“Are you happy?” asked Sirius suddenly.
James had only to turn his head a few inches to see Sirius’s profile, caught in the dim white light of the moon and stars upon which his eyes were fixed. He exhaled a pillar of chalky cigarette smoke, which danced and swirled against the night sky, familiar but long absent from James’s routine.
“I suppose so,” he replied at length. “I’m not ecstatic at the moment, but…”
“I don’t mean right now,” Sirius interrupted, bringing the cigarette to his lips again. His throat moved with the inhalation and then again as he breathed out. “I mean always. Just—are you happy?”
James was silent for a second. “Yeah, I think so.”
“Really?” Sirius turned his head to look down at James.
“Yeah. I mean—I guess. I know I’m not unhappy.”
“Really?” asked Sirius again. James nodded, and his friend looked heavenward again. “I am.”
James swallowed. Almost without meaning to say it, he muttered: “I know.”