My first attempt at writing in the past 3 year. Reviews and comments would be very helpful as I get back into the habit of writing.
All rights to all characters belong to J.K. Rowling.
SLUGHORN'S SANITARIUM FOR TROUBLED BOYS
As the car pulled into the circle drive Sirius found himself smiling derisively, amused that even the nut-house he was being locked away in was top-notch. His mother's taste for the expensive apparently extended to prisons. The building was massive and had obviously been standing on these grounds for many generations, and while Sirius could see where renovation work had been done, the bricks in a few places obviously brighter than the surrounding stones, it still had an ancient and majestic feel to it. Behind the main building, toward the left he could see a steeple peaking over the ornately tiled roof. He was not surprised that his mother had chosen a loony-bin that held service regularly.
When he finally glanced at his mother he caught her glaring from where she sat across from him, swaying slightly as the driver followed the long arc of the drive. Sirius couldn't help but smile at her poor mood.
"Good thing dad didn't need the limo today. It would have been terrible if we'd made the wrong impression on the asylum workers." he jeered, and then grinned more when her gloved hands audibly tightened around the strap of her purse.
"For the last time dear," she ground the endearment through her teeth, "This is not an asylum. It is a boarding school."
"Which is why it's called a 'Sanitarium,' right? I mean, I don't know where the confusion comes from. But we wouldn't want any of your friends thinking I'm a nutter or anything, so we'll stick with 'boarding school' if that's what you like.." he said dully as the car jerked slightly to a stop.
"For the love of God, Sirius, just keep your mouth shut until I'm gone."
As she finished speaking the door between them opened and the driver assisted her as she climbed gracefully from the car. Sirius wasn't surprised that his mother was impatient to be rid of him. Were their situation different, she would probably have cast him aside long ago, but they needed him to keep the Black name going, and he wasn't terribly keen to see how far they would go to make sure that happened. After a slight pause he followed behind her as the driver moved to retrieve the luggage.
"Ah! You must be Walburga Black."
Sirius looked away from the driver when he heard a man's boisterous voice. He saw a portly man in a blue suit hurrying toward his mother, his hand already extended to shake hers, which he did a might too roughly. Walburga's slight frame shook from the force of it, though her well practiced smile withstood the onslaught, though Sirius could hear the well masked irritation in her voice as she replied.
"Yes, you must be Mr. Slughorn. What a beautiful institution you have here." She said cordially.
"Why thank you!" Slughorn beamed at the compliment. "We really do try to provide the best of the best here while our wards get well. And let me say again what a delight it was speaking with you on the telephone."
As he reached for her hand again Walburga masterfully side stepped his advance, waving her tastefully gloved hand toward Sirius instead.
"This is my son, Sirius. I spoke with you about him on the phone."
"Oh! Yes, of course!" he said as he teetered over to Sirius, giving his hand a violent shake and his shoulder an almost painful clap. "I know you'll enjoy your time here. And you'll be right as rain in no time."
Sirius wasn't sure what to say to this man. He hoped that this wasn't how he treated people with real mental issues. He hoped that this man was merely the wallet, and the brains were inside the building somewhere. By now Slughorn and Walburga Black were making their way into the building and as even the driver passed him with his luggage he finally decided to follow them inside.
Nearly and hour later Slughorn had them both sitting in his richly decorated office, Sirius slumped in one chair and his mother so tired of listening to him that she'd even stopped pestering Sirius to sit up straight. She had tried many times to excuse herself but was having little luck, finally she leapt at an opening when Slughorn stood, saying that he should give them a tour.
"I am desperately sorry, Mr. Slughorn, but I am afraid that I simply cannot stay. I have very important business to attend to. I am sure that my son can tell me all about your facilities in his letters home, though." She tried to get Sirius to stand, but ended up having to practically drag his long frame out of the chair.
She then began to put on a wonderfully maternal show for Slughorn, straightening the shirt that Sirius was wearing, looking concerned as she spoke quietly, though her words, that only Sirius could hear, did not match her expression.
"You can come home as soon as you come to your senses. You should be glad that your brother is dead, or I'd leave you hear to rot for the rest of your life." She said as she stooped so low as to lick her now ungloved thumb and pretend to clean a smudge from his cheek. "But since we lost the better of our children, we're left to count on you to fulfill your duty to the family. You will do as the family wishes. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can leave this place."
As she finished speaking she pulled him down so she could reach his cheek to kiss it lightly, then pinched his other cheek briefly before faking a wonderfully believable teary-look, bringing her gloves to her mouth as though to keep from crying as she looked over at Slughorn who nodded sympathetically at her, then she was gone.
