Very well, he was fifteen years in the past.
So what was he going to do about it?
Most decidedly not
carrying out that absurd plan suggested a few moments before by a particularly sarcastic portion of his personality, in fearlessly hurling himself once more through the Veil at the Department of Mysteries, all in a perfect Gryffindor attempt to save the day by going back even further in time to rescue everyone. Sirius shook his head in wry acknowledgment over accepting this, causing drops of water to spray from his damp hair. Brushing this back with his fingers after he finished washing his face in the tiny pool at the center of the copse, the wizard rose to his knees, and he returned to his seat under the tree.
Leaning back against the woody trunk, Sirius contemplated his options. He’d escaped from Azkaban (again
), only much more earlier than before, which meant he was in better physical and mental shape than the last time. On the other hand, the man falsely accused of betraying James and Lily Potter was now in far greater trouble in this latest go-around, incredible as that might seem. Trouble that surely had in it somewhere the words: ‘kill on sight.’
Those damn prison guards.
A brooding Sirius was presently sure of only one thing, that the Aurors had finally awoken to the fact the Azkaban ferry was missing, along with several of their personnel and an escorted prisoner. Of course, the most optimistic outcome for Sirius was that the Ministry of Magic would merely decide a terrible tragedy had occurred, with their boat and its passengers being lost at sea. Very sad, send a note of consolation to the guards’ families regretting the inability to hold any funerals and assure them their death benefits would be paid up on the dot. As for what’s-his-name, the felon, that cowardly cur had indisputably gotten what was coming to him in a true example of cosmic justice, blah, blah, blah.
Sirius genuinely doubted that he would be that
lucky. More likely, a magical search by the Azkaban staff had the possibility of either finding the guards’ bodies, or even a survivor. Just because Sirius hadn’t seen anybody alive there in the ocean before swimming away, this didn’t necessary mean his prison escort were all dead. Still, if the Aurors’ search for their fellow guards was totally unsuccessful, there still remained the likelihood of them locating the more easily-found overturned ferry, and then determining through some kind of spell there had been a life-or-death struggle aboard this boat. From there, it would be an easy leap to a conclusion that one Sirius Black, this utter villain, was responsible for everything, and he deserved to be shown absolutely no mercy if that bastard was still alive and ever again got captured by the Auror corps.
Frankly, this specific wizard sitting under the tree at this point possessed a total lack of sympathy or guilt over the events of just a day ago on the North Sea. Twelve horrible years of Azkaban and that place’s thugs with a badge meant Sirius would never lose the slightest bit of sleep concerning those sods at the boat who’d just been about to kick in his head. Bugger ‘em all, and good riddance.
However, it came back to the fact that Sirius now had even bigger problems while on the loose once again. Assuming that the Ministry ever admitted to the Daily Prophet or any other wizarding newspaper what happened (or at least what they thought
happened) on the Azkaban ferry, it completely put paid to any of this wizard’s plans on proving his innocence about betraying the Potters to Voldemort. If things had gone better, the quickest way to do that would have been another overland journey in his Grim form to the Weasley family house known as the Burrow. There, Sirius would have found Peter Pettigrew, captured that traitor to the Marauders, forced him to turn back from a rat into his human self again, and then extracted a confession from Wormtail among as many witnesses as possible about everything.
Unfortunately, at that moment, Sirius’ happy thoughts were interrupted by an abruptly-realized objection to all this. Namely, the minor detail that he wasn’t sure exactly when
Peter had shown up at the Burrow. It was true that Percy Weasley had taken Scabbers the rat, as the boy had named his familiar, to Hogwarts when this red-haired middle child started his first year at the magical castle. Later on, that future Ministry of Magic employee had given his pet rodent to his younger brother Ronald. The only problem about this was that Percy was now, as best as Sirius could recollect, perhaps five or six years old. So, this at-present little boy wouldn’t be starting his magical education for another half-decade, which was the only specific date Sirius knew where to unerringly find Peter. If he’d ever been told or knew otherwise, Sirius couldn’t remember it, which meant there was no possible way he could hang around the Burrow, waiting however long it took for Wormtail to finally arrive there looking for shelter.
