A/N: I'm baaaaaack!! This story is actually in relation to Written in the Stars but you don't have to read that to understand this. However, it wouldn't help! Hehe. I hope you like it especially since Sirius is my favorite character and I tried to make him the way I like him best. Review!

Disclaimer: You know how this goes. Everything you don't recognize belongs to me. Other than that, it belongs to the genius J.K. Rowling.

Elaborate Lives

By ByeByeBirdie

Hi. I'm Sirius Black and I'm here to tell you the story of my life. This is my life. Not James'. Not Remus'. Not Peter's. Not even Lily Evans'. If you want to hear about how James and Lily got together, this isn't the story you want to read. However, they probably will be mentioned more than a few times considering they're my best friends (well the three guys anyway; Lily only became the obsession of James who talked about her non-stop. I didn't appreciate her until Christmas of my seventh-year rolled around). But I just want to make sure you want to read about me. Because this story is how I came to truly find my identity. About how I came to accept myself for who I was.

My life has been…well, it's been difficult. It's been one hell of a roller coaster, one that I can never just seem to step off of, no matter how many times I tried. I left home when I was only sixteen. Some people think that that was too early, including my therapist, but if you lived in my hellhole, which some people would like to call a household, you probably would have left earlier than that. (Oh, I was just kidding about the therapist. I don't have one even though many people have tried recommending one to me.) I stuck it out for longer than necessary to be honest only because I was trying to protect my little sister, the only person in my home that I could have trusted. But when she was killed, I had no reason to stick around anymore. So I ran away. That was probably the lowest point in my life because I can honestly tell you, that there was no where for me to go.

But before I rush ahead and tell you about that part of my life, I wanted to tell you about the best part of my life. When I was eleven, I received a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but that's probably now surprise to you. You most likely wouldn't be reading this if you hadn't known that. Anyway, that was a start to the best year of my life. While rushing through the wall to get to Platform 9 ¾, I ran into this kid that I swear could have been my twin if he hadn't been wearing glasses and wasn't about four inches shorter than I am. I stared at him and he stared back at me. I could tell he was thinking the same thing.

"I'm James Potter and-"

"Potter?" was my first reaction.

You see, the Potters were probably one of the wealthiest, most prominent families in the wizardry world. They came from a long line of infamous Aurors, some who were the best in their department, donated so much money to charities, and Aradecci Potter was one of the earliest Ministers of Magic. I had heard so many things about their family, mostly nasty things coming from my mother's mouth. She hated anything good—she enjoyed supporting the dark side and wasn't afraid to say things that would normally send people to Azkaban. Unlike the Potters, the Blacks were filthy, dark side supporting, conniving city-dwellers. And I hated every second of being a Black. But like I said, I stuck around for Kailey's sake.

Anyway, I had heard the most amazing stories about their family and the boy that stood in front of me didn't look anything like a snotty, stuck-up rich boy that I had assumed he would be, like the first time I had laid eyes on Severus Snape, which was many years before I turned eleven. Now, he fit the stereotype. Not James. He looked normal. He…well, he looked like me!

"Yeah," James replied with a shrug. "So?"

I swallowed hard and shrugged along with him. "Just making sure I heard right."

He chuckled. "So what's your name and what year are you in?"

"This is my first year and I'm Sirius Black."

I noticed the flicker of surprise in his face when I mentioned I was a Black. Potters and Blacks just don't mingle with the same crowds. I could tell he knew exactly who I was and I was almost certain that James would resent it. Potters and Blacks just didn't mix in the wizardry world…or the Muggle World either, I'm sure.

But James shook that frown off his face and smiled at me. "You want to get a compartment?"

And that was when I knew James Potter and I were destined to be best friends forever. If he could look past my negativity I could look past his intimidation.

So I simply grinned at him and then an idea hit me. "No, let's go hex Severus Snape. He's a first year, too. And his friend, Malfoy is a second year. We could easily take them."

I knew that James knew who they were. Everybody knew who the Snapes and Malfoys were. They were also wealthy families in the wizardry world, but they used their power for evil. Their money went out to deatheaters and to the dark side, never for helping the sick or needy.

James grinned evilly. "Sounds like a perfect idea to me."

And for the next seven years, we were inseparable.

Of course, our parents disapproved immensely. I wrote home that first week telling my family about Hogwarts and the people I met and that was the last letter I sent home. My mother forbade me to be friends with 'such a high-class, dick-sucking, Lord Voldemort hater.' I swear those were her words. Even James' parents were surprised that James would choose me as a best friend but when I came home with over Christmas, they soon realized why and they became like a second set of parents. Actually, they became more like my family than my own.

And then they actually did become my family and I finally knew where I fit in.

I guess I should start back at my sixteenth birthday. That's when it all started to go downhill. People kept telling me that sixteen was the best age, mostly because it was the year I could still be a kid but know when to be mature as well. I honestly didn't want to be sixteen. I didn't want to grow up any more than I wanted a second head. Being sixteen meant only a year away until the big seventeen where I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without anyone telling me what to do. I wasn't ready for that. No, I just wanted to be a kid again.

I turned sixteen on May 28, in the midst of exams, only five days before the Hogwarts Express was planned to pull up to Hogwarts and send us off to our summer vacation, one that I was not looking forward to having. I must be one in few who'd rather be in school than at home by the pool basking in the sun. Yes, I have a pool. Yes, I enjoy basking in the sun. However, I do not enjoy my mother telling me at every possible second that Lucius Malfoy knows more about life than anyone in our school and that I should consider befriending him. My mother still doesn't get it. James Potter and I were best friends and that was that. I didn't care about Malfoy unless I was near him in order to hex him, which I did enjoy. The best part was that everyone knew how much smarter the Marauders were than him and he was a year older. He couldn't think for himself and he wasn't exactly Mr. Know-it-All when it came to his schoolwork.

I swear my mother thinks I fell down a flight of stairs when I was younger and fractured my scalp. According to her, why else would I choose to be friends with James over Lucius? Can you imagine if I told her that I was also friends with a werewolf!? I think she'd go absolutely mad, which insinuates that she hasn't already…

Anyway, I was sad to see my fifth year go. My fifth year changed so much not only in me but in everyone around me. First, Remus told us all about his lycanthropy in September and for almost the rest of the school year, James, Peter, and I snuck behind his back and tried to become Animagi. We told him our plan for Christmas and he cried…literally. I mean, Remus Lupin cried because of our offer, which of course made the rest of us feel teary-eyed, but don't tell anyone I said that or you're a dead man…or woman, I guess. (I'm not going to be sexist or anything). After we succeeded, we soon wandered around the school in our animal forms and found more passageways than anyone could have known about. Which gave us all an excellent idea and for the remainder of our fifth year, we spent it creating a map, a map that we soon didn't need at all since we pretty much memorized every secret stairway or hidden passageway. It had been the most amazing year and even though the O.W.L.S. became a big part along with me trying to decide my future, it had been the best year at Hogwarts and I didn't want to see it go.

Unfortunately, only at Hogwarts was it amazing. At home, it was the worst year of my life and I will never forget it.

Everything had to come to an end at some point and my life pretty much came crashing down the moment I stepped inside my house on December 22 that year for Christmas vacation, the beginning of the end.

"We have been invited to the Malfoys for dinner tonight and I have accepted," the first thing my mother said to me was.

I stared at her in disbelief. If she wasn't kidding then I really was going to throw up all over the entryway carpet.

"We will be leaving at five tonight so I would appreciate it if you three could be on time," she scolded, staring mostly at me.

Oh yeah, did I forget to tell you that I had a brother too, Regulus, who could just suck my mother-fucking cock for all I cared. He was the epitome of perfect in my mother's eyes and I was the epitome of dung. Being the oldest child, I had been taught to set an example and ever since my father got a better job when I was only nine and was rarely home, I had been nothing but a brat to her always getting in the way. My father was on my mother's side, of course, but he still appreciated me for who I was, even though he rarely found time to tell me. My mother just never understood that.

Anyway, of course I was planning on skipping dinner that night and I'm sure my mother knew that, too. But when I had heard the terrible news later that night, I almost felt guilty for not showing up. Deatheaters had been invited to the Malfoys, mostly looking to convert me and my brother and sister to their side. Of course, my brother quickly agreed. He would have done anything to make my mother proud. But I had taught Kailey well and she stuck up for herself even though she was only eleven.

I was hiding out at James' house when I got the call from a hysterical Francesca Marshalls, Severus Snape's cousin who was living with them at the present time since her parents died when she was young. I got along fairly well with Francesca considering she was a Slytherin who was related to Snape.

"Uh…Sirius? I think it's for you," James said in confusion.

"Who is it?" I asked.

James gave me a strange look and shrugged. "Uh…I think it's Francesca but I really can't understand her."

That should have been my first sign that something was wrong. First of all, the phone never rings—usually mail or a quick Floo got the job done quicker and better. So when it did, both James and I were surprised. Then, Francesca Marshalls was calling me…me! What did she want with me?

