WOW! Sorry I haven't updated this one in ageeeeeeeeees. But here it is - Chapter 7! You see, I was gonna change it all around but then I liked it this way and I thought, so what if some of the stories in here are repeated as one shots?! Mhm. I'm focussing this one mainly on the connections, you know? The family lives and how they affect our lovely Marauders. I like the way I can make them grow up and bring back things I've already mentioned :) Anyway, moving on -

Chapter Seven - Family.

Sirius yawned. Hogwarts was just so tiring. He'd never heard any stories from his family about it being this tiring.

Well, when he thought about it, he'd never heard any stories from his family at all.

"Morning, mate."

Remus sat up opposite Sirius, cross legged on his bed, reading. Sirius rubbed his eyes.

"Why are you up so early?"

The boy shrugged. "Couldn't sleep."

Sirius' eyes fell to his bed. No doubt Remus was thinking about his mother - even Sirius had to admit he would be if she was that sick. He sat, dark shadows hanging beneath his eyes, his frail frame illuminated in the breaking sunlight. Remus hadn't told the other boys what was wrong with his mother, but they didn't press the issue.

It was now 4 weeks since Remus had visited his mother, and Sirius had to admit that the boy had been putting on a very brave face in light of the situation. Upon first returning to Hogwarts a day or so after his departure, he had been a little shaky - as to be expected - but since then, he had seemed fine. Again, the other three boys inhabiting the dormitory had thought this to be a little strange, but they thought it best not to press it, going about their daily business instead.

"How long have you been up, then?"

Remus looked up through his eyelashes, peering over his book momentarily before placing it aside and shrugging again. "Not long. Half an hour or so."

Sirius' eyebrows pulled together ever so slightly. "And you never woke me up?"

Remus narrowed his eyes a little before shaking his head. Sirius smiled. "As far as I'm concerned, when I'm up, everyone's up."

And with that, he leapt from his bed ever so elegantly, before winking at Remus and heading to the bathroom.

James Potter was happy.

Granted, he was dreaming - but that didn't mean he couldn't be happy.

He was flying at least forty feet above Hogwarts, in flowing red robes, the newest model of the Nimbus grasped in his left hand as he waved to his adoring fans with his right. And they were adoring. They cheered and chanted his name after he performed a particularly impressive goal, waving bright red banners embroided with his name and singing "Go Go Gryffindor!" at the top of their voices. James scanned the crowd, pausing to look at each and every smiling face. Suddenly a strong buzzing filled his ears. He waved his free arm around the side of his head in an attempt to clear it, but something caught his eye which made his hand fall. There was a girl in the crowd. She was smiling wider than the rest, waving straight to him. A girl with blazing red hair and vivid green eyes. She opened her mouth, and James listened intently as she cried:

"Wakey wakey! Rise and shine!"

He smiled softly. A smile which was quickly wiped off his face as he found himself soaking wet. James didn't remember Quidditch ever being so cold, or wet. He could have sworn it wasn't raining.

"Jaaamiiie!" Someone sang. And it definitely wasn't Lily. His eyes snapped open to see a fuzzy outline of a boy crouching over him, holding an empty bucket, a mad smile on his face and his hair falling about it giving him the look of some maddened demon.

At first, James was scared as he nervously reached out for his glasses on the bedside table. Then he was just plain angry.

He pushed himself up fiercely with his hands, and Sirius scampered away until he stood at the end of James' bed, biting his lip in an attempt not to laugh. Behind him, Remus Lupin was making no effort to contain his sniggering, and next to him sat a defeated-looking Peter Pettigrew hanging his head and dripping wet.

James did a quick double take as he regarded Peter, but soon turned his attention next to the boy at the foot of his bed - who currently looked as if he would explode if he didn't laugh soon. James shook his head and flared his nostrils angrily, going through what he was going to shout at Sirius in his head. However, as James opened his mouth, water fell out.

This time, Sirius couldn't control it. He burst into laughter so hard he backed into Remus' bed. James was not amused, but he just frowned.

"You sleep with your mouth open, mate." Remus explained quietly, biting his lip. James' gaze drifted to him, before resting on the dripping boy on the remaining occupied bed. He only frowned more, but this time Remus offered no explanation. James waited for Sirius' laughter to die before speaking, never peeling his eyes away from Peter.

"What I don't get," he began, "is how I didn't hear Peter scream."

James turned to face Sirius - the obvious culprit of the crime plastered across the dormitory. The boy flicked his hair from his eyes, before raising one, thin eyebrow and smiling thinly. The expression made James more than a little scared.

"Old family trick," he said, quietly, before turning to Remus, "see?" he continued, a smug smile on his face, "Told you he wouldn't hear a thing."

