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Name: Laura Sichrovsky

Rating: PG

Warnings: (if any) None

Spoilers: Talks a bit about the death of James and Lily. If you haven't read Prisoner of Azkaban you won't understand this and it will give away the end of that book. (Of course if you haven't read Prisoner of Azkaban you don't know who Sirius Black is anyway, so...)

Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling is the undisputed Goddess of the Harry Potter universe, pay we all homage to her. I am but a humble worshiper of her creations and make no claim to any ownership of these characters. No one is paying me to do mean things to her characters and if you have a problem with something you read here, please do not write evil notes to her, send them to my box.

Author's Notes: Thanks need to go here. Thank you to Betty Landers for letting me spin this one out over a few e-mails. She was very kind to Sirius and myself and we appreciate it. Thank you to the wonderful women on the Lupin Lovers list who encourage me to listen to the voices in my head. Most people wouldn't do that. Thank you to my wonderful beta readers, Katta, Parker, Betty, Remus, my wonderful sister Deb, who cheers me on when I torture Sirius, and most of all my wonderful sister, Kristen the Beta Goddess, who spent hours cutting this thing to ribbons. They all make sure that I am true to myself when I write. Thanks to J. K. Rowling for creating such wonderful characters and to Sirius and Remus for moving into my head and for not doing too much damage while they are in there. Special thanks to my wonderful husband who puts up with so much. He lets me stay up all night to write and he doesn't freak about all the men who live in my head. He is the love of my life, the joy of my soul, the reason for my existence, and my biggest fan.

Summery: When I get stressed or depressed about something, I take a piece of paper and write out all my thoughts to clear my head. Apparently Sirius liked the idea, because here is his attempt to do the same in his journal. This takes place after Goblet of Fire. :Laura stops and listens to Sirius: Are you sure? Okay. He says it was written while he was staying with Remus after talking to the old crowd. He says it was one of the few possessions of his that Remus kept while he was in Azkaban. (That Remus can be quite sentimental, can't he?) He says Snape is a stupid…Hey! I told you only things related to the story, Goof:Whaps Sirius with a throw pillow: Anywho, we hope you like it.

The Darkest Chapter

Where do I start? Bah! I have always hated keeping a journal. When we were at school, Remus wrote faithfully in his every night, but I always thought of something more fun to do, like dental surgery on myself with my wand.

Actually, this book was a present from Remus. Our sixth year we got a new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and as a class project we had to keep a journal for a month. He said that the better we knew ourselves, the better equipped we would be to face a dark force. Everyone in the class sent out owls and bought a journal; everyone but yours truly. Why in the world would I want to spend an hour every night getting writer's cramp to find out things about my inner-self that frankly, I had no desire to know? I watched everyone else blather on about finding new and interesting things about themselves and couldn't help but wonder what was wrong with me the way I was. We were to turn our journals in after the first week and I ended up with a detention because I didn't have one.

When I got back from scrubbing floors for Filch at about one in the morning, there was a package wrapped in plain brown paper on my pillow. I opened it to find a journal and a note from Remus that said:

"Sirius, I know you hate journals, but I know you hate scrubbing floors more. Put this to good use so we can sneak out and play next week. Your friend, Remus"

It was simple, it was to the point, and for some reason it struck a note in me. For the rest of the project I wrote, although grudgingly, in this book. After the project was over, I put this book in my trunk, thinking I would never pick it up again. But sometimes, when my thoughts overwhelmed me, I got this book and my quill and emptied my head out.

I know what you are wondering. Why do I hate journals so much? Well, for one thing, I don't often like to take that deep a look at myself. I never did, but it's been worse since I got James and Lily killed. Every minute of every day reminds me of them. Sometimes it's something as simple as hearing a joke and thinking 'James would have loved that.' Or 'that would make Lily laugh.' And sometimes it's something more, like hearing a song we used to sing or remembering a prank we played. And then there are the dark, lonely nights when I wonder how I could have missed that Peter was the spy. How did I not see it was him? What possessed me to suspect Remus? I know Remus would have died for us in a heartbeat, yet I suspected him. So when I can close that part of my world out and enjoy something, even something as simple as joking with friends as opposed to being stuck in the darker part of my head, I'll not turn it down.

The main reason I hate to pick up this journal is the memories it holds in its pages. Tonight I told myself I wouldn't read through my old entries, but I couldn't resist the pull. The things I read tore at my heart. Beyond the entries like this one, where I took a look at my darker side, there were reports on some of the Mauraders' more interesting adventures. I know it wasn't prudent to keep evidence, but I never wanted to forget those days. We had our entire lives ahead of us, we lived every moment, and we never thought there would be a time we'd be apart.