I grabbed the phone slowly out of James hand, still confused, and answered with a simple, "Hello?"

I couldn't understand a word she was saying. She was talking a mile per second and it was obvious that she was sobbing uncontrollably.

I had to calm her down, which wasn't easy, and when I did, I could easily make out the words she said to me next.

"They—hiccup!—killed your sister," she whispered.

I froze. What else would I have done? I paled so quickly that James was getting extremely worried about me and kept asking me what she had said. I could feel myself trembling all over and I grabbed the kitchen table for support as I found a seat to stabilize myself.

"Who?" I whispered nervously.

"The deatheaters."

And the last thing I remember were the kitchen lights shining down at me as I blacked out and fell to the floor.

What felt like years later, I awoke in my room at the Potters with James, his two parents, and his younger sister Ava standing over me.

"Shh, he's waking up," Mrs. Potter said, shushing her husband. "Sirius? Are you okay?"

I stared at her and suddenly realized why I was there. I was hoping it was just a dream but it was obvious that it had happened. My sister was murdered and I couldn't do anything about it.

I think they thought that I had gone crazy because just then the tears started welling up in my eyes and I couldn't hold it any longer. I let them spill out and I just wanted to crawl underneath a rock and hide there for the rest of my life.

Thank God that James knew me better than anyone. He pushed the rest of his family away and even let me be alone for a while. But he wanted to make sure I was okay and when he came back to check on me I told him what had happened.

"Kailey was…was murdered," I whispered.

James froze. I don't think he particularly believed me either.

"Deatheaters were at the Malfoys and I…I-I wasn't there to save her," I continued, mentally hitting myself for letting Kailey go along with them.

"Sirius, you can't honestly blame yourself for this. If you were there, what makes you think they wouldn't have…well, you know."

I understood what James was saying but I couldn't help but blame myself for Kailey's death anyhow. Kailey was the only person in my family who I loved and now she was gone. For the next month or so, I mourned for her while trying to hide it from my friends. I longed to talk to her just once more and if I had one wish, it would be to bring her back. I loved her more than anything and now, Voldemort and his followers had taken away a part of me.

Unfortunately, my mother didn't exactly feel the same way. She was practically praising the deatheaters for taking her away and at the funeral, she refused to say anything about her. And that's when I knew I couldn't live in my house for the remainder of my life.

"I can't believe it's summer already!" I was complaining on the way home.

"You are the only person in this world that actually dreads having a summer vacation," Peter commented at me.

"What happened to those wonderful days at Hogwarts where we could just run around and have fun, ignoring that feeling in the back of our minds telling us that summer is only a few days away!" I cried, ignoring Peter. "I miss those days."

"Only you had those days," James clarified with a chuckle. "The rest of us wanted out."

"I don't see why."

"One reason: work. Exams are over and I have to admit, as much fun as they were, I think our party last night pretty summed up how I felt."

"Y'know, I think that explains it," Remus interjected. "We like summer because during the school year we actually do our work while you, Padfoot, would so much rather be using your books to prop open windows."

We all burst into laughter.

I laughed and threw my magazine at him. He threw his jacket at me but I ducked and it hit Peter instead.

"Hey! Don't get me involved," Peter protested.

Three sets of robes were chucked at him.

"Oh you are dead," he said with a laugh, glaring at us.

"Funny. I don't feel dead," Remus joked as Peter dug into his bag and threw his book at him.

"AGH! That hit me in my eye!"

"Damn. I was aiming for the nose," Peter said sarcastically.

"Marauder fight!" I shouted as we all scrambled for our bags and found anything that could be thrown at one another. We did this every so often. Our room was a mess only because we enjoyed the occasional pillow fight…and when I say occasionally, I mean weekly. We always had fun with each other and there wasn't a doubt in my mind that we'd be best friends forever.

Of course, we didn't think that fight through through. By the end of our fight, which was very entertaining to say the least but also had left us exhausted, mostly out of laughter, our stuff was strewn about the compartment in one big heap. How we were supposed to manage dividing our stuff would be a challenge. There wasn't much room to begin with and four grown men trying to squeeze by each other while gathering our stuff wasn't exactly the brightest idea that we've ever had.

But we all were laughing so hard that it didn't matter. We were having such a great time that we didn't even hear our compartment door open.

"What the hell happened in here?"

We all straightened up and turned to see who the high-pitched voice belong to. "Evans," James said coolly.

"Potter," she greeted in the same icy tone. "It looks like a tornado hit this dump. What did you do? Decide that if you left your stuff scattered around the compartment that maybe you wouldn't have to go home?"

"Hey, that's not such a bad idea," I said out loud.

"Sirius," James warned.

"Lily, we were just messing around," Remus said gently. "And we were planning on cleaning it up."

Why Remus had befriended that bitch in our first year is beyond me. To me, she has always been a stuck-up, nosy, know-it-all little brat who just couldn't keep to her own business. She was always butting into places that she didn't belong and she never particularly cared what people thought of her. She was…she was just weird and I couldn't tolerate her anymore than I could tolerate my mother. However, Remus had some sort of soft spot with her that sometimes I wondered if he loved her. And not just in a friendly way; I mean really loved her.

"In the next twenty minutes?" she questioned. "Good luck."

"Why are you here anyway?" James sneered, knowing that he sounded a lot harsher than he needed to. But he and I couldn't help it; we were automatically assholes to her and we knew it. I just didn't know how to stop, not that I ever wanted to. However, with Remus glaring at James from across the way, it was hard for him not to feel even a little guilty.

"Because I was walking by and I saw what a pigsty this place was."

"And you just felt the need to walk in and criticize our living arrangements?" I shot back, ignoring Remus' icy glare.

"Living arrangements? I was under the impression you just lived in a box behind the Queen's palace, wishing that one day that could be you. Hasn't anyone ever told you that not all dreams can come true?"

I glared at her. How dare she insult me like that! "Apparently, it was easy for you to get you where you are today," I replied sarcastically, not really expecting an answer but knowing I would get one.

"That's why they'll be calling me Head Girl in a few years," she said proudly.

I was glad when James jumped in with, "I assumed they'd be calling you Head Girl because Ass girl would be too inappropriate."

I burst into laughter, though Remus gave him a deathly glare, though I could tell he was secretly amused with the comeback.

Lily glared at him, mumbled a good-bye to Remus, and stomped out with a shout out over her shoulder, "It's no wonder you two didn't get the prefect badge. It's because you're just a bunch of worthless crap."

Okay, now that was just plain offensive but James and I were still praising his last comeback so I didn't bother putting in the last word like I always tried to do. James and I were always quick on our toes and we made such a good team together, which is probably why we became friends in the first place. James was great at timing and I was great at coming up with them.

By the time we got to the Kings Cross station, our compartment was cleaned up and we were all just chatting and having our normal good fun. The Marauders rarely ever got bored and when we had that brief moment where we had nothing to do, we filled it with endless laughter and good-natured fun.

"Bye Remus! Keep in touch!" Lily cried, running over to give Remus a friendly hug. She turned to look at the rest of us. "Black. Potter."

I rolled my eyes. "Whore."

"Speaking of," she muttered, nodding her head in the way of her obnoxious roommates who I had gotten to know in the past year…quite well, if you must hear the truth.

She smiled and waved at Remus again, turning around to go find her parents.

"See you next year, Evans," James said in a polite way.

I stared at him (and even Lily gave him a rather odd glance) but didn't have time to comment since Candice Juniper, Michaela Withers, Eliza Zoloft, and Virginia Cable walked up to us (in rather tight, skimpy-looking outfits that showed how hard they were trying to get our attention. Not that I don't like them but Candice, the ringleader of their little clique, and I went out a few times and in the end, I found her too shallow for me. Yes, I do have morals, if you didn't know. I don't just go out with girls, sleep with them, and then never speak to them. Yes, I was quite the womanizer but I wasn't just some player. I went out on dates, some that I truly enjoyed, but in the end I just never had a long relationship. I guess I just somehow received the reputation as a pimp or something.).

"Well, well, well," Candice said, looking at me seductively. "You certainly look better when your robes aren't covering your body."

I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, well good luck trying to get underneath this," I smirked flirtatiously, winking at her.

"I don't need luck because I've got looks," she teased, placing her hand on my arm and laughing.

Remus rolled his eyes at me and mouthed, 'You never fail.' I laughed at him and turned back to the girls.

"Hey, there's a party at James' house next Saturday. You interested?"

"Hey! Wait a minute!" James objected. "Whoever said anything about a party at my house?"

"I did," I said firmly, giving him a don't-blow-it-or-I-kill-you look.

"Oh…okay," he said, rolling his eyes and turning to the girls. "You ladies in?"

"A party with the Marauders?" Virginia said in amusement. "I don't think there could be anything more fun."

"You don't even know the half of it," I whispered, raising my eyebrows alluringly at her.

She giggled and replied, "We'll be there."

