This is just an idea that popped into my head when I was re-reading 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban..and I really had to get it done (the idea kept on bugging me until I finally typed it out). And yes, Sirius is my favourite character in 'Harry Potterbut I did try my best not to make this seem one-sided. I hope it worked.
Well, that's about it...I hope you enjoy this!
Disclaimer: I have nothing to do with 'Harry Potter'.It all belongs to the great author named J.K. Rowling. Nothing is mine, except, of-course, Sirius Black. No, I'm not joking 'coz he said it himself; he's all mine...in my dreams. (#sigh# well, it's not wrong to dream is it? heh heh)
"FILTHY-SCUM! BLOOD-TRAITOR! DISGRACE TO THE FAMILY - " Gritting his teeth, the tall, long-haired man hurried down the corridor and wrenched the front-door open with a small scowl on his face.
"I told Dumbledore to tell you not to ring - " He stopped short when he saw the figure standing at the door, looking tired and with lines of worry and concern etched on his forehead.
"Hello Sirius," he smiled warmly at his friend. "Er...you were saying something about-"
" - NOT TO SET FOOT IN THIS HOUSE AGAIN! BLOOD TRAITOR! MURDERER! DISGRACE - "
"What in god's name is that?" asked Remus Lupin, raising his eyebrows at his taller friend. Sirius merely scowled as he stepped aside and allowed him to walk in. The landing was dimly lit, casting eerie and strangely-shaped shadows across the walls and floor.
"My lovely mum," muttered Sirius, leading him down the corridor and stopping only to point at a portrait of (Lupin felt bad for thinking it) the ugliest person that Lupin had ever seen in his life. Her eyes were bulging in their sockets and saliva was dripping from her mouth. Lupin grimaced and turned away.
"SHAME OF MY FLESH! BETRAYER! BACK-STABBER! ALLOWING ALL SORTS OF PEOPLE TO - "
"Why is she screaming?" he asked, raising his voice to be heard over the portrait of Mrs. Black.
"Why? Well, leaving aside the fact that she loathes me...I can't think of any other reason," said Sirius, grabbing one end of the curtains that hung around the portrait and indicating to Lupin to do the same for the other curtain. Tugging hard, they managed to draw the old, musty fabric over the screaming portrait and were given the satisfaction of having Mrs. Black shut-up. "That's the only way she shuts up," said Sirius, wiping his hands on his trousers. "Shouting matches work too, but she just keeps on repeating the same bloody thing all the time that it just gets too annoying."
"Ah," said Lupin, grinning as he bent down to pick his worn-out bag up. "Why not remove it? And...er...put it somewhere else. Somewhere where it won't disturb anyone?"
"In other words why not remove it and destroy it?" asked Sirius, the ghost of a smile flitting across his face. "No such luck. She's put a Permanent Sticking charm on it. It'll have to stay here forever..." As he stared darkly at the now-covered portrait, Lupin saw the dark gleam that entered his grey-eyes and frowned slightly. He desperately wanted to talk - to have a real conversation with Sirius...but something told him that this was neither the time nor the place to do so.
"Well now that that's been dealt with...where do I stay?" he asked lightly in an attempt to turn the taller man's thoughts away from the portrait.
"Stay?" echoed Sirius, only then looking at the small bag that Lupin held in his hands. Lupin allowed a small smile to form on his face as he saw Sirius' grey-eyes light up. "You're staying? Here?" Lupin nodded.
"Yeah," he said. "This is the Headquarters of the Order isn't it? Besides, it's so much easier to stay here than travel all the way from home every time someone calls a meeting."
"True," said Sirius continuing to walk down the corridor. "Well, select any room you want." He gave the werewolf a feral grin. "They're all vacant, except for those," he said, pointing at a set of doors on his right.
"Who - "
"The Weasleys; Molly, Arthur, Fred, George, Bill, Ginny and Ron," answered Sirius as he passed another set of doors. "And I'm guessing that we'll be getting a few more residents...Hermione's supposed to be coming soon as well, and then, of-course, there's Harry..."
"The Weasleys moved here immediately then?" asked Lupin, surprised. "I would've thought that they would have come later on..."
