This is a sequel to Living Death, however its set during the memorial service Remus recounts. It switches POVs to James'. I think I personally like this one better than Living Death, but I want to know what others think of it.
Warnings: Small hints of slash. Heavy theme of suicide. A little violence. I think I mention child abuse.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
"When I first met Sirius, I thought he was a girl," I start, gaining laughter from the mob. They're not supposed to laugh, so why are they? Still, I can't stop myself from continuing to joke, like my best friend isn't dead, just beacuse that's what's expected of me. "No, really. He was abnormally pretty for a guy, you know, and his hair was longer than most of the girls'. It wasn't until I saw his face—well, his jaw and nose, really—that I realized 'she' was a 'he.' Thankfully, I saw that before I did something really stupid like announcing that I planned to marry such a pretty girl. Then I saw Lily Evens and my masculinity and heterosexuality was restored." Merlin, I can't believe I'm saying this. If it was anyone else, I wouldn't be up here speaking. But it's for Padfoot, and I can't let him down again after everything I've done…haven't done.
I glance over to the picture of my best friend on the table beside the coffin. I try not to look at it or at him through the glass. I can't believe the stupid Ministry made such a display out of him. I don't why understand Dumbledore is letting this happen. How can he? Doesn't Padfoot deserve some respect? Why should he have to be put on show for people who didn't even know him? He doesn't even look dead. He's just lying there like he's sleeping, but Padfoot's not a peaceful sleeper. He has nightmares and night terrors that leave him thrashing and screaming out. But he's not sleeping. He's dead.
The picture had been taken last year when he came to my house after he ran away from his tyrant parents. I can't believe they're sitting out there, pretending to care. They're sick and evil and everyone knows they hated him. After all this time and everything they've done to him, why can't they just leave him alone?
I watch the picture Sirius as he flashes a cheeky grin before running off and diving off a deck into a lake on my parents' property—still fully dressed. The scene plays over and over and I can't stop from tearing up.
"He became my best friend. I trusted him, and he had trusted me. Once I saw past his last name, it wasn't hard to fall for him—in the totally platonic sense," I add hastily. Moony's the one who fell for Padfoot completely and utterly. He can't be handling this well. Well, he shouldn't be handling this well. I can't figure out how he can be so strong. It's almost like he doesn't care. But how can that be? Of course he cares, right?
"At first we had hated each other, as our professors can attest to. It was Potter vs. Black, and we were deeply devoted to proving the other was a complete fool. I am sad to say Sirius beat me every time. Soon after meeting him, he had scolded me for my 'abuse of the English language.' He said, 'Potter, if English is my eighth language and I have managed to learn it in under three months, then there is no excuse for you to be unable to speak your birth language.' After I learned that vexed him, I made sure to butcher the English language at every opportunity. Merlin, I miss him," I say, and I know there are tears rolling down my face. I'm tired of doing what they expect me to do. They haven't lost thier best friend or thier brother.
"A lot of people have asked me what happened. 'Was he sick?' 'Did someone kill him?'" I pause as I wipe furiously at the tears still in the corner of my eye that haven't leaked yet. "Sirius took his own life."
The mob—mourners, I try to convince myself—gasp mostly in shock. The only ones who had known were Professor Dumbledore, Professor McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey, my parents, Lily, Wormtail, Moony, and me. I guess the Blacks had been told, too, but they don't really matter. More than one person in the crowd is openly in tears, but not Moony. He hasn't cried, not once.
"Since I found out, I've been asking myself why would he kill himself, and I don't have an answer. I've been a horrible best friend." I have to stop speaking so I won't collapse into an incoherent pile of sobs. I can talk through tears, but not through the kind that brings sick into your mouth like these. "Sirius had made a mistake a few months ago, and I-I-I pushed Sirius away," I choke out through heavy sobs and tears. "The only words I had exchanged with him in months had been ugly, and I'd do anything to be able to take them back. He was my oath brother, and I cast him aside. I'm sorry, Sirius. I'm so sorry. I don't think I'll ever stop thinking about you, and I'm sure I'm never going to forget you, Padfoot."
I'm still crying as I leave the podium and sit with my parents. Mum hugs me to her and won't let me go. I can't ask her to stop. She's lost a son; I lost a brother.
A bunch of people stand up to take turns at the podium, talking about how great Sirius (who none of them really knew) was.
Moony doesn't speak. I think he hasn't excepted what Padfoot has done yet. He's not even crying. He's just sitting there, looking straight ahead.
He should hate me. He really should. I know why Sirius did what he did. I made him do it. I told him he was a waste of life, and no one wanted him. This is my fault. Why did I have to say it? Why did I have to get so bloody angry? He was just there, and I snapped at him. I made the same mistake he had, only I really did kill someone. No one was there to save him like I did Snape.
To my shock, Lily Evens goes to the podium next. She has a picture frame clutched in her hands, but I can't see the picture. She even looks like she's crying, but why? She always hated me and Padfoot, hasn't she?
