Sirius was frantic. He’d had an uneasy feeling
all afternoon that something was not quite right. Ever since James and Lily had
gone into hiding, Sirius had questioned his decision not to be their Secret-Keeper.
More so, he questioned his suggestion of Peter as his replacement instead of
War with Voldemort and his followers had made
everyone edgy and distrustful. Then, about eighteen months ago, Voldemort had
begun concentrating his efforts on the Potters. The reasons were unknown, but
that didn’t prevent life from getting difficult for all of them. A close,
tight-knit group, the distrust had built slowly, but had been there nonetheless.
As the attacks aimed at the Potters and their infant son grew, questions arose
as to how Voldemort seemed to know their every move; where they were and where
they were going.
Sirius’s thoughts had turned to Remus. Was he
the traitor? After all, he was a dark creature, if one of them was betraying
James and Lily, Remus was the likely candidate, wasn’t he? Never mind that
Remus had always been loyal, never mind that he had no proof that Remus was
even capable of betrayal. All he had was a coldness that he’d sensed in Remus
recently, putting a huge strain on their friendship, and stoking the coals of
So, when Voldemort’s knowledge of the Potters
whereabouts increased, along with the attacks, Albus Dumbledore had suggested a
Fidelius Charm. James insisted that he, Sirius, be their Secret-Keeper, though
Dumbledore had volunteered himself. Sirius had thought himself too obvious a
choice and had suggested Peter, making a last minute switch that only he, Lily,
James and Peter knew about.
And now, here stood Sirius, in Peter’s empty
flat, and he was frantic. Today was Halloween, the wizarding world’s biggest
holiday of the year. Lily, James and Harry had gone into hiding over a week
ago. Sirius was here to help Peter go into hiding, while most everyone else
was distracted celebrating. But Peter wasn’t here at their arranged meeting
time, and something didn’t feel right. Lily and James were in trouble, in
danger, he could feel it in his bones, and he was powerless to help them.
“Where are you, James?” he shouted out loud in
Peter’s empty flat. Sirius’s mind remained
empty, the Fidelius Charm preventing even a guess at where they could be
hiding. “Bloody hell!”
He left Peter’s flat, frustration and anxiety
flowing through him. Where could Peter be? Had he been taken by Voldemort or
one of his Death Eaters? His flat didn’t betray any sign of a struggle, and
Sirius himself had set up the protective wards to keep Peter safe. Without a fight
no one could have gotten in unless invited. Had something spooked Peter,
forcing him to leave early? All these questions with no answers. Sirius shook
his head, hoping to shake free a rational thought.
Night began to fall as Sirius reached his
motorcycle, parked in an alleyway a few streets from Peter’s building.
Murmuring a disillusionment charm over himself and the bike, he hopped on,
wondering where to go. He slammed his hand down on the handlebars. He had
nowhere to go, no one to turn to.
Hours later, Sirius found himself sitting in the
Leaky Cauldron, nursing a pint of ale. It was then that he heard the first
inkling of what had happened that night. It started as half-heard whispers, he
picked up snatches of “must-not-be-named, dead!” and “Potters, dead!”
Sirius snapped to attention, the blood draining
from his face, his heart slamming against his ribcage. He jumped up and
grabbed the wizard who had spoken.
“What did you say?” he croaked.
The wizard blanched at the look in Sirius’ eyes,
but remained silent. Sirius pulled him closer.
“What. Did. You. Say about the Potters?” he
“They-they-they-re,”the wizard gulped, “dead.”
“You lie,” Sirius said quietly, his face inches
from the shaking wizard.
“N-n-n-n-no, its true,” the wizard squeaked out.
Sirius searched the man’s eyes, seeing no
deceit. He released him suddenly, sending the wizard stumbling back.
He raced out the back of the Leaky Cauldron,
reaching into his pocket to grab his wand, but instead his hand hit on the
small mirror he always kept on him. So simple, he thought, smiling slightly.
He wondered why he hadn’t remembered the mirror earlier. Pulling it
out, Sirius held it in front of his face and said, “James Potter.” But he saw only
his reflection staring back at him. Again he said “James Potter,” this time a
bit louder. Over and over again, in that small alleyway between the Leaky
Cauldron and Diagon Alley, Sirius cried out James’s name until he was hoarse,
but James didn’t appear in the mirror. Sirius stared back at his reflection,
his eyes wild with fear, and choked back a sob. Without any coherent thought,
he shoved the mirror back into his pocket, grabbed his wand and tapped the
bricks leading to Diagon Alley.
Halloween celebrations were in full swing, the
usually crowded Diagon Alley over-flowing with more wizards and witches than he
thought possible. The revelers paid no attention to Sirius, who stood there,
staring down the street, lost. “Where are you, James?” he mumbled in
The answer crept slowly into mind. Godric’s
Of course, he thought, Godric’s Hollow, why hadn’t
he thought of that...
