Bone of the father, unknowingly given, you will renew your son!
Kill the spare.
Flesh of the servant w-willingly given you will revive your master.
Kill the spare
B-blood of the enemy ... forcibly taken ... you will ... resurrect your foe.
Kill the spare.
Let it have drowned. Let it have gone wrong...
Kill the spare.
Kill the spare.
With a shout, Harry sat up in bed. His sweat had soaked the bedding beneath him and started to trickle down his body. He could feel himself shaking in a way that he hadn't experienced in almost two years.
I put my nightmares about Cedric's death to rest. Why did I have another one - one that was worse than any before it?
He didn't worry if his cries had disturbed his relative's sleep. Two summers ago, he had tacked rugs and carpeting on the walls of his bedroom on his Uncle's orders to muffle the cries that his nightmares of that awful summer before his fifth year had caused him. When the second nightmare had dragged his Uncle from his bed to yell at Harry, he decided that doing so would be the best way to avoid his uncle's wrath.
The fact that his Uncle would not be coming in to scream at him, or worse, repeat the beating he had received earlier that day was of small comfort to Harry though. The shock of the nightmare was soon replaced by the throbbing pains that were from the injuries that he had received when his Uncle had pistol-whipped him. Moving quietly out in the hallway so as not to disturb anyone, Harry opened up the medicine cabinet in the lavatory, grabbed the two aspirin he had left on the sink earlier, and swallowed them quickly. Still feeling dizzy from both the beating and the nightmare, he slowly made his way back to his bed.
As he sat down, he saw the letter from Cho sitting on his nightstand. Unbidden, tears once again sprang to his eyes. Wiping them away angrily with a swipe of his arm, he flopped down on the bed staring at the ceiling above him, silently wishing that it would somehow solve all his problems.
Not only had he lost his girlfriend today, but he had quite possibly lost his godfather as well. Sirius' capture weighed even heavier on his mind than the letter from Cho did. How had he been captured? Had he been out on another mission for Professor Dumbledore? Or had he been caught in his pursuit of Peter Pettigrew the one man who could prove Sirius' innocence?
And what had happened to Sirius? He knew that the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, had ordered the Dementor's Kiss performed on him immediately upon his capture. The Kiss, where the Dementor sucked a person's very soul out through the victim's mouth, was the ultimate punishment. The body would live on after the Kiss had been performed, but only an empty shell of the victim would remain. Had Sirius been given the Kiss? Was he now nothing more than an empty shell? Had he been killed by the Ministry, quickly and quietly? A million possibilities, each one more dreadful than the one before, went through Harry's mind.
A sudden tapping on his window roused him from his thoughts. Turning quickly, he saw three owls flapping patiently in front of his window. Two he recognized: Pigwidgeon, the owl belonging to his best friend Ron Weasley; and Hermes, who belonged to Ron's older brother Percy. The third owl he didn't recognize, but he assumed it would be a Hogwart's postal owl, bringing him his letter for his seventh and final year at school.
Quickly he opened the window to let them in, hoping as always that no one would notice three owls (well, two owls and a tiny ball of fluff) flying into the house. Hermes and the third owl landed quietly and waited for Harry to remove the messages attached to their legs. Pigwidgeon (or Pig as he was more commonly referred to as) kept darting around the room, not unlike a Snitch. Harry's Seeker reflexes were able to catch Pig quickly and remove the note from his leg as well. Harry's own owl, Hedwig, moved out of her cage to allow the other three owls to drink from her water dish. Hedwig did not like Pig at all, so she snapped her beak at him when she thought he was taking too long at the water dish. Harry gave each of the owls a small treat by way of thanks, and then all three took to the sky once more, returning to their respective homes.
Examining the three letters, Harry immediately recognized the handwritings of his three friends, Hermione Granger, Ron, and Ron's little sister - Ginny. Knowing that each of them would be writing to express their sympathies about Sirius' capture, he put them all on top of Cho's letter.
If I don't have to look at the bloody things, maybe I can convince myself it was all just another nightmare.
With that thought, he lay back down on his bed, closed his eyes, and prayed for a dreamless sleep that would never come.
The cold ate into his flesh. It consumed him. It became his reality. He didn't know how long he had been there, for time had lost meaning. All he knew was that fate had finally caught up with him. For 12 years he had sat in Azkaban, the Wizard's Prison, lamenting in his grief and guilt at causing the deaths of two of his closest friends: James and Lily Potter. Now he knew that finally, Death would come for him as well. Whether it came in the form of a Dementor's Kiss or an executioner's axe, he knew that he would not live to see another day.
