Chapter 1 : Vengeance
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Slowly, but with unmistakable determination and purpose, he rose from the ash-coated floor. He mashed his hands painfully into his eyes, casting away the tears that were left from his breakdown not ten minutes ago. Tears were weak. Tears showed sadness, and desperation, and he had none of that now. All he knew was that he had to do it for them. He needed to be strong, and powerful, and merciless.
He needed revenge.
Taking a deep, shuddering breath, he strode from the ruined cottage, not risking a look back at the shell of his lifeless brother. More moisture rose in his eyes, and he crushed it out. He had to be able to think clearly, and seeing the body of James Potter, sprawled unceremoniously on the floor as though dropped from a great height, had created images haunting his consciousness like poltergeists. Your fault, they said. It’s your fault he’s gone.
A cry echoed from the far corner of the house, and it ripped through to his core. He couldn’t breathe for the sound of pure anguish rocking the tiny boy’s body in the nursery upstairs.
But it couldn’t be. Harry was... dead. He had to be.
Nevertheless, stranger or not, he couldn’t leave the child in so much obvious pain. He sprinted back into the house, the pained cries of the child slicing his previous determination from his mind like a knife. He located the source of the noise, and froze dead in the doorway.
It was Harry. Alive. But how?
Just then, Harry let out another ear-splitting sob, and that snapped Sirius out of his wondering. James and Lily were – he had to choke back more tears - gone now. It was up to him to make sure Harry never forgot them. He ran over to the small cot, jumping rubble and stopped when he saw what was behind it. Lily’s body, slumped against the wardrobe. But it wasn’t as if she had fallen there. She was sat upright, her hair spread neatly across her shoulders and her hands folded in her lap. Sirius shook his head; there were more pressing matters to deal with now, and he would think about that later. Where Sirius had crouched on the carpet, he felt something under his hand. He picked it up. It was long, black and thin: a hair. Quickly fluttering his fingers so it fell to the ground (it was rather greasy to the touch), he turned to Harry. One small trail of sticky red had worked its way down Harry’s face and was trickling onto his t-shirt. Sirius quickly checked Harry over for its source, and his fingers encountered a small gash on his forehead. It was shaped like – like a bolt of lightning.
Sirius knew it couldn’t have been a coincidence. No random cut would be so symmetrical, so perfectly angular. However, he cleaned the blood from his godson’s face and picked him up, beginning to walk out of the building. It wasn’t safe here anymore, especially not for Harry. He knew that something peculiar had happened; Voldemort wouldn’t leave Harry alive unless something very powerful stopped him.
“Shh, Harry. It’s okay. Calm down.” Sirius understood all too well his words were a lie, but what else could he say to the orphaned boy? That he had just lost both his parents and it was all the fault of-
Sirius had to stop himself. He wouldn’t allow himself to think that bastard’s name until Harry was safe. He wouldn’t allow anything to distract him and allow for Harry to be hurt as well.
By this time they had reached the end of the garden gate, and Sirius stepped hesitantly into the empty road outside, his free hand holding his wand in case of ambush. He spotted his motorbike where he had left it a few metres down the road, but something else caught his eye before he could make towards it.
“Black? Is that yeh?”
Hagrid was loping down the middle of the road, and although Sirius tried to explain the situation to his company, the enormous figure had attention only for the pile of rubble in front of him, still smoking and so ruined it could no longer be called a house.
“How... What... James and Lily, Sirius! They can’t be... be...” Hagrid broke down, sobbing so hard Sirius could have sworn he felt the ground quake as he shuddered. Harry started to cry again at the noise, squirming and pummelling his tiny fists into Sirius’ jacket. The trembling figure on the ground silenced at the nose of the wiling and Sirius’ comforting shushing and cooing. His head snapped up, and he rose from the floor.
“Harry... Oh, Harry! Let me hold him, Sirius. Please?” Sirius passed the now-calm toddler to Hagrid, the tiny form looking as small as a thimble in his oversized hands. The face of the man looked so contented yet so grief-ridden, and Sirius knew that he was not alone in his destroying turmoil – although no matter how deep in mourning the rest of the Order were, their emotions were of no comparison to Sirius’ inner anguish. It was simply not possible.
“I ‘ave ter take him, Sirius. Dumbledore’s orders. I’m so sorry.”
Sirius blinked in shock. Harry was the last living trace of his brother and the woman he loved; there was no way he was going to lose him as well! Anger began to bubble up inside him – he knew Hagrid was only following orders, but nobody could take his godson away from him now.
“No, no, give Harry to me, Hagrid. I’m his godfather. I’ll look after him.”
“I can’t. Dumbledore gave me his orders – Harry’s ter go and live with ‘is aunt and uncle. He’ll be safe there.”
Sirius held his hands out, reaching for the infant. He wanted to be strong, to show Hagrid he would be the best role model for the young boy. Slowly, however, the desperation began to be too much for him to take, and his rational side reasoned that he could always take this up with Dumbledore later. He couldn’t care for the newly orphaned infant in his current state of mind. There were far more pressing matters to be dealt with – he needed to find him before he ran too far away. The cowardly bastard, he cursed inwardly.
“Fine,” he sighed. Hagrid almost gave in at that point. It was the most dejected and sorrowed sound he had ever heard. Sirius gestured vaguely towards the silver motorbike standing on the road. “Take it.” Hagrid know what the bike could do, he’d seen it before – so he swung his enormous leg over it and switched it on. He waved once to Sirius, a gesture of thanks and of mournful understanding, before he accelerated forwards, Harry still in his arms. Then he had gone. Sirius was alone, and it didn’t take long for the resentment and hate to fill his every thought, now he no longer had Harry to calm him. He Apparated away.
