The Last of the Marauders
August 5, 2003
The Last of the Marauders
By: Fefe Gong (phoenixangel)
The warm summer air was slowly dissipating as autumn’s chilling breeze blew through the land. The lush green leaves of the summer trees lost their color and floated away as the golden foliage gradually replaced them.
High on a hilltop, a lone wolf surveyed the transformation, lifting his nose and sniffing the cold, sharp air. His ears pricked up as he spied a familiar scent. He sat up on his haunches and growled softly as the approaching figure came nearer.
"Hello, old friend," Remus Lupin said congenially, patting the stray wolf on the head. The wolf relaxed and sniffed Remus’s hand tentatively. Remus sighed as he gazed around at the beautiful scene before him. Below him, the shimmering waves of the lake lapped soothingly at the shoreline. "I’m back, Hogwarts," he said quietly, staring out across the water at the looming castle on the other side. He didn’t know why he came back, but perhaps it was the gnawing ache that had been plaguing him ever since…. No I don’t want to think about that. I don’t want to remember. But images filled his head, nevertheless. Images of Sirius, falling through the veil…of his own incapability to save the only friend he had left…of the grief-stricken look in Harry’s eyes as Remus held him back….
The sun was sinking below the horizon more rapidly now, tinting the sky with orange and pink hues. In a few seconds, it would start all over again. It was lucky that he had remembered to drink the Wolfbane Potion before he had come…
As the last of the sun’s rays faded away into the darkness, the full moon emerged from behind the clouds, bathing the hills in its luminescent light. Remus gave an anguished moan as the excruciating pain coursed through his veins. In the shining moonlight, he could see his arms lengthening and growing coarse silver fur. His face transformed and expanded into the face of a wolf. He would have doubled over in pain, but he was on the ground already, holding both hands over his heart and thrashing around in agony, willing the pain to stop. When the burning pain threatened to consume his whole mind, he lost all self-control and let out a long anguished howl that shattered the stillness of the night. Gasping in pain, he got up on all fours and waited until the throbbing ache receded from his body. Slowly, he loped off towards the Forbidden Forest. The other wolf had long since vanished.
As he stepped into the grove of ancient trees, the darkness and shadows completely surrounded him, cloaking him in a veil of shade and obscurity. But he knew these paths well, having encountered them in a life that now seemed lost forever.
"Come on, Moony! Let’s go explore!"
"Yeah, think of all the creepy-crawlies that we can stick in Snivelly’s bookbag later!"
"You’re a werewolf? But why didn’t you tell us? We would have helped you! You’re our friend, Remus."
"I’ve never had a friend like you, Remus."
Remus tripped over a tree root and sprawled across the ground. He tried to lift his paw to wipe away the tears that had started to flow, but failed. Now his heart threatened to split in two as the long-forgotten memories drifted back into his mind. Why couldn’t everything have stayed the same? Why did everyone I loved have to die? he wept silently.
"We should call ourselves the Marauders! Purveyors of Aids to Magical Mischief-Makers!"
"I’ve got it! We can all become Animagi! Werewolves only attack people, right? So if we were animals, it would be okay!"
"Remus is a Prefect! I bet Dumbledore wants someone to keep an eye on us!"
"Remus! Guess what! Lily and I are getting married!"
"This is our baby, Harry James Potter! Say hello to Uncle Remus, Harry!"
"There’s someone in the Order who has been leaking secrets to Voldemort."
"James and Lily are dead. Sirius has been captured and sent to Azkaban."
"Why hasn’t he shown himself before now? Unless he was the one…unless you switched…without telling me?"
"You’ll always be my friend, Remus. No matter what, I’m going to make it up to you for ever doubting you."
"There’s nothing you can do, Harry. It’s too late."
Remus lifted his head blearily. I must have fallen asleep, he thought groggily. Dawn had finally come. He got up slowly to his feet before finally realizing where he was. He looked around at the clearing where his three friends had become Animagi just for him. It seemed as if time had stood still. He could still remember their cheerful voices, unaffected by the course of history.
"Okay, here goes!"
A flash of silver light enveloped James, Sirius, and Peter. Remus had to shield his eyes from the brightness. When he finally looked back, a stag, a black dog, and a rat stared back at him.
"This was the place you knew best, Padfoot," Moony whispered as tears silently coursed down his cheeks. Why, Peter? Remus thought in anguish. Why did you betray them? "Now I’m the only Marauder left, out of us all." He knelt down on the damp earth, not minding the dew water that seeped into his robes. "Why did it have to happen this way?" he sobbed uncontrollably, pounding the earth with his fists.
For just a fleeting moment, he could feel the gaze of his departed friends on him. A faint voice, almost imperceptible, drifted towards him. Moony, you’ve got to go on. You have to live…for us. Remus glanced around wildly for the source of the sound, but found no one. He slowly got up, determination seeping through him. "I WILL live for my friends," he vowed. "I’ll avenge their deaths and when that day comes, I’ll make sure I’m the only Marauder left standing. For James’s sake…for Sirius’s sake…and for Harry’s sake…."