- Death-Major Character
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
His immediate first task was to escape from Azkaban. He could do nothing to help Harry while he was here.
Sirius’d had that thought before of course but dementors not only stole your memories but they also sapped your will. Some days he’d nor even been able to raise his head. But now his thoughts remained his own and his head remained clear.
So he began to pay attention to what the prison routine there was. Helpfully Azkaban seemed to have some weird echoes that meant every now and then his hearing cleared and he could pick up the guards speaking as discussed rotas and shifts changes as well as the latest Quidditch scores, what the mess might serve for dinner, and how much they didn’t want be stationed at bloody Azkaban.
Azkaban was where the Aurors stationed all the Aurors too injured for standard duties (unless they came from an influential family) and any muggle-born or muggle-raised who made it through basic. Longbottom, five years older than Sirius (nobody in the Aurors was going to listen to Sirius, he was sure he’d barely escaped being Azkabaned himself – although he supposed they’d got him in the end. That thought made him giggle to himself until the dog came back and barked roughly at him) and a Watch Captain had been doing his best to change that, and Merlin knew there were more than enough injured Aurors to keep Azkaban running. But, judging from what Sirius managed to over-hear, any success he’d had seemed to have been reversed once he went into hiding. The current batch of Aurors were an uncomfortable mix of angry veterans and anxious just graduated muggle-borns.
Sirius was certain he could use that.
He warned himself to be patient. This couldn’t be rushed. His best chance was always going to be his first attempt. It was just hard, he needed to find Harry, his godson wasn’t safe. Not with everybody thinking about the prophecy instead of one small boy who was still figuring out his b and d’s.
Sirius had told James over and over that they needed to leave the country. With a prophecy it was perfectly respectable for the chosen one to grow up in secret, but nobody could hide in one tiny house for seventeen years. They needed a small estate near a quiet town, Sirius had pushed for France, his family still had a claim on some properties there, and they had even started discussing which might be the best, but then James had gone stubborn and Lily was caught up in her research and –
Hell, Sirius’ real failure had not been kidnapping the three of them and forcibly installing them in Provence.
The wave of despair nearly swamped him but he held on tight to the thought that Harry needed him. Maybe Sirius was a failure but he was certain he was the only person in the least bothered about the little boy. He shivered with impatience.
Then he heard a voice say, “Hang on we’re coming.”
He hunched in on himself, glancing around for whoever had spoken. It had been perfectly clear, almost conversational in tone and vaguely familiar. But there was nobody who could have spoken. Sirius’ left-hand neighbor had screamed himself hoarse two days ago, his right-hand neighbor had been here longer and was reduced to incoherent slurs of sound.
He was just deciding that perhaps he slipped into insanity and was even now drooling witlessly in a heap, when the bird arrived. Insensibly Sirius immediately felt better. The bird brought with it such a stern unflappable calm it was impossible to feel anything but safe.
He smiled up at it,
“Hello beautiful,” his voice cracked after not being used for too long. “What are you doing here?” It wasn’t a seagull, or any sort of sea bird. It was about the size of an eagle but had the short straight beak of a seed-eater. Dusty brown in color it looked quite ordinary until it spread its wings and then it glistened a thousand different shades like sand in sunlight.
Holding up one hand as he would for an owl, Sirius caught it gracefully as it fluttered down to rest, its claws a light firm pressure around his wrist. Gently, he ruffled its chest feathers and grinned as it cooed back.
The strangest thing was that it didn’t seem strange.
The Ministry of Magic was more like a municipal town hall than a ministry building. But then Feuilly supposed he was biased, the French Ministry was at Louvre and was a stunning mixture of historical glory and modern comforts. It also had windows.
“We’re wizards,” Grantaire grumbled. “We can do better than this. Have they not heard of natural light.”
“Presumably they all have permanent headaches. Might explain a lot.” He certainly had a headache, it was like the crowd was pressing in on him, their noisy anxious feelings rampaging through his head.
“Yes – oh hello,” Grantaire turned towards the wall and crouched to greet Eponine’s patronus. It was a small fierce creature black furred with white stripes. Grantaire said it was a type of badger although it wasn’t any sort Feuilly recognized.