I gave Candice a sweet kiss on the cheek as I watched her skinny ass sway back and forth as she walked away from me, grabbing her friends and trying to hide her excitement.

James chose that moment to slap me. "How come I always end up having the parties?"

"Because everyone loves you and you have the biggest estate," I replied with a shrug. "Besides, did you honestly think I'd have one at my house?"

We all laughed, enjoying the thought of my mother letting my friends come to my house for a party.

"Speaking of," Peter interjected. "How are you getting home?"

I shrugged. "My personal chauffeur?" I teased, winking at James. "Oh, no wait. Only your family hires a personal chauffeur for their only son."

"Oh, shut up, Si. You know my parents work during the day. How could they possibly take time off to come get me? And they weren't just going to let me walk home!"

I laughed. "The only reason I'm teasing you is because I know that my mother isn't here so I'll probably be bumming a ride with you."

"Like always," he teased.

I knew he was just messing around but it still pointed out that my family didn't care enough about me to even make sure I got home safely. I'm sure my mother sent some sort of travel rights for my brother but she probably ever-so-conveniently forgot about me…just like every year.

And so it began the summer of complete hell.

"I'm home!" I cried out sarcastically, muttering the next words to myself, "You mother-fucking bitch."

"Regulus, is that you?" she cried out sweetly, coming out of the kitchen. Of course, with one look at me, her disappointment spread all over and she rolled her eyes. "Well, what are you standing there for? Your bags aren't going to walk themselves. Get them out of the hallways before Regulus gets back."

I rolled my eyes and thought, Yes, oh Holy One. Your wish is my goddamned, son-of-a-bitch command.

I struggled with my stuff up the stairs and watched my mother give orders to Kreacher, our bloody house elf, to make sure and bring Regulus' things upstairs once he got home and to put a pot of tea on the stove for him as well. It really made me sick. I always tried not to let it get to me, but how could it not? My mother hated me. How was that supposed to make me feel?

I stayed locked up in my room for the remainder of the day, already starting on Hogwarts work. I missed it so much that doing work seemed like the only logical thing to do. After a Potions essay, I couldn't help but feel antsy so I grabbed my broom and shot out the window, racing through the forest behind my house. It was my favorite place to be, especially at night when it had a somewhat creepy atmosphere to it, and whenever I needed to get away it was either there or James' house. I would have felt guilty already barging in to James' house on the day of his arrival, so I chose to fly around for a while. Perhaps I could finally feel free enough to let go of the anger I was holding inside and just be the person I wanted to be.

Unfortunately, with my mother and brother still living, I didn't see how that was possible. I hated being a Black.

"I hate being a Black!" I yelled out into the evening, waiting for some sort of sign telling me what to do.

I felt the tears welling up in my eyes, so unexpectedly. I hadn't cried since Kailey died and I refused to let my mother get to me. I stopped by a stream and sat down on a log as a sudden vision of my sister came flooding back to me. I missed her so much. At least she could understand me. Kailey was the most spirited person I had ever met and now her spirit simply remained dead. Even her room wasn't around anymore. I had walked by it to get to my room and my mother had move Kreacher in there. Kreacher! A fucking house elf! How can it be possible to live through memories for the rest of my life? Kailey had been my motivation for sticking around but what now? What was keeping me there?

"I miss you, Kailey," I whispered, my tears making little ripples in the stream, drowning out the sound of my aching heart, as I quickly wiped them away not letting my mother be the one to give me these tears.

"Sirius, where the hell have you been!?" were the first words out of my mother's mouth as she entered my bedroom later that evening.

"None of your business," I mumbled, not bothering to look up at her, wondering why the hell my mother was even looking for me in the first place.

"Well, you missed a visit from Lucius," she said ecstatically.

I looked up from my book long enough to stare intently at her. "Why?" I spat out.

"Well…okay, he was looking for Regulus but you still could have been here to talk to him."

"Mother, stay out of my life," I said through clenched teeth. "I don't want to talk to Lucius and I never have. When will you get that through your head? Lucius and I will never, ever be friends so just lay off!"

"How dare you speak to your mother like that, Sirius Devon Black!" she shrieked. "I supported you throughout your entire life and this is how you repay me!?"

"Supported?" I couldn't help but repeat with a haughty laugh. "You did nothing but tell me what to do!"

"Yeah, well you never took the time and listened, now did you? Or you wouldn't be friends with that stuck-up prat who, might I add, killed some of our family a long way back in the early ages. Your great-great-great-great grandfather died because of the Potters and how do you think he'd feel if he found out you were friends with that git."

I stared at her in outrage. "I can't believe you! Perhaps the Malfoys didn't kill Kailey but their FRIENDS did!! How can you still want to be friends with them!?"

"Because they're highly regarded, decent people who are charitable in the right way."

"Mom, James is more respectable than you'll ever be so if you don't mind, I'm going over there now and living life the way I want to."

"Oh no you don't," she argued, blocking the doorway and sealing the window shut with a simple magic spell done without a wand. "Frank is coming home early tonight and all four of us will be sharing a delightful meal without any arguments, you got that?"

"So Dad has finally figured out that his office isn't where he's supposed to live?"

She pointed her finger at me. "Don't put your father down. He's just busy because he has a worthy job that puts food on the table and a roof over our heads! That's better than you'll ever do," she growled, glaring hatefully at me.

I let out a single 'Hah!' and rolled my eyes. "What a wonderful mother—telling me I'll never be as good as Dad. Tell me, mother," I smirked. "When was the last time he actually acknowledged your presence?"

She slapped me hard across the cheek. So hard, I was sure that blood was literally gashing from it. I was used to it, though. I often got slapped more than ten times in a week. "You deserved that, you little brat," she sneered. "Now, dinner will be ready in twenty minutes and you better be there or else I'm locking you in your room for a week."

I groaned. Unfortunately, when my mom threatened me with that, there was nothing I could do. Because she had locked me in my bedroom before and took out everything that I could possibly do in there. So I slept. That's all I did for about six and a half days before my mother needed me to baby-sit Regulus and Kailey. When she unlocked the door that day, I bolted to the chimney, grabbed Kailey's hand and Flooed to James' house where we remained for the rest of the night.

Of course, when I got home my mother told me that I corrupting Kailey's mind as well as my own and that I was never to take her out of the house again without asking my mother her permission first. I only knew she cared then because she really didn't want Kailey to turn out like me and she knew that that is exactly where she was headed.

Just thinking about Kailey brought the memories flooding back and the aching in my heart to return.

"Hello, Sirius," my father greeted me cordially when I walked into the dining room. It's how he had always acted around me, not that I cared. He was never home and he only heard the overexaggerated stories that Mother would tell him and never cared to listen to my side, though deep in his heart I knew he understood where I was coming from. But yet again, I didn't care. I knew that once I left that house for good, I was never coming home again.

"Dad!!" Regulus shrieked, rushing into the dining room and into his arms.

"Hey, Shorty!" he replied, a big grin spreading over his face as he embraced my thirteen-year-old brother.

Okay, I'll admit it. It hurt me more than words can express. Why was it that doing the right thing in life got me so terribly hated within my own family? I had thought that my father would understand but I soon learned that he just wanted to take my mother's side. I never understood how a parent could possibly despise their kid so much but that's all I was—someone living their house for them to ridicule and punish.

I pretty much remained quiet through dinner, biting my tongue every time I wanted to ridicule my mother's petty comments about the Dark Lord and the deatheaters.

"Yeah, our dear Regulus was just telling me today that Lucius had invited him to a party to welcome him to his gang. Can you believe it? One of my own kids is finally doing the right thing in life!"

Don't argue back. Don't argue back. It took all that was in me to tune her out.

"In a few years from now, we'll finally have someone who we can be proud of."

I swallowed hard and thought about going over to James' house to make me not listen to her words.

"Speaking of the Malfoys, Irma Baggleman was caught snooping around the Malfoys' estate again today," she said with a smirk hidden behind the casual look on her face. "They had her arrested for trespassing and now they think she stole something."

My head flew up and I glared at her. "Mom, the Bagglemans live next-door," I argued, not willing to take any more of this torture. "And her cats always get out. She probably was trying to look for them which is why she was found buried in the bushes! She wasn't hiding because she stole something!"

"You don't know what you're talking about, young man, so I suggest you finish your dinner without another word," she said firmly.

"No," I blatantly disagreed, jumping up from the table. "I'm tired of hearing how you enjoy other peoples' live being ruined! You know perfectly well that was the reason why she was there, mother. And the Malfoys aren't here so you can stop worshipping them!"

"Sit down, Sirius!" she growled, glaring at me now.

"No," I refused again. "I'm tired of listening to you and I won't."

"I suggest you take a seat and finish the dinner that your mother put out on the table for you," my father intercepted.

I let out a haughty laugh and glared at him. "This coming from the man who rarely even eats dinner in this house."

