Disclaimer: All people, places, and things belong to J.K. Rowling. The plot actually belongs to fellow author Amalya, who let me steal with permission.

Loyalties Chosen

"…There are certain people with whom you can associate, dear, once you are at Hogwarts. Stick closely to your cousins, they'll help you get along. And you had better… Sirius? Sirius are you listening to me?"

Sirius Black jerked his head up, and stared up into the face of his mother. She was looking at him accusingly, and he quickly ran through his thoughts trying to process what she had just said. His thoughts, however, had not been on his mother's words, but on a brilliant game of Quidditch that his uncle had taken him to last week. Sirius' shoulders sagged slightly, and he looked up into his mother's face and weakly said, "Yes, Mum."

Mrs. Black's brow furrowed. He knew that she didn't believe him, but he knew she had enough sense and pride not to create a public scene. Instead she began talking again.

"And you had better get in to Slytherin, dear. I don't want you mixing with Mudbloods and blood-traitors."

"All right Mum. I'll try to get into Slytherin," Sirius said sarcastically, "I wouldn't want all my ancestors to be disappointed in me, now would I?" He had seriously thought about adding But they're all dead, anyway, so who cares? on to the end, but he decided not to, figuring that his mother would not be above yelling at him in public, so long as she did it in a dignified manner. His mother, unaware of the thoughts that had followed his statement, nodded sternly, and trotted off to speak to a thin, blonde woman.

Sirius turned around, glad to be rid of his mother, even if it was only temporary, and caught sight of a small boy about his age struggling to lift his trunk into the Hogwart's Express. Sirius rushed over and grabbed the bottom before it fell on the boy, and shoved it inside the train.

"Thanks," the boy muttered, looking slightly embarrassed that he couldn't lift the trunk by himself.

"No problem," Sirius said, and looked around inside the train. He spotted an empty compartment very near the front, tapped the boy on the shoulder, and said, "Here, come sit in this compartment."

"Sure," the boy replied. Sirius smiled, and climbed inside, but then realized the boy had not followed him. He peered around the edge of the train, and saw the boy talking to his mother.

"You're a Snape?" she said

"Yes," He replied.


Sirius groaned and rolled his eyes.

"Bye, Mum!" he said, in a very final way, trying to hide his embarrassment.

"Goodbye, dear," she replied, and apparated away. Sirius groaned again and then headed back to the compartment, closely followed by the other boy. They sat down in the compartment, as the train started moving, Sirius staring out the window while the other boy rummaged in his bag, and then pulled out two books. Sirius glanced down at them. One was entitled Genealogy of Blood and Early Dark Curses. Sirius reached eagerly for the latter, but the other boy picked it up first, so Sirius grabbed the first.

He read quietly for a moment, chuckled, and then began to read aloud, "Studies tell us that families of pure Wizarding blood show superiority to others," Sirius raised his eyebrows, read a few more lines (which all said basically the same thing), and then said, "Wow. This book sounds just like my Mum."

The other boy snorted, and looked up from his book. Sirius continued.

"See, my Mum is always raving on and on about that sort of stuff. She doesn't like me very much, so she's always talking about one of my cousins. One in particular, actually, but I can't stand her," Sirius stuck out his tongue and made a disgusted noise, "I think she's really a… cross-eyed flea bitten bye both a vampire and a werewolf!"

The other boy raised an eyebrow at Sirius' spur of the moment insult, then stuck out his hand and said, "Severus Snape."

"My name's Sirius Black," Sirius said, shaking Severus' hand, "And I'm bored. Luckily, I brought some Filibuster's Fireworks with me! Wanna set some off?"

"You can. I think I'll keep reading," The boy replied.

Sirius raised his eyebrows, surprised that anyone would put reading above Filibusters, and then took out the fireworks. He lit one, and set it off. They were, to Sirius' enjoyment, extremely loud, and banged all around the compartment, singing the chairs. Sirius let out a loud whoop and punched his hand in the air, but stopped when he saw Severus' face. The boy had not looked up from his book, but his eyes were not moving, he was not reading, and he was glaring intensely at the page in his book. He was obviously very annoyed. Sirius was debating what to say to him when the door to the compartment slid open and a girl walked in.

