Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Nightmare Before Hogwarts

Chapter 16

by USA_Tiger 0 reviews


Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Crossover,Fantasy,Humor - Characters: James,Lupin,Sirius - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2018-01-23 - 9761 words

Nightmare Before Hogwarts

By: USA Tiger

Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J. K. Rowling. Nightmare before Christmas is the property of Touchstone/Disney and Tim Burton. Corpse Bride is also the property of Tim Burton and Warner Bros. Pictures. Beetlejuice is also property of Tim Burton.

Author note: So… yeah, it’s been a little over month since I updated BUT I had actually had this chapter written out since roughly a month ago. I had originally planned on it being a sorta Christmas/New Years present for my readers (which is why the chapter is way longer than usual). But then life got in the way, the holidays at work are always a bitch, my sister came to visit for Christmas so we had to go around to see all the cousins while she was here (we have a lot of cousins). And Werejaguar had her stuff going on too so it took a while. THEN I had to completely rewrite one part of the chapter as what I wrote didn’t make any good sense.

Thankfully the next chapter is already written so it won’t be as long as a wait.

So quick couple of things I want to address before we get into the meat of the story. There will be no Hotel Transylvania stuff in this fic. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the movies, in fact I love them and can’t wait to see the third. But since I’ve decided to go with the Scooby-Doo version of the classic movie monsters, Hotel Transylvania won’t be included since it can get confusing trying to sort out the different versions of Dracula and the rest of the monster squad.

And yes, that does mean there is a green van full of meddling teens/young adults and their talking dog out there somewhere but other than a mention of Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy, the Mystery Inc. gang shouldn’t show up.

There will also be no Kingdom Hearts related anything unless it’s a vague mention or a nod to the series. You don’t want to add too many series to a fic, it’s too easy to lose track of characters and plot.

Also hi and welcome to my new readers! And as always all y’all are awesome as usual.

Most of this chapter has been betaed Werejaguar of Halloween Town, the very last part was by me so I apologize if it isn’t as polished as the rest of the chapter.

Chapter 16

Harry couldn’t believe how much his life had changed in the last month since he followed the monster that appeared in his cupboard under the stairs, whose name he learned was Kerry. Harry was now as happy as a little boy could be; he had his Mummy and Daddy again, he got his own big room and got to sleep in a real bed, he had toys and books, and he got to eat as much as he wanted! He even had friends now whom he got to play with all the time!

His parents showered him with love, played with him, read him bedtime stories, kissed him and hugged him. They encouraged Harry to ask questions and answered any question he had if they were able to answer. His Mummy was teaching him letters and numbers like when he was in school, happy that he didn’t have to make sure he did worse than Dudley, and teaching him to read. His Daddy told him all sort of stories about the Wizarding World, using the wizarding dolls he brought, he liked to tell Harry about the greatest wizard ever - Merlin. Even Mr. Moony was helping Harry learn now, or Uncle Moony as Harry was starting to call him, he took over a bit of Harry’s teachings from his Mummy and Daddy, but Harry didn’t mind at all. Uncle Moony was a whole lot better than his old teacher he had when he started school.

The other monsters in Halloween Town, whom Harry was no longer scared of, also were trying to teach him. Not the same things as Mummy, Daddy and Uncle Moony, no, they wanted to teach Harry how to be scary. Miss Helgamine and Miss Zeldaborne liked to teach Harry magic, he could summon a little ball of light over his hand now! He was working on making it change colors, but they were ecstatic that Harry could summon the light so young, but Harry just wished he had known how make his own light ball while at the Dursleys... It would have been helpful when the light in his cupboard went out.

Lately though, his parents and his uncle didn’t have much time to teach him. Harry understood why, they were working on, as his Daddy put it, “busting” Mr. Padfoot out of jail. Mummy and Daddy were making a lot of potions, they even let him help! It was a bit like cooking, but Harry didn’t have to do all the work.

“Okay, add the petals in one at a time, sweetheart,” Lily instructed, one hand on Harry’s back to hold him steady on the stool. The tip of Harry’s tongue stuck out as he let the pretty, purple, petals fall into the cauldron, one by one into the bubbling liquid. As soon as the last one fell in, Lily started stirring counter-clockwise. “Very good, baby.”

“We’ll make a little Potions Master out of him yet,” James said with a laugh as he stood over his own cauldron. Lily and Harry were working on a healing potion for Sirius, after 4 years in Azkaban with Dementors as roommates, his best friend wasn’t likely in any good shape. James was working on a brew that would be turned into a knock-out gas for the guards at the prison. Both Potters were grateful to have Remus living with them now, the werewolf was able to go to the Wizarding World and buy things they couldn’t themselves using the money James had taken out of the safe in his father’s office.

“Well he’s certainly seems to be having fun with it,” Lily agreed smiling as Harry climbed down and picked up Mr. Bitey, sitting in a nearby chair with the demonic looking teddy bear and a children’s book to practice his reading. Mr. Bitey, and Lily could see why Harry chose that name with those sharp looking teeth, seem to be listening intently to Harry as the boy sounded out words. She grinned to herself as she turned back to her potion, yes she was happy that Harry was being taught by both of them in potions and with the Potter family talent for it plus her own, Harry had the potential to be great or even a prodigy if he desired so. In fact, she had gotten via sending Remus out into the Wizarding World, Harry a child’s potions kit for Christmas. And speaking of Remus -

“I’m back!” The reluctant werewolf called out warmly from the front door.

“In the lab, Moony!” James called as he left his potion to simmer a bit. “Did you get everything?”

