Author's Note: Spoilers for OotP.

July

Dear Sirius,

It's July now.  Harry turns sixteen this month.  You would have been thirty-seven.   July was always a good month, before now.  But now it's empty.  I'm writing you this letter even though I know you'll never get it.  Somehow, though, I can't care anymore—and I'm rambling all ready, hardly three sentences in.  And tears are wetting the page no matter how hard I try to deny it.  It's as if those tears are the only memorial to the great emptiness I feel inside.

It's the first time I've cried, you know.  I've just walked around with this sick and empty feeling, unable to act or even to mourn because it hurts so much that you're gone.  You're gone.  It kills me.  I couldn't even bring myself to say the words to Harry.  I can't make myself say them aloud even now.  The others watch me and wonder why I don't break down.  They expect me to, but I can't.  It's been three days since you…I can't even write it.  Not now.  Not yet.  It's as if putting the words to page would mean I'd have to accept them.

I'd live in denial if I could afford to do so.  And I wish I could.  Things would be so much easier…until I close my eyes and relive it all again.  I wish I could forget and not see you fall through—

It burns, you know.  Worse than I ever thought anything could.  I can't even recall the happy moments amongst all the pain.  First James, then Peter, and then you—but against all odds, I got you back—now only to lose you irrevocably, and this time forever.

I can't do this anymore.

I can't keep being strong.  I suppose the only good thing is that I don't have any friends left to lose.  Except for Harry, without whom I would have probably followed you through the Veil.  Instead, I held him back, as I know you would have asked me to.  And I'll protect him now, but not just for James.  I'll do it for you.  I can't be all for him that you were, Sirius, but I swear that I'll try.  You were right, always: Harry deserves so much better than the loneliness that he's known all of his life.

So did you.

Padfoot, my brother, you deserved so much more.  I can only wish it could have ended some other way.  I had always hoped that there would be a time when you could be free of your demons and be happy.  God knows, you have earned peace.  I hope you've found it now, wherever you are.  Sometimes I even dare to hope that you're with James and Lily, and that they'll be there for you, so that you'll never have to be alone again.

That's what started this bout of tears and letter writing in the first place.  Hoping that you're with them.  Hoping that you can see me.  And hoping that some way or some how, you can know how much I miss you.

I can't say the words aloud.  It'll kill me if I do.  I can't even write them without crying, and you know me; that's something that I so rarely do, or at least not in front of others.  I cried for James and Lily.  I cried for Peter, before I knew the truth.  And I wept for you, back when I was trying to hate you.

But now I'm crying for you, again, and this time there's no going back.  There's only a future ahead of me that I don't even care to contemplate.  It's bleak and dark without you, and when I set off down that path, I will be alone.  My friends are gone.  You were the last, because Wormtail, wherever he is, no longer counts.

Peter.

He made his choice, and if I want to blame someone for your death, it will be him.  I don't even blame Bellatrix or Voldemort, because neither of them betrayed their friends.  Peter broke us.  All three of us: you, me, and James.  James was the lucky one; he didn't live to see our friendship fail.  You, Sirius…you simply took fourteen years to die.  Sometimes I wonder how long it will take me to go.  Peter killed us all, and one by one, we shall fall.

So I guess this is it.  Peter and I are all that's left of something that was once so beautiful.  So perfect.  Unbreakable.  We were brothers, the four of us.  But then he broke us, and now there are only two.

The werewolf and the traitor.

By the time this is over, Sirius, I'll make sure that only one Marauder remains.

Remus.