a/n-I had a lot of time on my hands this weekend, so I finished this story, which was actually the inspiration for another oneshot I wrote, entitled Laughter. Personally, I think you should go read that, too, because it would make me happy. :)


Doors were not slammed in the Black Household. It was something that simply was not done at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place.

The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black was one of the oldest pureblood families in the wizarding world and thus highly respected and revered. Even by marriage, one could not simply become a Black. To be a Black, you had to be born a Black, and it stayed with you throughout your life. To be a Black was very prestigious. Of course, they were also rather sly and cunning, and therefore usually members of Slytherin House at Hogwarts. They looked down on muggleborns and even half-bloods. And, although they had a tendency to favor Dark Magic and act aloof, Black's had impeccable manners and were the epitome of politeness. In short, members of the Black family did not slam doors, no matter how angry they were at their teenaged cousins who stole their teddy bears and transfigured them into slugs.

Sirius Black was not like much of the rest of his family. He had been born a Black, but already the eight-year-old boy was rather against most of his family's views. He could be well-mannered and polite when he wanted to be, but he liked having fun as well. The only problem was that Sirius simply didn't have fun. He was a Black, and Black's did not have fun. Black's were proper. Members of the Black family didn't slam their bedroom doors, face covered in tears.

Bellatrix Black was Sirius' oldest cousin, and quite possibly the meanest person he had ever met in his entire life. She was seventeen and now of legal age in the wizarding world. And this meant that when Bellatrix came home from Hogwarts once more, she was finally allowed to perform magic. And how did she decide to demonstrate this newfound freedom? She transfigured Sirius' beloved teddy bear into a slug, of course.

And when Sirius had attempted to complain to his mother, she had told him he was much too old to be playing with a stuffed bear still, and had refused to transfigure it back. So now Sirius, in a very non-Black fashion, was sitting in the corner of his room at the top of the house, tears still leaking out of the corners of his eyes, a covered box cradled in his lap. And that was how Andromeda found him when she managed to get the story of what had happened out of her older sister, who was still cackling gleefully about what she had done.

Andromeda didn't say anything at first, and merely walked over to her young cousin. She leaned against the wall and slid down it—in a very non-Black fashion—so that she was seated next to him on the floor.

"Sirius, what's wrong?" Andromeda finally asked in a kind voice.

"N-Nothing." Sirius sniffled, hurriedly wiping the tears off of his face with the back of his hand.

"Are you sure?" Andromeda asked him. "Because I know that I always get upset when Bella bullies me. She's not the nicest person around. In fact, I don't think she's ever had a kind word to say about anything in her entire life."

"Nuh-uh." Sirius contradicted, still sniffling a little bit. The tears had stopped falling, at least. "She can't stop talking about Rudolph—or whatever that bloke's name is that she's betrothed to. She gets all weird and girly whenever anyone mentions him."

"Rudolphus Lestrange isn't a very nice person, either." Andromeda pointed out, though she couldn't keep back the small grin that had appeared on her face as Sirius spoke.

Sirius wrinkled his nose. "That's true. Does she have to marry him? Maybe if she married someone nicer, then she would be nicer, too."

"Sorry, Siri, but I think we're going to be stuck calling the Lestrange's family." Andromeda replied. "But look on the bright side: Bella will get married next summer just as soon as she finishes school, and then we won't see her nearly as often as we do now."

"That'll be nice." Sirius replied.

The pair of Black's lapsed into silence.

"Sirius," Andromeda began again after the pause in conversation, "Do you want to talk about what happened?"

"Why'd she do it, 'Dromeda?" Sirius finally burst out, a frown on his young face. "Me and Reggie were just sitting there; we didn't do anything to her! And she left Reggie's teddy alone. Why doesn't Bella like me?"

"I don't know, Sirius. I don't know." Andromeda replied, putting an arm around the little boy's shoulder. "But she doesn't like me either."