With a start, Sirius realized that only if the Fidelius
Charm had been broken could he speculate as to where James and Lily could be.
“NO!” he cried hoarsely, pushing through the
crowd towards his motorbike, which he’d parked near Ollivanders.
Fear gripped Sirius as he started up his bike
and took off towards Godric’s Hollow. Flying up above Diagon Alley and London,
he forced himself not to think. But, unbidden, images of James, Lily and Harry
flashed through his mind. Their wedding day, the Marauders’ first meeting,
Quidditch matches, Lily pretending to ignore James as he showed off for her,
the day of Harry’s birth.
Harry. For just a second, Sirius lost control
of the bike as he thought of his godson. He was the sweetest baby ever born.
Of course, Sirius was a bit prejudiced. He had spent countless hours playing
with Harry, making faces at him until he gave a rolling belly laugh. Nausea
filled him, thinking of baby Harry being dead.
Sirius shook off his thoughts and concentrated
on getting to Godric’s Hollow in one piece. Anyway, surely he was just
overreacting and that wizard in the Leaky Cauldron had just had one too many Butterbears.
Sirius had all but convinced himself that he’d arrive at an abandoned Godric’s
Hollow, no sign of the Potters having been there recently.
As he approached the small valley where Godric’s
Hollow stood, Sirius caught a whiff of smoke and felt panic grip him again. As
he neared the Potters’ ancient homestead, he could barely make out shapes in
the dark, but the glowing embers from a fire were very clear. Sirius felt his
heart stop as he realized that his worst fears were about to come true.
Not knowing how he did it, his limbs trembling,
Sirius landed his motorbike just past the wreckage that was once Godric’s
Hollow. Now that he was on the ground, what he hadn’t been able to see from
the air was very clear. Destruction. Complete destruction. If James, Lily
and Harry had been in there, survival had not been an option.
Sirius slowly got off the bike, not even
bothering with the kickstand. As it fell to the ground with a thud, Sirius
walked mechanically towards the wreckage. He was stepping over what was once
the door, when he heard the sound of a baby crying. Snapping out of his
trance, Sirius recognized Harry’s cry and ran through the wreckage towards the
sound. As he got closer to the crying, Sirius picked up the sound of another
“There now, little
fella, its a’right.” It was Hagrid, the assistant groundskeeper at Hogwarts.
“Hagrid!” he yelled.
“Who’s there?” Hagrid roared, drawing more cries
Sirius plowed through the wreckage. “Its Sirius
“Black?” Sirius almost ran straight into the
half-giant as he stepped into sight. Harry screamed louder as Hagrid pulled
him closer to his chest, squeezing him tight.
Sirius almost collapsed with relief when he saw
Harry. Harry was safe. “Give him here, Hagrid,” Sirius reached out his hands,
tears forming in his eyes. Hagrid pulled back, eluding
“Can’t do it, Black, orders from Dumbledore,”
Hagrid said quietly, his words almost impossible to hear over the baby’s cry.
Sirius looked up at him, dumfounded. “I’m his
Godfather! Why would Dumbledore say I can’t hold him?”
“Not jus’ you, I’m to keep him and get him to
“Safety? You mean out of this wreckage? Where
are James and Lily?” Sirius held no doubt that the Potters had been attacked
here, but if Harry were alive, surely that meant that James and Lily had
survived as well.
Hagrid shook his head, tears flowing down his
face. “They’re gone.” Harry cried louder, almost as if he knew what Hagrid
“Gone? Have they gone after the attackers?”
“No, man, they’re,” Hagrid sobbed, “they’re
Coldness filled Sirius. “You lie,” he said,
repeating what he’d said to the drunken wizard earlier.
“Wish I was. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named got to
‘em, only baby Harry here survived.” Hagrid motioned to the bundle in his arm.
Harry continued to scream. Unwilling to believe that his friends were dead,
Sirius focused on Harry.
“Hagrid, let me hold him,” Sirius cried,
reaching for Harry, “please.”
Hagrid considered Sirius for a moment. Deciding
that he wasn’t the enemy, he relented and handed Harry over to Sirius.
Almost immediately, Harry’s cries stopped. With
tears flowing down his face, Sirius pulled the blanket from around Harry and
brushed his hair, so much like James’s, out of his eyes. It was then he saw
the red, jagged cut on Harry’s forehead.
“Merlin! What happened to him?” he looked up at
Hagrid, who stood there, crying now as loudly as Harry had been.
