Recipient: Every single writer, artist and pinch-hitter of the community
Title: The Ghosts of Sirius’ Past
Word count: 3,238
Pairings or Main Characters: Sirius, Remus, Harry. No pairings
Warnings: it’s somewhat fluffy
Summary: As Sirius walks home after “that incident”, he ponders about his life and hopes that there is still something left to live for as he walks through the door at Grimmauld Place....
Author/Artist's Notes: This is for all the writers, artists and pinch-hitters who have contributed something to this fic fest. All of you have created and all who participated should have received a gift but this is a special gift. I looked at every request to see if I could write a fic that everyone could love. Everyone didn’t agree on a pairing so I decided to do a gen fic focusing on Sirius that reflected what this fest was all about- bring Sirius back from the dead and not listening to what Miss Rowling says (no offence, Miss Rowling).
This was actually the ending to a HP/POTC crossover fic in which Sirius comes back from the world of POTC via the Veil/Davy Jones’ heart and he was supposed to walk down the street and meet Remus and Harry and have the bitching fight with his mum whilst wearing the pirate gear. However, the idea was scrapped for I couldn’t think of a good enough “middle” for the fic” so after creating this fest, I decided to come back to this, delete the pirate gear and expand it so it focuses in on what Sirius is thinking.
A special thanks to my beta reader.
Here’s a task for the David Thewlis fans. There’s a line in this that I took from a DT film because I thought it was such a good line. I dare you to find out and if you can find it, you get a virtual cookie LOL
Sirius watched as a jet of red light escaped from Bellatrix’s wand. Feeling confident, he ducked and it missed him by an inch. He laughed at her in his usual cocky manner.
“Come on, you can do better than that!” he taunted.
Suddenly, he felt something hit him hard on the chest. The pain was so intense that he felt the breath being ripped from him and his eyes literally widened in shock. He suddenly felt as if he was flying backwards across the room into unknown darkness.
The last thing he heard before everything went black was Harry. Amongst the strange and haunting whispering around him, he could hear his godson’s voice.
“SIRIUS” Harry yelled. “Sirius!”
As I fell through the Veil, all I could hear was Harry calling out my name. A lot of people have done that--teachers about to give me another detention, my mother screaming it out before simply referring to me as ‘blood traitor’, all my sexual conquests yelling it at the moment of climax--the list is endless.
But never before have I heard my name called with such anguish. In the dark world beyond the Veil, Harry’s cry rang so loudly in my head that it overpowered the eerie whispers around me. The only thing worse was seeing Harry reaching out for me before Remus grabbed hold of him. In that black void, the vivid imagery would not leave at all.
And then suddenly, after what seemed to be an eternity, I felt cold, hard floor. I turned around but the room was dimly lit. When I looked behind me, I could see the dreaded curtains, hear the voices whispering beyond it. I realised then where I was--I was back.
How? To be honest, I don’t know. That’s the funny thing about magic. You can spend your whole life studying about life, magic or whatever but no matter how many books you read, there are some things in this world that you never ever understand. The Veil is one of those things--no-one really knows how it got there and what its purpose is. Well, someone must do, I guess. The question is who?
Anyway, through the dimness, I made my way out of the Department of Mysteries and eventually out of the Ministry. As I walked into the night, the cold air felt refreshing on me. I wandered down the dark streets, trying to keep a low profile--after all, I was still a wanted killer.
What disturbed me was the silence. It was like a ghost town. I couldn’t help wondering on how long I’d been gone. Was the War over or were people just too scared to venture outside their houses? Or worse, had Voldemort destroyed everything? I dreaded to think.
As I wandered back to Grimmauld Place, my mind did the same. I started to think about my younger brother, Regulus. Not many people would believe me, but Regulus and I had a close friendship when we were children--we did everything together. I helped him like big brothers do and I would have done anything for him. In return, he adored and looked up to me, like little brothers do.
