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Chapter 2 : On the run With Sirius Black
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On The Run With Sirius Black
I wake up under a tree on a rocky beach, my eyes gritty. Wet and shivering, I still feel cold, but warmer than I was. Well, maybe it’s not warmth, but hope. I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like. I still feel grimy and dirty though. I’ll never forget what that feels like after all these years.
I look down and see my paws covered in seaweed and sand.
In the distance I hear a boy shout, “Mom, he’s over here! We have to help him!”
A softer voice answers, nervously, “Jim, we don’t know if he’ll still be…”
He’s much closer now, pleading, “Please mom?”
I hear them pause, and I do some quick thinking. If I can act friendly but needy, I might actually get some food. Even dog food would be better than the stuff they give us in Azkaban.
I see them round the corner; it’s a boy of about 11 and his mom. They come a bit closer, so I put on my best act.
I look up at them, wag my tail once or twice, then rest my head back down as if exhausted from the effort. Which isn’t much of an act.
The mother walks a little closer and then backs away quickly, wrinkling her nose at my smell.
One look at the boy and she sighs audibly, giving in, “James, if that dog steps one paw into the house before you wash him I will ground you for a month!”
The boy shouts and cheers, and gives his mom a hug; my tail starts wagging involuntarily. Food, a bath, and maybe even some love. I never thought I’d be this lucky so soon.
A week passes by quickly, and I know I should go, but it’s tempting to stay. The boy adores me, and I honestly miss hearing the name James. I know it’s not the same friend I had, but it sure is easy to pretend after Azkaban. What really makes me realize my time with this family is drawing to a close is when I hear the mother mention the animal doctor. I remember Lily mentioning Petunia’s kitten going there for shots. Yes, it’s definitely time to go.
Evening falls, and the boy is put to bed. As he says goodnight to me I give him a few extra licks. It’s the most I can do to thank him. After being put in their shed in the backyard, I wait an hour or 2 until all is completely quiet. As much as I know it will be hard for the boy who befriended me, I know I can’t just keep staying here. It’s awkward enough going to the bathroom… and eating the kibble will quickly get old.
The past week was useful; I know, approximately, where I am. I’m in Hull, and I know there’s a wizarding town I used to stay in not far from here, when I was doing missions for the Order.
I follow the coast into the bay and look for the bridge. It takes a while but when I see it, I find a boat shed and finally sleep. The next day should be simple; steal some food, a wand, and then, finally, to Godric’s Hollow. As much as I hate to go, I have to. I have to see that they got properly buried and that they have some flowers. But most of all… to promise to find the rat that betrayed them.
Feeling more than I have in years, I close my eyes try to sleep.
It doesn’t come.
I still can’t believe it took me two days to get here. First, Appleby is much farther past the bridge than I remember. Secondly, finding a wizard and getting his mediocre wand took longer than expected. But, that bit of jumping around and acting like a fool did get him to drop his money.
Godric’s Hollow looks nearly abandoned at night. It’s muggy, and raining hard on the roof of what used to be James’ and Lily’s house. I can still picture how welcoming it was, and can still smell her amazing cooking. It took her such a long time to master it, but as always, she was stubborn. Just thinking about it makes me hungry.
I do have some money now. Since it’s a mixed town the wizard I stole from, unsurprisingly, had both muggle and wizard money.
I take out the wand and point it at my clothes, and clean them the best I can. I try and think back to how to transfigure clothes. It takes a few tries, but I now have a mostly white shirt and black pants. Anything’s better than those stripes. Next I try a few basic metamorphosing enchantments. After about an hour, looking in the broken mirror near the stairs, I decide I look different enough I won’t be caught in a pub because of my stomach. Finally, I put an Impervious charm around myself so I don’t drown outside, and set off to the nearest pub.
After nearly inhaling a burger and chips, I set back outside and walk toward a church. The meal I just had churns in my gut. Maybe that wasn’t a great idea. The rain pours in earnest now, and I can feel the charm wearing off. I give up and transform. I search for their stone, only glancing briefly at names. I need to see them, even if it’s not really them. Finally, after what seems like hours, not feeling the rain anymore, I find them. Suddenly exhausted, I curl up beside them and sleep.
