/Broken Promises/

You were my best friend, James. You were my buddy, my pal, and my top priority. You were my brother, my playmate, as well my teacher and coach. I was your fellow prankster, troublemaker, and charmer. And vice versa. United we were invincible. Divided, well, we were just good-looking. I was there for you and you were there for me.

James, mate, we had an envied friendship. What happened?

I imagine you'd say we grew apart. But that's not it, Prongs; it's just not it. You keep telling yourself that, but in your heart, you know, something else happened. Something we never thought would happen. Something so strong, that, well, you just didn't know it happened, until...until it did.

I remember the days we used to laugh about it. You'd say, never, and I'd say, God no! Remus would shake his head, a smile playing on his face, mumbling something similar to, "That'll be the day." Lily confirmed your beliefs. And Peter, well, Peter just goggled.

We laughed about it, Prongs. We joked. Other times, we completely abandoned the topic, afraid that it will happen if we talked about it too much. But you, James, you just hoped that if we did talk about it too much, it wouldn't happen. I knew it then, I did not acknowledge it, but I knew. I knew then, and I know it now, Prongs.

There were times, James, when I thought, enjoy it while it lasts, Sirius, because it won't last. Do you know how much that hurt me, James? To know that our friendship, our all-for-one-and-one-for-all-Marauder's-Promise friendship was going to die? To die out like a flame, but leaving a scar in its place?

God, James, it killed me!

It ate me from the inside, and now it's biting my heart away. I don't understand how such a great, wonderful friendship could die so suddenly, so quickly. Remember the times we had, Prongs? Remember the Map? Remember the cloak? Evan's hair? Filch? Remember?

Or was that all erased, James, when you decided you wanted to grow up?

Remember that day we did create the map? Remember? I think that was the greatest day of my life, James, because when we did make the map, we put ourheart andsoul into the map. We may not be together physically, Prongs, but, with that map, we were together, at least, spiritually.

I remember that day like yesterday.

"Moony, what's taking you so long?" I whined, as Remus carefully wrote on a new, piece of parchment.

He glared at me.

"Do you WANT it in bad writing?" he asked.

"No, but..."

James interrupted me, "Be quiet, Padfoot, let the guy finish!"

I watch excruciatingly as Moony carefully dotted his i's and crossed his t's.

A few minutes later, "Moony, what's taking so long?" James whined.

"Be quiet, Prongs, let the guy finish!" I mimicked.

"Git." He countered.

"Idiot." I said, raising an eyebrow.

"Finished!" cried Remus.

"Yay for Moony!" James jumped.

"Hey, that's not an insult!" I pouted.

"Let's try it out!" squeaked Peter, who had been watching the whole thing from a corner of the abandoned classroom.

"Yes! Go, Moony, go!" I cried, eager to see our creation in action.

"Ok, I solemnly swear I am up to no good." He pronounced clearly.

"Great password, Padfoot," commented James.

Immediately, a map of the whole school a appeared on the once-plain parchment.

Little dots followed by the names of various teachers and students skidded across the parchment.

We smiled in unison. Well, except Peter, he just goggled.

Wasn't that a great time, Prongs? Wasn't that enough for you? Or was it normal for you to achieve the impossible with anyone?

I don't understand, James!

Maybe it wasn't enough for you. Maybe you needed more. But wasn't breaking the law for friend's sake anything? Wasn't years of pranking, laughing, "solemnly swearing", enough for you? What else do you need, James?

Sometimes I wish we stayed where we were, stopped in time, in our years of adolescence, where nothing mattered except our friendship. Don't you wish the same, James? Moony does, he's noticed the change. I bet you don't know where he is, Prongs, huh? Well, let me fill you in. He's living in a wreck-of-a-home, jobless, in Diagon Alley. I've given him money to help him get through with rent.

You know, Prongs, I thought that maybe, when Dumbledore asked us to enter the Order, that, maybe, MAYBE, we'd get a chance to talk to you. Talk about false hope, huh, James?