He slammed his fist against the table and to anyone else, that would have scared them silent. It probably would have made someone else crawl underneath the table and hide out there for eternity, but not me. No, I had gotten used to his every fearful move he tried to pull. To me, it was just another way of trying to control me which in the end, would fail. It often did.

"Don't you dare disrespect this family with that attitude and that tone, young man!" he roared, his voice booming off every wall.

"Family?" I repeated with a smirk. "This isn't a family. No, families get along. Families work together and have good times. Families share memories throughout their entire lives! The only memory I want to remember here is when Kailey was born!!"

"Don't mention her name again in this house, Sirius Devon Black!!" my father boomed, glaring at me with full-fledged hatred.

"What are you so worked up about?" I sneered. "You never cared before. What made you come running home today? I know it wasn't because I got home today. Perhaps it was because Regulus returned home after a long year. The son you actually appreciate!"

"Way to kill the moment," Regulus muttered.

I swerved and faced him angrily. "What moment? This household doesn't have moments! We just have screwed-up lives that so conveniently fit around our mother's schedule!"

"That's it, Sirius. Go to your room and think about what you have done to disrespect this family tonight!" she shouted.

"If you think I'm going to my room, you really have gone mad," I snickered. "I'll be at-"

"Don't you dare think about going over to the Potters' residence," she sneered, blocking the doorway before I could quickly flee. "I forbid you ever to see that boy again."

"Mother, you say that every year," I pointed out, rolling my eyes at her. "And every summer, I say fuck you and leave."

I ran out the other door and up to my room with my father's voice screaming out after me, "That language is not used in this household now come down here and apologize!"

I didn't bother replying, knowing that my mother was probably running up the stairs, attempting to stop me from going over to James' house. But I grabbed my broom, flipped her the middle finger, and quickly swooped out of my bedroom window feeling more free than I ever had. Then again, I say that every year.

Instead of going to James' house right away, I circled around the blocks a bit and thought about everything that was going on in my life. Every inch of hardship that I had to endure in my household. Every bit of remote sadness. I dwelled on the past and every tragedy that occurred in it. It was as if happiness didn't exist in my world anymore. Like I was being punished for something. I just didn't understand. I was choosing the right path in life—I was being the good kid who was going against his own family's morals because he knew that it was downright wrong. Why was I being punished for doing the right thing?

I never felt more alone than I did that night. I realized for the first time that I truly had no family left. I wasn't trying to be dramatic, I really wasn't. But what could I do? I was living an estranged life with practically no freedom in what I could do and think. I had to do everything that was anything on my own free will, going against rules. Of course, I had always been good at breaking rules but it didn't feel the same because I never got rewarded. I would go back home and do the whole mess over again.

I felt like I was missing something in life. I felt like I wasn't living the life I wanted. Why did people expect so much from me? At Hogwarts, I was carefree and mysterious, sometimes even on the edge of dangerous. I was happy at Hogwarts; I was truly and honestly the happiest that I had ever been and ever will be in my life. But at home, I was just this person who was trying so hard to escape the morals of my families. I was doing more running and hiding than I was facing the truth.

I stared up into the night sky and suddenly had a longing desire to be anywhere else but here. To be anyone but me. To be able to do anything I wanted without facing consequences. I never believed in heaven before—I never truly believed in any religion, to be honest—but staring up at the clear night sky, I wanted so badly to believe in heaven. If my life had to be a complete waste of time than wouldn't it have been great that if in my after-life I could finally be who I wanted to be? No more sneaking around, no more hiding behind the truth, no more lying to myself, and no more being someone I wasn't.

I once talked to Remus about this but at the time, I didn't think he understood the half of what I was trying to get at. He just kept repeating that I had the Marauders and that if I wasn't facing the truth with them then I would never be able to face myself.

Only now, thinking back, he was absolutely right. I did have my friends and honestly…that's probably all I'll ever have. But it's the best thing that a guy could ask for.

I knocked on the Potters' door, hoping that ten o'clock wasn't too late.

James answered the door and smiled at me. "I'll get you a pillow."

I loved James. Oh, ew, not like that. In the brotherly way that made me wonder if we were long-lost twins or something. I mean, we looked enough alike, though over the years we have changed (James' hair had stayed unmanageable and mine could easily be tamed with a brush) and he and I had the same attitude on life and truth. We shared the same values and we weren't afraid to speak our minds. Sometimes we were too straightforward but I believe in honesty more than anything.

Anyway, James had always understood me. He was there for me when I needed a friend and he never let me forget that. He and I shared everything about each other and he knew more about me than I did myself (I know, sounds girly, right? Trust me, it's not. We may get emotional at times but most of the time we're in touch with our masculine side…………Okay, I can hear you laughing, you know!). He always knew when something was wrong and I always knew when he needed to be cheering up. When he was sad, I was miserable. When he was happy, I was ecstatic. When he was stressed, I wanted to jam my head through a wall. When he wanted to have fun, I was already mapping out a plan. It's just how we worked, as if our mind was one. I was lucky to have James and I will never ever forget that.

Now that I think about it, if I was being punished in life then why would I have James? Maybe he was my reward after all.

"Well, you're unusually late tonight. I was expecting you around seven," James said after I settled into one of their guest rooms, which has pretty much been claimed as my own room, I stayed there so much.

I looked away and muttered, "My father was home for dinner tonight."

James gawked at me and was obviously at a loss for words.

"Yeah, I know," I answered for him, pounding my fist into a pillow. "Damnit!! Why is my family like this? What did I ever do to deserve this?" I cried out, on the verge of tears because I was so frustrated as I punched the pillow a few extra, unnecessary times.

"Padfoot, calm down," James finally said, taking away my pillow for obvious reasons, though at the time I was rather aggravated he was taking away my source of relief. "You know you're welcome here for as long as you'd like."

I shrugged and lay back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling tiles that I had counted hundreds of times before. There were exactly 486 tiles, more than the amount in James' room which only had 479.

I know James meant well but I always felt like a bother when I remained at the Potters' house for more than a few nights. I wasn't trying to take over and I hated inconveniencing them. His parents were the kind of parents that I had always dreamed of, and to be honest, I was always jealous of James. True, sometimes he couldn't stand his sister and his parents occasionally made it impossible to listen to, but he was always the lucky one. Even Remus and Peter don't have it as great as James does. Every times I glimpsed at Mrs. and Mr. P, I got a sick, twisted knot in the bottom of my stomach just reminding me that I don't have that and never will.

But in the meantime, James and I have an awesome time.

"James, I know I tell you this over and over again and you probably have tuned me out by now, but thanks for being my best friend," I said with a cheeky grin.

James grinned back. "Well you did happen to find the best-looking guy you could who would take you under his wing, that's for sure."

I threw a pillow at him which engaged us in a short pillow fight that ended up with us collapsed on the bed, still in a laughing fit. James and I never shared a dull moment in the five years that I have known him.

"C'mon, Si," James said, shoving me. "I think it's time for a drunken night in Diagon Alley."

"YES!" I cried, shooting my arm in the air and jumping up, quickly running into James' room across the hall and stripping down to my knickers, grabbing a fresh-smelling shirt from his drawers and throwing on a new pair of pants. James was laughing by the time I was finished preparing myself and he threw me a stick of deodorant, a brush, and a pack of mints as he changed his shirt as well. I glanced in the mirror, found myself quite presentable and pushed James out of his room. "C'mon, all the good women leave by midnight."

James rolled his eyes, but we tiptoed down to the living room where his chimney was and started our night of fun.

I woke up the next morning to a 50 lb. nine-year-old on top of me.

I groaned and rubbed my eyes. "It's too early."

"It's nine o'clock!"

"My point exactly."

She giggled and started tickling me, my weakest point (don't you dare tell anyone!).

"ARGH!! Okay, okay! I'm up, I'm up!"

She grinned toothlessly and stopped tickling me.

I sat up and smiled at her, kissing her on the cheek like I always did when I first saw her. "Well, hello there, Little Miss Princess," I greeted Ava.

"Mommy's making waffles this morning," she said cheerfully.

I laughed. Ava always made sure she'd tell me what Mrs. P was making for meals, mostly because the first time that I had met her, when she was only about four-years-old (I know—it seems so long ago!), James told her that all I ever did was laugh and eat. Of course back then, she was a shy little girl but she came to know me as an older brother—but the one who she couldn't get yelled at by or punished by. She liked knowing that.

"Well if mommy's making waffles, then I guess that's my cue to get out of bed, huh Squirt? Except I have this problem—you see, there's this girl on top of me who is just holding me back. Hm…I wonder what I could do to get her off of me? Oh that's right, tickle her!" I cried out, burying her underneath my arms as she squealed in laughter.

"What the hell is going on in here? It sounds like a herd of elephants escaping from the zoo," a voice said from the doorway.

Ava and I stopped and looked up towards the door to find none other than James. "Why, James," I said, wiping away a fake tear. "That's the nicest thing you've ever said to me."

He rolled his eyes. "Ava, Mom wants you to help her in the kitchen."

