How Long Is Forever..?

A promise that James, Sirius, Remus and Peter had made long ago.

Disclaimer: I own nothing Harry Potter related. If I did . . . I'd be rich and enjoying watching my books be movies. Enjoy and please read and review.

Remus Lupin looked up at the sign swinging back and fourth as the sky grew dark. He wrapped his cloak and scarf around him a bit more and shivered to himself, as he stood alone in ankle deep snow. The wooden sign above him read: The Three Broomsticks and it gently blew as the snowflakes danced around it in the chilly December air.

The December air was chilling him to the bone as he debated with himself on whether or not to go inside. A promise was made years ago. Would he dare break they promise made? They had made it forever ago.

But how long was forever?

Slowly, Remus pushed open the door open. Inside, just as he remembered, lay The Three Broomsticks. The chairs and tables scattered across the wooden floor, the bar with all it's shining glasses glittering in the candle light as Madame Rosmerta wiped down the bar with a damp wet rag. A few people were in the bar area and families with young witches or wizards were eating meals and laughing as the fairy lights shinned up the dinning area.

Crossing the room to his favorite corner, a bit dark and out of view from everyone, he pulled out a chair and sat down looking at the small burnt out candle in the center. Remus pulled out his wand and lit the candle, the orange glow reflecting off the table onto his worn face.

"Why hello Remus dear," said Madame Rosmerta, "Can I get you anything?" she asked crossing the room cleaning a glass mug with her apron.

"No thank you," Remus replied politely, "I'm actually waiting for some company. I'll order when they get here."

"A date Remus?" Madame Rosmerta said with a giggle.

"No," Remus chuckled, "Just hoping to meet some old friends is all."

Madame Rosmerta nodded and went back behind the bar, a young gentlemen flirting with her making her laugh. Remus stared hard at the table. He was a fool to think any of them would return here for a foolish boyhood promise.

"So . . . no matter what were doing . . . or even if were all hated enemies, dead, be arrested, we all agree to meet up here . . . lets say about 8 years from now or so? On today's date. December 21 at 8:30 in the evening?" said a handsome boy with messy black hair, hazel eyes and glasses, "Even you Sirius. No running off you scamp."

"Who says I'd run off James? I'm in!" shouted Sirius, the handsome boy with silky black hair and a beautiful dark eyes with a sly grin, "Even if Peter becomes some mass murder and James is crazy in Azkaban."

"Hey!" shouted the plump shorter boy with watery blue eyes, blonder hair and a mousy look to him, "Who says I'll be a murder?"

"And who says I'll be in Azkaban?" James laughed, "Honestly . . . little old me?"

"Who says I'll be a mass murder!" Peter shouted again.

Sirius chuckled, "No one," Sirius replied, "Just implying."

James smirked and laughed, "So how about you Moony? Up for the challenge Remus?"

"Of course!" said Remus a bit pale and peaky but smiling nonetheless, "I'll meet you all back here."

"But what if we haven't seen each other in years?" piped in Peter.

James still smiled as he picked up the snow the was falling in front of The Three Broomsticks and formed it into a snowball, "Well that's the point. So we can meet up."

"What if we see each other everyday?"

"Then a boys day out," James said throwing the snowball at Sirius.

"What if were all hated enemies?"

Sirius tackled James, "More reason for us to make up," he said shoving snow down James' robes as they hurled snowballs at each other.

"AHHH! Padfoot it's COLD!" laughed James.

Peter laughed and Remus smiled rolling his eyes, "Something tells me we'll all be friends forever," Remus said as James and Sirius threw more snowballs at one another.

Remus looked back at the table. It had been on this date . . . 8 years ago that they had made this plan to meet up with each other. So much had happened in that time. They were careless 7th years and were foolish to think that they'd all stay friends forever.

But, just how long is forever?

The bell on the door had jingled as someone entered the bar. Remus looked up. It was a man in a dark hooded cloak covering his face and his hands were in his pockets. Some hair fell out of the cloak's hood but the face was still not visible. The figure looked around, paused at Remus, and then started to head towards the table at which Remus sat.

The figure looked down at Remus and Remus saw a vague outline of the man's face, then a sly smile that said, "Hello Moony."

"Padfoot?" Remus spat out.

"Last time I checked," the man said sitting down across from Remus leaving the seat next to him empty, and the seat next to Remus empty, "Same old seats."

Remus bit his bottom lip and leaned closer, "Sirius you should know better than to walk out into the broad daylight."

Sirius chuckled, "It's night by the way."

Remus shook his head, "Night. Fine. What if you were caught?" he asked concernedly.

"I won't be," Sirius said waving a hand.