“Yes,” Remus held up a couple of shopping bags. “New, warm, clothing for Sirius and plenty of chocolate.” The chocolate was for him and Sirius, a well known and highly favored combatant against the effects of the Dementor’s chill. “I also finally got a look at the old archives at the library in Diagon Ally - no trial.”

“That figures,” James said with a huff and shake of his head.

“How can they just toss Sirius into Azkaban without a trial like that?” Lily said disgust. “How did everyone miss that?”

“There could be several ways,” James said, sighing. “It had to be chaotic after/ his/ fall, or someone paid plenty of money to make sure Padfoot was quickly put away. Lots of people would want him out of the picture just to have a chance at the Black fortune, especially within his own family. We have no way to know.”

“Still no excuse,” Lily said as set her potion to simmer for a bit and put her hands on her hips. “So that’s everything you need then.”

“Should be, the decoy is ready too,” James said nodded. “The potions are already done or nearly finished, thanks to our little helper.” He winked at Harry who giggled and hid behind his book.

“Helping out, Pup?” Remus smiled as Harry eagerly nodded.

“Mummy and Daddy’s been teaching me potions!” Harry said eagerly.

“I bet you’ve been learning a lot and been a big help,” Remus reached into his pocket and took out a candy bar. “I think special little boys deserve a treat for that. I picked this up in a Muggle town, it’s called a Reese’s.” Harry gasped as the bright orange packet was placed in his hands.

“For me?” Harry asked in awe, getting candy was such an exciting thing for him. “Thanks you, Uncle Moony!” Harry hugged Remus tightly. Remus gently wrapped his arms around Harry hugging him back, his inner wolf nearly prancing in joy.

“You can have it after dinner, Harry,” Lily said.

“Yes, Mummy,” Harry said.

“We just need to inform Jack and we’ll be ready to go,” James said as he finished up the last of the knock out potion for the break out. “This should be fun.”

“‘Fun’, he says,” Remus grumbled with a roll of his eyes and fond shake of his head before looking at Lily. “You’re husband is insane, thinking sneaking around Azkaban is ‘fun’.”

“I know,” Lily said, shrugging. “But I wouldn’t want him any other way.” She giggled as James preened at the words.


James became much more solemn and serious as he, Remus, and Jack traversed down the dark tunnel on their way to Azkaban. This was much too important and serious for James to joke around, if anything - even just the slightest thing - went wrong of them could be killed or rendered soul-less. He wasn’t sure if the Dementor’s Kiss could work on himself or Jack, but it would work on Remus and Sirius for sure if they buggered this up.

Remus was quiet as well, his pockets full of chocolate to help push back the chill of the Dementors. Like James, he knew how dangerous this was. Even more dangerous than any mission he did for the Order of the Phoenix and his various attempts to speak to the werewolf packs around the UK.

“Nearly there,” Jack called from ahead, leading the group. He had easily summoned small but bright flames that floated around all three of them, lighting up the tunnel for his companions who couldn’t see in the dark like he could. “Let’s see…which one… Ah-ha! Here we are.” Jack stopped under a stone slab, the tall skeleton pushing it up and out of the way so he could climb out, James being quick to follow with Remus tailing him.

The mausoleum wasn’t that impressive, which was a sad shame as it must have been at one point in the past, unfortunately, time and lack of maintenance had reduced the final resting place of the dark wizard Ekrizdis to a crumbling mess. The man’s stone casket had collapsed in on itself, the body contained within was nothing but bones and dust. There was nothing for the dark wizard to inhabit if he did for some reason return from the Land of the Dead.

The door leading out of the mausoleum was hanging off its hinges, leaving a wide gap for the trio to slip through. The outside of the crypt wasn’t in much better condition, it was clear that no one had cared at all about Ekrizdis or his final resting place, it was utterly amazing the mausoleum was still standing at all!

The graveyard was in even poorer shape, it was impossible to tell who was buried where. If no one claimed the body of the witch or wizard that died in Azkaban, they were given burial on the island, but it was clear no one gave a damn for the stone markers that sat at the head of each grave was so wore down by the weather that it was impossible to read any of them.

“Cheery,” Remus deadpanned as he pulled his robes tighter around himself, shivering as the cold, punishing, rain soaked through his clothing. He glanced at James and Jack, envying them a bit as the weather seem to hardly bother them.

“The guard house is that way, I believe,” James said over the pounding sea. They found the rocky path up toward the fortress turned prison, nearly slipping at times on the wet rocks.

The guard house was easy to spot once they cleared the path from the burial grounds and rounded the corner of the prison. It looked out of place, one story with warm lights filling most of the windows and a curl of smoke rising from the chimney. Sneaking up to the nearest window, the trio of monsters peeked inside to see what was going on inside.

There were a small number of guards inside; three were playing what looked like poker at a small round table on one side of the room, there was another guard sitting slouched down in a chair by the fireplace looking like they were ready to drop off to sleep. Yet another sat by a wizarding wireless set likely listening to either the news or a Quidditch game. All five of them looked relaxed as if they didn’t have any cares or worries, and why should they worry? The island that Azkaban was located on was uncharted and near impossible to find, and who in their right mind would even come to the island on a night like this! The inmates were locked up tight inside the prison that was guarded by Dementors so they were unlikely to come down and attack the guards even if they did escape their cells with no wands to fight with.

So why shouldn’t the guards be lax and carefree, as far as they were concerned they were perfectly safe.

“Let’s find a window, I’ll sneak in and hit them with the knockout gas,” James said, lifting a comically sized hand pump sprayer, one that looked straight out of a muggle cartoon with a large nozzle, a slide pump at the other end, and a large cylinder container filled with the knock out gas at the head of the nozzle. They went around to the other side of the guard house to a dark window, Jack slipping his slim bony fingers under the edge and easily lifting the window up. James slipped inside, turning himself invisible, and looked around.