"The first time I saw Sirius I thought he was an arrogant—though handsome—fool. At the Sorting Ceremony, I wondered what was the big deal with the fact that Sirius Black ended up in Gryffindor House. The whole Great Hall was in an uproar. A bunch of people were screaming about a Black in Gryffindor being a mistake. I didn't understand."
"I understand now."
She's speaking softly, but her words reach everyone. They're strong, and full of sincerity.
"I didn't actually pay much attention to him until a few weeks ago. I was worried because he and Potter, Pettigrew, and Lupin had stopped talking to each other, and Sirius has stopped coming to meals. So, I sought him out. That night I realized just how different Sirius was. He told me things he hadn't even told his best friends, and I realized everything I thought I knew about him was a lie."
Lily—beautiful, compassionate Lily—glances down at the photo in her hands. "I didn't know him long, but he became one of my greatest friends. The only thing I can say about Sirius is that he cared about everything with a deep passion. He was bright as his namesake. No matter how you knew him, he touched everyone's life. He was famous for his humor, his intelligence, his sense of loyalty to his friends, his pranks, and, mostly, his laugh and smile."
"Sirius Orion Black was one of a kind, and there will never be another Sirius. Remember, any time you want to see Sirius, just look up at night when the Dog Star is in the sky. Goodbye, Sirius. You will be missed."
Before she steps down from the podium, she holds up the picture to show the crowd..
"This is my favorite memory of Sirius, and this is how I want to remember him," Lily smiles softly, tears tolling down her cheeks. I gasp as I see the picture. It was from Halloween last year, also known as the Great Four-Legged Masque. Sirius had singlehandedly managed to create a spell to transfigure everyone in the Great Hall into an animal according to whatever mask they were wearing. Professor McGonagall and Professor Flickwick were so impressed he had managed to get himself out of detention; however, he had to endure a lecture about what could have gone wrong and help revert everyone back to their normal self. The picture had actually been taken afterward in the Gryffindor Common Room.
Picture Sirius was sleeping on the couch closest to the fire, his knees curled toward his chest. He looked exhausted and innocent. He was still in his dress robes and the canine mask he had worn was on the floor. All around picture people were holding a lively celebration as the Gryffindors continues the Halloween festivities.
"This shows that even though Sirius was a brilliant prankster, he was also still a dreamer. He was at heart a good person," she says, and I can hear her voice hitch.
The memory suddenly triggers; Lily had been the one to find Padfoot. She had gotten to him just in time for the potion Sirius swallowed to take affect.
Gently, Lily places the picture on the table by the picture I had placed before I spoke. Wiping away her tears, Lily sits back down. She's sitting alone for once. She's sitting alone a lot now.
Professor Dumbledore speaks last. He's dressed not in funeral white but in wedding black with plum-purple stars and navy crescent moons. He seems tired, like he hasn't gotten much sleep or like he's feeling all of his years.
"I knew the instant Mr. Black stepped up to the stool to be sorted that Hogwarts would not be the same. I was correct. Young mister Black showed a certain, shall we say, disregard for tradition and boundaries, as evident from the very house he was sorted into."
"There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said," he states calmly. How the hell can he be so calm? Padfoot's dead, and he's calm! He'll never smile or laugh or play another prank again. He'll never do anything he's so good at doing again, and Dumbledore's standing up there with his eyes still twinkling! "What happened yesterday was a great tragedy, one to which there is no answer to the question, 'Why?' Sirius took his own life after a series of circumstances left him ostracized and without anyone to turn to for support. Hindsight is always perfect, especially in cases such as this. 'What if?' There are a thousand and more, 'what ifs?' Let us all remember there is no solutions to be found in asking what might have happened if something different was done. Sirius himself did not live for the memory of yesterday, but for the promise of tomorrow."
It's hard not to agree with Dumbledore, even when I really don't want to.
"Let us all remember that the ones we love never really leave us. Sirius will continue to live in the people who loved him. Let us remember him as the pictures on the table next to me show. Let us all learn from this tragedy to be sure no one else finds themselves feeling as hopeless and as desperate as Sirius had felt."
Mrs. Black's making a mockery of Sirius's memory—everyone knows her tears are fake. What I wouldn't give to be able to ripe out her tear ducts and feed them to Moony on the next full moon. Maybe then she might actually feel real pain for once.
Someone calls my name. "Potter!" It echoes even though there's nothing for it to echo off.
I glance back to see Sirius coming at me, except his hair is a little too short and curly and his shoulders are not as wide. His eyes are dark and stormy, a crazed, hurricane grey. Merlin, he looks pissed. I wonder what about. He's screaming something involving his brother, the little toe rag, and—
In the actual series James didn't mature until seventh year, so I wanted to show the mix of feelings he's experiencing from the death of his best friend. He's confused and angry at what's happened. Remus is numb to it and hasn't started grieving. James has started. I hope I conveyed that.