June 1972

Adhara Selwyn was lying on her bed, staring at the dark shadows cast by moonlight filtering through her curtains. It was a deliciously warm summer night, ideal for a moonlit spin on the broomstick. It had been a week since the summer holidays had started and she had received no letters, had no friends to talk to and nothing to keep her company except her homework, which lay abandoned in her schoolbag.

“Adhara?” a tentative voice at her door was preceded by the kind face of her mother, “Can I come in?”

Adhara nodded, barely moving. Her mother, Corinna Selwyn, was the only one in the house who would talk to her. Her father wouldn’t talk to her anymore. And Rigel - well, he was the reason she was holed up in her room most of the time. The last time she had come face-to-face with him, she had attacked him for taunting her. Her hand had gotten cut on his teeth. It still smarted every time she saw his bloody face.

“Adhara,” her mother started, sitting on her bad, “What is going on with you? I want to help, but I can’t unless you talk to me.”

“There’s nothing to tell,” Adhara replied, her face impassive.

“You’re just like your grandmother,” her mother mused, “Holding your feelings so close to your chest,” she shook her head. Adhara didn’t reply. Her mother sighed and stroked Adhara’s hair back from her forehead gently. She leaned forward, kissed her on the forehead and got up to leave.

“Mum,” Adhara turned to look at her mother, her eyes glistening, “Am I a disgrace to the family?”

Her mother turned to look at her and sighed. “Adhara… I know your father feels rather strongly that you should have been in Slytherin, but-”

“Rather strongly?” scoffed Adhara, “He hasn’t even looked at me since I came home. And Rigel won’t talk to me in school either,” her voice was on the edge now. Her mother came back to sit on the bed.

“Your father,” she hesitated, “Your father has been brought up with some ideals. He finds it difficult to let them go. Rigel sets much in store by what your father says. Your father believes being Slytherin is a mark of a true Selwyn. But I don’t,” she added reassuringly.

“You don’t?” Adhara asked surprised, “But why didn’t you say something?”

“Because…” her mother sighed, “It’s not easy, to stand up to a man like your father.” Adhara continued to look at her mother, slightly confused with all this new information.

“But you married him,” she pointed out, struggling to understand.

“Yes dear. It felt like the right thing at the time. I really did love your father. But I don’t always agree with him.”

“Then, why don’t you say anything?” Adhara repeated, confused.

“I’ve never been brave like my mother,” her mother replied, smiling wryly, “She would have spoken up. She was in Gryffindor too, you know,” she said reminiscently.

“Grandma Victoria was in Gryffindor?” Adhara sat up, trying to digest this new piece of information.

“Yes dear,” her mother smiled, “You couldn't find a more independent and brave woman. I see a lot of her in you. You even look a lot like her,” her eyes glistened slightly as she patted Adhara’s head fondly
Adhara suddenly felt lighter. Her Grandma had been in Gryffindor too. She wasn't a misfit. Rigel had been wrong about her.

“Mum,” she started tentatively, “will Daddy ever talk to me again?”

“Of course he will! Don't be silly Adhara,” she chided, “he just needs some time.” But Adhara could hear the uncertainty in her mother’s voice even as she tried to hide it. Her mother paused at the door and turned to her. “Adhara, don't be like me. Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself. To anyone. Trust your conscience, and nothing else.”

Adhara caught look of regret and helplessness on her mother’s face for a brief moment, just before she exited.

Lily was lying on her stomach on the freshly mown grass. She loved Hogwarts, but it was always good to be home. She relished the feeling of doing absolutely nothing. No classes, no homeworks to worry about. She missed magic, but life felt slightly simpler just doing muggle things. She felt she had the best of both worlds. Her legs bent at the knees were crossed at the ankles and her cheek was propped up against her left hand. She had the newspaper open in front of her, trying to do the kids crossword that was right below the adult crossword. She didn’t understand half the muggle words and references now, having been so accustomed to magic. Nevertheless, just looking at the familiar layout reminded her that she was back home, that thought spreading a feeling of warmth over her chest. She glanced back at the clue she was working on and sighed. She would never be able to figure it out. Abandoning all pretext of doing the crossword, Lily’s eyes scanned the rest of the page. A small box to the left caught her eye.

Unidentified Body Disappears from Morgue, Police Mystified
It has been a week since an unidentified body was uncovered near Pegworth. Reports claim that it belonged to a male in his early forties. Autopsy reports were inconclusive and cause of death is unknown. Efforts to find the family have proved futile. Yesterday morning, in a mysterious circumstance, the body disappeared from the morgue. The morgue officials claim there was no paperwork indicating a transfer or discharge. The Pegworth police are flummoxed beyond means, this being the last knot in the string of baffling circumstances surrounding the body.

