Last chapter guys! This is my favourite. It starts off depressing, but trust me - keep reading :)
Thanks for reading my story, guys. Keep reviewing, though - tell me how I can improve my writing. I love you all, but special mention to the girl that was wooed by tom riddle, who has reviews every single chapter as they've been published. Thankyou so much :')
Here it is, the very end. Yeah, I'm mean to Remus. But keep reading.
Chapter Seven - The Only One.
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..."
He stood back, not really partaking in the funeral. It was only Lily's family there - James was an only child, as were his parents, and they had died years ago. They cried for their lost daughter and sister, reluctantly throwing dirt onto the coffins in the graves.
But Remus just watched. He couldn't go any closer. He'd break down.
So he hid, watching from afar, only being able to hear the proceedings thanks to his heightened senses. The 'up-side' of lyncanthropy, as James had put it when they were at school. Remus smiled through the depression. When everything was better. When they were all together.
They were the marauders - all for one, one for all, and all that cheesy rubbish. They were the star pranksters of Hogwarts, led by the almighty, invincible James Potter, shining like a star wherever he went.
His smile died.
Remus had never expected to be the final marauder.
Because Sirius was as good as dead to him. He wasn't a marauder any longer.
It hurt to think that he was the last one left. He felt unworthy - living out the popular, cocky members who led the way, the ones who everyone truly believed would never die. He was just a follower - an add-on, his only excuse for being there hidden away, a silent reminder that he shouldn't really have been anywhere near the school at all.
Just like at the funeral. He shouldn't have been there, either. Not with the grieving family, openly crying for their lost loved one. Remus didn't fit. He had no family left.
The people surrounding the grave began to filter away, and Remus slid down the trunk of the tree he was leaning on, sitting on the cold, muddy grass underneath him and staring over at the dimly lit scene of the grave-diggers filling in the hole, moving the flowers up to the headstone.
It was going to be a long wait.
It was raining. The murky sky hung overhead, the gloomy, grey colour an exact mirror of Remus' mood. The scene around him was dimly lit - only shades of light breaking through the thick cloud cover and heavy rain. He let the rain soak him; he honestly didn't care. Soon enough, the raindrops would be mirrored by his own falling tears.
"Hey." he said, quietly, hands in his pockets as he reached the headstones. Nobody else was around - a fact which Remus was thankful for; he could stay there for as long as he liked, crying and talking to people who weren't even there.
But it felt like they were there. It didn't feel like they'd ever left.
He didn't quite know what to say after that - of course, he couldn't expect an answer. So, instead, he just stared. It still didn't feel real, even as he stood, reading the chiselled inscription on the cold, grey slab, over and over.
Born 27th March, 1960
Died 31st October, 1981
That was when the tears started, as he remembered - for the first time - James properly. When they met, eleven years old, Remus was a shy, nervous wreck, and James was a confident, cocky gryffindor who swung his arm around him and dragged him into the dormitory, telling Remus they were going to be best friends. And they were - although Remus could never quite understand why. Remus often hid in James' shining light - he lit up the room wherever he went, always making an entrance, not caring for the consequences. Sometimes, Remus would kid himself that he was just like James - he was a marauder, after all - but then he'd see the boy follow Lily around all day, never feeling defeated, casually hexing Snape just walking past, before winking at Professor McGonagall and saying something like "Minnie, my dear, might I say how utterly delectable you look in those robes."
That was the James Remus would always remember. His lopsided glasses, his loud, cocky voice and his roguish grin which would grow on his face whenever he had an idea, always mirrored in Sirius'.
Sirius. Remus scowled at the name, quickly turning his attention back to James. He had no wish to think of that scum ever, ever again.
He was 21 when he died; just into adulthood. He shouldn't have died when he did, in the way he did.
No matter how much he would have liked it.
Remus laughed a little through his tears at his own thought. Of course, that would of been James' choice way to die - standing before the enemy, saving the lives of other people, valiantly brave until the very end, staring death in the face and laughing out loud. A true Gryffindor at heart.
In his way, though, the people he saved would have survived.
Born 30th January, 1960
Died 31st October, 1981
Remus dropped to his knees, the tears falling faster as he now turned his mind to Lily, that one night in seventh year replaying over and over in his mind.
The way she looked, the way she spoke, the way she smiled. It was all coming back in floods, reducing Remus to nothing but a quivering wreck. In his opinion, she'd never looked more beautiful than that night - the way the moonlight danced in her hair, the way her eyes sparkled as she looked up to him, the way she childishly tried to push him over, the feel of her lips against his... it never should have ended. He should have taken her in his arms and never let go, never giving her the chance to resurface her feelings for James, making her admit that it was indeed him who she needed, all this time.
Should have. It was too late now.
He sobbed in the falling rain, his tawny hair - now streaked with grey - stuck to his head, much in the same way it had when he'd fallen into the lake. But he didn't care about the rain. It felt good to be cold - it felt good just to feel something, anything but the constant, all-over numbness which hadn't left him since the news had hit home. He needed to feel alive.
Not that he wanted to be alive. He wanted to be with her - he wanted to be in place of her. He would have gladly died for either of them - their promising lives in exchange for his worthless, lonely, painful existence. He didn't deserve to survive, not when people like them were dying.