We were brought up as those destined to be Slytherins at Hogwarts. After all, we Blacks were probably the biggest supporters for pure-bloods and Voldemort--when we were younger, we were practically treated like royalty by other pure-blood supporters. Our parents were so proud that we were going to carry on the Black tradition. I was naïve at the time and took in all their bigoted teachings, but deep down, I had my doubts. Of course, I was a kid back then--what did I know?
Everything became clear to me, though, when it was my time to be sorted at Hogwarts. As soon as the Sorting Hat was placed on my head, it spoke one word--Gryffindor. There was no hesitation in its voice, and there was a chorus of gasps from the teachers behind me. I mean, the Black family was always placed in Slytherin, but who could argue with the Hat? It was always right.
Despite that, my presence was greeted with raised eyebrows from my fellow Gryffindors. However, very quickly, they started to accept me. It all started when James Potter began getting acquainted with me and pretty soon, we were inseparable. He was sitting next to me when I had received a Howler from my mother several days after being Sorted and he has been there to help me keep my cool. All eyes had been on me that morning and even after the Howler had disintegrated, people started whispering whilst taking glances at me. It didn’t matter though--I found myself among my equals and all the doubts I had been hiding for so long could finally come out. The Marauders were created soon after that and we had so much fun playing pranks and causing mischief that deep down, I didn’t care that I had become the Black sheep.
What I dreaded, though, were the visits home. My mother and father would screech at me and Kreacher would taunt me constantly. As for Regulus, he ignored me completely. It was as if our fun in the past has never happened in the first place. When he did talk to me, there was bitterness in his voice. I knew why--my parents were worried that he would be sorted into Gryffindor as well and so made his life a misery, although it was minute compared to the misery they inflicted on me.
Then he was sorted into Slytherin--oh, things got a lot worse after that. He was treated as the golden boy and I became even more isolated from my family. But like I said, I didn’t care. The Mauraders were my friends, although I couldn’t see Wormtail as a brother like with James and Remus. In the summer after I turned sixteen, I packed my stuff, walked out of that place and vowed to never come back. James’ parents took me in like a surrogate son and that summer was the best of my life.
A cold sharp wind blew past me and I tried in vain to keep warm in my threadbare clothing. I could see someone on the other side of the street. On impulse, I quickly moved to the nearest alleyway and huddled in the darkness. I watched the person who continued to walk past, not stopping to take a glance at me. When the stranger was out of sight, I sighed with relief and I never had wanted an anonymous life before in my life. I just wanted things to go to the way they were--before the dark times, before Azkaban.
As I curled up on the cold ground, more memories resurfaced. The last few years before Azkaban were stressing at times due to the war, but there were still happy times--being best man at James and Lily’s wedding as well as always trying to convince Lily that she was still a beautiful goddess when she was ready to bring Harry into the world. And she was. She was such a beautiful woman but as little Harry grew inside her, I couldn’t help but notice that her beauty shone brighter than ever, if that was possible.
When he was born, my life changed forever. Okay, I was still the care-free bachelor who probably changed his partners more than his underwear but when I first held him in my arms mere hours after he was born, I began to think that maybe there was more to life than waking up in the morning with a hangover and another unknown person in your bed.
When James and Lily asked me to be his godfather, I didn’t hesitate at all on the answer. It was an honour. I babysat Harry numerous times--hell, I cancelled dates just for the chance to look after him while James and Lily had a break. I secretly loved the moments when he would wake up for his nightly feed or when he needed his nappy changing, although I’ll admit the latter could have been more pleasurable. In those moments, as he drifted back to sleep in my arms, I would tell him about the fun we were going to have--teaching him the best pranks, spoiling him rotten, taking him for countless rides on my flying motorbike when he was old enough, and possibly driving James and Lily mad in the process. Oh, it was going to be so much fun.
Of course, that all came to an end and it was my fault. I let down my best friends and spent so many years paying the price. When I escaped, I tried hard to help Harry--I just wanted to make it up to him, because if it wasn’t for my naiveté regarding Pettigrew, Harry would not be an orphan.
