‘He hasn’t gone!’ Harry yelled.
He did not believe it; he would not believe it; still he fought Lupin with every bit of strength he had. Lupin did not understand; people hid behind that curtain; Harry had heard them whispering the first time he had entered the room. Sirius was hiding, simply lurking out of sight –
‘SIRIUS!’ he bellowed. ‘SIRIUS!’
‘He can’t come back, Harry,’ said Lupin, his voice breaking as he struggled to contain Harry.
‘He can’t come back, because he’s d-‘
‘HE-IS-NOT-DEAD!’ roared Harry. ‘SIRIUS!’
And somewhere deep down, Harry still refused to believe it. He still wasn’t ready to accept it and he very much doubted he would ever be. Harry wished he did not have to believe it, even though he now knew he must. How could you ever accept the fact that the person you cared about most in the entire world was never coming back? Sirius would never have the chance to care for him, to tell him stories about his father, to give him advice in how he should handle things. Harry needed Sirius.
It was just so unfair. His father had died, his mother had died and now his godfather, the closest thing to a caring relative he’d had since the death of his parents. Why? What for? For him, Harry? To keep him alive, because he was the downfall of Voldemort -according to some stupid prophecy? It had definitely not been worth it; he had practically given Voldemort free access to the Department of Mysteries and he had led Sirius into death…
Harry felt so empty. He was pacing up and down his small room at number four, Privet Drive, pacing so very fast he was already panting. He wanted to keep on walking forever, because Harry knew that once he sat down, the pain he was feeling was going to multiply a thousand times. He would have nothing to occupy him except that terrible feeling and those horrifying images…
Lupin dragged Harry away from the dais. Harry, still staring at the archway, was angry at Sirius now for keeping him waiting-
But some part of him realised, even as he fought to break free from Lupin, that Sirius had never kept him waiting before… Sirius had risked everything, always, to see Harry, to help him… if Sirius was not reappearing out of that archway when Harry was yelling for him as though his life depended on it, the only possible explanation was that he could not come back… that he really was –
Harry dropped onto his bed, his eyes full of tears he didn’t even try to suppress. He took off his glasses and ruffled his hair in an uncanny resemblance to his father. A very tangible feeling of loathing got the better of him as he looked outside and tried to dissect the blurry image his window showed him. How could the world be so cruel? How could the sun still shine? How could people still laugh? Still eat? How could people still enjoy their lives now that Sirius was gone forever? Didn’t they know what kind of hero he was? Didn’t they know what it meant to lose someone like him? Didn’t they know that he gave up everything, everything for his friends… and his godson? For a godson that would never fulfil the expectations of his godfather.
Harry did not want to relive it, over and over again. He tried to block it out of his memory. Yet he couldn’t think about anything else -it had become part of him. A part he resented as much as the happy outside world that was Muggle- or plain ignorant. He wanted to sleep. Sleep and never wake up. But when he closed his eyes, all he could see was the look on Sirius’ face after he had been hit by Bellatrix’s curse and his body falling through the ancient archway in slow motion.
Without really realising what he was doing, he slowly reached for the photo-album that Hagrid had given him in his first year. He leafed through it only to stop, somewhat shocked at the sight of his parents’ wedding picture, where Sirius stood, smiling broadly, right next to his father. Not knowing what was to come, how ruined everything was going to be. How he would lose everything and land in Azkaban, spending twelve years amongst Dementors as an innocent.
Azkaban. Sirius had hated that place. He’d never wanted to show it, but one could clearly see the life dying from his gaunt, wasted face at the mention of Azkaban or its guards.
But at least he had tried to remain strong, and he had usually succeeded. He wouldn’t want Harry to fall apart like this. He wouldn’t let him.
So Harry pulled himself together, put his glasses back on and inspected the photo of his young and still handsome godfather.
‘You’re right, Sirius,’ he said hoarsely, trying to ignore the sting in his eyes and the burn in his throat. ‘I have to stay strong and I will. I’ll make you proud of me. I’ll make sure your death wasn’t in vain and I promise I’ll let the world know how great a hero you really were.’
The Sirius in the picture smiled appreciatively, though it seemed he didn’t really understand. He held up his glass to Harry and drained it in one swig; only to throw Harry’s father a glance as though daring him to do the same.
You said I’m gonna buy this place and burn it down
I’m gonna put it six feet underground
You said I’m gonna buy this place and watch it fall
Stand here beside me, in the crumbling walls
Now I’m gonna buy this place and start a fire
Stand here until I fill all your heart’s desires
Because I’m gonna buy this place and see it burn
And do back the things it did to you in return
He would. Not just now, not yet, but as soon as he had put all those Death Eaters back in there, he would destroy Azkaban. As it had destroyed twelve years of Sirius’ life. To honour his godfather, his father’s best friend. Harry was going to fight the fight they started so very long ago, and he was going to win it. He would do it in the name of Sirius, of his parents and of all the people that had died in the war.
That was going to be his way of showing how wrongly they had treated Sirius, and he hoped it could be a deed worthy of mending some cracks in his godfather’s unbeating heart.