People like her. The only one he needed.
He lifted one, shaking hand, edging closer to the stone infront of him, his other hand scratching at the muddy surface of the floor as he pulled himself closer. He was dirty, but he didn't care. He stretched one finger out and tentatively ran his finger over her name - over the name that he knew in the back of his mind should have always been Lupin.
He sobbed harder, his wails and cries of aching grief the only sound in falling dusk. He couldn't stop. He couldn't breath. He wanted to be with her. He wanted to be dead.
"Lily..." he whispered, knowing that she couldn't hear him - that nobody could hear him, as the rain beat around him furiously. He sniffed in an attempt to clear his tears, the one thing he'd never said playing on his mind.
And slowly, quietly, no more than a whisper, he spoke. Saying the only thing he'd ever wanted to say, the only thing he couldn't. The thing that had taken him so long to admit, and yet when he had, it made his heart beat faster and his head spin. Sniffing, he lowered his hands and stared straight at her name.
"I love you."
His voice cracked as he said it, and it triggered a whole new wave of sobbing. But the feeling rushed back into him. The cold, the wet, the heart-ache, the overwhelming, overpowering grief. And it hurt like nothing Remus had felt before. But at least he could feel again.
He was alone. Completely alone. He had nobody.
They were gone. Leaving behind everyone they'd ever known, leaving behind their perfect life and-
Remus stopped mid-thought.
"Harry..." he whispered, his voice trailing away.
And he clambered to his feet, reluctantly pulling himself away from the graves. He looked like a tramp, but he didn't care.
Because the child was alone too.
And Remus knew how that felt.
It was easy, breaking into a muggle house. Their locking systems weren't too sophisticated. One simple 'alohohomora' and the gate swung open with a mournful creak. Even easier, the back door was unlocked. Of course, he had to break in. He doubted that Lily's sister would appreciate an estranged, dirty wizard knocking on her door in the evening and asking to see the baby.
He gently pushed the door open and entered the kitchen.
The first thing he noticed was the overwhelming sense of cleanliness. Which was more than a little unusual, considering this was a house with two children under two living in it.
Then, there was the silence. Again, unusual.
As he made his way into the hall, he came to the conclusion there was nobody in. Remus gave himself a mental slap. Trust him to pick the time they weren't in. The one chance he had to see this child, and he wasn't even in. Remus really was the -
There was noise.
It was muffled, but it was noise.
A baby crying.
Remus could hear it, plain as day. He tried to locate it, but found it difficult.
It wasn't in the living room, that was the opposite direction. It wasn't in the kitchen - he'd just been there. It wasn't upstairs - that was too far away. Then, a thought occured to him. The only place it could be coming from.
...Under the stairs?
Tentatively, he took ahold of the handle and slowly, quietly opened the door. What he saw nearly made him faint.
There was a cot. In the cupboard under the stairs.
And in that cot, was a crying child.
Remus conjured a light from his wand and held it aloft to get a good look. His eyes grew wide. It wasn't just any crying child.
It was Harry.
"Hey..." Remus whispered, putting his wand on a side in the hall and reaching out his arms to the baby, "Hey Harry..."
He picked him up and looked straight into his face, as the baby's tears started to dry. It was Harry alright. James' black, messy hair filled the top of his head, the drooping fringe covering his newly-found scar and vivid, emerald-green eyes.
He tried to fight the tears as he stared into them. He really did.
Remus wheeled around, keeping tight ahold of Harry. Infront of him stood a woman - tall, thin, neat, dressed in a long, cotton nightgown, wielding a baseball bat. Remus' eyes grew wide. This didn't look good.
"Who are you? Put the baby down!"
The woman looked terrified, but she was desperately trying to hide it. The bat in her hand shook as she regarded Remus, who didn't let go of Harry. He spoke softly, quietly, as calmly as he could manage. "I'm a friend of Lily and James, I just wanted to-"
"To pay him a visit? You know, normal people use the door!" Her voice was shrill, but Remus didn't raise his own. He just regarded her with fiery eyes.
"I doubt you'd have let me in."
The woman laughed. "Of course not! You're a tramp!" her voice dropped in pitch, she sneered at him, "Of course, you're not normal, are you? You're one of them."
Silence. Remus took a deep breath. "This is unacceptable-"
"The way you're treating Harry!"
The baby whimpered, Remus looked down, whispering to him. "It's okay," he said, "it's okay. I'm going to get you out of here-"
"You're not going anywhere," the woman's voice was threateningly low, "i'm calling the police."
"They'll arrest you for child cruelty!"
"Oh, so now you're trying to tell me how to raise my child?!"
Anger flared inside of Remus. Now his voice was unnaturally low, threatening her. "He's not your child though, is he? If Lily and James were here-"
"But they're not, are they?" she spat, "They went and got themselves killed! Lumbering us with their freakish child-"
"Shut up!" Remus shouted, hugging the baby tighter. He knew the tears were close. "The baby is sleeping under the stairs! You can't do that!"
"I was ordered to look after him, to keep him alive. He's alive, isn't he?"
