Title: Amicitia

Summary: "Friends are the family you can choose for yourself." The Marauders, and the families they never had. One-shot.

Characters: Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, James Potter and Peter Pettigrew.

Notes: This is a one-shot, including twenty-one drabbles on the families of the Marauders. I really hope that they're all original, and this is how it works, in my mind. I have two "fanon" universes constantly stuck in my head - my Marauder universe and my Next-Gen universe - and so this is all canon for me. Practically. This has been a while in the making, and I sincerely hope you enjoy!

1. Remus had two grandparents who constantly thought he was six, because after he was bitten, they erased their memories and made sure they would never remember.

They couldn't live with the shame of having a werewolf grandson.

2. Sirius' grandmother, Melania, after his Great Uncle Lycoris died, told him a story. She let him sit on her lap, in a "Very undignified position, Sirius, so let us not got caught by your harlot of a mother, yes?"

She sang and whispered to him and stroked his hair like Uncle Lycoris used to do.

"The stars are really the souls of the dead, you know. Every time someone dies, their soul shines in the sky. But not for eternity. Whenever someone is born, one of those stars goes out, and they move on. They... let go, of what was tying them to Earth. They stop watching their loved ones from above, and then, when it is time to go, they leave quietly and finally are allowed to rest."

"Where do they go?" Young Sirius had asked.

"A better place, one that we won't know of until we reach it. But I assure you, it is a better place, better than any home on Earth, better than any star. Yes?"

"Yes, Grandmamma," Sirius whispered, slipping off her knee to tend to little Regulus, leaving Melania alone in front of the fire to ponder after her grandson's fate.

3. James' house, at the end of his sixth year, was torched to the ground by Death Eaters who, for some reason, thought his parents knew too much. His mother, Dorea, never had the time to escape.

When he received his school letter, he opened it at her grave, and left his Head Boy badge there, attached to a small, wilting lily. He couldn't explain to Professor McGonagall why he had forgotten his badge before the school year had even begun.

4. Peter's father was a Muggle doctor that left before he was three. He and the Dark Lord had more in common than they thought.

5. No matter how much he denied it, Sirius was an aristocrat, born and raised like his father and his father before him. He didn't notice it, at first; how he set out his cutlery perfectly, or how he sat ram-rod straight at the dinner table. His words were mouth-full-of-marbles perfect and he got personally offended when people forgot to pronounce their 't's.

Later on at Hogwarts, Sirius lost his mouth-full-of-marbles way of speaking, and lulled into the graceful, teenage laziness of half finished sentences and abbreviations.

Azkaban brought it back, though, because Bella chanted in a mouth-full-of-marbles way, and Sirius' cell wasn't soundproof.

6. John Lupin was completely and utterly infatuated with his wife.

Elaina Lupin couldn't have cared less.

7. Patience Pettigrew knew her son better than Peter did, and when she received an Order of Merlin, First Class in his name - and a finger, all that was left now - she did not cry. She couldn't. Because Peter was not dead, because Peter was not a Gryffindor.

And he would never go after Sirius Black; unless Sirius Black came after him.

8. James' father always bet that James would get himself killed. The other fathers told him that James was, "A good boy, a charming boy. He's going far, that one. He's going all the way."

James was the boy-next-door, the handsome boy with the money and the intelligence and the popularity and the funny friends and the beautiful girlfriend and the perfect life.

But James was reckless, and brave, and much too like his mother to ever last that long.

9. Remus didn't grow up with money. He didn't grow up with a lot, actually. It all went to cures and treatments that didn't work; Greece, Morocco, Paraguay, American, Suffolk - all of them failed him in the end.

His mother cried for hours over his lycanthropy, and his father worked nights at the Ministry to hide that fact, but Remus comforted them. From the age of six, he put his parents before himself and asked them to stop wasting their money.

They didn't stop; he stopped asking.

10. Bellatrix taught Sirius his first spell - Reparo, Sirius, just like that - and Andromeda taught him how to deal with younger siblings - Regulus, listen to your brother - and Narcissa taught him to love family, no matter what - Blacks stick together. Forever.

11. Charlus Potter ended up one split decision away from being a Slytherin. The hat asked him, "So. What will it be? Slytherin, or Gryffindor?" And Charlus thought about it, like his son would do after him, and his grandson twenty years later.

He said, "Slytherin. I'll choose Slytherin."

But the hat put him into Gryffindor anyway, because he was too brave to go against his family's beliefs not to end up there in the end.

12. There were four Pettigrews - all married now, all who had long-since left that name behind - who did not cry for a traitor, or for a wizard, or even a man who did the best he could with what he had. They cried for the man, the cousin, that they had known.

The women still visited the Muggle part of Godric's Hollow every Halloween, in mourning for a man who didn't die there.

13. Insanity had run in their family for generations; all the inbreeding, you see.

When Sirius told Remus, and James, and Peter, and Lily that they kept him sane, it wasn't some empty comment. It was true.

14. Remus, before his terrible "accident", was a bright young boy with a flair for dramatics and a love of mud and life and trees and anything outside of his bedroom window. His adoring parents were one week away from signing the divorce papers when he was bitten.

But shh! Remus still didn't know.

15. Peter did not think of his friends or his mother or his father in his last moments. He thought of his Muggle cousin, Mariella, who he had strung to the ceiling fan when he was fourteen even though she was afraid of heights.

He never apologised. He kind of wished he had.

16. Mr Charlus Potter died alone in his hospital room at St. Mungo's sometime one dreary December, thinking that he had still outlived his son.

17. Remus spent seventeen years of his life not knowing love - what was it, after all? Was there ever an accurate definition of love?

He didn't know the difference between love and tolerance, hate and disobedience. He spent seventeen years simply waiting for the slaughterhouse with dead eyes and skeletal fingers and not expecting anything else.

But at the age of seventeen, Remus found love, or as close as he could get to it. He was still heading to the slaughterhouse, but now he was fighting all the way there. His love had alive eyes and nimble fingers and Remus never knew what to expect and he loved it.

His mother cried and his father worked nights at the Ministry. Remus stopped comforting them.

18. Sirius used to hide under his bed when his parents fought, when he had nightmares, when Reggie was screaming too loud, when the house was too silent, when his cousins were round and practising curses on him, whenever he just needed to think.

The first time he entered Grimmauld Place after Azkaban, Sirius thought of his parents and Regulus, and hid under his childhood bed and wept for the family they never got the chance to be.

19. The first time James Potter thought of death, he was only five. Too young, maybe, to be hiding under tables at formal dinner parties in the large house he would grow up in.

"James, darling, don't hide under the table."

He was having a fine time, alone in his little world, until his mother, tired and pale, dragged him out to meet the guests that would play a part in his murder.

But he sobbed into his father's robes, because Mother had fallen ill, again, and despite the brave face she put on during parties and dinners and around the people she was supposed to trust, too much suggested that she might not make it that time.

James was too young to think of death, but then again, he was too young for it to be necessary.

20. Peter had planned everything perfectly; perfectly. He would be responsible for the death of two of his friends, imprisoned the other, and condemned the other to a tragic life of solitude.

But the hardest thing was telling his mother he was only going out for milk. And never coming back.

Just like his father.

21. But none of that really mattered, because the Marauders; they were family.