Title: Symphony

Characters: James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Lily Evans and Unknown (revealed at the end of the story).

Summary: "Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the symphony of a lifetime, but wouldn't you like to listen a little longer?" A different look at five of the most intricate characters in the series.

Notes: This is a spin-off of my other Marauders one-shot, Circus, but you definitely don't have to read that to read this. Also, I play the piano. Can you tell? This story is a little... different, but I sincerely hope you enjoy!

Welcome, my dears, to the Marauders' symphony!

Oh, can you not see them?

They're behind the curtains, waiting for the perfect moment. Take your seat, but you don't need your eyes to see this symphony, no.

Aren't they spectacular? Don't they shine, and aren't they brilliant? These people around you, they just listen to the music, those cries for help and screams for mercy that seem so sweet on strings and keys. But you, my dear, can see.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, with humblest grace, the fall and rise of the Marauders' symphony!

James Potter, look how he rises from the stage - he's our conductor, did you know?

Maybe he likes to be in control - maybe you know that first hand - but he can turn that anger and arrogance into beauty with a charming grin and a flick of his wrist. The world is his stage and he's at the centre, in the middle of the spotlight, and don't you know that he loves every minute? James was born to be here. Were you?

He conducts those musicians like puppets on strings, but how could they mind? They're under the control of James Potter, and don't you know he's the best?

See our pianist? The way he holds himself; the elegance in his fingers and the grace in his shoulders. Can you see the way he strokes the keys like they're the girls he toys with, the way he sways to the music like it's a part of him, severed and disposed of but still of use.

He's giving his soul to the melody, dealing with the devil.

Some of the notes are out of time (aren't they supposed to be?) and some of the keys clash (isn't that the point?) but the music is still beautiful, and how can anything be more important than that? Sirius is beautiful, is he not?

But he's pouring his soul into that music, and he doesn't even care.

And our violinist! Such a magnificent instrument, the violin, but Remus won't pour his heart into the strings; he can't afford to take that risk. The notes are eerily perfect but his back is ram-rod straight and the crescendos don't rise like they should and the diminuendos filter out, die as they're played.

The piece is beautiful, touchingly so, but it's empty, and Remus doesn't even know. How could he? No one listens close enough to realise.

Our cellist, the little boy hiding at the back of the group - isn't he such a stunningly pretty wallflower?

Who could notice Peter, after all? His notes, low and sombre and forgotten, are lost in the melody and he's quite content to hide. His fingers bleed and his bow bends, but how could they care, 'cause it's all for the music, my dear.

His cello is cracking, though, and his strings are bending under the pressure, but Peter refuses to change because his cello is his life, even if it gives him splinters.

He will stay with it until it falls, and hell, what kind of prize is nobility anyway?

And Lily, sweet little Lily, stands to the side and adds a flute to the tune. She seems a little separated from the rest of the group, like she couldn't possibly understand the strings or the keys because her pretty little woodwind instrument couldn't possibly hold its own.

But the high notes of the flute take the lead, and Lily plays and plays until she gasps her dying breath. Lily, sweet little Lily, will die on stage because her little flute instrument just couldn't hope to rise above the noise.

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the symphony of a lifetime, but wouldn't you like to listen a little longer?

The music can take you away from here, little boy, and who wouldn't want to escape?

Tell me, kind sir, just who do you hate?

Maybe the flutist - she so breakable, after all, and little Lily doesn't understand the danger she's putting herself through, but maybe she does, and maybe that's worse? You miss the time she played with china dolls rather than silver instruments that strangle her as she plays.

She'll choke, you say? Perhaps, one day.

Or do you hate the cellist?

After all, he's in the background, and no one would miss him if he was gone, and isn't that sad? The music couldn't survive without him, but how could the music know, so he slinks off the sidelines and lets the melody die.

Peter, Peter, he just doesn't understand that if you pluck a string too much, it's going to snap. He'll snap, you say? Perhaps, one day.

And then, of course, there's the violinist, who may be the most accurate of the five, but he lacks the passion, the drive, and the music is wasted on his petty little instrument.

Remus just doesn't understand, and you can't tell him, because sometimes the music calls, and sometimes it doesn't. You just have to listen.

He'll fall, you say? Perhaps, one day.

But James, darling James, conducts them all from his haven on the centre stage. He's so arrogant, with his charming smile and that flick of his wrist that makes the music begin again, tying you in and holding you there.

James can't feel the music; doesn't know keys or strings under his fingertips, and he'll bleed out, you say? Perhaps, one day.

But maybe you have to hate the pianist even more, because you don't have a soul to give, do you, Severus?