The Sugar Quill
Author: Scarlett488  Story: Sirius's Sorrow  Chapter: Default
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            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 Remus.

            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 doubt.

            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 growled.

            “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 desperation.

            The answer crept slowly into mind.  Godric’s Hollow.

            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 voice.

            “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 from Harry.

            Sirius plowed through the wreckage. “Its Sirius Black!”

            “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 Sirius.

            “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.” 

            “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 was saying.

            “Gone?  Have they gone after the attackers?”

            “No, man, they’re,” Hagrid sobbed, “they’re dead!”

            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 backfired.”

            “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 uncontrollably.

            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 Hagrid.

            “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 safety.”

            “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 his forehead.

            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, you’re great!

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