The darken room was a barrack-styled sleep quarters, one of the beds even had a guard sleeping in it. The guard mumbled in their sleep about the cold and James quickly sprayed them with the gas when they started to stir. The guard went right back to sleep with a roaring snore.

Sneaking out into the main part of the guard house, he pumped the sprayer making sure to cover all five of the guards. The one in the chair by the fireplace fell asleep right away, the one listening to the wireless fell off the chair to the floor, and the three playing poker slumped over onto the table. James snorted softly in laughter as cards slid out of one of the guard’s sleeve, showing he had been cheating. Doing a quick check of the rest of the guard house showed no one else was inside. James took a moment to search one of the guards and grinned wildly as he produced a ring of keys for the cell doors.

“All asleep,” James said as he came back out and made himself visible again.

“There may be more guards inside the prison itself,” Remus pointed out as they spelled the window back closed after banishing any trace of them breaking and entering.

“So we’ll knock them out too,” James said. Carefully, they made their way up to the main doors of the prison, James using his pilfered key ring to unlock the doors.

The inside of the prison was dark and gloomy; sconces lined the walls with blue fire that gave off a low eerie light. Mold grew on the walls, dust gathered on every surface and cobwebs hung in corners. It was wonderfully gloomy and Jack would have adored it if it wasn’t so damn depressing. It hung in the air like blanket, so thick you could nearly choke on it.

“I do not like this place,” Jack said with a brooding, gloomy frown.

“Not my top pick as a vacation spot either,” James agreed as he tried to lighten the atmosphere.

“I don’t know, a couple of throw pillows, maybe some potpourri, it could really spruce the place up,” Remus added, proud that he kept the waver of fear he was feeling out of his voice. James snorted softly and cracked a smile in Remus’s direction while Jack huffed in amusement, his shoulders shaking a bit in silent laughter.

“Padfoot is near the top of the tower, I wager,” James said, tiling his head back. Remus sighed softly, this place wouldn’t have any sort of lift so they would have to climb the stairs. It was a good thing Hogwarts had given him plenty of practice the seven years there.

The first floor of the prison wasn’t much, a small mess hall for the inmates with lesser offenses, an empty kitchen, a small room for a small group of House Elves that James sprayed with the knock out gas just in case, and a room that looked like an office for whoever was in charge. A quick look around found the prisoner records and where in this hellhole Sirius was currently being held. The floor also held a few meeting rooms for visitors coming to see inmates, a cleaning closet, and a couple of storage rooms for prison garb.

Next couple of floors were for short termed prisoners, most of the cells were empty save one or two. The people inside were sleeping and didn’t notice the passage of an unnaturally tall skeleton, a poltergeist, and a wizarding werewolf. No guards were to be found on these floors, meaning they had all been inside of the guard house.

Next few floors were much the same, longer termed inmates sleeping in cells, many curled up into shivering balls. No human guards were seen, but Jack did finally get his first glance at a Dementor soon enough.

He mused that Lily and Remus had been right, it did look a bit like Grim at least a little. You could nearly see the cold that surrounded the creatures as they glided above the floor, patrolling the corridors, until they were chased away by a stag and wolf made of light.

“Getting closer to the top,” James said softly, gazing at his Patronus that looked like it always had instead of shifting like his Animagus form did.

“Thank Merlin,” Remus said as he leaned against the wall, panting for breath. He was a bit envious of Jack and James at the moment, as the Dead neither had breath to catch and obviously didn’t get tired out from climbing what seem like endless sets of stairs. “I think I’m a bit out of shape.”

“No worries, Moony, we’re almost there,” James said cheerfully.

“We should move, those creatures are coming back,” Jack said, peering down the darken corridor. Remus suddenly got his second wind and led the way up the stairs to the floor where the worst of the worst was kept. Those who had loyally followed Voldemort, those who were completely insane, those who killed for fun, and one wizard who was locked up unjustly.

James and Remus’s Patronus quickly cleared the Dementors from the hallway, the light quickly attracting the attention of those awake within their cells.

“Did the ickle guards come to play?” A woman’s voice shrilly sang out from one of the nearby cells. James and Remus turned toward the voice, stepping back a bit in shock as they recognized Sirius’s cousin, one of Voldemort’s most loyal and bloodthirsty followers - Bellatrix Lestrange.

The years in Azkaban had taken their toll on Bellatrix; her hair surrounded her head in a halo of filthy, wild, black curls, her eyes shone with insanity, and her long, claw-like, fingers gripping the bars of her cell door as she pressed her gaunt face against the cold iron.

“You! My master kill you!” She hissed when her deranged mind recognized James, a wide, crazed, grin spreading over her face. She was so lost in her memories of that night that she hardly noticed the tall, skeletal, guest standing behind James and Remus before turning her full attention on the two wizards. “Yes, killed you and your filthy mud-blood wife. Yes, yes, dead…”

“Well I see you’re finally where you belong, Lestrange,” James taunted, smirking rather smugly. “Only place better would be 6 feet underground taking a dirt nap.” Bellatrix snarled and reached a hand out of the bars, clawing at the air before James.

“I will kill you, Potter! Yes, kill you again! You and your mud-blood!” She howled. “And my master, yes he will come and free his most loyal, take his rightful place as ruler of all!”

“Your master is nothing but a hack,” James spat and stepped closer to Bellatrix’s cell, but stayed out of her reach. “After all, he was defeated by my infant son.”

“He will kill that little brat,” Bellatrix promised her eyes bright with insanity.

