A/N: This has been a long time coming! Sorry! There's at least one more chapter after this.
She stood on Sirius's doorstep, the perfect picture of grief.
Sirius was alarmed that she was there. It brought the manners out of him.
He was never polite when he was comfortable.
In fact he was often rather rude.
And Narcissa on his front stoop made him the perfect gentleman.
He asked her in, offered her tea. She barely had sat down when the tears exploded from her.
Sirius froze, helplessly, looking at me for assistance.
"What's wrong, Cissa?" I asked, moving to sit with her on the couch.
She was just married a few days ago. Things couldn't already be messy, could they?
But she didn't look at me. Her eyes remained only on Sirius, "Oh Sirius, he…he…"
And then there were the sobs again.
And Sirius bristled, "Was it Lucius? Did he do something? I swear I'll kill him, Cissa."
She managed to shake her head.
"You can leave him," Sirius said, moving closer to her, seeming to lose the awkwardness that had taken hold of him at her arrival, "We'll get you a divorce. It's only been a few days. Merlin, I can't believe he'd….He couldn't even be a human for a few days. Not even for you…"
He swore under his breath.
Narcissa was reclaiming her composure enough to say, "Not Lucius, Sirius. It's worse. So much worse."
Sirius stiffened, "Tell me."
She swallowed audibly, "Regulus—he's—he's…Regulus is dead."
And the sobs reappeared.
Sirius was frozen, crouched in front of his sobbing younger cousin. The pain that I saw on his face made me reevaluate everything he had ever said about what he felt about his brother.
The words from Narcissa's lips were labored and laced with hiccups, "The day before my wedding, he—he came the manor…and he wasn't right, Sirius. We had fought and I just…I just thought he was mad at me, still. For marrying Lucius. And everything that goes….that goes along with that."
Sirius was watching her with a carefully blank face.
"I was just so scared, Sirius. I didn't know what else to do. And it made him sad. What was I supposed to do? I didn't know that it would hurt him so much. I didn't know…I just knew it was what Lucius wanted me to do. He was so mad…we didn't talk for weeks, Sirius. And then he just showed up. And he said goodbye."
She winced. The words literally seemed to cause her pain.
"He said he couldn't be a death eater anymore. He said he couldn't do it. The killing. The torturing. He said he was leaving."
Sirius inhaled sharply then.
"He's gone. Everyone's been commanded to kill him on sight. But he knew he was going to die. And it's been days, Sirius. Days without word. Days without seeing him. He's gone."
Then something happened that I'd never seen before. Sirius reached out and tucked Narcissa's long blonde hair behind her ear. He scooped her into his arms in a giant hug, and started a tirade of soothing phrases.
The two were almost unaware of my presence. I felt like I was spying on something sacred. None of us had ever seen Sirius have a positive interaction with one of him family members. Looking at it now, it almost broke my heart.
Because there were pieces of Sirius I didn't know.
And I thought I knew everything there was to know about Sirius.
He held her until her sobs softened. When at last they did, he wiped some of her tears away and said, "I'm going to get you some firewhiskey."
WAS THAT REALLY THE ANSWER HERE? Merlin, Sirius. She doesn't need to drink away her problems.
"Please and thank you," she mumbled, wiping carefully at her eyes with a lace cloth from her hand bag.
Even though her makeup is anywhere but her eyes now, after that cry.
Sirius returned with a bottle of firewhiskey and three shot glasses. He handed one to each of us.
I tried to hide my disapproval. Chocolate is how you deal with grief, not alcohol.
He poured us each a shot and then said, "Bottoms up!"
We downed them.
She immediately held her empty glass out to Sirius, "More."
"Yes, ma'am," Sirius half-smiled, but there was pain in his eyes.
They sat in Sirius's living room, drunk and both mourning.
They would tell stories of days long gone, moments of pure happiness with Regulus, and then laugh. Laugh until they cried. Cried until they sobbed. And sobbed until they were empty enough to take another shot.
"Do you remember," Sirius said at one point, "The time your mother decided to have a family portrait painted."
"And she wanted Regulus in that ridiculous suit! With coat tails!"
"She chased him all around the house, pinned him to the floor, and charmed that suit on him."
"She was a dedicated woman."
"Indeed. And in the end, he lit that painting on fire."
"That he did."
"Blamed it on me, the little stinker."
