Title: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

Rating:

Author: That would be me, Gevaudan, possessor of big shiny teeth wolfy grin

Summary: The Marauder's say goodbye as they leave Hogwart's…

Author's Notes: this has probably been written a thousand times before, but I recently left school and so the idea kind of got lodged in my brain. This is my first Harry Potter fic but I'm attempting another Marauder based fic so any constructive criticism would be welcome. Also this hasn't been betaed, my beta reader is busy doing her A-Levels and so she has enough to do…

Dedication: To Fi, Helen and Kiz, who for the last 7 yrs have been my Marauders. Thank you for everything, I'd have set off fireworks if I could.

The sun shone across the grounds of Hogwart's lighting the school in a gentle glow. The Great Lake sparkled serenely, although the sight of a Giant Squid basking complacently at the surface put all those tempted to swim in the cool water off immediately. It was mid afternoon and usually the grounds would be quiet, the only sounds coming from stricken first years struggling to control errant broomsticks or the startled cries of a class coming face to face with one of the more exotic magical creatures the Hogwart's pupils studied. But today the lush green lawns were filled with pupils from the Seventh Year, for today they would graduate and go forth to make their mark on the wizarding world…

'Hey Moony,' a voice attracted the voice of a tall auburn haired boy who stared unseeing across the lake, 'Congratulations.'

Remus Lupin drew his gaze unwillingly away from the view he had been attempting to commit to memory, to meet the dark eyes of Sirius Black, who was bounding across the grass, a broad grin spread across his handsome features.

'And to you,' he replied, a smile lighting his eyes, 'top marks in Transfiguration. Honestly Padfoot, anyone would think you'd been practicing.'

The two laughed.

'But I didn't get the satisfaction of beating Snivellus at his own game,' Sirius looked briefly downcast, 'did you see the look on his face when he realised you'd beaten him at Defence Against the Dark Arts. He looked like he was about to cry.'

Lupin returned his gaze to the lake, 'ah Snivellus,' he said softly, 'I'm going to miss him.'

'Tell me you're joking.'

Lupin turned an amused gaze to his friend.

'I am,' he confirmed with a smile, 'but I am going to miss it here.'

Sirius followed his friend's gaze to the view that they had woken up to every day for seven years, 'me too.' He replied softly, 'me too.'

'Hey' a voice cried, deflecting their gaze once more. James Potter wandered down the grass to meet them, the shorter tubbier Peter Pettigrew in tow, 'what are you two doing? They want us for some photos.'

Sirius grinned once more, 'well I would say they just sent you to find us to get rid of you…but I don't think they'll want final pictures without me and Moony on.'

 James aimed an amiable swat at his friend's head.

'Bighead.'

'This coming from you?' Sirius retorted, 'The boy who made it his aim to look like he'd got off his broomstick every day for 5 years. Then stopped because not everyone liked you…!'

'It was worth it…' James muttered, his gaze drifting over to Lily Evans.

'Oh here were go,' Sirius dug Lupin in the ribs with his elbow, 'help me stop him tripping over his own feet.'

'Uh, I think they're waiting for us,' commented Peter, in an unnaturally high voice, 'we'd better go.'

Together the four drifted up the field to take their places alongside their fellow Gryffindors.

After the photos it was time for Dumbledore's speech, and for once their jovial headteacher was uncharacteristically serious.

'The time has now come,' he began, 'when you are going out into to the world to face new challenges. And you will face challenges, make no mistake about that. For there will come a time when each and every one of you will have choices to make, choices that could change not just your futures, but the futures of all.'

Dumbledore met the gaze of each and every student, meeting their eyes with a force that made them want to shrink and look away.

'I cannot tell you what decisions to make, only you will know which is the right one. But do not think you have to make these choices alone, each and every one of you have made ties here, strong ties of friendship.'

Here he paused for a moment, smiling inwardly as he saw his Head Boy, James Potter lay a hand on the shoulder of the Head Girl, Lily Evans on his right and Sirius Black on his left. He saw Sirius smile slightly, and rest his other hand on Remus Lupin's shoulder who in turn laid a hand on the shoulder of Peter Pettigrew. There, Dumbledore knew he saw the ties he spoke of, unshakeable ties that would not be broken by any force. He did not watch long enough to see Pettigrew slide from under Lupin's hand.

'You must always trust these ties of friendship, when you are unsure look to the people who know your heart the best. They will stand beside you and help you even in the darkest of times. Good luck to you all.'

