A/N A big thank you to Gaby-Black who edited this.
'Sirius Black, I hate you,' thirteen-year-old James Potter dramatically declared.
'Really? Why?' Sirius asked absent-mindedly.
'Because,' James answered, 'you were the one who told me that Divination was going to be easy.'
'C'mon, you can't say that Divination is difficult, can you?' Remus asked, grinning.
'Listen to this... When a person close to you dies,' James said, reading from his book, 'you immediately feel it under your skin, you know that something has changed, you... it's so creepy and freaky!'
'Well...' Remus said.
'It's pure rubbish,' James snorted. 'You can't feel when someone close to you is dying. It's impossible'.
'Well, maybe if the people are very close... like the four of us...' Peter suggested.
'Nah, I can't really believe it,' Sirius said. 'What do you think, Remus?'
Remus looked thoughtful.
'I don't know...' Remus said slowly. 'I guess you can't say until you try.'
'Evans!' James shouted. 'Would you go in the other room and kill yourself, so I can see if I feel something under my skin?'
'Shut up, Potter,' a pretty red-haired girl hissed from the other end of the Common Room.
'Anyway...' Remus said sternly, trying to regain James' attention, 'I hope we'll never find out.'
'I agree,' Peter said with a hesitant smile and Sirius nodded.
'Yes, who cares?' James said, laughing, and threw away the book.
Sirius Black was alone in his flat, singing aloud an old tune and making himself a toast.
He was immersed in his thoughts, thinking of the Order, worrying for James and his family, wondering like every night if Remus was really betraying them, refusing, like every night, to think about it.
Suddenly he felt his heart pounding faster.
What's happening? he thought, disorientated, as a shiver ran down his spine and he let the ham fall on the floor.
James! he thought. Without even taking his cloak, he ran outside.
'James!' he bellowed in the darkness, unsure of what he expected to hear, of what he expected to see.
'James!' he cried again and nobody but a lonesome owl answered to him.
He is dead. He must be. He can't be.
He got on his motorbike, trying to think of what to do (Go to James's, no, go to Peter's, Harry, Lily, Remus, Peter, James) but he couldn't focus on anything, as he knew, he just knew, that James, who had been his brother, his father, his best friend, was dead.
And Sirius Black, the man who had never cried, who hadn't even cried when he had realised that his family didn't love him, who hadn't cried when his only brother had died, who hadn't cried when he had thought that his best friend might have been betraying him, who hadn't cried when men and women he loved and respected (Marlene, the Prewett brothers, Benjy Fenwick) had died, the man who thought that he had no tears, cried for the whole night, cried seeing James and Lily's house blown up, cried taking Harry in his arms and rocking him gently, cried as he realised that nothing was going to be the same anymore, because James had left him forever.
Peter Pettigrew was alone in a dark and gloomy room. A couple of minutes ago the Dark Lord and all the Death Eaters had left the house, to go to the Ministry to fight against the Order. When Voldemort had ordered the others to follow him, Pettigrew had reluctantly put on his cloak, but the Dark Lord had stopped him.
'You stay here,' he had hissed, and had left him alone.
Why? he was wondering. Why didn't he want me to go with him?
Not that he was unhappy about it. He was quite relieved, actually. He had always been afraid of fighting and had never been that good at duelling.
Oh Peter, don't underestimate yourself! You are as good as any of us, a voice echoed from his past.
Peter closed his eyes as he heard the voice, James' voice, talking to him, saying words that he had often repeated in his short (short! Peter muttered) life.
Those voices from the past had started haunting his days and nights, especially since he had seen Remus and Sirius again.
Remus and Sirius... Peter thought. They must be over there, at the Ministry, fighting against the Dark Lord.
He tried to picture them. He could see Sirius's grin, Remus's concentrated face. He could hear the spells they were screaming, the curses they were casting.
Suddenly he heard a cry in his mind.
What is that? What was that? he wondered, shaking and looking around, terrified, as if he expected to see someone near him.
NO! he heard again, and it sounded like James' voice, Peter thought, but it was slightly different, the tone was different, and then, Peter had never heard James shouting in such a desperate way.
And then he realised.
It was Harry. Harry was shouting.
And at the same time he realised that Sirius was dead.
He felt tears swimming in his eyes.
How is it possible? he wondered. I betrayed him. I made him spend twelve years in Azkaban. I was ready to kill him, if necessary. Why am I crying now? What's different? He is dead, and so what?
'WHY AM I CRYING?' he shouted, as tears ran upon his cheeks, and he was crying for his life, for his betrayal, for his mistakes, for his long-lost innocence. And he was crying for those voices which haunted his dreams, and he was crying for Lily and James' voices, which spoke softly in his dreams and reassured him, we don't hate you, we still love you, and we know that in the bottom of your heart you are good. And he was crying for Harry, because he had held him when the little boy hadn't opened his eyes yet, and he was crying for Remus, because he had been his best friend once, and he was crying for Sirius, because he was dead, he was dead, he was dead, and those words, Sirius is dead, echoed in his mind.