She gave him a look. "Don't lie. I know you just want me out."

James laughed, leaning against the doorframe. "You know me too well, babe."

"Funny, that's exactly what you called the beautiful Angelina Mod-" I started before James let out a horrific scream and cried out, "Aw man, that's my sister!!"

We both laughed as Ava just looked on in confusion. "Now, that is my cue to leave," she muttered, jumping off the bed and rushing through the doorframe as James ruffled her hair as she ran past, literally hopping down the stairs.

I must have had a sullen look on my face, in remembrance of Kailey, because James sighed and said, "No one could ever replace Kailey, Sirius, and Ava's not trying to."

I just shook off the melancholy feeling and hopped out of bed. "I didn't say anything," I argued. "Now, a little birdie told me that your mom was making waffles and I think I hear a…a…a…yes, there it is! A stack of them calling out my name!"

"No, no, that's just you going crazy. I told you that hearing food talk is a bad sign, but you just never listen."

I threw my pillow at him and replied, "That's because I'm too busy listening to the food."

He laughed and threw the pillow back at me, fleeing the room. I jumped out of bedand quickly ran after him, down the stairway and into their huge, gorgeous kitchen, the kind of kitchen that made the kitchen in my house look like a closet.

"Do you have as bad a hangover as I do right now?" James whispered before we entered into the kitchen.

I rolled my eyes. "Amateur," I muttered jokingly. James gave me a look. "But yes," I replied humorously. "However, waffles always make it better."

He laughed and he walked into the kitchen, with me right behind him. "Good morning, Sirius," Mrs. P greeted. "Waffles?"

"Why else would I be down here, I mean besides to get culturally liberated through a healthy conversation with you and your delightful husband," I said with a grin.

James rolled his eyes. "Sirius, you don't have to suck up. They'll give you as many waffles as you want."

We all laughed as I gave Mrs. P a huge smile and took a seat beside Ava who was already digging into her food like a hungry bear. "Whoa, there, Squirt. Slow down. You're going to choke." She grinned (with her mouth full which wasn't a pretty picture) and continued to wolf it all down. "Well, that's a sight that could make someone lose their appetite."

James snorted. "Oh please, you look worse than that when you're eating and you know it."

I wiped away another fake tear. "Wow, James," I sniffled. "That's the second nicest thing you've said to me today. I think you're on a roll."

We both laughed as James just said, "Oh, eat your waffles so we can go meet up with Remus in town."

"Really?" I said enthusiastically. "I haven't seen him in like...like…"

"Less than a day?" he smirked.

We all laughed that time as Mr. P strolled into the kitchen, kissing his wife on the cheek and saying his rounds of good morning, all a little too cheery for me at nine-thirty in the morning.

"Sirius!" he cried out. "I haven't seen you since last summer. How's it going?"

I shrugged. "The usual."

"We were expecting you much earlier last night," he teased, slugging me playfully in the arm. "What happened?"

I shrugged, swallowing before answering. "My father was home for dinner last night and you know how that can be," I muttered with a sigh. "He walked in as if he owned the place and continued to make false accusations about my year at school, thinking that yet again, I was downplaying it all. Like he has the nerve to tell me what to do anymore? He lost that right when he lost sight of how a father should act around his family."

Mr. P gave me a sympathetic look and patted me on the shoulder. "Well, you're always welcome here."

And so it began, the breakfast of a normal family, one that I will never be a part of understanding. James always looked happy and as I sat there, staring at his family, I wondered if that was what was giving him so much spirit—I mean, being loved by a family and coming home to people who want to know how his day went. I had never seen James without a smile on his face but not the type of forced smile that I always put on—the kind that truly made him one of a kind. Not many people looked that happy nowadays and I was full of jealousy staring at the humorous banter between him and his sister. Honestly, never once in my life had I felt lonely. Sure, there were times I felt alone but I had great friends who cared more about me than anyone ever had, who made me feel wanted and loved. There's a big difference between the word lonely and alone. Alone meant living on your own but never having to show a hint of sorrow while being lonely expressed living a life in solitude, perhaps standing in a crowd but never being noticed.

When I glance up at James, I don't feel lonely. But when I glance up at the world, I know I'm alone.

"Remus!" I cried out as I saw him sitting outside a coffee shop on the other side of the road, talking to some girl who looked absolutely smokin' from the back! Man, I got to get me some of that, I thought to myself, staring at her ass.

I ran across the street, pulling James behind me, and greeted him with a grin, winking at him cheekily.

Until the girl turned around and all I could do was stare at her in horror.

"Am I that intimidating, Black?" Lily Evans smirked.

I glared at her, trying to get her ass out of my mind, and said haughtily, "No, I just forgot how scary your face really is."

She gave me the middle finger and said innocently, "If you think mine's bad, look in a mirror."

I rolled my eyes and shot back, "That's funny, because the last time I checked—all the girls swarm to mine. Now, how many guys are lining up to be with you, Evans?"

"Sirius, shut up," Remus said firmly, glaring at me with one of his famous 'don't-push-it' looks.

I listened to him, only because I knew that I had won the argument.

"What are you doing here anyway?" James sneered.

"I live here."

"What? You live in Godric's Hollow!? I thought your family were Muggles," James spat out.

"Okay, okay. I'm living here for now," she elaborated. "I'm staying with Hilary." Hilary O'Keefe was Lily's only friend besides Remus at Hogwarts, though I had to admit that a lot of people did get along with her. She wasn't one for making or keeping friends; she just had plenty of acquaintances.

"For how long?" James snapped, wondering if he'd have to worry about running into her again.

She shrugged. "For a week…or a month…or two months. I don't know how long it will be."

James and I exchanged confused glances though it seemed that Remus understood clearly. "Uh…if you're visiting someone, shouldn't you know how long you'll be staying?" I dared to ask.

Remus snorted and practically fell off his chair. "Sirius, must I remind you that you are always at James' house for long periods of times and you never question how long you should be staying."

I glared at him. "That was information that Evans didn't need to know about."

"Well you two are more alike in ways than you know," Remus said mysteriously.

I didn't quite understand but Lily turned to me and asked, "Oh, so you hate your family as well." It wasn't even a question. It was a statement and for the first time since I had ever met Lily Evans, I saw just how lonely she really was. She looked quite helpless and even a bit out of place. I suddenly had the feeling that she never made friends for the sole purpose that she was afraid she'd lose them. Lily Evans actually had depth to her, depth that I never cared to notice before. Of course, that didn't mean I was going to suddenly start hating her even less. I still found her nosy and a bit boring for me to care for.

"I don't…hate them, per se," I lied but before I continued both James and Remus burst into uncontrollable laughter.

Lily raised her eyebrows at me and pointed at Remus and James. "Somehow, I don't believe you," she smirked at me, glancing their way. "Just be thankful you don't live in my hellhole, Black. Nothing can be worse than it."

"Apparently you've never lived with a delusional magic family like my own. They have completely outrageous beliefs in the wizardry world and I am willing to bet you that your Muggle home is better than mine."

"I'm not going to sit here and argue with you, Black, mostly because there's no way we could compare…and because I know I'm right."

I was hoping Remus would speak up and take someone's side since he was the only person there who had seen both families and could make a conclusion, but he sat still, drinking his coffee and letting us figure it out on our own. I reminded myself to lecture him later about the point of having friends.

"Won't Hilary be wondering where you are?" I shot back, instead of continuing our argument. We wouldn't have gotten anywhere with it anyhow.

She shrugged. "No, she's at work now. It's this thing called responsibility that you know nothing about."

I rolled my eyes. "Don't you have somewhere else to be then here, annoying the hell out of us?"

Remus gave me a look. "She's not bothering me."

"And for once, she's paying more hated attention to you than me," James said with a shrug.

"And I call you my friends," I muttered.

Eventually, she did leave and I was finally able to smile and have some fun. However, for the remainder of the day, I couldn't get her out of my head. I was curious to know why she hated her family and why she thought hers was worse. She always did keep to herself, with a rather empty look in the back of her eyes and I wondered if perhaps she wasn't as strong as she liked everyone to believe. For the first time I realized that Lily Evans and I were more alike than I could have imagined.

And that's when I figured it out. I didn't hate Lily because I thought she was a bossy Know-it-all. No, I was bothered by Lily Evans because since the first time I met her, I knew I couldn't have her. She was the gorgeous, smart, cool, trustworthy girl that would always remain that innocent girl to me. She would always be that eleven-year-old Muggle who had the courage to stand up to me the first time that I had met her. I can remember my shock clearly, telling myself that we were two different people who I was forced to loathe. It turns out, I was only running from her—well, I was running from people like her. Those certain people who knew who they were and weren't afraid to change for anybody. Those people who live life the way they thought they were meant to and not afraid to question it. People who believed that the truth lies behind every answer. People that keep their doors open. People who weren't afraid to fall in love and who weren't afraid to be loved back. I wanted to be her and I wasn't. I never could have been that confident, so I did the only thing I could and kept her away. Instead of welcoming her like anyone else would have done, I laughed at her and told her to sod off and make her own friends.