In the copse, a suddenly-despondent wizard slumped back against the tree, as a cold apprehension overcame Sirius. This man just realized that he had absolutely no
friends or allies right now. Unlike the last time, Remus Lupin couldn’t be persuaded to aid Sirius, not when there was currently no direct evidence whatsoever of Peter’s survival, such as Wormtail’s appearance shown in a photograph displayed in an issue of the Daily Prophet, which had occurred much later in that other timeline. Instead, the enraged werewolf mourning his dead friends would most likely fire off an Avdra Kedavra the very instant he ever laid eyes again upon Padfoot, even before Sirius could open his mouth to explain everything. Not that Remus would bother to listen to such foolishness as time travel or Peter’s treachery from somebody who’d further murdered even more people while being transported to a fully-deserved Azkaban cell.
Huddling against the tree, Sirius sank even deeper into sheer despondency. His mood wasn’t improved the least by shortly recognizing there was
one particular wizard, who for his own reasons, might be willing to assist the last son of the Black family. Regrettably, Sirius in no way trusted Albus Dumbledore anymore.
Not a single word. Not in the few days after his arrest, nor in the next twelve years at Azkaban. Dumbledore, the Supreme Mugwump, the head of the Wizengamot, the Headmaster of Hogwarts, the Leader of the Light, had never even bothered to contact Sirius Black at all. A totally innocent man had spent over a decade in hell, which could have been easily avoided with a single minute’s visit by the most powerful wizard in Britain seeking to discover the truth of what really happened at Godric’s Hollow. If anybody else had tried to bring up the point that Dumbledore, just like everyone else in the wizarding world, had been wholly convinced of Sirius’ guilt, the imprisoned man himself, in between bouts of being visited by the Dementors, would have savagely replied that there was the minor detail of both of these people having been members of the group known as the Order of the Phoenix. Which in turn should have produced an end result that amazingly never happened also.
Even the most senile, dim-witted, forgetful leader of any other organization, who’d just learned one of their number had been so utterly treacherous to help murder his friends, would undoubtedly arrange as quickly as possible an interview with that captured miscreant, IF ONLY TO FIND OUT WHAT ELSE HE’D DONE!
But, no. A certain twinkly-eyed sod obsessed with his schemes had probably done nothing but pop a lemon drop into his mouth, while sadly reflecting about the loss of yet another wizard to the dark side. *Ah, well, at least the dear lad mixing potions in the Hogwarts dungeons below had once more returned to the light, so let’s celebrate this with a last scrumptious candy. Mmmm! Delicious! Now then, we shouldn’t spoil the day further by asking Snape, such a fine chap that man is despite all those years as a Death Eater, if he ever had the slightest suspicion or inkling during that time if Sirius Black was ever one of Riddle’s followers. Yes, yes, let sleeping dogs lie. Now, before getting back to work, perhaps one more lemon drop? Ah, Albus, you do owe yourself a minor indulgence…*
Back in the grove, Sirius finally became aware of how fiercely he was grinding his teeth. Relaxing his tense jaw muscles a bit, before a molar actually imploded, the furious man glared outwards at the peaceful fields before him, breathing hard. His rage had once again returned to Sirius, over all the injustices done to him that had been brushed off by Dumbledore years before, who’d benignly declared that there’d been good reasons for it all which must still be kept secret, back when the haggard wizard had demanded some kind of explanation from the older man. In all the confusion of Sirius’ life after the first escape from Azkaban, he’d never been able to sufficiently pin down Dumbledore to have his questions fully answered to his satisfaction.
Well, it didn’t matter now. Sirius knew better than to go anywhere near that sugar-crazed berk at this time, not when the Head of the Ancient House of Black was in the perfectly vile mood to cast the most powerful exploding hex he could manage at both that doddering wizard and his greasy-haired pet. Right! To hell with those two, and everyone else! He could do just fine entirely on his own! Let’s see, the first thing to do is…
It was at that point when a certain part of Sirius’ mind that had been patiently waiting for the temper tantrum to be over and done with now offered its own quiet suggestion, which produced an immediate effect. Sitting up straight with a jerk, Sirius gazed off with absolute incredulity into the distance, not really believing the idea that had just popped into his head. This man’s features worked, as various expressions quickly flashed over his face, which included surprise, disgust, loathing, and finally, reluctant acceptance intermixed with actual doubt. The fact is, he simply wasn’t sure if this would indeed work.
Nevertheless, as Sirius Black continued to glumly stare ahead, this wizard took a deep breath, and then he loudly called: