Conviction

Summary: Remus reflects. "But you have to belief that it is there, that it exists just out of your reach. You need to believe that you're fighting for better days, because when you lose sight of that belief, you have nothing left."

Disclaimer: Nope. Not mine.

Author's Note: I think I've completely lost the ability to write fluff. Don't expect another light, cute, feel-good little piece for a while. I blame F. Scott Fitzgerald and Tennessee Williams. There is simply no way you can write fluff after reading The Great Gatsby or The Glass Menagerie.

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If someone had told me then what was going to happen to us, I would not have believed him. I would not even have given it a second thought.

None of us had ever expected that this was how we were going to end up. None of us would have ever believed it.

We were too young, then. It was not that we had not experienced hardship before; nor did anyone expect that we would emerge from the war unscathed. We knew. We knew that there were going to be casualties. We were prepared, maybe, to lose one of us, but no one could have ever prepared us for what happened. There was simply no way we could have ever imagined it.

We were too optimistic, too ambitious, too idealistic. We harbored that stubborn, immutable idea that nothing would happen to us if we had each other. Friendships forged and chiseled over the course of seven years did not simply fade away into nothing. They were too special, too powerful for that. We were too special, too powerful for that. We would make it, against all odds, because together, we were stronger than we could be alone. Together, we were invincible.

I would have never believed what could happen, what would happen—even though I was more disillusioned than most of the group.

James Potter, handsome and mischievous, Head Boy, Quidditch captain, tremendously talented and unsurpassingly brilliant—dead. Murdered by Voldemort, died protecting his family—his wife and his son.

Lily Evans, beautiful and sincere, Head Girl, excelling in everything she had ever put her mind to—dead. Murdered by Voldemort, died shielding her one-year-old son from the Killing Curse.

Sirius Black, charming and charismatic, effortlessly brilliant and with unusual resilience and strength—dead. Wrongfully convicted for murder, thirteen years in Azkaban, escaped only to be killed by his cousin in a duel.

Peter Pettigrew, bumbling and good-natured, ever present, conscientious and faithful and admiring—traitor. Joined Voldemort, sold out his best friends, still alive as the most disgusting coward the world has ever seen.

And then there's me. Werewolf—but that's old news. Witness to the deaths of my friends, the betrayal of someone I trusted unconditionally. A fighter for the Light side—but for how long? To what extent?

To this day, I can't quite get my mind around it. We were infallible. We were the most successful students Hogwarts had ever seen. We were part of a group that everyone admired, envied, idolized. How, then, could this have happened to us?

Maybe it's fate. But somehow, I can't shake the conviction that this was not meant to happen. This had to be a mistake. There had to be more that the world could offer us than heartbreak and fear and cruelty and death.

It's times like these that I almost stop caring. What do I have left to live for? What more can I do? If I weren't a goddamn werewolf—if I didn't lose three of my best friends—

But there's a reason for everything. It's hard to find that reason sometimes, and even after finding it, it's hard to remember.

It's always somewhere in the back of my mind, and I have to force it onto the surface every once in a while.

Harry.

He needs me. I need him. The world needs him. I can't possibly be a replacement for his parents and his godfather—for the people that growing up, he should have had. Yet if I can make one positive difference for him, that is a strong enough reason to live, a strong enough reason to go through hell each day.

But, try as I might, sometimes I can't stop myself from the thought that Harry and his group of friends would meet the same untimely end that we did.

They are like what we were. Bold, confident, daring, infused with the golden elixir of youth. They have seen more than we had, and they are well aware of the perils of the future—yet they hold the same unshakable conviction that together, they are undefeatable. Yes, they are special, stronger than most. Harry with his courage, his strength, his compassion; Hermione's unfailing diligence and cleverness; Ron, the most brilliant strategist the school has ever seen; Ginny, so full of life, carrying a constant, glowing spark of determination—together, they make a formidable team. But for Merlin's sake, they're teenagers. They haven't even graduated yet. They're too young, too inexperienced, too certain. They think that nothing will happen to them. Nothing can destroy them.

And I sure as hell hope that they're right, because this time the stakes are a lot higher. They're only sixteen and seventeen years old, but they're the best chance that the world has.

I think that I'm more scared for them than they are for themselves. I don't know how I can watch Harry rake his hands again through his hair, eyes dark with pain and self-blame, or Hermione trying futilely again to restrain her tears, trying too hard to be strong, or Ron's usually joking face become ashen and dead serious again, or Ginny's eyes fill again with the hollowness that young girls should never have to encounter. They should not have to live this way. No one should have to live this way.

But maybe, when you're living in a world that could crash down on you on any given day, you have to think the way they do. You have to be confident, irrationally so. You have hold that unshakeable idea that you can win. You invest everything you have into the future, into the shining belief of a beautiful world that you might never have the chance to see. But you have to believe that it is there, that it exists just out of your reach. You need to believe that you're fighting for better days, because when you lose sight of that belief, you have nothing left.

And when you lose everything, you need to draw from the reserves of your strength any last ounce that you have left. Despite everything that has happened, you need to keep going.

Keep living. Keep fighting. Keep believing.

There's no other way.

FIN.

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