A/N: I got this idea and I just had to write it down. I don't know where it came from, but I hope you like it and I would really love it if you left a little review to tell me what you think (even if you didn't like it at all!)
A thick blanket of opaque white clouds stretched across the sky. The grass was stiff with frost and a crisp breeze sent the golden-brown leaves skittering across the ground and made the bare branches of the trees sway creakily. It was the kind of day James Potter loved. Or at least, the kind he used to love.
Remus Lupin stood just inside the old kissing gate beside a church in Godric's Hollow, watching the group of people shrouded in black cluster around a marble headstone. A thin, reedy voice carried over the hush of the cemetery, saying things Remus could not understand about people the owner of the voice had never met.
Remus stared blankly at the scene, feeling the breeze play over his face. He could almost hear James's voice, full of enthusiasm, saying, "Excellent Quidditch conditions!" He could see Lily rolling her eyes as James scooped up their little black-haired, perpetually sticky baby and swung him around, pretending to commentate a game starring Harry James Potter while the little boy squealed with laughter.
Remus blinked. The image faded, and he once again stood in the cemetery as the people who had come to mourn shuffled past him. The white grave stood out in the muted landscape, visible now that the group had dispersed.
Numbly, because the stone seemed to have a gravitational field that pulled him in, Remus wound his way slowly towards the two low mounds of freshly-turned-over earth. It was not until he was directly in front of the graves that he looked up. Their names swam before his eyes as if part of a horrible dream and he stretched out a hand, needing to touch the cold stone to be sure that it was truly there. He traced the letters of their names and then their birthdates, so familiar, so cold now, followed by the date they had died, carved so finally into stone, irreversible, unchangeable.
He could not pretend that he had never imagined a scene like this. Growing up in the middle of a war, attending so many funerals, the idea that it could be one of them next had haunted him, though somehow, he had never fully believed that it ever would be. When the morbid idea did play itself out though, he had never been alone. He had always been part of a group of three or four (or on the most awful occasion the five of them stood beside a tiny grave), but never had he ever imagined he would have to endure this alone.
His eyes fixed on James's name and it hit him with such wild, unrestrained force that he nearly doubled over. James Potter was buried six feet below him, and all that was left of him was pictures and memories. Remus was sure none of them had expected James to be first. Sirius was the stupidly reckless, rash, emotion-driven one. Peter was the helpless, clumsy, scared one. Remus was the werewolf. James was the one who had the most to live for, to fight for. The one who kept on going no matter what.
And then James's life – at least since Remus had been a part of it – began to flash before his eyes. He saw James as that scrawny, annoying eleven-year-old who had made it his life's mission to lure Remus out of the library the first three months of school, who was fiercely defended Peter when the older students would pick on him. The others had finally worked out the truth about where Remus went once a month, and James was looking at him completely devoid of fear or revulsion, saying it didn't matter, that it didn't change anything, the first person to ever say that.
James was giving him that achingly familiar impish grin that meant he was up to something. He was using the casual tone only a few people knew was his lying voice. James and Sirius were rolling around on the floor, cracking up over who-knew-what. James was standing before a furious Professor McGonagall, looking solemn until he tipped them a wink over his shoulder. He was disappearing beneath his invisibility cloak to sneak down to the Kitchens. He was bent over the Marauders' Map, shooting a smirk up at Remus. He was flinging an arm around Remus's shoulders and saying "Come on, Moony, live a little!"
The expression James always got whenever Lily walked into a room, one of star-struck gaping was spreading over his face again. He was hitting on Lily and asking her out on a date for the umpteenth time then brushing off her rejection like he always did afterword as if it didn't matter, but a hurt expression crossed his face when he thought no one was looking.
Remus could see the arrogant, confident, boasting side James showed the rest of world and the brave, undying loyalty and determination he showed to only a few. James was furiously cussing out Sirius's family for the way they treated him, telling off anybody who said anything bad about werewolves or Muggle-borns, poking fun at Peter only to whip around and hex the next Slytherin who said the same thing.
James was soaring around the Quidditch pitch at break-neck speed, scoring a winning goal for Gryffindor. He was turning into a stag right before Remus's eyes and refusing to let him endure another full moon alone. He was pulling Snape away from the Shrieking Shack, yelling at Sirius for being so damn stupid, and then taking Sirius in, soaking-wet at two in the morning after he ran away.
James was putting a fist through the window and fleeing their dormitory after getting a letter from his mother telling him his father had died. He was sitting at the top of the Astronomy tower with a crumpled look on his face, completely ignoring the other Marauders as they sank down next to him. He was holding his mother as she sobbed at the funeral.
James was jumping up and down on Remus's bed at seven in the morning after getting his Head Boy badge, taking off with Sirius on that huge flying motorcycle, singing at the top of his lungs after finally, finally getting a date with Lily, grinning for three days straight and getting up at four in the morning to be sure he wasn't late.
They were packing their trunks for the last time, getting off the Hogwarts express, hanging out at Sirius's flat, going to their first Order meeting…
James was freaking out in the living room of the flat at midnight the night before he was planning on proposing. He was down on one knee, Lily was crying and smiling and nodding for a half an hour. They were getting married, exchanging rings, kissing, dancing, toasting, their grins never slipping once.
James was telling them Lily was pregnant, spending nine months worrying, not taking risks he normally would, acting responsibly. He was pacing frantically outside the door after being kicked out by Madam Pomfrey and stopping dead when the sounds of a baby crying came from the room, a look of terror and elation on his face. He was looking down at his son with the most amazed expression Remus had ever seen on his face, pressing the bundle into Sirius's arms and asking him to be godfather, and then into Remus's arms and telling him he would be godfather to the next one.
James was sitting up by Harry's crib late into the night, just to watch him sleep, raving about every little gurgle or squeal that came out of him, trying to teach him to say "Daddy" and "Quaffle", holding his tiny hands as he stumbled and tripped towards Lily's open arms, chasing him around on a toy broomstick, trying not to cry as he closed the door to Harry's sobs and Lily's tears and headed out on Order business.
James and Lily were holding each other up as they emerged from Dumbledore's office to tell the others about the Prophecy, James wasn't letting his son out of his sight for even a minute, actually listening to every order Dumbledore gave them, making Sirius the Secret-Keeper, sending Remus one last letter apologizing for not being around for full moons,..
James was dying…being buried… being gone.
Prongs was gone. And Remus was once more standing alone, staring at his name carved into stone, the last of James Potter that was left.
He hadn't realized he was sobbing until he felt his wet cheek stinging in the cold air. Remus crumpled, pressing his face against the hard, frozen ground and sobbed because James Potter's life was not nearly long as it should have been.
A/N: Thanks so much for reading and please please please leave some of your thoughts!