This is written in the first-person, because I thought that I would be able to bring out Lupin's emotions and thoughts better this way. I don't know if I sort of exaggerated about what he might have gone through, but, come on, he had to have been hurt. He lost his good-friend when he had only just gotten to know him again!
Disclaimer: It's all JK Rowling's. Not mine.
What Happened to us Marauders?
I had no choice but to follow them; the other members of the Order of the Phoenix who had Apparated in the Ministry a little too late, as they made their way to Headquarters, although Mad-Eye had to take Tonks to St. Mungo's to get her treated after her dual with Bellatrix. My mind was numb, and I barely listened as Kingsley Shacklebot explained how we should get to Headquarters, and what we should do when we got there.
I don't know how it happened, but I suddenly found myself in a calm, quiet street, standing in front of a space in between two houses. A piece of parchment was stuffed in front of my face, and I was forced to read it; it was the only way that we could enter Headquarters, by reading Dumbledore's note.
"The...Headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix can be found at – " My voice caught in my throat, " – No. 12, Grimmauld Place, London." I roughly pushed the parchment and the hand that was holding it in front of my face away from me, wondering why I felt…burdened, why I felt as though I had done something that I hadn't wanted to do. Usually, I would have watched what was happening carefully; I would have watched the house suddenly appear, miraculously, in the gap between the two houses, I would have watched as the windows and front door came into being. I would have simply watched everything, marveling at the magic surrounding the house and what it was capable of doing. Now, however, I was looking everywhere but at the house. I just couldn't.
"This way, Remus," I heard someone – probably Kingsley – speak to me, even as I was guided inside the building. Inside the building that had, despite its dreariness, become somewhat of a home to me for the past number of months. Inside the building that now made me flinch when I thought of it.
I heard voices, rushed and loud voices, as someone closed and sealed the front door once we were inside. I heard inquiries being made after people, no doubt Tonks and Mad-Eye, and I unconsciously felt myself bristling as no-one bothered to inquire after him. It was as though it didn't matter that he was gone.
"No, Molly, there's no need to worry, they'll be fine," I heard myself mumble, using every bit of self-control I had to keep my voice calm and firm. They'll be fine. I wanted to laugh at that statement. Yes, they would be fine; Hermione would probably have to spend quite a while under Madam Pomfrey's care, accompanied by Ron…Luna, Ginny and Neville weren't hurt seriously…and Harry – well, Harry had another kind of hurt to heal.
For a moment, the more sensible and down-to-earth part of me told me that Harry was suffering too; he had, after all, lost him. The closest thing to a –
"Yes Molly, I'm fine." I said, surprised to find that I was actually mildly concentrating on what was being said around me. Excusing myself as calmly as I could, I headed down the corridor leading away from the entrance, just as everyone else moved into the kitchen; to discuss what had happened in the Ministry, no doubt.
As I walked down the corridor, something on the wall on my right caught my attention. Glancing at it, my stomach churned uneasily; it was the portrait of Mrs. Black. The heavy, dark curtains were drawn across it, subduing the ranting portrait. I wondered how she would react if the curtains were to be opened…and if she was to be told about what had happened. Would she even care? I laughed inwardly, knowing the answer to that.
'You were always wrong,' I thought to myself, giving the shielded portrait a dirty look, 'He was much better than the rest of you. More humane, if you like.' I shivered as I realized what I had just thought…how I had thought of him using the past tense. It sounded as though I was accepting…it. Accepting it might have been the rational and sensible thing to do…but could I really do that? Was I really accepting it, or was I simply – I shook my head, trying to disperse the thought. I didn't want to think about it now, in fact, I didn't want to think at all. For once in my life, I wished that my brain would just…go to sleep, leaving me in peace.
"And here comes that werewolf he calls his 'friend.' What the Mistress would say if she was still alive, I don't know. At least he is gone. The blood-traitor is gone and will not come back to haunt the respectable reputation of this family…"
I stared at the creature in front of me, my usually warm brown eyes icy as I took in his ancient, white face, and the annoying smirk that was on it. Usually, I agreed with Hermione; house-elves were living things too and should be treated with kindness and respect. I even spoke to him about it, months ago, telling him that he shouldn't take his anger at his family out on the poor thing. I never understood why he kept on snorting and telling me that he knew what he was doing. In fact, I still don't understand why he did that. All that I understand at the moment is that the vile creature was happy about what happened to his Master.