She was plump, and looked very matriarchal. Freckles were splattered across her face, and her dark red hair was plaited halfway down her back. She looked quite annoyed, and had a Head Girl badge pinned on her robes. Sirius gulped.

"Those fireworks aren't allowed on the train," She said, hands on her hips, "Put them away, or I'll have to report you." Sirius nodded and stuffed the fireworks back in his bag as the door to the compartment opened again.

A tall boy with a very pointed face and pale blonde hair sauntered into the compartment. He was wearing a Prefect's badge. He looked around, and, when he caught sight of the Head Girl, a sneer spread across his face.

"Get out of the compartment, Prewett," he said, "I'm going to sit here, and I don't want to be in the same company as a blood-traitor like you."

"That's too bad, Malfoy, I was here first." Sirius looked up at the boy again. So he was a Malfoy. Sirius did not like the Malfoys; they had been over for dinner and Christmas parties many times, and always thought very highly of themselves. They were, of course, pureblood, so by society's standards, they had grounds to feel superior. But Sirius still didn't like them."

"So you're a Prewett," Severus' voice interrupted his thoughts, and Sirius looked up. "I would have taken you for a Weasley, with hair like that. Not that there's much of a difference."

Sirius frowned. Severus' comment had been very rude, and he could tell the Prewett girl was upset. He said nothing, however. After all, she had taken away his fireworks.

"Shut up, Snape!" She snapped angrily, her face red. At Severus' look of surprise (he had not told her his name) she said, "Yes, I know you're a Snape. I could tell by your over-large nose and greasy hair!"

"Don't insult Sev like that!" Sirius said. He stood up; unaware that he had just produced the nickname, and glared at the girl. The tips of her ears reddened, and she looked genuinely sorry, so Sirius softened his expression, and changed the subject, "Anyway, you're a Seventh Year? Do you know anybody by the name of Andromeda? She graduated last year."

Andromeda was one of Sirius' cousins, and the only one didn't treat him poorly.

"Yes, she and I are friends," The Prewett girl responded, "and—wait! Are you a Black?" Sirius nodded, and she said thoughtfully, "You know, you're the first Black, besides Andromeda, that's ever spoken to me civilly. Thanks."

"Umm… you're welcome?" Sirius replied, unsure of what to say. There was silence for a moment, and then Malfoy, who had stayed silent for the most part, stepped in.

"You're a Black, eh?" he said, "I know a Black. Her name's Bellatrix. Are you related to her?"

"We're first cousins actually," Sirius said sourly, and then looked up at Malfoy, horrified, "I don't look like her, do I?"

"Yes. No- that's not the point!" Malfoy responded, looking impatient, "Bella's spoken to me about her cousin Regulus. She says that he's a smart boy with the right ideas, though he lacked guts. Are you him?"

Sirius glared again, this time at no one in particular. He did not like hearing about his brother. "No, I'm not. I'm his older brother Sirius."

"Regulus has a brother? I didn't know that." Malfoy's brow furrowed in concentration, and Sirius glared even harder. Then Malfoy looked up, realization dawning on his face, "But the name Sirius does ring a bell. Maybe Bella has mentioned you. I seem to remember your name going a long with: arrogant, insane, stupid git, or, um, let me see… oh yes! Disgusting, nosy, pond scum." Malfoy sneered.

"Oh, yeah? Well I think Bella's just a flea bitten by both a vampire and a werewolf!" Sirius was standing on his tiptoes now, attempting to yell into Malfoy's face. But as tall as he was, Sirius could not reach, and dropped back onto his feet.

Just as he did so, the door to the compartment opened again, and Sirius' cousin Bella walked in. She was also a Prefect, and had long, thick, black hair a sharp nose, and (in Sirius' opinion) buggy eyes almost completely covered by large eyelids.

"Speak of the devil. Literally." Sirius said under his breath. No one heard him.

"Oh. Hi, Bella," Malfoy said, "Someone here was just talking about you. Weren't you, Sirius?" Bella looked around in surprise for a moment, and then caught sight of Sirius. Her face instantly changed into her trademark snarl, and she leered at him.

"Oh, it's you," She said nastily, "You're eleven now? I wouldn't have known, you playing with the fireworks and all." She raised her eyebrows and glanced over Sirius' shoulder, where all the Filibuster's had been hastily stuffed into his bag. Some were poking out in plain sight.