I looked up from my hiding place and could see a half-moon emerging from the black clouds. Moony. Another person I have let down. Back at Hogwarts, I knew why such a good boy would hang out with a bunch of cheeky monkeys like James, Peter and I, but we knew. Underneath that good boy image laid a very mischievous mind. I swear, when he put his mind to it, he could pull off the best pranks ever. He was a true Marauder at heart--the only difference was that he never got caught, like James and I did.
When I first changed into my Animagi form, I couldn’t believe that I had turned into a dog, which is related to the wolf. After that, I felt a connection to Remus, something that not even James could be a part of or understand.
I decided to get up and continue walking down the streets. The sooner I got back to Grimmauld Place, the better. Oh Merlin, I never thought I would be saying that. As I walked, I couldn’t stop looking up at the half-moon. It was on a full moon that I had let Remus down badly. I don’t really know why I did it--I guess, in one insignificant moment, my hatred of Snape overtook my caring for Remus. He forgave me but it took a hell of a long time.
And how did I repay his kindness and patience with me? By betraying him again. When it came to the issue of there being a traitor amongst the Order, I should have trust Remus. I still can’t believe I fell for Wormtail’s manipulation and actually believe that gentle Moony would do that to us. Okay, he was away for long periods of time and it was getting harder to trust anyone but I should have trusted him. In a way, what I did was worse than the Snape incident.
As I wallowed in self-pity on those streets, I couldn’t help but think that I had let Harry down yet again. I don’t regret risking my life to save him--I would do anything for that lad, but as my last moments before going through the Veil kept replaying in my head, I couldn’t help wondering if maybe I had gone too far. I let my cockiness get in the way and I was laughing when I should have been keeping my guard up on that bitch, Bellatrix.
I could hear Harry screaming my name as I had fallen and every single time it played in my brain, it ripped my heart out. I know that sounds notoriously clichéd, and I thought it was a cliché until that moment. I could feel it hurt where my heart is beating. I can only imagine the look on his face as I went through. All I can remember is seeing the blurred figure of Harry as Remus struggled to hold him back.
All I know is I did that to him. I had tried to help him and only ended up hurting him. What’s worse is that I did exactly the same thing with James and Lily--I had tried to protect them by thinking Pettigrew would have made the better Secret Keeper, and well, I don’t really want to recall what happened after that. The memory haunts my dreams. I don't want it to haunt my every waking moment as well.
I screwed up then, but I’m never going to do that again. I’m not leaving Grimmauld Place again until the War is over or I’m declared an innocent man. I hate that place but at least I’d be alive and be able to help Harry. That is, if there was a War still left to fight and if Harry can forgive me for destroying his life.
Before I knew it, I was outside my old house. For some reason, even though I detested it so much, it was somewhat comforting in being there, as if there was some sort of familiarity in the situation.
I tried the doorknob and found that the door was unlocked. I crept into the house quietly and light immediately hit my eyes--it was as if it was the first time in my life that I had stepped out of the darkness. Suddenly, I could smell the strong aroma of alcohol. It then occurred to me that the Order may not be here anymore. For all I knew, complete strangers were living here.
I walked into the living room and there on the table was a newspaper. Curiously, I picked it up and the words filled the front page: SIRIUS BLACK GIVEN POSTHUMOUS PARDON. After reading the headline five times, I scanned the small article at the bottom of the page.
“Following the incident at the Ministry of Magic last month, the newly-appointed Minister Rufus Scrimgeour has declared Azkaban escapee Sirius Black innocent of murdering innocent Muggles as well as conspiring with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named…”
I couldn’t believe it! After all this time! I suddenly felt light-headed and it’s a good thing there was a chair behind me because I ended up falling backwards. When I came to, I continued to read the article. I was so engrossed that I didn’t know I was crying until I saw a tear fall and stain on the thin paper, making the ink run.
Wiping my eyes with my sleeves, I said softly, “Finally.” I felt the urge to say it again and so I did, as loud as I possibly could whilst leaping up from the chair. “FINALLY!”