Some of our greatest moments are chronicled in this book. It holds the details of the time we replaced all of Professor Newton's astronomy charts with pictures of scantily clad women. It shows thought by thought how we came up with the idea to substitute powdered skink liver for the powdered frog's tongue in potions class, causing the shrinking potion to explode and turn everyone blue for twelve hours. Childish pranks, yes; but oh the wonderful memories they hold. And then there are the guest entries. For most people, a journal is a place to write their own thoughts. As I never took it seriously anyway, I had my friends write little notes in it. There are notes from Remus talking about what he thought of our latest success. I have entries written by Peter, telling the night's adventures from his point of view. The most frequent guest in my journal was James. Sometimes it was one line telling the journal how much of a nut I was. He wrote down ideas for future escapades in its pages. There were four pages about Lily after their first date. But the entry that I cannot read without breaking down and crying was actually written by Lily. She was my journal guest for a page and a half the night Harry was born and she told the pages she knew I would be the best godfather a child ever had. In these pages, my friends live as I remember them.

"Friends." There is a word that means something different these days. I do have friends, but in some ways, I hate that word. Friends always meant James and Lily and now it serves to remind me that they are gone. It rips out my soul to say the words "I once had a friend…" Try it sometime and you'll agree. And then there is Harry...Looking at him tears a hole in my heart. He is James. And because of my arrogant stupidity he had to grow up alone.

Now you understand. Each of us has our own defense mechanisms. Remus hides in his studies and his compassion. If he is helping others, he doesn't have to look at himself. He can worry about what bothers Harry or how to get through to Neville and he doesn't have to look at the giant hole in himself. He can make lesson plans until he falls asleep at night instead of looking at how truly empty he feels. And for those who don't know him as I do, I suppose he seems content with his life. But I've seen the look in his eyes, the haunted look that echoes my own. Sometimes I wonder if he even admits to himself how he feels; but he can't hide it from a pack mate, a brother. One look at him shows me the depth of his hurt. And me? I have my humor. I joke and make other people laugh and it helps. I also have Harry. If I worry about him, then I don't have to think about all I've lost. And I can avoid nights like this, when I have to be brutally honest with myself.

It's those nights, when I lie alone with nothing but my thoughts that are ghastly. Those are the nights I have to look at what my life is, and what I haven't done, and I know that I have failed. Our lives had such promise when we left Hogwarts. All four of us had plans. We were going to help Dumbledore, we were going to change the world, we were going to destroy Voldemort. At least that was what I thought. In reality, I guess only three of us were true to our consciences. Do you know how many times I've asked why Peter did what he did? Why weren't we enough? I know he needed to feel safe and powerful, but why weren't we enough? He had our loyalty, he had our trust, he had our love, and still it wasn't enough.

But was I really any better than Peter? Oh yes, he sold his soul for power and protection, and I sold mine for something that seemed loftier, like love, but was it really anything more than arrogance? Mine would be the plan that worked, the one that would finally defeat Voldemort and make the world safe for our kind again. Don't misunderstand. What I did I did for James, Lily, and Harry. The fact that Voldemort wanted to kill my brother and his family enraged me so that I had to do something, anything. But I won't lie to myself and say that the idea of leading the Dark Lord on a worldwide wild goose chase while James and his family were safe in Godric's Hollow was not without its appeal. Maybe that was how I missed all the signs of Peter's betrayal that hindsight now shows me with such clarity. How did I not see it? Peter spent all his time trying to stay away from danger and yet I didn't find it odd that he was so eager to be the secret-keeper. I told myself that he loved James and Lily as much as I did, but somehow, I think inside I knew that was wrong. Oh, but how could The Plan fail?

And in one night, with one mistake, everything we'd hoped for, every dream we had was gone. I never got to watch Harry grow up. I never got to fall in love. Remus was robbed of as much as I was, and James and Lily lost everything. Why didn't I see it? Why did I fail them? Why was I so damned arrogant? If I had just run my plan past Dumbledore, I know he would have told me not to do it. But, oh no, I knew what I was doing. I had my brilliant plan that could not fail.

James begged me to be the secret keeper. He did not want to go with Peter. "I trust you, Padfoot," James said. And I replied, "If you trust me, make Peter your secret keeper." I will never forget those words. That moment is so clear in my mind that I could almost touch it. I can practically feel the words in my throat, see the doubt flickering in James' eyes, then watch the total trust he had for me take over. I can hear Harry cooing softly in Lily's arms as she rocked him a few feet away from us. I can hear the total trust in her voice as she told James to go with my plan. And every time I relive it, it tears a piece out of my heart.