Slughorn made his way over to Sirius as he wiped his mother's kiss from his cheek. He patted him comfortingly on his shoulder before leading him out of his office to start the tour. His bags were left behind to be brought up by the staff, though Sirius knew that every bag would be searched for items that may be harmful to himself or to others. The halls were quiet as he was lead around, due to classes being in session according to Slughorn. He was shown the dining hall, the recreation room, and the chapel, though he was told that the tour of the grounds would have to wait, as he hated to sweat in his good suit. He was then brought to his room where his luggage had already been delivered.
The room was small, but tidy. There were two twin beds, headboards against the far wall, a curtained window between them. At the foot of each bed against opposite walls were matching dressers, followed by desks. There were two small closets and a shared bathroom.
"Oh! Nearly forgot." Slughorn was suddenly trying to detach a key from his master key ring. "We find that having a key gives our residents a feeling of security and independence, so this is yours." He said as he handed it over. "Of course staff will have a master key to access your room. You know, emergencies and routine check-ups. That sort of thing."
Sirius just nodded as he took the key.
"You'll be sharing the room with a boy your age. One Remus Lupin." Slughorn looked like he was fighting the urge to bounce on the balls of his feet, fiddling with the keys in his hand now.
"Has he not arrived yet?" Sirius asked as he noted that the two sides of the room were identically void of any kind of personalization.
"Don't be silly, my boy. Remus has been a resident here for, er… several years now." He was still smiling, though a very light sheen of sweat had begun to cover his forehead, making him seem a little nervous.
"Are we not allowed to decorate then?" Sirius asked, one elegant brow arching at his suddenly strange behavior.
"Oh, of course you are!" Slughorn smiled brightly, seeming pleased for the change of subject. "You can put up anything that your parents send you, as long as it meets regulations of course. And we do make trips into town every so often, so you can get things to decorate from shops there as well." He hurried over to the window, pulling the curtain back to reveal a rather nice view of the fütbol pitch.
Sirius ran a hand through his unruly mane as he made his way to the window as well, admiring the pitch, though his mind lingered on his mysterious roommate. What kind of teenaged boy would live in a drab little room like this for so long without leaving any kind of sign. As though Slughorn could sense the rapid approach of questions, he turned on his heels and made his way back to the door.
"Well, I'll leave you to unpack." He checked his watch. "Classes should be out shortly. Feel free to explore if you'd like. Supper's at seven and we'll have a time for your entry meeting with our therapist probably tomorrow morning. You'll get your class schedule and all that then." He was talking so fast now that Sirius was surprised he didn't stumble over his words.
Before Sirius could ask any other questions, Slughorn had said his goodbyes and was gone. The room seemed even emptier now that it was silent. Sirius looked back out the window for a moment before moving to inspecting the bathroom, which was nothing special. In the shower he found some shampoo and other products and on the counter by the sink there was a toothbrush and paste; the only signs that this Lupin boy actually existed. It was only through a great show of self control that he was able to keep from taking the room apart looking for more of his belongings.
Growing up privileged and easily bored, Sirius had often taken to snooping around his own home, the estate so large that there were probably still rooms he'd never been in, even at seventeen. He found that causing trouble for his parents by finding brothel receipts, liposuction bills, and small pouches of suspicious powder amused him enough to keep him from leaping off one of the many balconies. Infuriating his family members had quickly become his favorite pass time. He knew that he would eventually discover all of the secrets that this boy had. Uncovering secrets was a natural talent of his.
To keep himself from snooping he turned to his second favorite hobby. Admiring himself in the mirror. Sirius had begun to sprout upward when he was thirteen, and by the time he was fifteen he was quite tall, though one may have thought someone had stretched him out on some horrible contraption. He had stayed awkward and spindly for much longer than he had wanted, but over the past year and a half he'd finally filled out, with the help of some regular exercise and fütbol, though the latter was hard to participate in when his family thought it was a barbarous sport. But he had developed the body of a grown man now and was pleased and openly impressed by it. As evil as his family members was, most weren't lacking in the looks department.
His parents, while annoyed by his preoccupation with his appearance, could not deny that they appreciated his ornamental appeal, raking in the compliments they were paid on the rare occasion they took Sirius with them to one of their soirees. It was the only thing that threatened his appreciation of his own good looks: his parents' unabashed claim of responsibility for them. He'd thought on many occasions that it would be unbelievably funny if he were homely. He would enjoy watching them suffer over it. After a few more minutes of self admiration and a few pull-ups done on the door frame to the bathroom, missing the shouts of disgust from his mother as he did so, he began to unpack his belongings.
He was buried deep in his closet when he finally heard a key in the door, and he felt an uncharacteristic wave of nerves wash over him. Leaning back he caught a glimpse of the boy before he was detected. He was tall, probably as tall as Sirius was, but still seemed a bit gangly for his age, though as the boy moved to pull his key from the door, Sirius got the impression that he simply had a narrow frame. Releasing the door to let it swing shut Lupin brought a hand up to push his gently curling bangs off his forehead and out of his eyes, seeming casual until he caught site of the luggage. He stopped, hand still in his hair, then he heard a small noise from the closet, his amber eyes darting immediately to lock onto Sirius.