“Oh do shut up already, Bella,” a man’s voice almost lazily called out from two doors down. James and Remus turned toward the voice, seeing their friend Sirius Black leaning against the door of his cell, arms hanging out from between the bars. The man blinked as he looked at his two best friends then laughed a rather hollow laugh. “Well bugger me, they finally did it. The Dementors have finally pushed me around the bend. How’s it going, Prongs?”


Sirius Black lay curled up in his cell, currently in the form of his Grim-like Animagus form of a large black dog, his nose tucked up under his tail as he tried to keep warm. He hated this time of year, the already cold prison was made worse by the biting wintery winds that battered the side of the building and flowed through the small window at the top of his tiny cell. Add on the chill the Dementors brought with them and it was hell on Earth.

He huffed softly, curling up tighter, and did his best ignoring the screams of the other prisoners on the floor as the Dementors brought out their worst memories. He was so grateful turning into his animal form didn’t need a wand; it helped against the cold and lessened the effects of the Dementors somewhat. Not completely, even animals could feel despair and sadness, but it helped. Nonetheless, he was still plagued by his own worst memories.

The abuse his mother heaped onto him growing up, fighting in the war against Moldy-shorts and his death munchers, seeing so many of his friends die…. Seeing the Potter Cottage, little Harry screaming and reaching for him while held in Hagrid’s arms… James… Lily….

Merlin, those memories always cut to his soul and made Sirius whine softly as a Dementor passed near to his cell. As always it ignored him, the simpler mind of a dog didn’t interest the dark creatures when it had so many others to draw memories from.

It took a bit for Sirius to notice that the cold lessened a bit, that the screams had stopped...well except one screaming voice... Sirius gave a doggy sigh as he listened to Bellatrix’s voice screeching about Merlin knows what. He honestly wasn’t paying that much attention to the words that spewed from his cousin’s mouth as he stood, shook out his fur, and then changed back into his human form with a mighty stretch.

“Oh do shut up already, Bella,” he grinned slightly to himself and let his eyes wonder a bit as he leaned against the bars of his cell. He blinked, brain shutting down slightly as he took in the three people standing in the middle of the hallway. James Potter - his best friend and brother in all but blood - was looking a little blue, Remus Lupin - his other best mate - made him feel a pang in his chest as he remembered how he treated him when he thought the werewolf was the traitor, and the third person… well Sirius wasn’t sure what to make of that one; it was an insanely tall skeleton wearing some sort of muggle looking pin-striped suit...maybe Death decided to get fancy for whatever was left of his soul... All of these thoughts took place in Sirius’s mind in less than a few seconds, but it still made him crack a smile at his luck.

“Well bugger me, they finally did it. The Dementors have finally pushed me around the bend. How’s it going, Prongs?”

“Bloody hell, Sirius,” James breathed as he stepped over to Sirius’s cell. “You look like hell.”

“And you’re looking a little blue,” Sirius responded with a grin. “Lily making you sleep on the couch again?”

Remus snorted in disbelief and laughter, rolling his eyes fondly. “Merlin, he’s cracking jokes at a time like this,” he said.

“Gentlemen,” Jack calmly interrupted, “Those things are returning and they are bringing friends.” He had decided to pay attention to either end of the corridor while the duo reunited with their old friend. The words were grave and with a touch of urgency as he clenched his rows of fangs in a grimace.

“Oh bloody hell,” James cursed as he and Remus spun around to see dozens of Dementors flying down the hall. He quickly raised his hand and summoned his stag Patronus, the silvery beast stamping the ground and shaking its head with antlers at the ready. Remus mirrored James, but all the commotion from the now awaken inmates had alerted so many Dementors that the terrifying sight overrode his ability to call up any positive memories. Remus’s amber colored eyes widened in fright as only a thin silvery wisp escaped the tip of his trembling wand, his inner wolf wailed in fear, and his breath caught in his throat as one of the Dementors quickly closed in on him, spectral hands on its hood in preparation to pull it back and give the frozen werewolf the Kiss.

“Moony!” Sirius yelled in alarm, gripping the bars of his cell door. Remus wasn’t real to him, Remus and James were surely hallucinations, but that didn’t stop the horror and fright in his voice and eyes for his friends!

“YOU SHALL NOT HARM MY FRIENDS!” Roared Jack in anger as a brilliant fireball slammed into the Dementor with the force and size of a cannonball, the Pumpkin King skeletal features narrowed with righteous anger at the creatures who dared attack someone he both considered a friend and a citizen under his protection. The Dementor shrieked an unholy noise of surprise and pain as it reared back, trying to find safety amongst its kind.

James grabbed Remus and yanked him back against the wall by Sirius’s cell door. Both of them looked at Jack with stunned eyes, the skeleton was surrounded with flames that danced between an angry scarlet to a burning orange brighter than fiendfyre, the magical fire so powerful that it seen to make his eye sockets glow dangerously from within their hollow blackness, and his face stretched out into a wild, skeletal grin that made the usual insane grin on Bellatrix’s face look down-right normal.

The Dementors attempted to swarm this new threat, but Jack gracefully leapt up and over, making a few of the Dementors collides into each other. In the seconds between his jump and landing, the flames seem to completely consume Jack, blocking him from everyone’s’ sight, but when he landed...the fires died down and the air...the air felt different, thick with this feeling that hit everyone... It sent a slow...crawling...icy feeling down all their spines, from the top of the skull to the tips of the toes. Once he rose up, once everyone could see him, they felt the feeling increase a 100 fold and an animalistic instinct screamed one word within all their minds - RUN!

