After completing school Harry Potter returns to Grimmauld Place and discovers letters written to him from Sirius Black, but never mailed. These letters shed light on Sirius' short, tragic life, including the Black family history, his time at Hogwarts, the early years of the Order, his friendship with James, and his relationship with Remus Lupin. It will also expose the secrets kept by the various characters that affect their futures. This is not a fluffy romance fic. While the main romantic storyline is slash, the story will tie into H/G and R/T as it moves forward, in keeping with the canon. The timeframe is post-Hogwarts with letters written during OOTP that take the action back to the Marauder era.

I did not create these characters. I just borrowed them for my own and, I hope, your pleasure.

PROLOGUE: October 30, 1981

"Is anything wrong?" he asked as I slid out from under the sheet and placed my feet on the floor.

"What makes you say that?" I replied, feigning ignorance. I didn't want to look at him, so I scanned the floor for my clothes.

"You just seem different. Usually you're…" he paused and I looked over to see him shrug, "softer, gentle."

I gave him a lascivious smile. "You didn't seem to mind."

"No," he admitted and lay back against the pillows. "It was just different for us. That's all I'm saying."

I turned away again and picked up my jeans. "James knows," I said softly, intending to catch him off guard with this statement by leaving its meaning purposefully vague. I turned towards him to see if his face would betray my worst fear and mark him as the traitor. Instead, he remained in his relaxed position, a ghost of a smile on his lips as if remembering what had so recently passed between us.

"James knows what?" He caught my eye then and with a wave of my hand I indicated him, me, the bed. "No!" he gasped, sitting up now with a look of shocked panic on his face. "Did you TELL him?" His voice was raised and his eyes were blazing.

"No," I kept my voice was quiet and level. "He figured it out. Or rather, Lily did, but she got James to see it. I guess at their wedding we had had too much to drink and let our guard down." I recalled the wedding and how happy we all were then. In the midst of that evening, during the dancing, the drinking, and the feasting, my alcohol fueled confidence allowed me to believe that our lingering touches, meaningful smiles, and long gazes would go unnoticed by our friends.

I began to dress and continued, hoping that my conversation would draw out what I needed to know. "We were talking about the Secret Keeper business and he said something about you and I being especially close. Just the way he said it and the way he sort of blushed, I could tell that he knew. He's been my best friend since our first year at school and I can read him pretty well, so it was easy to guess what he was thinking. I figured that we need to be honest with each other, especially now, so I looked him in the eye and said 'You mean, because he shares my bed?' James nodded and looked at the ground. I could tell he was embarrassed, but probably more because he'd be keeping his knowledge from me, rather than embarrassed about what we're doing. Then he told me 'I'm happy for you. I really am. You deserve someone to love. Both of you do.' I could tell he was sincere. Thankfully, he didn't ask for details, but he was curious as to how long this has been going on."

"Incredible," he exclaimed. His panicked expression was gone, replaced by one of happy disbelief. "I've always worried about being found out by our friends, but I never imagined James would react with such calm acceptance. I guess that'll make things easier. At least I won't always have to watch what I say when I'm around them." He pushed back the bedclothes and had begun to leave the bed when I stopped him.

"Or will it make things harder?" I sat down on the bed to explain. "I mean, in keeping this a secret, we've never had to face what it really is or how the rest of the world sees this. We treat our need for each other like it's something out of our control. We go from one secret interlude to the next and pretend what ultimately happens is unexpected. Listen to me! I can't even say the words! When we let other people into our secret, things will change. We'll be admitting that this is what we want to be doing and we're with the one we want to be with. I'm not sure we're ready to do that."

Our eyes met and he looked away sadly. I had spoken a truth that he didn't want to face – neither of us did. "I'd use words," he murmured, "I just don't know if they exist." I nodded. I had long ago stopped trying to understand what it was we shared.

As we sat there silently, I watched his face. I could see that he was contemplating what I had said, wondering if we wanted to accept this reality or if we still wanted the option to pursue what James and Lily had. Or maybe we already had that. If he were indeed betraying us, then it was a choice that neither of us would have to make. Sitting naked next to me, he looked so vulnerable and I began to doubt the suspicions of which I had once been so sure. Perhaps he wasn't the spy after all. He certainly did not react in any of the ways I expected him to had he been so. The silence became uncomfortable for me and I changed the subject. "So, full moon this week? Are you feeling up to traveling?"

"Yes," He said, relieved to move on to happier, normal topics. "Where would you like to go?"

"Let's go somewhere on the coast. I feel the need to run on the rocks and hear the sounds of the ocean. These past few weeks have been very stressful and the idea of watching waves crash has great appeal. Besides, we'll be safely away from people, if we choose the right place."

"Stress – Is that your excuse for before?" He asked with a sly grin.

"A few days away," I replied, grinning back, "and I'll be as gentle as a puppy."

We made plans that he would leave soon, since he was not yet feeling the pull of the moon, and I would meet him on November first. But I never made it. In those forty-eight hours James and Lily were murdered, Harry was exiled to live with his aunt, Peter had escaped, and I had been taken away to Azkaban. The irony that I was condemned to spend the rest of my life hearing the sound of the ocean pounding on the rocks below was not lost on me, as I'm sure he realized too.

On that last day we were together I had gone to him planning to expose his treachery. I tried to resist my desire for him and, when I could not, I was rough with him, trying to hurt him for my wanting him so much. The memory that my last touch was not tender and loving was the punishment for my loss of faith in him and my inability to tell him that which I had known for a long time. As I entered the prison that would become my home, I saw the full moon reflecting on the water and thought of Remus so far away along the shore of the same ocean. Was he safe all alone? Was he wondering why I hadn't been there to meet him? Did we even kiss goodbye that last time? I looked up at the moon and howled.