"On your feet and back against the wall Black." It was the voice again. The voice of Alastair Moody, back once again to mock him, to torture him, to rob him of the few shreds of humanity he had left.
His body somehow obeyed the commands. He didn't know how, for he had certainly not told his body to move. As his cell door clanged open, he found himself standing on the opposite wall, his eyes fixed on the floor in front of him.
"Sit down Sirius. Slowly. We don't want any mistakes to happen in here." Moody's voice intruded itself once again on his consciousness.
Again, as if he were under the effects of the Imperius Curse, he found himself sitting down on the cold stone floors. He wrapped his arms around his legs, pulled his knees up tight against his chest, and let his head hang forward. His long hair framing his head, emphasizing the skeletal look on his face, the emptiness that radiated from his eyes.
Seeing the defeat in the body of the man before him, Moody decided the best course of action was to attack his sense of responsibility.
"I don't have much time Sirius, so pay attention to me."
Sirius slowly raised his head - the reality of Moody being in the cell with him, finally dawning upon him.
Fixing both his real eye and his magical eye upon the pathetic man in front of him, Alastor spoke quickly.
"I've got some good news and I've got some bad news. The good news is that you're not going to be given the Dementor's Kiss."
Black's head rose up sharply at that. Perhaps there would be some way to survive this after all.
"Don't get your hopes up too high, lad. They're keeping you alive so that they can give you a suitably public trial, find you guilty, and then execute you. McNair is already sharpening that axe of his in anticipation. About the only bright spot in all of this mess is that it's going to be at least Christmas time before they can get everything set up. That gives us some time to see if we can find a way to prove your innocence."
Sirius' eyes narrowed at that. Few people knew that he was truly innocent. Fewer still actually believed it. His eyes, which had so recently be devoid of life, suddenly took on a distrusting look.
"Now don't go getting your knickers in a bunch boy. I was in the room with Albus, Minerva, and young Mr. Potter when they gave Barty Crouch the Veritaserum 2 years ago and heard his confession. I also know that Peter Pettigrew is somehow still alive and that he is the one responsible for that massacre 16 years ago not you. The trouble is, there's not a shred of proof in any way that would exonerate you. The only way, and I mean the only way, you have a snowball's chance in Hell of making it out of that trail with your head still attached is to somehow get Peter Pettigrew. Once he's brought forth alive, then he can be given the Veritaserum as well. That would be more than enough to prove your innocence and get you released with a full pardon."
"I know that. In case you haven't noticed I'm slightly imprisoned at the moment. And if I so much as even think about trying to break out of here, Fudge will have my head decorating a pole mounted on the top of Gringotts! I got lucky escaping Azkaban four years ago. I'd stand a better chance facing Voldemort himself than I would breaking out of here."
"Believe me Sirius, I know. You wouldn't believe how fast Arthur Weasley, Dumbledore, and I had to talk to keep Fudge from sending in the Dementors to you the second I dragged your sorry arse in here!"
With that, Sirius' head slumped forward once more.
"Now before you start sinking back into that pit of self-pity again, think man! You have a godson who seems to be possessed with almost inhuman luck when it comes to solving problems like this. He's also not in prison at the moment, which means that as of right now, he's a hell of a lot more useful than your miserable hide is."
Moody's words struck a sensitive nerve within Sirius Black's soul. While he had indeed helped Harry defeat the Vampire Lord Tolkak 9 months ago, it was only through the work of Harry and his friends that Tolkak's lair had even been uncovered at all. Many lives had been saved again by the strength and courage that those teens had shown that cold March day.
As he raised his head, Sirius' eyes narrowed thoughtfully.
"Harry will never be allowed to see me once I'm in Azkaban. You and I both know that. However, if there was a way for me to pass information to him before I was sent there ... "
Sirius left the idea hanging there.
"Well, let me tell you what I'm going to be doing at Hogwarts in two month's time and just maybe that information you want to get to young Mr. Potter will make it to him."
With that, Alastair and Sirius began to speak in low, rapid tones.
The splash of cold water that drenched Harry succeeded in doing two things: waking him up and causing him to fall out of bed. With a cry as he fell to the floor, Harry looked around the room to the blurry form of his cousin before him. Quickly putting on his glasses, he saw that Dudley was holding a rather large bucket and smirking at him wickedly.
"Get your lazy arse up Potter. You've got chores to do."
