Ok, so this is just a quick one shot. AU, by the end of it. Dark, angsty, all that good stuff. I dunno, I just got this into my head theother day, and it wouldn't leave me alone until I sat down and wrote it. It's a bit different than I originally meant. It was supposed to be completely from James's pov, but that wouldn't show a very important part or the feelings of Mrs. Black. Butanyways, just a werid little one shot for you. Enjoy!
"Something has to be done about this."
"No, it doesn't."
"But we can't let them get away with something like this! They have to pay!"
James Potter stopped his heated rant at the sharp and icy tone in the voice of his best friend. Sirius Black sat across the room from him, knees pulled up to his chin, body posture looking, for all the world, very vulnerable. But his face was hard as stone, and his eyes alight with blue fire. He looked furious. Yes, it was a well known fact that Sirius Black had a disturbingly quick and violent temper, but this was anger like James had never seen before.
Under normal circumstances, James would have backed off. He would have rolled his eyes at his best friend and leaned back into a comfortable position and let his thoughts drift to Lily Evans or pulling a new prank on Snape. But this could not be ignored. This was something of consequence, far from childish acts of jokes and crushes. This was Sirius's life, his spirit, his very being. James could not sit back and let anything happen to Sirius. He had already failed.
It was two days into the first term of their sixth year. James had been ecstatic to be back at Hogwarts, not for the school work, of course, but for being with his friends and chasing Evans around. These were astoundingly amusing activities. He had missed Sirius. The Black heir had been unable to get away from his family over the summer, whether by permission or from simply walking out the door. Sirius was usually able to get away for at least the last week. But something had gone wrong. Something had gone horribly wrong.
Sirius hated his family. Perhaps loathed with undying passion and would have gladly thrown them personally into the fieriest pit of hell was the better way to put it. They felt the same about him. They called him a blood traitor because he was a Gryffindor and had befriended those with less than pure blood. Yes, James knew that the Blacks were never nice to Sirius. They didn't shower him with love and affection of any degree, and they generally turned up their noses to him. James knew that Sirius had no friend in the entire family. But James had never envisioned the bitter truths that happened in the cold halls of Black Manor.
James and the others had met Sirius on the train. James had yanked open the door to their usual compartment, ready to joke and laugh. However, things had gone down a different path. A second after opening the door, he was met with the sight of Sirius laying heavily on the seats. He looked terrible. His skin was almost as pale as Remus's, and he had dark circles under his eyes. His normally perfect hair resembled James's. He had opened his eyes at the sound of the opening door, but they held nothing in the way of their usual spark of mischief. His eyes had been dead.
It had scared James more than he cared to admit to anyone. He could honesty say that he cared more for Sirius than any other person on the planet. Sirius had passed his horrible appearance off as illness. He had said he was feeling terrible, his claims aided by his constant cradling of his head and stomach. Peter had offered to run and find some sort of potions for him, but Sirius had declined the offer in a much kinder and gentler tone than he ever took with the pudgy boy. His decline of medicine wasn't that unusual. Sirius had always hated the stuff and preferred to ride out whatever was ailing him. But his three friends were still insanely concerned.
Lily Evans had walked into the compartment at one point to collect Remus for the prefect meeting. Her reaction to seeing Sirius had been similar to the boys'. She too had offered to collect potions. Again, Sirius refused. Lily had walked off with a stubborn look on her face. After the meeting was over, she and Remus reappeared, Lily with a bag of ice. She had placed it on Sirius's head and told him that she'd get him anything he needed if he just asked. Sirius had smiled gratefully but said nothing.
Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Sirius had immediately separated from the crowd and went straight to the Tower. James had followed. It was then that James noticed Sirius's limp. He walked into the dorm room after Sirius, a frown plastered across his face. Immediately, he jumped Sirius. James knew Sirius better than anyone. Sirius wasn't sick. If he had been sick, he would have milked Lily's attentions so he could rub it in James's face later.
They had yelled at each other, something that didn't happen often. But James had been determined not to cave in until he found out why Sirius was faking an illness. He wouldn't stop until he knew what was really wrong. On one hand, he wished he hadn't pushed for the truth.
Sirius had ripped off his shirt and shown James exactly what the problem was. Sirius's pale skin was littered with cuts and bruises, many, especially near his neck, shaped like fingers. His parents…for years…he couldn't remember a time when they hadn't.
It was the closest James had ever come to fainting. He had stumbled back onto his bed, head spinning and not wanting to believe that the sight before him was real. It couldn't be real. It couldn't…
But it was. It was, and James had failed to notice. He had failed to ever notice this. What sort of best friend was he? How dare he call himself Sirius's best friend? He was a pathetic and pitiful excuse. He was a failure.