Remus couldn't actually believe his ears. "You are a pathetic excuse for-"
"Get out of my house." The woman raised the bat, "Now. Get out."
Remus stood his ground, snarling at her. "Gladly." And he turned, taking Harry with him. The woman laughed.
"Do you honestly think I care?" she shouted after him, "I never wanted it in the first place!"
Remus shook his head, muttering to the baby in his arms. "We'll get you out of here. It's all going to be okay-"
"Stop right there, Mr. Lupin."
Remus looked up. Dumbledore stood, blocking his path. Remus shook his head.
"Sir, we need to get out of here. To take Harry away-"
"Harry is staying put." His voice was serious, commanding. Remus laughed in disbelief.
"You haven't seen how they treat him! He was under the stairs!"
"Harry stays here," Dumbledore repeated, ignoring Remus, "he's safe here."
Remus scoffed. "Yeah, he really seems it."
Dumbledore's glare turned fiery, scaring Remus right to his core. He'd never seen the old man angry. "He's much safer here than he would be with you." Dumbledore said, his voice cold.
Remus paused, giving himself time for the words to sink in as he tried to think of something to say back. Before he could, however, Harry mumbled. Remus looked down. "It's okay, Harry-"
The word rendered Remus speechless. Harry's first word - the call for the woman he'd never see again.
Now, he couldn't fight the tears.
"No, Harry," he said, sniffing, "no, it's okay-"
The baby repeated, his eyes filling with real tears. Remus bit his lip. "Mummy isn't here, Harry, but it's going to be okay..." his voice trailed away as Harry started to cry.
Numbly, he allowed Dumbledore to take the baby from his grasp, staring blankly into space.
The child's mother was never coming back. Or his father.
They were gone.
He looked over his shoulder as Dumbledore handed the baby back to the woman in the hall. He just stared, speechless, the numbness taking over once more.
"Come on, Remus," Dumbledore had his hand on his shoulder, "let's go."
He lead Remus back home, he cried all the way.
Not only was he now facing a life without James, Sirius and Peter, or a life without the only woman he'd ever loved, but he'd failed them as they lay in their grave. His last, feeble attempt to make himself worthy to even stand in their presence had failed - and their son lay under the stairs in some unnaturally clean house in Surrey, living with an obnoxious muggle family. And there was nothing Remus could do about that. He'd lost Harry too.
Dumbledore sat him down on his sofa and turned to leave.
"Remus," he said, over his shoulder, "I don't want you anywhere near that boy, understand? You are to have no contact. Not until I say you can."
He didn't reply. Of course he understood.
He heard Dumbledore sigh. The door shut with a bang, and Remus cried for everyone he'd loved and lost.
But mostly for Lily; the eyes of whom now resided underneath the jet-black hair of James Potter in the form of the orphaned baby Remus wasn't allowed to see.
The baby which, Remus knew in his heart of hearts should have always been his.
Lily's vivid green eyes and his tawny brown hair, living in the country. Her tinkling laugh under his crooked smile, a perfect world. Laughing, joking, never stopping.
A life which he'd hoped for for the past four years, a life which he'd single handedly destroyed before it'd even started. It was him who had gotten in the way - he'd stopped the kiss. He'd practically told her that she should have gone back to James. And, of course, he was the werewolf.
But she didn't care.
And now she was gone.
And he wanted nothing more than to be 'gone' too. He was nothing without her.
Lily Evans was the only one for Remus Lupin. He knew that, she had known that.
But that wasn't what was right.
Remus Lupin was depressed for the rest of his life. He was a lonely, unemployed werewolf, living alone and never going out - his only friends forgotten, distant memories of what should have been, his only want the girl who lay six feet under the ground in Godric's Hollow.
He never thought he'd love again - the hole in his heart could never be fixed, the empty feeling in his stomach never be filled. Never. It hurt to even look at thirteen-year-old Harry; to look into the green eyes of his mother who he'd fallen in love with.
In his opinion, loving someone else was out of the question.
And then he met Tonks.
She was a smiling, clumsy, bubblegum-pink tornado who charged into his life. He was 36, she was 23. He was too old. He knew that. But, in his experience, love had never been absolutely right.
She tumbled into his arms, falling over a wide variety of meaningless things, and he caught her, staring into her deep brown, sparkling eyes endlessly, surveying her heart-shaped face and her ever-changing hair.
She was no lady, everyone knew that. She didn't mind a bit of rough-and-tumble, and was always up to help. But, she was clumsy as anything, and mostly her attempts ended in something getting broken.
The first thing she ever said to him was "Oops", biting her lip like a little girl before bursting into a fit of the giggles.
Wonderful, never-ending giggles, which complemented her hearty smile - never absent from her face.
And Remus was smitten.
His sensible, teacher side told him no. She was far too young, far too free. And she was tiny. He was scared he'd break her.
But his marauder side - the free, young side of him - told him to go for it, to hold her and never let go.
And he'd ignored that once before, and he'd ended up depressed for years on end.
So he took her, he held her, and he kissed her like he'd never kissed before. And in that moment, he was sure he'd done right thing.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Even heart-broken werewolves are allowed a happy ending. :)