been told “Of Contraceptives and Snogging” has humourous
disclaimers. Go there. These are the facts: don't own anything in
Time isn't much of an
issue in Azkaban prison. Nothing much, in fact, is an issue in
Azkaban prison, except occasionally food. Often, after an inmate's
been there a while, not even that.
So Sirius didn't know what
time of the day it was when the new prisoner was brought in. He might
not have even noticed another prisoner in the first place if not for
the smell. It was familiar: like soil and mulled mead and a touch of
various wild animals. So familiar, in fact, that the dormant canine
part of his mind dragged up a memory. A man twice as tall as any
other, with a huge beard and a big smile.
Sirius stood abruptly,
shifted, then stood again on two legs. He hurried to the bars of his
cell to peek out. Sure enough, it was Hagrid, only there was no smile
hidden in that wild beard. He could barely even see him, thanks to
the Dementor guards. He didn't know why they insisted on moving in
pairs, as one Dementor was more than enough to deal with any
prisoner. He wished they'd move out of the way.
As if hearing Sirius'
unspoken request, the Dementors moved to allow Sirius to see his old
friend. He was crying, but not the loud, booming sobs he'd heard
occasionally before. These were tears of sorrow and anguish. They
were quiet. It was heartbreaking to see those big black eyes so
Perhaps that's why the
Dementors moved, Sirius wondered bitterly. They wanted his
misery to be more pronounced. But no, they were allowing
Hagrid into his cell. The Dementors didn't push him in. Dementors
They locked Hagrid's cell,
and Sirius thought for a moment, What could Hagrid, of all people,
be in here for?
Still, though he felt
guilty for it, he did feel a bit happy that Hagrid was there. He was
a friend, at least. Or had been, once.
Then the Dementors walked
by his cell, and he forgot about Hagrid, as one always does with
happy memories in Azkaban, leaving him only with the guilt, the
sadness, and the one thought that kept him going: I am innocent.
Sometime later, perhaps
days, perhaps weeks, perhaps even months, Sirius remembered about
Hagrid. The Dementors were elsewhere, excited because one of the
prisoners was dying, and they weren't paying much attention to the
rest of the inmates.
With the return of
Hagrid's face to his memory, Sirius again wondered what Hagrid would
do, could do, to earn such a high punishment.
Maybe he was innocent.
After all, Sirius was innocent of his crime.
But how many times is
that likely to happen? his mind
It happened once. Who's to
say it can't happen again? After
all, this was Hagrid,
for God's sake.
Why couldn't Hagrid
have commited a crime worthy of Azkaban?
it was Hagrid.
Just like it was Peter?
sobbing voice broke him out of his thoughts. Hagrid was crying,
presumedly in his sleep, and muttering about “Norbert”
and his father and Professor Dumbledore. He seemed to think he'd let
them all down.
he told himself, “is why he can't have done it. It's Hagrid.”
With that thought in mind, he leaned against the bars of his cell.
Suddenly, he noticed that he wasn't really leaning on them, but
lit up the darkness of his mind like a candle. Perhaps he could...
no, there wasn't any way. Slipping through the bars was not a
possibility for a man Sirius' size.
for a dog Sirius'
slight pop, Padfoot appeared where Sirius Black had been. Yes, the
bars were just far enough apart for him to squeeze through. After a
moment of wiggling, he set foot in the corridors of Azkaban prison
for the first time in... years, probably.
almost frightening, being in the corridors and out of his cell. The
memory of his incarceration was still fresh in his mind, back when
time had meaning... but he couldn't focus on that now.
bars were easier to slip through than his had been. Appropriate, as
no one wants to to break into prison, he thought. There was Hagrid,
curled into a ball in the corner. He barely fit in the cell at all;
it was the kind of thing Sirius might have found comical once.
he'd suspected, Sirius noticed days' worth of uneaten food sitting by
the cell door. With a whimper, Sirius looked to the sleeping Hagrid,
and back to the food. How to do this?
he heard Hagrid say. He was still asleep, wasn't he? “What're
yeh doin' here? How'd yeh get in?” Apparently not. He turned to
look at Hagrid, who was still curled against the wall, although his
eyes were now open. He sat up, wiping the tears away from his eyes
like a child might. “Yer a Grim, aren't yeh? I'm dyin'?”
Not if you eat, you
stupid man, Sirius wanted to
say. He settled for shaking his head and using his nose to push one
of the plates of food to him. He whimpered and gave Hagrid an
me to eat, huh?”
whether because he was hungry or because he wanted to obey the dog,
Hagrid ate the stale bread and drank the warm water. Then he reached
over to pet Sirius, and Sirius allowed it. “Yeh remind me o'
Fang,” Hagrid said, tears welling up in his eyes again. “Hope
Harry's takin' good care of 'im.”
Sirius wondered. He's that old already?
Sirius noticed that Hagrid's petting had stopped, and he found that
Hagrid had fallen asleep again.
slipped away, back through the bars, and into his own cell. Just in
time, as a Dementor guard glided by, apparently checking to see if
anyone else was dying. After becoming secure in the fact that
everyone was alive, the Dementor returned to its vigil over the dying
stayed human a bit more so he could watch the sun and moon to keep
some track of the time. For the next couple of days, he visited
Hagrid for a moment at a time, making sure he was eating. He wasn't
sure why he did this; when the other inmate finally did die, the
Dementors would return, and he'd probably forget about Hagrid. But
Hagrid had been a friend, and Sirius had a lot to atone for, besides.
inmate, he learned later, had been Barty Crouch's son. Sirius watched
them bury him, noting that they'd probably return soon.
they didn't come for the rest of the day. In fact, Sirius heard
footsteps, something he hadn't heard in the corridors since they'd
brought Hagrid in. But these were too fast to be a prisoner. And
there were too many, as if there was an entire group.
was, in fact. He watched them walk by, going straight to Hagrid's
cell. He heard a voice... “Rubeus Hagrid,” it said, “by
order of the Minister of Magic, you have been cleared of all charges
against you, and you are welcome to resume your position at Hogwarts
School of Witchcraft and Wizardry whenever you like. We are very
sorry for your inconvenience.” Sirius snorted quietly.
can go?” That was Hagrid's voice, sounding almost... happy. He
was getting out. Sirius almost smiled. He knew
Hagrid was innocent.
and for what it's worth, we truly are sorry about this.” Sirius
recognised the voice now. Cornelius Fudge, Minister of Magic. He came
by every once in a while to see if Sirius was dead yet.
saw a Grim,” Hagrid said absently, dazed by the good news.
another voice said. “We got to you just in time then.”
Hagrid walked by, Fudge hung back, looking around the cells. His eyes
fell on Sirius, and he seemed to give himself a satisfied nod.
what Sirius was almost certain was a couple of weeks, he saw Fudge
again, once more searching the cells.
here, Minister,” he said, shocked by the sound of his own
came over, dressed just how Sirius had remembered him, he looked
nervous. Sirius wasn't surprised, as few people were as lucid as
Sirius was after at least ten years in Azkaban. “So you're
still here then,” Fudge said finally.
I checked.” Fudge's hands were twisting something he held. The
Daily Prophet, Sirius noted.
“Are you done with your paper, Minister? I've so missed the