Sleeves rolled up, he stuck his right index and middle fingers down his throat, pressing down on the back of his tongue. His stomach rolled, and quickly it's contents spewed outward, emptying itself. It took several minutes, but soon he was empty, and all was right with the world again. He flushed the toilet and walked towards the sinks, wiping vomit and saliva from his mouth with the back of his hand. He washed his hand and rinsed his mouth, staring intently at the mirror. He was handsome, he knew that. With his silky black hair, pale skin, and gray eyes how could he not be? There were black circles under his eyes, certainly, but still. Sirius was well aware of the swoons the ladies of Griffindor let out, on his behalf. But that was no matter. He felt empty and in control, and that was what mattered.

"Aren't you getting a little old to still be doing this?"

"I haven't the slightest idea what you're referring to James," Sirius replied, making eye contact with his friend who stood at the doorway, via the mirror he had been gazing into for the past ten minutes.

James rolled his eyes. "Next time you might want to put up a silencing spell, right mate?"

Sirius frowned. "So you heard..."

"I thought you were doing better. You seemed so well this summer."

Sirius sighed. He didn't want to have this conversation for what felt like the millionth time. He was tired of trying to explain something that no one seemed capable of comprehending.

"Don't you have anything to say? I don't know how many times I have to tell you this; you're not fat."

Sirius' body welled with rage, clenching his fists tightly to help quell the anger. "This isn't about that. It was never about wanting to be thin, or attractive or whatever the fuck you think it is, so just sod off!"

James stood silently, not responding, just watching his friend. Sirius rolled his eyes. "Fine, don't want to leave? Then I will."

Shoving James out of the way, Sirius stormed off, hellbent on going somewhere, anywhere to be alone.

Sirius finds himself outside, just by the edge of the forest. Breathing deeply, he finally feels himself starting to relax, to calm down. He wasn't sure what James had done to anger him so much. Normally he was able to keep calm, to dodge his friends' questions and accusations about his behavior. What was so different about today? He bites his lip, beginning to regret his actions. Why had he said all that? That was as good as a confession, and they were surely going to hold it against him. Still, he couldn't help but laugh at James' words.

"Thought I was doing better, what a laugh."

Sirius was nothing if not a private person. He only revealed to the world what he wanted them to see, what he felt comfortable being known. Sirius' "habits" as James insisted on calling them, had never ceased, though he made certain to convince his friends otherwise. Especially after his hospitalization during fourth year. After that, James and Remus, loyal to the end, had taken him on as their own sort of mission, making sure he was eating, wasn't purging up his meals, all under the pretense of caring. They didn't, couldn't understand the depth of his need for this, for these things. They hadn't been raised in a home where his entire life had been planned out for him. They didn't understand the pressures of needing to measure up to other people's expectations, or else. They didn't understand that he needed this control, because everything else in his life was completely out of his control. It was a delicate balance, the dance hovering between health and illness, and Sirius knew it quite well. After all, this need to control something had started when he was what, eleven? Yes, he had made mistakes, like when he'd taken it too far when he was fourteen, but he was better now. He knew where to draw the line, how to appease the others while still maintaining a semblance of control over himself, over his body. Why couldn't bloody James respect that, and leave him in peace?

"You shouldn't be out wandering late at night, alone."

Sirius turned to see who was approaching him.


"It's not safe to be wandering alone. You stormed out so quickly, and I was worried."

"Come now, Moony. I'm a Marauder. I can take care of myself... How did you know where I would be?"

Remus rolled his eyes. "We've only been roommates for what, six years now? Of course I know you well enough to know where you go to sulk, Sirius."

"I'm not sulking."

"You know James only said anything because he worries. We all do."

"Well you can stop worrying about me, because I'm fine. I mean look at me, I don't look sick do I?"

"It's a slippery slope, Pads. I- we, you were throwing up, and that scares us. You... You never did that before when you were struggling. Except fourth year when you were really..."

"I felt ill after dinner. I'm sorry if you're worried, but really Moony, I'm fine. It's the beginning of term and I'm nervous, and it's really nothing at all."

Moony smiled. "If you say you're fine, I believe you. Now, why don't we head back in, it would relieve James some to know you're okay."

Sirius nodded in agreement, knowing when to pick his battles. He headed back towards the castle with his friend, deep in thought. He would have to be more careful, in order to ease his friends' minds. After all, though he cared deeply for them and didn't wish to worry them so, there was no way in hell he planned to stop. How he coped, how he handled himself and his body would be on his terms, and no one else's.