Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or anything associated therewith. This was solely for pleasure and I am making no profit from any fanwork whatsoever. While you're deciding NOT to sue, I'm taking a nap and not spending non existent profit.
Author's note: Miss Leah and I were discussing something like this after I wrote Glow. It just took me a REALLY long time to get around to it.
I stand at a crossroads. My choice is difficult in that each option is of equal value, causing an equal amount of harm, doing an equal amount of good. It would seem that the choice is then a trivial one, as though to say do I wear the blue sweater today, or the brown? But in this, as in the vast majority of things in this world, nothing is quite as it seems. My choice is not whether to cause harm, nor is my choice to do charitable work, it is instead the horrible decision of precisely whom this will effect, and how.
The only people I can remember loving are dead. My parents passed on when I was young, fifteen perhaps, and had since been replaced in my heart by individuals of a more significant standing. That is not to say that I wasn't saddened when they died, but it was not the end of my world, for we had grown apart following an abrupt rift in our relationship: I am a wizard, and they were not. I was, however, very nearly shattered when my best friend and his young wife were brutally murdered, and again more recently when the only link to my youth was cut down in something both a family squabble and something much larger.
And so it comes to Harry and myself. The son of my best friend, the only survivor of various massacres that not even battle-hardened warriors escaped, alive and before me, metaphorically looming over my head like the ghost of his dead father. I know what James would say to me, I know he would expect it as a tacit agreement, and it pains me to dishonor his memory by faltering when his descendant so desperately needs me to be steadfast. I have always been steadfast, and here where I least wish to be it is most required of me.
I am so… something. Jealous, confused, frustrated, furious. Not with Harry of course, it is not in me to be furious with Harry, confused by him, and sad for him, but not angry insomuch that I would cause him harm. But he is so young, so full of promise, with mentors and friends springing from every available niche to assist him in anyway possible. So jealous that he has a life ahead of him that will be unmatched by any other man in history, so jealous that he still has his friends, his best friends, his only friends, his friends that were his friends before they knew precisely what Harry Potter as an institution is.
Harry has lost, but I have felt it more keenly. Harry looks at me with such hope, with such a glint in his eyes; he is James with an idea, Sirius' enthusiasm, his recklessness. I don't expect him to understand my reluctance, every time he launches himself into my arms, looking for a father figure, I don't expect him to understand. All I can see is death when I look at him, even Peter is in there somewhere, bitter and cruel. Peter was an orphan too.
I cannot be a father to him. I cannot suffer his hopeful, oh-so-familiar face whenever we meet, I cannot hope to guide him down an appropriate path. It is to much responsibility, too much of a tragedy should I make a mistake, should I go wrong somewhere. Too much to hope that Harry could somehow come to depend as fragile humans as the rock bed he stands on when we are so easily cut down.
I hate him. I hate James Potter for expecting Sirius to care for his son, and I hate Sirius for expecting me to do the same. I hate Harry Potter for expecting me to fulfill that role simply because I am available to do so. I am the only one left. I too will be caught out in the open, slaughtered by Voldemort's forces, and for what? For the peace of mind of a spoiled sixteen year old boy who has had nothing but the red carpet laid at his feet. I despise James for laying this responsibility at my feet, just as I despise Harry for being one, and despise myself for putting them at fault.
It was cruel, to force this on me. I cannot afford to open my heart to a lost cause. I cannot afford to feel affection for a dying man, I cannot afford to lose everything again and again, because I can't pick myself up again and again, to watch myself unravel. And I cannot expect Harry to live on without guidance, advice, or the memory of his father in his life.
So I stand at a crossroads. I need to make a decision. Do I remain a recluse, do I close myself off as a measure of self preservation, do I dishonor James' memory and break Harry's heart to protect my own fragile emotions? Or do I take Harry in so-to-speak, do I give him the father figure he so craves at the cost of my own heart, do I fall into the routine of guidance and affection, can I really accept that I'm the last one, the last resort, the only one left standing when the smoke clears, the last man between Harry and the firing range? Or do I let it go?
A/N: I'd explain myself but it might not be worth it. This was Remus POV obviously, and I think I was trying for an emotion that was so subtle my current mental state couldn't quite capture it. Sorry.