Summary - What happened to Sirius after he fell through the veil?
Just what is the veiled arch and where would it take you? Half-parody
half-serious version of events during and after OotP.
Disclaimer - Sirius Black belongs to the talented J.K.Rowling and the
nice people at Warner. The plot is inspired by her work except the parts that
are not so good. But if she who owns HP likes this, she can keep it. DEATH and
his garden belongs to Terry Pratchett. If you don't know who he is, I suggest
you find out.
Thanks to my beta reader PirateQueen, who made sure I did not
confuse too much with my rambling. Any confusing ramblings left are completely
"He's gone Harry. He's..."
"No. He is not dead. Not Sirius."
But I'm always serious. The old joke came automatically in
response even before he was truly conscious. Harry's and Moony's voices echoed
in his head. Dead? How could I be dead and still hearing things? Maybe
they were seeing things. He wasn't seeing anything. He tried to clear his head
and found himself lying on grass. Black grass he noted, he'd always been proud
of his ability to notice things like that. He was surrounded by black grass,
black trees and black flowers being attended by, of course, black bees. He'd
never thought there could be so many shades of the same color yet all of them
Sirius Black in a black landscape, how appropriate.
He was fuzzy on how he had come to be in this interesting (and
black) garden. He'd been at the Ministry, fighting, out of Grimmauld Place for the first time in
months. Harry had been there. Sirius’ face lit up at the thought of his godson,
he'd been particularly proud of the way he'd seen the kid handle himself in a
rumble. They had been in the Ministry looking for Harry and his friends so why
was he here? He tried to go over the facts as he remembered, but there was a
blank on why he was here instead of facing down his least favorite cousin and laughing
at her attempts to curse him. Had he been knocked out or something?
He spotted a tumbledown formation of rocks that resembled some sort
of partial wall or maybe even an archway. Impossible to tell for sure from its
severely damaged state.
Shaking his head to dispel the feeling, he looked around trying to
get his bearings and spotted what seemed like a house or cottage. Heading
towards it on instinct more than rational thought, he noted the black stone
pathways and manicured lawn (black). There was no sign of life (or color).
He entered the house and was surprised to note that it seemed to be
a lot bigger on the inside than it had looked on the outside. Enlargement
Charms? He wondered as he appraised the hall where he stood. Shinning
marble floors and chandeliers surrounded him; bone and skull decorations
liberally applied to most, if not all, available surfaces.
Mum probably took decorating tips from a place like this.
The most interesting piece of furniture was a large pendulum clock
that would have made Edgar Allan Poe quit the macabre writing business and set
up a joke shop. There were no hands on the face and the pendulum was a scythe,
slicing up the air itself as it swung. It also picked up the skull and bones
motif that was prevalent in the place. For some reason, this did not unsettle
him like his own ancestral home did. There was a feeling that they were there
because it was what was expected than a real intent to frighten anyone.
He moved towards a mazelike hallway to see if he could find someone
to explain where he was. After a while he did find someone but it was not as
helpful as he had hoped.
A hunched over old man was looking at him with a combined
expression of annoyance and disdain. He smelled of fried food. "Who are
"I'm Black," he responded.
The man looked him over with a critical gaze. "You look more
pasty faced to me, not getting enough sun?"
Of course I haven't! I've been locked up for months. "It's my name.
Sirius Black. Who are you?"
"I'm Albert." The man said as if that explained
everything. It didn't. "The master is not here right now so you'd better
go back the way you came from."
"I don't know how I got here."
Albert sniffled his contempt. "That is not my problem
youngster. Your sort has been making him work overtime and he needs the peace
"You heard me, I have errands to do and can't be bothered with
The strange old man turned and apparently dismissed him without a
further thought. He resumed his muttering and disappeared into another corridor
in this mazelike place before Sirius could react.
Well that was as helpful as meeting Kreatcher. I wonder
who his master is and why would he be overworked by my sort. Did he mean
He retraced his steps back to the hall and to his surprise; there
was a tall figure there. Walking towards him, wearing a swishing black cloak
and with some sort of staff in its hands, there was a glint of white where its
face should be. Death Eater. It was a different sort of robes but the
mask was enough of a clue. He dropped into a crouch and aimed a stunner at the
rapidly approaching figure. The figure blocked the spell with the staff, which
The word shivered through him and he knew that it had bypassed his
ears and spoken directly to his brain. If he had been in his Animagus his
hackles would have risen. As it was, the hair in the back of his neck stood at
"Who are you?" he whispered.
