A/N: MAJOR Order of the Phoenix spoilers. I have decided that the best way to deal with my grief would be to write something rather commemorative of Sirius, but at the same time explore some of the new things we learned in Order of the Phoenix. And who knows…Sirius just might live after all.

Disclaimer: Despite what she did to Sirius (sob sob) I am forced to admit that the Harry Potter characters belong to J. K. Rowling and not to me, even if she doesn't deserve them! (Just kidding, Ms. Rowling…I'm just a smidge upset about Sirius's death, I'll be over it in a few years, I promise…)

Harry glared down at the parchment in his hand, checking and rechecking the tiny dots on the Marauders' Map carefully. All of the authority figures appeared to be sleeping or otherwise occupied at the opposite end of the castle. Filch and his cat, Mrs. Norris, were both moving very fast down a corridor on the third floor and appeared to be chasing Peeves, who was bouncing off the walls gleefully. Even though Umbridge was finally gone, Peeves hadn't seemed to want to give up his antics, which were increasingly annoying Filch to the point of insanity. Professor McGonagall was in her quarters and Dumbledore, of course, was in his office. Harry, however, assumed that if Dumbledore had known what Harry was about to do he wouldn't have stopped him anyway. It was Snape that Harry really had to worry about.

"Can they send you to Azkaban for breaking and entering into someone's memory?" He wondered childishly. He banished the thought quickly, thinking of the time in fourth year when he'd broken into Dumbledore's memories. Dumbledore certainly would have warned him if the offense could have resulted in imprisonment, and he was equally positive that, if at all possible, Snape would have pressed charges when he'd found Harry in his pensieve during their Occlumency lessons.

Which was precisely why Harry was in the dungeon in the first place. He pulled his Invisibility Cloak more tightly around him as he located Snape on the map. Surprisingly, Snape appeared to be in the Astronomy Tower at the moment, but Harry had little time to wonder what could have lured him there. He had more important matters to tend to.

Harry looked down nervously at the knife in his hand. It was Sirius's knife, badly repaired after its run-in with the door in the Department of Mysteries. After his and Hermione's charms had failed to repair the melted weapon, Harry had taken his gift to Professor Flitwick out of sheer desperation. While the Professor had managed to at least make the knife resemble its former shape, Harry was still not completely confident that it would work the way it was supposed to. He wished he could have asked the young Barty Crouch how he had managed to break into Snape's office, but Barty Crouch probably wouldn't have been very cooperative, due to the fact that he was currently lacking a soul.

Harry could feel his heart drumming rhythmically against his ribs, and he swallowed hard. He wasn't nervous about getting caught, or seeing what he came to see, but rather he was afraid that he wouldn't be able to get into Snape's office at all. His disappointment if he was unable to access Snape's pensieve again would be more than he could stand, especially now. He needed to see Sirius again, and if he couldn't make that happen he feared he'd go mad.

Harry decided to try the easy way first, in the hopes that he wouldn't have to resort to using his now-mangled present from Sirius. He reached the door to Snape's office and tapped it lightly, whispering "Alohomora" as he did. As Harry had feared, nothing happened. Taking a deep breath, he tried again to perish the thought that he might not be able to accomplish his task.

There was no question about it. He HAD to get into Snape's pensieve. After spending two weeks brooding the loss of his godfather, Harry had realized that photographs were no longer enough. He missed Sirius in a way that made his stomach ache dully, all the time. Sirius was never far from his mind, and he imagined that this would have been what it would feel like to lose his parents if he had been old enough to remember it. He knew he couldn't bring Sirius back, but hoped that to see him moving, walking, laughing, would somehow make the constant pain ebb away, just a bit. Following a sixteen-year old Sirius around Snape's pensieve, Harry had decided, was better than nothing.

"Come on, Sirius," Harry whispered, drawing out the knife. Carefully, he inserted the blade into the doorjamb and slid it upward. With a soft click, the door swung open a few inches. Breathing a sigh of relief, Harry pushed it all the way open and stepped inside.

Upon first glance, Snape's pensieve was nowhere to be seen, and it was then that Harry realized he had more than a locked door to contend with. What if he couldn't find Snape's pensieve? And, if he did find it, what if Snape had put all the memories back into his head after the end of the Occlumency lessons for fear of Harry doing exactly what he was doing? Harry shook his head. He couldn't think about that now. He just had to try and find the pensieve.

It only took a few moments for Harry to retrieve Snape's pensieve, much to his delight. Harry inserted Sirius's knife into the cabinet that Hermione had knicked polyjuice ingredients from so long ago, and he found the pensieve on the very bottom shelf, its swirling contents shimmering darkly.

