Disclaimer: I don't HP. If I did, Lupin would def. have not died. ;D

Chapter 1 -- Return to 12 Grimmauld Place

Why did they have to come back here?! Harry thought bitterly. He looked grimly around the corridor, and he could hear Mrs. Black's familiar shrieks of "Blood traitors! Filth!" Quickly, however, Lupin emerged from another room and pulled back the curtains. He smiled weakly.

"Welcome back?" he said, amused.

"Hi, Remus!" Ron said cheerfully. "Keeping things under control here?"

"For the most part," he replied, smiling.

Harry gnawed his lower lip. Why was everyone being so sickeningly cheerful? This was where Sirius was caged until the day of his death, yet everyone was acting as though everything was just peachy.

According to Mrs. Weasley, the reason they needed to come back 12 Grimmauld place was because of a long string of meeting with the order, and they thought it would just be easier to stay here until the summer holidays were over. In Harry's opinion, this was bullshit. This place smelled like it could drive a person crazy. Like Sirius...

It had been... how long? Just over a month since he died? It still felt like he should be here. Harry felt his throat tightening. Sirius was the closest thing to a father that he had. And now he was dead. But here everyone was, acting as though nothing was wrong. Didn't people get it?? The man who owned this house was dead, and they were making jokes?

"Earth to Harry!"

Harry snapped out of his reverie. "What?" he asked Ron sheepishly.

"Remus just asked you if you wanted anything to eat."

"Oh," he replied distantly. "No, thanks. We had a big breakfast back at the Burrow."

"Mum made her fantastic banana-chocolate chip pancakes," Ron immediately babbled on. "The chocolate chips were melted perfectly--"

"Oh, honestly, Ron, is food all you think about?" Hermione demanded with a sigh. Lupin laughed. Harry didn't.

"I'm going to bring my stuff up to our room," he told Ron. As predicted, Ron only nodded in acknowledgement of Harry's words as he launched into some kind of retort to Hermione's remark.

Hoisting his trunk by a handle with one hand and Hedwig's empty cage with another, he lugged them up the stairs glumly. Truth be told, he didn't want to be near anyone right now. He wanted a good, long bout of solitude before having to force himself back into their happy world. He needed time to himself to remember Sirius, to honor his memory. Even though that was pretty much all he had been doing while he was at home with the Dursleys, being back at 12 Grimmauld Place made him feel he had to even more.

He lazily dropped his stuff at the foot of the bed he had slept in the summer before. He then sank onto the bed, wanting to nap, but knowing it would be impossible to do so. It wasn't even noon. He had no reason to nap. Instead, he sat back up, and restlessly went back to his trunk. He thought for a moment, then opened it, taking out the knife that he had hidden beneath the top layer of clothes.

Robotically rolling up his sleeve, he pressed the knife against his inner arm, pressing it deep enough to cut, then running the blade across his skin. It was almost a relief when the cut began to thrum in pain. It gave him something different to think about. It broke Harry's numbness. He watched the blood bubble up out of the cut, and he closed his eyes. With that, he repeated the process again, giving himself another two cuts before putting the knife back into his trunk and pulling his sleeve down.

He had only begun to experiment with this new method of coping a week after Sirius' death. He had been relieved that it broke the numbness he felt, and before he knew it, his arms and chest were covered with cuts and scabs.

He had no sooner slammed the lid on his trunk than the door burst open, and Ron sauntered in. "Honestly, I don't only eat, do I, Harry?"

Harry forced a laugh. "Of course not, Ron. You sleep a lot, too."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Some friend you are."

Harry only smiled wanly. He could feel his arm continuing to pulsate with the three newest cuts. He'd get over it. He just had to take it one day at a time.