|The Last Letter
Author: LykanianMoon PM
Remus writes a letter. The pain of unrequited love, the knowledge that there are times when you don’t realize what you have until you’ve lost it, and that nothing you do will ever make up for the time lost. Have tissues ready. Please read and review.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Romance - Remus L. & Sirius B. - Words: 5,304 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 6 - Published: 01-30-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4828941
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Last Letter
"You know not, yet, the love that strikes like a lightning bolt; that clutches hold of you by the heart, as irrevocably as death; that becomes the lodestar by which you steer the rest of your life. I would not wish such a love on anyone, man or woman, for it can make your life paradise, or it can destroy you utterly…"
Qoute by: Juliet Marillier Daughter of the Forest pg.78
Summary: The pain of unrequited love, the knowledge that there are times when you don't realize what you have until you've lost it, and that nothing you do will ever make up for the time lost.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. All characters and situations recognized are the property of JK Rowling, and Warner Bros Studios. No money is being made by this usage. Any situations recognized are my own. The quotes used near the end of this oneshot are located in the third, fourth, and fifth Harry Potter books, all but the last one said by Sirius Black. The last quote is by Remus Lupin.
A big thank you for my awesome and wonderful Beta, Calanor. Thanks so much, hun, for going over such an angsty oneshot. *hands over chocolate* You deserve so much more. And a shout out to the group Severus Sighs. I haven't forgotten about you!! I still love you, don't worry.
Please enjoy. And it would be a good idea to have a box of tissues on hand while reading this.
In the wise words of the Joker:
"-5th July, 1979-
My Dear Sirius,
By the time you receive this letter, I will be long gone from your life. I have entrusted this to James, with the message to give this to you when he thinks it's time.
I cannot guess how long it took him to give this to you, or even if he gave it to you at all. He seemed to be slightly against my actions, but he never said anything. Not at the end, anyway, when everything had been settled for my leaving. I suppose he realized that it was too late; that nothing he said would change my mind. He was right.
It is in this letter that I state my real reasons for leaving, and say my real goodbye.
There are so many things I would like to say, here in this last letter to you. I would like to try to convince you of how much I don't want to do this and how much I will miss you. I want to describe to you how hard this is, and how I didn't think I would have enough strength to go through with this and leave you. I want to tell you of how deeply I long for your happiness, and how I'm leaving now only because it would be worse later on.
But I can't, because my intention is not to excuse and prattle on and on about how much I dread doing this. My intention is only to give you the unwanted truth, and to word the goodbye I could never say in person."
-Remus stopped the quill suddenly, leaving it poised over the parchment as he tried to swallow back the tears that threatened to overwhelm him. He would cry later, when this was all over. Right now, he had to write this. He had to get the words out before they were lost. Pushing back the pain, the tears, and the bitterness, he dipped his quill in the small ink jar, and continued.-
"I can't believe how emotionally draining it is, writing this letter. So, bear with me as I attempt to word my last farewell.
Despite how important you are to me, our friendship has been a hard and emotional one, and I would never wish to have this kind of friendship again with anyone else, simply because of its painful complexity. This is not to say that I regret my friendship with you; quite the contrary, I have treasured it.
But I think I've had enough for a lifetime.
I will always remember you as the one person who meant so much to me, in such a different way, than anyone else did, or ever will. I don't know if you could possibly see the difference you have made in my life, and the influence you had on me, even at the young age of eleven, seeing you on the train for the first time, and wanting desperately to be as cocky and self-assured as you. You completely ignored the fact that I was quiet and shy, stepped over the social (and personal) boundaries to get me out of my shell, and shattered the walls I'd put up around me to protect myself, and all this with only a crooked grin and an unhealthy amount of enthusiasm.
It really is no surprise that your animagus is a dog."
-Remus gave a watery grin as he remembered feeling a bit overwhelmed when he first met Sirius. And wondering how in the world one person could have so much energy.-
"Throughout the years we were friends, you brought out the best (and sometimes worst) in me, continually drew me out of my shell (to my frequent annoyance and gratitude), and made me into the person I am today.
As I write this letter, memories flood my mind, and I remember.