It had taken all night for Sirius to find his target, but no matter how many searches turned up negative, the bitterness and contempt never faded in Sirius’ mind. There was only one place he could think of now; the possibility had been quickly dismissed by him at the beginning of the night, but as dawn broke Sirius reached the conclusion that he had to be there. He simply couldn’t think where else he’d be. He pictured the old Muggle street in his head, and vanished with a faint ‘pop’.
Quickly glancing around the near-empty street, it didn’t take long for him to locate the short, squat figure crouching near the end of an alleyway, his hands wringing so hard it looked like he was trying to pull them off. He hadn’t noticed Sirius yet – but that was going to change very soon. Striding up behind the trembling figure, he wrenched his hand into the man’s hair and threw him to the ground, vindictive happiness swelling inside him as he heard the crack of bone on gravel.
“Peter Pettigrew. You bastard.”
Pettigrew looked more terrified than Sirius thought it possible to be, but he did nothing to change that. In fact, he thought, it needs a little reinforcing. He pulled his wand from his pocket and aimed it straight between the traitor’s eyes.
“How could you? How could you? After everything he did for you?”
“Sirius, I -“
“I don’t want to hear it!” Sirius spat. “You betrayed James and Lily to Voldemort, and now they’re dead!” Sirius stopped. He was beginning to cry again, and that was not going to happen. Not in front of this scum.
Sirius began to advance on the quivering figure, ready to strike. This was the moment. He was going to kill Peter Pettigrew. He was going to have revenge. Peter scrabbled from the floor, standing and backing away from the stalking predator that was once his friend. If he didn’t do something, he knew he was going to be killed, so he kept retreating, planning. He was more intelligent than his old friends had ever given him credit for. They’d always pushed him around, though, making him do all their dirty work, never really appreciating him, even after the countless times he’d assisted them with all their silly jokes and banal displays of superiority.
Faintly, he remembered that night; the time when he had finally opened his eyes to the real world. He was just coming out of his favourite pub when two large, faceless men grabbed him and swept him into a nearby alley. They had never revealed their identities, only that they were followers of the Dark Lord. Both men spoke, but of many things - of Potter’s mundane humour, of Black’s sycophantic, puppy-dog loyalty to such a pathetic man, and of how they wondered how it had taken so long for Peter to realise he meant nothing to them – he was merely there to do their bidding. They then told of how valued and respected he would be by the Dark Lord, had he only the courage to commit himself to ‘the greater good’, they had called it. He had tried to resist, but when he’d thought about it later that night, he couldn’t believe how foolish he had been. The very next day, Peter had Apparated to the old house he knew to be a Death Eater stronghold, and had sworn his allegiance to the Dark Lord, receiving the Dark Mark within a week.
A sharp pain shot through his chest as he felt himself fly backwards across the street, out of that very same alley where he had been cornered but one year ago. Sirius’ jinx had brought his mind as sharply down to earth as his body, and as he hastily scrambled from the floor, Sirius, as he continued to stalk his prey, sending hex after hex at the tiny, pathetic man, could see a glint in Pettigrew’s eyes he had never seen before – not in those watery, pale blue spheres. It was the malicious, plotting glint of someone who was about to have victory – a victory caused by implementing as much pain as possible, and caring for none of it. Sirius knew he had to act quickly.
The deep, raging voice broke off at Pettigrew’s next words. They were so pained, so heartfelt, and yet so enraging.
Because not a single one of them was true.
“Lily and James, Sirius! How could you?! They trusted you, and you betrayed them!” Muggles were beginning to file out of their homes, a few obviously wondering whether to intervene. Sirius could speak no words as the pure, undiluted anger took him over, flooding his brain, drowning any shred of rationality that had existed there. He saw the wand move before he heard the incantation, but his natural instincts kicked in nonetheless. Self-preservation was the only thing letting him react fast enough.
Sirius heard the explosion. He saw the bodies, and the crowds of screaming and wailing Muggles, and the cracked water pipes spitting ten-foot-high fountains into the air, of course.
The only thing he really registered, though, was the long, pink tail flicking around the grate of the storm drain, the colour and size almost consistent with that of a worm. The now-kneeling man chuckled grimly as he stared at the blackness of the sewer beyond the drain.
“An eye for an eye, Peter. Don’t forget that. Run all you want, but I will have my revenge.”
So, this was written for LightLeviosa5443’s ‘Harry Potter Soundtrack’ Challenge. I had to write a piece using a particular piece of music from the HP soundtrack, but not in the same scene in which it was originally used. The piece of music I used for this was ‘Showdown’ by Andre Desplat from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. If you want to go and listen to it, I hope you can see some sort of link between the piece and my writing. Instead of trying to write in in the same sort of ‘timing’ as the music (as in it would fit with the mood of the writing if you read and listened to it at the same time) I tried to convey the different moods in the music – the anger at the beginning, a slightly more hopeful and slightly dutiful part in the middle, and the big, tense, dramatic finale at the end.
Do you think I got it right? I personally think I maybe focused too long on the but with Harry, and not long enough on the final part with Pettigrew. Opinions?
Thanks for reading, and please review!
P.S. The lines:
"...give Harry to me, Hagrid. I’m his godfather. I’ll look after him.”
"Lily and James, Sirius! How could you?"
all come from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10: The Marauder's Map by J.K. Rowling (page 154).
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