Note to the Professors: Even though English is not my native language, I am fluent in it, so
it shouldn’t matter.
Disclaimer: All characters (humans or creatures) belong to the incomparable J. K.
Rowling. As does the entire wizarding world. I am only borrowing for these two
rolls of parchment.
This story is written from Sirius Black’s POV.
It takes place on the eve of the Quidditch Cup final in Harry’s third
year. Littered throughout would be memories of the past with the Marauders, as
well as some events which took place in Prisoner of Azkaban.
Lost and Found: Rekindling the Emotions Within
The moon hung silently in the night sky,
casting a mild luminance across the Hogwarts grounds. Shadows danced and
flickered. Where he stood, however, was pitch black. Padfoot gazed up at the
thick canopy of leaves and branches of the Forbidden Forest, shielding its
grounds from any light that might penetrate through. It was a cool night, a
refreshing contrast to the hot haziness of daytime. Ears pricked, he pattered
along the muddy tracks and pebbly paths that meandered through the Forest.
The Forbidden Forest was deceptively dynamic.
Padfoot’s heightened senses of hearing and smell picked up traces of its
enormous variety of inhabitants. Twitters, grunts and hoots echoed through the
woods, entwined with paws scurrying through burrows, hooves clopping across
clearings and wings swooping in the air. The melange of scents was highly
intriguing too. But Sirius was immersed in his own thoughts. Oblivious to the
hidden treasures of the Forest, his mind focused on his mission.
Peter Pettigrew was alive.
That scum. There had been a time when the two were
friends. Best friends in fact. Peter was the slow one, perpetually seeking help
from Sirius, James and Remus. Memories shimmered before Sirius. With Peter
forever struggling with classes, James and himself often suggested mixing
armadillo bile into his pumpkin juice before exams as an instant Wit-Sharpening
Potion. This occasionally earned them a reproachful look from Prefect Remus.
Well, little Peter got the better of both himself and James in the end, didn’t
he? Sirius snarled savagely, hackles rising. Death and Azkaban. He was going to
make sure Peter met his end.
The memory petered out as Padfoot drifted back
to the present. He glanced up at the castle, pawing at some soil in
frustration. How do I get a hold of Wormtail? The security round the
school was heightened. No thanks to his impetuosity. In his hot-headedness,
Sirius had brashly entered the castle. Not once, but twice. First giving the
Fat Lady undesirable cosmetic surgery, then followed it up by terrifying the
Weasley boy who screamed so loud Sirius could have sworn that kid used the Sonorus
charm. Filtering through the back of his mind was Remus’ mild voice.
“Has the concept of ‘Engage mind before
speech - or action’ ever occurred to
Remus. The pale, thin boy who was probably born
calm and mild. Yes… werewolf… but 3.45% of him aside….. The anchor and voice of
reason of the foursome, Remus had reined in Sirius’ and James’ more outrageous
escapades. He, of course, was also the reason why Sirius was Padfoot.
Actually, Remus was here,
at Hogwarts. Sirius had noticed him at that last Quidditch match. Trust
Dumbledore to give ole Moony a job. Not the guy’s fault he’s a werewolf.
He wondered though as he wriggled through some bushes.
The Shrieking Shack had stood silent the past few months. Where was the
werewolf on nights of the full moon? The Shack, at nights when Sirius went
there for shelter, remained as the Marauders had left it all those years ago.
Broken furniture, gnashes on the door. There wasn’t so much as a whiff from a
recent living soul.
Does he teach Harry? Sirius will never forget his first
glimpse of the teen. For a split second, he had thought James wasn’t dead after
all. The shock was such that he escaped into a dark alley adjoining Magnolia
Crescent. It took all the self-control he possessed not to morph to human form
and greet his old friend. Only later did the differences register. The scar.
He had seen Harry again. As a
canine spectator at a couple of Quidditch games, a shiver ran down Padfoot’s spine
as he watched his godson streak across the pitch in scarlet robes. With a
chuckle (or what he could muster as a dog), he recalled Lee’s shameless
commentary on incomparable Firebolt qualities during the last match. Harry on his,
Sirius’, present. Padfoot’s breast swelled slightly with pride, nostalgia
washing over him. He flies as well as his father did. James would have been
so proud. Dementors, genuine or impostors, had ended both matches. Sirius
had slunk away swiftly. But not without glimpsing that Patronus.
Prongs. Forget the awe of seeing a small, skinny
thirteen year-old produce a whopping Patronus. Sirius had gasped when he saw
the form it took. A majestic deer, antlers and all. Memories drowned Padfoot
once more. He saw himself and Remus, having a dig at James showing off, with
the adoring Peter in tow, punctuating his simpering with squeals of delight.
“You are so cocky, you’d need those
honking prongs to accommodate your ego!”
James eventually did sober down, though
the prongs remained “honking”. Sirius suspected his crush on a certain Lily
Evans had a lot to do with it. Infatuations can shift a guy’s hormone balance. But
they were dead now.
The foursome that was, the Marauders.
Dissolved, along with blissful teenage innocence.
Morosely Padfoot ambled. Something huddled
within the roots of a gigantic tree caught his eye. A Puffskein? Seems oddly
out of place in the Forest, among the likes of Acromantulas, Centaurs,
Hippogriffs and Thestrals. Sirius recalled buying a Puffskein at the Magical
Menagerie while at Diagon Alley getting books for his final Hogwarts year. It
was for his then two year-old niece.
“Nymphadora!” snorted Padfoot, sniffing at the furry ball. “What
a name! What were Andromeda and Ted thinking?!”
Andromeda, his favourite cousin,
was one of the very few Blacks he liked. Sirius wondered about Nymphadora. She
must be what, 20, 21 now? Graduated. Of age. Adult. Sirius should have been there as she grew up. Teaching
her Quidditch, jokes, pranks.
It finally hit him. Hard. Twelve years. Wasted.
He forgot about his niece, Harry. Forgot about his friends, Peter. An emotional
cascade, blocked out to preserve his sanity in Azkaban, swept over him. The
experiences he never got, the life he was robbed of; the memories he cherished,
the hopes he had. Sensations surged in waves from within. Years of life,
irreplaceable. An anguished howl erupted from his throat and rang through the
night before he was even aware of it. Oh, for all that was lost!
Padfoot stumbled blindly, tumbling into a
shallow ditch. As he got back on all fours, the flat, Bludger-ised face of a
cat was right in his snout.
“Oh, it’s the half-Kneazle,” he
thought, shaking himself. As he followed the cat round the outskirts of the
Forest and school lawn, his thoughts rested on Harry once more. Tomorrow would
be the Quidditch Cup final, he could catch another glimpse of his godson
Little did Sirius know Harry had been gazing
out the window, seen cat and dog gallivanting in the night, and was at that
very moment hoping against hope he hadn’t caught sight of the Grim again.