"They would have but something happened," said Sirius, lowering his voice. "Their son - can't remember which one he was...Percy I think the name was. Well anyway, Percy's taken Fudge's side. He's working for the Ministry and he doesn't trust Dumbledore one bit. Told Arthur that he shouldn't work for Dumbledore too...from what I heard, he insulted him pretty bad and...well, no-one's talking about him anymore."
"That's bad...Percy was an extremely bright student. I can't believe that he took the Ministry's side," said Lupin, thoughtfully. "How did Molly take it?" Sirius shook his head.
"Pretty bad. Didn't eat or drink anything for a couple of days," he said, walking up a flight of stairs. "Her kids brought her around though, saying that - " he grinned as he reminisced, "Percy was always a bit of a dimwit who was married to his ambition and that it really wasn't a big deal that he'd turned bad and no-one would miss seeing him as he was always going around with his nose glued to a book or something..."
"You're serious?" asked Lupin, astonished. Sirius nodded, grinning widely. "Let me guess...it was Fred and George who came up with that?"
"Yes," said Sirius. "But it did manage to get Molly back to her senses..."
"But that doesn't mean that she agrees with what they said about Percy," said Lupin. Sirius shrugged.
"I don't know about that, but from what Fred and George have been telling me, I think she's really better off without that git," he said. "Never was much of a brother either, from what I've heard."
"Come on now Sirius, he's still Molly's son," said Lupin reprovingly. "I don't think it's easy for her to just forget about him."
"I guess..." said Sirius, coming to a stop in front of yet another set of doors."Take anyone you want..." Lupin cast his friend a wary glance. "What? They're not booby-trapped or anything, don't worry..." Turning to look at the doors, Lupin immediately chose the one in the far corner, next to another flight of stairs.
"This will do," he said, opening the door and walking inside. A quick glance around the dark room told him that nothing was wrong with it - not that he didn't trust Sirius, he just didn't trust Sirius' family. Putting his bag of clothes in one corner of the room, he took off his Wizard robes and hung them neatly in the dresser, before walking back out; straightening the blue shirt he was wearing. Sirius had been waiting for him. "So...what are we supposed to do?"
"We? You're supposed to go out there and risk your neck after every meeting, and you're supposed to do something valuable for the Order, not to mention the fact that you're the one who's supposed to be brave by wandering out of this dismal place," said Sirius, his face hardening. "I, on the other hand, am supposed to stay here walking around this horrid place and take other people's snide comments about how they risk their lives for the Order while I'm inside here, safely out of harm's way."
Lupin stared squarely at his childhood-friend as he spoke, his brown eyes poring into his friend's grey ones. He saw the irritation in Sirius' eyes and the bitterness was quite clear in his voice.
"Sirius," he started slowly, like he usually did when he was about to lecture someone.
"Save it Moony, I already know," snapped Sirius, scowling uncharacteristically at him. "I'm still wanted by the Ministry so going out and getting recognized would be disastrous wouldn't it? Oh, and since Pettigrew's gone back to Voldermort he would've told him about my Animagus form and so Voldermort must be looking for me right? And if I were to get caught by Voldermort, the Order would be devastated 'coz he would force me to tell him everything I know about them...that's what you were going to say wasn't it? Wasn't it, Moony?"
He stared at Lupin who was looking at him through clouded brown-eyes. He snorted, brushing strands of black hair out of his eyes. A part of him felt bad about having a go at his friend like that...but what else was he supposed to do? He hadn't had anyone to talk to after he arrived at Grimmauld Place, and he knew that no-one would understand why he was bitter about staying inside all the time.
"Erm...Professor? Professor Lupin? Mum wants you downstairs for a second," said Ginny Weasley, appearing next to them. Her eyes darted between the two men who were facing each other with unreadable expressions on their faces. "Er...I'll just tell her that you're busy then," she said, turning around and walking hurriedly back down the stairs.
"No, Padfoot, that was not what I was going to say," said Lupin, quietly. "I merely thought that staying here would help keep you alive...I for one wouldn't want you going out there and getting killed." With a cold glance at a surprised Sirius, he brushed past him and walked down the stairs, following Ginny.