I'm sure you've noticed that I'm not exactly one for commitment and like I previously mentioned, it's mostly because I don't want to fall in love. Why spend the rest of your life with one woman instead of learning to succumb to other types? Remus repeatedly tells me that one day, I'll fall in love and I'll see just how great it can be, but for now, I'll stick to one-night stands. To be honest? I'm afraid to fall in love. How will I know if it's just sympathy? I've gotten a lot of girls by telling them my life story but I don't want to meet the girl of my dreams through empathy. I want her to love me for who I am.

Oh wow, just listen to me. Now it sounds like I want someone to fall in love with me, which I don't. Though, it would be incredibly awesome to be chased after and longed for.

Don't tell anyone I said that. A guy like me could get the crap beaten out of by others who knew that I think about the concept of love in my free time.

The downfall of my teenage years started only a week after we ran into Lily in town. I had left James' house the next morning even though he was trying to convince me it was okay to stay at his house for longer than just two nights. But yet again, I felt guilty invading his house like that.

It was just another night at my house, one where I barricaded myself in my room so I wouldn't have to be bothered by any unnecessary family talk or anything like that or if my mother just happened to walk upstairs and want to remind me that Voldemort is a Saint who she worships and that I was making a terrible mistake by wanting to do some good in the world after Hogwarts.

I was staring up at the stars, on top of my room where I liked to rest and relax in the evening, trying to find my star, thinking about the day when Kailey was born. I was only four but I could remember thinking that our family was perfect. My father hugged me tightly and kissed two-year-old Regulus on the forehead and repeating over and over again, "Isn't she perfect?" Life was perfect back then. Simple, even. I didn't have to make a choice between my family's values and a world of good. No, I was only four-years-old and my only worries were when I was going to get some more candy. Even my mother loved me back then. We were a family. We were whole. But that only lasted for another two years until I started getting into more trouble than my parents wanted to deal with.

I missed those days when I actually felt like I had a family. The days where we'd all go down to the pond and run around, get a little dirty even, and just laugh and have fun for an entire day, basking under the summer sun with happiness in our blood. I always feel a hint of pain while thinking about those memories because I can remember thinking that we'd be the perfect family forever. That no matter how old I got, I'd always have a family to come home to.

And now? My family is with James.

Anyway, my mother barged into my room that night at the same time I was sneaking back into my room through the window. She gave me a snooty look and simply said, "We're invited to the Malfoys tomorrow for dinner. You better be there this time."

All I could do was stare at her in absolute abhorrence and shock.

"If you're not downstairs by five, I'm personally going to make sure you go hungry for the whole summer as I lock you in your bedroom for the remainder of it."

I still was speechless, not caring much about that part. How could she possibly want to go back after the last disaster??

"Young Lucius asked about you, Sirius, and I will not be disappointing him."

I still didn't know what to say.

"Do you understand me, young man?"

"No, actually I don't," I argued, finally finding my voice. "How come I'm the only one in this house who is recognizing my sister's loss?! The last time we were invited, my sister was murdered there. How can you deny that, mother!? I'm not going back to a place that took away the only person I ever learned to love!"

"Don't you bring Kailey into this," she grimaced. "You shall not speak of that moment in this household ever again, you got that?"

"No, I don't got that," I protested, walking over to her and towering her with my six feet self compared to her little 5'4" self. "I'm not like them, mother! Just like Kailey wasn't like them. It's like you're giving me a death sentence by demanding I be there!"

"Well, it wouldn't be the worst thing," she uttered.

I gasped and I stared at her in horror, a bit of agony terrorizing my heart. I suddenly wanted to punch her. I wanted to hurt her like she had hurt me over the years. I wanted to show her just how much pain she had caused me throughout my teenage years but I was too shocked to do anything. I simply crossed my arms over my chest and said calmly, "I'm not going over there. I'm not going to sit there, indulge in conversation with them, and pretend that I share the same ideals. I refuse to be someone I'm not, Mother. I'm not Regulus and you can't make me be him or even be like him. Voldemort is a delusional, insane crack-whore who I refuse to acknowledge!!"

"How dare you call the Dark Lord such an ill-advised name, Sirius!" she snapped, glaring at me. "You're supposed to be my son, Sirius. And all you are to me is some slave-worker that somehow managed to swipe a bedroom around here. Well, I've had it with you!! If you don't show up tomorrow, I'm moving you into the attic!"

"WHAT!?" I cried. "Kreacher'sold bedroom!?!?"

"And even better," she said evilly, staring at me like I was Voldemort come to take me away. "If you don't show up tomorrow, I'm sending you away to military school in the fall, year-round. So you can finally shape up to be the man you should be. Not the wuss you are now. So I hope for your own good, you show up tomorrow at five or I'll be calling in a few favors." She cackled evilly and gave me a haughty wave as she floated out the door, ecstatic that she finally had the plan that could possibly make me right with her.

Life was so unfair.

And I did something I hadn't done since my sister died. I threw myself on to my bed and I cried myself to sleep.

When I woke up a few hours later, the memory of my mother's threat came flooding back and I groaned. How could she take me away from Hogwarts like this? How could she sell me out like that? But I couldn't show up at the Malfoys—I was literally risking my life by doing so. I was stuck and there was absolutely nothing that I could do. What choice did I have? I couldn't not attend Hogwarts—it was my home. It was the one place where I could be myself and not worry about my mother breathing down my neck with her outdated rules. When I received my acceptance letter, I felt that I could finally get away and go somewhere where people would finally recognize me as my own person. I thought I was given a second chance in understanding life. It was the first time that I wanted to move on. The first time that I felt like I was free. I saw Hogwarts as a turning point in my life. I wanted to get to know myself, more than I even do now, and I wanted to be able to do that in an environment where I wouldn't be judged by others. Okay, that's not completely true—I knew I would be judged, because if you think about it, everyone's always being judged by someone else, but I wanted to get to know me without me caring what others thought. The first time I stepped on the Hogwarts Express, I said good-bye to my past and welcomed the feeling of comfort. I was happy to know that I wasn't alone either. I stepped into a new world with a chance of a new friendship as James slowly followed behind me on to the train, quickly saying good-bye to his family. I saw him with his parents and sister and I knew that even though I'll never get the chance to have that feeling again, I wanted to have some sort of feeling of reassurance for my future. I wanted to be able to live my own life without any setbacks and after being sorted into Gryffindor and meeting my roommates that night, I finally let out that sigh of relief I didn't know I was holding in. I promised myself that in my first year, I was going to make a name for myself. I wanted to make sure that I wouldn't be known as the Gryffindor supporter of the Dark Lord. I knew what people thought of me in the first few days of being there—they were wondering why I was a Gryffindor. All Blacks dating back thousands of years have been Slytherins and have befriended Slytherins and did their damage to the world. Well, not me. And they all soon realized it. I wreaked havoc around the school with James and Remus at my side, soon joined by Peter Pettigrew. By the end of the year, everyone knew me as lovable and popular and because the four of us were so close, people recognized us as friends. They completely forgot about the Black stereotype and I was only grateful I was given that chance. Hogwarts was my sanctuary. It gave me new hope and the opportunity to make a better person out of myself.

And now, my bitch of a mother was taking that away! She was taking away my existence, my reason for living. I know that sounds extreme, even a bit farfetched, but it's the truth. Without Hogwarts, I don't know if I'd be who I am today. It defines who I became. I changed at Hogwarts, for the better. And I couldn't just let it all go. I couldn't let myself be faced with that torture.

I felt a few tears slip down my cheeks and I couldn't believe just how childish I was acting. I should have remained strong and remembered who I was, just like I had pointed out. Sirius Black doesn't cry. He faces the facts and tries his best to get things his way. I was jumping to conclusions, jumping ahead too much. I still had a day to think of a plan. That gave me plenty of time, right?

So I wiped away the few tears that lingered on my cheeks (and if you ever tell anyone that I was acting like such a crybaby, I'll make sure to hunt you down and stab a knife right through your heart…see? I can be very tough and masculine!), and glanced at the clock. I couldn't believe it! It was three o'clock in the morning! It was still dark outside! The moon still resided in the night sky, with the stars twinkling around it. It would have been gorgeous on any other night (morning?) but at that point, I was beyond views and landscapes. I needed a plan to get me out of dinner that wouldn't send me to military school.

And suddenly it seemed so simple.

And yet so incredibly difficult.

Tap. Tap, tap. Tap.

I hesitated and stared through James' window, my nose pressed up against the glass.

Tap, TAP.

It took James over ten minutes of me tapping on his bedroom window before he woke up. He sat up groggily to the sounds of my taps and glanced towards the window, obviously confused and skeptical. I tapped again and he stared at the window with his blurry vision. He struggled to find his glasses on the nightstand and when he did, he blinked a few times before looking across the room at the window where I was floating on my broom.