“TRAITOR SON! YOU HAVE COME BACK TO HAUNT ME!”
I whirled around and found myself facing that all-too-familiar portrait of my mother. Over the past year, that picture used to piss me off big time but for once, I couldn’t care less.
With a smug smile on my face, I said, “Hello, Mother.”
“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD! WHY DID YOU COME BACK TO TORMENT ME?”
“I always bounce back.” I raised my eyebrows cheekily. “You can’t get rid of me that easily.”
“GET AWAY FROM ME, YOU BASTARD!”
I chuckled and said coyly, “Oh, bastard, am I? Well, you would know all about that, wouldn’t you, Mum?”
“GET OUT! GET OUT!”
“Just what is going on here?”
Remus was standing in the doorway. His tattered dressing gown was open and he was only wearing a pair of sleeping shorts. His hair was ruffled; my mother’s banshee screeching must have woken him up.
I smiled. “Hi, Remus.”
He looked at me with confusion. “Who the hell are you?”
“Charming, Moony. Have I been gone so long that you don’t recognise me?”
Remus’ sleepy eyes widened in shock. “Sirius! It can’t be! You’re dead! I saw you die!”
I shook my head. “No, you saw me go through the Veil. I should have died but something happened--something that I can’t describe. How long has it been?”
“Over a month.”
I lowered my gaze and sighed, “That long, eh? How’s Harry?”
“What do you think, Sirius?” Remus’ tone of voice made me ache all over. “He’s crushed. Why did it take you so long to come back?”
I raised my head. “I couldn’t come back. In fact, I don’t think I was meant to come back. One minute, I was floating in darkness and the next thing, I was back in the Ministry. Good thing that happened, eh? Or not?”
“Of course it’s a good thing!” Remus’ eyes filled up with tears. He flew at me before holding me tight. I could hear him repeatedly murmur, “Missed you so much.”
I smiled and returned his gesture. “I missed you so much, too.”
We didn’t say anything more as we held onto each other as tightly as the time back in the Shrieking Shack. I rested my head on his shoulder and breathed in the moment, feeling the tears fall down my face again. He was my first human contact after I had escaped from Azkaban and now he was my first after coming back from the Veil--it seemed somewhat fitting. And he was still my brother. That’s all that mattered.
I looked up and saw Harry in the doorway, looking just as bewildered as Remus had. I wanted to smile at him but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I mean, I had caused him so much pain in his life--could he ever forgive me?
I said simply, “Hi, Harry.”
“Is this some kind of sick joke, Remus?”
I laughed, “Oh, come on. Remus has just woken up by the Queen of Banshees over there. He is not up for joking and neither am I. Trust me, this is no joke.”
Remus pulled away from me and the pair of us stared at Harry just like he did to us. There was a silence in the air that quickly became awkward. Probably for the first time in my life, I couldn’t think of anything to say. What could I possibly say anyway?
Harry was the first to speak. “How?”
“I don’t know,“ I said truthfully. “There’s just some thing things in this world that not even magic understands.” After another awful pause, I said, “Sorry, Harry. I’m so sorry.”
I think that did it for him, for I saw tears fall down his cheek. I reached out my arm and he came to me, his fists curling in the fabric of my clothes. I wrapped my arm around him, trying my hardest to stop crying. Everything just seemed to be rushing past me--it just seemed only a few minutes ago that I escaped from the dark oblivion. Now, not only had I been declared innocent but I had been accepted back in the fold by the two most important people in my life. Nobody else mattered, not even the Order meant as much to me as my godson or the man I saw as my brother did.
Something in the back of my mind was calling to that this could fall apart in the morning. Harry and Remus could become distant, maybe not forgiving me for what I did. Also, my pardon could become nothing once it got around that I was alive. But as Harry, Remus and I held onto each other, I kept that pessimistic voice in the back of my head where it belonged--that could wait. After all, tomorrow is another day, right?