Silently thinking of all the places he'd like to tell Dudley to shove his chores, Harry trudged off to get a quick shower before he proceeded downstairs. The pain of the previous evening's beating still beat a dull throb in his head.
His Aunt Petunia's shrill voice greeted him as he entered the kitchen.
"Finally awake are we now? Well quit dawdling here in the kitchen boy. Vernon's gone into work early to prepare for a very important client meeting and I'm taking my angelic Dudley-poo out shopping for his new school clothes today. Then I'll be taking my sweet little Duddykins to his favorite sporting store to pick up things for the polo lessons he'll be taking starting next week."
Quietly Harry snorted as he prepared himself some hot, buttered toast. Little' was hardly the correct word to ever describe his cousin Dudley. Harry was gripped with a sudden feeling of pity for the poor horse that Dudley would be riding. As Ron had put it one evening last year: If you told Dudley to haul arse, it'd take him three trips! Even Ron's rather prim and proper girlfriend, Hermione, laughed at that one instead of speaking to Ron about his choice of language as she was so apt to do. Harry believed part of that was due to the fact that when Hermione had come to pick up Harry prior to their sixth year at Hogwarts, Dudley made a rather pathetic attempt at flirting with Hermione. The story still brought roars of laughter in the Gryffindor Common Room whenever Hermione was obliged to repeat it.
"I've left you this list of chores to do today boy. Mind you that they all get finished before Vernon gets him this evening or the much-needed discipline you received last night will look merciful in comparison."
With that, Petunia and Dudley left. The sound of the front door slamming signaling that they had indeed left. Glancing at the list in front of him, Harry could not stifle a groan from escaping. Weed the garden, trim the hedges, paint the fences, mow the lawn, wash the dishes, vacuum the floors, clean the bathroom, do the laundry, and ...
When he read the last item on the list, Harry had to keep his anger tightly controlled. The last item on the list was clean up the mess you made on the carpet last night. Obviously, that meant the blood that had been spilled had gotten into the carpet and he was to clean it out. Harry had to restrain himself from using his magic to rip all the carpet out of the house. As it was, the backlash of Incidental Magic caused by his anger was enough to cause the dishes to start rattling. That cooled Harry's temper immediately. Having to explain that he accidentally destroyed all of the dishes in the kitchen would undoubtedly earn him not only a wicked beating, but also banishment to the cupboard under the stairs that had been his home for so many years.
Glancing outside at the sun as it blazed in the sky, he knew that it was going to be another muggy day outside. Not wanting to put things off any more than he already had, he went to his room to change into clothes better suited for working outside. In this case, he chose simply to wear a pair of shorts, socks, and tennis shoes. As Harry figured, if he was going to be stuck outside, he might as well get a bit of color on his skin while he was out there.
The one thing that Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had not counted on was one small benefit to Harry's induction into the Order of the Phoenix in his fifth year at Hogwarts. As a Member for The Order, Harry was allowed to practice minor amounts of magic without fear of reprisal from the Improper Use of Magic Office. And as it happened, spells such as cleaning and painting spells were within the acceptable limits of that allowance. To be sure, Harry still did some of the chores by hand he never did mind running the lawn mower back and forth as it trimmed the grass. However, he would use minor levitation spells to help pick up the trimmings and deposit them into Petunia's mulch pile. Thus, while Harry was busy weeding the garden, the fences were painted, the hedges were trimmed, the carpets were vacuumed, and the laundry was completed. Once again Harry breathed a word of thanks to Molly Weasley, who had taught him those simple spells last summer while he was at The Burrow.
Once he had finished weeding the garden, Harry turned his attention inside. The thought of Mrs. Weasley had brought to mind the letters that were sitting unopened on his nightstand. He quickly ran upstairs to make sure that they hadn't gotten wet when Dudley had thrown the bucket of water upon him. When he saw that they were undamaged, he returned his attention to his chores. Leaving his room, he muttered a quick drying charm and aimed it at his bedding before he started in on the vacuuming. Harry shuddered when he thought of his Aunt or Uncle's reaction if they came home early to find him reading letters when there were still chores to be done. Finishing the vacuuming at lunchtime, Harry paused to fix himself a quick sandwich of poached eggs, bacon, and tomato.
As he set off a cleaning charm on the dishes, he turned his attention to the bloodstains that were on the carpet in the living room. It wasn't as much as Harry had feared, but it still stood out in stark contrast to the pale color of the drab carpeting. Kneeling down, Harry began to scrub at the bloodstains on the floor. After what felt like an hour of scrubbing and with his arm tightening up painfully, Harry finally dried up the last of the cleaning solution to see that he had indeed gotten the blood out of the carpet.