His mouth dropped and he hurried out of bed to the window, opening it to see me, who was smiling sheepishly and feeling very guilty.

"What are you doing here?" he hissed quietly so he wouldn't wake up his sister across the hall, or even his mother who was a very light sleeper down the hall.

I wasn't sure how to answer that so I didn't.

"Sirius, it's four o'clock in the morning!" James snapped, his voice rising a bit. "Not answering me isn't an option."

"Um…" I muttered. "Listen, I do want to explain but I'm hovering over your window on my broom and I am exhausted so if you could possibly let me in, that would be great."

James shrugged and opened the window a few more inches.


"Why?" he asked in bewilderment.

"I told you I'd explain but you have to let me in first downstairs."

James sighed. "You are one strange kid, Padfoot, you know that?"

I would have snickered at any other time and replied with some sort of witty comment, perhaps about how royally messy his hair was in the middle of the night (even more so than usual!) or maybe the fact that his intelligence only goes towards pranks, but this was a serious matter, one which I was not about to ruin for myself.

And James could tell something was wrong when I didn't respond.

I flew down to the front of his house and held my breath unintentionally, almost nervous about what James was going to do to me. He was my best friend and he and I both knew that but the move I was going to make next was a big one and I wasn't sure how to deal with it.

He quietly opened the door and was about to say something when he saw my trunk behind me along with my sleeping owl, Turtle.

"Sirius?" he asked softly, looking up at me in concern. "What's going on?"

"I-I need a place to stay for a few days," I said firmly, but trembling inside as I swallowed hard waiting for his answer. I can't believe I had asked James that. I knew I was intruding and yet I was asking him to let me stay in his home, as if I was moving in, for a few days. I knew I was taking advantage of him and I felt so guilty but I really had no where else to go. Running away was the only thing for me to do to let me be my own person and I knew I was taking a huge risk, with chances that I could fail, but what other choice did I have? I needed to get out of that house before I suffocated or was completely tortured to my death.

James' mouth was trying to form the right thing to say but he was acting just as helpless as I looked. "Sirius…what's going on?" he asked slowly, shooing me inside and grabbing Turtle so my hands wouldn't be completely full.

"I-I…er…I-I kinda ran away from home."

"What?" James hissed in outrage. "In the middle of the night? You just…fled?"

"James, you don't understand. I was being smothered there. I-I can't go back," I pleaded. This wasn't going the way I wanted it to but I had a feeling that James might act this way.

James burst into laughter, which was the complete opposite of what I thought he was going to which was lecture me about family values. When he started to calm down, he snickered, "I always knew you had it in you. I was just starting to wonder if you were ever going to do it."


"Padfoot, I knew you'd either run away from home at some point or you'd kill them all. Considering you probably wouldn't want to go to Azkaban at such a young age, I figured you'd choose this. I'm just glad you came here. You know you're welcome for as long as you like."

I shook my head stubbornly. "No. I'm not staying for a more than a few days."

James gave me a look. "Well, what are you going to do afterward?"

"Hopefully get a cheap flat somewhere."

"And pay for it how?"

"I have some money. And I'll work. I'll do anything just as long as I don't have to go back."

"How will you work when you're in Hogwarts?" James questioned.

"Who are you, James? Can't you just be my best friend right now and please change the subject? I'm not exactly in the best mood at the moment and I don't need your fatherly advice on how to manage money."

James nodded. "I'm sorry. I-I just think you should stay here for the summer."

"No way am I intruding for-"

"Intruding??" James smirked, laughing hysterically. "Sirius, my parents see you as one of their own! They'd do anything for you! They'd let you live here longer than me and I'm their son. You have nothing to worry about when it comes to intrusion."

I remained silent. I knew he was right but I still couldn't invade their home and expect so much from the Potters. It was James' family and I didn't want to get involved in that.

But I was grateful that James understood why I had to leave home. He was the one person who I knew I could trust in life and I was just thankful that I had someone like him to care. I was genuinely ecstatic when James led me to my room and said good night because I knew I would have a good night. I had this huge problem that rested on my chest and now, it felt like the burden was off. I wasn't going back home for the rest of my life, I promised myself that. I don't care how hard I'd have to work in the future to keep myself from going back, but I was never stepping a foot inside that house again…ever.

I woke up the next morning, later than usual and peeked across the hallway where James was already out of bed and probably downstairs eating breakfast and explaining the situation to his parents. Actually, glancing at the clock and seeing that it was ten o'clock, he probably was only explaining it to his mother since his father had left much earlier that morning for work.

I sauntered quietly down the stairs and was about to enter the kitchen when I heard my name being mentioned. I knew I shouldn't have listened on, but I couldn't help but eavesdrop. I wanted to see what his mother honestly thought about me.

"What?" Mrs. P cried out. "When did Sirius get here? I was up pretty late last night finishing up some work." Mrs. P was a journalist and often found night her most stimulating time.

"Uh…well, I wouldn't exactly call it late so much as it was early."

"James Potter, explain yourself or else he's going home now," she responded firmly, obviously refusing to dance around the subject. She often threatened James with that, usually just messing around but there were serious times where she punished James by sending me out. Unfortunately, it just made me feel more bothersome at that time and I knew I had to start looking for somewhere else to say.

"NO!" he yelled so loudly, I could hear the silverware clatter on the breakfast plates. "Mom, you can't. You…er…you just don't understand."

"Well, I'm trying to."

"Mom…uh…okay, um. Listen, what I'm about to tell you is something that is a very touchy subject with Sirius and cannot be discussed with him, got it? And you can't try to be the good parent and send him home because you don't exactly know what's best for him even though you often believe that you do," James explained, all in one breath out of nervous habit. "You know how life is for him and it's just…uh…it's hard, okay? Any idiot can see that. But you can't try to control him and you can't tell him what to do because it will probably just push him farther away from wherever he wants to be right now. Sirius is my best friend and I'm not going to make him do anything he doesn't want to do or can't do and I'd really appreciate it if you would just take my side and let me handle this. Okay?"

"James, what in God's name are you rambling on about?"

He sighed and a long silence captivated the kitchen. "Sirius…uh…well, he's not just here because he needs to get out of his house for a few days. Um…well, actually that's not true. That's exactly why he's here. But…Mom? He's not going back."

"More elaboration would be perfect, James," she said in a thin voice, obviously trying hard not to snap at him.

"Elaboration! That's perfect!" James said, obviously thrilled with himself. "You know how you're always telling me that I can do what I want and be who I want within reason?"

"What does this have to do with elaboration or Sirius?"

"Sirius doesn't get that kind of encouragement, Mom, unless you call me trying to coax him into future plans encouragement. He doesn't have anyone like you in his life, and before you go off on a tangent and tell me that you are what he needs, what I'm trying to say is that he can't always win while playing lifelong games and he finally realized that."

"Again, I repeat: what's this got to do with elaboration?"

"I'm talking about life, Mom. Goals. Dreams. Embellishment into the future…"


"Get it?"

"No. Why is Sirius here and why didn't I hear him come in last night?"

"Before you go all Mom on me you have to promise to listen to me before making conclusions."

"James, I stopped listening to you when you tried to make a connection between elaboration and life."

"Mom," he warned.

"Is Sirius in trouble or something?"

"Y'know, for the first time in his life," James started, a hint of relief in his voice. "He's actually not."

A long comfortable silence fell afterwards and I felt myself smiling, secretly thrilled that I could have a best friend like James in my life.

"Mom…Sirius ran away from home," James explained and I could hear Mrs. P opening her mouth to argue with a gasp, but James continued, "But you can't make him go back. He's finally made the best decision in his life and I won't let you ruin that for him. I've often felt that he was being weighed down by his family burdens but when I opened the door this morning, I saw the Sirius that he wanted to be. Don't take that one ray of hope away from him, Mom. Please?"

"James, I'm a mother of two, am I not?" she said after a slight hesitation, obviously not just asking it for rhetorical reasons.


"Well, what's one more?"

I let my breath out, not realizing I was holding it, and I wanted to cry out to the heavens and thank my lucky stars that Mrs. P understood me, not that I expected anything less from the woman that I could honestly call my true mother.

"Really!?" James said ecstatically.

"Yes, but before you do any celebrating, you should know that I had thought about this for a while now. I thought that Sirius might do something like this and I had just recently decided that this was for the best. You're right, James. Sirius is being held back by his family and I think it's time for him to see who he really is, not just inside but on the outside too. We often get caught up in a fantasy world and thinking about Sirius makes me realize just how frightening reality can be for a person, especially for someone who probably thinks he's being punished for something. As surprising as it sounds, I think Sirius gives everyone a long look at themselves in the mirror. Life isn't perfect and it never will be." She paused and added, "Sirius is a great kid and I'm so glad that he didn't turn out like the rest of his family because his heart's too big for that."

"Mom, you really are the best," James said, getting up and kissing her on the cheek as I heard his plate and glass clatter in the kitchen sink.