"Shut up Kreacher," I manage to mumble, quelling the mixed emotions that were raging around inside of me. I see him look up at me out of cruel eyes, the smirk still on his face, as he mumbled something about my lycanthropy. "If you're not careful Kreacher, I might be paying you a little visit during full-moon night…" I was eerily pleased at the look of alarm that crossed the creature's face, "…I think I'd like that…and so would your Master." My brown eyes must have glinted dangerously – they always did whenever I was angry and when the full-moon was coming up – for, a minute later, the house-elf was gone, mumbling things – no doubt unflattering things – under his breath.
I continue walking until I reach the drawing room. The drawing-room a lot of us had spent a lot of time cleaning and 'purifying' not so long ago. I open the doors and walk inside, closing them behind me. I did not want anyone to find me here. I knew what they would say; they would come to me with words of comfort, telling me that it was all for the best, that everything happened the way it was meant to. Ironically, though, I would usually be the one telling people this if they had suffered a great loss…and now, I feared those very things being said to me.
The room is dark, as it has almost always been, with the heavy curtains drawn over the windows. I remember how he gruffly told me that he liked it that way…and that liking the dark was something that he had gotten used to after his long stay in Azkaban. I am snapped out of my thoughts as I hear something rustle from somewhere next to me. Not bothering to draw my wand out in case it was something dangerous, I walk towards where I feel the rustling came from, and I hear a noise that I recognize at once. Buckbeak the Hippogriff seemed to recognize me even in the dark, and I could feel him gently nudge my hand, looking for something to eat. I remembered his diet of dead rats and, rather unwillingly, connected it to that time, last year, when he had been living off rats while staying close to Hogwarts, when the Tri-Wizard Tournament was being held.
"Sorry, Buckbeak," I murmur, caressing the animal's head and feeling the softness of the feathers on it as I sat down beside him, "I don't have anything for you now." I wondered if the animal knew about what had happened. He had, after all, been looking after it ever since he had used it to escape from the Ministry for a second time. He had, in some ways, taken the role that Hagrid had played in the Hippogriff's life. They were both treated unfairly after all; Buckbeak had been about to be executed for simply given Lucius' Malfoy's son what he deserved…and he had suffered in Azkaban for ages, for a crime he had not committed.
My mind wandered back to the time, which now seemed like a different age, when I was at Hogwarts, happy, with three great friends. How my three great friends had figured out what I was, and how they had not hated me, but, if it were possible, had bonded more with me. How my three great friends always covered up for me in the days before and after the full-moon. How my three great friends stood up for me whenever the Slytherins insulted me – well, I should say how my two great friends stood up for me, as Peter never did anything except cower behind James and…Sirius.
Creating the famous Marauders' Map together was one of our combined achievements in school with the other being becoming unregistered Animagi. Of course, I didn't need to become an Animagus, but my three great friends did, if they wanted to roam around the school grounds with me on full-moon nights, after I had transformed.
'Oh god…' I think to myself, as a vivid image of me standing with my three friends flashes in my head, 'We were so carefree then…didn't have to worry too much about Voldermort, about traitors…about Azkaban…' On that Halloween night, fourteen years ago, not only had I lost James Potter to Death, but I had also, given my lack of knowledge as to what really took place, lost Peter Pettigrew to it…and had lost Sirius Black to madness and to Azkaban.
I did find my friends again, two years ago…I found James when I met Harry for the first time in a very long time…I found Sirius in the Shrieking Shack, and, of course, I found Peter disguised as Ron's rat. Despite the gravity of the whole situation, the relief that had washed over me at seeing Sirius again, and at finding that he was indeed innocent…well, the relief was immense. Why? The answer was really simple; after leaving Hogwarts, I never had any friend as great as the three I had during my school days. It did take a while for Sirius and I to start hanging around each other like the 'old days' when we joked around all the time…and we never really did end up joking around all the time, but we managed to get some of out old friendship back. Azkaban hadn't changed Sirius much, except for giving him a more reckless and carefree attitude that frightened me somewhat, as I wondered what he might do, if he was given the chance.
I used to think that the people up in Heaven were nice…that they saw everyone suffering and that they did at least a little something to help them feel better. At least, that was what I thought when I was on my way back home, after resigning from my teaching position at Hogwarts. I thought that the 'little something' for me, was having one of my best-friends returned to me. But now, now I think differently. They returned one of my best-friends only to take him away again. And this time it hurt tenfold, as we had just begun to accept the fact that our lives were really messed up and that it was no point sitting and moping about the past; it was time to move forward, forward in his case meant helping Harry and doing whatever he could do for him, and in my case, meaning learning to support myself in some manner, not taking to heart the rules the Ministry made against my kind.