Draining the bucket in the kitchen sink, Harry put a stop to the cleaning charm. He wanted to leave a small plate or two that he would clean just as the Dursleys walked in the door so as to give the illusion that he had been working diligently all day long. Walking outside, he saw that the various other charms he had set off had finally completed their work. With a quick wave of his wand, he sent the various tools back to the shed in the backyard before he returned inside.
Walking back up to his room, he grabbed the letters that had been delivered the night before. Pulling up the loose floorboard in his room, he pulled out a piece of fudge that had been sent to him by Mrs. Weasley at the beginning of the summer. Returning downstairs, Harry put his feet out underneath the chair across from him, opened the letter from Hermione, and began reading.
I know you've heard the news reports about Sirius by now. I'm so sorry Harry. If there's any time you ever need a friend to talk to, don't hesitate to call me. I don't care if it's in the middle of the night feel free to call anytime.
Oh Harry, I hope that he's all right. I know that Minister Fudge had ordered the Kiss to be performed on him immediately our third year, but surely that order can't still be in effect!
Harry, I promise you Ron, Ginny, and I will do whatever we can to help you prove that he's innocent.
Keep strong Harry. I'll see you in a few weeks at The Burrow.
With a sad smile, Harry knew that the tone of the other two letters would very much match Hermione's. Next, he opened Ron's.
I'm sorry to hear about Sirius. You know that Hermione's probably already working on a way to prove him innocent. Don't worry Harry we'll find a way to help him out. I promise you.
Mum says that you're going to be coming out here in a week. Can't wait to see you. If you need anything before then, just owl Hermione or me. You know we're always happy to help make life with the Muggles a little easier.
Your friend always,
Setting Ron's letter aside, he picked up Ginny's letter.
I'm so sorry to hear about Sirius. We all know he's innocent why can't the Ministry see the facts in front of them? Why won't they believe you and Ron and Hermione when you tell them what happened with Professor Lupin 3 years ago?
Don't be down Harry. As Ron told you in his letter, we'll find a way to help Sirius prove his innocence.
I'm sure Ron also told you by now that you're to be coming to stay with us in a week. I can't wait. Colin will be visiting as well. It'll be so wonderful to see him. I miss him so much, but you know that I am ... well really all of us here ... are thinking about you very much right now.
Be strong Harry and know that you're in our hearts right now.
Smiling happily at the end of Ginny's letter, he was suddenly quite glad for the friendship he had developed for the youngest Weasley over the past two years. He now considered Ginny to be just as close of a friend as Ron or Hermione. He was also thrilled to hear that things between her and Colin Creevey were still going smoothly. Colin had managed to out grown the camera-toting hero worship of Harry that had been the hallmark of their first years of knowing each other and had developed into quite the respected photographer.
As he finished the last of the fudge, he heard Petunia's car rattle into the driveway. After a quick dash upstairs to put the letters away from prying eyes, he returned to the kitchen and grabbed the last plate. As Petunia and Dudley walked into the kitchen, they saw him rinsing the soapsuds off of it and place it upon the draining rack.
Dudley waddled back into the living room, his arms laden with bags, while Petunia went outside to check on Harry's work. When she came back in, she saw that all the work had been done. Looking around the kitchen, she snorted as if looking for an excuse to have Vernon lay into Harry again.
"At least you finished your chores before your Uncle got home. Now get out of my sight. And not a sound out of you or it'll be another round of discipline for you!!"
The sneer on her face was echoed in her voice. Ignoring both her and his cousin, Harry walked upstairs to his room, locked the door behind him, and pulled out a few sheets of parchment. As he grabbed a quill and his inkbottle from beneath the loose floorboard, he thought of how he was going to summarize the past 24 hours.
Sirius' cell, the next day.
The rattling of the keys woke him from his slumber. He tried to stand, but muscles that were sore responded too slowly to allow him to move much. He raised his head and saw that it was Moody again, accompanied by McNair and one other who's name he couldn't quite name.
It's time. I'm going back and there's no avoiding it.
The thought sunk heavily into his chest. Not so much for his own pain, but for the pain that it would cause those around him. Harry, Remus, the Weasleys, Albus ... they would all be hurt by what was about to transpire. There was no way out for him though. He was going back. The thought of where he was going froze his soul.