It was too early to think about that. For now he just had to get out of here.
He closed the trunk and took his wand, pulling the trunk behind him. He very nearly stopped in his tracks when he saw his brother at the foot of the stairs. Sirius had to repress the older brother instinct, which he'd become very proficient at, actually. "If you're going to repeat whatever filth the bitch continues to spew at me, don't waste your time. I'm going."
Regulus wasn't pouting and he sure as hell wasn't going to cry. He also wasn't going to tell anyone about the hour he'd sat on the stairs listening to the two of them scream at each other, shaking. Sirius really wasn't going to leave, was he? Sure the two of them hated each other, but that was only in the we're brothers and thus competing for our parents attention, therefore we musn't get along sort of way.
Still, he wasn't going to look Sirius in the eye. He couldn't and he certainly didn't want Sirius telling all his stupid mates that he had cried.
"Where are you going?" Regulus asked, softly, his hands shoved into his pockets.
"The Potters," he answered, descending the stairs as noisily as he could, making sure their parents and every ancestor in portraits from here to the attic heard the heir to their legacy leaving. "If I outstay my welcome there, maybe I'll see if Andromeda can help me out." If he even remembered Andromeda.
"You can't really leave," Regulus said, stupidly, following him down the stairs. It doesn't work that way, he added silently. "What are you going to do for money? What if the Potters don't let you stay?"
"It doesn't matter, I'll figure it out later when it happens," Sirius answered, not stopping, although he did fee like his heart skipped several successive beats. "I can't think about it right now, I just have to get out of here." By that time he was talking more to himself than Regulus, and more out of a desire to keep him from talking than having something more to say.
Don't leave me here alone, a voice, which Regulus would never vocalize, raged in his head. "So that's it then?" Regulus asked.
"That's it," he answered automatically, trying not to seem unnerved or upset. After all, it wouldn't do to make the grand exit while bawling or to reconsider altogether.
No, he was doing this. He was going to go through with it. "Have fun living up to the entire legacy of a bunch of bigots. I'm sure mother'll find you better at it than I ever was."
Regulus clenched his fists. Sirius couldn't just leave. This could not just happen. It wasn't...right. "You're just going to walk out? And leave us all here and pretend that we never existed."
He looked at Regulus for the first time. He was angry (perhaps rightly so) and giving him a look that was carefully but badly disguised hurt. He wished that it was going to be that easy. He didn't think it was going to be. But it was going to be a hell of a lot better than sticking around here. "I'm going and that's that."
Something inside Regulus's brain snapped. "You know what, fuck you then," Regulus spat angrily. "If you hadn't opened your mouth none of this would have happened! And everything would be just fine, but no you've always got to open your damn mouth."
Even somebody as mercurial as Sirius could only take so much fighting in one night, and he'd pretty much fought himself out with their mother. "I'm not going to apologise and I'm not going to stick around." He pushed the rest of the way down the stairs. "Have a nice, narrow life."
Angry, Regulus turned on his heel and headed for his room loudly. When he reached it, he slammed the door behind him. So that was it, he was an only child. Sirius had never existed, he was sure that he'd be informed of this in the morning. Getting a piece of parchment out, he began to write, at first to Barty, but then changed his mind. Rabastan had a brother, he might be more sympathetic to the entire notion. Regulus didn't plan on telling Rabastan that he would miss Sirius, not when Sirius was surely dead to his family now.
Before he could be stopped again by another irate family member, he went post haste to the kitchen and Floo'd away to the Potters, pushing his trunk in first and following close behind.
He came out the other end with soot in his hair but otherwise unharmed. '"Lo," he called to the house experimentally. They might be over at the McKinnons. Potters and McKinnons did that sort of thing.
James peeked his head around the corner and looked down the stairs. He was in his bedroom when he heard the fireplace and had come out to investigate. "What are you doing here?"
Standing in the Potters' living room seemed sort of odd, almost like he was not really there, or like he was watching. "Running away from home," he said.
"It's a bit early in the summer for that, isn't it?" James asked, coming down the stairs.
Now something snapped inside Sirius's head. "No, no, it's - it's forever, this time. I'm not going back, EVER."
"You've got the be f-," James began and then remembered that his beloved mother was upstairs. "Kidding me. What happened?"
Sirius dropped the end of the trunk he'd been holding onto and it hit the floor with a thud. "I'm sick of it all - their - their bloody idiocy and just everything. And the fighting. I hate all the bloody fighting." Your family wasn't supposed to fight you every single step that you made. "If I'm such a terrible son, they can go ahead and blast me off the family tree. It's not worth it, James."
"You're absobloody right," James agreed. "It's stupid. I just can't believe you left, that's completely brilliant."
Dorea Potter had heard voices coming from down the stairs and had heard the familiar pop of the Floo. She wasn't expecting any appointments and neither James or Charlus had noted that they were expecting anyone to visit. "James?" she said, heading down the stairs, before she saw Sirius. "Oh, Sirius, how delightful. James didn't tell me he was expecting you."
"That's because I wasn't, Mum," James said.
"No, he wasn't. But there wasn't really - I mean, it wasn't planned," Sirius broke in awkwardly.
"Well, that's all right. We're always happy to see you Sirius," Dorea said. She took Sirius's hand and patted it, in the only way a lady just on this side of elderly could and get away with it. "Now if you come with me, I believe that I have a pudding in the kitchen that my son hasn't already devoured."