The figure was now beside him. Taller than he was and with a hooded
robe of a sort, more like a cowl. What the fugitive wizard had mistaken for a
staff was in fact a scythe, so sharp that from certain angles the blade was
invisible. But the grinning face was the real giveaway, not that a face like
that could do anything but grin. Almost all skulls do. There was some sort of
bluish light coming from the sockets and he could feel as if his thoughts were
Oddly enough, there was nothing really outwardly menacing about
this seven-foot-tall animated skeleton dressed in black swishing robes and
holding a sharp scythe. Said apparition was now moving towards the entrance where
an umbrella stand was and placed the scythe inside. Just like any other man
might lay down his briefcase and umbrella after a long day's work.
I'M SURE YOU CAN TAKE A GUESS, SIRIUS MARCUS BLACK, the apparition said
as it turned back to him.
"You are death."
NOT DEATH, DEATH. The figure said, a bit reproachfully.
"Sorry. My mistake."
Death tilted its skull to the side as if puzzled.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?
"I don't know. I was fighting and then I was here in your
garden I suppose." Of course, who else would have an all black garden?
Not really knowing why, he walked back outside towards the spot in
the garden where he had woken up. "Here."
But Death was not looking at the ground; instead his hollow sockets
stared at the tumbledown rock wall Sirius had noticed before.
YOU WALKED THROUGH THE ARCH?
Death waved a bony hand toward the rocks and they were
surrounded with a flickering bluish light for a moment and reformed themselves into an archway with a
floating curtain of sorts that was flapping in some unfelt breeze. Sirius
recognized it as the arch that had been on the dais behind him when he had
laughed at Bellatrix’s attempts to hex him. A few seconds later, the rocks had
settled down to their former tumbledown appearance.
YOU FELL THROUGH THE ARCH.
"What is it?"
A BACK DOOR OF SORTS TO THIS PLACE. MY COUNTRY.
Death's country, probably not a safe thing for a mortal to
"What is something like that doing in the Ministry?"
YOUR SORT DO A LOT OF THINGS IN THE NAME OF KNOWLEDGE. I'M FAIRLY
SURE THE LAST WORDS TO BE HEARD BEFORE THE UNIVERSE COLLAPSES WILL BE
"WHAT DOES THIS DO?"
Sirius smiled in spite of himself. "Can you send me
back?" he asked hopefully. He would see Harry again.
His shoulders slumped. "So I'm dead." And yet it was a
relief to know it. The worst had happened and he could move on with his life.
In a sense. His only fear now was running into James and Lily in the afterlife
after messing up so badly as a godparent to Harry. He hoped Remus would do a
YES. AND NO.
"Well, that was enlightening." The wizard said with a
flicker of anger.
Instead of answering, Death reached inside its robes and pulled out
something, which now lay on a bony palm. It was a sand timekeeper; Sirius could
read his name on it in golden letters. The Animagus saw something like fine grains
in the bottom bulb and some still on the topside but the grains were not
flowing between the bulbs. An experimental shake did not alter its condition.
YOU SEE? THERE IS STILL TIME ON IT. YOU DIED BEFORE YOUR TIME AND
YOU CAN'T GO BACK OR MOVE FORWARD UNTIL THE TIME IS SPENT.
"How much time did I have left?"
ABOUT TEN YEARS. GIVE OR TAKE A MONTH.
"Do you know how it was supposed to happen?" He had
always wondered how he'd meet his end.
Death snapped its fingers and a book appeared in front of him. He
read the last page in it.
HOW UNUSUAL. YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DIE AT THE HANDS OF AN
"What?!" he exclaimed. Maybe I took James’ advice and made the change
I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY HE CONFUSES YOU WITH A DOG.
"Ah, I'm an Animagus. I can turn into a dog," which he
proceeded to demonstrate.
OH. I'M MORE OF A CAT PERSON MYSELF, Death observed when he turned
back to his human self.
They were in Death's study polishing off some biscuits and tea that
Albert had served them after a spirited game of chess. Sirius had been checkmated
"So I can't go back and I won't go forward until it has run
through. Can I give it to someone else?"
THAT WOULD BE HIGHLY IRREGULAR.
"So is me dying early."
"What harm would it do? I could give someone ten more years of
OR YOU COULD BE EXTENDING PAIN OR REGRET FOR MORE THAN SOMEONE
COULD BEAR. WHAT HAPPENS STAYS HAPPENED. IT IS MORE COMPLICATED TO CHANGE WHAT
"I don't hear you coming up with any ideas."
THERE COULD BE ANOTHER WAY.
YOU COULD GO BACK.
"You said you couldn't send me back."
