Disclaimer:  Not my property.  It belongs to the fabulous Ms. Rowling.

Warning:  Contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Yes, it just came out, but I finished it last night, and I was just inspired.  So basically, if you've not read it, don't look down.

Dedication:  To Kim.  If it weren't for her, I would never have gotten interesting in the Harry Potter series.

Chapter 1: Flash

-

"You're a dreamer, Remus."

"Siri, I'm no more a dreamer than you are…  I just wish that everybody here could get along, not start a fight every two moments.  You and James' always picking on Severus…"

"You mean Snivilus…" Sirius shut his mouth at the cold glare that came from the werewolf.  The young wizards sat under a giant oak tree, near the lake.  They had just finished their homework, leaving Peter and James in the library, attempting to enjoy the remaining heat of the dog days of summer.  Sirius ran a hand through his long, shiny black hair, an aggravated look marring his features.  "It's not like he doesn't give just as good as he gets.  Smarmy git."

Remus stood up quickly, rolling his eyes.  "You lot need to grow up…  You wonder why Snape picks fights with you…  Couldn't be the slight fact that you've teased, beaten and tortured him for years, simply for your own enjoyment."

"Oh, shut your trap, Moony.  It's not like you ever try to stop us."  Black sniffed.  He stood up as well, his face a mask of skepticism. 

"You seem to forget that I've spent plenty of time trying to calm both of you down.  And you know that's why Dumbledore made me a prefect this year…"

"Well, you've not done much since you've got your shiny little badge.  You just sit there, with you little books or glancing in the other direction."  Sirius sneered, no longer attempting to keep his voice low.

"Oh, sod off, Padfoot."  Lupin said, exasperated.  He spun on his heal, heading back up towards the school.

-

He's dead…  I can't believe that he's dead.  We both knew the risks when we joined up with Dumbledore and his Order.  We knew that we could very well die, but it just didn't seem like a reality.  We were the last two Marauders.  Of course, Peter's still out there somewhere, but Wormtail is no more a Marauder these days than Snape is a Death Eater. 

I chuckle slowly, lowly.  My head is swimming, a mixture of grief and fire whiskey. 

And of course he was the only fatality…  I cared about no one in the Order more than he.  He was my best friend, for years upon years. 

God, that sounds so careless.  It isn't as if I have something against Tonks, or Dumbledore even.  It's just…different.  Sirius was my brother.  I would be grieving if any other had died.

Poor Harry.  This is affecting him horribly.  Obviously, I guess.  His temper is flaring and he seems to have pulled away from everybody.  But then again, Albus finally told him the full truth of everything.  I think if I were in his place, I would be hiding in the deepest mountains of France by now, trying to shut it all out. 

And I know he places most of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Severus, though of that I'm not surprised.  It's what James would have done in his place.

He had been worried that he was as alike as his people had been saying.  As…  God help me, as arrogant as James was.  I loved him as a brother, but he was arrogant.  He and Siri both, at that point.  They both grew out of it, slowly, as they aged.  They still had their bits of it, their little times where the haughtiness and conceit showed through, but they had been so much better.

And now, they're both gone.  Harry will, of course, never be the same.  As if he were a glass, shattered.  It can never be fully, completely, repaired.  Not correctly.

Severus feels horrible.  He would never admit as such, obviously.  He plays the part of the cold, detached Potion's Master perfectly.  But every once in awhile, you can see the aloof exterior crack, even if it's ever so slightly.  You can tell as much by simply looking into his eyes, when he thinks that nobody is paying any attention to him.  They'll soften, if even for a second, if he's looking at Dumbledore, or Harry, or even myself.

He thinks that he has failed.