I stay in the graveyard a couple of days; it feels more comforting than where they died. At least they’re in peace here.
Suddenly I realize I still need to see Harry, so a briefly grab a few flowers from a garden nearby with my teeth, old lady yelling as I run away, put them on the grave, hide in the nearest alley and dissapparate.
As soon as I appear in an alley a few blocks from where I know Harry is living, I transform. The less anyone sees me in human form the better. Suddenly, my ears perk up as I hear the wheels of a trolley nearby. It stops. I whirl around, creep around a corner and a light, from what could only be a wand, shines in my eyes.
Not knowing who it is I involuntarily growl and bare my teeth. There’s no way anyone could know I’m here, but I have to be on guard. I will not let them take me back without a fight. I bark and the light goes out as the man trips and falls backward.
Spots appear in front of my eyes as if someone had taken a picture. Blinking madly in the semidarkness I see messy black hair and glasses and my heart feels like it freezes in place. James?
My vision clears, but before I can get a better look, a loud blast rends the air. I turn tail and crouch low in a nearby hedge. A great purple bus obscures the view of the man who looks like James. As a voice explains the workings of the Knight Bus I creep around to another bush to get a better view. I feel a lump grow in my throat, seeing the boy in front of me…the boy who looks just like James, when we were younger. It could be no one other than Harry. My heart pounds in my chest and my tail starts wagging of its own accord.
Before I think of what to do next, the conductor starts to heave his trunk on the bus and Harry climbs on. I pause and run through the options quickly. I could run up and on the bus like a playful mutt and follow him, but then I’d probably get kicked off. I did bark at him. Guilt churned in my stomach. I never wanted to scare him.
The doors close and the bus disappears. I miss my chance.
A few pops announce the presence of Wizards and Witches apparating and I crouch lower in my hiding spot, listening carefully.
A deep voice speaks first, “Where is he? The Trace said he was right here just a minute ago.”
A woman sighs in exasperation, “We’ll deal with that later, right now we have to find this muggle who he supposedly inflated. You go to his Aunt and Uncle’s house, I’ll look around the neighborhood.”
The first voice whispers back, “Just be careful, Sirius Black could be anywhere and he’s looking for Harry. Try and blend in.”
It won’t be safe to try disapparating again tonight, so I curl in a ball and stay under the hedge. Harry’s surprised face, staring at him through the darkness… It was like seeing James again. With that thought, I fall into a sound sleep for the first time in years.
The Hogwarts escape with Sirius Black
I look out the window from Flitwicks' office at the slowly setting sun and the bright red and gold sky waiting for the familiar cold to arrive. I can’t help but think that if someone told me my life would be like this when I was in school, I would have said they should find a room at St. Mungos. Even with the eminent arrival of the Dementors, I'm blown away that I'm still alive right now. I thought Harry and I were goners by the lake. Thank Merlin he knows that I'm innocent. If I died right now, it’d be fine, just knowing that. Not that I want to. Especially when I have Harry to live for again. He actually WANTS to come live with me. That’s incredible when, not 5 hours ago, he believed I betrayed his parents. I have to find a way to make it happen.
The sun sinks just below the Forbidden Forest creating a shadow in the room and I remember where I am. Well, I would make it happen if I had the chance. I slink into a chair with my greasy head in my hands, hope draining from the room without any help from the Dementors.
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
I look up from behind my hands, and my jaw drops to the floor. Somehow, some way, Harry and his friend are waiving at me through the window. I run over as she unlocks it. Next thing I know, since I can't get a word in edgewise, I'm flying away on the back of a Hippogriff.
I look down at the scene below me, and see a dog near Hagrid’s hut barking up at us. Holy Merlin, that can't be the dog I tried to give Harry for Christmas, is it? I still remember Lily's face. Priceless. James loved the idea, but the little pup mostly stayed with me, but we visited as often as we could.