All he had ever done was offered Sirius a place to stay if the Black heir wanted out of his family's home. All he did was produce a lazy comment on how stupid Sirius's family sounded. He had done nothing of consequence. That was the problem. Consequence had such a bad connotation. But there were good consequences out there. James had just failed to produce any.
After getting over the initial shock, James had quickly received another. Sirius had never told anyone what his parents did to him. He didn't have any intention to change that. He had threatened to wipe James's memory if the Potter even made a move towards a professor's office. James was to keep silent. He was to guard this secret as carefully as Sirius did. James's knowing had been a mistake anyways.
But James couldn't accept that. He wanted to get Sirius away from the Blacks forever. James's parents loved Sirius, and James knew they would have been more than pleased to help and take him in. James wanted to get Sirius away, and he wanted the Blacks to pay for their crimes.
But Sirius wasn't letting him do anything.
"James, you don't understand. I don't expect you to," Sirius said in a tone that left no room for opposition. "You've never dealt with anyone remotely like my parents. They're dangerous. If you involve yourself, they wouldn't hesitate to have you killed."
James looked skeptical. Sirius frowned deeply. "They will not see themselves shamed, James. You saying a word of this to anyone will bring shame. Don't you think I've disappointed them enough already?"
James was taken aback. Sirius—Sirius cared that they were disappointed? James stared blankly at Sirius. For his part, the other had looked away, looking like the good child who was being scolded at by his parents for the first time. James was at a loss for words, something that didn't happen often. Sirius cared about his parents' opinions of him? What had they done to his mind?
"Look, it's really none of your business," Sirius started.
"Bullshit," James snapped. Sirius turned his stormy eyes back to James, looking ready for a fight. "Bullshit," James said again before Sirius could interject. "You, whether you like it or not, are my best friend. Also, whether you like it or not, what concerns you concerns me. All that brothers talk isn't just sunshine and daisies from my ass, you know."
Sirius couldn't help but laugh. "How eloquent," he said with a raised brow.
James shrugged and grinned widely. "Well, no one's ever claimed me to be a ballroom gentleman."
"Certainly not," Sirius agreed. James bit his bottom lip. That might have been stupid. He had let the conversation become light. There was no way he was going to get back into the serious topic that needed discussion. Sirius wouldn't allow it.
The rest of the term progressed at a decent pace. Their N.E.W.T. preparation classes were excruciating, but they survived, albeit after many all nighters. They had finally succeeded in getting Snape angry enough that it would have been possible to fry chicken on his head. Not too bad of a term, if they did say so themselves.
Christmas holidays were upon them, and the entire castle was alive with the holiday spirit. At least, everyone but James was. He was worried. Christmas meant going home. Going home meant Sirius would be within the reach of his parents again. James desperately wanted Sirius to ignore his parents' wishes and come back to Godric's Hollow with him. But Sirius wouldn't. James didn't have to ask—although he did many times—to know that. What worried James even more was Sirius's mentality over the whole thing. He had said that if anything did happen, he, Sirius, would have done something to deserve it.
What had they done to his mind? Could he not see that this was wrong?
And so they had parted ways at the train station, leaving James with a sinking feeling in the depths of his stomach. Sirius, Regulus, and Narcissa were being escorted home by Bellatrix as usual.
When they arrived home, the children went straight to their rooms to unpack and make themselves presentable for family dinner. Sirius dressed himself in his usual black attire and slipped on his better boots. He descended down the stairs behind a silk clad Narcissa. They sat beside each other in the dinning hall, where nearly all the other family members had already gathered.
Sirius was careful to not speak unless spoken to and to control the words that came from his mouth. There was no reason to upset his parents so early in the holiday. If he could just act presentable for one night…
"So Sirius," Bellatrix scoffed. Right then, Sirius knew it was all futile. Bellatrix never failed to get him in trouble. "Do you still shame the family with your blood traitor words? Do you still follow the teachings of that old fool Dumbledore?" Sirius's brow tightened. Dumbledore was a good man, much better than her so-called Master. "Do you still refuse to see the truth of the Dark Lord's words?"
Sirius's temper didn't even give him time to weigh his options. Of course, he couldn't lie. If he lied and said that he thought Voldemort was right, Bellatrix would drag him from the table right now to initiate him into the Death Eaters. He had no desire to see the Dark Mark burned onto his skin. But if he told the truth…
It was abandonment and betrayal of his friends or being beaten. He would choose the beatings any day.