Lily thought it was strange that someone would want to steal a body.

“Lily! Could you come in for a moment?” her mother’s voice called from inside the house, cutting into her reverie.

“Coming mother!” she called back, rolling on to her side and getting up, folding the newspaper to the entertainment section that she knew her mother would want to read next.

September 1st, 1972

Dearest Sirius,

A lot has happened since we met for Christmas. I told you then that I was struggling with the family ideals, same as you. I didn’t elaborate at the time, but in light of recent events I owe you an explanation.

The family has disowned me because I expressed a wish to marry a muggle born. I’ve been seeing Ted Tonks for two years now, and he asked me to marry him sometime back. I had been wondering how to break it to the family, but seeing how they reacted to your sorting, I was sure they wouldn’t accept him. It was a long dinner when I sat down to tell them. I think Bella was more enraged than my father. I tried to reason with them, but they’re too set in their ways. I had no choice but to leave home. We married in a small ceremony last month, just his family and a few friends. I wish you could have come, but there was no way of getting a message through to you in the midst of all the confusion. You would really like Ted, I’m sure. We are staying at his parents’ now, but we will move out once we find a place of our own.

I’ve started searching for a job. It is quite hard because most of my contacts are of the Black family network who have shunned me, and the few who haven’t are scared of my father. Uncle Alphard says he can put in a good word for me in a few places, but they will be much lower on the pay scale since I need to stay off the grid for a while. Still, I really hope it works out. I’ve been forbidden by your mother from talking to you and Reg and I wouldn’t want to get you into trouble, but I would love to have you both visit us when we get our own place.

These last months have taught me a lot, and I want to share it with you. It is not easy to stand up to our family. But listen to your gut. If you believe you are right, then stick with it. Don’t be afraid like Uncle Alphard. The liberation you feel when you finally break free of the shackles that their thoughts and ideas are binding you in, makes everything worth it. I know Aunt Walburga can be difficult. I saw how she treated you at Christmas. But hang in there, Sirius. You did right by not taking it lying down, and I’m so proud of you. If I had had half the courage you do, I’d have come out about Ted sooner. I guess that’s why you’re the Gryffindor, not me. You have nothing to be afraid of. Besides, you’re not alone. I will always be here for you. Take care of yourself, and of Regulus. He’s starting Hogwarts next month isn’t he? Wish him luck from me.

Lots of Love,

Andromeda Tonks

Sirius recalled the letter mentally as he trudged along Platform 9 ¾ , away from his mother, pushing his trolley. It was heavier than last year, with two extra trunks for Regulus. He had managed to sneak a reply to Andromeda but hadn’t heard back yet. His mother was busy fussing over Regulus, insisting that he get into Slytherin. She wasn’t the fussing kind, it was all a show for Narcissa’s parents. Sirius rolled his eyes, disgusted with the extent to which his mother would stoop to create an impression - a false one thereof. She shot him a nasty look over the top of Regulus’ head. Sirius glared back defiantly. He didn’t care anymore. Not after the way she had treated him over the summer. He looked at the red Hogwart’s Express with anticipation, eyes darting around for signs of his friends.

“Sirius?” Regulus had come up to him. He turned to look at his brother, smaller and thinner than he was, grey eyes looking up hesitantly at him.

“What?” Sirius snapped. He had been snapping a lot at everyone lately.

Regulus’ blinked. “Dad told me to give you this,” he replied, holding out a small pouch, clearly containing money.

“I suppose he told you not to tell Mum?” Sirius asked, raising his eyebrows scornfully.

“I didn’t ask her to treat you like this, you know. You’ve been taking it out on me all summer,” Regulus pointed out, frowning lightly. Sirius felt a little guilty, and softened a little as he looked at his brother’s face. “Mum doesn’t hate you, Sirius,” Regulus continued placatingly.

“I don’t care about that woman,” Sirius replied vehemently, his earlier irritation coming back in full.

“Don’t say that!” Regulus exclaimed, shocked. “You don’t know how upset she was. You didn’t see her when she got Cissy’s letter,” he continued, looking up earnestly at Sirius who had turned away from him.

“I do know,” he rounded angrily on Regulus, who backed away a little, “She came to my school and embarrassed me!”

“Your sorting was a shock to everyone. Mum took it really hard,” Regulus pleaded, “If you could just-”

“Just what?” Sirius spat, “Just grovel? Just beg for forgiveness? Why should I? What did I do wrong?” he demanded. Regulus looked like he clearly regretting having said anything. “Did you know about Andromeda?” Sirius asked suddenly, looking at Regulus skeptically. Regulus shuffled his feet, not meeting Sirius’ eye. “You knew!” Sirius surmised, fuming, “you knew when it happened in February, and you didn’t tell me even when I came home for the summer?”