But I remember that bark. It was the same one I heard when I left him outside Hogwarts with a note on his collar. It was just before I found out about James and Lily, but I knew something was wrong. I took off his license, so no one could trace him to me, and left him to Hagrid who was the best with animals. My life was too unpredictable to have a pup the size of a pony with me. I wonder what Hagrid named him.
I try to keep my mind on the task of getting as far away from here as possible, but I keep thinking about how bloody damn close I was to having my name cleared. Little rat creep. Between berating the traitor and myself for letting him get away, and about a million other things, I decide to go to a Mediterranean island. Not too far away, but far enough. Far enough away so that I can think through all that happened in the last day or so. I'm not used to so many things happening. Maybe going to a little island somewhere will help me focus on the positive parts. Act more like I used to at school; carefree and … well... yeah, that was it.
The Island of Palma Spain with Sirius Black
Buckbeak and I stop whenever he feels he needs to rest. Who am I to argue with the Hippogriff helping me escape? I’m fine with whatever he needs because it's been too long since I've enjoyed the fresh air. On the run this past year, I never had the time. I always felt like I was being followed. Now, as we find a nice cluster of trees to hide behind, but still near the water, I collapse, exhausted, on a blanket I snagged from a local shop, and fall asleep.
I wake up the next morning by getting flipped into the sand.
An angry woman yells, “That will teach you to steal from my shop!”
My head throbs in pain and I squint in the morning sun at her, “I don't know what you're talking...”
She crosses her arms over her chest, “Don't lie! I followed you over here, and saw you turn from a dog, to the low life you are now. I was going to give you a piece of my mind then, but you keeled over. What, are you on the run or something?”
I honestly have no idea what to say. One minute I’m dead asleep, the next I’m getting yelled at by an absolutely gorgeous woman with tan skin and brown hair and eyes.
I swallow hard and ask the first question that occurs to me, “Uhh... aren't you wondering how I turned from a dog to a man?”
She glares at me, “Of course not! I'm a witch you arse! But that's none of your business. What IS your business is giving me back my blanket or working for it yourself!”
I blink, still acclimating to being awake, “Um, well, then I'll work for it. But wait, you're a witch?” Things are getting weirder by the minute. “Then, don't you know who I am?”
She shakes her head, “All I know is that you stole something from me. Work starts at 12 pm. don’t be late. And you'll need to do something about your clothes.”
I look down at myself and see dirt and grime, I see what she means, “I don't have any others.”
The woman rolls her light chocolate colored eyes, “Fine, come back to my house and I'll give you some of my brothers. You'll work for those too. We'll talk about who exactly you are after you shower and change.”
Tired of staring up at her I stand and look her square in the face. I may not want to draw attention to myself, but it’s too late for that now and I don’t want her to think she can just boss me around completely, “What about who you are exactly? And, aren't you concerned about letting a total stranger into your house?
Not intimidated at all she turns on her heel and walks away saying, “Fine, we'll go over who I am too... That's fair enough, but you worry about you, I'll worry about me.”
Being the male I am, and considering I don't have the luxury to appreciate what I see most of the time, I watch her ass as she walks away until a large fern bush hides her from view. I pinch myself to see if I’m still dreaming.
Ow! Damn that hurts... okaaay, not dreaming.
I look up at Buckbeak, and he looks down at me as if he were saying, ‘It's your problem, not mine.’
I scowl at him and say, “Well thanks, you're a big help.”
It’s later in the day when the woman comes back. When she notices Buckbeak she bows, takes out her wand, and puts a Disallusion charm on him as if it was the most normal, everyday chore to do.
Apparently, I watch her bow (especially her ass) just a bit too long because she glares at me, darkly, and says, “If you ever want children in the future you'll stop looking at me like that.”
I hold up my hands in surrender and she continues, “I'll hide your Hippogriff at my place. The house and the backyard are Undetectable, and Unplottable, so he'll be fine.
She turns away from me and scratches him under his beak, “He looks like he could use the rest, don't you”, she finishes in a baby voice.
She immediately gets in his good books.
