Flash! Sirius!

You're teasing your cousin, and it's as if the pair of you were sixteen again. Never mind you haven't seen her, or any of your family, in at least fourteen years. You throw back your head and laugh, a great bark of a laugh, because you know it will annoy her. Sure enough, her eyes narrow. She's giving you her Death Glare, and now she's sending another spell your way—and suddenly you know: this one will hit. You hear the dead, whispering behind the curtain. Whispering…

Your eyes widen, but you don't stop laughing. This time, the joke's on you.

You're sixteen, and you're at King's Cross, waiting to get aboard the train with your best friend, James Potter. Suddenly, she's there—your cousin—only, most unusually, she's alone.

"Where were you?" she asks softly, ignoring James.

You stare at her, bewildered. "Where was I…?"

"This summer," she says pointedly. She glares at James. He looks back stubbornly. He won't leave you, and you're grateful.

Suddenly she's yelling. "You left! Do you even realize—have any inkling of what you've done? Aunt Walburga's burned you off the tapestry. First Gryffindor and now this? She's heartbroken. How could you, Sirius?"

She's giving you her Death Glare, and James looks like he's about to hex her, but you're angry now yourself.

"I had to go! Have you MET my parents?" you shout. "Although I guess you think all that 'pureblood supremacy' crap is the greatest thing since Spell-Checking Quills."

"Blood traitor!" she shouts. "Does family mean so little to you?"

"Do morals mean so little to you?" you counter. You read her a lecture, something about right and wrong, good and evil—mostly about how you've both chosen your sides. You can't remember exactly what you say—at first she tries to interrupt, but then she's just staring at you in silence. You warn her against Lestrange—you both know he's a Death Eater. It's a strange name, you've often thought—Death Eater. You tell her Lestrange is trouble. You know soon he'll introduce her to him. Voldemort. And you tell her, knowing you speak truth—"I don't want to see any family member of mine in his clutches."

She says, quite quietly, "Then maybe I don't want to be part of your family."

You're hurt, and you lash back at her, saying, "You're not! You—all of you!—trying to poison me with your 'high ideals'—your prejudice—you're no family of mine!"

"How dare you?" she rages. "I'll kill you, Sirius Black!" she shouts.

You shrug coldly and turn to James. You want out of this conversation. As the two of you walk away, toward the train, you notice there are tears in her eyes. "I'll kill you…" she whispers. Her arms wrapped around herself, she looks lost and forlorn. You tell yourself she doesn't deserve your pity.

You know she hates James for witnessing that—seeing her break down. You wonder if she hates you.

After the two of you finish school, the only times you see her are when she's dueling your friends. She hates you for joining the Order of the Phoenix. You hate her for corrupting your little brother. She hates you for your friendship with James, with Remus, and with her disgraced sister Andromeda. You hate her for what she did to the Longbottoms. She hates you for being Harry's godfather. You hate her for her devotion to him—and for letting herself turn into that.

Your last thought as you fall backwards through the veil—as you move into a new and frightening world—is touched with irony.

After all, she said she would kill you.