The Prisoner in Azkaban. Lyrics c. Pink Floyd.
Good morning Worm your honour
The crowd will plainly show
The prisoner who now stands before you
Was caught red handed showing feelings
Showing feelings of an almost human nature
This will not do
The thin, underfed line of sunlight worked its way through the bars, reaching out to feebly caress Sirius' face.
Crossing to the window, he looked out over the surrounding waves, seagulls riding the wind, effortlessly free, lit by the pale, dirty sunlight. There was a melancholy beauty to the scene, sort of grayed out peace that called a bitter, ill-thought smile to his lips.
Dementors eat smiles. Even a pitiful offering like this was quickly sucked from his face, fading the scene before him and replacing it with long dead nightmares...
CALL THE SCHOOLMASTER
I always said he'd come to no good
In the end your honour
If they'd let me have my way I could
Have flayed him into shape
But my hands were tied
The bleeding hearts and artists
Let him get away with murder
Let me hammer him today
"Why, Sirius?" The Headmaster's blue eyes rested on him, the small stars that usually twinkled there were dead, black holes left where they'd imploded.
His dry tongue flickered out in vain attempts to wet dryer lips. "I didn't mean it, headmaster." His voice, already settled its adult depth, cracked from his earnestness. As improbable as the words were, they were true. The old man had to believe him! "I didn't mean it... it was just a joke..."
"That joke almost cost a student his life." The soft-spoken words cracked through the surrounding air, connecting with Siruis' gut.
"I didn't think..." He tried again, ignoring the half hysterical voice in the back of his mind protesting that it was only Snape. He looked across the room at the Slytherin, his greasy black hair hanging across his overly pale face, black eyes glaring. No one would miss the little bastard. "I just wanted to scare him into leaving us alone. It was only Remus. Remus wouldn't hurt anyone." Not even Snivellus.
"He's lying, headmaster!" Snape sounded nearly as hysterical as the voice in Sirius' head. "He's lying and you know it!"
The Headmaster held up one hand. "I'm speaking with Sirius right now, Severus. You'll get your turn." Turning his attention back to Sirius, he continued. "Remus is a werewolf, Sirius. Werewolves eat people."
"I know..." He was shaking. He hadn't thought of the consequences, of possibly being expelled from school. The walls of the house at number twelve Grimmauld Place loomed before him, his mother's condemnation, a lifetime's imprisonment. Torture. "I know... I know but I didn't think... I didn't mean it..."
Years and miles from the Headmaster's grim admonished and months spent in detention, Sirius shivered, fingers digging into his arms. "I didn't mean it."
Crazy toys in the attic
I am crazy
Truly gone fishing
Crazy toys in the attic he is crazy
They must have taken my marbles away
The screaming of the seagulls worked its way through the fog in his mind. Somewhere, another voice joined them, the natural chatter of their avian conversation being drowned out by an all too familiar shriek.
"Master! Master, I'm waiting!"
Sirius gritted his teeth and tried to shut his ears to the cries of Fidelity. Around him the walls shifted, closed in as he shrank, years of height slipping away in his mind.
You little shit, you're in it now
I hope they throw away the key
You should have talked to me more often
Than you did, but no you had to
Go your own way. Have you broken any homes up lately?
Just five minutes Worm your honour him and me alone
"We're playing house." Bellatrix announced firmly, her head already held high on the slender little column of her neck. Her siblings and cousins received the news with varying amounts excitement. Sirius ignored her, staring out the window at a passing cat as she continued her instructions. "I'm the mother, since on the oldest."
"But I want to be the mother!" Her little sister pouted prettily, stomping her foot, causing her white-gold curls to bounce.
"No Narcissa, you're too young." Bellatrix replied with the ruthless wisdom granted by a few, scant years seniority. "You and Regulus can be the children. Andromeda will be the maid and Sirius," Her dark, already sinister eyes, fell on her cousin. "You're the oldest boy, so you have to be my husband."
The simple factuality with which she cast aside her deeply ingrained loathing of Sirius failed to reach her cousin. Without turning his head from the window he drawled, "I'd rather kiss a toad."
Bellatrix's eyes widened at the insult, then narrowed. "You have to play." She hissed. "I'll make you!"
Sirius sneered at her, his own chin notched up proudly. "Oh? And how are you going to do that?" Without waiting for an answer, he turned and headed for the door. He quickly found his way blocked by his glaring cousin who, the magic of puberty being several years away, could still look him in the eye.
"You'll be my husband, or I'll tell Auntie you were mean to me and you'll be grounded."