"Well, you didn't catch the memo that it was Bellatrix," Narcissa teased him, "If you hadn't been so bloody happy the portrait was gone…"
Sirius laughed, "I couldn't help it. I hated that suit worse than he did. But our mum threatened me."
"She always had a soft spot for Regulus," Narcissa assented.
"Everyone did," Sirius said with some bitterness, "Mum loved him …he's was Drommy's pet, Bella even would listen to what he said…Aunt and Uncle would bend over backwards for him..and if our grandparents had a favorite—it'd be him. Perfect grades. And such aptitude. Brilliant, they called him….and he was your soulmate, wasn't he?"
"Yes," Narcissa said, "He truly was."
She paused, looking at Sirius's face, "He didn't want any of that. Not your mother, not grandfather, not Bella, not even Drommy…all he wanted was me. He never asked for anything else."
Sirius looked at her appraisingly, "That doesn't help anything."
She cast her eyes to her lap, "I know."
The two of them stayed up most of the night. I kept an eye on them. Because someone had to watch out for the grieving alcoholics in the living room.
At half past three in the morning, Lucius Malfoy came knocking at the door.
I answered it, after looking out the peephole.
Who'd have thought I'd willingly open a door to a death eater in the middle of the night.
"Is Narcissa here?" he asked me, without introduction.
He heard her laughs in the living room and went inside while I still stood, finding words at the door. He was immediately at her side.
"Lucius!" Sirius said, laughing still, "We were just talking about the time Regulus decided that Bellatrix was a vampire and did up her room in garlic? D'ya remember that?"
I was waiting for him to explode. I was waiting for him to demand why we had his wife, drunk in our living room at three in the morning.
But he didn't.
He just sat beside Narcissa, with his hand entwined with hers, and eyes carefully taking in the scene, and said, "Oh yes I do. Bella was so mad. Especially when he kept trying to trick her into going into the sun."
"She hung him up by his shoe laces in the big oak tree," Sirius guffawed, "It was priceless."
"And then he built her a coffin while she was sleeping…and nailed her inside it!"
That's entirely barbaric. Odd, odd Black children.
"Then, of course, mum and dad took him to the library and got him a book on vampires," Narcissa laughed, "To properly explain to him that she wasn't…"
The three of them sighed in perfect harmony.
I felt like an outsider. Watching them reminisce about Regulus. I felt selfish and shallow for not feeling…supportive of this get together.
It was irrational, but watching them talk about a life I'd never know…made me wonder if I was the best person for Sirius. It made me wonder if I was right for him. Because I'd never be able to have these crazy memories with him. I didn't know his family.
He'd never let me know his family.
He hated that I knew Narcissa.
He hated that I'd tried to be friends with Regulus.
And I'd never be able to bridge that gap. Because he kept insisting he wanted that gap.
But did he really?
"My favorite Regulus story though," Sirius said, absently, "was when they were nine. It was Cissy's birthday party. And Bella…well, she was being Bella. She got Cissa that leash and collar."
"That said property of Lucius Malfoy," Lucius said with a devilish grin.
Sirius laughed and nodded, "That's the one! And so, Cissy, being Cissy, went and cried in the bathroom."
"You're darn right I did," Narcissa said, snuggling closer to her husband on the couch.
"Regulus was beside himself with fury. Because Bella had ruined his Cissy's birthday party," Sirius was crying laughing, "So he passed out secret invitations to everyone he deemed worthy…and had the house elves decorate the bathroom…"
"All the while, I was just like 'No, Hiccup! Can't you see I'm distraught?'"Narcissa giggled.
"And we had an amazing party in the bathroom for her ninth birthday," Sirius said fondly, "He was just such a serious little nine year old, with his 'don't you dare tell Bella what we're doing."
"Like she didn't notice the five of us all crammed in the bathroom, or the elves coming in and out with cake!" Lucius laughed.
"But was Regulus was bound and determined that Cissy would have her birthday party," Sirius sighed, "We had bathroom parties for years after that."
Lucius smiled nostalgically, "Until we discovered the firewhiskey wasn't in the bathroom."
Sirius guffawed, "That about covers it."
I watched them, and wondered if Sirius would ever talk about our adventures in the same way he was talking about his brother.
I couldn't say much for their stories. They must have been things you'd have to see for yourself to realize why they were special.
