Sirius Black - A One-Shot

Today, March 21, is Gary Oldman's birthday. In honor of this incredible actor and his amazing character Sirius Black, I have attempted a one-shot featuring our lovable Marauder. I hope you all enjoy it! Gary, this is for you.

Chapter 1

Never Normal Again

Gripping his bleeding leg as he painfully straightened, Sirius Black peered from behind the tall bushes through the pounding rain at the small, old house across the road. He was weak; it had been four days since his unprecedented escape from Azkaban, and since then he had been in his Animagus form. It had rained steadily this whole time, washing away the old food or refuse Padfoot could have eaten. Now, Sirius was in his human form because he was so weak that he couldn't sustain the small amount of magic required to keep his Animagus form. He was slowly starving to death.

That was the reason he was watching the house across the road and contemplating murder.

His conscience didn't put up much of a protest against the crime - after all, he was starving and needed food and shelter, and the girl who lived here (he had determined that the occupant of the house was a young lady living alone) had food and shelter, and it was within his reach. He had already suffered enough, he deserved this. No one could begrudge him a little food after suffering Azkaban...and dementors...for so many long, long years...yes. He would do this. He needed to - another day and he'd be dead. He'd come too far to die now. He had to live, had to tell people the truth, had to avenge James and Lily. Yes, he would do this.

Gritting his teeth, Sirius pulled himself painfully to his feet and clutched his wand. He would need it; the girl was at home. He would have to be quick if he wanted to avoid her calling for help. Taking a quick breath, he bent his head against the rain and began across the road.

He was glad that the country road was deserted as he limped around the house, looking for a back door. At the rear of the house, he crouched down and slowly peered into the window beside him, looking for the girl and the quickest way to put her out of commission. What he saw brought back bittersweet memories - a girl with long, reddish-gold hair stood washing dishes in a neat kitchen, singing softly to herself as she scrubbed and dried and put away. Her hair reminded Sirius of Lily, but her expression made him think of Remus. Quiet and caring, the girl bore similarities to two of his best friends, who were now probably lost to him forever. And he was going to kill her. But he couldn't think about that. Sparing one last glance at the girl, whose back was toward the door he planned to enter, Sirius turned away with a grim face.

Slowly, ever so gently, he eased the door open. Thankfully it didn't creak, and as the gap became wider, he could hear her voice as she sang. Once he could see inside, he was relieved to find that her back was still towards him. A silent spell cast at a stack of plates beside her caused them to crash to the floor, serving both to mask the sound of the door shutting and to occupy her attention as he continued to creep up behind her.

Closer his steps took him until he was two feet away. He stood waiting tensely as she knelt and began picking up the pieces of the shattered dishes, not realizing the amount of danger she was in. Finally she stood, and Sirius pounced. In half a moment, he had pulled her to him in a deadlock, one arm pinning her arms down as the other pointed his wand at her neck. She didn't make any noise, though her eyes were wide with fright and she was breathing quickly.

"Don't struggle, love, I don't want to hurt you," came Sirius' hoarse voice. The girl replied in a quiet but steady voice, "Then why are you breaking into my house and threatening me?" Taken aback for a moment, Sirius considered just killing her and being done with it. He decided that the least he could do for this girl he was going to murder was to tell her what she wanted to know. "I need food and shelter, both of which you have. I'm an escapee, so you'd never help me voluntarily, which means I have to take it from you by force. And since you know I'm an escapee, I can't let you live - though I'd rather make it painless for you, I promise I don't want to hurt you." Then something happened that Sirius was not expecting - the girl whirled around, simultaneously slapping the wand from his hand and shoving him backward into the kitchen table. Stifling a curse, Sirius tried to concentrate on a non-verbal spell to distract her while he scrambled after his wand, but to his amazement hy the time he had recovered and turned back to face her, she had pulled her own wand from where it had been lying hidden on the countertop and was standing in a duelling stance. They stood facing each other for a long moment, breathing hard and watching the other carefully. Then, slowly, the girl lowered her wand. "If I put down my wand," she said, "will you put down yours?" At Sirius' expressionless face, she sighed a little then set her wand completely down, sliding it across the floor to him with her foot.

He continued to stare blankly at her, not lowering his wand. So first she surprises me by reminding me of Lily and Remus, then she turns out to be a witch, then she voluntarily lets down her only defense against a crazy Azkaban inmate....what is with this girl? Out loud, he growled, "Don't expect me to be as trusting on first impressions as you seem to be, love - I know your type. You'll wait till my guard's down, then call the dementors and send me back to finish my life sentence." At his accusation, she looked mildly hurt but only stated, "I can't believe that you could do something bad enough to earn a life sentence in Azkaban. What happened?"

Again, Sirius was struck speechless. Did she genuinely want to know? Or was she stalling, like he had suspected? To his amazement, he realized that he wanted to tell her the story of his friends, Peter's betrayal, the Potters' murder, his own false accusation, and his miraculous escape, even if she did call the dementors on him. His mouth opened, and words began to pour out of their own accord. He talked and talked as hours passed, voice rising to a yell or dying to a whisper as he told of his anger and his pain. As he talked, the girl began to move about the kitchen, pulling dishes from the refrigerator and warming up the oven. By the time Sirius' tale was told, he found himself seated at the table with a full pot of tea, more food than the four Marauders together could have eaten in their glory days, and an attentive listener sitting across from him.

A short pause followed the end of his story. Then the girl stood up and gestured at the full table, saying, "Well, go on, I didn't make all this for myself!" She left the room, and Sirius stared at the food for a moment before beginning to devour everything he could reach.

Sirius didn't notice when the girl returned, but when he was finishing the last cup of tea he looked up to see her leaning against the doorframe, her eyes sparkling with tears. When he set down the cup, she seemed to mentally pull herself together and began to clear away the empty dishes. "I've gotten a guest room prepared for you," she said while depositing a pile of plates into the sink. "You don't have to stay if you'd rather keep going, but honestly I think you'd better keep out of this rain. The last thing you need is to get sick and be stranded in some ditch." She finished the dishes and turned to look at him. "Would you like to see your room now?" All he could do was nod.

She led the way up the staircase, drawing his arm around her shoulders to support him when he stumbled on a step. He found himself in a small but comfortable room, furnished with a bed, desk, and wardrobe. "Feel free to take anything in here that you need," the girl said, "there are clothes in the wardrobe that should be about your size. Parchment and quills are on the desk, and you can use my owl if you feel the need to contact someone. And," she added quietly, "if you'd like, tomorrow I can help you find your friend Remus."

Sirius couldn't take it anymore. "How can you possibly be so kind to me," he burst out angrily, "when I've broken into your house and all but murdered you in cold blood? You're either stupid or mad!"

"Or trusting," she said with a small smile. "I've always had a knack for knowing when people are lying to me - nothing you've said to me has given me that feeling. So yes, I'm risking my life by helping you, but I feel that it's worth the risk." Sirius stared at her. He felt so ashamed of himself, of his earlier decision to actually kill someone for food, for his pride not letting him beg. "Thank you," he whispered hoarsely. She smiled in response, then darted forward to catch him on her shoulder as his injured leg finally decided to give way. She helped him to the bed then began moving about, collecting potions and bandages. The girl's gentle hands soothing his wounds were the last thing Sirius remembered before darkness covered everything.

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