Chapter 1 : Journey to Azkaban
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I would like to dedicate this whole story to two people.
To Britannia, whose sense of humour is always a welcome addition to my day! Thank you my dear!
To Llewellyn, without whom I would never have continued beyond Veil. To you I say thank you from the bottom of my heart...and now you can read this at long last!
I hold no rights to any of the characters created by the wonderful JK Rowling or her publishers. Arella Ravenclaw is, however, all mine!
I stand like a statue at the cold water’s edge. listening to the lapping sound of the waves rhythmically moving their way ever closer to my bound and tied feet and as I do so I wish myself far away from the hell I now stand to face. I have no clear vision; a Blinding charm enforced upon me to ensure I cannot escape, and so I stand exposed to the cruel elements with no able body to save me and no senses to guide me to better pastures. In my darkness I picture the scene of a midnight-blue sky laden with a thousand bright stars and a shimmering, faithful moon, just as I remember from better nights of my past in my happier ventures of youth. I breathe in the cool air as I try to picture the scenes from those times, but I cannot. The burden of the past is too much for me to bear now.
I try to recall the full moons I had witnessed and how the moon beams had danced upon the ripples of the lake, entrancing me as I lapped at the water on warm summers nights. But this is no summers night , and the water is nowhere near as inviting as it was then. Deep down in my very soul I yearn to smile at those memories, but one of the voices from behind me returns my dreams to the harsh reality of my life as it is now, and I fear I have lost those times forever. The cold, misty air makes me shiver to my very core and beside me I can feel the imposing presence of two men, one either side of me: Aurors. And then I hear the two familiar voices behind me, talking to one another as if I cannot hear a sound. They are mistaken about me in more ways than they can possibly imagine.
I may not be able to see, but my hearing is as acute as ever and my throat tenses at their hushed words. One has a deep, commanding voice, edgy and constantly guarded, and the other still has the sweetest tones that I know so well in her tranquil voice. But tonight there is no laughter from her, only tension and stilted, emotional words of regret; her comprehension at the past few days events mirrors mine. She cannot understand where we all went so wrong.
I could listen to her all day long, and her laughter would normally induce me to follow her in some frivolous attempt at a joke or two, but not now. Now all I can hear in her words to him is reluctance and pleading. She begs for mercy on my behalf while the Fates edge me ever closer to my place in my own private, personal hell. But they do not realise I am already there: I have already witnessed hell and I do not care to return there though their demise is implanted on my memory for ever and their child’s frantic searching cries will haunt me like no malevolent spirit ever could. I hear their conversation and I hear the heavy pain within her words.
“You know he’s got to, girl. S’no good tryin’ to argue with Crouch or Fudge or any of ‘em. You’ll ‘ave to find your own way…if you think it’s true.”
“I do, Moody, I do! He would never have sold them to Voldemort. I know him! Merlin, I used to live with him, and he would die rather than go to Voldemort. He hasn’t changed so much from back then, and it was he that persuaded me to join the Aurors, for Merlin’s sake.”
“But he went back to ‘em, didn’t he? You’ll ‘ave to ‘ave good proof, and you won’t get any help 'ere. They all think it’s 'im and it’ll rock the boat if you go shouting your mouth off. They’ll want to chuck you out if you don’t take care, or put you in with him too. You need to think ‘bout what you’re doing. Keep your cool: you can’t save 'im if you don’t. For now you just keep your head down and do your job, right?”
I hear footsteps coming towards me, and my guards hold my arms to guide me as they help me into the boat to begin my journey into the abyss. She sits behind me and she places her hand on my shoulder, squeezing her fingers into my aching flesh to let me know she is still with me, as always. I long to reach out to her; to pull her with me and lunge overboard into that cruel sea to take a chance on our lives like we had done so many times before, but it would be selfish and unkind, and my head overrules my heart. I listen to my own reasoning for, perhaps, the first time in my sorry little life. I am too tired to fight now.
Every crash of every wave eats away at my very soul and as we approach the shore I feel the cold mist swirl its way around my body in a blanket of despair. I have arrived, but they will not greet me though I am a wanted and expected guest. The lonely walk to my prison cell is to be one of the longest of my life, and still I feel her near me; her apprehension and fear just as tangible as my own. I walk the walk of a condemned man like the consummate professional I have become since that fateful night that I lost my dearest friends.
“Just a bit to your right, that’s it. Now, there’s a bench behind you to sit on, so be careful. Sit still Sirius while I take off these binds and the Blinding spell. It’ll take a while for your sight to return to normal, but it will return, I promise.”