"Oh, look at you, oh-high-and-mighty Prefect!" Sirius snapped, "You do realize that in being a prefect, you're not only following, but enforcing all of Dumbledore's rules? And what was it you called him last? Was it a dithering old softie with a blanket over his eyes? Or maybe a mad, incompetent geezer who needs to get his priorities straight?"

"I think you're the one who needs to get their priorities straight, cousin," Bella hissed, tightly gripping her wand. Sirius looked at it; half-afraid she was going to hex him. It wouldn't be the first time.

"Well, I, so maybe… well- I have priorities!" Sirius said this half-defiant, and half-hesitant, not knowing whether or not he had crossed the line.

"I'm sure you do, Siri," She said, and Sirius bristled at the hated pet-name, "You just need to get them in a suitable order. Maybe then your Mum would like you!"

She paused for moment, as if expecting Sirius to say something. He didn't, knowing that if he did, he would only be shot down again. Bella grinned.

"Anyway, what did you call me?" She asked.

"Call you? What?" Then Sirius remembered, "Oh that! Um, I didn't call you anything."

"Yes, you did. Lucius said." She looked at the blonde boy, who nodded.

"Oh! And all Slytherins are paragons of trustworthiness! Not-"

"And proud of it!" chorused Bella and Lucius, as well as Severus. The three of them looked at him in surprise. He himself looked slightly shocked. Sirius frowned. He had helped Severus, more than once, and the other boy was now siding with his cousin. Sirius narrowed his eyes at the boy, and edged away, deciding that the possibility of a friendship with Severus had definitely disappeared. He did not like the boy.

"I ask you again," Bella said, snapping Sirius out of his reverie, "What did you call me?"

"A flea bitten by both a vampire and a werewolf," Sirius said, giving up.

Bella's eyes widened, and she let out a little laugh. "Oh! That's it?"


"Well, it's just so- so," she paused for a moment, allowing her self another laugh, then, "juvenile!"

Sirius was about to say something in response when the Prewett girl, who had been watching silently with her arms crossed, stepped in.

"Lay off him!" She said.

"Like I'm going to take orders from a Prewett," Bella snapped, causing Lucius to laugh.

"Maybe you'll take orders from a Head Girl, then." Lucius stopped laughing, and Bella glared at the Prewett girl. "Right then," The Prewett said, "Malfoy, Black- no, not you Sirius- you two leave this compartment. It's already overcrowded. And remember once we get to Hogwarts, I can take points from Slytherin, so don't test me. Snape,"

"Yeah?" Severus said, looking up.

"You can choose. Stay here with Sirius and I, or leave with Malfoy and Black."

Sirius looked over at Severus. He seemed to be struggling with himself, wondering whether to stay or go. Sirius glared at him, angry at what he had done on the trip so far. And, although Severus couldn't see it, the glare seemed to finalize his decision. He stood up, and walked over to Bella and Lucius. As he was about to exit the compartment, he turned around and looked at Sirius.

"It's nothing personal, Black," he said coldly, "But I don't think I belong with blood-traitors. Especially ones who betray their family."

He turned to go. Sirius was clenching his fists so hard that it hurt, and glaring daggers into Severus' back.

"Fine then. Leave," Sirius managed to choke out, his voice angry; "It's not like I ever wanted to spend the train ride in a compartment dripping oil from your hair. Have fun with my cousin, Snivillus."

Snape ignored the nickname, and Sirius was too angry to congratulate himself for coming up with it on such short notice. Instead, once the three were away from the compartment, he walked over to the door, and slammed it shut with all the strength he had. The glass on the window shattered. He stared at it for a moment, and then walked over to a seat, and plopped down. The Prewett girl took out her wand, and pointed it at the window.

"Reparo," she said, and the glass flew back into place. Then she crossed the room, and sat down at a seat next to Sirius.

"Don't even think on it, Sirius," she said, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder, "The Snape boy was no good to begin with, anyway."

Sirius nodded, but didn't say anything.

"My name's Molly, by the way," she said, "Molly Prewett."

Sirius remained silent, and so Molly sighed, rose from her seat, and exited the compartment. Sirius stared firmly out the window, determined to spend the rest of the train ride in silence.

A/M: Thanks muchly to Amalya. She did come up with all the dialogue. Don't forget to review!