But the tales of Regulus, Sirius, and Lucius's scheme to start a boy band ("We had the grand ambition to be on the Wizard Wireless Network. And get girls."). Or how Regulus and Sirius used to stay up late sneak cookies from the kitchens of Grimmauld Place ("The house elves would do anything for him, anything. But he'd always ask for my favorite cookies too."). Or the charms Regulus tried on the family tree, to make up new relatives to see if anyone would notice ("Oh, Auntie Gilfra! She married a muggle! Don't you remember, mum?")…Or all the sweet stories there were about Regulus and his Narcissa ("He told me he could never love astronomy, because looking into the heavens was so mundane compared to looking into the soul.")….
They widened the hole in my heart…because they were family. And I never had that growing up. Sirius, James, Peter…they were my family.
But listening to him talking with them, I knew I wasn't his.
At last, Lucius said it was time to go. He thanked Sirius for his hospitality, gave him a hug, and escorted his wife out the door. It was sunrise.
Sirius didn't talk to me after they left. He watched Lucius and Narcissa leave, and then went to bed without a word.
"I'm sorry I left," I told Lucius, as soon as we were home.
The Dark Lord had announced that Regulus should be killed on sight. I had left Malfoy Manor immediately. The possibilities that must have ran through Lucius's head hit me like a brick wall.
"Don't be," he kissed my forehead, "I understand."
I looked up at my husband, "I love you."
He kissed me again, this time on the mouth, before saying, "I love you, too. Now let's get you to bed, Mrs. Malfoy."
I let Lucius guide me up the stairs to our bedroom, and we slept most of the day together.
I was so irritated with Sirius Black.
I loved him, yes, but sometimes he could be so unreasonable.
We were on assignment for the Order. After another big fight.
But that's the thing about disasters—they don't schedule themselves around your fights with your significant other. And so Sirius and I were stuck together, hoping to catch the death eaters, before they could get what they were after.
He was pacing. And I was watching him pace.
The fight was the same as always. We've had the same fight twenty times now.
That I was too friendly with the death eaters. With Narcissa and Lucius.
I had reminded him I wasn't the one who stayed up all night drinking with them a few weeks ago.
But he seemed to have deaf ears for that.
Narcissa and I had met up for lunch yesterday. Sirius was beside himself. Claiming I always hung out with untrustworthy people.
I thought this was hypocritical of him.
But anything I said about that night was greeted with silence. He wouldn't talk about Regulus with me. He wouldn't mention that his brother was dead. He wouldn't mention that it was killing him.
He just continued pretending they didn't mean anything to him.
"I didn't know it would hurt you," I said to his pacing, "I'm sorry that it did. But Narcissa and I are friends. And it was just lunch."
Sirius growled, "You don't know her like I do."
I sighed, "No, I don't. I don't know your precious Cissy like you do. But she is my friend. And I trust her."
Sirius's response was quick, "Do you trust Lucius? Because she tells him everything. Do you trust the You-Know-Who, because that's who they all ultimately answer to…Merlin, Remus. You're meddling things you don't understand."
Spells flashed and Lucius pushed me out of the way. I stumbled a bit, but made it to the deserted hallway with the object hidden beneath my cloak. I didn't even know what it was.
Lucius said the less information I had, the happier I'd be.
I trusted him.
But the hallway wasn't as deserted as I'd hoped.
There were two people from the Order there, standing guard.
Two people I recognized.
One of them had me by the arms. The other took off my mask.
And as my eyes met my cousin's, my heart froze.
Sirius stared at me, disbelievingly.
I couldn't say anything. There was nothing to say.
To be honest, I figured he knew.
But the disbelief in his gray eyes told me otherwise.
"Cissa?" he asked, barely a whisper.
My voice stuck in my throat.
Remus let go of my arms immediately. Trusting me not to run.
Sirius took hold of my wrist, roughly as I turned to go.
"Please," I said softly, "He'll kill me."
"Lucius?" Sirius asked, just as quietly.
"No," I said simply.
And Sirius let my wrist go.
I felt their stares on me as I apparated.
"Do you see, Remus?" Sirius asked, after he let his cousin go, "You can't be her friend. She's a death eater. You can't just go to lunch and then duel each other in the middle of the night. It doesn't work like that."
I wondered if I should point out that he was the one that let her go.
A/N: Don't forget to review. I love reviews. They help me update. And I would love to know your thoughts and suggestions. Also, I'm trying to figure out what to start next. I'm thinking about writing a Regulus centric one…or maybe a Regulus and Sirius centric one. The events leading up to Sirius leaving and all that fun stuff. Thoughts?