Author's Note: Thanks for all your reviews. It makes my day. Today's chapter has an interesting little tidbit in it: A quote from a favorite movie of mine. Post it in your review if can find it. One hint: Brad Pitt.
Disclaimer: Not mine, not mine, not mine.
Now, on to the show.
"What about Sirius?"
"Sirius," James groaned, "Don't remind me. I mean, he's my best mate, he wouldn't do that if he didn't think it was the best thing to do, but he hadn't the right to say that to you."
"He's not your best mate, James, "Lily said quietly, "He's your brother."
James snorted softly. "Yeah."
"What are you going to do?"
"I don't know."
James Potter took in the Gryffindor Common Room with a quick glance. Remus was studying with a group in the corner. Peter was absent—but he'd been gone a lot recently, snogging that blonde from Hufflepuff. And Sirius…James could only hope Sirius was upstairs.
He charged up the spiral stairs and threw open the door to his dorm. Sirius was perusing a Quidditch magazine in the only table and chair in the room. James gazed at him and tried to take deep breaths. He didn't want to lose control. Not with Sirius.
"Oi, Prongs!" Sirius called, showing him the magazine, "The Cannons are…"
Any control that James thought he had was gone. He strode across the room and upended the table that Sirius was at. It landed with a loud bang, and other parchments that had been on it drifted slowly to the ground. "What are you on about, Sirius? Do you have any idea what you've done?" He yelled.
"Easy, mate," Sirius said, pushing himself back slowly from the upended desk. "What's going on?"
"What's going on?" James yelled, "What's going on is that I'm cleaning up your mess! Again!" James fixed Sirius with a disgusted glare, and Sirius had the good sense to look embarrassed as they both remembered the night Snape nearly met his doom. "She thought I was a Death Eater, Sirius, a—" James used a very vulgar word, "Death Eater."
"James," Sirius began.
"No, Sirius! You were out of line."
"I was only looking out for..."
"You should have talked to me, Sirius, not to her."
"Prongs, look…" Sirius tried again, but James sighed, turned and walked towards the door. "Not even going to let me tell you my side, huh?" Sirius bellowed after him, "All ready walking out on your friends for some girl!"
The hex that Sirius sent at James barely missed him.
Instinctively, James turned and shot a curse at Sirius. "Some girl!" He hollered, "This is Lily!"
Sirius dove behind his bed and used it as a shield. James scrambled behind Remus'. They shot several curses at each other, including one that caught Sirius' bed on fire. The room filled with smoke, some of it smoky from the fire, and others tinged with color from the hexes.
The duel had been going only moments when the door creaked as it swung wide open. Remus J. Lupin stood in the door, silhouetted by smoke. James and Sirius were panting and sweating. In only seconds, they had turned their dorm into complete shambles.
"Boys," Remus said quietly, "What have you done?"
James and Sirius scrambled to their feet. They glared at each other from across the room. James stowed his wand in his robes, and walked towards Remus, "Sorry about the mess, mate," he said. He shot a foul look at Sirius and said quietly to Remus, "Keep him away from me. And her."
The next morning, Lily found him asleep on the couch in the Heads Common room. The fire had died down long ago, and it was cold. He was still in his clothes from yesterday, and his trainers were on. His face was streaked with tear marks.
"James," Lily whispered, "James, wake up."
James stirred, and opened his eyes warily. "Evans?" He mumbled.
"James, you've got to get up. It's nearly lunch. You've missed all your morning classes."
James grunted and pushed himself to an upright position. "I feel like crap." He muttered.
"Well, you don't smell so good, either." Lily teased.
James managed a small smile, and then laid down again, "I'm not going to class today."
"You talked to Sirius, huh."
"Hmm," James said, closing his eyes, "Talked is a relative term. Yelled at, yes. Cursed, yes."
"Oh," Lily said quietly, "So that explains why the new password is Sirius Black is a complete waste of space."
"You can't lose Sirius, James. You need each other."
"Need is also a relative term," muttered James. Lily opened her mouth to say something when James said, "Lily, I'm tired. Please leave me alone."
Lily closed her mouth, and nodded. Conjuring a blanket, she covered James up with it. Then without a word, she left.
While James Potter was hiding out in the Heads' Common Room, Sirius Black had taken up residence in a place he'd never expected to: the Library. He'd settled himself at a table in a corner, far away from the entry. Nobody would ever think to look for him there, and even if they did, Sirius could make a quick getaway.
He was reading his Runes textbook, rehashing in his mind what had happened over the past twenty four hours. Somehow, in his good intentions, he had managed to botch a number of relationships, including his friendship with James.
"Ahem," Someone cleared their throat in front of him.
So much for my quick getaway, Sirius thought wryly. He looked up to see a student dressed in the green and silver robes of Slytherin. Tall, dark…it was like looking in the mirror. Sirius swore under his breath as he glared at his younger brother, "Do I know you?" he asked cruelly.
"Ha." Regulus retorted, "It is I, Regulus, your younger brother." He smiled coldly at Sirius, "Was that a proper announcement or would you like a letter of introduction as well?"
"Ahh, yes, Regulus. I do remember you," Sirius stood up and reached across the table to shake his brother's hand in an elaborate charade of being pleased to meet Regulus. At the last instant, he shifted his hand and grabbed Regulus' left hand. With a quick movement, he pushed up the left sleeve on Regulus' robe to reveal absolutely nothing, no mark. "Just checking." Sirius hissed staring Regulus in the eyes, even though he was mentally relieved to know that Regulus had not yet taken that step into the Death Eaters. Sirius sat back down in his chair. "If you've got a message from Mum, Reg, deliver it and deliver it quick. I'm not in the mood today."
"You rarely are." Regulus said, sitting.
"I didn't say you could sit."
"Really, Sirius, we must work on your people skills." Regulus said condescendingly.
Sirius took a deep breath. "Three seconds, Reg, and then I hex your sorry…"
"It has come to our attention," Regulus said, drumming his fingers on the table, "That you've had a rather dismal turn in your relationship with Mr. Potter."
Sirius swore. "News travels fast."
"So it seems," Regulus agreed, "We viewed this as an opportune time to remind you where you truly belong."
Sirius sighed, "Not this again, Reg. I've told you again and again…"
"Sirius," Regulus cut in, "You're the first Black ever to be sorted into a house besides Slytherin. Don't you think maybe—just maybe—the Sorting Hat made a mistake?"
"I am a Gryffindor, not a Slytherin. You and your filthy rhetoric of pure-blood versus the rest of us…"
"Sirius," Regulus cut in. For the first time, he looked like the younger brother that Sirius remembered. Gone was the anger, the frosty front of a member of 'The most noble and ancient house of Black'. He looked young and vulnerable, and Sirius wanted nothing more than to protect him from everything, just as he had years ago—until he was told it was unappreciated. "Sirius, I know we've gone our separate ways. But you are my brother. I am your brother. Please, please don't forget your family," He paused, "Do you remember that time when we accidentally set off all those Filibuster fireworks in the sitting room during Mum's tea?"
Sirius grinned, "It was the best tea she ever served."
"She whupped me so hard, I couldn't sit for a week," Regulus grinned, "But it was worth it to see old Mrs. Hopkirks move that fast." Regulus' face twisted into a sad smile, "I miss you Siri," he said, calling him by a childhood nickname.
"I miss you, Reg." Sirius said softly.
Regulus' face resumed its careful mask, "When you make up your mind, you know where to find me. I'll be waiting for your decision." He excused himself, and left.
Sirius Black laid his head down on his textbook, and blew out a deep breath.