Disclaimer: JKR owns what you recognize.

A/N: I took some creative liscence with the death of Lily's parents. I'm not generally a shipper for these two, but I like the idea of them being close to each other. Read into this as you will. And review:D

I huddle against the wall outside the Owlery, weeping softly and pressing my face against my arms to muffle the sobs. It's the middle of dinner, so there's little-to-no chance of me being found out here by anyone. Especially James or one of his despicable friends. I can't bear being seen by them right now.

I cry in peace for a few minutes, but then, to my chagrin, footsteps approach and someone crouches in front of me. I wave a hand at the feet impatiently, signaling them away, but their owner doesn't listen. Instead, a hand reaches out to lift my face from my hands. It is - just my luck - Sirius Effing Black.

"Would you just leave me alone?" I spit angrily, jerking my chin out of his hand, trying to pretend that the tears on my face do not exist. He shakes his head, concern in his dark eyes and the downward turn of his full lips.

"Are you all right, Lily?" he asks softly, taking his hand away and resting his arms on his knees. I let out a laugh, mocking him.

"Perfectly fine, thanks, never been better," I say bitingly. "Everyone loves having a scene with their boyfriend in the middle of dinner, you know!" He closes his eyes briefly, looking rather embarrassed.

"Yeah, James can be a bit of an asshole sometimes," he admits. The honest words take me by surprise, and I stare at him. He opens his eyes and catches the look. "What? You know it's true. He's my best mate, but that doesn't mean we can't get annoyed with each other," he adds. I shrug as he stands to come sit beside me against the wall.

"You're just like him," I say, shaking my head. "Go away, I don't want to talk to you anymore than I do him." He sighs.

"Lily. I am not exactly like him. We both know that. I'm much better at Transfiguration, and I'm better-looking," he tries. I grit my teeth.

"If you're trying to cheer me up through humor, then just... don't," I tell him. "You're not funny at all. You've never been able to make me laugh."

"Yeah, I know," he replies darkly. "I've been trying since first year. I take it as a personal insult. How does James manage it, by the way?"

"Just go away, Sirius," I say again. "I really just want to be alone."

"Well, I don't think that's a good idea right now," he answers.

"What, you think I'm going to throw myself off the Astronomy Tower? Well, don't worry, there's no chance of that," I answer him bitterly. I turn my head, looking away from him, away from the castle, making sure he can't see my face.

"Actually, no, I'm more worried that you'll just disappear," he says softly. I turn to look at him sharply.

"Why would you say that? Who told you to say that?" I ask, upset. He looks at me, his eyes gentle.

"No one did. I just know you better than you think." I look away again, relieved that James kept his promise to not talk about my issues. "I'm not kidding, Lily," he says then, and I rest my chin on my knees, avoiding the penetrating gaze I'm supposed to see. "I worry about you. We all do. You... you're different than you used to be. And we all see it. Me. James. Remus and Peter. The other guys, too."

"Would you be saying this if they were here?" I ask. "No, you wouldn't. And it doesn't even matter. I'm just like I always was, okay? I just happen to have dead parents now." My voice almost cracks on the last sentence, but I catch myself in time, and the fresh tears don't even reach my eyes.

"That's not true, Lily." His voice is almost angry, and I whip my head around, hot fury flooding through my veins, a welcome change from the despair that had filled me. But the look on his face catches me by surprise, and I don't say anything, just watch him. His eyes are huge and full of some unspeakable emotion, and he looks exhausted. "You don't even know how much we care, Lily. You think you're all alone in this bloody war, but you're not, you have us. We can't bring them back, but you can talk about it. We won't get scared away just because you hate us or blame us or want to be alone sometimes. We're always gonna be together, you and me and James and the others. And it... it really fucking sucks, but that's life."

"No, that's death," I reply sarcastically, but then something in me breaks and I let myself go, just a little bit. "They're dead. I'm not daft, Sirius, I don't think anyone can bring them back. I'm just tired of thinking about them. I don't want to talk about them to you or to anyone. I want them to be back, or to be gone, not hovering in my mind all the time. And they're always there, always, every minute. And how I could have saved them, if I'd just taken him up on his offer, just gone over."

"You can never go over, Lily. And it wouldn't have saved them if you did," Sirius immediately asserts, his voice strong. "He's a liar and you know it."

I feel the sobs coming back and swallow hard. "I could have, though," I whisper. "I could have fucking saved them, if I'd just been less proud. And I know I would have hated it and maybe even died of it, but if being a Death Eater was what it took, it's what I should have done. What if they get Petunia next? Or James? Or you, for that matter? Anyone? There are so many people I love and need, people they can kill because I'm too, too Gryffindor to be one of them." I stare at the stone floor and he wraps an arm around my shoulders comfortingly. I lean my head on his shoulder and shut my eyes, allowing him to calm me down.

"It wouldn't have worked," he says softly. "He would have got them anyway, or gotten James or your sister or me or Peter or Remus or Alice or someone somehow to hurt somebody else too. It's how he works."

"I know that." I sigh as I speak, feeling old and young at the same time. "And maybe James is right and I'm being melodramatic and need to get over it. But I can't."

"James is not right." Sirius is adamant. "It hasn't even been a full year yet. You'll probably never get all the way over it and James should never have said that. Especially in front of everyone. But he just doesn't know what to do. He's scared that he's losing you, or that one of these days you're just going to fade away completely. He can't stand the thought of being without you. He's just trying to get you to feel something again."

"I know," I say again. "But it hurts so much when he does this. He makes me even more tired..." my voice trails away. Sirius doesn't say anything, but he takes my other hand with his and squeezes it in a fortifying sort of way. We stay there for a long time silently. It's the first time I've felt safe since my parents died. It's a good feeling, and I don't want it to go. But eventually, we stand and leave, walking through the cold air to the castle. To James, who will apologize and then crack a joke to clear the air of tension. To the teachers, who will pretend there's no war. To the first years, who will stare at me with awe because I've seen Voldemort in person. To Alice, who will verbally abuse James until I tell her to stop or someone casts a Silencing Charm on her. To my real life. Away from the stolen time with my boyfriend's best mate. Away from what will never be.