“What did it say?” he asked as Grantaire pulled a face.
“She got three of them, no problem. I like the Aurors less every time I hear about them.”
“Lucky we don’t have to deal with them for much longer.”
Grantaire pulled another face. The badger bit at his foot. “Yes alright we’re coming.” He linked his arm with Feuilly’s and towed him along.
They heard Eponine before they saw her, she was saying,
“– and then you’ll let me go.”
“Of course, sweetheart,” oiled a man’s voice. He was a slick of lust and dirt. Feuilly hung onto Grantaire a little harder. “You be nice to us girl, and we’ll be nice to you.”
“Seriously,” hissed Grantaire, “why would anyone fall for that?”
“Desperate anyones.” Feuilly drew his wand, happy to demonstrate to these bastards they’d chosen the wrong anyone to take advantage of today.
The badger led them around another corner and they were in a deserted closed off corridor. Eponine was fluttering her eyelashes nervously at three stocky Aurors. When she saw them come around the corner, her face hardened and she smacked the heel of her hand into an eye.
The Aurors yelped and flailed, going down easily under their combined attack. They didn’t even need to use any spells.
“That was surprisingly easy,” Eponine sounded disappointed.
“Just wait til you hear what we’re doing for an encore,” said Grantaire. He focused on the Auror he had slammed into the wall. “Now give me your Auror ring before I take it off you.”
“You can’t take it off me,” he oozed smugly. “It’s keyed to me. Only I can take it off.”
“Alright then, I’ll take your finger and the ring.”
“That will be fiddly and take too long,” Eponine complained. “Just take his hand off at the wrist.”
“Hands are awkward things to carry around,” Grantaire whined back, their amusement bubbling merrily as they volleyed it back and forth between them. “And they bleed a lot more than fingers.”
“Stop being a wuss. You can cut the finger off later. Just hurry it up, I haven’t had a proper shower for a month.”
“You heard the lady.” Grantaire shifted so he was addressing all three of their prisoners. “Rings or hands, if you please.”
They had their three rings almost before he’d finished speaking.
Feuilly hit the prisoners with stunners, flicked his wand to slide them to the blunt end of the corridor and cast a careful illusion of the wall to hide them. Somebody would have to look very closely to spot the change so the three Aurors could sleep of their stunners in peace. Couldn’t happen to three nicer people.
Meanwhile Grantaire had given Eponine back her wand.
“So,” she said as she gratefully stretched out her wand arm, rotating her wrist, “not that I minded threatening those idiots but why do we need three Auror rings?”
“We’re breaking into Azkaban.”
“Oooh,” she exclaimed like a little girl promised a marvelous treat. “Tell me more.”
Feuilly wondered if it said bad things about him that he had friends willing to break into the wizarding world’s worst prison at a moment’s notice.
It was full dark and Sirius was trying to sleep. He didn’t think he had genuine rest since he’d arrived, the dementors destroyed that along with everything else. Unfortunately the wretched bird seemed to have other ideas. It kept cooing and flapping its wings sending brilliantly jeweled light sparkling across the darkness.
“Sleep,” he groaned at it.
It flashed its wings again, and that almost remembered voice said, “Nearly there, hang on just a bit longer,” so clear and loud that Sirius sat up to look around his cell in confusion
“My mind is clearer but I’m going crazier. Excellent.”
The bird cooed again. He covered his face with his arm and determinedly closed his eyes, but before he could get even the least sleepy, he heard footsteps. They weren’t Auror footsteps. The Aurors were all hunkered down in their dormitory, or trying to get drunker in the common room. Azkaban duty wasn’t exactly good for one’s mental health.
These footsteps were soft and sneaky, more drift than walk. Sirius sat up and focused to listen harder,
“This is inhuman,” muttered a woman’s voice. “I wanna come back with a loaded gun and shoot them all in the head, it would better than this.”
“No, better would be to get rid of the dementors,” said a male voice and Sirius’ shook his head trying to shake loose why it felt familiar. “The Bastille incorporates a number of defensive –”
“Can we put prison reform on hold for the moment,” broke in another man, sounding exasperated. “We’re here to rescue your posh boy, not rearrange society.”