I was smiling bitterly now as I thought about this. Sirius had indeed moved forward; he had helped Harry and done whatever he could do for him. Hell, if I was to delve into what had taken place at the Ministry earlier, he had been willing to die for Harry. I do not doubt the love he had for his godson…no, but sometimes, once or twice during the time we were all together in this house, I got the impression that he regretted not being able to do anything for Lily and James. I got the impression that he felt that he should have died instead of them; that he didn't do anything for the people that became more of a family than his own…and that was why he was promising to go to any length to keep Harry safe and alive. 'Like going to Azkaban for a crime he hadn't even committed wasn't doing enough for Lily and James,' I thought, sourly, thinking back to the day when he had told me that he felt it had been necessary for him to stay in Azkaban, unreasonable though it was, to repent changing the Secret-Keeper at the last minute.
Tears – goddamn tears – pricked my eyes as the mind I wished had gone to sleep suddenly came up with a depressing thought; Sirius' name had not been cleared. The most part of the Wizarding Community still thought that he was guilty for killing thirteen people – Muggles included – and for killing Lily and James Potter. My mind recalls what I heard Cornelius Fudge telling Dumbledore at the Department of Mysteries, after Voldermort had disappeared.
"Good heavens, Dumbledore – Black – are you trying to tell me that he was innocent after all? That we put an innocent man in Azkaban for thirteen years?"
It had taken his death for them to realize that he was innocent. He had to die for them to realize that they had made a huge mistake…a mistake that I, for one, was never going to let them forget. Sirius himself had said, over the summer, that once the Ministry realized that they had all made a big mistake, he wasn't going to be accepting their apologies. And I understood his reasoning there…if I was him, I would have thought the same thing.
Buckbeak nuzzled my hand with his beak, craving for a bit of attention…attention that I couldn't bring myself to give him. I wondered what would become of him. He couldn't be kept all cooped up and alone at Grimmauld Place…he needed someone to look after him. Besides, no-one knew who Grimmauld Place would go to now, as Sirius…had been the last heir to the Black family. My face paled as I thought of who the house would go to; Bellatrix Lestrange, the oldest Black alive, despite the fact that she had married into a different family.
Something akin to cold fury radiated inside my body as I thought of Bellatrix Lestrange inheriting Grimmauld Place…inheriting what was Sirius', despite the fact that he hadn't wanted it. Inheriting what we spent months cleaning, trying to make the place fit for human habitation. 'I'll be damned if that … ' I closed my eyes as my mind called Bellatrix a word that I thought suited her perfectly well, 'inherits this place. There's too much at stake too…what with the Order…and then Kreacher…'
"Remus? Remus dear, are you in there?" I looked up, startled, as I heard Molly's voice from the door to the drawing-room, and, a second later I saw her face illuminated by the light emitted from her wand, "Oh, there you are…" I could sense the uncertainty in her voice, "Well…Dumbledore's coming in a moment…to tell us what really happened. We thought – you'd like to – "
" – Yeah…" I replied, my voice sounding cold, distant and…lost to my own ears, "Yeah…I'll be there in a second…" I saw Molly nod before she walked away, leaving the door open. For a few minutes, I could do nothing but stare at the meager amount of light from the corridor that was seeping into the room. They always told us to fight the good fight…but those who preached it never bothered to inform us how hard it was going to be to keep on fighting the good fight.
I gave Buckbeak a last, weak glance, petting him on the head, before standing up and dusting my robes, "Good-bye Buckbeak…" I said, just before I closed the door of the drawing room behind me. I could hear many raised voices as I walked down the corridor, heading towards the kitchen where I knew they would be awaiting Dumbledore's arrival. Unfortunately, the portrait of Mrs. Black had been awakened, and was screaming at the top of its lungs as I reached it.
"FILTHY SCUM! BEFOULING THE HOUSE OF MY FATHERS! HOW DARE THEY!" screamed the unsightly woman, her eyes bulging and saliva leaking from her mouth. I stood before her, an unreadable expression on my face, as she caught sight of me, "AND YOU! TREATOUROUS WEREWOLF! FILTHY HALF-BREED! TAINTING THE NOBLE AND MOST ANCIENT HOUSE OF BLACK!"