Remus shook his head. "How?"

Sirius withdrew his wand from his pocket, and aimed it at Remus. The boy looked up to his friend, one eyebrow raised, a quizzical look in his eyes. Sirius still smiled, before uttering "muffilato."

It was scary. Like a bug stuck in his ear. He didn't like it. Not one bit.

He waved his hands like a madman across his ears trying to get rid of the noise. As he opened his screwed up eyes, he saw Sirius infront of him, silently rocking with laughter. Normally, he would have laughed it off. He didn't have it in him today. It was full moon that night. Granted, it wasn't that bad yet - but he could feel the weariness, the short fuse, the general anger coming. He looked up to Sirius through his eyelashes with more venom than he would have liked; this was proved when his friend abruptly stopped laughing and immediately lifted the curse from his friend.

"Not in a joking mood, then."

Remus bit his lip. "Sorry. But that buzzing noise was horrible."

. broke into a smile, but James' frown deepened.

"Buzzing?" he asked, to noone in particular. Remus nodded anyway.

Suddenly, James' eyes snapped up, his eyebrows lifting. "There was buzzing in my dream!"

Sirius' smile widened. "That may have been me."

Remus was waiting for James' temper to snap. He was already aware of his friend's short fuse, thanks to the fact that earlier that week the first years had been informed they weren't allowed to be on the Quidditch team, even after James had turned up to his first flying lesson in makeshift Gryffindor robes, his shiny new broom stick polished and pristine.

Needless to say, it wasn't a pretty sight. Remus was surprised that James' precious broom had even survived.

However, his attention was brought back to the dormitory when James did not explode with anger, but rather with laughter. This time, it was Remus who frowned, as Sirius went in for a high five which James happily returned.

"That's awesome!" the soaked boy cried through his laughter, the other grinning boy unsure whether to believe that his friend wasn't angry. As James' laughter died, after he had wiped his eyes, he continued. "Where did you learn that?"

Sirius shrugged. "I have this cousin - Andromeda, her name is. She's a bit awesome. Only member of my family I've got any time for, anyway..."

"Well, you can tell her that her spell is fantastic!"

Remus looked to Peter, who was obviously thinking the same thing as he.

Thank the lord for that, he thought, glancing to the ceiling and then to Remus before watching James slap Sirius on the back and head to the bathroom, still giggling. He was thankful, of course, for the skillful way in which James had diffused the situation when Sirius had mentioned his family. It was always awkward when Sirius mentioned them - it was clear from the way he described them that he didn't like them much, and that they returned the feeling. And, Sirius had made the other boys aware that his family were not going to be best pleased about the fact that Sirius was now a Gryffindor, and not in his family;s house of Slytherin. Thankfully, Sirius' older cousin's hadn't bothered them yet, but Peter, Remus and James were all dreading the day that they did. In all the time they had been at Hogwarts - which was a fair while - Sirius had never received a letter from his family, whereas the other three boys had received plenty. Even Peter's mother and father had written to him.

The very thought of his family made Peter smile internally as a warm glow spread through his body. He had brought them together. They hadn't fought once since he'd got his acceptance letter. He remained in his dream-like state, imagining his happy family at home until tears began to well up in his eyes.

"Peter? Pete! Are you okay?"

Peter blinked the tears away furiously, hoping that James hadn't noticed them. He tried to look as if he were paying attention, but it was obvious that he had just snapped out of a daydream as his misty eyes focussed and he mumbled a stuttered "what?"

James giggled a little. "The bathroom's free, mate."

Peter shook his head vigorously and smiled weakly, spinning around off his bed and standing upright. Still blushing, he headed for the now empty bathroom.

And walked into the wall.

"Come on, mate! I'm starving!"

Despite the fact that Sirius was up before everybody else, he was the last out of the dormitory. And despite the fact that it was full moon that night, it wasn't Remus who had lost his temper, but James. Remus smiled internally at that.

"Okay, okay, I'm coming." Sirius shut the dormitory door behind him and flicked his hair from his eyes, "I was just fixing my hair."

Remus sighed. Peter rolled his eyes. James snorted. "You are such a girl."

Sirius narrowed his eyes at him. "Just because you could never get yours to look as good as mine. You look as if you've just got off your broomstick."

James smiled. "I like it that way."

Sirius frowned deeply as they scrambled through the portrait-hole. "You can't be serious."

Remus giggled. "No, mate, you're Sirius."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "How original."

Remus just smiled.

Sirius was still questioning James about his hair-habits when they reached the Great Hall, only stopping once food was put infront of him. Remus couldn't help but laugh at that.

"Whassofubby?" Sirius spat, a mouth full of food.