"Great!" He retorted, scoffing. "If I'm grounded, I can't play with you anyway!"
"Master, please, save me!"
Sirius whimpered, the words slipping through the cracks in the walls and his mind, rippling, distorting...
Come to mother baby let me hold you in my arms
M'red I never wanted him to get in any trouble
Why'd he ever have to leave me
Worm your honour let me take him home
"What do you think you're doing?" His mother demanded, fingers digging into his wrist, ruthlessly seeking the vulnerable nerves running between the carpals.
"Ow!" He squirmed, trying to pull away. "I was just talking to some of my friends from school!"
"Friends?" Mrs. Black's eyes protruded so sharply, he thought they would explode or fall out or something. "Those filthy little Mudbloods?" One anemic, black clad arm wrapped around his shoulder, sweeping him away from the other boys as his mother put herself between him and them, an old, cranky vulture, protecting her hatchling from the perceived serpents.
"They're not filthy!" Sirius protested. His mother didn't even listen.
"Really, all of the effort I put into raising you, you'd think you'd know better! No! You have to ignore all of my good advice and run around with filthy..."
"They aren't filthy!"
"... little Mudbloods who are completely beneath you! Why can't you like good, pureblood children like your cousin? Bella's such a charming girl..."
Disgust involuntarily contorted Sirius' face. "She's an irritating, bossy little tr..." The rest of the sentence was lost a resounding slap.
"Don't you say a word against your cousin!" His mother's entire body seemed to swell and he shrank from her. "At least Bellatrix can tell the right sort of person to spend time with! You! I wish Regulus had been my oldest! What sort of an example do you set for him? Gryffindor! Spending your time with commoners! If you keep this up, you'll be in Azkaban by the time you're twenty!"
Heat welled through Sirius' brain, spilling over into his eyes, pressing at his temple. Who was she? She couldn't be his real mother. Everyone said that mothers loved their sons for who they were. His mother didn't. He could tell. His lips pulled back in a reactionary snarl and he dug in his heels. "I wish Regulus was your oldest son! I wish he was you're only son! I hate you! And you're wrong, about me and my friends! I'll show you!"
Crazy over the rainbow
I am crazy
Bars in the window
There must have been a door there in the wall When I came in
Crazy over the rainbow he is crazy
"I'll show you..." Vacant eyes snapped up, locking on the bars of the cell. He hadn't shown her. She'd been right... except he hadn't done anything wrong.
The evidence before the court is
Incontrovertible, there's no need for
The jury to retire
In all my years of judging I have never heard before of
Some one more deserving
The full penalty of law
The way you made them suffer
Your exquisite wife and mother
Fills me with an urge to defecate
Since my friend you have revealed your deepest fear
I sentence you to be exposed before your peers
The smoke clogged his lungs, doubling him over with a racking cough. Around him, through the unsettled rubble, he could hear people screaming. For one, confused moment, he thought it was Lily and James, calling for him. Then reality caught up with him, the ruin around him transposed with the wrecked house at Godric's Hollow.
Lily and James were dead. Lifting his head and looking around him, he saw the bodies lying around the street.
A finger lay on the ground before him. Its owner was nowhere in sight. Sirius' lips worked back, letting a growl loose. "Wormtail..."
If only they'd seen the true appropriateness of that nickname earlier. If only he hadn't convinced James to use the treacherous little slime as a secret keeper. If only...
"He's over here!"
Black eyes snapped up, peering through the settling dust, confused. Figures moved, pointed, drew wands. He recognized some of them, but they'd never looked at him that way before, as if he were a hungry manticore... insane... deadly...
Realization settled in his mind like the dust surrounding him.
He was innocent.
His eyes met those of one of the men approaching him. He was surprisingly young, with clear, blue eyes the kind that hid nothing and said, clear as words, "We consider you guilty."
He wanted to protest, to tell those eyes they were wrong.
He was innocent.
He looked at the bodies lying around him, the finger on the ground before him, listened to the screams around him.
He was innocent... and he had no way to prove it.
Something built in his chest; something with a bitter sting of his mother's hatred, the anguish of his best friend's death, and the wild, weird adrenaline rush of chasing Moony and Prongs through the frosty moonlight.
"I'm innocent." The grey receded.
"I'm innocent." The words slowly pushed the Dementors from his mind.
"I'm innocent." He stood once again to look up the window.
"I'm innocent." The words became a mantra, a conviction, holding his mind together, pushing the invaders out, but still they tried to get in, to regain their control over him.
Tear down the wall