Slowly the pupils began to applaud. Lily and James rose to their feet, then Sirius, Remus and Peter. Like a tide the applause reach a crescendo as all pupils of all houses rose to their feet to applaud the head teacher whom they held in the highest regard.

Eventually the applause waned and the only person who remained standing was James who slowly made his way to the front of the gathering.

An expectant hush fell over the assembled crowd, and James Potter, the boy who had boldly captained his house Quidditch team and represented the pupils as Head Boy gulped in fear. Desperately he glanced at his feet, though he knew the inspiration he sought would not be found there, he let his gaze drift up and immediately found the support in four pairs of eyes, the emerald green of Lily, the pale blue of Peter, the amber of Remus and the piercing jet black of Sirius. Each one of them saw his internal struggle and each one offered support. He could practically read the thoughts of each of them in the eyes that gazed up at him, but most clear was Sirius who's eyes plainly said,

'Come on mate, keep it short, no dirty jokes, don't admit to anything and we can all be out of here by teatime.'

He smiled slightly to himself, and was rewarded by an answering glint in Sirius's eyes.

Slowly he cleared his throat and began to speak;

'I know that if any of you stood up to speak now you will all say the same things that I am about to say now, but as I wear the badge with the HB on it, the task has fallen to me.'

He paused for a moment then continued,

'I know that the first thing you would do would be to thank the teachers,' there was a cheer, 'who I think its fair to say have had a lot to put up with.' He noticed a few people turned to stare pointedly at his friends and then back at him, he continued on hurriedly which earned him a few chuckles, 'I also reckon you'd want to thank Professor Dumbledore,' at this there was a standing ovation from the crowd. Dumbledore looked faintly embarrassed but immensely proud of all of his students.

'It is the Professor,' continued James, 'who has run this school with such unflinching dedication and brilliance, and it is he who has taught us the things that perhaps were the most important things that we needed to learn, although we never sat OWLs in them. He taught us always to think about each other and to stand united. But most importantly, always to judge others by their actions and inner qualities, rather than their background, their names or their abilities, and it is that lesson we should learn above all others.'

As he stood collecting himself for a moment, the teachers regarded James Potter seriously. While none had ever, disliked, James Potter, many had considered him at times a touch arrogant, full of bravado and humour and yet sometimes with all the inner depth of a saucer of water. And yet now, here before them all he was revealing a startling level of maturity that had previously remained unseen. In that moment they could see how he earned the respect and trust of Dumbledore, the love of Lily Evans, and the unswerving devotion of Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.

James cleared his throat, one final time.

'And the last people I know you'd want to thank, are the people who have studied alongside you for seven years. All of us will be leaving this place with more friends than we arrived with, except for possibly Sirius who was responsible for the Dungbombs in the Slytherin Common Room.'

Here there was an outcry, which culminated in Sirius ducking and hiding under the hem of Remus' robes.

'And I know that if any of you feel the way I feel, you know that its these friends that are the most important thing you will take away with you. Not the ability to brew death or to levitate people,'

With a flick of his wand he picked up Sirius Black and deposited him on his chair,

'although we all know its possible. But none of it, none of it, means anything, without the people that make it worth the effort, without the friends who make getting up in the morning worth it just by greeting you with a smile. And I just want to end, before I get too sentimental, although I think it's a bit late for that, by thanking you all. It has been a pleasure to be your Head Boy, and a pleasure to study with you. Good luck for the future.'

He nodded to his friends in the second row, who glanced sideways at each other. Then they stood in unison James coming to stand beside them, pointing their wands into the sky. With a muttered incantation the clear blue expanse was lit with bright dazzling colours, and the sounds of screeching whistles and bangs filled the ears of the students. After a long moment of this the stars coalesced to form three words, glowing crimson and gold above the dias on which the teachers stood gazing up,

'THANK YOU HOGWARTS'.

Proudly beneath it shimmered the Hogwarts crest.

As the field dissolved into startled, approved chattering the five friends lowered their wands and turned in on themselves, enveloping each other in a group hug.

'That was worth it,' commented James.

'Good speech James,' Remus mumbled.

'I meant every word,' he replied seriously.

'Friends forever?' Someone asked, though when they recalled it in the future, no one would remember who.

'Forever,' four affirmed. No one noticed Peter Pettigrew remain silent. And no-one saw his eyes slide to meet the cool watching eyes of Severus Snape.

The End.