Gone was the skeleton, and in its place was an equally tall scarecrow wearing a tattered maroon shirt on its body made of straw and twigs with lengths of rope that seem to tightly coil around its joints. Jack’s skull had been replaced with a jack-o-lantern sporting a wide, wicked, smile. Flames lit up the inside of the pumpkin, spilling out of the carved openings as Jack’s cackle boomed like thunder before jumping at the Dementors with roaring flames flying from his claw-like branch hands.

“It’s the Nightmare King!”
“King of Monsters!”
“It’s a demon!” Voices screamed in horror up and down the corridor.

“Bloody hell…” James whispered in shock.

“James, did you know that Jack is the King of Nightmares?” Remus asked in equal shock.

“No, he only said he’s the Pumpkin King,” James said with a shake of his head then yelped as he ducked down to avoid a stray fireball. “Bugger! Sirius, we’re coming in!” James’s hands shook as he fumbled with the pilfered key ring, nearly dropping it twice, then jammed the key for all the cell doors for that floor into the lock and turned it. He and Remus rushed in to avoid the fight happening in the corridor.

Sirius blinked and started to think that just maybe this wasn’t some sort of delusion. Maybe…

“James?” He asked hopefully. “What is going on?”

“We’re here to spring you from jail!” James said with a grin.

“Here, eat this,” Remus pushed one of the chocolate bars he brought into Sirius’s hand, the wrapper already torn off. Sirius looked confused, shrugged, and bit into bar, moaning softly as the flavor hit his tongue.

“Best dream ever,” he said around a mouthful of chocolate. Remus cast a Lumos and lit up the cell as he looked at Sirius, wincing as he heard the shriek of pain from some of the Dementors and Jack’s terrifying roar companied by the steady heat radiating from the now one-sided fight.

“Alright, we don’t have much time for explanations, we need to make this quick so Sirius, strip,” Remus said. Sirius grinned, eating the last of the chocolate bar before answering.

“I always knew you wanted me that way, Moony,” he teased, sucking off the bits of chocolate off his finger tips with an extremely exaggerated wiggling of his brows.

“Be serious, Sirius,” James said as he took a bland doll looking thing out of his pocket then enlarged it until it was the same size as Sirius. Sirius shrugged his shoulders and tugged the tattered prison robes off his thin frame, James and Remus both winced when they took in the state their friend was in.

Sirius’s body was so frighteningly thin, pale skin clinging to his bones to where you could easily count each rib, his stomach was shrunken in, and fat nowhere to be found on his body. Sirius’s face was gaunt looking, his cheeks hollow, his gray eyes haunted while his hair hung around him in long, tangled locks, and his beard was a wild mess.

“Merlin…” James said softly, eyes and voice filled with pain. Sirius wrapped his arms around himself and shivered a bit.

“Oh Sirius,” Remus said, he cast a quick cleaning charm on his friend, it wasn’t as good as a proper bath but it would do for now. He then pulled out the warm clothing he brought for the other wizard. “Here, put these on.”

“Thanks, Moony,” Sirius said as he quickly pulled on the new clothing; thick fleece pants, a warm jumper and thick socks with a new pair of shoes. “This is the best hallucination ever, too bad when I wake up from this I’ll be back in my ever stylish prison robe.”

“Not a chance, Padfoot,” James said, he had been busy transfiguring the strange doll to look like Sirius and Remus thought he did a pretty damn good job. It had the same gaunt face, the tangled hair and beard, and even the numbered tattoo on the side of its neck like Sirius had. The only thing that made the golem stand out was its black button eyes. “Put on those robes,” James instructed once he activated the doll. The Sirius-doll didn’t speak and pulled on the dirty, tattered robes then waited for further instructions.

The doll was an invention of the mad scientist Dr. Finklestein, created at Jack’s request. It was soul-less and would follow whatever commands James gave it.

“Do you really think this will work, James?” Remus asked, handing Sirius another chocolate bar before biting into his own. The buttoned-eyed golem moved to sit in the corner of the cell while James shrugged his shoulders.

“It should, as long as they don’t look too closely at it,” he said. “At least for a while, I hope.”

Meanwhile outside the cell, Jack - being a little ashamed to admit this - was having the time of his life fighting against the Dementors. The grin underneath his pumpkin face never left as he dodged, spun, climbed, and leapt around the Dementors, his powers lashing out at them and making them scream with pain. He hadn’t had a battle like this since Oogie and he wasn’t going to lie, a part of him enjoyed a good fight. If he had blood, it would be singing with adrenaline as he let his full rage rain down on the Dementors. Several by now had floated away in shock and fright to lick their wounds, none of them even daring to go after any of the screaming prisoners who had awaken to the screaming bloody murder sight of the soul sucking swarm and the legendary figure from many childhood nightmares.

Finally, after what seemed like hours but in reality was only a few minutes, the last of the Dementors realized whatever Jack was, he was stronger than them, could hurt, and maybe even kill them. With shrieks of pain and outrage, the Dementors floated off down the hall like smoky wraiths though a few did linger to ominously hiss their hatred at the victor of the fight. The Pumpkin King was having none of that by the guttural hiss and threatening bone rattle he released back before widening his stance and bending unnaturally back then lunging forward, he spat one last mighty stream of fire at the shrieking offenders who had just barely escaped. Jack breathed deeply and let his magic flow out and around him, regaining his skeleton form with ease while ignoring the chorus of human screams that went deadly silent when he switched back.

“Bloody hell that was scary,” James said as he, Remus, and Sirius exited the cell, the door locking behind them. Jack just gave them that old skeleton grin and took a bow, which made James and Remus laugh. “We should get out of here since we’ve got Padfoot now.”