NOT AS SIRIUS BLACK. NOT AS A HUMAN. BUT YOU COULD GO BACK IN A
DIFFERENT SHAPE UNTIL YOUR TIME IS UP.
"Reincarnate as an animal? I don't believe in
REINCARNATION BELIEVES IN YOU.
"Oh." He looked again around the study trying to make a
decision. It has to be better than staying here for ten years. It's
not like I don't know what fleas are like. "Before I make a decision,
could you show me how much time others have left?"
IT DOES NOT DO TO DWELL ON WHAT CAN'T BE CHANGED.
"Please, I just need to know it was worth it."
I WILL SHOW YOU THREE LIVES. CHOOSE WELL.
Another timekeeper showed up on the bony palm, golden like his own
and with glowing grains flowing through the glass bulbs, without realizing it
he reached out and touched it and it was like reaching towards his friend. He
could feel Moony's pain and his strength. He would survive. He raised his eyes
but did not dare ask how much time his friend had.
HE WILL HAVE ENOUGH TIME.
He nodded and thought a bit. "Albus Dumbledore."
Moony's timekeeper disappeared and a different one showed up. It was slightly
larger, but there were worryingly very few grains left to run through the
bulbs. He took a sharp intake of breath at what it would mean for his former
headmaster and teacher.
HE LIVES BY SHEER FORCE OF WILL. HE WILL LAY DOWN HIS BURDENS SOON
AND HAVE SOME WELL-EARNED REST.
Sirius hoped the headmaster would have enough time. Then he said
the name that had been foremost in his mind but also the one he was the most
A third timekeeper appeared. It was different from the ones he had
seen so far, changing colors as he watched it, and it seemed to glow from
within. There was a lightning-shaped crack on the upper bulb. The grains in it were
acting strangely, swirling around inside the bulbs and seemingly flowed
downwards and upwards at the same time. It would be impossible to tell when
this life would end. He reached a finger to it and he could feel despair and
hope mingled in it and tears sprang into his eyes.
A VERY UNIQUE LIFE. HE CAN AND WILL BE ABLE TO CHOOSE WHEN TO MOVE
"Not everyone can do that." Sirius said with wonder.
NO. BUT CERTAIN LIVES ARE CATALYSTS. HE AFFECTS OTHERS IN MANY WAYS
AND AS SUCH HE CAN CHOOSE WHEN TO STOP.
"Thank you." He said and the timekeeper vanished.
"I've made my decision. I'll go back. As close as I can be to the last
life you showed me."
If a skull had been able to look serious and downhearted, this one
would. The glowing sockets regarded him for a moment.
VERY WELL. GOOD LUCK.
The blue-eyed skull vanished and Sirius found himself in a tunnel,
bathed in white light walking towards the dark. It was calling him.
Three children were crowding around a cardboard box on the floor
exclaiming over something inside of it. A more detached observer might noted
that there was a blanket inside the box and that four small puppies were there,
moving clumsily, overlarge feet and closed eyes indicating that they had just
been born just a few hours ago. Three of them were golden brown and the fourth,
the smallest one, was black with a white spot on its forehead.
"Aren't they cute?"
"When will they open their eyes?"
"Can we name them?"
"Can we keep them?"
This last question was directed towards a large man sitting on the
corner with a veterinarian's jacket over his clothes. He looked tired as he
watched over a larger dog that was now sleeping. He patted it comfortingly and
moved over to the children with a smile.
"I think we should find them nice homes of their own. Maybe
close by so we can see them every once in a while."
"Wasn't it lucky that that boy found Missy and brought her
"Very lucky. Missy was in trouble and he risked being bitten
by carrying her here." He responded.
"He said his name was Harry. Do you think he will come
"He said he would," he said reassuringly.
"Could we give one of them to him? He looked very nice. And
He had indeed. The boy – no, the young man - had a disturbingly far
away look in his startling green eyes but at the same time he'd looked very
concerned about the creature he'd been carrying, for several blocks from his
account. Missy had let herself be rescued by a complete stranger and that in
itself was a good recommendation to the veterinarian. He often trusted Missy's
judgment more than his own sometimes.
"Which one?" He asked the children.
"The black one. The one with the star on its forehead. Black
like his hair and with a mark like he had. They match." Said the smallest
child using the kind of logic that had baffled parents for generations. The
other two nodded their agreement.
He looked over at the puppies and saw that the mark on the
puppy's forehead did indeed look a bit like a star. A dog with a star. Wasn't
there a star that was called the 'dog star'? He pushed the thought away as
being too fanciful for daylight.
"We'll ask him and Missy when he comes back." He decided.
"Let's give her some peace so she can rest."
And so a new tale begins...