Chapter Sixteen

September 1st, 1976

Sirius paced around the floor of his flat. It was exceedingly empty; all he owned was packed away in the large, black trunk that lay at his feet. It was the trunk his parents had bought him before his first year at Hogwarts; there was still a small, faded Black family coat of arms embossed on the side. Sirius had always meant to purchase a new one, but he somehow managed to forget with each coming school year.

Sirius glanced up at a small clock hanging next to his unused stove. He really needed to be going.

His brain sent the message, but it must have gotten lost in translation because his feet refused to move to the door. His synapses were being belligerent.

He looked up at the clock again. I do not have time for this, he thought, frustrated with himself.

Yet, his decision was made.

Swiftly, Sirius pried open the lock to his trunk and pushed away unread school textbooks and dirty, unfolded clothes until he found what he was looking for.

Sirius lifted the mirror to his face and said, "James Potter" to the reflecting glass.

He waited foolishly for a few moments as he hoped his friend had his matching mirror at hand.

Sirius exhaled in relief when his reflected gray eyes suddenly turned hazel, and he was no longer staring at himself but at the image of his best friend.

"Oi, Mum! I told you I don't need any more pairs of socks!"


"Hey, Padfoot," James greeted him cheerfully. "What's going on? Did you find any new leads on that hex Peter was telling us about? I'd love to give it a go on old Snivellus."

Sirius shook his head.

James nodded reluctantly. "Probably better off, I suppose. Evans will murder me if I have another go at him. You don't think she really likes him like that, do you, mate?"

Only out of true loyalty to his friend did Sirius resist the urge to roll his eyes. "Look, James, I can't go to King's Cross with you."

The dazed look on James's face disappeared, and he suddenly looked suspicious. "Why not?" he asked. "More problems with the bike?"

"No, she's fine. It's nothing like that. I just have to run a quick errand before the train, is all."

"Are you running out to Gringotts again? Merlin, I swear, Sirius, you go through gold like it was pumpkin juice. What'd you buy now?"

Sirius shrugged. "I like what I like."

"Cheers to that!" chirped James with a hearty nod while subconsciously ruffling up his hair. "Damn," he muttered.


James looked rather sheepish. "Mum told me not to do that anymore. Says she gets where Evans's coming from about it making me look like a toerag. Reckons I should attempt to redeem myself now that I've mucked everything up last year after our O.W.L.s."

"You told your mum that?"

"Course. Tell her everything."

A flash of jealousy surged through Sirius but disappeared before he could really identify it for what it was.

"Left out the bit about hexing Snivelly, though," James added offhandedly.

Bemused, Sirius shook his head slowly.

James looked over his shoulder and then turned back to Sirius. "I should go, Padfoot. Left the packing till this morning. I'll see you at the station? I'll buy you some Chocolate Frogs, and everything."

"Yeah, I shouldn't be long."

"You better not be. Prefect Moony'll give you detention."

Both boys snickered together.

"See you in a bit, mate."

"Farewell, Messr. Prongs."

James winked and then was gone.

Hurriedly, Sirius stuffed the mirror into his trunk between a few rolls of parchment and his broomstick and then began to drag the heavy trunk down the stairs of his apartment building without a look back at his flat.

Sirius wished he could have enchanted the trunk to make it feather-light.

With a great deal of effort, he managed to strap the trunk onto the back of his bike using magically extendable rope and then got on himself.

He drove too quickly and wiggled his way into empty pockets that would never have fit the bike if it had not been for a few charms the bike had. He did not stop at any traffic lights, and he managed to arrive at Marty's Diner in record speed.

There were two cars he easily recognized in the parking lot. The Boyd family was already there.

Sirius stowed his bike around the back of the building. He shoved his hands into his pockets.

It was though a fiery impetus inside him had compelled him to this very spot.

Now that he was there, however, Sirius did not know what to do. He couldn't go inside. He had already said his last goodbye. It would be too painful to drudge up any more parting words. Yet, even though time was short and he really needed to head for King's Cross, Sirius could not bring himself to leave.

Around the corner, the door opened. He could hear that damn bell ringing. Sirius did not know how he knew, but he was inexplicably certain that it was Eliza who had just opened the door. Impulsively, Sirius transformed himself into a dog.

Feeling suddenly free from himself, Sirius bounded away towards the noise.

He was not surprised - and yet he was - to see Eliza standing there in her yellow apron with the red trimming and holding his leather jacket in her hands.

As she sat down onto the curb, Sirius wanted to go up to her and eagerly wave his tail around, but when he saw her face, his tail drooped.

She was crying silently to herself.

His ears perked on his tilted head, the dog slowly pussyfooted in her direction.

A wounded whimper left his snout, and the girl looked up.

"Hey there, stray," she greeted him with a sniff before hastily wiping away the tears from her cheek.

The dog muzzled his face into her lap.

"The jacket, I know," she said bitterly. "It's stupid and silly and everything else Johnny can think up to call me. It's just the only thing I have of him… And now…I can't believe he's gone."

She sniffed again.

The dog licked her fingers.

"I knew he'd leave," she continued, her words coming out as a stream of consciousness bubbling from her lips. "I knew it. He didn't belong here. It's what first attracted me to him, I think. I knew this was just a bump in his path until he could move on to something far better. I kind of hate him for that."

Eliza smiled sadly as she petted the dog between his ears.

"Mostly, though, I think I loved him."

The dog stilled underneath her hand.

Eliza chuckled humorlessly. "Isn't that just the yummy drizzle on a chocolate crème pie? I loved him. Too bad he'll never know. I don't think I'll ever get to see him again. Bloody prick."

She laughed again, but then her face crumpled and she started to cry.

The dog left her lap, and with a pop, it was gone.


