Categories > Books > Harry Potter > The Noble and Ancient House

Small Shadows

by fey_puck 0 reviews

The times and trials of the family Black. Sirius and his shadow.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: G - Genres: Drama, Humor - Characters: Andromeda Tonks, Bellatrix, James, Lupin, Narcissa, Peter, Sirius - Published: 2007-07-19 - Updated: 2007-07-19 - 1481 words


"There's a small shadow following you, Padfoot," James observed, hands in his pockets and a bounce in his step. He seemed amused by the prospect, no small part due to the fact that invoking Sirius's paranoia streak was never less than fun. "It's probably going to attack when you least expect it."

"I knew that, thanks," Sirius said. He allowed one foot to stretch out that extra bit, effectively tripping the other black-haired boy.

"Ow! My ankle!"

"Sorry, I know how delicate you are."

"I was being helpful, you tosser!"

"You were being a-"

"Children," Remus interrupted from a safe distance. The werewolf had invented an almost fool-proof wall over his years as a Marauder, consisting mainly of Peter and dusty books. "I will turn this group around and lead us straight to the library if you continue."

Sirius went wide-eyed. "Moony...why do say things like that? You know it only hurts us..."

"Remus said it was to rack up karma points with the universe, whatever those are," Peter offered, trotting to keep up with the taller boys. "He said by now it must be a done deal."

Remus sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Thank you, Peter."

"Et tu, Remus?" Sirius howled rather loudly and over-dramatically. "First Prongs, and now you? You, who were to be my most trusted and loyal and bestest advisor?"

"Bestest isn't actually a word..."

"I thought I was the most trusted?" James grumbled.

"You were," Sirius conceded, with a most magnanimous air, "until you reveled in my pain and sensitive nature."

"I was being /helpful/, honestly."

The two boys huffed in unison and crossed their arms, shoulders hunched up in a strange defensive position that was probably only useful for knotting muscles.

Remus considered sharing this thought but ultimately decided against it.

"You two are making a scene," he still pointed out. Not that he minded. He and Mr. James Joyce were having a lovely time of their own.

Sirius snorted. "Rem, there isn't anyone to make a scene in front of."

Which was true. Most of the students had left Hogwarts for the holidays, with only a handful of brave souls opting to wander the cold halls and suffer a drunken Dumbledore on Christmas day. And normally the four boys would have been the first bunch out the door, trunks in tow and plans already made for visits and present-swapping. That was what they did every other holiday season.

Only this was their last Christmas at Hogwarts. And Sirius had seemed almost obsessed with the idea of staying put, and when Sirius obsessed over something it became contagious.

Sometimes through forced contact and sheer madness.

"It's a right tragedy, if you ask me, because no one can make a scene like a Marauder and someone should be here right now to watch me."

"Us," James corrected. The Chaser had given up on sulking and was busy trying to tame a cowlick. "You can't really make a scene on your own."

"It pains me to have to disagree with that statement," Remus said, looking to Joyce for a sympathetic ear.

"There is someone here though," Peter spoke up, effectively making all eyes fall on him. "Remember?"

Sirius scratched his chin. "Sorry, Pete, but you don't really count..."

Bad puppy, Remus thought to himself while James guffawed with a "oh, man".

Peter took it in stride though, aside from a nervous twitch in his left eye. "No, I mean...I mean the shadow thing. Right?"


"Your shadow, Sirius," Remus reminded in an exasperated tone. "Your very own shadow."

"Aww. I thought we'd lost him..."

James laughed. "I thought you liked admirers and the occasional stalker, Paddles."

"I do when they're pretty and curvy and red-headed."

"Heh, yeah, me too....HEY!" James started as realization dawned. Calloused hands grabbed Sirius by the collar of his robes and pushed his back with just the right amount of force.

Right into a shorter, quieter figure.

"Your friends aren't very nice," Regulus coughed, trying to extract an elbow from his ribs.