Yes, I can hide behind my walls and show the world the, "Confident Sirius" face, but at night, when I am alone with myself, the only thing left is the raw and painful truth.

We all grow up in our own way, but for me the price of maturity seems a bit too steep. I always gave my friendship freely, but over the last few years I've learned the true value of the heart. Maybe it was my time in Azkaban, but now I don't do much of anything if I don't feel the emotion behind it. I appreciate the friends I have. They are to me as family, though it isn't easy to get that that point with me. I want to let more people in, but it is hard…oh so hard. Someday, I want to find a woman to love, to be with forever. If she captured my heart, I think she would have a hard time getting me to leave. Do I think I'll ever find such a woman? I honestly don't know.

I don't think I am all that different from Remus in that respect, although he does take it to a larger extreme. He has a series of walls set up. You might get past one, but that doesn't mean you'll get past any of the rest. Maybe you get past being a complete stranger and are now onto "someone he talks to whenever he sees them" status. He won't go out of his way to find you, but if he runs into you at the store, he'll talk to you. You may never get past that point because the next wall is a bit higher. Or you might get past that wall, only to find another one, higher still. He has a very hard time trusting people and it takes a lot to get past each wall. And each wall is a completely different task. Just because you proved yourself for one, doesn't mean anything. You lose all points for the next one. If ever anyone got past all the walls, I think Remus would curl up and die if she left. But then, if I ever found a woman I loved that much, enough to drop all the defenses, and she left, I think I would do the same thing.

I want to see Remus find the Lily of his life as much as I want to find my own. But sometimes, in the cold, empty darkness of the night when I put aside the humor and am completely honest with myself, I wonder if either of us was ever meant to be happy. Maybe we were meant to be alone. Could that be my punishment for my arrogance? Do you know how much that idea hurts?

In some ways it hurts me more to think of Remus sharing in this fate. He has already been through so much; I hate thinking of him alone forever. I remind myself that while I was locked away for thirteen years in Azkaban, he was in a prison of his own, abruptly cut adrift from everything he'd known, suddenly alone in a world that was hostile to him. In one horrible night, he went from having friends as close as family, security, and love, to having nothing and no one. It was hard enough for him to trust James, Peter, and myself. After losing everyone he held dear, how could he ever trust again?

And I feel guilty when I think of that. Had it not been for me and my stupid plan, he wouldn't have had to suffer either. But here I go talking in circles again. On nights like these it seems every path leads back to my guilt. But how do you escape something like this? Is it childish to dwell so much on one thing? Even if that one thing is so monumental that it changed the scope of not only your life, but the lives of everyone you know?

Guilt is a funny thing. If anyone had said to me when I was that arrogant kid that I would have spent thirteen years in Azkaban and thought I deserved every year, I would have knocked them on their butt. Yet, here I am, thinking that I didn't serve enough time, I didn't pay full penance; I didn't bring James and Lily back. Oh how I would gladly give up every breath I've ever taken just to give Harry his parents back; I'll be a poor substitute. I thought that even back when Lily and James first asked me to be Harry's Godfather. I accepted because I was honored to be family, to know they loved me enough to ask. But I always figured it would just be a title, a name dragged out when I bought him expensive birthday presents or showed up as Father Christmas for the holidays. Never, in my worst nightmares, did I ever think I might have to replace Lily and James in Harry's life.

But I will be there if he needs me. The boy is my family and I would walk through fire or sell my soul to keep him safe. He is one of the few things left in my world that means anything to me and I will not let him down like I did his parents. Funny, isn't it, how we are right back here again. Way leads to way and all paths in my head lead to Hell. And in here, Hell is a place where I live over and over again showing up in Godric's Hollow just in time to see the dark mark in the sky, to run up to James' twisted and lifeless body, to see Lily's sightless eyes staring accusingly at me. I can think of no worse way to spend eternity.

Maybe I do understand why Remus keeps a journal. Funny how cathartic this is. Writing all this dark, horrible stuff out is like cleaning out a wound you didn't even realize was infected. I know I can never bring James and Lily back. I know that I can never make up for my arrogant stupidity, although I will try with every breath I take for the rest of my life. I suppose I will go on with my life, helping Dumbledore, taking care of Harry and doing my damnedest to see to it that Voldemort rots forever in a Hell that is worse than mine. In the morning, when the sun comes up, I will get out of bed and get on with my life, seeming to everyone like the same old Sirius. Only these pages will know what goes on when I am alone. And maybe it is best that way.