So I really hope this isn't the end of your affair with Sirius, because you do lovely things with his character. You capture his roiling mix of emotions incredibly well and find all sorts of non-obvious motivations for his actions that make perfect sense. I think you have an amazing talent for writing him, and for writing, in general. ;)
You managed to add something really new and interesting to the well-understood process by which James and Lily came to take Peter as their Secret Keeper. Those extra details about Sirius becoming a focal point for the Death Eaters fit so perfectly with all of the canon details. Peter had already betrayed them all, so the Death Eaters knew that Sirius was the Secret Keeper. But Sirius thought that Peter was too cowardly and weak and in awe of James to betray them, so he jumped to the conclusion that it was Remus. James's concern for Sirius's well-being was another small touch that really fleshed out the narrative nicely. In the end, it all made perfect sense. They chose Peter because he really did seem like the safest choice for all concerned.
I don't care that your version of the events in Godric's Hollow didn't exactly follow canon, I truly preferred them. Giving Sirius that extra time with little Harry made a really positive difference. All of the realizations hit him, and he knows for a fact that life as he's known it is over. His only hope and only purpose is to take vengeance on Peter.
Lastly, you wrote the duel with Bellatrix really well. Lots of tension and edge-of-your-seat action. It's not easy to do when we all know what the outcome is going to be.
The ending was lovely, although I think I would have expected Sirius to be more concerned for Harry. After all, he did leave him in the middle of a battle. But considering that he was worried that it was all a delusion experienced in his cell in Azkaban, maybe it was easier to let everything slip away.
I truly enjoyed this story from start to end. Jami is very lucky to have such a talented, generous friend. Well done!
Author's Response: Hi! Finally here :) Sorry it's been a while; this is such a lovely juicy review that I wanted to respond to it properly and I'm having issues typing for any period of time due to shoulder problems! :(
I thought that this might be all I wrote about Sirius, but as time went on I realised that I have a bit of an affinity with him. 'Skywards' certainly won't be the end of my affair with Sirius Black. I really loved writing this story, and to receive comments like yours just confirms for me that I may have found 'my' character. He's always been one of my favourite characters anyway, but writing him was a really personal experience - one that I wasn't expecting at all. Anyway, enough rambling from me!
I really had to think my way through the Secret-Keeper issue. It's quite complicated! The few lines that JKR gives us to detail what happened actually make it a bit complex, so I'm really glad that it made sense to you. And thanks for noticing James's concern for Sirius - it's relationshippy details like that, that I take pleasure in writing!
And I'm so happy my fiddling with canon worked for you! Honestly, I prefer it too :P
I haven't written many action sequences before so it was great fun and quite challenging to write the Bellatrix/Sirius fight scene. I had to work to keep it interesting particularly, as you say, as we know what the outcome is going to be!
I'm with you on the Harry thing at the end. I pondered that. But I think, Sirius has been so battered and buffeted, and when he sees James and Lily a sense of peace just comes over him - and the way Lily thanks him for looking after Harry to me says that she's keeping an eye on her son. I might edit it so that she also tells Sirius that Harry is safe, don't worry... Come with us, I'll show you. Etc.
It's great to hear that you really enjoyed this story - I'm very proud of it and I'm so grateful to Jami for being the inspiration behind it, and to you for reviewing every chapter and being so helpful and supportive!
Thanks again - and keep an eye out for future Sirius stories! ;)