I still feel like I’m in a weird dream. I hardly remember getting to her house, mainly because I was watching her arse the whole way there. Very carefully, of course…she didn’t see me, this time. When we get there she, more or less, shoves into a room and tells me to change and shower.
Shower, I hardly remember what it is. I don’t call pouring water over my head a shower, so it's been years. I get out and change. The clothes don't really fit, but when I finish, I find her downstairs. She takes one look at me and with a flick of her wand, the clothes fit.
Well I'll be damned.
She gestures to a chair in the living room, not so subtly telling me to sit, “Now, why is a man like you, all the way down here, with an English accent?”
I raise my eyebrows in surprise, “I could ask you a similar question. But sure. Um, well, since you'll probably figure it out anyway, I'll just tell you flat out.” I pause, this could be a really bad idea. “I'm Sirius Black.”
I realize that might not be the best way to go about it.
She just stares at me somewhat blankly, “Is that supposed to mean something?”
Not even daring to believe my luck, I prod the issue a little further, “Well it would if you had been in England at all the past 12 years or earlier.”
Deadpan, she says, “I wasn't.”
I must be suicidal, because I ask, “Why?”
She sighs, “I guess this means it's my turn. My name is Cora McKinnon.”
A jolt of unpleasant familiarity drops into my stomach, “McKinnon? Like Marley...”
Cora stands up and paces the room, as if she doesn’t realize she’s doing it, “Yes, like the golden girl of Gryffindor. Only we were distant cousins. We hardly knew each other, and I was in Slytherin.”
Her frown deepens. She stops abruptly in front of me and her dark hair swings in front of her face; she impatiently tucks it behind her ear, “Me and my family moved down here when I was in 3rd year and the Dark Lord tried to recruit my parents. My mum home schooled me after that. Luckily he was too busy to try and have us followed. We don't want to have much more to do with the magic community until its safe.”
She pauses and turns away from me, “We did hear what happened to the rest of our family. My parents never wanted to take a chance going back.”
Finally, Cora sits down in the chair across from me, “So, why is the name Sirius Black supposed to mean something?”
I take my time thinking about the best way to tell her. It almost seems as if she’s been dying to tell someone her story after all these years; I, on the other hand, have no urge to relive everything I’ve been through.
Knowing she’s not going to let me sit silently for long, I take the chance I don’t normally have and tell the truth, “Well, since you don't want anything to do with the magic community, I might as well tell you everything,” I watch her eyes widen with surprise, but she stays quiet.
I smirk slightly, “Well, everything you need to know. I’m not going to tell you my sob story.”
Her eyes twinkle back, almost mocking me, “Good, I don’t want to clean up after you too.”
Leaning forward, I try and level with her seriously, “This isn’t normal for me but, I can’t help but want to prove to you, to someone, I'm not the dirty lowlife you think I am... at least not the kind you’re thinking of.”
Shaking her head, she says, “You can’t make anything simple can you? This sounds like it's going to take a very long time; more than we have if we want to get you to work on time. And we will,” she finishes with an air of menace.
I involuntarily shiver, making me dumbfounded. What the bloody hell? Why was I, Sirius Black, getting all scared of a woman?
Oh, wait, no, that wasn't fear. That was lust.
It’s been so long I almost forgot what that was like.
We stand, and I decide to just ask what I’ve been wondering since we met, “I just have one question,” I say as we leave, covering the awkward silence, “Why do you want to know anything about me? Why didn't you just take your blanket, and call the cops or something?”
She steps outside and I follow her onto the porch as she locks her door, “I have a few reasons. One, if you're an animagus you can easily get away, even if I did turn you in. Second, I'm not as entirely sold on never wanting contact with anyone else magic, like my parents. The Dark Lord is out of power for now, but he could come back, and then that could take a bloody long time.”
She turns around, walks down the steps and turns towards a small but busy town. I stay behind her to enjoy the view while I can.
Not noticing my tactic, she continues, “Lastly, you have to have a pretty good reason to be an animagus. You’re out here in what looks like it could've been prison clothes for Merlin’s sake.”
She glances behind her and smiles mischievously, “Curiosity may have killed the cat, but they have nine lives.”