I remember first year, leaving once a month with excuses to visit my mother, seeing yours', James' and Peter's faces growing more and more uncertain every time I left, and more suspicious. I had believed that it was only a matter of time before you found out my secret, and I tried to think of ways to make you agree not to tell anyone. I had no hope that you would still want to be my friend; that dream was impossible. Then, seeing you in the hospital wing after a particularly brutal moon the last month of the school year, all three of you determined to accept me. But it was your expression I remembered the most. The fire in your eyes…you looked almost angry, and I shrank back when you approached, thinking that keeping James and Peter's friendship was more than I could ask for, and that I shouldn't have hoped for you as well. My flinch didn't stop you from coming closer; in fact, it only seemed to make you more determined, and you kept approaching until you were leaning over me on the bed, unsmiling, eyes focused, intense, on mine. I could see James out of the corner of my eye, hesitantly reaching for you, ready to stop you in case you became violent. Then you said, simply and almost dangerously, 'Don't you ever think you'll lose my friendship. There is nothing you could do to cause that to happen.'
Then, in fifth year, I found out what you all had been studying behind my back. The hurt I felt at being left out of whatever you three had been doing was instantly washed away, and even as I half-heartedly tried to dissuade you from accompanying me on full moons ("it's too dangerous-!"), I felt an overwhelming feeling of affection and love, and as I looked into your determined eyes, the same eyes I saw on your face when you told me I could never lose your friendship, I knew that I was falling in love with you. It was actually a rather calm realization. It seemed like this was the natural direction things were supposed to go in my life; not that you would love me back, but that I would love you. It made perfect sense.
It was only later that the pain and bitterness of a broken heart washed over me, and I cursed my fate."
-The fire cracked sharply, an echo of the feeling that was tearing apart Remus' heart. The dim light from the solitary oil lamp cast long, sorrowful streaks of muted pain and regret, and the quill dropped mournfully onto the parchment from numb fingers. Remus put his face in his hands, and sat silently for a long time.-
"I will not dwell over painful memories. You know as well as I do what happened later that year that almost broke our friendship. I know the regret is still with you, and you haven't yet found it in you to forgive yourself. Nor will I relive Christmas night of sixth year, when, alone in front of the fire, you finally pried out my last deep secret and stared at me with shocked, regretful eyes.
I never expected you to love me back.
But it still hurt. I almost lost you that year. You were so distant…I know you didn't want to give me the wrong impression, but the agony was almost unbearable. During that time, I became closer than I ever have before of simply giving up completely. I couldn't see around the haze of pain and hopelessness in my mind to remember what it was that I was living for. You found me, sitting on the edge of the Astronomy Tower, your face white and drawn. You went to stand next to the ledge I was sitting on, and looked up at the stars with me for a while. Hours or minutes; I couldn't tell you how long we gazed at the sky, feeling the awkward tension of the last few months bleed away, until you turned to me and stated solemnly, 'Don't you ever think you'll lose my friendship. There is nothing you could do to cause that to happen.'"
-Remus ignored the wetness of his cheeks as he stared unseeingly at the night sky outside the window he was facing. Long moments passed, memories bled behind his eyes, before he took a slow breath, and steadied himself for what would be the hardest part to write.-
You have probably already guessed the real reason for my leaving. If I was thinking only of myself, I would have remained your close friend. I have desperately wanted to remain so. But I don't think it would be right. I haven't stopped loving you, as a friend, and as something more. But I know that you are so concerned for my feelings, being the overprotective man you are, thinking (absurdly) that you have hurt me. And I know that it's always hard for you to talk about your latest girlfriend when I'm around…Now, I'm not so egotistical to think that I would really hold you back when you finally decide to have a serious relationship with someone, but I know you would be concerned with my reaction and not want to hurt me, etc. And what happens if you get married. Although the image of you and marriage don't seem to fit well together, but anything is possible? Surely, your wife would know. It would be ridiculous for me to stay here, we both know that, but so far, you have not kicked me out of your life, as you should have done. Maybe you didn't think it was an option. Or maybe you were still debating against that choice. If that's it, then it's taken you a long time to decide.
So, I took that burden off your back.
Yes, you can say this is condescending. It probably is. Who am I, to take away that choice? You want to be friends with me; are determined to be. And I ruined that.
I know. I know, and I could say that I'm sorry, but I would be lying.
And I know that I have to, because you won't. Because you are so ridiculously and wonderfully loyal. I will say one thing, though: if you aren't angry with me, I would be surprised.
I don't think I'm running away. I don't respect people who do. But I think running away implies that the problem at hand can be solved, one way or the other, no matter how painful, and that the person running is just too cowardly. This cannot be solved, no matter what we do. It will always be there, a rift in our friendship, something not completely forgotten; because no matter how much we pretend it's not there, it is, and there's nothing we can do about it. So, I'm not running away. I am extricating myself from an utterly hopeless and sad situation, before it blows up in our faces. I am leaving so that you can live your life, and not one day grow to resent me being there, a constant reminder of something you don't want. I am trying to mend what was shattered so deeply in my heart, and I'm trying to save myself from the insanity of prolonged pain, the yawning chasm inside my mind that I am so close to falling into.