“Mum said no one was to talk about her anymore,” he whispered guiltily.

Sirius laughed humorlessly, “Of course she did! And you’re momma’s little boy, aren’t you?” he sneered, giving Regulus a scathing look and walking away. Regulus stood forlorn, looking too small for his age, staring helplessly after Sirius.

“Your father and I are proud of your grades last year. Study well this year too,” Mrs. Potter said, hugging James.

“Okay mum,” James broke free impatiently, as she started to run her fingers through his untidy hair, trying to straighten it. He caught sight of Remus and Sirius standing a few feet away, sniggering at him. “I’ll be off then,” he muttered, pulling his head away from her hand, red in face. Mr. Potter looked amused as he circled his arm around James’ shoulder for a hug.

“Listen,” he said urgently, dropping his voice and bending down near James’ ear. James glanced at his mother and saw that she was busy talking to Mrs. Patil and wasn’t paying attention to them. “This has belonged in our family for generations-” James had a small package thrust into his hands. “- and I feel you have more use for it than I do now,” he straightened up winking at his son. James looked at that package guessing full well what was inside. His eyes shone round through his glasses. He opened his mouth to thank his father but Mr. Potter shook his head as if to say ‘not in front of your mother’. Beaming delightedly, James shoved it into his pocket, said a hurried goodbye to his parents and marched excitedly to where Remus and Sirius had recently been joined by Peter.

“Did ickle jamesie-poo need his mommy to comb his hair?” Sirius smirked as he reached them.

“Shut up,” James muttered as the three of them chuckled.

“Let’s find a compartment,” suggested Remus, drawing their attention to the many students already seated inside the train. “Is that your brother?” he enquired to Sirius. James followed his gaze to a small black-haired boy, looking strikingly like Sirius, with a different nose and thinner face. He was looking around nervously.

“Yeah,” replied Sirius coldly, “Let’s go,” he called to them impatiently.

“He looks lost,” Remus observed, moving forward, “maybe you should ask him to sit with us?”

“Oh no!” Sirius said, his voice dripping with scorn, “His mommy might not like that.”.

“He’s just a child, and he’s so alone,” insisted Remus, feeling sorry for Regulus, who was now looking at Sirius hopefully. Sirius sighed, relenting at the sight of his little brother standing by himself. James reckoned Sirius was about to call him over when he was joined by the Slytherin Prefect, Lucius Malfoy.

“There,” Sirius replied bitterly as Regulus walked away with Lucius, “Problem solved. Can we go now?” he said in mock politeness.

James noticed that Regulus kept glancing at Sirius, who had his nose in the air, determinedly not looking in his direction. James felt something press into his stomach as he climbed the train. Caught up with wondering about Sirius and Regulus, he had completely forgotten about his dad’s present.

“Sirius,” he whispered, pulling him back slightly, letting Remus and Peter walk ahead. “Come with me, I’ve got to show you something.”
Sirius followed James into an empty compartment. James hurriedly tore away the wrapping and was looking at it with a mixture of pride and reverence.

“Merlin’s Shit!” Sirius swore, his eyes bulging out, “That’s an-”

“Invisibility cloak!” James completed, grinning. “One of the finest and oldest ones there is. Been in my family for generations,” he said proudly, “now, it’s mine.”

“Merlin’s shit!” Sirius repeated, his eyes still wide. His face broke into a wide grin, “This year is going to be awesome!” he exclaimed as James stuffed it back into his pocket, and they walked down the train to join Remus and Peter.

Snape’s lips twitched as he saw Sirius and James walk past his compartment. Lily Evans, sitting across from him, was waving to her parents and hadn’t noticed them.

“What’s wrong?” Lily asked bemused, looking at him.

“Nothing,” he said, straightening his face hastily. He didn’t want to rekindle the argument they had had over the summer. He opened his mouth to ask her about homework but was interrupted by the arrival of Marlene.

“Lily!” she squealed, jogging over to hug her. A little crease formed between his eyebrows as he saw them exchange news excitedly. He had enjoyed spending time alone with her all summer and wasn’t overjoyed at the prospect of having to share her once they returned to school.

“Hello Snape,” Marlene addressed him uncertainly. He muttered a greeting and looked down at his knees. He cringed mentally at the sight of his dirty jeans and frayed shirt. No wonder Marlene was looking at him like that. He excused himself and hurried down the train to change into his school uniforms, swinging his arms awkwardly to hide the frayed hem of his shirt. As he returned, he heard someone call out his name. He whipped around, his hand reaching automatically for his wand, expecting to see that big-head James Potter or pea-brain Sirius Black.

