Sirius Black stared at his teacup, refusing to meet the eyes that were boring into him. The cup had a blue circular pattern and he mentally traced it over and over. He heard them speaking his name, talking to him, but it was as if the words were coming through water: muffled and distorted.
It wasn't until James slammed his hand down on the table and roared "Sirius!" that he looked up into James' eyes. Two tears leaked out of Sirius' grey eyes, but he didn't wipe them away. "Please," he whispered, "Please don't ask me to do that."
Lily took a deep breath, but James held his gaze. "Anything else, James," Sirius begged, "But not that. Not now."
The kitchen now seemed cold. Lily laid her head down on her arms and began to sob. Each of her strangled gasps seemed to sear Sirius through his heart. James lowered his gaze, and gently placed his hand on Lily's back. He stroked her hair for a moment, and this seemed to calm her. After a few minutes, her crying died down, and she sat up. She was a mess—red eyes, blotchy skin. It didn't add to her haggard, tired appearance. The year in hiding had been hard on her.
Sirius resumed staring at his teacup, but he heard James pour Lily more tea, and set the kettle down. After a moment, James cleared his throat. "I know there must be a good reason for you to say no, Sirius. I'd like to know what it is." Sirius stared at his teacup and didn't respond. "Dammit Sirius!" James yelled, throwing his teacup past Sirius. "Talk to me!" The cup shattered against the wall.
"James," Lily reproached softly. She pointed her wand at the broken teacup and it repaired itself and zoomed back onto the table.
James sat back heavily in the kitchen chair, his mind whirling quickly. He knew Sirius. James Potter would have bet everything he owned that Sirius would be his secret keeper. Nothing would stop Sirius from protecting him. Nothing except—his eyes darkened, "There's only one thing that would keep you from being our secret keeper, Pads." Lily looked inquisitively at James, but he was glaring at Sirius. "Tell Lily why you won't be our secret keeper, Sirius. Tell her why you won't protect Harry."
More tears leaked out of Sirius' eyes at this accusation, but he didn't move. "Tell her, Sirius." James whispered, his voice full of malice.
After a long tension filled moment, Sirius raised his eyes and locked them with Lily's. Tears streamed down his face. "Regulus," He whispered hoarsely, "I can't because of Regulus."
A/N: This is short, but this is the original idea that was going to be a one-shot. After I wrote it, I found that I enjoyed the character of Sirius so much—and there is so much more, I believe, between the two Black brother that I had to go on. Don't worry! I haven't given up. (Yet).
Special thanks to planeteer-rach who has reviewed every chapter!