Number Twelve Grimmulad Place had never been a very warm or comforting, home-sweet-home sort of environment. In contrast to Gryffindor Common Room, the place was was an absolute mausoleum. Although Sirius had always felt slightly uncomfortable there, as a child he was outright terrified of the disembodied House Elf Heads that his mother insisted on displaying, as he entered his family home upon his arrival for winter holidays, he was filled with an instant sense of dread that nearly made him want to vomit.
He didn't belong here anymore.
He probably never had.
Regulus hadn't so much as made eye contact with him since they got off the train, and his parents...well, they had said what felt like a mandatory and forced hello to him, but the overall feeling of the reunion was quite cold. He didn't want to be here, and he was pretty sure they didn't want him either.
James had practically begged Sirius to come back home with him for Christmas, but he had forced himself to decline. Continuing to avoid The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black would only make matters worse because, eventually, he would have to return anyway, right? So why put it off. Why fill himself with the false hope that he could walk out that door and never look back?
Of course, being the Marauder he was, he certainly didn't plan to sit just sit around quietly and let his presence there go completely unnoticed by his family. The first thing he did once he got up to his bedroom was place a large Gryffindor banner and suit of arms across the wall, being sure to use a permanent sticking charm so his mother couldn't remove it once he returned to school. He'd love to see her face when she tried to rip it down.
Marlene had gotten him a muggle record player for his fifteenth birthday back in November, and it had been the first thing he packed when he knew he would be returning home for the week with plans to keep The Beatles, Queen and Bowie playing as loudly as he could all day and night for the sole purpose of pissing off the rest of his family. That didn't take long. Only three songs into Sheer Heart Attack, Kreacher was banging on his door on his mother's orders to 'turn that muggle filth off'. He simply turned up Killer Queen and let Freddie Mercury's voice drown out everything else. In his opinion, if his parents had such an issue with his behavior, they could get off their uppity, pompous arses, and deal with him themselves. He refused to be ignored by them any longer. They were going to see him whether they wanted to or not. He wasn't going to take secondhand orders from a grumpy old house elf that had never given him anything but feigned respect followed by mumbled insults that were clearly meant to be heard.
It wasn't until his third day back home that things at Number Twelve really got exciting. When Kreacher rang for dinner, Sirius had sauntered down the stairs not in his fine dress robes, as was expected of a member of The House of Black, but in his Ziggy Stardust t shirt and tight muggle jeans. He sat down in his usual seat, not bothering with the proper uptight posture that had been drilled into him since he could sit up on his own, and instead tilted his chair back on its hind legs, crossing his arms defiantly over his chest.
Walburga's eyes nearly popped out of her head. Her mouth kept opening and closing like a fish as she fought to find the words for just how horrible and shameful a son he was. Finally his father slammed his fist on the table and stood, glaring daggers at his eldest child.
"Sirius Orion Black! Are you trying to send your mother to an early grave!"
Sirius actually smirked. "Oh, good! You do see me, father. I was starting to worry that maybe I had gone invisible or something." He stood as well, letting his chair fall backwards onto the floor with a loud thud, but no one seemed to notice. "What is it now that's not good enough for you? It was easy to ignore the fact that I wasn't placed in Slytherin. Don't mention it and it's like it's not true, right? But when you have to look at me and I don't fit into your Royal Pureblood mold, that's when I finally get some sort of acknowledgement?" Anger was boiling inside his stomach, rising up to the surface.
"This is not how we raised you to be, Sirius." Orion's voice was dangerously low and Sirius could see the large vein in his neck starting to throb, but he wouldn't back down.
"I know it's not." He retorted, keeping his tone almost eerily similar to that of his father's. "But that's what makes it so bloody great."
Orion's eyes widened at the blatant disrespect, and almost without moving his mouth he uttered "Get out of my sight, Sirius." and slowly sat back down.
"With pleasure." Sirius spat back before kicking his fallen chair out of the way and leaving the dining room. He stomped as loudly as he could up the stairs to his bedroom and grabbed the first relatively warm article of clothing he could find, which happened to be one of Remus' sweaters that must have gotten mixed in with his things while they were packing, and pulled it on over his head. He searched through his trunk for his pack of cigarettes, a habit he had picked up after a few late night snogging sessions in various broom closets with Ravenclaw 7th year Patrick Davies a few months back, marched right back down the stairs and out the front door. He kept walking until he hit the side walk, sat on the curb and placed a cigarette between his lips.
"Why do you do that?"
Sirius flicked his muggle lighter and lit the end of his cigarette, inhaling. "Do what?" He asked, without looking back at his brother. "Smoke? Because I fucking want to."
Regulus slowly sat down beside him. "Not that." He rolled his eyes. "Although it is a disgusting muggle habit...I mean why do you have to make things so bloody difficult for yourself all the time?"
Sirius shook his head and looked at Regulus with mild annoyance. "I'm not making anything difficult, Reg. I'm just being myself, it's them that makes it difficult when they can't accept that I'm just not made out like the rest of this family." He tapped off some ashes. "You're not either, Regulus. But you're too scared to rock the boat and make some waves. You'd rather just sit there with your head up their arses making them proud of things that you don't even believe in."
Regulus was quiet, watching his brother closely. A few times he looked like he was going to say something, but instead he would just sigh or make some unidentifiable noise in the back of his throat. "...You don't know what I do or don't believe in." He finally said, staring down at the ground.
Sirius shrugged and put his cigarette out on the pavement. "You're right. I don't. Because you won't even look at me in the halls anymore, let alone talk to me." He stood up. "So just say it, Regulus...we're practically not even brothers anymore."
The younger brother froze, an audible gasp tumbling from his lips. After a few seconds he stood as well and turned to face the other boy. "Fine. Maybe you're right. You don't need me anyway, right? You've got a brother. You've got Potter, don't you?" His voice was cold and his eyes were piercing.
Sirius licked his lips and ran a hand through his hair. He nodded. "Yeah. I do. Who've you got, Regulus?" He turned and walked back inside, slamming the door behind him.
When he was back in his room he threw on one of his records and laid on his bed staring at the ceiling. His mind felt surprisingly blank. He would have thought that he would feel bad for saying those sorts of things to Regulus, but he didn't. He didn't feel anything. He lifted his hips and wiggled out of his jeans, kicking them off his bed. He meant to take off Remus' sweater as well, but as he went to pull it off, he was hit with the scent of parchment, forest, tea and chocolate...
He slept in Remus' sweater for the remainder of the week.