This is my first Harry Potter fic and it's another AU Sirius/OC story. I'm not going to pretend it's original but my love of Sirius refused to squash the muse. The first chapter takes place at the Christmas everyone spends at Grimauld Place in Order of the Phoenix. It the muse take me there and there is a want for it I think I'm going to take this story all way through the six and seventh books. AU of course so Sirius cannot die!

Copyright all to JK Rowling.

Please R+R.

Chapter One

Harry knocked quietly on Sirius' bedroom door, when no reply came he opened it regardless. Harry was still enjoying this new found comfort and freedom in his home, at Privet Drive such an act as to enter a room without permission, would be punished with no dinner – for days.

The room was empty. A window was open a crack creating a strange movement in the room, the curtains rippled softly, almost dancing and the dust seemed to hover instead of settle on the dark wood of the bed frame and cabinets.

He turned to leave but as he did a picture on the bed side table caught Harry's eye. He looked behind him to make sure Sirius was not around, although comfortable in his new home Harry was still not a snoop and knew he should not be in hiss godfather's room without permission. Still something about the woman in the picture was inexplicably fascinating to him.

She was young, late teens or early twenties and had shoulder length curly and unruly auburn hair. Her huge eyes, the exact shame shade as her mane, barely poked out from beneath the heavy fringe. She was wearing a purple summer dress that rode up slightly too high to be decent as she swung backwards and forwards on the swing. Harry thought she looked like she was in a park. Just a woman in a park on a summer's day. But Harry knew she was special. If nothing else there must be a reason this was the sole picture in Sirius' room.

As Harry got closer the picture, eventually holding it in his hands, he realised the woman was looking directly at him, or the person who had taken the picture. As the image got bigger and smaller, bigger and smaller as she repeatedly swung she never broke eye contact with the camera. Her smile was genuine and the look in her eye kind but with a mischievous glint. As she swung forward the smile turned into what Harry suspected was a flirtatious smirk, a subtle flick of the corner of the mouth. She had an odd familiarity to her, although Harry was sure they had never met, he would have remembered talking to a woman this attractive. But there was an eerie recognition, the sought you get when you see a school acquaintance at a football match in the summer and your brain can't cope with the incorrect context.

Harry was so taken in by the picture he had not heard Sirius approach. He practically hit the roof as Sirius said:

"Harry?" Harry's reaction caused a smirk, not dissimilar to the one in the photograph, from his godfather. "Can I help you with something?" His tone was entirely amused and not accusatory.

"Sirius, I'm sorry, I was just..."

"It's fine. I told you, this is your house too. You can share its misery." Harry tried to look sympathetic, understanding Sirius' dislike of the house and his contempt at being stuck here. "She's beautiful, isn't she?" Sirius said indicating to the picture, still in Harry's hands.

"Yes, yes she is, very." Harry looked down and suddenly realised why he recognised the woman. "She was in the original order. In the photograph you gave me in September."

"That's right. Her name was Scarlet Cox. Scar."

Harry noticed the softness in Sirius's voice as he talked, something which was usually undetectable through the significance or excitement or humour in which Sirius spoke. His eyes never left the picture even as he was talking to Harry.

"Scarlet?" The younger man repeated. "You asked for her." At Sirius's confused expression, Harry continued: "That night in the Shrieking Shack. After you'd revealed Petigrew, you asked Remus where she was."

"I'm still wondering."

Harry put the picture back in its place, clearly indicated by the imprint in the thick dust. Still Sirius's eyes remained fixed on her face.

"Sirius..." Harry began slowly, cautiously. "Who is she?"

Sirius did not answer, instead he finally broke eye contact with the mystery woman to lean forward and open the draw of his bedside cabinet. He removed another picture, this one missing a frame and consequently its edges were crumpled and folding in on themselves. Sirius passed the picture to Harry.

Harry's eyes immediately widen in shock, it was almost comical. He darted from Sirius to the picture and back again. The young bride and groom stood proudly arm in arm, the woman smiled for the camera but the groom could not care less about anyone but her. He leaned into whisper something in her ear. It was a picture of unsullied happiness.

"She was my wife."

Harry walked into the kitchen about 10 minutes later. Sirius had flown from the room instantly following his confession and had been aimlessly crashing about in the kitchen ever since. He acknowledged Harry's arrival with a slight turn of the head but continued to move piles of clean cutlery, pots and pans around the equally clean surfaces.

Harry was glad the Weasley's and Hermione had decided to go leave for some last minute Christmas shopping; this would be much easier with just the two of them in the house.

He gingerly reached across and placed the photo in front of Sirius, as an act of returning it. Harry cleared his throat and began to speak, unsure of what to say:

"I... I didn't know you... were... were married."

"Widowed." Sirius muttered, seemingly devoid of emotion.

"What happened?" He ignored this question and began to move the objects around again. "Sirius, how did she die?"

Sirius slammed the plates down with a smash, breaking the majority of them. He turned on Harry, both physically and mentally, advancing on his godson like a starved lioness whose had just seen unsuspecting prey.

"I don't know! In case you hadn't figured it out I haven't exactly been around for the past 14 years!" He instantly regretted his outburst, shameful for snapping at Harry for being naturally inquisitive. He sighed. "I'm sorry." His shoulders seemed to slump as the realisation that he would have to tell Harry became inevitable.

Sirius motioned to the table and the both took a seat, as he began:

"Remus tells me she went missing shortly after I was captured. He tried everything to find her, so did Dumbledore. But they couldn't. That only means one thing. That or she has out done herself in concealing from me." Sirius tried a smile but it did not reach his eyes and looked weak and pathetic.

"Was she...?"

"Your godmother? Yes."

Harry looked down for a moment, unable to take the agony playing across Sirius' features. It was a complete contrast to the lack of emotion Sirius had shown only a few moments before. He was changing between unbearably agony and total numbness.

Harry felt tears develop behind his eyes but he did not cry. He had no right to cry for a woman he did not know when her tortured husband sat before him. But Harry couldn't help feeling the grief and mourning. Another one of his family dead. He was the boy who lived. Yet he seemed unable to keep anyone else alive. He should be named the boy who lives whilst his family dies around him.

"I want to know about her. Everything."

"Harry, I can't..."

"Sirius..."

"I can't tell you." He paused. "But I might be able to show you."

Sirius showed Harry into a room he had never been in before. It was full of objects of shapes and sizes concealed under blankets and sheets. There was barely any light and the small crack of daylight that had managed to infiltrate the stale air caused exaggerated shadows on the wall that gave the impression the two men were about to be attacked but unseen enemies. Perhaps they were.

Sirius paused for a moment as if he was trying to member something. As the illusive thought or memory finally came to him he began to move with purpose, pushing the objects out of the way without a sign of care of affection for them. He threw off one of the sheets to a reveal a pensieve, just like the one Dumbledore had used last year to impart the revelation of Barty Crouch Jr. Harry was amazed Sirius owned one of these mystical creations, he hadn't thought of them as everyday objects, even in the magical world.

Sirius misunderstood the look of wonder on Harry's face.

"It's called a Pensieve, it..."

"I know what it is." It was Sirius turn to look at the boy with wonder, Harry smiled and explained with one word.

"Dumbledore"

"Naturally."

Sirius drew out his wand and held it to his head as if he were a desperate man on the edge about to end it all with a pistol. The tip of the wand hovered over his temple as it extracted the thin, fluid, blue/slivery line of his memories. He placed them in the Penseive with posture of new found freedom. As if he had just unloaded a heavy weight.

"This will tell you more than I ever can."

With that Sirius left Harry alone in the darkened room.