Eliza put one hand over her eyes and then used the other to pinch herself on the arm. She took a deep breath and then peeped open one eye. Her mouth dropped. "Oh my God, Sirius?" she gasped.

Teetering uncomfortably, Sirius shoved his hands into his pockets.

"How just...there was a dog and"

He did not answer. He could not comprehend what was going on. He was nonplussed as to why he would suddenly break the Statute of Secrecy. He hadn't even meant to. One second he had been a dog and the next...

Ahh, fuck, he kept repeating in his head.

"Sirius, now really isn't the time for Mr. Taciturn!" She was standing now. Her face was inches from his…kissing distance. "SIRIUS!"

He started at her shrillness.

"How did you get here? Where did that dog go? Why are you here? Don't you have school?"



"I do have school. If I don't leave soon I'll probably miss my train."


Sirius sighed.

"The dog? Why'd it mysteriously disappear when you showed up? Did you frighten it away with the power of your surly glare?"

"I am the dog."

"Is that supposed to be some kind of womanizer metaphor?"

Sirius took a deep breath. "Eliza, I can transform into a dog. It's magic."

"Which would make you some type of dog whisperer magician."

Sirius pulled out a thin wand from his back pocket. "Wizard."

Eliza backed up. Her face was blank with shock. Then, a giggle escaped her lips, which evolved into a full fit of hysteria. "Oh, I sure know how to pick them."

"I know it sounds crazy - "

"Crazy? Sirius, you've just told me you're a wizard. I'm thinking that's past crazy and heading dangerously close into completely bonkers territory."


"Is this some cruel way of breaking up with me again? Because I was crushed enough the first time."

"Eliza, I'm a wizard. Magic is real. There's a whole world out there you don't know about for people like me."

"Magic?" she said weakly.

"C'mon, Eliza, you have a nymph poster hanging on your wall."

"Those are fairy princesses," Eliza corrected.

"I'm telling you the truth. You know I am, otherwise I'd just be silent."

She almost cracked a smile.

"Please believe me."

Eliza deliberated for a moment.

Sirius felt as though she was employing Occlumency due to the intensity of her gaze.

"Oh bleeding Jesus, I think I must be going crazy too. This is utter insanity. It's completely nonsensical! Sirius Black, you make no sense!"

"But you believe me?'

"Well, obviously, or I wouldn't be so ruddy confused!"

He grinned.

"Is this your secret, Sirius Black?"

"The main one."

"I knew you were special."

Sirius laughed. "Yeah, just me."

"You are," she told him.

"You're special."

Eliza smiled briefly. "But you're not going to stay, are you?" she deduced wisely. "You still have to go. Wizards have very important things to do," she struggled to keep a straight face but could not manage it.

"You're trivializing me."

"A bit."

"You're laughing at me."


Sirius's gaze intensified. "You love me."

Eliza sighed. "Yes," she admitted. "Too bad it doesn't change anything."

"I wish -"

Eliza laughed and put her hand on his face. "Oh, Trouble, don't start wishing now. That's not who you are."

"I think that I was in - that I - "

Words failed him.

"Don't," Eliza pleaded. "I don't think I can watch you go if you say it."

Sirius wiped a tear from her eye.

"You have to go," Eliza announced feebly as she backed away. "You have to go now because every second longer you stay here I fall that much more in love with you. I can't love you anymore, Sirius. It hurts because I know it doesn't mean anything."

"Eliza – "

She placed a hand over his mouth. "You have to leave before I can't stand to see you go."

Sirius nodded and took her hand away from his face and held it between his palms. "I don't want to leave you."

"Then stay."


She sniffed and wiped her eyes. She removed her hand from his. "Sorry. Stupid request. I should know better. Right, well. This is it. This is really it."

Sirius pulled her into his arms. "I shouldn't have come. I just had to see you. I needed you to know. I couldn't leave without you knowing."

Eliza's lower lip trembled, and she fiddled with her long, brown hair. "I won't forget. Sirius, I'll always remember."

Sirius moved forward and kissed her. He felt wetness in his own eyes as she clung to him.

"I won't forget you. I'll never ever forget."

"I know," Sirius agreed. "That's why I have to do this."

Sirius took a shaky breath before he kissed her again. Salty tears welled up in his eyes, but he struggled to see her face one last time. He tried to memorize the shape of her eyes, the color of her hair, the curve of her neck, the freckles on her cheeks. His lips hesitated over hers as he tried to register the notion that he would never kiss her again. He closed his eyes and moved his lips desperately against hers. It was too painful to entertain. His love for the girl was incapable of being forgotten. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

Sirius raised his wand. "Obliviate!"

Her eyes immediately became unfocused. Stowing his wand away, Sirius looked at her one last time before picking up his fallen leather jacket and sprinting away to his secluded motorbike.

Eliza blinked five times. Her head felt dizzy and light. She looked around at the empty parking lot and tried to remember why she had gone outside. She couldn't remember what could have possibly compelled her. For a second, she thought she saw a tawny owl dip behind the trees. Only, of course, that didn't make any sense. Owls didn't normally fly during the day.

Tying back on her yellow apron with red trimming, Eliza shook her head and went back inside the diner.

Susan Boyd looked up when the bell sounded. "Hello, dear."

"Hi, Mum."

"You okay? You look a bit peaky."

"I'm fine."

"Where's your locket Aunt Mary bought for you?"

Eliza reached up and felt her bare neck. "I must have lost it."

Johnny walked by with a tray of glasses. "No Sirius today? Ruddy glad to be rid of that berk."

"Johnny!" Susan scolded. "Sirius was a lovely boy. He meant a lot to your sister."

Eliza tilted her head in confusion. "Who's Sirius?"

A/N: Thanks for reading!