Without Happiness

Summary: "We enjoy warmth because we have been cold. We appreciate light because we have been in darkness. By the same token, we can experience joy because we have known sadness."-- David Weatherford

Author's Note: I wrote this about a year and a half ago, and just never got around to posting it. So here we go now. Canon Remus, somewhere during Prisoner of Azkaban. Please review.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. JKR owns everything. The end.

It was in the early evening when he always missed them the most. That twilight period just before he would light his lamps, holding off until the gray light from outside was no longer enough to read the black words scrawled across the parchment in front of him.

Just before the room was filled with golden candlelight though, their ghosts would come back to haunt him. Laughter and smiles, jokes that would never get old, no matter how many times they were used and beaten to death.

Everything reminded him of them. That suit of armor they had knocked over while running away from the professors, the smell of Christmas dinner wafting through the castle, every staircase, every painting, every classroom held a memory of his friends that he could never escape and only half wanted to.

It was times like this when he hated them the most, hated them for leaving him there all alone. He felt like a ghost himself, wandering around lost and friendless, a faded image of happier times they had once shared. He did not cry, no matter how strong the desire. He would not weep any more over the things that had happened. The past was done with, and nothing could change it now.

But sometimes, on the nights when the wind beat furiously on his windows, tossing the snow around violently, he would sit at his desk, imagining that he had lost control. He would curse and throw his books across his small office and let out just a single scream of frustration. Then he would regain his composure, straighten his belongings out once more, and pretend that he had never dreamt of losing control, that the bitterness of his abandonment did not haunt every moment of his life.

He coped with it, just as he always had, and no one was ever the wiser for it. He taught his classes, day after day, smiling and socializing with his colleagues. No one ever questioned him, no one ever cared, and at least in public, he did not let the bitterness towards their apathy show.

Remus Lupin hated his friends just as much as he loved the memory of everything they had once been. He hated them, and he hated himself for hating them. He hated the memories and he hated that they had given him their friendship in the first place, because if only they hadn't, he would never have known, and the loneliness that engulfed him now would not leave him cold.

He hated them for showing him happiness, because without happiness, he would never have known sadness.