Wow, so much foreshadowing in this one. The dark times are approaching, and you did a good job of capturing the tension and apprehension while also allowing life to go on for the characters. Let's get into specifics, shall we?
It was fun to see Frank and Alice whole and healthy, happy and together and waiting to welcome little Neville into the world. You captured the fire that Jami always brings to her character perfectly. Her banter with Sirius was witty and flirtatious and just all-around perfect for me. You danced nicely around Remus's suspicions of Peter. I found myself wondering whether Sirius had already started to suspect Remus, as well, by this point. There really isn't much time to go into if before Lily's awful news arrives, but that would be an interesting twist and could explain why Sirius isn't taking Remus's concerns more seriously.
The bit about Benjy Fenwick did feel a little forced to me. You introduced it and made a little bit of it and then moved on almost right away. I know this piece wasn't meant to be overly long, but the loss of a comrade in such a gruesome fashion felt like it should have had more impact on the conversation and on Sirius's mindset.
Lily's letter and the reaction of Sirius's friends was very nicely done. The letter itself was succinct and to the point, which made perfect sense. And the others were so concerned for Sirius. They didn't allow him to leave until they deemed him ready, which made them all sound like really good friends.
The little bit of gallows humor when Sirius arrives at the Potters' home was a nice touch. Very much in character for him, even in such a terrible moment. And the scene near William Potter's deathbed was very touching. This is the exact sort of closeness that Jami has always weaved into James and Sirius's relationship. Mr. Potter's words to Sirius really made the point hit home.
Gah! The last scene was hard for me to read. Not because you didn't write it well, of course, but because it was so emotional. You captured the shock that Sirius would have felt pretty well. The awful details about the muggle victims, the blood and the dust and everything that goes along with it really put a vivid picture in my mind. Sirius's shock at being blamed for the slaughter actually fit really well with the overall scene. For my part, I couldn't figure out why the lady was blaming him, either. If there is any one thing I could suggest for the story, and this may not be the right place to include it, I'm very curious as to how Peter managed to frame Sirius so convincingly. There must have been other evidence.
The ending, especially the final sentence, was perfect. Just a total emotional crash. No wonder Sirius was in no shape to protest his innocence overly.
I really like what you're doing with this. It all fits so nicely with Jami's story, but you bring so much fresh, new material of your own. A brilliant compliment!
Author's Response: Ooh yes, I do enjoy a little foreshadowing!
I really enjoyed getting a few of the gang together, and I'm glad you think I've managed to capture some of Jami's Alice as I didn't want her to be a repeat of *my* earlier Alice in Pop Goes The Weasel. I could perhaps have made that section a little longer, looking more into Sirius's feelings about Remus - but I think I look into that aspect a bit more deeply in the final chapter. You're quite right about Benjy Fenwick. You know when something's so fixed in your mind that you forget you haven't told the reader and so you don't make it obvious? To my mind, Benjy died quite a while ago, which is why they're shocked at Dumbledore wanting to reinstitute the use of tracking the Death Eater - it's been so long since they've had to resort to such measures. Also, although overall the Order is a very close band of brothers, Benjy wasn't particularly close to *that* group of people - he wasn't one of the young just-left-Hogwarts members of the Order. Ah, head canon. But thanks for pointing that out, I may go back and fiddle with that bit.
The muggle woman... yeah. I was going to start the scene a little earlier, to the moments before Peter blew the place up, and there would have been a clearer explanation of how she was convinced that it was Sirius who had done it. But for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to write it. I have the beginning of the scene in my head perfectly, and you've read the end... I just couldn't get the middle quite right. So maybe this is a cop-out of a scene? I may go back and revisit it later too.
Poor Sirius. Poor, poor Sirius. It was hard trying to write him into a state in which he becomes so unhinged that he can do nothing but laugh. So in my mind, he had to become unaware that he was even doing it.
I really love that you can see Jami's influence here! That's a great compliment to *me*!