Sirius stood where he was, staring at the spot Lupin had been standing in, as guilt began to gnaw his insides.
A little while later:
" - Ah, Sirius, there you are! I was wondering where you were all this time," said Molly, nodding at Sirius as he entered the kitchen.
"Sorry...did you need my help for anything?" asked Sirius, sitting down at the dining-table.
"Not really - oh, yes, there was something," said Molly, carefully placing a few dishes of food on the table. "That drawing-room on the second floor, it's starting to give off a really bad smell. I'm wondering whether - "
" - I can check it out? Sure, I'll do it first thing tomorrow," said Sirius, interrupting her. Molly Weasley beamed at him.
"Thank-you Sirius," she said, smiling as she saw him eyeing the food. "I'm afraid you'll have to wait until everyone gets down. I really want us to have dinner together..." Sirius nodded.
"Yeah, sure, I don't mind," he said.
"Mum, I can't find the cutlery," said Ginny, entering the dining-room with a frustrated scowl on her face.
"Oh nonsense dear, it was there a few hours ago. Check the cupboards properly," said Mrs. Weasley, stirring the soup that was brewing in the large cauldron.
"I did that," said Ginny. "About five hundred times. And there's nothing there."
"Now Ginny, stop being lazy. A young woman your age should be helping her mother around the - "
" - but it's not there," interrupted Ginny, stubbornly. Molly Weasley sent her an annoyed glance as her eyes narrowed slightly.
"Honestly, Ginny, can't you do anything without making a big - "
" - Er...I'll help you look for it," said Sirius, standing up hurriedly as he sensed danger.
"Oh no, you don't have to, let Gi - " Sirius had already walked to the adjoining room, physically dragging Ginny with him. Once they were safely inside, Ginny let out a deep breath.
"Thanks Sirius," she said, appreciatively. Sirius shot her a smile.
"No problem - didn't want to be caught up in Molly's tantrum anyway," he said, frowning as he opened the drawers that had been occupied by the cutlery before. "You were right..." he said, his brows furrowed.
"Yeah, but Mum didn't seem to believe that, remember?" mumbled Ginny. "But, honestly speaking, what's happened to the cutlery? It was all here before..."
"Yeah, and it's not like..." Sirius' voice trailed off and a scowl appeared on his face. "Kreacher."
"Kreacher? But what would he want with cutlery?" asked Ginny. Sirius sighed.
"He was there that day when I said I wanted to throw it all out - you know, the whole Black family crest and everything..." he said."The git probably heard that and took it all upstairs..." He straightened his shoulders. "Looks like I'm going to have to have a little conversation with him..." Taking a deep breath, he gave Ginny a small smile. "Kreacher!" In an instant, the house-elf appeared in front of Sirius, looking old and sullen.
"The master called?" he asked, sullenly. "I call him 'master' but he's really not my master...broke my mistress' heart he did and-"
"She never had a heart to be broken in the first place," said Sirius, spitefully. "Kreacher, I want the cutlery here now."
"Ohh, he insults her! He insults her again! My poor Mistress...if only she knew...if only she knew..."
"I said that I wanted the cutlery back inside these drawers now," said Sirius, beginning to lose his temper.
"Master said he wanted to throw the cutlery out...why does he ask for it now?" asked Kreacher, his dopey-eyes full of loathing as he stared at Sirius.
"You are not here to question my decisions Kreacher. I know you took the cutlery. Bring it back now," said Sirius, his face hardening again. With a last loathing glance at Sirius, Kreacher disappeared for a minute or two, before re-appearing...with a bag in his hands. Sirius grabbed it from him and handed it to Ginny. "Come on, let's go..." he said, pushing her towards the dining-room again.
"He's...not very nice, is he?" asked Ginny, as they walked into the dining-room. Sirius snorted.
"That's putting it simply," he said. "Sometimes I wish that he would just die. If it wasn't for the fact that I am human, his head would have joined dear old Aunt Elladora's collection of beheaded house-elves." Ginny grinned.
