Disclaimer: I still do not own Harry Potter.

Thanks so much for your comments! Yes, we will indeed get a chapter on what certain pureblood supremacists think of Harry's death. And as for Sirius Black, read on!

Chapter 10: The Will to Live

Sirius Black sat huddled in upon himself, his fingernails digging into the grimy floor as the cold suffocated him. He couldn't even remember how long he had been stuck in this prison, but he knew it had been for many years now.

To be honest, he was tired of everything; tired of the constant nightmares of Lily and James's empty bodies, tired of watching the street explode again and again in his mind's eye, watching his cowardly ex-friend scuttle off into the sewers just like the little rat he was.

He was slowly but surely losing the will to fight, to live. The mantra of "I'm innocent, I'm innocent, I'm innocent," was getting harder and harder to remember every day. Changing into Padfoot was more of a taxing effort than it had ever been. Honestly, he was about ready to give up.

Suddenly, he heard a sound he didn't hear very often around this freezing, barren place. Footsteps. Someone was coming down the hall. He knew that the Minister of Magic came to inspect the prison every now and then. Was it him? Had he come to taunt Sirius again, to gloat over his suffering?

And, it being just his luck, the footsteps came towards his cell. It was indeed Cornelius Fudge inspecting Azkaban.

He leered at Sirius from across the bars. "Good afternoon, Black," he said in a voice thick with venom, thrusting a newspaper into Sirius's cell. "I thought you'd like to see this. Figured you'd want to know what's going on out there in the real world." And he smirked as he walked away.

Dread suddenly mounted in Sirius, dread more fierce than he'd felt in all these years. No one, no one had ever given him a newspaper willingly before. And Fudge looked smugger than ever when he had done it.

As he picked it up and cast his eyes to the headline, his hands were trembling. As he red it, all the remaining color in his face drained out of it as he looked at the paper with horror, the remainder of his heart shattering into miniscule pieces.

HARRY POTTER, THE BOY-WHO-LIVED, DIES IN HEROIC STRUGGLE TO SAVE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE

For several minutes he couldn't read any further. For the first time since he'd arrived in this hell, the mantra of "I'm innocent, I'm innocent, I'm innocent," stopped playing within his head. It had been echoing like a drum all this time, but now it was gone. It had simply vanished as though it had never been there at all.

After about five agonizing minutes, he finally brought himself to read the article. It said that someone had tried to steal the stone from Gringotts, so Dumbledore had moved it to Hogwarts.

And apparently, Harry Potter had been every bit the hero people had always imagined. It had only been the boy's first year, for Merlin's sake. He'd valiantly struggled against someone named Quirrell, who, irony of all ironies, had been the one to steal it from Gringotts in the first place. He'd had Voldemort sticking to the back of his head all year. Harry had been successful in saving the stone, only to die hours later from a raging fever caused by magical exhaustion. He'd used so much magic to fight off Quirrell, his body hadn't been able to handle it.

That night, a chill went through the prison, an even colder chill than usual. Everyone huddled in their cells as a terrifying, unearthly wail came from one of their fellow prisoners. Some knew who it was and laughed mockingly, but others had gone so insane that they had no clue who had made the sound. The wail went on, and on, and on, and on, and on, causing the convicts to finally cover their ears.

Eventually, the wail ended, only to be followed by harsh, gut-wrenching, racking sobs. In his cell, Sirius Black wept for his failure. He was also enraged at Dumbledore; what the hell was he thinking, putting the stone in a school full of children? But he knew, deep down, that it was his fault, that he had failed to protect Harry, something he'd promised Lily and James he'd always do. All this time, the one spark he'd held inside him was the possibility of somehow clearing his name, of seeing his beloved Godson again. But now that would never happen, because in four days Harry would be lying in a coffin, being prepared for burial. He had failed.

And he knew that the biggest mockery of a funeral was about to take place. Ministry officials would be looking at Harry's open coffin, speaking of sorrow, loss, and the tragedy of a young life being cut short. But they'd never known Harry, never loved him. Sirius remembered those precious moments where he'd embraced him as a tiny baby. He remembered when Lily and James used to tease him when he playfully licked the boy's face as he, in his dog form, made soft woofing noises in his ear. Merlin, all he'd wanted was to embrace him just one more time. But he'd never get the chance now.

Over the weeks that followed, his mood grew more and more depressed. He couldn't care less anymore whether the truth about Pettigrew died with him. There was no more Harry to protect. What did anything matter now?

He started to not eat the food the Dementors gave him. He started transforming into Padfoot less and less. He no longer thought of his innocence at all. Yes, Sirius Black was wasting away.

His deterioration continued until one day when a human guard opened his cell door to clean out the small pot that was located inside for bathroom functions. The sight that met his eyes shocked him, because he thought Sirius Black would hold on forever. He'd never known what it was about this particular prisoner, but something about Black had always confused him.

The man himself was collapsed on the floor of the cell, the newspaper he'd received so many weeks ago clutched in his hand. There were tear tracks on his face, even though it now looked peaceful instead of anguished. Instinctively knowing the truth but still wanting to make sure, the guard checked his pulse.

There was none.

Sirius Black was dead. It seemed that finally, after eleven years, he had lost the will to live. Shaking his head at such a waste of a life, the guard levitated him out of the cell.

Days later, it was all over the news. People all over the wizarding world would always think about how strange it was that he had died so soon after Harry Potter. And the saddest thing was, they would never know the truth.