I reach out blindly for my captor’s hands and grasp them into mine in fear and frustration. The damp aroma of my new, unwelcoming surroundings fuse together with her familiar, floral perfume to create a curious tempting odour and I open my mouth to taste and breathe her air, for I know she cannot remain with me for much longer, and I must remember this moment for I know not when I will see her again. She is already at risk for being here with me at all. My throat is so dry and weak from shouting and the subsequent tension that rises now in my darkest of days prevents me from saying all I need to say. As I hold her hands in mine I can feel her emotion rising within her body; can sense her conflict between friendship and duty and I caress her fingers and slowly stroke her upturned wrists, feeling her quickening, panicked pulse beating against the very tips of my fingers. Her blurred image trembles before me and though she shares the responsibility of my incarceration; though she is the one who condemns my future to who knows what ends, I feel the salt water welling in her, slowly trickling down her burning cheeks, and as it drops on to my hand I reach out to wipe away her river of tears, caressing her cheeks. She kisses my outstretched hand and holds it to her mouth, the heat of her breath arousing within me my own bitter tears of regret. But I have nothing to regret: I did nothing wrong. I speak to her for the first time, breaking our enforced heavy silence.
“I know you tried, my darling. I know you have done everything you could have to prevent me from sitting here now. It is not your fault. Do not blame yourself.”
She kisses my fingers, pressing her soft, warm flesh against the bitter cold of mine to show her affection and support.
“I believe in you, Sirius. I want you to know that I believe you and I love you like I always have and I will do everything I can to prove your innocence. You’ve always been there for me…like a brother.”
My sight is returning, and I can make out the silhouette of the witch who had been so much a part of my formative years, and now she is nearly all I had left in the world. My eyes feast on her pain and anguish and, as if realising, she turns her head towards the door to hide her eyes, or is it that the exit, and what it holds, is what she fears the most: the uncertainty of the future. With a single finger placed delicately underneath her jaw, I turn her face back to mine and witness those deep, black eyes glitter in a sea of tears just like the reflection of the stars on a moonlit, frosty night. She doesn’t have to speak to me; her eyes speak a million words and I read her emotions like an open book, and they panic me.
“When you go I want you to find him, and prove me right, whatever it takes. Whatever you have to do, I just want them all to know the truth. It wasn’t me, I promise you; no I beg you. It wasn’t me, and you have to understand, and make them all understand, or I swear I will never cease to haunt your dreams. I will never let you be at peace.”
She turns her face towards the old, wooden door again and whispers, “Don’t talk so, Sirius.”
“Why? What are the chances of my survival here? When you are gone I am lost forever. I feel them already, playing with my emotions and feeding on my soul. They taunt my memories. Don’t tell me you don’t feel them too; don’t try and ignore what is in front of you, or what you can feel deep within you. It is so cold here…so cold.”
When she moves to face me again I see her young, innocent looking eyes stare into my resigned, tired ones and search for a glimmer of hope within me, but we both know there is none. I stand to hold her close but the weakness from the previous days events grab hold of my body and I lurch forward, but she catches me from my fall, holding me in her arms. As she holds me upright I press my ear against her breast and hear her beating heart. She nuzzles her face down into my hair, and holds me as if I were a distraught child, lost and alone in an unfamiliar world. I wrap my arms around her, holding her close and as tight as I can, never wanting to release her from my grasp. She is my last hope and I cannot let her go from here for if she does I will have nothing but my own company to console me and my heart will break into a thousand tiny pieces. My worst fear is realised.
“Time to go now, girl. Say your goodbyes and make it quick. The weather’s turning bad and we need to get you out of here before Fudge finds out.”
We break from our embrace to face each other and I bend down to kiss her forehead, though I already struggle to contain my thoughts and feelings as the Dementors edge ever closer to feed on my very being. It takes all my strength to speak.
“You have to go. Just do as I ask, and remember me. Promise me you’ll remember me, Arella.”
“I will. I promise.”
As I heard the door click shut I hear her sobs as she fights her way out of my life, and I return to sit in the damp, unwelcoming corner of my new abode, holding my knees up against my chin, and shut my swollen eyes waiting for madness to claim me. And, as I edge further to the outer edges of my sanity, I remember my past and theirs. I remember better days gone by and happier times; sunny afternoons and lazy days of summers gone. I remember laughter, tears, weddings and her smile. I remember the Marauders, Lily, Snape, my family and that which had gone before.
But I dream of her. I dream of Arella, and where the journey began.
I hope you like the introduction to my new story. This is linked with Veil, but it isn't necessary to have read Veil to understand. The first chapter was just to feel his emotions-the next ones are the back history of how he got there from Sirius' POV...and a little less angsty!! BJ