"And I hope he knows that he can stay here until he graduates from Hogwarts."

James whooped. "Yes! I knew you'd understand! Thanks for everything. I love you, Mom."

"Oh and honey?" she continued. "Before you rush upstairs and tell Sirius the good news you should know that's he's standing behind the door listening to all of this."

I cringed and blushed in embarrassment, walking through the opened kitchen door. "Sorry, but I couldn't help and eavesdrop."

She smiled at me and patted my arm comfortingly, getting me a plate of pancakes. "I know. And I didn't bother stopping James from continuing his little 'Elaborate Lives' speech when I spotted your shadow on the kitchen floor."

I groaned. "The shadow. What was I thinking!?"

We all laughed and I let myself say what I needed to. "Mrs. P, I can't stay here for longer than a few days. It's not right invading your home like this and it's not fair. It's my problem and I should deal with it."

"Sirius, don't you dare go rushing back to those streets anytime soon. I have morals and pushing you out of my home when you need it isn't one of them. You are staying here and that's final…uh, of course I need to talk to my husband first."

"Mrs. P, I really appreciate the offer but I have morals, too. And one of them is not taking over a place that I just don't belong. You're the Potters and I'm a Black. It's not right and I don't think it's fair to you."

"Well sometimes life's unfair, Sirius," she said with a satisfied grin.

"Yeah, well I know all about that," I muttered.

"And don't you think it's time for a change?"

I couldn't answer that. All I could do was stare at my plate of pancakes and think about how life really was unfair to me. She was right; I needed to change some things. I needed to figure out where I was headed before looking into the future. James had said that I couldn't win at any lifelong games and perhaps he was right, but I like to think of it as neutral. I can't lose because I have nothing to lose. And I can't win because my future is still a big blur. I was stuck in the middle with so many difficult decisions, some that I was too afraid to make on my own. James tried to convince me that staying there would only help me live a life I needed but I only kept disagreeing with him.

And it wasn't until the next morning that I realized that I wasn't blinded by the fear. I was simply blinded by the fact that I hadn't accepted myself yet as who I was. I thought that I needed change. I thought that I needed Hogwarts to be the real me but it turned out that I only needed one long look in the mirror before never going back to the Sirius who I didn't want to be. I had become someone who I was proud of and I had only realized this while talking to the one person who I never thought possible could make me feel whole again.

"Wake up, Sirius!" Ava cried in the morning, jumping on my bed so I was practically flying through the air.

I simply groaned and buried myself under my pillow.

"C'mon Sirius," she whined. "It's morning."

I grunted into my pillow, not wanting to get up. I just wanted to sleep for the remainder of my life. It wasn't the only thing I was good at nowadays. I was able to live through dreams during the night.

She stopped jumping on the bed and instead, snuggled up against my back, her hot breath whispering against my neck. "Sirius, why don't you love me anymore?"

Well, that certainly got my attention enough to wake me up. I quickly turned around to face her. "What?? What are you talking about, Squirt?"

"Mommy said you want to leave," she explained, her large, gorgeous azure beady eyes staring up at me.

I glanced at her and could only kiss her on her forehead. "Oh, Ava," I responded gently, patting her arm soothingly. "I don't want to leave. I have to leave."

"Why?" she whispered.

I didn't know how to answer her. Ava had always been practical, ever since she was a little girl and I hated letting her down. How was I supposed to explain to her the situation? "Because…uh…because I don't belong here," I replied with a nervous biting of my lip.

She gave me a confused glance and said in a small voice, "But this is your family."

"Ava, you're not my family," I immediately disregarded. "I-I…well, I don't really have a family anymore."

"But don't you love us?" she asked, looking up at me with an eager look that just made my heart tremble.

I gave her a welcoming smile and responded willingly, "More than you'll ever know."

"Well, shouldn't that give you enough reason to stay?"

"It should," I muttered, mostly trying to convince myself rather than her. "But…but the world awaits me."

"What are you going to find out there that you won't find right here?" she questioned with a disappointed look on her face. "I may only be nine and a half but I can see you're hiding from something, whatever that may be. What are you trying to prove to yourself?"

I stared at her, at the genius that she really was and I couldn't find an answer. I searched for anything that would give me motivation to say the right thing but I was stuck. Ava hit the target clearly. What the hell did the world mean to me? What was out there that the Potters couldn't give me—warmth, safety, comfort, reassurance, confidence, determination, power, strength, and mostly just love. Everything I had ever wanted rested in the Potters residence and there was nothing else in the world that I could learn that I couldn't learn there. The Potters gave me more hope than anyone I had ever met and I was finally willing to open myself up and see who I had become.

And that's when it hit me. I was simply hiding from myself. I was too afraid that my life was getting out of hand and I didn't know how to deal with it anymore. I was only trying to prove to myself that I was a failure—at everything I had ever done. I was facing failure and hiding from a future that may just not be the one I was hoping for. But Ava showed me that it was okay to fail as long as I tried the best I could. If Ava could see that, then I knew I had to search through my past for some definitive answers. To be honest, my adversities in life were what kept me going forward. Dealing with the pain kept me constantly trying to find the right path down life. Or maybe I wanted to make my own path and set myself straight. If I could lead others the way James has led me, I knew that I would live a satisfactory life. Maybe it wouldn't be perfect (what ever is?) but it would be just right for me.

I sat there for what felt like eternity but in reality was only a few seconds and basked in my new found glory. I breathed in air and got hope. I breathed out life and got dignity. Both which I hadn't felt in a long time.

I just couldn't believe it was Ava who changed me around. A nine-year-old who made me want to see the world and who just wanted me to be happy. Well, I finally was. I was finally able to convince…no, remind myself of who I was and I finally put life in perspective, putting me first and not the world.

"We all make mistakes Sirius, but…can't you learn from them here instead of on your own somewhere else?"

"I guess you're just going to have to find out," I finally said to her with a mysterious look on my face. "It's a good thing we'll have next summer as well."

"Does that mean…are you…are you saying that you'll stay!?"

I embraced her tightly and silently thanked her. "Yes, Ava. I'm staying."

"Should I be feeling insulted that a nine-year-old was able to convince you to stay over your best friend?" James said, leaning against the doorframe stifling a yawn.

"I wouldn't say she convinced me," I clarified, winking at her. "She just helped me figure out who I was."

"I still feel insulted."

"No you don't. You're grateful that I'm staying and you don't care who the deciding factor was."

James laughed. "Okay, okay, you're right. Now I just got to tell my mom. Beware, there may be balloons and cake, but don't-"

"Cake!?" I said, suddenly feeling very much awake for eight-thirty in the morning. "C'mon, let's go tell her now!"

We all laughed as I slowly trudged out of bed, laughing as Ava zoomed out of the room, rushing towards her parents' room. I almost felt a huge weight being lifted off of me as I saw the excitement in Ava's eyes—I was proud of her for telling me what she wanted instead of dancing around the subject. Merlin, I was even proud of myself for making the right decision.

I was about to follow Ava when James stopped me. "Sirius, I'm glad you're staying," he said, throwing dignity and self-respect out his window. "Like you said, I know you just needed time to figure out who you were but I'm grateful you're choosing to do it here then out in the world on your own. You deserve better than that and we can give you that here."

"You're going to hug me now aren't you…" I said as a statement, grinning at him.

"You bet!" he agreed, embracing me like the brother I was. I hugged him back feeling more ecstatic with myself and my life than I had in days.

And as we pulled apart and walked towards his parents' bedroom, I hid a smile. James truly was my brother and the Potters truly were my family. I finally fit in. I finally had a place that I could call home. I finally belonged somewhere—I mean, I truly felt like I belonged. They wanted me there and I hadn't ever had that feeling of family warmth. I thought I was giving up everything by running away from home, but it turned out that I was simply gaining everything I had ever wanted. I was living the life I wanted—the life I needed to complete my goals. I had so many dreams that were going unfulfilled at the Black residence. It's funny but the Potters' home became my home. I referred to it as my home and my old house as the Black residence, as if I never even lived there. I actually thought about going back one day and tell them where I was and that I was never coming home again but I refused to give them the satisfaction of me saying good-bye to them. I never wanted to say good-bye and I decided that if I never saw them again, my life would be absolutely perfect. And it truly felt perfect. I can honestly say that even though I had forced myself to believe that perfection was overrated, my new profound acceptance of life was on the verge of being completely and utterly perfect. So not only did I have a best friend and other friends who truly cared for me and a school where I could be myself, but I had a home. A home that started the journey of finding myself. Like I promised Ava, I was learning from many past mistakes and I stopped living in the past. I stopped hiding from fear and I stopped being afraid of myself. I faced myself every day and every day, I learned something new.

But the best feeling about living there for the next two years? I was never even given the chance of feeling alone.

A/N: Sooo? How'd you like it? You can tell by reviewing!!

In upcoming stories: I have a short story between James and Lily that I'm writing now and I'm finishing this Marauders' series with a James story (and maybe a Peter story if I have time.)