Do you know how much it broke me, James, when you nodded to me and gave me a simple "hi" in the hallway, acting like we never were best friends, just mere acquaintances? And the strained conversations we had; were those remnants of a broken friendship, a broken promise?

We haven't seen Wormtail for a while. Remus reckons he's been with you. Why is it he's still hanging on, and, I, your best friend, have been cut off like that?

James, Prongs, why'd you have to grow up, and take everyone with you, except me, who was left down here?

Moony thinks Ihave grown up. He says it's you who hasn't. He said that if you had grown up, it wouldn't have been that easy for you to break off such a prized friendship. But you know what, James? I think he's only half-right, because if I had grown up, I would go and make up for two years of separation, instead up sitting here in my living room, slouching in your favorite armchair, hanging on to broken promises, butterbeer in hand.

Just as I get up to leave, I hear a soft POP behind me.

"Hey, Padfoot."

I turn around at the slightly familiar voice. My heart stops as I see you there, with bags under your eyes, attempting to smile. Your robes are slightly tattered, and your face looks weathered. You don't look like the James I knew from the "good old times". You're a new James, an adult James. And now, I feel left behind, like I missed out on something big.

I look in the cracked mirror behind you and compare us. I haven't looked in the mirror for quite a while now, but when I did, I felt sick. I looked terrible.

"Forgot your CD here? Or maybe a friendship?" I say coldly, after a moment's silence.

"Sirius," you say softly.

"No, James, I know what you're here for. I don't want it."

"Look, I'm..." I cut you off.

"Your sorry. But are you really? Or are you just hoping that maybe if you're my friend again, I can help you out of a tight spot. Or maybe defend you in a fight with Evans?" I shout angrily, "Is that it? Huh?"

"We're getting married." You say quietly. I can tell your getting mad. No one else but Moony and I, can. That's what's great about best friends.

"Oh, I see. You maybe want me to help you find a suit? Right, Prongsie? That's what I did for the Winter Ball. Or was that memory thrown away, just like our friendship?" I shout angrily. I feel my throat close up.

I can see the same has happened to you, because you don't answer.

"Huh, Prongs?" I shout, "Or how about that day we became best friends? Remember our promise? Was that thrown away too?"

"I'm sorry." You whisper hoarsely.

I laugh harshly and take a swig of the butter beer.

"Sorry. Gee, that makes everything better now, doesn't it?" I take another swig.

"Sirius. I was caught up in the moment. That's all. I shouldn't have..."

"Caught up in the moment? Ha! That 'moment' lasted two years, James!"

I see your eyes go glazed. A look that seemed too familiar came over your face. I saw it only one time, but your face was etched into my mind forever. It was when your mum died.

"Sirius, I was being stupid, all right! There, you happy? I was being the stupid prat I've always been! You're right! Okay? I didn't...I didn't know. I wanted to be your best friend again, but...but I was too proud. Don't you understand, Sirius? I'm sorry." Tears are falling freely from your face, now. You begin to walk away.

I feel my heart burst, and tears threaten to fall. I wanted to make you feel bad as I've felt, feel as betrayed as I was, but as I looked into your face, I knew that you hurt more.

"James, I'm sorry, too." I say, tears sting my eyes, and normally, I would turn away, ashamed, but now, I don't care.

"What?" you ask, astonished by my bold apology.

"I'm sorry. You had grown up, and I was stuck. I was too stupid to go up to you. Too proud." I say, a smile forming behind my tears.

You smile too, and it warms my heart.

"Friends?" you ask, feebly.

"No." I say, smirking.

"What?" your eyes widen, and I can tell you're confused.

"Best friends." I say, still smirking.

He laughs.

Just as we pull in for a hug, POP!

"Well, it's about time."

I turn around to see Remus standing there, smiling warmly.

I see you look behind me and your eyes widen. I can tell that you're surprised and hurt at the appearance of our old friend. His tattered robes surprise you. And his aged face surprises you more, as you are you used to the young Remus, the one full of life and light. His eyes seem full of wisdom, and suddenly, I can tell you are sad, but you smile nevertheless.

"Moony," you say softly.

We pull him in for a hug.