A/N:

Hello all!

To all the people who used to read Fault Lines, I have to start with an apology - I'm so sorry I removed Fault Lines (the original one). I had multiple reasons for doing so.. For one, the plot was literally running from me and while plot gaps are okay (my personal opinion), I don't think they should be that massively obvious.

Secondly, while a big fan of the Sirius x Fem!Harry genre, I had to admit that it was going too quickly for my liking and since I don't personally condone anybody under the age of 18 entering a sexual relationship with someone older than them (However hot Sirius is, unacceptable behaviour by my former Fault Lines Sirius.. She's 14 man, have some boundaries yeah?) This is also the main reason I removed the story.

Just to clarify, this story follows the same plotline as the last version. It's just that I've taken time out to draw the characters and slowly develop their relationship rather than rush into a hormonal and angsty one. And this time, I've got the story worked out (well approximately anyway) so all set to give version two a go. And yes this a Sirius x Fem!Harry one too, just taking it a little slower and putting some semblance of sense into their crazy relationship.

And thirdly, the name Bella rankled me. It felt too twilightish. And also easily confusable with Bellatrix Lestrange. So I've decided to go with 'Leila' It's a name of persian origin that refers to a beautiful women with dark hair.

Well off we go then, and once again, my apologies for the long break!

PROLOGUE

Dark haired, as beautiful as her name hinted, too lonely and despairing for one so young, she tossed on her thin mattress. The tiny cupboard should be, in theory, soundproofed by sheer distance from her family's rooms upstairs. As their loud snores reached her, Leila mused that it would be just her luck that the one great advantage of having the cupboard for a room would be beaten back by the Dursleys' subconscious.

Leila, who was ten years, three hundred and sixty four days, twenty three and three quarters of an hour old at that precise moment, felt a brief moment of hopelessness. She had learnt long ago that nobody would save her from 11 Privet Drive. There were no mysterious family members out there. She could just as well be as dead as her parents to everybody outside this house (and inside it too, if she was going to be honest about it). She soldiered on, promising herself that she would leave when she was eighteen and never look back. She would travel the world, she would become a photographer, geologist, a spy even – whatever whisked her away from her so-called family. But as some part of her brain started the mental countdown to her birthday, she couldn't help the fear that ran through her. 'What if I'm stuck here forever?' she wondered. She wished she'd died in that stupid car crash.

Outside, in the living room, a letter whooshed down the chimney, bounced off the grate and landed gently on the carpet.

Leila Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
11 Privet Drive
Surrey

Outside, a giant of a man cheerfully plonked himself down the closest park bench, waiting for the inevitable chaos to descend on the Dursley household the following morning. He felt one of his numerous pockets for a cake box and wondered if Leila preferred strawberry and if she wouldn't mind her chocolate-mint cake. 'Well, no worries. Her Aunt is bound to bake her favourite for her birthday. Mine is just an add-on, more of a hello present.' He thought , blissfully unaware that this would be her first birthday cake, not counting her first birthday at Godric's Hollow.

Even so, Hagrid couldn't help wonder what on earth did the letter mean by 'Cupboard under the Stairs'.

Hundreds of miles away, a young man sat hunched over a table, intently scribbling away at a letter. His young face was lined twenty years too early. His brown hair had small streaks of grey and stood at odd angles because of the number of times he'd run his hand through it while filling out yet another job application that was sure to be rejected. His tiny room was tidy and unremarkable save for a sturdy metal cage with iron shackles tucked away in one corner. His robes hung loose and his stomach hurt from lack of food.

Remus signed his name and as he underlined his signature with the date, a numb feeling crawled down his spine. It was her birthday. He swallowed. And his numb shock gave way to slow burning rage. He stared around his miserable room and loathed the world. No job. No money. No friends.

There was no way they would've given him custody of her. He clenched his fist. He had loved her, loved them all. He had thought his life was complete, even with war raging around them. Then the fight had entered his world and ten years later, all he had was disgust from the wizarding world for his condition, haunted by the memory of three dead friends, unable to really process the fact that his other best friend was serving a life sentence for turning out to be traitorous bastard that he was suspected of being. And her. The knowledge that she was alive helped him through his worse days. But tonight, all he had was rage and misery at how he hadn't been allowed near her all these years.

Remus Lupin tiredly reached for his bottle of cheap whisky. Pouring out a small glass, he raised the glass half heartedly at the wall across the room and murmured "Happy Birthday Leila. Forgive me for… well, for everything."

Thousands of miles, in the middle of the cold North Sea, another young man sat hunched in his cell. He didn't know what the date was. He wasn't entirely sure where he was either. He supposed he might be able to make sense of things if the slow movie reel of the horrors of his life stopped playing in his brain.

Starved, lost in an abyss of dark despair, everything about him suggested an early death. But deep in his bones, a rhythm churned out with his blood cells NotGuiltyPeterTraitorJamesDeadLilyDeadRemusWronged LeilaAloneNotGuilyPeterTraitorJamesDEadLilyDeadRem usWrongedLeilaAloneNotGuiltyPeterTraitorJamesDeadL ilyDeadRemusWrongedLeilaAlone

Years in Gryffindor had not taken away his fundamental Slytherin DNA. Ironically, the part of him he had loathed now saved him. The Black family serpent coiled, waiting, biding its time. When the time was right, he would strike, he would avenge his loved ones.

The serpent coiled around the lion in his heart, protecting from the perpetual cold of the Demetors, singing out a rhythm in his blood to chain his sanity to his withering body.

****In a reality distant but destined to rejoin its original path****

Godric's Hollow was till that night. Even the crickets were hushed and it was in the middle of summer. James Potter fiddled absently with his wand and stared unseeingly at his Butterbeer. He wondered if he should go find someone to bother, to take his mind of that night. But just as he had been doing for ten years, he stayed put in the kitchen and nursed his drink. Remembering was his penance, his way of apologizing to his dead daughter.

I'm sorry we thought the order meeting was too important to miss.

I'm sorry we put our faith in that rat.

I'm sorry our complacence got you killed.

I'm sorry Voldemort still lives.

I'm sorry we can't move on and put your memory to rest.

I'm sorry we made you eat that god awful pistachio cake on your first birthday. If we had known it would be your last, we would have never let Sirius do the baking.

The house was full. James sat in the kitchen, Lily was upstairs in the room, doing her best not to cry and determinedly reading through her notes, not really reading it anyway. Remus was in the living room, emptying out his Firewhisky in silence and staring into the fire. Sirius was, no doubt, in Leila's nursery. He was the only one who ever went in there. The other three couldn't bear to go in to the room and face the silence and the dust where there should've been a child's laughter and scattered toys. But Sirius found solace in the very room she had been murdered, grasping on to what felt like small wisps of her soul trailing in there.

Ten years since that night, they never moved on, the war raged on and ghost of the dead child slid into the tiny grave at the edge of the woods by the manor despite their best efforts to trap it in the house.

Mostly, they picked up the pieces and went back to the front lines. Aurors, Spy and Healer, they found their way back in the world after the tragedy. But every year, on the 31st of July and 31st of October, the pretense gave way. The jokes ceased the war strategies dissipated into the silence of the house and they sat with their insides wrapped in guilt and regret.