I have tried everything I could to get rid of this feeling, but even if I did, there are still the repercussions, the damage inflicted, that would have to heal. And I wouldn't risk coming back to have it start all over again, if indeed I am ever rid of this, which I have very little hope of.
The only people I will regularly talk to will be James and Lily. I will not be keeping in touch with anyone else. You can ask James how I'm doing if you want, because I know you'll want to know. But after a while, you should probably stop. It would be best if you got over the broken shards of our friendship as quickly as possible."
-A low keening noise, tortured and desperate, cut through the stillness of the room. Then, there was only silence as Remus fisted his hands in his hair and bit his lip hard enough to produce blood, to keep the pain inside. He trembled and shivered, but was quiet. The fire popped once, and an owl hooted mournfully in the early morning darkness. -
"This is one of the hardest things I've ever done. In the back of my mind I'm screaming at myself, wondering why the hell I'm doing this; why am I breaking off something that I hold so dear to my heart?
I have to.
I hurt so badly, Sirius. I try hard to bottle it away, deep inside my heart, but I still feel this broken pain that cannot be healed. I can deal with it on a day-to-day basis, but sometimes, late at night, I feel it. And it crushes me.
I have to leave, Sirius, and I'm not just doing it for you. I think this would be best for me. I can't say that this is forever, because I don't know the future. Perhaps, someday, I will return. But don't count on it. Unless…
I have left instructions for James: If something bad happens to you, and you need my help, he will contact me, and I will return. But that is the only reason I'll return.
I am too loyal for my own good, and in the end, I have not truly left you.
I will travel the world. Visit all the places I always wanted go, and imagined in my books. I leave you now, because I cannot waste anymore time. If I stay any longer, I will find a reason to not leave at all. Maybe something will happen, and you will look at me in that fierce, determined way you have, a look I have not seen directed at me in four years. I leave now, and hope that maybe someday, I will be able to live the life of solitude I so crave.
I don't know if I can ever express to you how much I wish things were different. I wouldn't be leaving. Well, not for this reason, and not for this long.
And not with this painful desperation.
I am so sorry, Sirius. I know this will be painful for you. And I hate that I'm causing you pain. I am too dark for you. I have known this from the moment I met you. No matter what happens, no matter that I continue to fight against the rising Dark Lord, I will always be a dark person. You have always had a special place in my heart, for so many reasons. You were one of my closest friends. I have loved you with an imperfect love with such indescribable depth. You forced yourself, with a clumsy grace, into my heart the day I first met you. You shared with me such a tangled and complicated friendship, and we formed some sort of bond from that.
The only thing I can hope for is that in later on in your life, when you remember the years we were friends, you think of me with a fond smile."
-An echoing smile, stretched and sad, more of a grimace than anything else, twitched across Remus' face, and with a soft, resigned sigh, he finished the letter, his heart and mind full of memories and lost pain.-
"You will always have that part of my heart, no matter what happens. I will never stop loving you, as a friend and more. I wish you the best happiness and the greatest fortune. May you find someone wonderful who loves you more than life itself, and can give you all that you need and more. May your future beautiful children (if you have any)look to you for guidance, and see you as someone they should strive to be. May you live long and be strong and healthy, to the end of your days.
May you live the life you deserve.
Remus sat very still in his chair for a long time, watching as the sky lightened to receive the sun's presence. The sun had fully risen before he stirred, gathered his papers with a grace born from habit, and left for his bedroom. He wouldn't be able to sleep, but he suddenly didn't have the energy to do anything but lie down and close his eyes. The muggle plane to America left late that afternoon, and he tried not to think about the goodbye he would be giving Sirius, nor the letter he would slip to James when Sirius was distracted, avoiding the concerned, regretful hazel eyes.
'This has to be done. For my sake as well as his. I have to leave him in hopes that he finds the happiness he deserves……even as it destroys mine.'
Dark grey eyes gazed numbly down at the parchment, hands tightening and unknowingly crumpling the delicate paper around the edges. When Sirius started reading the letter from his (his mind skittered over the word 'former') close friend, a feeling of dread settled suddenly in the pit of his stomach. So suddenly, in fact, that he felt extremely dizzy for a moment, and had to reach out and steady himself on the kitchen counter, almost knocking over his glass of wine (Remus' favorite), and take deep breathes until he felt able to read the rest.