"I certainly see no truth in your so-called lord's words," he said plainly. "I see nothing great about a man who kills for pleasure and prejudice."
Fire flashed through Bellatrix's grey eyes. Sirius didn't need to look to know that it had spread to his parents as well. "How dare you," she hissed, and she would have slapped him if she had been able to reach. "The Dark Lord is purifying our world, and it was high time someone took the initiative. He is the one in the right. Dumbledore and all those pathetic mudbloods will fall, you along with them if you do not change your ways."
"I'd rather fall," Sirius said strongly.
Finally his father spoke, "You speak of treason to your family."
Sirius looked up and down the table. Everyone was glaring at him with such hate. None of them cared about him. None of them valued his presence. None of them wanted him to find happiness. They only just tolerated him because he was the heir to the family name. These people were not his true family. "The only thing that ties us is blood. None of you would mourn if I died," he said in a low voice.
"OUT," his father shouted. "To your room, now!" Sirius held in a wince as he stood to leave. He had only had the soup, and it was likely that he wouldn't be permitted to eat tomorrow. And when dinner was over…
Indeed it had been a bad beating. Sirius had barely been able to pull himself to his bed the next morning. He had slept the whole day but had been forced to get up and face the family the next. As usual, he had worn a turtleneck to make sure all signs of his treatment were hidden. No one else in the family knew, except Regulus. They would never know.
The holidays continued much in manner that Sirius could have predicted. He was given a good thrashing every few days for his behavior. He never understood why he hadn't learned his lesson. He didn't enjoy this. He hated and loathed it. But he continued to act in a manner that required punishment. He needed to stop.
James had said it wasn't his fault…
No, James didn't know what he was talking about. James's parents were different. James was different. They lived in completely different worlds. James didn't understand. Sirius was being unacceptable. His problematic behavior required correcting. James just wasn't problematic.
On Christmas Eve, family tradition allowed for all the members to open one present. Of course, Sirius, as he was being punished, was not included. He sat in the corner of the parlor, watching as everyone happily received a new trinket, toy, or robe. He couldn't remember the last time he had been allowed to partake in this tradition.
James voice suddenly filtered through his head. It's not your fault. You didn't do anything wrong. It's them. It's all them…
Was it really not him? Was he being treated like this for nothing? Surprise and anger filled Sirius's mind. He could feel his hands shaking. He ground his teeth together.
Beside his father, a two hundred year old vase shattered. The pieces flew all over the room, causing most of the family to cry out in alarm. Several eyes landed on Sirius. He sat there, not looking at all surprised or remorseful. He was only angry.
"Boy," his father growled. Sirius only glared up at him. "Go to my office. I will have a talk with you shortly."
Usually, Sirius would lower his gaze and walked timidly away. But today, he stood sharply, kicked one of his younger cousin's toys out of his way and hissed, "Fine." He stormed up the stairs and away from the furious gazes of his family. He knew he was in for it this time, but he didn't care. He didn't care anymore. James had been right.
It was nearly an hour before Sirius's parents entered the study. Sirius fought to keep his resolve strong. His mother locked the door and set Silencing Charms on the room. His father stormed over and struck him across the face. "What were you thinking," he roared. "How dare you speak to me in such a manner?"
Sirius only glared back at them. His mother slapped him, her nails cutting into his flesh. "Don't you dare look at us like that, you pathetic whelp! What do you think gives you the right?"
"What gives you the right," Sirius countered angrily. "What makes you think you can treat your child like this? I haven't done anything wrong. James was right!"
"You've spoken to the Potter boy about this," his mother hissed. "You've dared to open your mouth about family business to some blood traitor?"
"Family business," Sirius cried. "That's what you call this?" His father punched him hard in the stomach. Sirius doubled over and coughed, but he was not silenced. "Family business?"
"This is a matter of the family," Mrs. Black yelled as she kicked him. "You have shamed us! You will be corrected!"
"I haven't done anything wrong," Sirius yelled back. "I do what you tell me, you hit me. I don't do what you tell me, you hit me. There's no difference. I'm just your punching bag. Something got shoved up you ass, so you're taking it out on me." Sirius winced as soon as the words left his mouth. That had been dumb.
His father threw him to the floor. Sirius landed oddly on his shoulder. His mother kicked him repeatedly with her sharp heels. "You are a pathetic child," she screamed hysterically. "You have shamed me! You have shamed this great family!"
Sirius coughed violently. There was a copper taste in his mouth. "This family shames me," he said softly. "I hate it. I hate all of you. I hate the Black name. I hope it falls to ruin!"