“James,” Remus grabbed the other man’s arm and nodded toward the cells where some of the inmates were watching them or murmuring nervously at the sight of Jack. “What about them? We’ve got to do something, they saw everything after all.”

At first, James was going to brush all the prisoners off, after all they were insane what with being around Dementors day in and day out, who would believe anything they said? He then grimaced as he realized that while that might be true for one or two people, the whole block of inmates had either seen what happened or at least heard all the racket. The guards could brush off one or two crazy people, but if so many all said they saw the same thing… Well the guards would have no choice but to investigate.

“Bugger,” he cursed softly then looked at Remus. “We’ll have to obliviate all of them.” They hadn’t really planned this scenario and he only had himself to really blame. The original plan was to use the knock out gas on anyone awake, but then Bellatrix had opened her big mouth and got into a small pissing match with James. Then there was the swarm of Dementors coming to attack and Jack soundly kicking their phantom arses...if they had arses... Remus nodded his head in solemn agreement.

“I’ll start on one end while you get the other,” he stated then turned on his heel, heading for the other end of the hallway. James cursed again then turned to Jack.

“Jack, can you get Sirius out of here? We’ll tie up the loose ends here, but it’s better to get him out,” he asked.

“Of course,” Jack easily answered. James gave him a grateful smile then turned to Sirius who was gloating at Bellatrix, his insane cousin cursing at him and trying to reach the Black heir to cause him bodily harm.

“Pads,” James laid his hand on Sirius’s shoulder, getting his attention. “Come on, time to go.”

“Hear that, Bella? It’s been fun and all, but it seems our time is up!” Sirius taunted then turned his back on her, his face lit up in a grin that was a touch insane but mostly just tired. “Where to, Prongsie?”

“Sirius, this is Jack,” James pulled Sirius over to the tall skeleton who gave him a friendly wave.

“A walk, talking, grinning skeleton… well this night just keeps getting better and better,” Sirius said as he tilted back to look at Jack who easily towered over him. “Nice trick with the Dementors, I hate those bastards.” Jack grinned and looked at James.

“I like him,” he said. “I’ll make sure he gets to the tunnel safely, just hurry.”

“Don’t worry, we will,” James said watching as Jack and Sirius hurried off then turned to face Bellatrix’s cell.

“You won’t get away with this, Potter,” Bellatrix spat, her face stretching out into a horrible grin. “I don’t know how you came back from the dead, but the Dark Lord will come for you and your brat soon.”

“You won’t even remember to tell him, Trixie,” James said with his own acidic grin. Part of him just wanted to kill the woman, she had killed so many during the war and done so gleefully. It would be so much better to off her and the rest of her kind in the other cells, it would be both justice and would deprive Voldemort, if somehow he was able to return, many of his most loyal servants. But the guards would certainly noticed if so many inmates just seemingly dropped dead and again, would bring too much attention to Sirius’s old cell and a too soon discovery of the golem.

James lifted his hand, momentarily marveling as he often did since he died how he and Lily could easily wield magic without their wands, then coldly snapped, “obliviate!”

The spell hit Bellatrix full on in the face, knocking her onto her back with the force behind the spell, and James ripped the last couple of hours from her memories. He turned and headed for the next cell to repeat the process with each inmate until he and Remus had a floor full of dazed and confused prisoners.

“Come on, before they notice us again,” Remus whispered, James nodded and followed his friend down the stairs. They didn’t encounter any Dementors on the way out thankfully, leaving no trace of them ever being there. Remus shivered and pulled his robes around him tight as they ran back out into the rain, James taking a moment to re-lock the doors.

“Head on, I’ll get these back to the guard house!” James called over the howling winds, holding the key ring up in his hand. Remus just nodded and turned, heading toward the burial grounds on the side of the island.

James peeked into the windows, satisfied to see his knockout gas was still working what with the guards still being out cold. Cracking the window open with a flick of his fingers, he floated the keys over to the table, and - like any good prankster - erased all evidence of his meddling by spelling away any rain that had flown in through the open window.

Heading quickly back to the mausoleum where the others would be waiting after shutting the window with a magical snap of his fingers, James couldn’t help the grin that crossed his face. They had done it, they had successfully gotten Sirius out of Azkaban, all of their family was together again. He hoped no one would take too close of a look at the button-eyed golem for a while, giving them plenty of time for Sirius to heal and try to come up with some sort of new identify for his best friend.

Humming softly to himself, James was overjoyed that Harry would have both him and Lily and his two uncles in his life. He slipped past the broken door of the mausoleum, and flashed a cocky grin at his friends. They knew it was all taken care of.

Sirius slowly munched on yet another candy bar, letting the sweet chocolate lessen the lingering effects that the Dementors had on him, and looked at James then Remus then the tall skeleton James had called Jack. He was very confused by what was going on, and he was starting to think that this all may be real somehow, which didn’t make a lick of sense! James was dead! Remus thought he was a traitor and a murderer, or at least Sirius assumed that was what Remus thought of him... And Jack… well Sirius wasn’t sure what to make of him other than he so far liked the bony bloke.

“Prongs, I’m starting to think this isn’t some sort of weird dream,” he commented a touch too calmly.

“It isn’t Padfoot,” James said as he walked over and pulled Sirius into a hug. “You’re free, mate.”

“Oh… okay…” Sirius nonchalantly accepted before his eyes rolled back into his head, 4 years of physical and mental abuse finally catching up to him now that he could afford to relax. James yelped and staggered as he adjusted the other’s dead weight.