"Don't let Hermione hear you say that," she said, opening the bag and emptying the cutlery onto the table. "What with her S.P.E.W and all..."
"Ahh, yes..." said Sirius, shaking his head."I wonder about that girl sometimes...about her sanity that is..."
Sirius rested his head against the dusty yet comfortable armchair he was sitting on, letting out a weary sigh as he did so. Somewhere in the house, the grandfather clock struck and he listened as it struck, realizing that it was midnight. He stared into the fire, a thoughtful expression on his face. He hadn't managed to talk to Lupin since...since what had happened earlier that day, as not only had Lupin been busy on some errand of Molly's, but they had had a sudden meeting, and when they had finished it, no-one had been feeling very hungry and everyone had unanimously agreed to go to bed.
He knew that he shouldn't have lashed out at his friend like that, no matter what he felt about being stuck at Grimmauld Place while everyone else was out doing work. He shouldn't have taken his anger out on Lupin. He guessed that he deserved the cold-shoulder treatment he had been getting from him the whole day...
Letting out another sigh, he massaged his temples as he felt a massive headache approaching. Ever-since he had come back to what he had used to call 'home' these headaches had become a common thing. True, when he was joking around with Fred, George and Ron and when he was giving Ginny pointers on her hexes, he wasn't in a foul mood...but he just couldn't escape the fact that he was stuck in a house that he had hoped he would never have to set foot in ever again.
"...Sirius?" he started as he heard the surprised voice from behind him and relaxed when he saw Lupin standing there, dressed in a white t-shirt and in a pair of blue-and-white checked pants.
"Hey," he said, turning away from him and staring back at the fire for a while. Lupin stared at the back of his friend's head for a while before walking across and sitting down on the armchair next to his. There was an uncomfortable silence between the two friends, as Sirius thought of how he could explain to him why he had lashed out like that and as Lupin wondered how he could break the silence.
"You've become a fast favourite with Fred and George," he said, at last. Sirius grinned, his eyes still fixed on the fire.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say they used to be Marauders too," he said, before he realized what he had said. The grin disappeared off his face.
"Those school years were the best ones of my life," said Lupin, smiling fondly at the memories they brought up. "And I remember being highly disappointed about not being able to return to Hogwarts..."
"But you were able to return...as a Professor, remember?" asked Sirius.
"Yes, but that wasn't exactly what I meant..." said Lupin.
"What subject did you teach anyway?" asked Sirius, daring to look at his friend. Lupin smiled.
"Defence Against the Dark Arts," he said. "Apparently, it was the one job that Severus had been after for a very long time..."
"Snape? Teach Defence? Did he honestly think that that would ever happen?" asked Sirius, snorting. "He enjoyed the Dark Arts. Why on earth would he have wanted to teach a bunch of kids how to defend themselves against it?"
"...He loathed me for getting offered the job," said Lupin.
"Yeah, but he loathed you anyway after the stunt I pulled off when I told him to go follow you that full-moon night," said Sirius. "And I guess that the end result was that you had to resign..."
"Well, that's partly true," said Lupin. "But I honestly did not think that it was safe for me to teach. Thinking about it, I could have hurt Ron - I was chained to him along with Peter wasn't I?" Sirius nodded, his face hardening again and making Lupin regret bringing that up. "I could have hurt Harry too...and I don't think I would have forgiven myself if that had happened."
"You're right on that one...I still haven't been able to forgive myself for Harry being an orphan," said Sirius glumly. Lupin glanced sharply at him before turning to stare at the fire once more. He had not missed the slight tremor in Sirius' voice when he had said that. "Anyway, how was teaching anyway? Any fun?"
"Teaching?" Lupin thought for a while about the classes he had taken two years ago and a smile formed on his face as he thought of a particular incident - one that would highly amuse his friend. "There was this one incident that was...amusing. It was during the 3rd year's lesson - Harry's year." Sirius was looking interested now. "I was introducing the class to Boggarts, and I took them to the staff-room where I had found a Boggart in one of the cupboards." He stopped, shaking his head. "And Severus walked out of the staff-room warning me about Neville Longbottom and how he cannot do anything right - " He stared at Sirius as he made a sound as though he was choking.