With a massive effort, Harry hoisted the pensieve onto Snape's desk, trying to be as quiet as possible. He'd never actually handled a pensieve before, and they were quite heavy. The liquid inside sloshed around a bit, and Harry watched in horror as two small droplets of Snape's memory landed on the floor and evaporated. Harry hoped very much that the memories were not ones that Snape would miss.

Harry turned his face to look into the pensieve and was, of course, unsurprised that his reflection was not staring back at him. Instead, he was looking down on a scene that seemed to involve a young Snape falling off a toy broomstick and skinning his bony knee. Harry suppressed a gleeful laugh as the greasy-haired child whined pitifully about his scrape. A hook-nosed man standing nearby looked on indifferently, restraining a small, slightly plump woman from caring for the boy.

"No, no, dear. He needs to learn to fend for himself. You're a big boy, Severus, get up now. There's a good lad," the man finished as Snape picked himself up off the pavement, drying his tears as he went. Harry, feeling slightly sick, did the only thing he could think of to do. If he wanted to see Sirius, this certainly wasn't the way. He picked up his wand and lightly stirred the contents of the bowl, hoping that the next memory he came upon would be one that included Sirius or his father.

No such luck. The next swirling memory was definitely of a teenage Snape, but no one else seemed to be around. He was alone in what Harry recognized as the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, swishing his wand this way and that. As Harry watched, the young boy pointed his wand at a slinking rat and mumbled something. To Harry's horror, he watched the rat crumble as if in pain and begin to seizure on the damp floor. He had seen the Cruciatus curse performed before, but somehow the horror of it now seemed all too real.

A thin smile curved the pock-marked face of the greasy-haired delinquent in the pensieve. Glancing over his shoulder with a furtive look in his eyes, Snape turned back to the defenseless rat, now lying on its side and panting heavily. With another cold grin, the teenage Snape raised his wand again. "Avada Ked-" the boy began, and then stopped abruptly. Snape's shoulders slumped and he lowered his wand. Scowling at his weakness, he slouched out of the classroom as the rat struggled for breath, then scurried quickly away.

Shuddering, Harry swirled the contents again, and this time he almost got his wish. It was Sirius in the pensieve, but it was not a memory he wished to revisit. This memory was Snape's recollection of the last time he had come in contact with Sirius Black; the day of Mr. Weasley's return to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. Harry swallowed hard as he watched the familiar scene unfold below him, catching sight of himself in the background, Sirius' face shining up at him, red with anger.

"I am in rather a hurry, Black…unlike you, I do not have unlimited leisure time…" Snape's cold voice rang out from the pensieve, and Harry winced at his words. If only Sirius had stayed at Grimmauld Place instead of coming to the Department of Mysteries that night. But he hadn't, he had come to the Ministry of Magic, all because of Harry's foolishness. Sirius was dead because of him.

He remembered the rest of that visit to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place very clearly. As he'd been forced out into the snow, Sirius had given him that package, the all-important package that could have saved his life.

Harry kicked the leg of the desk angrily, upsetting the contents of the pensieve once again. If only he'd opened Sirius' gift immediately. He could have used the mirrors to directly contact Sirius the night of the battle at the Department of Mysteries instead of being thwarted by Kreacher after trying to reach him through the Floo Network. If he'd only followed Sirius' instructions, Sirius would still be alive. No matter how much he wanted to blame Snape, or Dumbledore, or Dolores Umbridge, or even Voldemort, he knew that Sirius' death had been entirely his, Harry's, fault.

He glanced back at the pensieve in time to see that the memory it was now concentrated on was once again one he had already seen. This memory took place in the Great Hall at Hogwarts as a hundred or so students took their Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. Harry stared longingly into the pensieve, pinpointing the dark heads of Sirius Black and James Potter, the Marauders, best friends, now united again in death.

Harry watched the scene in the pensieve with grim concentration. His heart jumped into his throat as he watched his father impressing Wormtail with his talents with the Snitch as Sirius looked on, laughing. Harry felt a surge of guilt as he realized that he was feeling more sentimental about Sirius than his own father. But to be fair, Harry had never met his parents, and Sirius had been the closest thing he'd had to a father in the past few years, so why SHOULDN'T he feel sentimental about him?

The wheels in Harry's brain began to turn as he watched his mother defend Snape in the pensieve. Could he hope that if he reentered Snape's memory at this point that he would see more of Sirius and his father? After all, Snape had interrupted this scene in the pensieve the last time Harry had been in his memory. Maybe there had been more to the memory, something that Snape hadn't wanted him to see.

Breathing deeply, Harry took a leap of faith…into Snape's pensieve.