“I’m not surprised he fainted,” Remus said as he helped James lay Sirius out on the dusty floor. “He was holding up longer than I thought he would.” He cast a warming spell over Sirius’s shivering form, the drying spell he had cast on all of them only having helped with the situation of wet clothes.

“We need to get him home, get those healing potions in him,” James said as he looked down sadly at his friend.

“Mobilicorpus,” Remus flicked his wand at Sirius’s body and gently lifted the unconscious wizard with the spell. Jack lifted the stone and held it out of the way as Remus, guiding Sirius, went down first, then James, and then followed behind them, pulling the stone back into place and leaving no trace... Well except a half eaten chocolate bar that Sirius had dropped when he fainted, but that was swiftly discovered the next day by a hungry seagull looking for food.

The trip back down the tunnel, Jack’s fire engulfed hand lighting the way, was a quick but quiet one. James and Remus worried over their friend, remembering the grizzly condition that Sirius’s body was currently in. It seemed like no time at all before they re-emerged in the graveyard outside of Halloween Town, and headed to the Potter house where Lily was waiting.

“How bad?” Lily asked as soon as the door opened.

“Bad,” James said softly then looked around. “Harry asleep?”

“Yes,” Lily confirmed, grabbing fresh bottles of potion then followed Remus up the stairs, the bedroom they prepared for Sirius ready and waiting. She gasped and looked away as the men spelled away the warm jumper, her green eyes closed for a moment. “God… poor Sirius.”

“We got him now, Lily,” James said, kissing her forehead as he held his wife. Lily nodded, taking the comfort her husband offered then turned to Sirius. Jack stood in the doorway watching as Lily, with James and Remus’s help, got Sirius to swallow many of the healing potions that would start to fix the damage done to his body. Once they were done, they spelled the warm fleece pajamas Remus had picked up, covered in little black cartoon dogs, onto Sirius and drew the covers over him.

“He just needs rest now,” Lily said as they exited and headed downstairs where some calming cups of tea were waiting for them.

“I should head back, let Sally know we got your friend,” Jack softly remarked as he headed for the door. James quickly followed and stopped Jack at the front door.

“Jack! Thanks, mate, for everything,” James said in a grateful tone. “You’ve done so much for me and my family; letting Harry stay, finding Lily and me, letting Remus move here and helping us save Sirius. It means a lot and I’m sure we all owe you a life debt.” Jack’s skeleton grin stretched out warmly and he laid a bony hand on James’s shoulder.

“You and Lily are my friends, and Harry is a wonderful delight,” Jack spoke sincerely. “You’re friends are always welcome here, James, and I’m glad to help your friend. You don’t owe me anything for that.”

“Still… thanks,” James said with a small bow of his head. Jack patted James’s shoulder with another smile then headed off into the night.


Some hours later, Sirius tossed and turned in the bed caught in the grips of a nightmare. He dreamt of James, of Lily, of Remus and the most horrible of all, Harry. He dreamt of all of them being attacked by Dementors that gleefully sucked out their souls until there was nothing left but soul-less husks that stared out unseeing.

Sirius jerked awake with a scream caught in his throat, haunted gray eyes staring in the space in front of him but not taking anything in. His hands curled into the bed covers, his heart racing so fast and loud that it was amazing it didn’t wake anyone else up in the house. It took several minutes for Sirius’s mind to fully awaken, still caught in the lingering grips of his dreams. He breathed heavily, dropping his head into his hands to muffle any sobs that might escape; this had been one of the worst nightmares he had in the years he had been stuck in Azkaban. And after he had such a wonderful dream about seeing James and Remus again, of escaping that hell hole…

It slowly dawned on Sirius that something was different, that things had changed around him. First he noticed that it wasn’t as cold as before; it was still chilly but not the same soul-numbing chill that Azkaban and its Dementors produced. It was more a pleasant chill of an autumn night. Second he realized how quiet it was; there was no howling winds, no screams of his fellow prisoners, or rattling breaths of the spectral guards. No matter what time of day there were always screams and moans from those trapped within their own horrible memories brought on by the Dementors.

No, it was quiet now. Sirius could hear soft creaks and groans, could hear the hooting of an owl, the creak of a bed…

Lastly Sirius finally noticed that he was wearing something soft and warm, that he was sitting on something comfortable and warm. Lifting his head from his hands Sirius finally took in his surroundings, he was in a darkened room where with a sliver of light that poured from a window that was covered by think dark curtains Sirius could make out the large bed it was sleeping in, a crooked wardrobe and dresser, a desk with a chair, and other normal bedroom furniture.

Sirius looked down at himself, tugging at the soft, warm fleece top that he was now wearing. It was a far departure from the coarse too thin prison garb from before that had offered no warmth against the icy prison. Hold up an arm and squinting gray eyes, Sirius took a closer look at was on the top and snorted softly in amusement at the little cartoon dogs. It would have totally been something he would have gotten for himself as it appealed to his inner jokester.

Sirius wondered if this was some sort of bizarre dream or… if maybe he was dead… He reached up and rubbed his cheek, feeling the thick tangled beard he had grown since he didn’t have access to any sort of groomer tools in a long time and concluded that he couldn’t be dead or dreaming. If he had been dead or dreaming, Sirius liked to think he would appear as he had before Azkaban when he was been in his prime. But if not a dream and not dead… what was going on?

He remembered again the dream, or what he thought was a dream, where he had been saved by James, Remus and that very odd, tall skeleton Jay or John… or was it Jack? Was that real? It couldn’t be real, skeletons didn’t just walk and talk on their own, they had to be directed by some very powerful and dark magics. And James was dead so there was no way his best friend had come to save him and Remus… well Remus was a possibility but… his werewolf friend thought he was the traitor that sold out the Potter family no way would Remus go out of his way to save Sirius.

