I watched from the doorway as Harry tried his best to tie a Windsor knot. I could tell his fingers were stiff and pretty much worthless in the tie tying area, so I went over to help him. I saw him straighten his shoulders and set his jaw when he noticed me.
"Can I help?" I asked.
Harry dropped his hands and lifted his chin a little so I could finish tying.
"I remember the first time I had to tie one of these," I said absently.
Harry lifted his eyebrows half-heartedly. "Oh yeah?"
"Yeah. I guess I was…nine, maybe, and my parents had decided that it was time for me to start making public appearances at their parties and things. You know, just to promote the family image. So they get an invitation for a Muggle-themed party, which they almost didn't go to because they found the idea rather repulsing, but it was given by someone important, so we went. Anyway, I had to wear a tie, and spent several of the most frustrating hours of my life trying to figure out how to do it. Turns out there a was a spell for it, but my father didn't share it with me until my dear mum noticed what a wreck my clothes were."
"Hmm," Harry said, trying to sound interested, but I could tell that I hadn't succeeded in distracting him.
I straightened his tie a little, and then glanced around the room, trying to find something else that needed to be done. Coming up empty, I sighed. "Right then…are you ready to go?"
Harry visibly stiffened. "I've never been to a funeral before."
I cleared my throat. "Neither have I."
Harry looked at me. "But what about…oh. Right. I guess I had just thought…"
I nodded. "Well, I was rather indisposed at the time of your parents' funeral, and I wouldn't have been…welcome, at any of the funerals for my family members."
Harry nodded vaguely, then turned and looked me in the eye. He swallowed nervously. "Okay. I'm ready."
But was I? I'd done a pretty good job, I thought, of controlling myself and staying calm, but on the inside, I was a mess. Every few seconds, it seemed, I was hit by a stray thought or memory of Remus, followed by a swift blow to the stomach when I realized I would never get another one of those. My last memory of my best friend would be that of his funeral, and that devastated me. I clung to Harry emotionally, blatantly using him as a distraction, and for the effortless comfort that his presence gave me. I was continually grateful for the stroke of luck that we were able to stay together and that we worked. I had been afraid that once I finally did get Harry living with me, we would clash all the time, and that he wouldn't like me, but that didn't seem to be the case, thankfully. Remus had helped a lot in that. He had always been there to calm me down when Harry did something stupid, or to cuff me if I'd done something stupid. He'd always been like that. Always the mediator for our group of friends. Always the sane one.
"Alright," I said, deciding to be ready too. If Harry could be, then I could be too.
My heart was pounding, my throat was closing in on itself, and my eyes were burning. I think the walk into the little church was the hardest part. We weren't the first ones there—in fact, the place was already pretty full when we arrived—and as soon as we opened the door, all eyes were on us. I could hear the whispers, and although I knew we would be expected to sit in the front, I wanted to just slide into the back.
I focused on the flowers sitting next to Remus's urn and the picture of him, trying to block the other items from my mind. The flowers were big and gaudy, but I didn't really care. They were a good focal point.
The service was really a memorial rather than a funeral, so there would be no viewing of the body. I'd always hated the idea of doing that, but right now, I longed to see him, just one more time. The thought that the cremator had been the last one to see Remus's body horrified me, and even more so, the picture of Remus burning into the neat pile of ashes that were currently in the urn that, no matter how hard I tried to focus on the flowers, I couldn't take my eyes off of. That was all that was left of Remus.
I knew that Harry must have been hurting too, but I really didn't have the strength to try to comfort him. I wasn't looking at him, but he seemed to be fine enough. If he had been sobbing or something, then maybe I would have been able to pull myself out of my own sorrow and take some of his away, but for now, my sorrow quota was pretty much overflowing. Not quite, because I wasn't crying—I don't think—but that was the most I could control.
A wizard in long black robes who was probably a friend of mine came up to the pulpit and began to speak. He thanked us for coming, and apologized for the awful circumstances. That seemed rather insignificant to me—trying to be polite at a funeral. Who gave a damn?
The man started talking about Remus, and how he was valued in our community, and all sorts of other rubbish that he didn't mean, and I stopped listening. I was still staring at the urn, and riding out the waves of grief that were hitting me. I was stuck in the cycle of grief, and it kept repeating itself. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. I didn't know that you could go through all of those in a matter of minutes, but I was. I stopped believing that this urn was anything more than an urn, and that Remus was really late to this function, whatever it was. He would be here soon.
Then he never showed up, and I became angry at him. Angry at him for being late, for not coming, for leaving me here all alone. For dying.
Then I began to think that maybe, maybe there was some kind of spell that I could attempt that would let me switch places with him. It was, after all, righter for him to be alive than it was for me. Of course, there was Harry… He probably needed me a little. But maybe I needed Remus a little. Or a lot. Or all the time. Or right now.
Then, thinking about that, the depression kicked in again, and I swear, I could've died right then and not have cared. I think I probably started crying a little right about then.
And then…Remus was dead. I knew that. There was nothing I could do. But then an irrational voice would scream in my head, 'No he's not! Remus isn't dead, he's just late!' and it would start all over again.
Sometime during the third or fourth speaker, and my fifth round at the anger stage, Harry reached over and took my hand. I guess, although I was caught up in my own world of sorrow, Harry had enough strength left over to help me. Or maybe he was just being Harry. He let me squeeze his hand, and he squeezed back. We were probably bruising each other, but we were surviving.
Yeah, so, that was the last chapter. Finis. Voila. Hope you enjoyed!