His father slammed his booted foot onto Sirius's back. Sirius struggled to hold in a cry of pain. James's voice was back in his head. Do something, Padfoot! Fight back! Don't let them beat you!
Perhaps it was stupid of Sirius to have listened. He kicked out as hard as he could. His foot connected with his father's shin. He didn't exactly register what his parents were yelling, only that they were filled with insane rage. His grey eyes widened as he saw them draw their wands.
There was a flash of light, and Sirius was filled with a terrible pain. He could no longer hold in his cries. As the Cruciatus Curse beat down on him from both his parents, Sirius lay twisting and screaming on the ground. The curse wasn't a new form of punishment, but it never stopped hurting.
How long were they going to use that thing?
The curse was suddenly lifted, only to be replaced by furious kicks. Sirius was coughing up an unhealthy amount of blood. A few minutes later, the curse was beating back down on him again. Tears were flowing from Sirius's eyes as he screamed. They had never used the curse like this before.
Through the pain, one thought crossed his mind. I'm going to die…It was true. He would die here. He'd never see any of his friends again. He'd die alone, never to see another face that he cared about.
Suddenly, the pain was gone. Sirius knew the Cruciatus was still raining down upon him, but it had been pushed to the back of his mind. Faces were flying past his mind's eye. Faces of mentors, people who had treated him with all the kindness that parents were supposed to give…Dumbledore and McGonagall. James—along with Sirius sometimes—called them Mum and Dad in a joking manner. Dumbledore never seemed to mind…
There was Peter and Remus. They were waving at him. Then Lily was there, smiling that pretty, friendly smile. She reached to the side and took hold of a hand…James's hand. James was there, that goofy grin plastered on his face. Then suddenly, they seemed older…What had just happened? Remus had a few streaks of grey in his hair. Peter was pudgier. Lily was still holding James's hand, but now she was holding some sort of bundle. If Sirius didn't know better, he would have guessed it was a baby. James was taller than ever with even broader shoulders.
He detached himself from Lily's hold. He stepped toward Sirius. His smile was different now. It was so sad. Padfoot…It was the last thing Sirius heard before he passed out from the intense pain.
Mrs. Black lowered her wand. Her husband stopped his assault as well and looked down at her. "He passed out," she said simply. Mr. Black nodded and pocketed his wand. He walked briskly from the study. Mrs. Black remained behind for a few seconds to stare down at her son. He shouldn't have said those things. She let out an almost inaudible snort and turned on her heel to follow her husband.
The next morning, Walburga Black sent her favorite house elf, Kreacher, to collect her son for the opening of presents. The elf came back, informing her that the young master was not in his rooms. Walburga sent it to check the kitchens and the other children's rooms. The search was fruitless. Walburga stood irritatedly. That boy! If he had dared to leave the house!
Walurga was about to begin screaming when she remembered. She had not sent the elf to check her husband's study. With brisk steps, the lady of the manor walked up the stairs and down the hall. She wrenched open the door and stepped inside.
Indeed, Sirius was still lying on the floor, head in a small puddle of blood, just like they had left him last night. Had she not been a lady, Walburga would have rolled her eyes. "Up, boy," she commanded. Sirius did not stir. She reached out a foot and nudged him. "Get up, Sirius," she said loudly. He was not moving.
Walburga's brows tilted up, and she lowered herself to the floor. She reached out a hand and shook her son. When he did not respond, she shook harder. "Sirius!" She pushed him over onto his back. The right side of his face was covered in blood, and his skin was white as a ghost. Walburga placed a hand on his chest and felt nothing. He wasn't breathing.
She began to shake him harder, desperately. This couldn't be. Why wasn't he moving?
"ORION!" she screamed. "ORION!"
There were heavy footsteps coming up the stairs, and her husband was soon standing in the doorway. "Orion," she cried, "Sirius—he's not breathing!" Orion glanced over his shoulder. There was no one else there. He still shut the door behind him and locked it. He walked over and stood above his wife.
"What are you talking about," he asked.
Walburga looked up at him with wide eyes. "I came to make him come down for the morning. He—he hadn't moved. Orion, there's blood. He's not breathing!"
Orion pulled out his wand and muttered, "Ennervate." There was no effect. Sirius lay as still as ever. Walburga grabbed hold of her son's shirt and screamed for him to open his eyes. Orion reached down and pulled her to her feet. "Get a hold of yourself, Walburga," he commanded.