Said I’m gonna buy a gun and start a war
If you can tell me something worth fighting for
Oh, and I’m gonna buy this place is what I said
Blame it upon a rush of blood to the head
And that was a good enough a reason to start a war: the memory of the only family he’d ever had. In the beginning Harry might have been reluctant to fight. He’d had the feeling that too much responsibility had been thrown into his lap, far too quickly. But now… now he felt ready to fight that war he was destined to fight.
Maybe this was an irrational decision, maybe he hadn’t really thought it over, but he would fight for his memories, for his family. He would fight to show them he was worth the trust he had been given, that he would not betray them or the people close to him.
Harry knew he had kept his friends at a distance, that he had kept them away, but he would never let anything happen to them. And if they chose to fight alongside him, he would give anything to protect them. He would die for them as his parents and Sirius had died for him.
He stood up and started pacing again. Sirius had sacrificed so much and he had hardly ever complained. He must have had a horrible life. Yet somehow he had always managed to make Harry believe he had been satisfied. It now seemed so much more than obvious, but when he had been talking about his dad, Lupin and their adventures, his eyes always lit up and somehow that made him look much younger and happier. But the things he had to go through; an awful childhood in a Death Eater family, his best friend being murdered by another of his friends, everyone thinking he was the traitor, twelve years in wizard prison and then, to top it all, he had to go back to the house in which he grew up. A house he hated –if possible- even more than Azkaban. They had let him live there all alone, for an entire year. He had to deal with the screeching portraits alone, with those creatures hiding in every little corner, with Kreacher -that feeble excuse for a servant. He had to live in the house of the family he chose to leave so many years ago. He had to live in the house of the family who would’ve rather seen him burn than acknowledged him as one of their own- and that family tree was a constant reminder of it.
Said I’m gonna buy this place and see it go
Stand here beside me, watch the orange glow
Some’ll laugh, some just sit and cry
I just sit down here and I wonder why
Harry was going to burn Grimmauld Place. And every shrieking portrait, every treacherous house-elf and every contemptuous family tree with it. He was going to burn it all and he was going to have a good time watching it go. Sirius would have enjoyed seeing his house crumble as well and the least he could do for him now was make sure every single one of Sirius’ wishes came true. He would make sure his godfather got what he’d desired. No one else mattered any longer. If Sirius couldn’t get a funeral, if he couldn’t get his name cleared, then he would get everything else he ever wanted to have or do – even if he wasn’t there to enjoy it anymore.
So I’m gonna buy a gun and start a war
If you can tell me something worth fighting for
I’m gonna buy this place is what I said
Blame it upon a rush of blood to the head
Harry sat down on his windowsill and looked outside. Night had fallen. Again he painfully realised that he would never again see an owl, or any bird for that matter, flying towards number four bearing a letter from Sirius. It was so unreal, everything was so unreal. Sirius couldn’t have gone, they had only just met. Harry had so much to tell him, so much to ask, so much to see that Sirius had to show, so much to fight for…
And now he would have to go through that all by himself. But he would do it bearing the memory of those he had once truly loved. And he would make this war, this –soon to be- victory a giant cry out to the world, stating every “I love you” he had felt on his lips, but had
neglected to say due to a lack of time, opportunity and –courage.
He had to do this, Harry knew he had to. Not only to honour his family, not only to fulfil this prophecy, not only to bring an end to this war, but he had to do it to take his anger and do something good with it. He had to use his grief and mourning by placing revenge upon those who deserved it. If he didn’t, he’d go mad.
He had to fight, for his own sanity, his own family and his own ideals. And he did not know what was to come, but he was going to start this to win and whatever or he met on the way, he would deal with that when it arose. He would look at today and he wouldn’t think about tomorrow until tomorrow came. Every evening gained would be another victory, and every morning he would be ready to fight for another.
So meet me by the bridge
Meet me by the lane
When am I gonna see
That handsome face again
Meet me on the road
Meet me where I said
Blame it all upon
A rush of blood to the head.
It might be dangerous, it might be bold and it might be big-headed to believe that he was going to win –alone, or not. The odds were not to his advantage and he knew he was just a boy… The-Boy-Who-Lived-And-Had-Managed-To-Keep-On-Living, even after five encounters with the world’s most feared Wizard. When would his luck run out? A question he’d asked himself so many times. He now knew the answer lay in this war and that his question would not remain a question for much longer.
This war was his way. His goal. His life. He would pass many crossroads and he would be standing still countless times, but he had to believe -with every fibre in his body- that he was going to get there and that he was going to win. And if he was going to meet Sirius a lot sooner on the way, he would at least know that he died trying.
He could and would not believe that Sirius died for nothing. He was going to win this war for him. The war his godfather should have won himself. If only Harry hadn’t been such an idiot. If only he hadn’t gone to the Department of Mysteries, Sirius could have won it. He wouldn’t have remained a traitor, instead he would have been seen for what he really was: a hero. A wizard of the purest kind. The best godfather ever.
But it was Harry’s task now. He would have to clear Sirius’ name. And he would.
It was a rash decision, hastily made, but made with such perseverance and determination that Harry could not but believe that it was the right decision, the only decision.
Blame it all upon fate. Blame it all upon love. Blame it all upon a rush of blood to the head…