Sirius was caught off guard by the power with which Remus had in his eyes. His impression of Lupin so far was that he was average as far as looks were concerned, but his eyes made him change his opinion. Usually Sirius found brown eyes to be extremely dull, though even from the distance they were at he could see a gold colored light shining through them and Sirius thought that they might even show through the dark. His hair was only a few shades darker than his eyes and long enough that small wisps of curls brushed his cheekbones. His face was like stone though, his expression unreadable, the only real acknowledgement being a slight twitch of one eyebrow.
Sirius, suddenly realizing that he was staring uncharacteristically, so he raised a hand and flashed a smile that usually had girls blushing, and anyone else grinning back. He'd been told that he has an infectious smile.
"Lupin, right? Sorry if I gave you a bit of a fright." He chuckled amiably as he spoke.
"Who are you?" Lupin suddenly asked, his voice as stony as his face.
"Uh…" Sirius was a little taken aback by his tone. "Sirius Black. Your new roommate?"
Remus continued to star at him, his incandescent eyes moving over him appraisingly for a few more moments before turning uncaringly away from him, going to sit down at his desk without a word, flipping one of his school books open.
Hold the fuck up! Sirius found himself thinking Did he just give me the cold shoulder? Did he seriously just turn down a conversation with me to do fucking homework?
Sirius felt his ego boot him out of the closet in a bit of a hurry that he smoothly covered up with a bit of grace. He'd always prided himself on his ability to have a good conversation with anyone, and he really did mean anyone. He'd even stooped so low as to flirt with some of the eighty year old women at his mother's last soiree to keep them from ignoring him. He hated being ignored. In a desperate attempt to be conversational and put forth a good impression Sirius found himself blurting out the first thing on his mind.
"So I had a hell of a time sorting out which side of the room was mine. Why haven't you put up any posters or anything?"
"Don't talk to me." Was the answer that Remus had for him, though it was said casually without any sort of anger or disdain behind it.
"Excuse me?" Sirius asked, not as good at covering up his emotions, the insult clear in his tone.
"Just because you're so wrapped up in yourself that you need people fawning over you doesn't mean that everyone wants to listen to you." Remus replied tranquilly, not looking up from his page where he was writing down some notes.
"Excuse me?" Sirius repeated indignantly. "Who the hell do you think you a-"
"Don't waste your breath. I really don't care what you have to say. And I wouldn't bother unpacking any more than you already have. As soon as I'm done with this I'm going to go have you moved to a different room." Though he interrupted Sirius, his voice never rose above a conversational tone. "I like the way my room is, and I don't want you in here messing things up."
Sirius was rarely speechless, but other than profanity he couldn't think of anything else to say. Instead, he grabbed his suitcase and violently shook every piece of clothing that had been in it onto his bed , then for good measure he pulled the sheets out from where they were neatly tucked under the mattress and tossed his pillows around a bit, making sure his side of the room looked thoroughly debauched, ignoring how foolish he seemed. He briefly considered hauling a few buckets up dirt up from the grounds, imagining Lupin's face twisting in fury as he finds a pile of dirt on his precious desk, or maybe even his bed.
Sirius was brought out of his evil fantasies sooner than he would have liked by the scraping of Lupin's chair as he stood, stowing his book gently in a desk drawer.
"You shouldn't be so upset." He said in his calm, slightly robotic voice. "If anything I'll be doing you a favor. Staying here with me would only drive you to try and kill yourself again."
"What makes you think I'm here for attempted suicide?" Sirius asked cheekily, ignoring for the moment that it was exactly why he'd been sent there.
Remus turned his eyes on him again and Sirius found himself a little confused. He felt as though he were receiving two different messages from his roommate. While his mouth was spouting insults and threats, his eyes were saying something different, something far gentler, though just before his attitude about him could be shaken he heard that automated tone again.
"Only selfish people kill themselves." He said coolly before slipping out of the room, while Sirius was too dumbfounded to get a word in before he was gone.
After a moment of mental silence Sirius found himself screaming inside his head.
What the fuck is his problem! He just met me and already he's acting like he knows me and my issues? How dare he!
In what could only be called a temper tantrum Sirius suddenly jumped over onto Lupin's bed, yanking all the covers off and making a mess of it the way he'd defiled his own bed. Sirius had grown accustomed to the annoyance that people showed him in response to most of his actions. The calm insults that he received from his roommate left him feeling confused and unsure about how he should handle himself. But one thing was certain, he was going to get under this boy's skin. He would find some way to make his cool demeanor break.