Remus had been gone for only a month, and Sirius missed him in a way that surprised him with its intensity. He felt like he had lost a part of himself, and he tried to reason that it was the fact that he'd been so close to Remus for almost ten years, and the knowledge that he could Apparate into Remus' apartment whenever he felt like the need, and now he couldn't any more. It was a good excuse; the pain he was feeling was hard to deal with at times, but natural. Nothing else.
So he continued to tell himself, and tried to ignore the dawning realization; tried desperately to hold onto ignorance, because the truth was something he couldn't handle right now.
Days passed, and weeks and months. A year and three weeks later, Harry James Potter was born, and when Sirius went to St. Mungos to see little Harry the day after, he couldn't help but feel that there was someone else there in the room, even though it was only James, Lily, himself, and a mediwitch. He pushed aside the feeling as paranoia from the increasingly more dangerous Order missions. He didn't see James glance over at a seemingly empty corner every so often.
He didn't see sad amber eyes drinking in his every move.
Christmas. Harry's first. Sirius had left sometime around ten at night; Lily and James had been too tired to stay up longer than that. The whole evening was spent exchanging gifts, pretending to be happy, brushing off the half-stated concerns and glances, and ignoring the fact that there was someone who was supposed to be there but wasn't. Sirius was used to the ache in his chest by now, but every Christmas and every March, the ache would become almost unbearable. Sirius was glad the get-together had ended when it did; it meant he could have more time getting to know his bottle of Firewhiskey. Promising to come back the next day, Sirius left the Potter house, unconsciously rubbing the area on his chest where his heart was.
The next morning, Sirius awoke to his expected hangover, and downed the Headache relief potion before stumbling into the bathroom to shower. While in the shower, he pretended not to notice that he was washing his hair with Remus' favorite shampoo and conditioner brand. While brushing his teeth, he pretended not to notice that he was using Remus' favorite kind of toothpaste. And when he made breakfast, he pretended not to notice that he was making Remus' favorite kind of pancakes. Before he left the house, he pretended not to know that the shoes he slipped on were the ones that Remus had once complimented. As he opened the front door, he grabbed his leather jacket from the coat rack he pretended wasn't a gift from Remus, celebrating the new house. He shut and locked the door with the house key attached to a key chain he pretended Remus hadn't gotten for him 'just because'. Every day, he pretended. And every day, he drifted farther and farther away from who he was, and the gaping hole in his heart grew just a little bit.
He decided, seemingly at random, to visit the bookstore located at Godric's Hollow. He did that sometimes, conveniently forgetting that it used to be Remus' favorite bookstore, from before. Standing in the middle of one of the lonely aisles, he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. If he concentrated, he thought he could hear the crinkle of pages being turned by scarred hands, the soft laughter at certain passages made by authors who didn't know what they were talking about, and the hand on his shoulder and sandy-colored hair brushing his cheek as he was directed to a certain interesting book. Sirius opened his eyes with a sigh, and for one heart-stopping second, he thought he could see Remus right in front of him, half-turned toward him and giving him that crinkly-eyed smile that was purely Remus.
Air exited his lungs suddenly in a backwards gasp, and he was struck with a pain in his heart so intense, he had to hold onto one of the shelves to keep from falling over. Suddenly, he was overwhelmed by memories, and it was so hard to breathe, and he felt as though he was suffocating from the smell of old books and the sound of pure Remus laughter and the scarred hands and sandy-hair --.
He had to leave. Now. Stumbling, he lurched out of the door and into the softly falling snow, oblivious to everything around him, and seeing only soft crinkly amber-eyes.
Eyes he loved so much.
There was that whooping feeling again. But this time it was accompanied by a feeling of horror and sorrow so strong he had to bite back the screams from making their way up his throat. With shocked eyes too big for his face, he fell to his knees before the scorched remains of the Potter house in Godric's Hollow. No, no, no. The world seemed to tilt on its axis. No. No. It was Peter. All this time, it had been Peter. His eyes stayed glued on the smoking remains, and he remembered when he and Peter switched as Secret Keepers and how much he had to persuade James -.
He flinched violently, and his eyes were finally torn from the house. Placing his face in his hands, he leaned so far forward that his forehead touched the grass.
"No, no, no…" He moaned. Wide, unseeing eyes stared between his fingers at the grass, and he was so far gone that when he heard the slight noise in the ruins, he let out a very canine yelp and whipped his head up so fast, he cricked his neck.
He stood fluidly and palmed his wand.