'I'm sorry, I'm really sorry,' he cried and from the distance he clearly heard James and Sirius saying together:
We know, Wormtail. We know.
1998 - April
Remus shifted uncomfortably in his bed and stared at the ceiling.
He had been nervous for the whole day, pacing up and down the house like a lion in a cage.
'What's wrong, Remus?' Dora had asked, worried.
'I don't know,' Remus had thoughtfully answered. 'It's like... like something big... something that concerns me... something sad... is happening somewhere...'
His nine-months pregnant wife had looked at him with fear in her eyes.
'Never mind,' Remus had said with a laugh that sounded hollow. 'I must be getting old and weird.'
Dora had laughed and changed the subject.
But now Remus couldn't sleep.
He got up, trying not to wake up his wife, and went to the window and stared at the moon.
He was thinking of Harry, wondering if he was okay, and where he was.
A sudden memory crossed his mind.
It was the first day of September and he was sitting alone in the Hogwarts Express, wondering if he was going to make friends, if he was going to be alright.
Suddenly the door opened and a young boy poked his head in.
'Can I sit here?' the boy asked haltingly, and Remus nodded with a smile.
The boy sat and the two of them sat in silence for a while.
'Are you... are you a first year?' Remus asked.
'Yes,' the boy said, nodding enthusiastically, 'I'm Peter. Peter Pettigrew.'
Why am I thinking of this? Remus thought, stopping the flow of his memories.
But then Peter's face crossed his mind again.
He looked like he did when he was eleven, and was gazing at him with a serious expression.
Remus... I am sorry, he said with tears in his eyes, I am sorry I ruined your life. I am sorry for all the things I have done. I am sorry. I really am.
You killed them! You killed Lily and James! Remus thought, as if he were talking to the true Wormtail.
I know, the eleven-year-old Peter said, crying, I know. But I wasn't like you or James or Sirius. I wasn't brave or loyal like you. I was weak. I failed. I am sorry.
Remus didn't answer and stared at the moon, Peter's face still in his mind, tears (of sadness? of rage? of wistfulness?) in his eyes.
Suddenly he heard a low tap at the window. He looked at it and he saw an owl. He cautiously opened the window and took the little envelope the owl held.
Ron, Harry and Hermione here. They're okay. Ollivander, Lovegood's daughter and Thomas here as well. Pettigrew dead. Hear from you soon, Bill.
They are okay! was Remus' first triumphant thought.
Then he read the letter once more and he felt a shiver running down his spine as he read the curt words, Pettigrew dead.
I am the last Marauder, he thought as he went back to bed, the face of the eleven-year-old Peter still in his mind, feeling a sense of loneliness pervading his heart, a rush of loneliness even greater than the time James and Lily had died, than the time Sirius had died.
Why? he wondered. He didn't know the answer but, as he adjusted himself closer to Dora, he knew that if her body hadn't been so close and so warm and so reassuring, he probably would have cried.
1998 – May
Remus saw the green light heading towards him.
He had seen it several times in his life, but never towards him, never so close.
There was no time to run away, no time to dodge it, no time to do anything.
Everything was moving slower. The light, Dora running towards him, Bellatrix laughing, Kingsley shouting something.
Protect Teddy, he wanted to tell Dora, but the words died on his lips as he graciously fell on the floor, the noise of his body falling echoing in the corridor, strange, he thought, of all places, I'm dying here in Hogwarts, the place I loved the most.
James, Sirius and Peter's faces crossed his mind.
They were eleven and jumping on their beds on the first day of school, they were thirteen and roaming through the Castle at night, they were eighteen and leaving Hogwarts, fear and excitation mingling in their eyes. They were nineteen and cheering as James was kissing his new bride. They were twenty and with a proud smile they were passing to each other a black-haired bundle.
Their voices echoed in his mind.
'Nice to meet you, my name is James, James Potter.' 'We don't care that you are a werewolf, Remus. Really, we don't.' 'We've done it! We're Animagi now!' 'Whatever happens when we're out of Hogwarts, I am sure the four of us will be friends forever'. 'Moony, she said yes! I'm getting married!' 'You'll never believe it, but Prongs is having a baby!' 'Remus, this is Harry James Potter. Harry, say hi to Uncle Moony'...
And then, the last echo. But this time it wasn't a memory.
'Are you coming, Remus?' two voices, maybe three, asked at the same time.
'Yes I am,' he answered and nobody failed to notice that Remus Lupin, sometimes called Moony, the werewolf, the loving husband, the caring father, the loyal friend as he died had a wide smile on his lips.