30th October 1981
James doesn't know that I'm writing this, so please don't tell him anything about it. He'd maybe be angry if he knew what I was doing; he's told me so many times that I can't do anything and it's best to leave it alone. But it's getting to the stage where I just can't ignore things. So much is happening that I'm not even sure that I know exactly where to begin. But you have to see that you are getting things so wrong, and that if you keep on this way then all this mistrust and suspicion will get the better of us all.
I'm not too proud to admit that it's frightening me, although I can't always say these things to James. He has so much to worry about, and I try to tell him that there are some things he can't defend us against, but it seems he'll do anything to try. If he knew just how frightened I was of what the future holds for us all; for me and James and Harry I don't know how he'd take it. I'm not sure he'd know what to do if I told him how scared I was.
But I'm telling you now to make you see, Sirius, that you're wasting the time we all have together. This tension between you and Remus is so insignificant when compared to what we are all facing; what we should be facing together. I know what you'll be thinking as you read this. I know that will tell me what you've told me before; that you cannot trust Remus; that there is a traitor among us. But Sirius, I want you to know that I have always believed that neither you nor Remus would ever betray us. That both of you would rather give your lives than put Harry's in danger. And I think that, by now, you should recognise the same.
We've fought so many things together and yet now we're all faced with that which we cannot see to fight. I love James and it hurts to see him struggle against a foe we do not know; an enemy that would willingly see Harry murdered and his friend's betrayed. But I want you to know that if we have learnt one thing from standing together it's that, divided, we stand no chance at all.
For some reason, I feel as though this is the last time you the listen; that this is last time I shall ever really get to say what I've always known; continually feared. I want you to reconcile with Remus; to put your personal feelings aside to help James uncover the truth behind who, we believe, is betraying us. If you can't do this then I'm frightened; not afraid for myself or for James, but afraid for Harry.
The parchment is rubbed warn with countless readings; the envelope is thin and frayed. Droplets of wax cling to the letter and Remus imagines it being written, hurriedly but candle light. The smudged words, Remus hopes, have run with rain and not tears. He never even knew that this letter existed. He had never even spoken of it before but, as he read it, Remus could understand why. It had been painful, more painful than he had ever imagined, to once more see Lily's hand. It had stung deeply to read the date on which the letter had been sent; knowing what she couldn't have known ten, with hindsight. With every sentence Remus understood more clearly than its original addressee had at the time the importance of what Lily was saying; the significance of what she was asking them to do for the sake of for her, and more importantly, Harry.
Yet it is too late, Remus thinks, carefully slipping the folded back into it's envelope, turning it over in his hands as he debates whether to pocket it or not. He imagines the ways in which he would have read it, over and over after Azkaban, glimpsing, as Remus has, the truth between the lines. His guilt would have been just as encompassing; his grief as all consuming as Remus' and, mirroring what he knew his friend must have done on arriving at Grimmauld Place, Remus closes the tin on the letter within and replaces back in the fireplace.
He had been wrong…they had all been wrong in so many different ways. And now it is too late, Remus thinks as he moves towards the door, away from the room he feels he's spent hours in. He is gone and it is too late to put right all the things they had got wrong. Yet quietly, seeping into his mind as the warmth of the fire had done earlier, Remus thinks in the hush of the house that it doesn't matter. That no apology had been necessary; that there had been nothing more to say. All the words had lost their meaning when they hadn't been said for so long and no nothing mattered apart from the knowledge that, perhaps, they had both known all along what it had meant, though neither had the courage to say.
But it couldn't matter anymore, Remus tells himself, his back suddenly straightening as he reaches out to open the door. There were more important things to do. The battle between good and evil was raging. Choices would have to be made between what was right and was easy; decisions informed by the mind or the heart. Remus knows then what he has never quite been confident of before, as he walks out of the room once belonging to the person he loved and lost. Voldemort could never win on that battlefield. He could never know what it was to love and to grieve as though the world would stop turning just for the death of someone; to feel as though without them, you are nothing. And Remus smiles, for the first time in what feels like forever; a new determination sweeping through him as he closes the door. In that war, at least, they would always be triumphant. In that battle, at least, they would prove victorious.
A/N: I want to thank everyone that has read this and reviewed; supported me and offered me words of advice and made me have belief in my abilities as a writer. Some of your comments have made me laugh, made me bemused and seriously touched me. Without you reading this and telling me what you think I wouldn't have had the confidence to continue for so long. This story belongs as much to you as it does to me.
Thank you to my faithful betas, Meg and Rosie. Meg, my housemate and my buddy, who has put up with my obsession whilst simultaneously encouraging it; who had stayed up until the wee hours and waited for me to finish a long awaited chapter. Meg; who helps me with my punctuation whilst helping me chanel my excess energy into my creative pursuits. She truly is a legened.
And Rosie, a gem given to me from the Perfect Imagination boards and knows more detailed knowledge about Harry Potter than the lexicon. She deserves a huge thanks and a hug too!
To J.K.Rowling, the person to whom I owe the greatest thanks for inspiring me. Her contribution to modern day literature is truly admirable and I respect her so much for what she has achieved. I hope that the characters I have created aren't to different from hers.
What now? I hear you ask. Hasn't the tension yet to be resolved? For those of you who just can't stand it there is a treat in store entitled "Sleeping with Ghosts." I'll see you over there xxx