"…Tainting?" I murmur, "Isn't it tainted enough already?" The portrait of Mrs. Black gave me a positively dirty look, before continuing her usual tantrum.
"AND THAT BLOOD-TRAITOR! SHAME OF MY FLESH! ABOMINATION! FILTHY – "
" – He was much better than the rest of you put together, Mrs. Black," I interrupt her, not caring that I was wasting time in talking to her, "You may not understand it, but he was. It's a pity you and the rest of your family couldn't realize it…especially when we did." And before more filth was hurled at me, I calmly Stunned the portrait, before drawing the heavy curtains across it. Even though I had calmly Stunned it, I was shaking…trembling, as I recalled the hard times that this – I heard a few murmurs of 'Dumbledore' from the kitchen, and turned my back on the portrait.
Everyone was already seated at the long dining table when I entered the kitchen, no doubt waiting for me to arrive. Mad-Eye was there, looking as grim as ever as his magical eye scanned my face, Kingsley gave me a weak smile, Arthur, Bill and Molly Weasley were giving me somewhat frightened looks…Dumbledore was surveying me out of his all-knowing eyes and Snape – I had to gulp here – Snape was just staring at the table, his arms crossed across his chest, looking as though he would like to get this all over with and disappear.
"…Tonks?" I queried, forgetting that I knew where she was.
"At St Mungo's," growled Mad-Eye, "Receiving treatment for what Lestrange did to her." He did not look very pleased as he spat out the name, and, honestly, I couldn't blame him.
"Oh," was all that I managed to say, wondering whether Dumbledore knew what was going through my mind…whether he saw the clumsily wiped single trail of tears on my right cheek.
"Remus," started Dumbledore, not once taking his bright blue eyes off me, "I know that you probably do not want to hear this right now, but – " I shook my head hurriedly, feeling that I knew what he was going to say; 'I know you probably don't want to hear this right now, but I'm terribly sorry about what happened. He was a dear friend, I know, and the loss you are feeling right now is only natural.' I most certainly didn't want to hear that now. Not here either, with everyone looking at me as though they were afraid that I would do something so totally unlike me, such as running from the kitchen, sobbing.
"You're right, I don't…" I said, a bit angry at the tremor that seeped into my normally calm voice, "…want to hear it right now," I finished, keeping my eyes fixed on the table. Dumbledore's gaze lingered on me for another moment, before he turned to the others.
"Very well," he said, sounding older than many of us had ever heard him sound, "There are many things that need to be discussed and sorted out today itself, as it is now vital that we move speedily. Firstly, there is the problem about … … …" I half-listened to what he was saying, as I looked at everyone else, seated at the table. Their facial expressions didn't really project anything but concern for what was going to happen in the future. They didn't seem to be too concerned about what had happened in the Ministry earlier, and I found that I couldn't hold it against them. Even though it would be quite some time before I was able to do it – if I ever ended up doing it – life must go on. It was what James would have wanted for Sirius…and it was what Sirius wanted for me. I had to go on…for them.
Twelve days passed and I was once again in the drawing-room that was now otherwise empty, as Buckbeak had been taken away…taken back to Hagrid. Everyone was packing up, after Dumbledore's words days before about the unreliability of Grimmauld Place as Headquarters, seeing as how the owner was now gone and no-one knew who would inherit the house. In fact Arthur, Molly, Bill and I were only given permission to stay in the house until the day after the full-moon, after which we were to return to our own homes.
Dumbledore was standing in front of where I was seated with my back against one of the dusty book-shelves we had cleaned last summer.
"Remus, forgive me if I am interrupting you," said Dumbledore, his eyes flickering in the wand-light that was illuminating the dark room.
"No, it's quite alright," I mumble, sleepily, as a result of a major lack of sleep and as a result of the full-moon that was just a day away. Dumbledore nodded.
"…The full-moon is on its way, isn't it?" he asked, gently. I nodded, staring at the wooden floor-boards, listening to Dumbledore sigh heavily. "Remus, I know that Molly offered a place at The Burrow for you, until you are prepared to find your – "
" – She has enough trouble as it is, she doesn't need me adding to them," I said, quietly.