I don’t know why my luck is changing since Harry saved me at Hogwarts, but I certainly hope it doesn’t stop now. Not only did I land on a bright and colorful island, the first person I come in contact with is a witch who could care less about my past and is absolutely stunning. Granted, I was in Azkaban for 12 years and on the run since then, but I remember dating and though they were all pretty, they didn’t look like Cora.
As we walk towards town I realize how different her house is compared to the others. Hers is a wooden, Tudor style house while the others are very Spanish Stucco, white or pastel colored.
She glances back to me and sees the confusion on my face. Looking around, laughing, she says, “I almost forgot. When I got old enough and learned Transfiguration and enchantments, I made my home look like what I miss in England. When a muggle looks at it they see something like they always do. When I see it, it looks like home.”
So, when we got to the shop, we tell her dad that I’m interested in a job and am very willing to learn. No mention of the fact I’m a wizard or apparently “he’ll freak,” as Cora says. I’m shown the ropes, and to say, “it’s harder than I thought” is an understatement. Being in Azkaban for 12 years didn't help my job experience level, that's for sure. How odd this feels, going from convicted felon on the run, to selling beautiful blankets to tourists as a job. It’s only the end of June, not quite the height of tourist season (she says), but there are plenty of people to sell to. At the end of the day, all I want to do is keel over and sleep.
When we get back to her place I immediately sit in an oversized armchair and close my eyes. They flew open when she threw a pillow at me, “Oh no you don't. I told you my story now you get to tell me yours.”
So I do. I go through everything from my years of school. The wrongs done to me, my friends, Harry. Everything. All of it seems to just spill out like a volcano waiting to explode. The fact she has no idea, doesn’t have a side to start on, to try and convince her to mine, is very soothing. I can be me when I haven’t been able to in more than a decade. She gets up once to get me some water when my throat’s getting dry. She sits back down and looks as though she can listen longer.
I raise my eyebrow, “That good of a story huh?”
She shakes her head in, what looks like, bewilderment, “It's incredible. I never would have guessed. The passion you talk about your friends with who passed away, every word. It's hard to believe. No wonder you were so exhausted all day. Not that I'm going to let up on the work. But you can have at least tomorrow off, then work Thursday and Friday. My parents and brother work the weekend.”
“Fair enough.” I smile.
By the time Friday night comes around I’m dog tired again. Cora won’t have it though. I know she goes out with friends after work, but I never see when she makes time for sleep.
She drags me out to a local bar somewhere, “You’re lucky I'm going easy on you. I usually go to a club and dance all night. You'd probably dance on my feet though with how tired you look” she says, smirking at me from behind a large alcoholic tea drink she has.
That smirk. I never knew how sexy it could be until I met her. Since I met her she's gotten me thinking of things I never thought I'd think again... If that makes any sense.
I've already had a few drinks; I'm not sure what they are, but they’re having an effect, “You're lucky I'm going easy on you. If I were more awake I might have a few more drinks, take you back to your house, and have my way with you.” Bollocks. Shit. Fuck. Why is it I never censure what I say when I'm drunk. At least there’s one thing that’s stayed the same. To my surprise, instead of making use of her threat from a few days ago like I expected, she blushes, and her eyes meet mine. She looks like she wants that more than anything, right now. I must be more drunk than I thought. There’s no way she’s really thinking that.
She smiles coyly and says, “Well, we'll just have to see what you're like tomorrow night then. Because we're going dancing, you won't have any excuse to be too tired tomorrow night.”
She pays the bartender, gets off the barstool and we leave. I’m still in a slightly drunk stupor that I must have some charm left after all these years. When we get back to her house, I don’t even make it upstairs to my room. I just passed out on the couch.
A/N: I hope you liked the chapter, how do you like Cora? Is Sirius in character? Oh, and I'd love to hear your favorite parts :) Thanks for reading, hopefully I'll have the next chapter up soon!
*3/3/2016 Ok, I added a lot to the beginning of the chapter, but I thought there was a lot I missed. Hope it's not too much.
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