Author's Note: As of 17 July 2003, this story has been Order of the Phoenix-ized in some small ways. However, the plot will not and has not changed. Fortunately, that is the beauty of an Alternate Universe. Arabella Figg, for example, is not a Squib in this universe. There are a few other minor differences, but I do hope you'll enjoy Promises Unbroken regardless of those. Thanks for all those who have continually read my story, and I hope you continue to enjoy it.
Editor's Note: As of 22 November 2005, this story has been updated through Half Blood Prince. The above statement holds true in this regard as well, but some essential things did need to be changed, and as such, Robin asked that I (Sailor Sol) upload the edited versions of the chapters for continuity's sake. This note holds true for the entire trilogy, and this will be the only time that I state this fact.
Disclaimer: The characters and settings of Harry Potter belong to the wonderful and talented J.K. Rowling, whom I thank very much for the loan of her playground. The plot, however, and anything you do not recognize, belongs to me. I am not making any profit from the writing and display of this story, except for gratification of my ego and quenching my thirst to write.
"Then you should have died!" roared Black. "Died rather than betray your friends, as we would have done for you!"
Prologue: As We Would Have Done for You
Upon the hill sat a monument of stone, shaped in the form of a pillar. It was made of gleaming black marble, with a six-pointed gold star on the top. Inscribed upon the memorial were the words:
Faithful until the end.
Gone, but never forgotten.
As sun set over Godric's Hollow, its rays reflected off of the six-pointed star, it illuminated the faces of the three men who stood silently before the monument. At the bottom of the hill stood a red-haired woman, but she was separate from the others, allowing them a last goodbye. However, even she would never have claimed that the wind caused the tears in her eyes. To do such would be to dishonor the most noble of sacrifices. The men gathered at the monument knew she understood, and knew she shared their grief, but this was a moment that they alone could share.
But the monument was not a tombstone, and nor was the hill a graveyard. His body, after all, had never been found.
Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity of silence, the center man spoke. He was around thirty years old, with unruly black hair, and hazel eyes that might have been striking if they had not been so sad. "True friendships never really die," he whispered heavily and slowly. "And family isn't defined by blood. It's made strong by bonds that won't break, tempered and tested by trials and pain. What we are is brothers, and as such we remain, loyal to one another until the end. And no matter what happens between this moment and then, I shall always be thankful to have had such friends."
The shorter and slightly plumper figure to his left sobbed, his blond head shaking in the desperate disbelief they had lived with for over a decade.
"Faithful until the end," the third man quoted in a choked voice. His light brown hair was already streaked with gray despite his relative youth, and tears shone in his blue eyes. "Oh, Padfoot…why did you have to mean that so much?"
"I always thought he would be the last to go," the short man added.
"Or the first, in a blaze of glory." The center man pushed his glasses up his nose convulsively, as if searching for something to do with his hands. "He'd hate us not knowing."
The right most figure laid a hand on his friend's shoulder. "He made his choice, Prongs…and it was one he would have been proud of."
"I know… I just miss him." Finally, James Potter let the tears fall. "It's been ten years… And I still want him back. I still wish he hadn't done it."
"It's not your fault, James," Peter Pettigrew whispered. "It's not anyone's fault, except for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's. You never thought he'd have to die for you."
"But if I hadn't asked him…"
Remus Lupin turned and wrapped his arms around his friend. "Don't even say it, James. Don't do this to yourself. You don't know what would have happened in the war, and you don't know if Sirius would have lived or died. Don't kill yourself over what might have been. We can't change that now. All we can do is honor his sacrifice. All we can do is remember the good times. And we can go on with our lives, as Sirius would have wanted us to. Let us remember him as he was and live for the days he let us have."
"I hate the fact that he died for me," Potter replied stubbornly, his face buried in Lupin's shoulder. James Potter was a strong man, but there were moments when he needed this.
Lupin gave him a gentle glare. "You'd have done the same for him, James, just as any of us would have for each other. You said it yourself—we are more than just friends. And Sirius"—here, his voice finally broke—"Sirius gave us a future. He kept you, and Lily, and Harry safe. I think he'd be proud of that."
"He died a hero," Peter added. "Just like he always wanted."
"I don't think he endured Voldemort's torture out of a desire to be a hero, Peter!" James snapped. He might have gone on if not for Remus' embrace.
"Peter didn't mean it that way, James." He tightened his arms around his friend. "But he's right, in a way. No matter what they did to him, Sirius never broke. He did die a hero. And I wish I could thank him for saving you almost as much as I wish we could have him back."
James might have been fooled by his friend's calm voice if he hadn't seen the tears streaming down Remus' face. "Me, too."
"And me," Peter whispered. "I wish it hadn't been this way."