"Ah, I thought you would say that," said Dumbledore, sounding rather calm for a man who was talking to an effectively homeless person, "And she needn't worry about you finding lodgings – lodgings other than your own house, of course." I was still staring at the floor-boards, wondering if he was offering me a place at Hogwarts again, and ready to argue and tell him that that wasn't going to work. "We found his last will, Remus." I gulped. I knew I was being stupid, but I didn't want to hear about it. The whole 'last will' thing made it sound so…so definite. He had fallen through a god damn veil…we couldn't be sure about it. "He's left Grimmauld Place to Harry…"
"…That sounds like something he'd do," I said, hoarsely, smiling despite my thoughts. Well, at least that meant that the house was safe from Bellatrix, and for me, that was all that was important.
"Yes, it does, doesn't it? Although we will have to test the reliability of that transition," said Dumbledore, smiling, "He also left his other house to you." My eyes left the floor-boards to stare at Dumbledore's bright-blue ones, thinking that I had misheard that.
"You surely remember about that other house he had? The house that he bought after he left Grimmauld Place?" questioned Dumbledore, "You remember? Well then, that's all there is to it; he's left it for you." I was aware of opening and closing my mouth, probably looking like a goldfish out of water, but, at that moment, I couldn't care less about it.
"He – he did that?" I stammered, unsure of what I should think. Dumbledore nodded, smiling at my surprise.
"Yes," he said, "He apparently felt that someone had to help you, especially when our Ministry isn't doing it…" I slumped back against the bookshelf, bowing my head so that brown bangs covered my eyes. I had been expecting Sirius to do something like leaving Grimmauld Place to Harry…but…this? I never thought that he would do that…the possibility never once crossed my mind. He certainly hadn't forgotten anyone when he had written his last will. I gulped, feeling a familiar wave of emotion flow around me, making my throat constricted. "He always was a generous person…" said Dumbledore, smiling. I didn't say anything, needing to be alone. "Well then, I hope the full-moon night goes well for you, Remus. I really must get going now though, lots of work to do, what with all that chaos in the Ministry. Good day." I only managed a nod as Dumbledore walked away, my mind still reeling with what he told me.
I was soon snapped out of my thoughts when I felt the familiar sinking sensation in my gut, and, as I looked down at my arms, I saw the goose-bumps on it. The full-moon was nearing and I was reacting to it, whether or not I was taking the Wolfsbane potion. Despite everything that he had been dealing with, Sirius had managed to spare a thought for his old friend…leaving one of his houses to him. To me.
'What happened to us Marauders?' I asked myself mentally, even as a sudden drowsiness hit me, from nowhere. That was the last thing that I remembered, before my eyes closed and my shoulders relaxed as I fell asleep.
"He's sleeping…" whispered Molly, sounding relieved as she turned around to face her husband.
"Well, that's good isn't it? I mean, he hasn't been able to sleep much ever-since…well, you know…" said Arthur Weasley, straightening his glasses, "Let's hope that things only get better for him now…he sure as hell deserves it."
"I know," said Molly, sighing sadly, "The poor boy's been through so much…"
"But he will make it…he always does."
"Yes, he w – oh! D – Dumbledore!" exclaimed Molly, seeing the Headmaster of Hogwarts standing behind them, smiling. "I – er, we didn't see you there, Dumbledore…"
"I noticed," said Dumbledore, still smiling as he leaned over to peer into the drawing-room where a dim light from a partly opened curtain illuminated the sleeping figure, "Ah, he is finally getting some sleep then…" He moved away, smiling, "There's nothing for us to worry about now; he has matured a great deal. The only thing that we should fear is him falling into a depression," he paused, looking at them, "but I do not think that it will happen as long as we make sure that he is never alone for too long," he added, hurriedly, seeing the worried expression on Molly's face.
"Oh, I will certainly see to that," said Molly, looking determined, "He deserves something good to happen to him."
"I know…trust me Molly, I know," sighed Dumbledore, looking saddened for a moment, before brightening up, "I really must be off now…got urgent business to do…I leave him in your care, Molly," Dumbledore took his hat off to her and nodded warmly at Arthur, "Good day, Arthur, Molly." With that, he walked away. Taking a last look at the sleeping figure in the drawing room, Arthur closed the doors quietly, before walking down the corridor with Molly.
I hope that was good! I noticed that Dumbledore didn't say much about the 'other house' that Sirius bought, using the money his Uncle Alphard gave him, and I guess I just randomly thought that he might have left it for Remus, as he knew about the Anti-Werewolf legislation and everything else that the ministry and that horrid Umbridge woman were doing.
I hope you all enjoyed that, and reviews will be really, really appreciated. How will I know what I need to improve on if no-one tells me, hmm? Heh heh.