James and Peter joined in with the sniggering. "You only shut up when your faced with food."

Sirius shrugged. "I'm hungry."

At this point, dozens of owls invaded the hall. They flew up the tables, dropping parcels and letters at their destinations before flying away again. A couple reached the Gryffindor first years and dropped their loads. A few girls got a letter, and Lily Evans received a parcel. The most surprising thing, however, was the bright red envelope which was now twitching amongst Sirius' breakfast. He stared at it with wide eyes.

"That's a Howler, mate." Peter informed him, never taking his eyes from the letter. Sirius looked up to him, eyes narrowing, head cocked to one side.

"No way."

"Just saying."

"You'd better open it." James said, "I think they explode."

Sirius looked to the boy next to him and gulped, before taking the letter in shaking hands. All of the students in the near vicinity were now watching, as Sirius tentatively lifted the flap on the envelope.

All at once, the letter jumped to life, screaming across the hall.


And with that, the letter burst into flames, leaving a shocked and teary-eyed Sirius sitting at the breakfast table. Before anybody in the now silent hall could speak, he picked up his things and headed for the door in the silence. His friends watched, speechless, before looking to each other.

It was as if they had had a silent conversation, but Remus knew exactly what those looks meant.

Simultaneously, they gathered their things and left the hall, heading to wherever Sirius was.

How could they do this to him?

The one time in his life he was truly happy - the one chance he had to escape! And they were ruining it!

Sirius threw his schoolbag to the floor before he even reached the Potions classroom. He had planned to get to his first lesson early - he didn't need all of those eyes on him. Instead, however, he slid down the wall he was leaning against before crouching into a ball and holding his head in his hands. He wasn't going to cry. Boys didn't cry.

But he couldn't help the angry tears that slid from beneath his screwed-up eyelids.

He sat there for what could have been days, fighting the tears, until his silence was interrupted by a mocking snicker.

"Look," a girl was sneering, "ickle Sirius is all upset."

Sirius sniffed and wiped the falling tears away with the back of his hand, raising his head to see his cousins, Bellatrix and Narcissa, towering over him along with a boy he didn't know. Despite the unfamiliarity, Sirius could tell he wasn't going to like this tall, thin, blonde boy, who was scowling at him with just as much venom as the girls.

Bellatrix kneeled down to Sirius' height, her empty black eyes burning with something Sirius couldn't quite guess. Her lips curled into a vicious smile, as she cocked her head to one side and her thin black curls fell over her porcelain face.

"Are you alright, cousin?"

Sirius bit his lip, and tried to push himself up. Bellatrix pushed him back down. Her smile fell into a scowl.

"That letter was right, you know," she said, holding his head up in one hand, "you are scum. You and the rest of your Gryffindor lot. You are no family member of mine."

Sirius gulped, and spoke with as much bravery as he could muster. "I wouldn't want to be."

Bellatrix narrowed her eyes. "Of course not. You traitor. You're a part of everything we stand against." She dropped his head forcefully, "Make a choice, Sirius. Pick a side." She stood up, brushing her robes down and casually kicking his things all over the corridor, before looking back to Sirius over her shoulder, her eyes still sparkling oddly in the dim light.

"Choose wisely, Sirius. Pick the wrong one and I will gladly kill you, one day."

She stalked off down the corridor, flanked by Narcissa and the other boy.

This time, Sirius couldn't fight the tears.

They found him crouched against a wall somewhere in the dungeons. Where, they didn't know exactly, but nor did they care.

At least, James didn't anyway.

He stepped over Sirius' books and bag, which were hap-hazardly scattered across the corridor floor. Sirius must have heard the footsteps as his friends approached, but his face remained buried in his knees. James took it upon himself to speak first.


The shivering boy sniffed. James glanced to the others - they were as wide-eyed as him.

Sirius was crying?

Remus advanced close this time, sliding down the wall next to Sirius.

"Are you okay?"

Sirius' head snapped up, as he regarded Remus, James and then Peter with fiery yet teary eyes. He sniffed again.

"Course I am," he said, sarcastically, "I've been disowned by my own family. I've been made to choose between a home in the summer or the only friends I've ever known. My own cousin has just served me a death-threat - but other than that, I'm fine."

His head fell back to his knees. James spoke quietly. "You don't need them, mate - they're not worth it."

Sirius flicked his head up again, this time only staring to James. "You think I don't know that?!" he shouted, his voice cracking, "But they're the only family I have!"

Remus glances around to James and Peter. They both shrugged. Sirius let out a low laugh.

"Just go."



Review, please?

Seriously, if this doesn't get more reviews i'm not going to carry it on, I don't think.

Should I?