Walburga did no such thing. She squeezed her eyes closed and banged on her husband's chest. "He won't wake up! We did this! We did this to him!" Orion grabbed hold of her arms. She wrenched herself away and dropped back to the ground. She buried her face in Sirius's chest and screamed, "My son! My son!"
Orion was quick to cast a Silencing Charm. "You must get a hold of yourself, Walburga," he said sternly. "We must act quickly to cover this up."
Walburga looked up at him, her eyes moist. She had lifted Sirius and was holding him tightly to her chest. "We've killed our son," she whispered in dread.
"And no one will ever know," he said. "I will take care of Sirius's body. You go down and tell the family that you cannot find him anywhere. We will organize a search, report it to the authorities. We will tell them that yes, we argued with our son last night. He had been very angry, claimed he hated us. It is likely that he tried to run away. And then, his body will be found abandoned in some alley. Go now, and be convincing."
Orion collected Sirius in his arms and was quickly gone. Walburga remained on the floor for several minutes. What had she done?
All went according to Orion's plan. The family notified the proper people at the Ministry. A search had begun, and Sirius's body was found beaten and bruised in Knockturn Alley. Of course, it had made the Daily Prophet. Sirius had been heir to the greatest family in Britain. How could it not? To further make themselves appear innocent, Orion had sent funeral notices to Sirius's blood traitor friends.
The day of the funeral came just three days before Sirius would have returned to Hogwarts. The entire Black family was there, all sitting cold and aloft in their proper seats. Further back, Walburga knew his friends were there. The Potter boy, some half-bloods she didn't know, and a mudblood girl. The blood traitor Dumbledore was there, along with the Sirius's Head of House.
Walburga did not hear a word of the service. She did not see Narcissa rise to speak of her cousin. She did not see anything but the coffin that held her child. He was in there. He was in there because of her. What had she done?
When the time had come to lower the coffin into the ground, Walburga lost it. She flung herself at the coffin, screaming and crying. They could not take him from her. They could not put him down there. Sirius didn't like the dark. What did they think they were doing? He wouldn't like it down there!
Orion had tried to drag her from the coffin, but she would have none of it. She clung to the object desperately, screaming for her son. But she was only fooling herself. Sirius would not awaken. He couldn't, and even if he did, he would not want to see his mother. He would run for his friends. He would be safe from his parents with his friends. How could she have let herself do this to him? How could she have lost herself so?
It had taken Orion, his brother, and Rodolphus to pry her away from the coffin. Orion pulled her into a smothering embrace. Walburga howled as she heard the coffin hit the earth. She finally lost it and fainted.
After Sirius had been buried, James and the others walked away from the gravesite. Remus was doing his best to comfort a blubbering Peter. Lily was clinging to James, sobs raking through her body. James felt numb. Tears were pouring from his eyes in rivers, but he did not register them. He did not register Lily's body pressed against his. He didn't register the concerned stares of his parents and teachers. He felt nothing.
Nothing except the shattering of his heart.
Sirius was dead. It was final now. He was dead and buried. James's world had been shattered. His heart had broken when his parents had shown him the report in the Prophet. Those pieces had shattered when the notice came from the Black family. Speaking to Remus, Peter, and Lily had only broken those pieces into tiny shards. By now, his heart was a fine powder.
There had been a time before the funeral that James was furious. He had ranted and screamed about the Black family for hours upon hours. It was their fault. He knew it. They had killed Sirius. He knew they had. This Knockturn Alley thing was a giant cover-up. Sirius's parents had done this.
But then he had gotten here and seen Sirius's mother. No other member of the family had seemed to care about what was going on. Narcissa's speech had been mediocre at best. And she was the one who had always struck James as the most caring in the family. But Sirius's mother had been beside herself.
James wasn't sure if anyone was that good of an actor.
James and his friends all got into the back of his parents' car. They were all going back to his house. They needed to be together right now. It wasn't until they had all settled themselves that it hit James. They were all together, but they would never be complete again. Sirius was gone. He buried his face in his hands and began to sob. Lily threw herself on him and wrapped him in a tight hug.
James didn't notice. All he could think of was his best friend, who he had failed again.
Well, that was fun...not. Before I get yelled at: Sorry about killing Sirius. It was just to make the story sadder. I hope by now everyone knows that I adore Sirius with my whole being and it's just that you always hurt the ones you love thing going on here. i really do love the puppy, I promise. Anyways, this is sort of supposed to tie a bit into the story line of The Sixth Year, like the whole Sirius's home life and all. I guess it's a spin off of it or something...but then again, not really. Whatever. I hope you liked, please review. You know you want to...