sirius followed them to the tent; a small, simple thing set up in a clearing. The inside was surprisingly spacious, but still rather primitive living conditions.
“Here they are,” Lily announced. She pointed to a large ring and a worn, leather book on the table. Sirius had a myriad questions running through his mind, but only one seemed important.
“Have you figured out how to destroy them yet?”
“No,” Lily mumbled, her face falling.
“We found two Horcruxes, and that’s all you have to say?” Snape said. “That it’s not good enough? What have you been doing all this time?”
Sirius was unfazed. “Well, as I’ve said before, I’ve captured Pettigrew—the traitor. And I didn’t mean it like that, I was just wondering.”
“Do you have any ideas?” Snape grumbled.
Then, as if by divine inspiration, an idea occurred to him. He knew immediately that it had to be right. But there was only one way to know for sure. Sirius pulled out his wand and quickly performed a spell he had never used before.
“Sirius!” Lily gasped. “What are you…?”
She trailed off as angry red flames consumed the ring. A thick, black substance was leaking from the stone, like blood. There was a faint whistling sound coming from it, like the hiss of steam. Sirius flicked his wand and the flames disappeared. The ring was left on the table, the stone cracked, blackened and smoking.
“How’s that for an idea?” Sirius turned to Snape, grinning smugly.
“Fiendfyre,” Lily breathed, a smile stretching across her own face. “Sirius, you’re brilliant!” She pulled him into a tight hug. “How’d you know?”
“Lucky guess.” Sirius shrugged, smiling in answer to Snape’s death-glares.
Suddenly, Snape had conjured his own Fiendfyre and it was licking at the binding of the book. Ashen flakes of paper swirled like snow around the inside of the tent. Sirius and Lily looked on, mesmerized by the destruction. Finally, the flames were gone.
“Oh,” Lily said in alarm. “Oh, well, good! We know how to destroy them. That’s great!”
Sirius understood why she sounded disappointed. “You wanted to destroy it, didn’t you?” he asked gently. He saw Snape’s fists clench out of the corner of his eye. If he even thought about punching him again… Sirius would make sure it was the last thing old Snivelly ever did.
“No,” Lily said quickly. “It doesn’t matter who does it, right?”
Sirius gave her a comforting pat on the shoulder. “You can get the next one. I promise.”
She smiled and thanked him—she didn’t seem to notice the way Snape was glowering at Sirius.
A/N: I cranked out this chapter with relative ease (because Sirius is the BEST) and I especially had fun writing his little monologue at the beginning. I feel like Sirius might have some slightly sadistic qualities… So, Rate and Review please! Next chapter will be some Snape and some Lily. We haven’t heard from her in a while. –Jenni