“You-Know-Who tried ter curse ‘im, but it
“What do you mean it backfired?” Sirius asked
sharply. Harry started at his tone and Sirius reached down, gently brushing
his cheek. “That’s a boy,” he cooed as Harry settled back down. Sirius looked
back at Hagrid, the question in his eyes.
“He’s gone, disappeared when he tried ter curse
Harry,” Hagrid looked gently at the baby.
Sirius shook his head, “Disappeared? You mean he
Disapparated out of here?”
“No, no,” Hagrid said, shaking his head, “he
disappeared; they’re saying he’s dead.”
Sirius looked at Hagrid in confusion. This was
all too much to take in at once. He continued to stroke Harry’s cheek, causing
the baby to smile back at him, green eyes shining with happiness at the sight
of a familiar face. “Sas,” he cooed, his attempt at saying Sirius.
“Yes, that’s right, Harry, your Sas is here,
we’re going to make everything all right,” Sirius
finished with a sob. He looked back up at Hagrid.
“How is it that you know what happened here, if
that’s what really happened?” he demanded.
“Oh, tha’s what happened, make no mistake ‘bout
it, Dumbledore said so,” Hagrid said defensively.
“Humor me, Hagrid, how does Dumbledore know if
he wasn’t here?”
Hagrid, wiping tears off his face, said, “Well,
he was here, now wasn’t he?”
Sirius went rigid with shock. “How can that
be? James had a Secret-Keeper, no one could know where he was, let alone be
here to witness,” he gestured around the wreckage, “this.”
Hagrid gave him an odd look, “Sirius, man, the
charm was broke, Dumbledore set it up that if the Potters’ Secret-Keeper gave em up, he, Dumbledore, would know right away of
the betrayal. Pretty smart, if yeh ask me. He came right away, after sensing
the charm being broken an’ all, but he was too late ter
save Lily an’ James. He saw You-Know-Who put the curse ter Harry here,
then saw him disappear in a flash of green light. He called for me right away.”
Coldness filled Sirius. He looked down at
Harry, who was happily chewing on his finger. “The Secret-Keeper betrayed Lily and James?” Sirius had gone pale, his
blue eyes icy, his voice mechanical.
“Oh, no doubt ‘bout that; never seen Dumbledore
as mad as he was when I showed up here. Right scary, that was. He told me ter
get Harry, and get ‘im ter safety and then he took off.”
Sirius collapsed to the floor, Harry in his
arms. He hung his head over his godson, mumbling he was sorry, sobbing
Hagrid bent down to him, “Here now, Sirius, here
now.” He gently patted Sirius on the back, at a loss as to how to comfort
him. They stayed like that for minutes, maybe hours. Finally, Harry had had
enough and began wailing.
Hagrid stood up, motioning for Sirius to hand
him Harry. “C’mon, I’m sure the little tyke’s hungry. Probably ‘bout time for
me ter take ‘im.”
For a moment, Sirius sat, quietly looking down
at the crying baby. Then, wiping his eyes, he stood up and handed him to
“You take him,” Sirius choked, “take him to
safety, take my bike, make sure he’s safe, I’ve- you’ve
got to make sure that no one hurts him,” he looked up at Hagrid with fresh
tears in his eyes, “make sure that he survives, that he lives, that he’s hap-“ Sirius
broke off with a sob.
“He’ll be fine, Sirius, don’ you worry,” Hagrid
said confidently, “But I can’t take your bike, I won’t know how ter get it back
to yeh and I can’t tell yeh where I’m taking ‘im,
Dumbledore’s orders, y’know.”
Sirius gave a cold laugh, shaking off his tears.
“Don’t worry about the bike, Hagrid, I won’t be needing it. Just get Harry to
“Well, if yer insist,
I reckon it would make traveling a bit easier.”
“I insist, Hagrid,” Sirius said, making a
decision. He knew what he had to do and it probably would leave him dead, but
not before he brought Peter down with him. Rage filled the hole created by
Lily and James’s death. He would hunt Peter to the ends of the earth, and then
he would kill him.
“I best be going then.” Hagrid walked out of
the wreckage of the house, Sirius following him. They reached the motorbike.
“Here, let me hold him while you get on,” Sirius
said, holding his arms out for Harry. As Hagrid got on the bike, Sirius
snuggled the baby close, whispering to him, promising to always love him.
Finally, Hagrid was settled, a space in his giant-sized bag arranged for
Harry. Sirius reluctantly handed him over, but not before kissing the cut on
Hagrid started the bike and, with a nod to
Sirius, took off.
Sirius stood there for a moment, watching them
until they disappeared behind a cloud. With a last look back at what once had
been Godric’s Hollow, Sirius pulled his wand and Disapparated, leaving behind
the remains of what had been his life.
Author’s note: Much thanks to my wonderful beta Chary,