The street light flickered on outside the small apartment, it lit the dirty laminate flooring and the cracked and pealing paint in a putrid yellow glow, favoured by the sorts of people who lie to lurk in dark corners, hoods up and knife in hand. The stagnant air wound its way through the house, resting, heaping it's depression upon everything it touched. In the corner, an electric fan tried in vain to make living conditions better for the occupant of the veritable cesspit that passed its self of as a home.

Papers rustled gently in the small amount of breeze generated from the mundane appliance. Unread, unmarked bar the occasional half chewed mouse that rested on the pages, left by the fat black cat that sat lolling paws down over the edge of the large green arm chair that sat in pool of light.

It watches as it's owner stirs on the quickly rehashed sofa, quilted blanket under heavy head , the rhythmic breathing dispersing the dust that has long since settled in the unused house.

A car rounds the corner, its head lamps lighting up posters and an old guitar in the corner, smiling faces peer down on the blissfully unaware sleeper, watching through eyes that question why she has returned, where she has been and why they have become so neglected.

The cat stirs, ears erected and alert to a sound inaudible to the human ear, it's lamp like eyes turned towards not the door but the window, watching as the dark figure climes intrepidly up the old rusting iron fire escape. Heckles raised and claws outstretched ready to defend its owner the cat spits at the intruder.

On the sofa, a wand is drawn and pointed.

By the window, the cat jumps at a low barking growl emitted from the mouth of the man.

"Sirius, he's half your size."

"And he knows I'm only playing Nymph; now put the wand down before you do something that I'll regret."

Nymphadora Tonks lowered her wand and surveyed her cousin as he edged in to the darkness by the window frame. A flick of her wrist and the blinds fall down over the grimy glass.

"You're reflexes are getting slow, if I had been a death eater-"

"You would have been unconscious now, what do you want Sirius?" Tonks asked running her hand through her sleep flattened pink hair.

"Now is that any way to talk to your favourite cousin?" says Sirius stroking the black cat behind the ears.

"It's not as if you have much competition is it?" says Tonks raising a stitched eyebrow, to the dark figure as he slides in to the green chair.

"Nice to see you still think so highly of me."

"You're supposed to be in hiding or had you forgotten that, what will the order say if they find out you've been wandering?"

"The same as they usually do I should imagine whatever happened to your sense of fun Tonks, you used to have so much edge."

"Yeah well, you know some of us would like to live to see the other side of this stupid war." she said quietly getting up and heading to the kitchen, a small plastic bag lay on the counter top, she reached in to it and pulled out a bottle of milk. She tipped some in to a saucer and placed it on the floor.

"Cerberus, come on boy, milk."

The black cat flicked its tail at Sirius, turning twice on his lap before prancing across the floor.

"If I didn't like you so much cat, I would eat you." he said watching the animal indignantly scratch its claws on the rug.


"Stupid thing eats better than I do." said Sirius, tons could almost detect the pet lip without looking at him.

"I still say all the solitary confinement isn't good for you." she said walking over and handing him a pumpkin pasty from her bag.

"It wasn't solitary confinement, well not until you and Moony went and started with this never coming to visit anymore." Sirius said sarcastically ripping in to his pasty.

Tonks took a bite out of her pumpkin pasty, well aware of the fact that the pasty was the last thing she felt like eating now. In fact, in that last sentence Sirius had completely removed any sort of appetite from her.

"I don't know why you're acting like such big kids, I mean if you're stupid enough to want to be with someone as boring as Remus, you either got to really be in to that whole book worm thing or severely need to check in to a healer."

"Remus is not a book worm, he's just clever. There's nothing wrong with liking books and logic."

Sirius smiled, leaning back in the chair as he devoured the last of the pastry.

"You are so easy to wind up you know that. I know Remus better than you could ever imagine Tonksy; I know he is no bookworm. Well not that much, and if it is any consolidation I agree with you thinking he is darn right out of order. I mean if someone half my age wanted to marry me I'd jump at the chance." he contemplated the sentence. "In fact, if anyone wanted to marry me, let alone come within a foot of an ex con, I would marry her in an instant, Moony will come around, and he always does."

Tonks looked across at her cousin; he shrugged giving her what she presumed he thought was a reassuring smile. It resembled the crazed look that had glared down at her from wanted posters at work for well over a year now.

"What did you really come here for?" she asked quietly. "Other than to tell me your best friend is delusional, that is."

He looked down at his hands, sighing and disturbing the heavy air, Cerberus stalked back across the room, rubbing his fur between Sirius fingers as he reached the man.

"I needed to get my head away from worrying about Harry, he's not right, I don't think the school is safe and I haven't seen Dumbledore in weeks…"

"Dumbledore knows what he's doing…"

"He trusts Snape, how is that knowing what he's doing? Tonks I don't think I can stay in that stupid house any longer."

"Well your going to have to, your not even supposed to be here." she said putting the uneaten pasty back in the packet minus a mouthful.

"Come back with me, at least that way I don't feel like the walls are caving in and stop me throttling Kreatcher." there was a pleading in his voice that made her inner calling stir.

She looked at him his eyes imploring her to return with her.

"Ok, ok but only if you travel as snuffles, I can't be bothered with a pack of Dementors, not in this mood we wouldn't stand a chance."

Sighing she summoned the bag from the kitchen where she had dumped it unopened. She had been living at her fathers for so long it seamed strange to think that most of her life was in one little bag.

When she turned back Cerberus had gone, due mainly to the presence of the large black dog that now stood on its back paws framed in the window.

"No snuffles, civilised people use the door."

The dog barked loudly.

"Oh sod of Sirius." Tonks said pushing the mutt to the door with her foot.