“Whoa, Severus! What’s got you all riled up?” Snape’s hooked nose was level with the broad chest of Lucius Malfoy. To Malfoy’s right stood a lanky boy with curly brown hair and narrow eyes, whose voice had spoken earlier. He recognized him as Ralph Avery, his classmate.

“Why don’t you come and join us in the Slytherin compartment?” Lucius invited, raising his eyebrows as if daring him to refuse. Snape looked down the corridor fervently. “Is there anywhere else you need to be?” Lucius inquired, his eyes narrowing slightly, his tone dangerously polite. Snape looked between him and Avery and made up his mind.

“No,” he replied. Lucius smirked approvingly, leading the way into the compartment. Snape entered behind Lucius and saw that it was almost full. He recognized a number of faces which he had been accustomed to seeing in his common room. There was Albert Wilkes, Evan Rosier and Aubrey Blishwick from his class. He recognized their fourth year Beater Rigel Selwyn, a burly third year whose last name he knew to be Mulciber, pea-brain’s cousin Narcissa Black and... Pea-Brain? Snape did a double take for a fleeting moment before he realized that the boy sitting next to Narcissa was shorter, smaller and had more angular features than Sirius Black. He took the empty space next to Evan Rosier.

“So tell me,” started Lucius in his silky voice, looking at Snape up and down with his cold grey eyes. Snape hunched his shoulders as if it would help him disappear. “Severus Snape,” he said slowly as if wanting to see how the name rolled off his tongue. “Avery here tells me you enjoy the company of mudbloods?” his eyebrows raised slightly.

Snape looked at his feet awkwardly. He knew Avery and Wilkes disapproved of his friendship with Lily. But how could they understand how she made him feel? She was not like the muggles. All eyes in the compartment were on Snape and he was glad he had at least changed out of his horrible muggle clothes.

“Are you uncomfortable here? Would you rather join the mudblood and the rest of the … Gryffindors?” Lucius said, his eyes never leaving Snape’s face.

“No,” Snape’s lip curled at the thought of James and Sirius, while his heart sank simultaneously wondering if they had occupied the same compartment as Lily. Lucius looked at him approvingly, satisfied with his reaction.

“You’re father is a muggle, isn’t he?” prodded Lucius, enjoying making Snape squirm.

“He is no father of mine,” Snape spat viciously.

“Down boy,” Lucius said placatingly as the group, with the exception of pea-brain’s doppelganger (who looked closest to as uncomfortable as Snape felt), tittered humorously. Lucius’ steely gaze bore into Snape for a few moments before he moved on to interrogating his classmate Aubrey Blishwik, a thin long-faced girl with golden brown curls and eyes set too close to her long nose.

The Great Hall was abuzz with the students exchanging news and pleasantries. The Sorting Hat launched into it's latest song, bringing about a hush over them. They listened intently, as the Hat warned them about rising dangers in the world outside. Nearly Headless Nick was nodding vociferously in agreement to the Hat’s warnings, causing his head to wobble in a way that amused Peter and James immensely. Sirius was distracted by the sight of Regulus, nervously standing in line with the first years to be sorted. A polite applause marked the commencement of the sorting. Regulus Black was the fifth to have the hat placed upon his head.


“Of course he’s Slytherin,” Sirius muttered, rolling his eyes as Regulus made his way to the Slytherin Table. James noticed a flicker of disappointment cross Sirius’ eyes.

“Why are you so mad at your brother?” James asked conversationally, applauding as Cresswell, Dirk joined the Gryffindor table.

“Because he’s such a momma’s little boy,” Sirius remarked, sneeringly. There was something in his tone that stopped James from asking for further explanation. Sirius hardly ever talked about his family, and when he did it was always a casual sarcastic remark, which invariably made the group uncomfortable. He had prodded tactlessly a couple of times but Remus had been there to save the conversation. James had always had the impression that Sirius was slightly fond of his brother and couldn’t understand where the sudden hostility emerged from. For that matter James couldn’t understand how people could not like their parents. His own parents were amazing. He grinned as he thought of his father’s gift, hidden carefully in his trunk, waiting for him upstairs. A whole new world of possibilities unfolded along with the cloak.

Author's Note:
So I promised myself I wouldn't beg for reviews, but I'm five chapters down and I really would love to know that my readers want me to continue. What is it that you like? Dislike? Is there someone you want to see more of?

Love you NB, HB and AB (formerly LilyJamesPotter.) Without you, this fic wouldn't exist. Dedicated to you guys!

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