Sirius merely sighed. Then, he scooted out from under Andromeda's arm so that he was facing her, and took the lid off of the box in his lap. He showed its contents to his cousin. "Look what she did to Teddy."

"You know, I'll be back at Hogwarts in two months. I can bring it with and turn it back for you." Andromeda suggested after peering into the box.

"It's a slug. It'll be dead by then." Sirius stated, emotionless.

Andromeda pursed her lips. "Sirius Orion Black, how old are you?"

"…Eight." Sirius said after a moment's hesitation, unsure if this was a trick question. How could his beloved cousin not know how old he was?

"Well you're acting like a sour, old man who just hit eighty." Andromeda informed him. "You're supposed to be a kid, Sirius. Of course you should be upset about what Bella did to your bear, but when was the last time you had a good laugh about anything?"

Sirius shrugged. "Last Christmas when you played with me 'n Reg, before mum got mad that we got a couple of wrinkles in our new clothes."

Andromeda sighed. "You are much too serious, Sirius."

"Ha ha." Sirius said shortly, putting the lid back on his box. "So funny, 'Dromeda."

"I'm not joking." Andromeda stated. "You don't act like an eight-year-old boy."

"Have you met my mother?" Sirius questioned. "You wouldn't have much fun either if she was your mum."

"She is my aunt," Andromeda pointed out, "And good friends with my mother." She paused here with a sigh. "Just wait until you get to Hogwarts, Sirius. Things will change for you."

"How?" Sirius demanded. "I'll just get sorted into Slytherin like everyone else. And you'll be out of school by then, won't you? So it'll just be me and Cissy. Ugh…and Cissy's boyfriend, too. You know, that Malfoy kid. I don't like him very much either."

"You don't know for sure that you'll be in Slytherin." Andromeda pointed out. "I wasn't brave enough to stand up to the Sorting Hat, but I think you could be. I believe in you, Sirius."

"You really think so?" Sirius asked, sitting up straighter, a look of hope in his eyes, tears long forgotten.

"Of course I do." Andromeda informed him. "You can be whoever you want to be. Just…Don't take life too seriously. You won't get out alive."

"Way to be morbid, 'Dromeda." Sirius said, though there was a hint of a smile on his face as he spoke.

"What can I say? I am the one in Slytherin here." She replied.

"But I won't be." Sirius stated resolutely. "In fact, I think I'd rather like Gryffindor. Mum doesn't seem to like them very much."

Andromeda let out an almost imperceptible sigh at this. "I know you're only eight, but do try to think of the consequences of certain things. You know how Aunt Walburga is; you're either with her or against her. And if you're against her…well, who knows how she'll react?"

"She has always wanted to blast a name off of the family tree for herself." Sirius admitted. A grin lit up his face suddenly. "But I bet she'll blast your name off before mine."

"Whatever for?" Andromeda asked, looking confused.

"Well, I was helping Reg look for Kreacher yesterday—honestly, I don't know why he's so obsessed with that crazy elf—but anyway, we found him serving tea to mum and Aunt Druella. And they were talking about how Bella told Aunt Druella that Cissy told Bella that she'd seen you talking to some muggleborn boy from Hufflepuff, back at Hogwarts." Sirius got out in one breath. "They didn't sound too happy about that."

Andromeda merely rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Cissy can be such a gossip. She probably saw me with Ted Tonks in the library. We were both looking something up for a Transfiguration essay ages ago. That's probably the only time we've ever spoken in my entire life."

"Uh-huh?" Sirius said with a grin that showed he didn't believe a single word his cousin was saying. "Well, just make sure you invite me to the wedding."

"Sirius!" Andromeda exclaimed, causing Sirius to jump to his feet and run towards the door.

Sirius grinned cheekily at her. "And I call dibs on being your kid's godfather!"

And with that he was out the door. Andromeda scrambled to her feet after him.

"Telling him not to be serious was a bad idea, I can tell already."

And she was right. Because she was a Black and Black's were always right.