Disclaimer: I own nothing, it's all JK Rowling's, Warner Bros', or Scholastic's. 

Halloween 1981

He saw the house, what was left of it, when he was still a ways away. 

"Oh, gods, no, no, it can't be…" he muttered to himself, as if disbelief would deny the reality of the scene in front of him.  

He leaped off his motorcycle almost before he parked it, for once not caring that he left it on its side in the street.  

James, Lily, Harry…  Oh gods…   The names ran through Sirius's thoughts in an endless litany of fear and guilt.  

He had only gotten a few steps towards what had been James and Lily's home when he saw the huge figure of Hagrid, carrying a small bundle in blankets.  

His throat closed up and he swallowed, before finally managing to croak "Hagrid…  Harry…"

The giant man walked over to Sirius, placing an awkward comforting hand on his shoulder.   Sirius was silent, sorrow and guilt tearing him apart inside as he thought of James, his best friend, and Lily, the girl that had become so important to all of the Marauders.

Hagrid patted Sirius's shoulder a few times, before Sirius managed to collect himself enough to turn his attention to Harry.

Harry was awake, his green eyes, Lily's eyes, Sirius thought with a pang, open and staring at his godfather.    "Give Harry to me, Hagrid, I'm his godfather, I'll look after him."  

Hagrid shook his head.  "Professor Dumbledore said Harry should go to his aunt and uncle.  They're his nearest relatives and he'll be safe there." 

His aunt and uncle, Lily's sister…  "But they're Muggles!   He can't stay with them!" Sirius protested.   "I've heard Lily's stories about her sister and she sounds like the worst kind of Muggle."

"Dumbledore's orders.   If Dumbledore says Harry'll be safe there, then he'll be safe there."  

Sirius sighed, knowing the strength of Hagrid's loyalty to Dumbledore.  "Ok, but here, take my motorbike, you'll get there faster.   And I won't need it anymore."   His voice held a note of grim determination now.

Sirius bent and kissed Harry on the forehead, right where there was a new scar, in the shape of a lightning-bolt, the only legacy he would have, now, of his parents' dying to save him.  "Good-bye Harry.   I'm sorry," was his whispered message to his godson, who just blinked up at him.  

Hagrid and Harry left, leaving Sirius alone, staring at the ruins of the house.  

He didn't know how long he stood there, feeling hollow and numb inside, before he took a few stumbling steps forward.   He had to see, had to know the worst… 

Blindly, he searched through the ruins until he tripped over something.

It was James.  

"Oh gods, James, no…" burst from him as he fell to his knees beside his best friend.   "No, no, nooo…  I'm sorry, James, I'm so sorry, it's my fault."   His voice broke as he bent to rest his forehead on James's chest.  

The expression on James's face was one of determination.  And he knew then just how his best friend had gone, giving all he had, every ounce of his body, for Lily and Harry, his love and his son.  

It was a familiar look; it was how James looked during Quidditch games.   A choked sound, half-laugh, half-sob escaped Sirius as he mourned his best friend.  

When he closed his eyes, he could see James as he had been during life.   James, with his perpetually messy black hair and round glasses, smiling, smirking, glaring…  James as he flew as if he had been born to fly on a broom…  James cheering at Quidditch matches…  James kissing Lily…  James grinning at his wedding, his arm around Lily's waist…  James holding Harry… 

"Oh, gods, James, forgive me."  

He could hear himself telling James to use Peter as his Secret Keeper, telling him that Voldemort would never dream that poor, weak Peter would be the Secret Keeper.   He had been wrong, so wrong, and now James and Lily, his two best friends in the world, were dead.  

"I'm sorry, James.   Forgive me…"   The words came out like a prayer.

After a moment, Sirius raised his head, his sorrow now tempered with a grim determination that boded ill for somebody.  

Slowly, he reached down and took James's cold, lifeless hand in his.   "I promise you and Lily that I will protect Harry with my life.   I won't fail him like I failed you.   And Peter will pay."  

Oh yes, Peter would pay.   His mouth set in a grim line, Sirius stood up, when he realized something. 

Oh gods.   Dumbledore thought that he himself had been James's Secret Keeper.   He was the only one who knew the truth.   He was going to be blamed for killing his own best friend.   A shudder racked his entire body.   This was all so ironic, it would have been funny in any other situation.  

He turned, giving one last, long look at the wrecked house that he had spent so many happy hours in, saying a last silent farewell in his heart and mind to James, his best friend and to Lily, the girl his best friend had loved.   And then he took off running in the dark night, all thoughts of sadness pushed to the back of his mind as anger, cold and deadly, filled his thoughts.