Sirius had to smile at James's mother. "Maybe - maybe in a moment, d'you suppose I could stick this upstairs?" he asked.
"Of course, dear," Dorea told him.
"Thanks," he said, taking it up the stairs to the guest bedroom that was practically his - he'd stayed there every time he'd come, from their first Christmas holidays to this. In the middle of the floor it really hit him for the first time what he'd actually done. He sat on his trunk and ran a hand through his hair. He was not going to cry.
James headed upstairs and stuck his head into Sirius's room. "They won't care if you stay."
"Thanks," he said, not moving any.
"You going to be all right, Padfoot?"
"I - oh man," he sighed. It was a fair question, and he was sure that he would be, but now he was just in so much shock. "Yeah. I mean, I just couldn't take it anymore."
"Can't really blame you either," James said, leaning on the doorframe. With a poncy git for a brother and a bitch of a mother, he added in his head.
Okay, he was trying. Sirius stood and straightened his shirt. "Okay then. Your mum said something about pudding in the kitchen?" He was a Gryffindor. He could do bravado.
"Yeah, she's probably thinking that we got lost or something," James told him.
"Yeah," Sirius sighed, and then grinned mischeveously. "Race you downstairs!" he exclaimed, dashing past him and around the corner.
"You're worse than Lanie," James yelled. Instead of taking the stairs, he jumped on the railing and slid down, depsite his mother's constant warnings of violence if he continued this.
"HEY!" Sirius returned, jumping the last four steps altogether. "Bloody cheater."
When James reached the bottom, he preened.
"Don't look so proud, bloody ponce," Sirius said. "Cheater, I say."
"Jealous much?" James asked with a smile. "The thing is," he whispered. "You'd better ask. They'll say yes, but just tell them about the awful day you've had and go from there. They'll buy it for sure."
Sirius nodded. Awful day? Awful life. "No, I'll ask. I mean, even if they only want to put up with me for so long, that's great. I have a cousin who - well, she's off the family tree too, so she'll understand." Why could he scream this sort of thing at his family, who he hated, and then have such a hard time saying it to James?
"Trust me, they'll let you stay for however long," James assured him. "Mum understands."
He nodded again. "I - thanks."
James shrugged. "S'not a big deal, Padfoot."
Sirius shrugged in return, and then smirked. "Okay. But, pudding."
"Well, yes," James replied, entering the kitchen.
"There you two boys are," Dorea said, serving the pudding onto plates.
"Yeah," Sirius echoed, sliding easily into a chair at the kitchen table. He took one moment, and said, "Can I stay? I mean - this isn't for hols, not really, I'm not really going to be welcome back in that house again. Ever, really."
"Pardon dear?" Dorea asked, not sure that she heard Sirius correctly.
"Well um. I'm not going back and even if I did, they'd have me removed," he said. It had never happened in his lifetime that he knew of, but there were always stories. "We fought, for the last time."
"Of course!" Dorea said, smiling. "Of course you can stay, we'd love for you to be here. You and James are such good friends, we could hardly send you out on the street." She patted Sirius comfortingly on the back.
He nodded his thanks - it was becoming worn out to say, but he thought she understood.
"Plus now that we've got you here, we can plot how to get rid of that friend of yours," Dorea said, sitting down giving Sirius a conspiritorital wink.
"Oh ha ha Mum," James said, with a mouth full of pudding.
"What, the McKinnons don't want him?" Sirius asked with an exaggerated look of shock on his face.
"I think they've had it up to here with the boys in their family," Dorea said, holding her hand up to her chin.
"They'd barely even notice him," Sirius waved his hand.
"You two are hilarious," James complained, good naturdly.
"He's too loud not to notice," Dorea added.
"Well between the three anklebiters and Marlene, I can't see how he could be," grinned Sirius.
"Just wait until he makes Miranda scream," Dorea said.
"Only because she deserves it," James said, a bit sulkily.
"Doesn't take much," Sirius added expertly.
"Exactly," James said.
"Now boys," Dorea said. "Your father is going to be home soon, James. I'll put on the tea. Sirius, what would you like to have for dinner and don't say pudding."
"You know me too well," he joked in return. "D'you happen to have things for spaghetti handy?"
"I do," Dorea told them.
"Nice choice," James told Sirius.
"Now, you two hurry up with your pudding and get out of here so I can start dinner," Dorea told them, finding the things she needed to make her sauce.
Sirius obliged quickly and was out of there in record time. "Slowpoke!" he called to James.
"Thanks Mum," James said, kissing his mum on the cheek. "Just because I enjoy my food!" he yelled back, chasing Sirius out of the room.
"Yeah, we'll see how well you like it when Marlene's outstripping you on the pitch this fall," he teased.
"Right," James said, with a roll of his eyes. "She's too slow and too busy making eyes at Podmore."
"She can fly circles around you, Podmore or no Podmore, and you know it."
"Ha!" James said. "I practically taught Lanie how to fly."
"Oh, so the learner has become the master?"
"Do you want to feel safe sleeping at night or not?"
"Always with one eye open."
"You better," James said. "Let's go out and have a fly. Dinner won't be done for a while."
"Sounds grand," Sirius replied, letting James lead the way outside.
By etoile_noir_, princeofsnakes, tobegreat, and Dorea Potter.