"What's his problem! You are talking about Alice's son right?" he asked, scowling as Lupin nodded.
"Sirius, you're not letting me continue," said Lupin, hurriedly, as Sirius looked like he had something more to say.
"Sorry - go on," said Sirius sheepishly.
"I asked Neville what frightens him the most in this world - you know about Boggarts don't you? Sorry Padfoot, just felt like I should ask," said Lupin as Sirius nodded indignantly. "Anyway, he said - the poor kid - that Severus frightened him the most in the world - " He stopped as Sirius really did choke this time as he had been about to cough and had started laughing.
"S - Snape? T - the poor kid...Snape must've been pretty harsh on him," gasped Sirius nodding his thanks at Lupin as he slapped him on the back.
"I don't think harsh is enough to describe his behaviour towards Neville," said Lupin quietly.
"So what happened with the Boggart? What did Neville do to make it less er...frightening?" asked Sirius, eagerly. Lupin smiled.
"He 'dressed' Severus up in his grandmother's clothes; a long green dress, a vulture-topped hat, a fox-fur scarf together with a huge red handbag," he said. Sirius threw his head back and let out a hoot of laughter, causing Lupin to send him a reprimanding glance. "People are sleeping Padfoot," he said. Sirius closed his mouth for a second, before turning to him again.
"I forgot," he said apologetically. "But...but that was excellent! If I ever meet Neville - did Snape know about this?" Lupin nodded.
"He took it as a personal insult and...er...made Neville's Potions' lessons more difficult," he said.
"Just what I thought he might have done," said Sirius. He glanced slyly at Lupin. "I bet you loved that too...Snape dressed in Mrs. Longbottom's clothes. I wish I could have been there!" Lupin smiled guiltily.
"I have to admit that I did enjoy that. I think I prodded him on - giving him the idea of his grandmother's clothes," he said. Sirius clapped him on the back.
"Good for you Moony! I still wish that I could have seen that," he said, smiling wistfully.
"And did Harry tell you what happened when Snape got hold of the Marauder's Map?" asked Lupin, as he remembered that incident as well.
"What? Snape? Oh, was it when he found out that we were in the Shrieking Shack?" asked Sirius. Lupin shook his head.
"No, no, he caught Harry as he snuck back into the castle from Hogsmeade - Harry didn't have permission to go - with the help of the Map," said Lupin. "And, as you might have guessed, the Map didn't reveal its' contents to him right away, causing him to reveal his name..." Lupin stopped the laughter that threatened to over-power him, knowing that it would spoil his story. "And he called me after Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs had their say..." He stopped again, fighting the urge to laugh.
"Moony if you don't hurry up - "
" - I still remember it perfectly..." said Lupin. "Mr. Moony complimented Professor Snape - for becoming a Professor - and said something about his abnormally large nose and about keeping it out of other people's business..." Sirius' mouth was half-open as Lupin continued. "Mr. Prongsadded that Professor Snape was an ugly git," Lupin could now see Sirius' mouth was wide-open. "Mr. Padfoot said he was astonished that an idiot like Snape became a Professor - "
"Merlin's beard Moony!" gasped Sirius, shaking with laughter. "What did Snape do!"
"After Mr. Wormtail had his say, you mean?" asked Lupin. "All that he said was that he wished Severus a good day and wanted him to wash his hair, and he called him a slimeball too." He smiled. "Severus called me and asked me to inspect the Map...but Harry was looking as though he was sure he was going to be killed. Well - that might have been because Severus did look like he was going to kill someone..."
"Yeah, I can imagine what state Snape must've been in," said Sirius, nodding. Glancing at him, Lupin was nothing less than glad to see the usual wide grin on his face. He had not seen that grin on his friend's face ever since he had seen him two years ago. "And Harry...oh, that must've been great for him too," continued Sirius.
"Great? Almost being murdered by Severus is suddenly great?" asked Lupin, raising his eyebrows.
