Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't get money from this.

Summary: This is Sirius at Grimmault place feeling caged and marauding his way out. Takes place at some point of Ootp. One-shot. An answer to a 'one word' challenge made by Lilie Blaze (can be found at fictionalley).

The Price of Freedom

Alone he sat there in the dark hallway, glaring at her whom he had once called 'mother'. The house was dark and empty like Kreacher's head. He had tied that little vermin into a nice bundle with sellotape and thrown him in the closet upstairs. The sellotape wouldn't hold long but his exact orders would. That was just about the best his words were worth these days. The word of the scion of the noble and most ancient house of Black. Dry chuckle escaped him and made the old bat spare him a glare.

He looked down the hallway and felt disgusted. The house was the second last place on earth where he wanted to be. The last was the cursed prison island with its creepy monsters.

He growled at his thoughts and angrily threw the chair at the wall. The loud noise echoed around the empty house. His dear mother looked as if she would like nothing better than to start screaming at him.

He had tried to escape, tried to fill the loneliness with people he used to know but every time he looked at the mirror, the truth stared back at him. He resembled Snivellus more than he did himself and he feared that the git was something he was in danger of becoming. A whiny man wallowing in self-pity while living alone in some damp dungeon. Forgotten and without a life.

He looked back at the portrait and cursed the painter for being so utterly stupid to make something as vile as she had been so realistic and life like.

"You're not my mother," he said firmly. "You never were! You're just a bitter hag's portrait that was left behind!"

"BLOODTRAITOR!" She screeched back abruptly. "Shame of my flesh. You should've been drowned when you were born," she spat at him, drool dripping down her chin.

"You're not my family! I've always stood alone," he barked back. "None of you were family to me and better that way! You killed your own son you hag! Filled Regulus' head with dark lies and made him a worm to squirm at the feet of Voldemort -"

"MUDBLOOD LOVER! You bring that filth in to my fathers' house, besmirching it! As if it would be your right to stand as the head of the Black's! The shame," she wailed.

Sirius, having listened enough, snapped the curtains closed and dragged the chair back to the kitchen. There was a lone bottle of scotch on the table waiting him. He snatched a glass and filled it to a brim.

How he would've laughed at this joke when he was sixteen. So young, so like Harry was now. However, Harry would never laugh at him, even if he wanted him to. He saw how alone his godson was even when surrounded by friends and he couldn't reach him no matter how hard he tried.

It was - that place's fault. It had pulled his soul too thin. It had sucked him dry and now he was in another prison, in this cursed house from where he had thought of having escaped forever. It was Dumbledore's fault. Albus had no right to try binding him down!

Nevertheless, he had agreed to this because of Harry and because of Remus and because he liked to think that he was still a man. The same man he once had been.

He swallowed down his drink, poured a second and took out a deck of cards.

He had tried to act as he remembered he had once done. It had been a great year of freedom. Flying with Buckbeak, strolling the streets as a stray, visiting Moony and staying with him when he was a wolf –

But Moony had grown old. For Merlin's sake, the man had been a professor for a year! That had been a laugh.

But he had not laughed. He had been fighting to survive. He remembered how hungry he had been. Food was scarce when neither muggle nor magical world welcomed him. He had not told anyone how lost and alone he had been. How he had thought of simply stopping. Not eating, not drinking, and not moving. He had done that a lot in his - cell. However, revenge had kept him going.

At least at first it had and then he had met Harry. He had learnt what a wonderful godson he had, what a wonderful son James had. His friend had been a father. He had made a blood promise with James. A promise to never leave the other behind but here he was with a broken oath.

He shuffled the cards and thought. Occasionally filling up his glass.

Perhaps it was because he had been away for so long that he saw the big picture. He saw what the order was. Albus had said it but not many had understood. The order was a hand that was supposed to use the weapon and save the world. A good plan if not for the fact that he suspected that his godson was to be the weapon. And that would be unacceptable.

Sirius grinned darkly. Maybe it was time to start acting as he should. Like an ex-convict and a marauder. Like a godfather. If he let things continue this way, James would not welcome him warmly to home.

He almost called that blasted house-elf to bring him quill and parchment before he remembered that it was better staying where it was. Instead, he took the bottle of scotch with him and headed to the library. If he remembered correctly, there were still a few benefits at being a Black and he was going to use every single one of them.

The candle burned alone on the table, giving just enough of light to show the numerous dark books on the shelves. Sirius pulled out a long piece of parchment from the drawer and begun to write.

He would make sure Harry had a choice and that no one would be able to imprison his godson in any way. Especially Albus. He knew what the old coot was trying to do and he was not fooled.

Most things that would have to be done he could do through Gringotts. His own vault held only a moderate amount of money but the Black family vault, which was legally his after his mother, had a lot more. Enough to have its own goblin appointed. He had written to Viggook a couple of times before but basically the goblin had been on a holiday. Now it was time for him to get to work and earn his position.

His plan was simple enough. Get Harry and then get away. The rest was simply paperwork.

Few things had to be transferred to either Harry or to Moony but if the fidelius held here it surely would hold in other places as well. Though this house was the most protected by his late paranoid father it wasn't the only place the Black's had kept hidden and safe.

He knew about the blood wards that supposedly were the reason why Harry had to return to those disgusting muggles and he had to admit they were a good thing to have but if Harry would decide that spending the required amount in the muggle world wasn't worth it, he would offer his godson a choice. Even if Harry chose to go there, he would have a big black dog with him. The second the wards would hold for another year, they would be out of there.

Dumbledore would not agree, he was sure, and to ensure that things would go without a hitch he would have to get Harry's custody fulltime. That would also be something for Viggook to take care of. Few papers signed by Lily's sister should do the trick. Smiling evilly, he wrote in the letter that the muggles wouldn't need any 'gentle' handling. He didn't care what the goblin would have to do to make Petunia Dursley to sign over the custody. Dutifully he even remembered to add the mention of summer residence required though the guardianship was transferred. There were couple of old laws guaranteeing that if he remembered correctly. After all, he had left home himself when he was sixteen.

When he had four parchments full of instructions, two magical agreement slips saying that Viggook was allowed to act as his representative in the matters involved, he decided to take care that everything would be waterproof no matter what. He swallowed the last of the scotch, picked up his quill and begun to write while he snickered to himself. If this paper was needed then it would be the prank of the decade.

'This is the last will of Sirius Orion Black...'

When sun was already announcing the next day, an owl carrying several envelopes flew towards Diagon Alley with swift wings but despite the morning light, the Dog Star was still shining brightly on the sky though it was the only one, all alone.