I own nothing.

"Unsent"

Eight pieces of parchment sit in the gap between two bricks in an empty, forgotten cell in the depths of Azkaban. Seven are faded and smooth from rereading, written in a sprawling, messy – but elegant – hand. The eighth is hastily scrawled on a parchment scrap in much fresher ink than any other; it was clearly written months, even years after the others.

Put together, these letters tell a tale that, if told when they were written, could have changed the course of two men's lives forever – as well as the life of a little boy living in a cupboard.

But the letters were never sent, and the lives were never changed, and time went on.


Remus,

Look. I know you'll never get this. If, by some miracle, you do, you won't believe a word of it, and I know that. I'm not writing this for you; I'm writing it for me. I'm writing it because... Because in this Godforsaken place, if you don't focus on something, you lose what's left of yourself, your sanity, and I don't want to be like that. I'm terrified of losing what's left of me.

I miss him, Rem. Merlin, I miss him so much. (Random subject change, I know. I'm assuming you still know how to handle those). I don't know what to do without him by my side. I keep thinking of things I need to tell him, stupid, inane, trivial things, but every time, it hits me fresh that I can't ever tell him anything stupid ever again. I can't ever tell him anything ever again.

It hurts. Merlin, it hurts like hell. I thought I knew pain. This is different. I don't know how to handle this. I really don't know how to handle this without him, without you.

It's killing me. Losing him, it's killing me.

I'm dying slowly.

Sirius


Remus,

Yeah, yeah. You'll never get this one either. Still, it's therapeutic, writing to you, and in here, parchment is free. I guess because they figure no one has anyone to write to.

I don't even know why I'm bothering to write to you. I miss you, I guess. I miss the warm summer days where we could sit under a shady tree and you'd let me use your lap as a pillow, despite the fact that if anyone else tried, you'd shove them off. But you'd let me, as long as I didn't interfere with whatever you were reading.

I don't know why I can remember that. I don't know why they haven't taken it. I guess it's because it hurts as much as it makes me feel peaceful. It hurts because I know we can't ever get that back.

Still missing him.

Still missing you.

Still dying slowly.

Sirius


Remus,

Maybe I'm already insane. Maybe that's why I keep writing letters I know I'll never send.

I hope not. I can't lose my mind. It's all I've got left right now.

Yeah, yeah. I was already insane long before they put me in here. But this is different. The people in here, they're truly throw-your-head-back-and-scream-at-nothing crazy.

I don't want to be like that.

But I'm still missing him.

Still missing you.

Still dying slowly.

Sirius


Remus,

Everything aches. This cold stone floor is unpleasant, and my brain aches with the loss of memories (which is a phantom pain, I know. A brain can't really ache. Regardless).

I feel like I've aged a thousand years. It's only been, what, two weeks? Three? A month, maybe? Time doesn't seem to pass normally, here. It's dreary and cold and wet all the time. There is no weather, just perpetual gloom.

Still missing him.

Still missing you.

Still dying slowly.

Sirius


Remus,

My memories are fading, Rem, and this is what scares me the most. I can no longer remember what shade your eyes are. I can't remember which way James's always crooked glasses tilted. I can't remember how Lily used to wear her hair.

The people I love, the memories of them, that's all I have to hang onto in here, and it's fading. That's terrifying. I can't lose you guys. Losing you guys... It'd feel like losing the last of what I have to hold on to.

I'm still missing him.

Still missing you.

Still dying slowly.

Sirius


Remus,

I think this tale needs to be told, before I lose parts of it. Because I want to be able to really and truly tell you why all of this happened, from start to finish.

It starts with that day, in Dumbledore's office, when he told us, all of us, you, me, James, Lily, the rat, that James and Lily were in danger.

The words sent a chill down my spine, but you know how I was. I was twenty and arrogant and I felt like I was – we were – invincible. So even though some part of me knew I should be taking it seriously, I couldn't truly believe that James was in danger. He was James. He was always the one constant in my life, for as long as I can remember, and since age eleven, as you well know, we'd been inseparable. And it never mattered that he went off and got married, because we'd all known that was going to happen, and he was still always there, y' know?

And I think maybe neither of us really considered the fact that this was really life-or-death.

Lily, of course, was smarter than either of us. She was the one who insisted on the Fidelius, right then. She wasn't taking chances.

And I don't know if you know this, but when James voiced his intention to use me as Secret-Keeper, Dumbledore volunteered himself. The look in his eye almost made me think he didn't trust me. I think this may have had to do with the Snape Incident. Regardless, his mistrust, I think it shook some deep, solid foundation. I think that moment was the beginning of the end.

But James still trusted me with his life, and Lily trusted James, and I was proud of being able to do something solid, something tangible, to help my friends.

Do you remember that night? The night when Bella showed up on the doorstep of our flat? I never told you how much that terrified me, but I think some part of you knew, because I woke up in the middle of the night that night and found you sleeping on my bedroom floor. And it seems stupid and childish, but somehow you being there made me feel like maybe it was going to be okay, and I think you knew that, I think that was why you were there.

Anyway, seeing Bella show up on our doorstep so casually, it shattered some fragile confidence in me. I still believed I was invincible, unbreakable, but somehow that incident showed me that maybe I could still feel pain, like any other normal human being (I know, I know. I've never been normal. Moving on).

I'm not proud of what I did next. I'd rather you not know, I think, because I don't want you to think less of me for it. But I got scared, and the Gryffindor inside of me got shoved down and self-preservation instincts reared up and I honestly didn't think it would get him killed, because I was still convinced that we were invincible.

Telling James to switch the Secret-Keeper to Peter was the worst decision I have ever made, including the Snape Incident, because that was a heat-of-the-moment thing, and this was premeditated.

I will regret it for the rest of my life, however long that may last on this Godforsaken island.

But the coward in me reared his ugly head, and I didn't want the responsibility and I didn't want the pain, so I foisted my burden off onto someone else, someone they would least expect, and I honestly thought it was safe.

If I had known... Dear Merlin, if only I had known.

But I didn't, and hindsight is... What is it muggles say? Thirty/thirty? I don't know. That one never made much sense to me. Lily said it was something to do with eyes, but I was distracted that day (I can hear you in my head. You're asking, "Merlin, Pads, when are you ever not distracted?")

That thought is gone already. I can reread it, attempt to relive it, but I can't remember it. Thinking of you... They never let it last long.

I'm not entirely sure what the point of this letter is anymore, and I can't seem to muster the strength to reread and find out. Merlin, Rem, I'm fading fast. I feel like a shadow, completely insubstantial.

I'm still missing him.

Sweet Merlin, I'm missing you.

I'm wasting away.

Sirius


Remus,

I didn't kill him, Remus. They say I did, but that traitorous little rat isn't even dead. He's smarter than any of us gave him credit for, and it kills me to say that, but I have to admit it. He yelled to the whole street how I betrayed them – which I didn't – and then cut his own finger off, blew up the street with his wand behind his back, and transformed. He vanished into the sewers.

I didn't know it was possible to hate someone so much, but I do.

Sirius


Remus,

I'm getting out of here. I know how to do it. I'm getting out.

I'll see you soon, I hope.

Sirius