Pain. Like a burning thing that licked at his senses and lingered there. Over and over again; strong sting, fading burn, one hit right after the other. It was always like this; and sometimes he feared that it always would be. That he'd never be free from this dark place. With each slash and cut falling to his legs, his back, his shoulders, he would think about this lasting forever, well into his old years. Sometimes, though...sometimes when it got really bad, and he needed something to cling to, he would think about the day he could get away from this place, get away from her.
He'd read about lashings before, and it wasn't like it was hard to imagine that such a thing would be painful, but Sirius also had to imagine that it was much worse when the pain inflicted came from a wand. Each cut to his flesh had varying intensities, all based on the level of anger or hatred his mother happened to be feeling for him at the current, for whatever she happened to feel angry about.
Being sorted into Gryffindor, being a blood-traitor when he was supposed to be the bloody heir, tacking up all those awful Gryffindor flags in his room with the permanent sticking charm. There were, of course, lesser offenses. Somehow, they all ended up feeling the same, when the punishment was always the same.
It came to it, that Sirius even started taking the blame when Regulus would have otherwise been the one to be in trouble. He couldn't be sure that Regulus would receive the same treatment as himself, but on the off chance that their punishments would be the same, he wouldn't allow for it.
They didn't always see eye-to-eye, Sirius and Regulus, but that didn't mean that Sirius didn't care about his baby brother. He would protect him, as long as he could, with everything that he had.
It was all these things that Sirius was thinking on as he sat on the floor of the shower, picking at some new scars on his legs. His were nothing, compared to Remus', but he felt a hot burning shame at his neck as he looked down at the glistening slices to his otherwise perfect skin. How was it that, on Remus, scars were beautiful and tragic? But on Sirius' own skin they were just--
He squeezed his eyes closed, letting his long black hair fall in curtains around his face as the water pounded onto his skin.
He didn't move from his spot until he heard the pounding on the bathroom door, of some poor bloke needing to take a piss.
Back to his bed, Sirius lay staring up at the canopy above his bed, his eyes adjusting to the darkness of the dorm room quickly. The snores from Peter and James to his one side, and the soft, even breathing of Remus to his other, the occasional rustling of blankets fluttered to him as well. Remus was just as restless in his sleep as Sirius imagined himself to be on nights like this, when his mind wandered to those darker places, the places he tried to keep hidden and buried.
It wasn't like he couldn't handle what went on at home, and he would never burden his friends with the details; they would just worry, or worse--pity him. That was the last thing that he wanted, especially from Remus. Godric knows how he came about the scars that adorned his skin, but it couldn't be any better a situation than what Sirius was experiencing himself.
He focused in on the soft, even breathing of Remus and let his eyelids slip closed, much too tired to attempt to fight it off as sleep befell him and darkness swallowed him whole.
Some nights, he hated the intrusive thoughts that came to him at the most inopportune time.
Some nights, he was thankful that he had a better family here, with the boys in this room.
Some nights, he wished that he never had to leave.
But nights don't last; day break always follows and brings with it the light of a new day, and the opportunity for change, good and bad.
He always hoped--hoped against hope--that the day would bring good change.