Sweet Love Remembered
When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts my self almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
William Shakespeare - Sonnet XXIX
Outsider. Outcast. Werewolf.
Once he had had friends. Once he had dared to dream that he could have a normal ordinary life, that what he was need not taint everything he did, everything he touched, everyone he loved.
He knew better now.
They thought he was the traitor. They thought he would betray them. He thought they were his friends; they thought he would sell them to Voldemort.
Was that because of what he was? Did they think like everyone else despite the years of camaraderie, of adventure, of understanding?
"He must have known."
"He was their friend too."
"He's as guilty as Black, if you ask me."
"Is it any wonder given what he is?"
It was what he was.
Now he knew that it was all that he was.
Betrayer. Outcast. Guilty.
Once he had been their best friend, godfather to their son. Once they had laughed together, planned for the future, dreamed of a day when they would be free once more.
He had betrayed them as surely as if he had given their secret to Voldemort himself. He had suggested the switch. It was his fault.
And he had thought Remus the guilty one. He had betrayed him too.
Azkaban. Lost. Tormented. Half-mad already.
Alone with nothing but his memories and his hatred.
His fault, his fault. All his fault.
Alone. Outcast. Safe.
Once he had friends, was one of a group. Accepted. Loved even. But not now. And it was his own fault. His choice. He did this.
He has never been so alone before. The world mourns him as a hero, dead in attempting vengeance for his friends. He is the only one who knows it is a lie – apart from those very few who dare not name him, for to do so would be to admit their own guilt.
He will always be alone now.
No one on either side would accept him now. To the Dark, he is a betrayer, the one who caused their Lord's downfall.
To the others – to show himself would show him for what he is. For what they think Sirius to be. Traitor. Betrayer.
He is safe, but at what cost?
He is safe. That was his choice.
A brightly lit room, with tea on the table and a fire in the grate. Lily curled in the armchair, her eyes bright as she listens to the yarn Sirius is spinning. Remus is sprawled on the hearthrug; he seems half-asleep but he is listening too. Peter is in the settee opposite Lily, hanging onto Sirius' every word. James is pacing to and fro with Harry, who will not settle to sleep, stopping now and again to interrupt and embroider the story.
They are warm and comfortable and – for now – they are safe.
And they are loved.
Remus. Sirius. Peter.
Once they were loved. No one can take that from them.