“We can’t do both?” asked the woman.
There was a shove, and a scuffle, and a giggle.
“Can’t you two stop being obnoxious for one minute,” said the familiar male voice.
“Yeah Eponine,” scolded the other man, Sirius could hear tense, rabbiting heartbeats ease into something more natural as they teased each other “stop being obnoxious. He’s trying to make a good impression on loverboy.”
“Oh sweet Melusine, that’s even worse,” groaned the familiar man.
“Well you’re the one brought me and Grantaire along when you wanted to make a good impression,” said Eponine heartlessly.
“I have no idea what I was thinking. Hang on – yes this is right corridor.” A door creaked open.
“I know Grantaire said you studied the newspaper reports, but dare I ask how you’ve managed to get us right here, you haven’t hesitated once?” asked Eponine.
“He’s following the dog,” said Grantaire.
“What dog?” said Eponine, just as the other man said,
“You can see the dog?”
“Yes I can see the dog. It’s a basically an ambulatory rug,” he added to Eponine. “A huge shaggy black thing. We’re going to be talking about it later, in depth, but I thought for the moment we should concentrate on the jailbreak side of things.”
“Goodness,” exclaimed Eponine. “You’ve gotten positively sensible since Enj-, that is you have become shocking sensible. I’m quite overcome.” There was another thump and giggle.
“Please try and behave like respectable citizens for a few minutes,” said the familiar man. He didn’t sound hopeful.
“We’re breaking into Azkaban, how respectable can we be?”
“Just come along.”
And then footsteps were walking along Sirius’ corridor and stopped outside his cell. Sirius stared fiercely at the solid steel door but whatever weird tricks his mind was playing it didn’t let him see through. He tried not to be too disappointed.
“All right Grantaire, work your muggle magic on the lock.”
The door clicked a couple of times.
“Heh,” said Grantaire, “Actually I don’t think I can.”
That brought a chorus of dismayed exclamations.
Grantaire laughed, “No, the reason I can’t pick the lock is because the bloody idiots don’t have a lock. It’s just bolted at the top and the bottom.” There was a slinck-click from the base of the door as a bolt slid back.
“It’s not that idiotic,” said Eponine, “I mean who’s going to undo the bolts after all.”
“We’re here.” Another slink-click from the top of the door and then it was swinging open.
There were three people standing crowded in front of the doorway to his cell. Three very bedraggled people.
Sirius stared some more.
They were absolutely drenched, a few spots of water still dripping from their soaked clothing despite their walk through Azkaban. They smelt strongly of salt and the raw sea. They were young, no older than Sirius himself and dressed muggle, hoodies, jeans and trainers. Their hair was plastered to their skulls and they looked half-frozen. The woman was holding herself with the stiff tension of someone trying not to visibly shiver.
Nobody said anything.
Sirius stared some more.
“He-e-ey,” said Grantaire, waving one arm expansively. He was the shorter of the two men and his dark hair still had a few valiant curls. “We’ve come to rescue you.”
Sirius rather thought he was hallucinating, he coughed once, “Um, not that I want to disparage your efforts, but any rescue I imagined was not quite so – damp.”
“Blame Grantaire.” “It is not my fault.” and Eponine and Grantaire both shoved at each other.
“Also,” said Sirius more loudly, because he figured that squabble could go on indefinitely. “Who are you?”
That stopped the squabble. “Oh ouch,” said Grantaire. Eponine winced, “This is awkward.” “Start thinking quickly.” “We can leave you here.”
“Stop being rotten,” said the other man speaking for the first time. “It was one weekend and his brain’s all rattled up from Azkaban.”
It was the voice that did it. Sirius had been trying to remember where he knew that voice all day.
“Feuilly!” He laughed, scrambling up to throw himself at the other man. “What on earth are you doing here?”
“Uh,” after a stuttery pause, arms closed around him and lifted him right off his feet. The smell of the wild sea was almost overpowering but he pressed his face into the crook of Feuilly’s neck and inhaled. All the tension left his body as he soaked up the other man’s presence.