So I wasn't planning to continue Dancing With Yesterday at all, but I thought Sirius had a story to tell, too. And so this was born. My apologies if it makes little sense - this was written late at night, and sleep is for wimps.
In the end, it was always going to be hardest for Sirius.
Two days after Hermione vanished, Dumbledore gathers the four of them (him, Remus, Lily and James) at Godric's Hollow and tells them the truth in plain, quiet words. He tells them about the major time disturbance he has picked up; how he had traced the source to Hermione. He recounts Hermione's tale to them in the best detail he can manage.
It explains a lot, really.
After Dumbledore sweeps out, allowing them time to simultaneously grieve for their lost friend and come to terms with this knowledge, silence falls. Lily disappears into Harry's nursery, and every so often, they can hear her crying. James follows her and Remus stands in the lounge room, looking lost. Sirius sinks on to the couch and buries his face in his hands.
She'd known, hadn't she? Known she wouldn't make it out of the war. Because if she was Harry's best friend, then she must have heard about the fiancé his Uncle Padfoot had lost. He wonders if she was scared of her fate.
He pushes the thought aside. Hermione isn't scared of anything.
Wasn't, he corrects distantly.
The organize a sort-of funeral (only sort-of, because while Hermione Pevensie was probably dead, Hermione Granger was still out there somewhere). It's the first time James and Lily have left Godric's Hollow since the Fidelus Charm went up, and probably the only time.
When Sirius had tried to suggest it might be best for the Potter's to stay home, Lily had said, "We have to go," in a tone that had brooked no arguments.
It's small and it's short, with only a few of the Order members really going. Frank and Alice come, with little Neville bouncing on Alice's hip, and Emmeline Vance and Dorcas Meadowes both show up. Dumbledore even makes an appearance, and Sirius thinks he spots the old professor wiping away his tears at one stage.
Sirius was supposed to make the eulogy, and yet when the moment comes, he can't move. He can't. It's like accepting she's really gone, and that's something he will never be able to do.
In the end, James improvises a speech and Lily just hugs him tight.
Halloween rolls around, Peter reveals that he really is a dirty little rat, and James and Lily die.
And Sirius had thought life couldn't get any worse.
With this thought in mind, he starts laughing (a harsh laugh that says it's really not funny at all) and stays that way right up until he's locked into Azkaban.
He skulks around Hogwarts a bit. It's stupid – very stupid, since Remus is working there – but he just wants to see Harry. Prongslet. His godson.
And then he sees her.
She's only a third year at this point, but he can still tell it's her. The same bushy hair as ever, and the same smile on her lips as she laughs at something the redhead says. He'd forgotten she would be here; he doesn't know how, but he had.
He watches her and edges as close as dares. It's amazing to see her this way: young, carefree, without the fear of Voldemort hanging over her head.
Hermione, he thinks, and his heart breaks a little more.
By the time they find him at the Shrieking Shack, he's managed to get over seeing her. No, that's not quite right: he's not over her, he never will be, but he can cope with it now. He's gotten used to it enough for him to be able to focus on Harry.
But he can tell that he's going to have to have a talk with Remus about all of this, from this look that Sirius swears Remus must have borrowed from Lily.
Except Remus can't borrow anything from Lily, not anymore.
He must have gotten it in the will.
It's hardest when they're stuck in Grimmauld place.
He's stuck in such close quarters with her so often and she's starting to look like the Hermione he had known. Hermione Pevensie, member of the Order of the Pheonix and freedom fighter. But she's not, really: she's Hermione Granger, Hogwarts student.
He sits with Remus during the nights and the two commiserate on their losses. About Lily and James and how they should have known. About how hard it is to be around Hermione without accidentally saying something.
The stupidest thing he'd ever done, Sirius decides on one of these nights, was forgetting to trust Remus. Remus, who was now the only person Sirius could honestly talk to without holding anything. Loyal, honest Remus.
And then Molly comes in and Sirius finds his thoughts cut short as she begins to berate him for drinking.
Whoever said time heals all wounds was a dirty rotten liar.
Fourteen years to the day and Sirius still feels his heart being ripped out as he remembers Remus' face. He still remembers Lily's tears and he still remembers James' cold emptiness. Most of all, he can still remember the feeling of a weight bearing down on his chest when he realized it would be another sixteen years before she knew him; knew him properly, at least.
Is it bad that fourteen years had passed and he still missed her, still loved her, as much as he had the day she vanished?
She comes in during the afternoon. She tries to comfort him, not knowing she's only making it worse. Reminds him that Harry will be coming soon, and things like that.
It doesn't help.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
What the hell was Harry doing? Going to the Department of Mysteries, taking his friends with him, without any adult help. Merlin, he was as reckless as –
Well, as reckless as James had been.
As reckless as Sirius still was.
With that realization, it's harder to be mad at him.
It's Bellatrix who kills him.
She always was a bitch.
He thinks of them as he stumbles backwards through the Veil. Harry, Remus, Hermione. For a moment all he feels is terrible pain.
He suddenly feels very light, as if the weight that had been pressing on him for the past fourteen years was gone. He no longer has reason to mourn Hermione or Prongs or Lily. He smiles, and it feels odd on his lips.
He turns, and goes on.
(Decades later, he welcomes her home with a smile.)