As he strained to hear another sound, he had a sudden, wild thought that it was Voldemort, and his heart thudded painfully in his chest as a slightly unstable grin twisted its way onto his face. A fierce and uncontrollable urge for revenge coursed through his veins as he steadily made his way to the wreckage.
'Please let it be him. Let it be him so I can tear him apart.'
The sound came again, and this time Sirius knew exactly what it was; the unmistakable sound of a crying baby. He froze where he was, stepping over a piece of a wall, and a new urge seized him. His wand fell from numb fingers as he scrambled frantically over the rubble.
"Thank God, thank God, thank God -."
He climbed up bits of the walls, furniture and metal to get to the second floor, ignoring the bleeding cuts on his hands where he gripped sharp metal as leverage. He found Harry curled up in a corner, the blood on his forehead covering a curiously shaped cut.
'How is he still alive?'
The next ten minutes passed by in a blur. Hagrid had shown up with orders to take Harry away to live with his Aunt and Uncle. Sirius argued with him until he remembered that Peter was still out there, and alive. Handing the keys to his motorcycle to Hagrid, he said simply, "Take it; I won't be needing it anymore."
He took one last look at Harry, then disapparated to hunt Peter down and exact just revenge.
"Tell them whatever you like. But make it quick, Remus. I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for..."
"There's enough filth on my robes without you touching them!"
"Believe me. I never betrayed James and Lily. I would have died before I betrayed them."
"Forgive me, Remus."
"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
"This is how it is - this is why you're not in the Order - you don't understand - there are things worth dying for!"
"You are truly your father's son, Harry."
"Come on, you can do better than that!"
"There's nothing you can do, Harry ... nothing .... He's gone."
-5th July, 1995-
A different pair of hands clutched the age-worn parchment. Tears splashed angrily on the yellowed paper, pale-black ink ran hesitantly down into nonexistence. Faded words of regret and pain, overflowing with memories of a person forever departed. Graying brown hair fell to frame his face as he knelt down, and amber eyes closed as grief overcame all sense of thought and being.
A memory from just a few months ago entered his mind, unwillingly, and Sirius' voice echoed inside his head.
'Promise me, Remus. Promise me that if anything happens to me, you will see this finished. Promise me that you will not follow; that you will be with Harry until the very end.'
At first, he had only been able to stare, horrified at the very thought, into dull gray eyes. No, of course he wouldn't promise! But then, like always, those gray eyes had broken past any and all resistance like it was nothing, and tore from Remus' mouth a bitter, 'I swear.'
Resentment rose up like bile in Remus' throat; never had he regretted something as much as he regretted making that promise.
But he would honor it. He had to. He had made a promise to the one person he loved more than anyone else. A broken determination bleed through his mind and into the rest of his body as he slowly stood up, dropping the letter onto the floor. Yes, he would see it through. He would see it finished.
But he had never made any promises about what he would do after.
The door shut behind the broken werewolf. The pages of the letter were ruffled by the small breeze, and then lay still.
That was all the movement it made for many years, before a young man with green eyes and messy black hair hesitantly entered the room, and picked up the letter. Sorrowful emerald eyes read the faded words, showing nothing but a regretful sadness. Sighing softly, he folded the letter carefully along the worn creases, stuck it gently into his cloak pocket, and left the room.
The strong wind blew passionately out toward the ocean, insistently pushing against the green-eyed man's back, who stood facing the horizon at the top of a sheer cliff. A full moon shone down on the man, making it easy for him to see the words of the letter he held in his hands. He approached the edge of the cliff with a soft purpose, and holding the letter out in front of him with one hand, he whispered, 'I hope you both found the happiness you deserve. Be at peace.'
He let go, suddenly, and the wind grabbed at the pages with eager hands and carried it far out over the stretch of blue-green waves. He stood, his cloak and hair the only thing moving in the wind, and thought he heard in the distance a faint howl of a content wolf, and the distant barking of a carefree dog.
Smiling, he turned and walked back down the cliff.
'I will see you again. But not yet.'
His smile turned into a grin as he thought of a red-haired woman, waiting for him at home.
10,000 Miles, by Mary Chapin Carpenter
"Fare thee well
My own true love
Farewell for a while
I'm going away
But I'll be back
Though I go 10,000 miles
My own true love
10,000 miles or more
The rocks may melt
And the seas may burn
If I should not return
Oh don't you see
That lonesome dove
Sitting on an ivy tree
She's weeping for
Her own true love
As I shall weep for mine
Oh come ye back
My own true love
And stay a while with me
If I had a friend
All on this earth
You've been a friend to me."
A/N: Review, please.