"No not that...but the satisfaction of having someone - or rather, four people - snub Snape, that had to be great," said Sirius. He cocked his head to a side. "And the fact that I know I was one of those people who snubbed him, that makes me feel so good." He grinned mischievously at Lupin, causing the latter to get rather worried. "The next time dear old Snivellus goads me about staying here whilst he's risking his not-so-important life, I have a few things to say to him..." His grin widened. "Like...the incident with Mrs. Longbottom's clothes..."
"Now I'm regretting telling you that," said Lupin, half-joking. There was another silence this time, although, unlike the silence that had surrounded the two of them before, it was more relaxed and comfortable.
"Moony?" said Sirius, breaking the silence first this time.
"I'm sorry." Lupin turned his eyes away from the fire and stared at his best-friend. "For what happened earlier today. I was, I dunno, I guess that I was just really worked up. I'm not trying to make excuses for what I said, but...you have to understand why I just lashed out at you like that. I've been stuck here ever since Hogwarts closed for the summer, and I've been alone for most of the time. The Weasleys did help...but there's only so much that they can do," Sirius stopped. "And it doesn't help when Molly thinks that I'm going to end up being a bad influence on Harry." A sour expression passed across his face. "I guess that I'm trying to say that I just had to take that anger out on someone, and I wrongly took it out on you. I'm sorry."
"That's quite alright Padfoot," said Lupin after a moment. He smiled as Sirius looked at him in disbelief. "I'm telling the truth; it's alright. You've been through a lot so it's only right that you get all your anger and frustration out of your system. I admit that I was...not expecting that from you, but I thought it through and it's fine." He looked serious when he looked at Sirius again. "Just don't do that again, okay? It hasn't been an easy couple of years for me either...hasn't been an easy fifteen years for that matter."
"Join the club...it hasn't exactly been a smashing fifteen years for me either," said Sirius dully. "What with James and Lily and then Azkaban...and then everything that happened two years ago..." No-one said anything for a while. "Well, I guess we might as well count our blessings and be grateful with what we have, eh?"
"Is this really happening? Sirius Black saying something as wise as that?" asked Lupin, looking startled.
"Shut up you," said Sirius, throwing a cushion at him. Lupin caught it before it hit him in the face.
"You're throwing things at me now, are you?" he asked, hurling the cushion back at him. Sirius grabbed it before it hit him this time, grinning.
"It's good to have you back, Moony," he said, almost beaming at him.
"It's good to have you back too, Padfoot," said Lupin. Silence reigned in the living-room again, as the two friends sat side by side, one grinning while the other one smiled. The grandfather clock struck again, telling them the time.
"Oh and Moony? What do you say about Padfoot...ah...accompanying you on the next full-moon night?" asked Sirius, suddenly.
"Accompanying me?" asked Lupin, the corners of his mouth curving upwards into a smile. "I don't know...we'll have to see, given the situation we're all in..."
"I thought you'd say that," mumbled Sirius. "But you'll at least think about it won't you?" Lupin couldn't help but laugh at the childish excitement that entered his friend's voice.
"Yes, I'll think about it..." he said, earning him a smile from Sirius.
He moved away from where he had been observing the two friends from the moment Lupin had sat down. He had noticed, when he had come for the meeting that day, that the two were acting rather strangely, and he had been told by Molly that Lupin seemed to be giving Sirius the cold-shoulder.
Needless to say, he was extremely pleased that they had sorted things out. He had thought, for the briefest of moments, that although an absence of thirteen years didn't seem to matter in Harry's relationship with his godfather, that an absence of thirteen years had ruined the strong bond of friendship that the two men in the living-room had shared.
"So it's okay then?" asked Tonks, stepping out from her hiding place and facing him. Dumbledore smiled at the young girl.
"Yes, it is," he said, walking away, Tonks following him. "And thank goodness..." Tonks nodded. "But what are you doing up at this time, Nymphadora?" Tonks wrinkled her nose.
"It's Tonks, Dumbledore, Tonks," she said, as they walked away.
Well, I know that was rather long, and I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for it to be this long, but I couldn't stop... Heh heh, the part about what the Marauder's Map said to Snape and the whole incident with the Boggart just wouldn't get out of my mind, which is why I had to do this.
I hope you enjoyed this...and comments are welcome - the good and the bad.