Sirius straightened, disheveled in what he hoped was a manly way, while his three comrades came to a halt. They lingered in the background, watching, and Remus even let his novel drop a few inches so he had a clear view.

The elder Black brother glared. "Your friends are evil bastards."

There was a long pause.

"...awkward..." James said from the corner of his mouth, earning himself a werewolf-force whack on the head.

"So, is there any reason why you're following me? Or here at all?" Sirius asked in his best Big Brother voice. And it could have been any other older brother trying to shoo the pesky younger one away from his gang of friends, except they weren't really typical brothers anymore and hadn't been for years.

Regulus frowned and hunched up his shoulders, toes scuffing the stone floors. Grey-blue eyes glanced over to the three spectators, then away and back to eyes that almost but not quite matched.

Sirius raised an eyebrow before glancing towards his friends. "You guys go ahead. I'll catch up in a second."

"Sirius..." Remus started, looking slightly concerned and minutely worried.

"Cripes, Moony, I'm not going to petrify him and throw him out the window or anything."

"I wasn't even considering such a thing, but now I at least know the extent of your plans," the werewolf said. He turned, grabbing the other two Marauders by the scruffs of their necks and dragging them along behind him. "We'll save pudding for you."

When the trio rounded the corner, Regulus grinned. "I like that one. You should keep him."

One black eyebrow arched once again, waiting. "I thought you went home. You usually do. Is there even anyone left in the Slytherin dorms?"

"A couple." Regulus shrugged, one hand slipping into the pocket of his robes-traveling robes, Sirius absently noted, like the ones he used to have to wear. "I'm leaving soon anyway so it doesn't matter."

"You kind of missed your train, kiddo."

"I...uh...I have another ride," the younger Black said. "Cissy offered, when I told her I wanted to stay a bit longer than everyone else."

"Right," Sirius sneered and he suddenly didn't want to be here anymore. There was a meal and laughs and friends waiting for him. "Give Mrs. Malfoy my regards," he drawled, "won't you, old chap?"


"And hand out socks to every house elf in that manor too, the next time you're hanging out with Lucius and the gang." Throwing his hands into the air, Sirius made an abrupt turn with every intention of ending the meeting then and there.

A surprisingly strong hand grabbed his arm.

Sirius didn't remember his little brother being that strong.

"Look, I just wanted to see you before I left. Okay?" Regulus tightened his grip before letting go completely. "You're graduating and going off somewhere this year, and this is the last Christmas I'll get to see you before Merlin knows what happens. So. So, that's it."

Sirius didn't remember Regulus ever sounding like that either.

Then one pale hand was offering a present, wrapped in silver and gold, and stared for a moment. It was that that arm, that one, and he almost pushed back one dark sleeve to see but he simply took the gift instead.

"You can open it now, if you want," the brown-haired boy near-stammered, suddenly the slightly awkward and soft-spoken boy Sirius associated him with.

Wrapping paper throw aside, precious metal tones tossed to the ground, and Sirius stared down at his family.

"I could only find a couple put in the album. But." Regulus shrugged one shoulder. "I thought you might want them. Maybe."

Dark eyes didn't look up, tracing the faces that smiled and smirked and glanced at each other. Curls and gloves and secrets in their eyes.

"I should probably go now. I don't want to make Cissy wait..."

Four more footsteps separated them before Sirius blinked.

"Wait," he said, and the younger Black stopped. Sirius rushed forward, hands working behind his neck. When he ducked his head like that, they were almost the same height.

"Merry Christmas," Sirius said, holding out a silver chain, the one he had worn for four years now. "Keep out of trouble."

Regulus snorted. "Says the kettle to the pot."

"Smartass," the black-haired boy grumbled. "I really meant that."

But Regulus was already wandering down the hall, silver clutched in his hand like a last remnant, and Sirius wondered why it felt like he'd never see his little brother again. Grasping his once-family to his side, a thorn and a comfort, he made his own way through the corridors and past giant oak doors until he took his normal seat with his present world.

"Looks like you lost your shadow," James said.

And Sirius supposed he had.
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