"Keeping a foolish boyhood promise isn't worth getting sent back to Azkaban with death all over you," Remus spoke.

Sirius looked at his tiring friend, "Who says I'd get sent back? And no Remus. The promise. I told him I'd never break it. I'm true to my word, as are you."

Remus looked back at Sirius.

The Marauders crossed the room to their favorite table hidden in the back. Remus sat on the inside, on wall side while Peter sat next to him. Across from Remus was Sirius, who was also on wall and side, and last but certainly not least, James sat down next to Sirius across from Peter.

"I wonder what we'll be like in 8 years?" Peter asked.

Sirius snorted, "Jamesie here will be a world star Quidditch player."

"Married to the one . . . the only . . ." James made a romantic face, "Lily Evans!"

Remus sighed, "And to think it was only last year that she was going at Prongs' throat."

James laughed, "I see Sirius in a large house, filled with women . . ."

"Shut up Prongs," Sirius replied, "You make me out as a—"

"Don't even start with him James," Remus replied as James and Sirius started to friendly fight.

James and Sirius laughed, "Yea, we'll be friends forever."

But then again, how long was forever?

Remus looked up at Sirius, "How long his forever?" he asked.

Sirius looked back, "Pardon?"

"I asked, 'How long is forever?' "

Sirius blinked with sullen eyes, "I suppose how ever long we chose it to be," Sirius answered plainly.

Remus swallowed hard as he took in this answer. He wished James was here. He wished Peter was here. He wished all four of them were happily sipping on Butterbeer, their friendship not torn apart by Peter's betrayal, James' death not counting him out of the number forever, Sirius' imprisonment making Remus believe he was guilty. He wished for some many things but he all knew, they would never some true.

"I guess Peter isn't showing up," Sirius snorted, "Figures the coward chose not to. After all . . . how could when he murdered one of his best friends?"

Remus sighed. He had thought of Peter better than that. He had never expected Peter to be the spy that led to James and Lily's death.

"I guess not," Remus replied quietly.

"I had hoped though he might remember the promise and show up," Sirius commented, "But I guess Voldemort is worth more to him then our friendship ever was."

Remus swallowed hard again.

"Sure you'll remember to show up?" James chuckled to Peter.

"Why wouldn't I?" Peter asked.

James smiled, "Well . . . you have been the forgetful sort Pete."

"Oh, shut up Prongs," Peter retorted with a laugh and shove into a chuckling James.

Remus shook his head, "I wonder what it would be like."

"What, what would be like?" Sirius wondered.

"What it would be like if we were all here again," Remus said slowly looking around The Three Broomsticks, "I wonder how our lives would be if Peter hadn't betrayed Lily and James and they were still alive."

"Suppose we wouldn't be sulking in the dark and thinking about are two lost friends," Sirius answered quietly.

Remus nodded and knew it was the truth. When they had planned this future get together, Remus had never imagined Peter going over to the Dark Side, Lily and James dead and Sirius on the run for a crime he didn't commit. This was nothing like he had expected.

"So, if I haven't seen you guys in a while," James explained, "I want to hear all about what you guys have done!"

"And what we haven't done," Sirius brought up, "I still haven't fixed that flying motorcycle of mine you know."

"Well who knows," Remus started.

James finished, "By the time you see us on December 21 in 8 years, that motorcycle might even be ten times better," he said with a grin and Peter nodded.

Sirius looked at his watch, "I should get going. Like you said . . . I don't want to get caught," he choked on these words, "I promised James I'd watch over Harry . . . Harry certainly doesn't need me locked up again."

Remus nodded as all his childhood memories of this day the boys had thought of, flooded him in a river of disappointment. They had planned this a happy day. Instead, Remus was worried over many things, Peter was hiding with Lord Voldemort, Sirius on the run from the Ministry and James was dead. This was certainly something none of them had expected.

"So . . ." James said again, "Friends forever?"

"Forever!" all four Marauders chanted as the laughed in the snow.

And once more the question came, how long was forever?

Sirius got up from the table with a smile, "James would have been proud we showed up tonight Moony."

"I think he would," Remus answered, "Shame only two of us remain."

And with that, Sirius and Remus walked out of The Three Broomsticks with both their heads looking out into the cold snow. Neither of them noticed a short man in the corner near their table lowering his cloak revealing a mouse like face with watery blue eyes full of happiness as he watched his two friends leave the room, "Friends forever . . ." he whispered pulling the cloak over his head.

Author's Note: So? How was it? This idea came into my mind in school and wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote it all out. So . . . I wrote it out. The title came to me because I had always wondered . . . did the Marauders ever do anything like that to ensure their friendship would last forever? Hope you enjoyed it. Please read and review.