A/N This idea came to me a while ago, but I always imagined it as a series fic told from Sirius' POV, not James.' But then I went mad and before I knew it my fingers were typing stuff and the idea I had evolved into something a little different. ONESHOT. Hope you enjoy!
James had always watched Sirius intently. He was one of the strangest people he knew. Not strange in the sense that he was particularly hard to understand (because he wasn't really that complex at heart) but strange in the sense that the qualities he possessed, were so powerful. Especially, one quality in particular...
Sirius had courage; James had decided that from the moment he'd met him. He'd wanted to be in Gryffindor, and that in James opinion, was about the most fool proof way to prove you were brave.
But the proof of Sirius' courage had come from other places besides his choice of house. Fighting your parents had to be one of the strongest things you could do – it was like fighting the morals that had been planted in you from birth. Fighting ideas that were like instinct. It was hard to fight yourself, and that's exactly what Sirius had been doing by fighting with his parents – fighting with himself. Fighting with his own ideas.
James had never been clear on what had instigated Sirius' pure blood rebellion. He had only asked once and Sirius had simply said, "One day mate, I'll tell you. But not today."
James hadn't pushed the matter. He knew Sirius was capable of flying off the handle – especially about issues that involved his crazy family.
But that bravery - the bravery involved in fighting your parents, was nothing compared to the bravery James witnessed the summer before seventh year.
He heard a knock at the door. Broom in hand (for he'd decided to get some practice in before his last season of Quidditch at Hogwarts) he opened it and came face to face with a Sirius he didn't recognize.
His face was squashed into a funny expression – something between anger, grief and determination. James was well versed in Sirius' expressions; angry, mischievous and sullen, excited, crazy and vengeful, these were all common, but never had James seen such a mixed expression on his friend's face.
"Mate… Are you okay?"
"Do you mind if I stay?"
The question was asked bluntly. Defiantly almost. James had asked once if Sirius wanted to live with him instead of enduring his parents, but the answer had always been very noble; "No I wouldn't want to impose."
James didn't ask what had happened. Instead, he nodded, took Sirius' bag for him and stowed it in the guest room.
It was mid afternoon before Sirius said anything. The two boys had been sitting in the guest room for almost two hours, James simply staring at his best friend patiently, waiting for him to say something.
Finally, Sirius sighed and said, "I give up."
James paused, "What do you mean?"
He sighed again, "I give up trying to convert them. I give up. I've had it."
A tear slid down his face and he said; "I don't know where I got the stupid fucking notion that I might change their minds from… But wherever I got it I want my galleons back."
Despite the situation James gave a small smile.
"They're stupid." He offered.
"Nah." Sirius muttered, not bothering to wipe away his tears, "They're just ignorant. I suppose everybody thinks that ignorance and stupidity go hand in hand but they don't really."
"Did they say anything?"
"Not much. Mum shouted something along the lines of 'you're a shame to the Black name,' and then I think she blasted my name off our family tapestry. Either that or she blew up the rug… The first one makes more sense." He laughed bitterly, "I'm just so sick of fighting them Prongs."
He let out a cry of frustration and James placed a hand on his shoulder.
"It's alright Padfoot. You can stay as long as you like."
"Do you know what she did?" Sirius leaned forward, he was shivering slightly "She put her under the Cruciatis."
"Who?" James asked; confused.
Sirius stood up quickly wringing his hands, "Winnie. My Mum put her under the Crucatis curse."
"Next door neighbour," Sirius said this more to the window than James, "Muggle. Met her when I was ten. I told you I'd tell you some day why I always questioned my parents… Winnie is the reason. I spent the first nine years of my life being told what horrible little dirty bastards muggles were, and then I met Winnie, and I thought that my parents were wrong. That's when I started asking questions. Asking why muggles were worth less than wizards. That's when my parents showed their crazier side…"
He paused again.
"Winnie doesn't want to talk to me now. She's scared… I don't blame her. She knew I was a wizard but I kept telling her that wizards don't do bad things and that wizards don't hurt muggles… I told her the truth… After it happened. Told her some ignorant prats like my parents don't know what the hell they're talking about and should be thrown into Azkaban to rot until they get the equity lesson through their heads…" He sighed, "But she was still scared. Still confused I suppose. She was only under for a few seconds - just for talking to me - but that was enough. By far enough"
He looked at James at this point, and eyes glistening he said, "After that, I packed my stuff and came here."
And that's when James realized how brave Sirius really was
It was mind blowing really, James mused
Sirius's transformation was complete, he thought. Because even through the fighting there had been a part of him convinced that if he could see why pure blood obsession was ridiculous, then his parents could see it too.
He'd realized that day, James decided, that nothing was going to make his parents realize.
And admitting that, must have taken a hell of a lot of courage. To completely sever the link with the people who created you, that had to take a lot of courage. To admit the truth, to admit that nothing was going to change their minds, to admit that that gut instinct that had been sewn into you by your parents from birth, was completely wrong, to give up trying to make them see…
That had to take, a hell of a lot of courage. A lot more courage, James decided, than fighting took.
This probably needs a dose of betaing (I'm not quite sure if that justifies as a word, even on the net) but anyway... Reviewers get an angsty Sirius to cheer up ;)