Yet the dream, or hallucination, had been so real. He could still hear the cackling gleeful laughter of that skeleton fellow as he attacked and beat off the Dementors. Could still taste the oh so wonderful chocolate on his tongue as it filled him with warmth in a way he never thought he would feel again.

Sirius rubbed the soft fleece between two fingers as he tried make sense of it all, his brow furrowed and his mouth drawn into a frown. Finally Sirius tossed the warm thick covered off over his legs and slid off the bed, his feet sinking into the thick plush rug on the floor. As he stood his legs shook a little, his whole body feeling a little weak, then strode over to the window to draw open the curtains.

Outside the world was washed in the silver light of the moon, giving off long shadows that gave everything a creepy vibe. It was like no place like Sirius had ever seen before, everything was crooked looking, made of dark woods and stone. He could see an alley way been whose ever house he was in, a black cat sitting on the stone wall grooming itself without a care.

Beyond the wall Sirius to make out a graveyard with uneven and crooked gravestones and mausoleums, a field of pumpkins lined the graveyard and beyond that Sirius could see a tall hill with prefect spiral curled underneath. Even further beyond all that he could see a dark forest with trees so tall they could rival the ones within the Forbidden Forest that surrounded Hogwarts and so dark inside he couldn’t make out anything past the tree line.

Sirius’s fingers clutched at the curtains as he tried to make any sense of it all. Where was he? How did he get here? Who brought him here? What his strange yet wonderful dream real or was something using the faces of his friends to gain his trust for some reason? And why would they bring him here? Were they hoping to get information on the Order of the Phoenix from him or… oh Merlin did it have to do something with Harry?

Sirius knew he had to find answers, he turned away from the window and in an instant shifted in his grim like dog form since offered him more protection as he had no wand to defend himself with.

Instantly Sirius’s sensitive nose was slammed with all sorts of scents, the intensity of it making him stagger. There were so many scents, both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. There were two faint ones that he couldn’t quite pick up on but something niggled at him that told him he knew the scents yet couldn’t quite get enough to tell who it was. Remus’s on the other hand was very strong and seem to surround him. Sirius’s eyes closed and he swayed as he took in his friend’s scent, Remus was /here/. He was nearby, oh Merlin how was that possible!?

Another scent under Remus’s, one that Sirius couldn’t place at first yet he just knew it was someone he knew. The owner of the scent was there in his doggy memories, it was on the tip of his tongue but he couldn’t put his paw on who it was…

It hit him all at once as he drifted closer to the door, his nose to the ground, a surprise yelp and his head jerking up as the answer dawned on him. Harry! It was Harry’s scent that was everywhere. It had changed a bit since the last time he had smelt it in his dog form, baby powder and sweets mixed in a scent that was uniquely his little Prongslet. Those scents were gone now but the core scent that belongs to Harry long was still there and Sirius eagerly followed his nose to where the scent was the strongest wanting to see his little godson more than anything.

The scents were the strongest two doors down from the room he woke up in, the door open just enough for Sirius’s too thin dog form the slip inside. He gave the room a critical eye, books and toys were scattered all about and Harry’s scent clung to every inch of the room. In the corner of the room was a bed where he could see a lump under the covers and a soft child’s sigh escaping as Harry shifted in his sleep.

Sirius’s heart thudded loudly, so much so he was almost afraid he would wake the sleeping child. He crept closer to the bed, putting his front paws on the edge and lifted himself up… only to give a surprised yelp and flung himself backwards to escape whatever had launched itself at him landing with a thug on the floor. He froze eyes wide wondering if the noise had awoken anyone, but Harry just mumbled in his sleep and Sirius couldn’t hear anyone else moving about.

‘What the bloody hell was that!?’ Sirius though as he rolled back onto his paws and approached the bed from the end, cautiously peeking over the edge. It was… a toy? A freakish looking teddy bear that was all teeth and claws, stitched together like that muggle Frankenstein character. And it was watching him, sitting by Harry’s head protectively as it watched Sirius with glowing red eyes. Sirius couldn’t believe he had been scared by a bloody /toy bear/. Sirius snorted to himself at how ludicrous it was… then again the thing was pretty scary… no! Sirius shook his head and glared back at the toy, he would not be run off by a toy.

Sirius jumped onto the end of the bed, keeping his eyes on the toy the whole time. Mr. Bitey watched Sirius in return never leaving his spot as he watched over Harry in his sleep as his protector. The bear pointed two claws at his eyes then pointed at Sirius with a growl in a ‘I’m watching you’ gesture which made Sirius snort but made no moves to get closer to Harry for now.

Turning his attention to his godson, Sirius’s heart melted and his tail thumped against the bed as he took in the soft sweet face of the tiny boy. Sirius had missed Harry so much, he had hated leaving the terrified boy with Hagrid but the half giant had refused to give Harry to him and Sirius hadn’t wanted to hurt Harry by fighting Hagrid. So instead he gave Hagrid the keys to his beloved bike to get Harry to Dumbledore while he went after Pettigrew so he could clear his name and get the truth out. He had seen it in Hagrid’s eyes, the kindly grounds keeper thought he was behind what had happen to Harry’s family, that Sirius had been the secret keeper. This had been the whole point in switching keepers but ended up majorly biting him in the ass after Peter had sold out his friends to Voldemort and no one other than Sirius and Peter knowing the truth at that point.

Sirius curled up on the end of the bed, laying his head down on top of Harry’s foot to watch him until his eyes grew heavy again and he drifted off to sleep, this time with much more peaceful dreams.
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