Journey to the Next World

This was just an exercise in writing to see how Sirius Black's last moments would seem from his point of view. There's also a bit at the end about him being re-united with his brother Regulus, I plan to write that bit soon.

Stupefy!

No sound came out of Sirius’ mouth, just as he had intended. In fact, he was still grinning: this was an old party trick of his. He would laugh contemptuously, putting on an air of overconfidence and bravado that would enrage his opponent. However, as soon as the opponent decided to do something about it and teach Sirius a lesson, he would realize that even though Sirius’ wand arm was hanging limply by his side, seemingly nonchalantly, the wand was still pointed squarely at his forehead.

The reason the opponent realized this subtle artifice was that he was currently falling to the floor, with realization rapidly sinking in that he had just been stunned.

Sirius loved to finish off a duel in this manner. That way he could see his opponents motionless on the ground with an expression of perplexed rage permanently plastered on their faces. Sometimes they didn’t even realize what had happened. Severus had blamed outside interference from James the last time they had duelled, near the North Tower, and had called Sirius a frightful coward. Sirius had laughed over that for weeks.

Sirius saved such a coup de grace for opponents he particularly despised. Snivelly obviously fit the bill, as did the loathsome woman in front of him now.

Bellatrix.

Even thinking her name made him scowl. It would be a long overdue favour to the wizarding world to rid it of the poisonous canker that was regrettably related to him.

She was always so arrogant, thinking herself superior to all around her. Her duelling was pitiful. Sirius thought that all those years in Azkaban might’ve taken away his edge, dulled his duelling skills. If it had, though, it was obvious that Bellatrix had suffered more. It was almost too easy keeping her at arm’s length. The trouble with Bellatrix, Sirius mused as he lazily deflected another of her spells, was that she was altogether too predictable. She always attacked with spells that were intended to maim, injure, or kill outright. She never tried to incapacitate or stun an opponent.

But Sirius had had enough of this. He was done toying with Bellatrix. He rather enjoyed frustrating her, but a part of him had been waiting too long to vanquish his hated cousin. He proceeded to set her up for the finish.

“Come on, you can do better than that!” Sirius made sure to toss his head back and laugh as he said this, for good measure.

He saw Bellatrix’s face contort itself into a mask of pure, unadulterated, demonic hatred. His wand was at the ready. He was about to sub-vocalize the stunning spell.

But then something happened that Sirius was completely unprepared for. He suddenly found himself flying through the air. He could just about make out the outline of an archway and braced himself for impact. He rolled through and quickly rose to his feet, wand at the ready. Damn that Bellatrix. She had obviously been prepared for him. Or maybe he had just taken too long to take her down. No matter. He strode towards the archway he had just fallen through, sparks issuing forth from his wand in anticipation of re-joining the fight. This time he’d just take Bellatrix out, with no frills. 

Just as he reached the archway, though, he found that he could no longer move forward. Sirius was puzzled. He couldn’t see anything blocking his path, nor did it feel like he had hit an invisible barrier. It was simply that his limbs were rooted, as if caught in quicksand. Had Bellatrix hit him with a slow-acting curse?

But there was no sensation of pain, which ruled out Bellatrix’s involvement. Everything Bellatrix did involved pain in some form.

It was only when he thought of Bellatrix that he glanced upward, eager to see where she was now. He suddenly realized that he couldn’t see anyone nearby. All was silent. It was simply as if everyone in that part of the Department of Mysteries had suddenly disapparated. What…where was everyone?

Had he somehow been transported somewhere else? What kind of spell had Bellatrix hit him with?

 It was then that Sirius’ ears picked something up. He leaned as close to the archway as he could, and managed to detect sounds.

What he heard was an incoherent series of whisperings and murmurings. If only he could poke his head through the archway, he might be able to…but he couldn’t. His head simply refused to move further forward.

Sirius transformed into his Animagus form, the large, shaggy dog – to see if he could pick anything up with the dog’s superior hearing. It meant that he would be wandless for a while, but he didn’t see Bellatrix or any of the other Death Eaters anywhere around. It was worth the risk – over here, away from the battle, he was useless to the Order of the Phoenix; but more importantly, he couldn’t protect Harry.

The gamble worked. Sirius strained his enhanced dog hearing to its absolute limit, and could still only hear whisperings, but now they were more pronounced, slightly more coherent.

“…gone, Harry,…”

“… he’s gone…”

Suddenly he became aware of something behind him. In the time it took to blink, Sirius had transformed back to human form, turned on his heel and had his wand pointed out to face whatever it was that had manifested behind him.

A table had appeared in front of him. It was a small, worm-eaten coffee table, something not unlike the tables he had seen in his childhood at home. However, there was a significant difference that struck him almost immediately.

There was the visage of a lion engraved on the table. As he took a couple of steps closer, he saw that there was no mistaking it – it was the Gryffindor lion. On top of the table sat a jar of glittering green powder that he recognized as Floo powder. Under the jar there was a note. Sirius whipped it out and read it.

There was only a single word on the note, written in an oddly familiar calligraphic hand:

Beyond.

For a few seconds Sirius’ mind seemed to go blank. He refocused on the word, then took another glance at the Floo powder in front of him. Then he looked back at the note. Beyond.

He turned back towards the archway, and suddenly he was struck with terrible realization. He remembered where they had been fighting in the Department of Mysteries. It was one of the most highly publicised areas of the Department’s research.

And then he remembered the veil over the archway.

The archway he had rolled through, and couldn’t pass through now.

In one moment, all the jigsaw pieces ruthlessly fit into place. He understood why he couldn’t see the others or hear them.

He felt glad, suddenly, that he couldn’t see them anymore. At least they were still on the right side of the veil.

With a striking clarity now pervading his mind, Sirius turned back to the jar of Floo powder. Putting the note down on the table, he took a pinch of Floo powder in his left hand, looking for a fireplace.

There was none.

Now he felt slightly confused. What was he supposed to do with Floo powder if there was no fire nearby?

Suddenly he remembered the wand in his right hand. Oh, right. Of course. The revelations of the last few minutes had really jolted him. He’d completely forgotten about his wand. But the only thing in the room that could be used as kindling was… the coffee table. He was loath to set alight the lion of Gryffindor.

Just as he thought about it, the carved lion seemed to glow momentarily. Before he could wonder over it, he noticed that the glow had died down, but not completely. The outline of the carving was laced with a thin line of flame. It burned quietly.

Sirius stood and stared at this new development. The table showed no signs of disintegrating in the fire. The fiery crimson outline of the Gryffindor lion looked back at him.

Sirius dropped the pinch of Floo powder onto the table.

Suddenly, a green flash rose up from the tabletop. Sirius and knew his intended destination.

Beyond, he said, as he stepped onto the tabletop, into the green flames.

When the flames died down, Sirius was gone. The coffee table vanished soon after, slowly fading from sight.

The End

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