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The Escape and the capture
Sirius’ Point Of View:
It is quite warm here now. Wait, warm? In Azkaban? Azkaban has always been cold and damp except for… Oh yeah, some dolt is coming for inspection, so, the dementors have been sent somewhere else. I relish these few moments when the dementors are not around.
It is the only time I can think of Hogwarts, of the Marauders and all the pranks we used to play, of all the fun we had, of how happy I was when my Elizabeth said, ‘I do’, of how happy we were when our beautiful daughter Hermione was born, and of how happy I was when Lily and James named me godfather to little Harry. I was one of the happiest men on earth at that time. But all our happiness was ripped apart and torn to shreds by that rat. An involuntary snarl escaped my lips.
I wonder where my Elizabeth is now or even my daughter Hermione is. Hermione will probably be at Hogwarts with Harry. Will they be starting their first year or finishing their last year? I have no idea. I don’t even know how long I had been stuck here in this hell hole. My thoughts turned back to my daughter. Does she even know that I am her father? I don’t think so. I think both she and Eliza might have been too ashamed to even have my last name, Black.
Well, I think it is much better that they adopted Eliza’s maiden name, Potter. It is much better than Black after all. Why haven’t any one of them visited me even once? I believe Eliza blames me for her brother James’ death. Well, I ought to be blamed. After all, it was my foolishness which made them change the Secret keeper.
Eliza never liked Peter neither did Hermione. Whenever Peter held Hermione when she was just around a year old, she always used to start crying. Plus, Animagus forms reflect a person’s character. And, his animagus form is a rat. A rat, a sneaky rat. And I trusted such a person with Prongs and Lily.
For it, I deserve Azkaban. I deserved all the years I spent in this small cell. I deserve all the nightmares I had almost every night in which everyone, including Prongs and Lily, blame me for their deaths.
Footsteps. I can hear footsteps now. Probably some Azkaban guard’s. No wait, it is the group of Ministry morons for whom the dementors were sent away. They are in front of my cell now. The short, portly man in the front, I recognize him. He is fudge, Cornelius Fudge. He used to be in the International Magic Co-operation Department when I used to be an Auror. The Azkaban guard is whispering something to Fudge, “Minister, he is the one—“
Minister? Does he mean that this dolt Fudge is the Minister of Magic now? Oh Merlin, what is this world coming to?
Fudge is holding a Daily Prophet. It has been years since I saw a Daily Prophet. Let me ask him for it. So, I cleared my throat and said, “May I please have that newspaper? I have missed doing the crossword puzzles in it.” I was surprised at how hoarse my voice sounded. So very different from the deep and pleasant baritone I used to have, the one for which professor Flitwick used to beg me to sing in the choir. I smiled a bit when I remembered how I purposely sang tonelessly so that he wouldn’t ask me again, not that he fell for that trick though.
I realized that the Minister was holding out the newspaper to me with a look of surprise. I slowly took the extended newspaper and went to sit in a corner of my cell to read it.
When I glanced at the date, I got a shock, July 2nd 1993. Oh Merlin, is it 1993 already? Gosh, that means my daughter will be fourteen this year and will be at her third year in Hogwarts. Wait, that also means that I was here in Azkaban for almost twelve years! It was Eliza’s birthday two days back, on June 30th. It would have been her 33rd birthday. That would also mean I am thirty-three years old myself. Oh Merlin, I am growing old!
I glanced back at the Daily Prophet. The first page was filled with news like, “French Minister visits Britain” and “England wins the Gobstones World Cup”, while the second page was filled with paparazzi on prominent witches and wizards. I think the news will be like this if there was no threat of the dark side taking over.
In page 4, something caught my attention, “Ministry worker wins lottery worth 5000 galleons”. Arthur and Molly won a lottery? Good for them. The Weasleys deserve it. I read the whole article and just glanced at the adjoining photograph. I had the shock of my life and that is saying something after all that I had experienced. It was a family photo of the Weasleys and sitting on the shoulder of the youngest boy (probably) was THE RAT. I know it is him. I can recognize him anywhere. It was just like the rat to hide with a wizarding family while I rotted away here in Azkaban. Peter Pettigrew was still alive. I had hoped that he might have died but apparently no such luck. Wait, what was the last line in that article? Ah yes, “their last son, Ronald will be starting his third year at Hogwarts this year.” Third year. 1993. Harry and Hermione both start their third year at Hogwarts. They will probably be Gryffindors. This Weasley will also be a Gryffindor. He and Harry will be sharing a dorm. Sharing a dorm with the rat.
Oh Merlin! I almost yelled. What if the rat tries to finish what he started twelve years back? What if he tries to kill Harry, the last surviving Potter? Hermione is probably friends with Harry. Then she will also be in danger.
“NO!”, this time I screamed but it did not matter because many others were also screaming now. It is slightly chilly now, which means that the dementors have come back. Oh well! The one dementor-free hour of the year is over. Now only next year I will be able to experience it again.
Wait! Who said I should? I do not want to risk the rat attacking my only remaining family. Only I can put a full stop to it because I am the only one who knows about him being at Hogwarts. A fire and an iron determination came over me.
I have to escape Azkaban.
Today, I am ready to put my plan into action. I had found out quite some time back that dementors don’t affect me in my Irish wolfhound form. And now, I found out that dementors can only sense human emotions and not a dog’s. They don’t even realize that I am there in my cell when I am in my dog form.
Around a week back, a new guard had come to Azkaban. A young man who was quite friendly. I think he was surprised to see me lucid and coherent, unlike others, yet he spoke to me for quite some time and I, using my natural ability to behave, oh so charmingly, which used to get me out of trouble many a time at Hogwarts, found out that I was currently in the basement at Azkaban. He also told me the direction to go out and also which direction to swim to reach the coast. I don’t think he realized that I was planning to escape. Now, it is time to put my plan into action.
“Woof!” I gave a bark of delight in my dog form. Finally, I was out of the Azkaban fortress and free of the dementors. Though, there still was the gigantic task of swimming the 10km to the coast. I just hope that my muscles hadn’t rotted away in Azkaban.
My lips curled into a canine grin as I imagined tomorrow’s newspaper headline, “First ever breakout from Azkaban”.
I don’t know how I did it, but somehow, I reached the coast swimming in my dog form. Almost halfway through, I thought that I just couldn’t swim anymore but I got determined to reach the coast just for the sake of my last living blood relatives. Although I am dead-tired now.
Some kind old lady gave me some water and a piece of meat. After all, James always used to say that I was more likeable in my dog form.
ALMOST A YEAR LATER. AFTER THE SHREIKING SHACK INCIDENT AND SIRIUS REVEALED INNOCENT TO THE TRIO AND LUPIN. LUPIN HAS JUST TRANSFORMED:
Oh Merlin, how did I forget that today was the full moon? I don’t want another Potter to die because of my foolishness, nor will I forgive myself for not protecting my daughter while she stood helpless before a werewolf. I think my Eliza has disappeared or is no more, because Hermione was adopted by someone called Granger. To be frank, I don’t think Hermione even knows that I am her father even now.
Back to the present dangers, Moony had almost finished transforming and the three third years were staring at him, paralysed in horror.
“Get back to the castle, you three. I’ll take care of him”, I yelled before transforming into my animagus form.
But at that time, the rat thought of escaping again. He waved at all of us before transforming too.
I really have to admire my Hermione’s courage, though she almost gave me a heart attack. Hermione screamed, “Stupefy”, stunning the rat. “You shall not put an innocent man in Azkaban again”, she yelled and completely not bothering about the transformed werewolf, she ran across and picked up the unconscious rat.
“Ms. Granger!” yelled Severus Snape, who had apparently regained consciousness, at the same time Harry and Ron together yelled, “Hermione!”
Moony had diverted his attention from Hermione to Snape, Harry and Ron and was eyeing them as though they were a tasty snack, which they probably were to him now.
I felt that it was time I joined the fray. I jumped in front of Moony and growled. He probably saw me as a new threat who challenged his dinner. He howled and then lunged at me, but I was ready for him. It turned into an intense canine fight between the two of us. Finally, though I regret it, I sunk my teeth into Moony’s hind leg. He yelped in pain and then bowed in sub-ordination to me, recognising me as the alpha.
I turned around and saw that Snape and the Trio had gone into the castle. At least Snivelly could do something right.
I turned back to Moony and growled, indicating that we should race each other to the forest and then we shall go hunting. He whined, acknowledging the hunt. And then, the two of us canines bounded into the Forbidden Forest, racing each other.
I felt something that I had not felt in a long time, happiness. It was almost like the old times now, except without Wormtail and Prongs. And deep inside my heart, though I absolutely detest it, I miss the old Wormtail, one of the Marauders, my best friends and brothers in everything but blood.