I found myself staring at a ceiling. I was in so much pain. My arm slid off my stomach onto the mattress, finding blood. I winced. Biting back a cry of pain, I sat up. I made my way down stairs, ignoring the agony each step caused.

The last few steps were too much. I stumbled, crying out.

"Sirius!" I heard a voice cry. James' mother hurried over to me, catching me as a fell to my knees.

"Help," I said, not knowing anything else to say. Unable to think I continued, "They hurt me. Make them stop. I can't go back! Please! Don't make me!" I was sobbing now, but I didn't care. I just wanted it all to stop. I didn't care who stopped it, or who saw me breakdown. I didn't care who saw me cry.

The last thing I was aware of was Mrs. Potter holding me. The last time I'd been held like that was before I was old enough to make my opinions known. Before I began to hate my family. It had been so long since I had been held as if nothing mattered at the moment but me. I had only seconds to realize this. And then, I was out.

I waited in the waiting room for my parents to come out. They had brought Sirius to a healer. As far as I knew, they still didn't know what had caused the incessant bleeding. I was restless, I wanted desperately to pace, but I was too stiff from falling asleep in the chair.

I was so worried. Memories from Hogwarts and summer vacations kept going through my head. What if he didn't make it? He had to make it. He was only 16. Would his family really go so far as to kill him? I hoped not. Finally, my father came back out.

"James, Sirius'll be fine. They've been giving him a blood-replenishing potion and they've finally found out what's wrong with him. You can go in and see him now, he might even already be conscious. But just remember; he isn't in good shape. It seems to be a new curse, there's no known cure for it. But they're pretty sure that it'll heal in time if they just keep Sirius alive with the potion." Feeling worried, I followed my father into Sirius' room.

I woke up again lying down. I heard voices around me; they were fuzzy. My whole head was fuzzy, my brain sluggish and unable to comprehend my surrounding. I kept my eye closed, begging to slip away back to unconsciousness.

But I wouldn't get the peace I was longing for. I cried out, flinging my eyelids wide open as someone forced me into a sitting position. They poured a burning liquid down my throat. After thinking for a few moments, I realized it was a healer.

I felt horrible. Because of me, the Potters had to come to Saint Mungo's. I was causing pain in their lives; worry that they would be having if I hadn't been here. I was interrupting their daily lives. It was my fault that they felt worry. They didn't need this.

When my eye finally focused, James' mother came into view.

"Are you okay, Sirius?" She said, worry was etched onto her face. I expected worry, but not that much of it. I wondered why she was so worried. It never occurred to me that I might not want to know why.

"Mrs. Potter? What's wrong with me?"

"Sirius, it was a new curse. No one knows the cure. The healers have been giving you a blood-replenishing potion." She looked away. I couldn't believe it was that serious. Because it was a complex potion, with rare ingredients and it took forever to make, healers did not give it out unless it was absolutely necessary.

Just then, James and his father walked in the room. Nothing could've braced me for the look of horror on both their faces. If anything could've scared me, that was it. And it sure did scare me. Would I live past this?

Sirius looked horrible, by the look on Dad's face, I could tell Sirius looked worse than he did a few minutes ago when my dad last saw him. He was certainly paler than last time I saw him. He was conscious, but his eyes looked haunted and pained. His face was filled with agony and fear.

"Hey, Sirius!" I said, trying to keep my voice light. I could tell that not one person in the room fell for it, especially not Sirius. I needed to know what had happened though. I knew there was no chance of Sirius telling me in front of my parents.

"Mum, Dad? Can Sirius and me just talk alone for a while?"

"Sure." They walked out of the room, looking back every few seconds.

When we were alone I asked, "Sirius? Do you want to talk?"

I was grateful to James for asking his parents to leave. And even more grateful when his parents left. I knew James wanted to know what had happened. I also knew I wanted to tell him. I needed to tell someone. I took a deep breath.

"James," I began, "It started right before I went to Hogwarts. I started getting angry, and showing it, whenever my parents would say something bad about muggleborns. It got to the point where I would speak up even when they said the word "mudblood" even though I was used to the word as being a part of language. That's what my parents, and once I, had always called them, except when they explained that it meant muggleborn."

I stopped. I knew James wouldn't like the revelation that I had once uttered the filthy word as if it wasn't an insult. He said nothing, so I continued.

"It got worse when I got to Hogwarts. When my parents found out that I hadn't been placed in Slytherin, they were extremely disappointed. When they found out I was in Gryffindor, they were furious. That's when I started to grow afraid of going home. Fear always lurked behind the anger. It was always behind my hate of them.

"I sill had a love for my brother, however. My brother who still loved me, and looked up to me. I still protected him. Even with Regulus, my father believes in physical punishment: slapping, he even went to use a belt on Regulus once. I always stopped him. I protected him against the belt with my own back. Father was so angry at me interfering that he forgot completely about the fact that Regulus was still in my arms, and just kept going. My mum finally stopped him."

"But I thought she-" James began, but I cut him off.

"I don't know, but I'm pretty sure Mum still loved me then, even if she pretended she didn't. Ever since first year, whenever I went home, they would treat me different. Little things, really, but as they built up, it became a bigger problem.

"Father would be quicker to anger with me than with Regulus. Eventually, they started ignoring Regulus, who used to act a lot like me actually, and he started trying to be perfect in hopes he would regain his attention. He did and it was always mum who would point Regulus' perfections out. Together, Regulus, Mother, and Father drove me crazy. But they still didn't really hurt me in any lasting way besides the fact that everything built up inside of me, making each blow seem worse and worse.

"Then came third year. It was the day before the return to Hogwarts from Christmas vacation. Regulus was in his first year, and already influenced by many of his friends, most of them his cousins and other relatives. He kept annoying me; talking about our house, insulting all the muggleborns, insulting you, Moony, and Wormtail, everything that I can't stand. So I shoved him away from me. Unfortunately I pushed him a bit harder than I meant to, he stumbled back into the wall and, taken by surprise, fell to the floor. My parents heard.

"I'll tell you this now. When I get in trouble, Mother yells, and Father hits. That's the way they work. That day mother sure did yell. And god, James, did father hit." I was close to tears now, James looked away, but looked back again. I couldn't read the expression on his face, but I knew he wanted me to tell him. I hurried to continue before I backed out, not wanting to purvey to him all my pain.

"As you know, I returned to Hogwarts in pretty bad shape. It's never been that bad again. Until now." I couldn't help it, I stopped. James didn't need to hear this. He'd done enough already. He'd stood by me through all of this. But James, of course, wouldn't let my back out.

"What about this time Sirius? What happened?" Biting my lip, staring determinedly down at the sheets, I told him what happened. About how I had gotten out of the house and how my father had found me. About how when the rest of the family had finally left me alone, my brother, cousins, and their friends hadn't been willing to let it go.

About how my Uncle Alphard had told me what to do. And about how even though I didn't want to seem willing to give up the mini-war against my family, I had listened, retreating and fearing for my life.

When I looked back a James, he bit his lip. "Sirius," he said, then stopped, "I had no idea." He started crying and then I started crying. If anyone had walked in and seen us, I wouldn't have cared. All I was aware of was crying. Together, me and James cried away my pain.