Filling in the Gap
call out my name…
his four poster bed, the young man stared up at the roof above him with
unseeing eyes. Although he had been told over and over again - not just by his
friends, but also by himself - that it was hopeless, part of him was straining
to hear something. A certain voice, a laugh that nobody else could make. He
rolled on his side to face the cold, empty hearth and closed his eyes. He could
almost hear him like this, that canine laugh, the eyes crinkling as suddenly
years dropped off the pale face. Arms came around his chest as the hollow
feeling inside grew and gnawed. It was the worst pain he had felt in his life,
even compared to growing his bones back or seeing Cedric's dead body.
he whispered, his eyes aching as he strained to see a face, the face still so
vivid inside his mind.
there was no face. There was no answer. There would never be an answer. The dog
star had fallen.
to you, my trusted friend;
known each other since we were
we've climbed hills and trees,
of love and ABCs,
our hearts and skinned our knees...
it possible? He should be used to it by now, people dying, people leaving him,
but he wasn't. After all those deaths, after the miracle of his surviving
Azkaban with his sanity practically intact, he had thought Sirius would live,
live until this awful war was over. This war which had blighted more than half
their lives. And would continue to blight more, unless Harry...
a hand over his face, feeling the day-old stubble. He felt sick and weak, and
not just because of Sirius’s death. It was nearing that time again, the moon
growing ripe, draining his strength, his calm, loosening his grip. The
knowledge that he would be alone in this transformation, that he would never
have a companion again, was a bitter thorn in his heart. Sirius had gone, and
never again would he be able to turn around and see those gleaming yellow eyes,
full of memories, conspiracy, laughter...
shuddered as tears slowly leaked out of the tired brown eyes.
remembered meeting Sirius and James for the first time, as he opened his
luggage in their Hogwarts dormitory, a clatter upon the stairs, huffing,
puffing - his
mouth curved in a grim smile, ‘then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow
your house down!’ - and two dark-haired boys flinging themselves into the
room, onto the beds, a simultaneous cry of, "I WIN!"
was James who noticed him first - not for nothing had he turned into a stag, a
beast of flight - hazel eyes brightening with interest as he sat up.
who are you?"
prat," said a black-eyed boy cheerfully, lobbing a pillow. "You’d
have known that if you hadn’t been staring at that redhead in the Sorting queue."
He grinned and Remus thought his canine teeth seemed extra pointed.
"That’s James Potter, he’s an idiot, so be gentle."
snort and a protest from James ended in a small pillow fight whilst Remus
carefully unpacked his luggage and neatly stored everything away. He knew who
they both were of course: the Blacks were one of the most prominent pureblood
families, and the Potters weren’t far behind.
you always like this?" he asked as the door had opened to admit the fourth
member of their dormitory.
they’d chorused cheerfully.
smiled for a moment, remembering. He’d asked exactly the same question of the
Weasley twins, and they’d answered in exactly the same way. He knew that Harry
had acquired the Marauders’ Map from them, and that only confirmed his theory
that Fred and George were the James and Sirius of the Hogwarts of the 1990s.
His smile wilted: he hoped with all his heart that Fred and George’s future
consisted of sunshine and dancing, not shadows and death.
found himself waking up and wondering about James, before he remembered. Even
now he walked into the room where Sirius had stayed briefly over the summer,
calling out Sirius’ name, telling him to get up, because Sirius did love
sleeping in, especially since after thirteen years in Azkaban and one on the
run, a feather bed was like heaven...
been wonderful to have Sirius to stay, almost like old times, though James’s
absence had been noticeable. No, he wasn’t James, but that didn’t mean they’d sat
around and done nothing. Thanks to the large supply of Wolfsbane Potion from
Severus - Remus always made sure that Sirius was elsewhere when it was dropped
off - for three nights they’d run about, wolf and dog, enjoying themselves
thoroughly, even scaring the living daylights out of Harry’s uncle as he
collected the milk bottles one morning in his itchy dressing gown. Both of them
had longed to bound into the house past the petrified man, so they could wake
Harry up, but even as a normal wolf, Remus drew attention, so he’d vetoed that
decision, much to Sirius’s disappointment. It was frustrating for both of them
to be so near Harry without being able to let him know. Sirius hadn’t been able
to go out in the daylight anyway, and Remus had been travelling all over
Germany, France and Scandinavia, searching out fellow werewolves, spreading the
news of Voldemort’s return and trying to persuade them that just because he
used monsters in the war, didn’t mean he kept them alive afterwards.
still didn’t know how much good he’d done: their unfortunate curse put his
fellow sufferers under a lot of strain. Most were willing to enjoy the
short-term privileges under Voldemort and risk the consequences, which required
a lot of tact and persuasion, exhausting work. A few were just rotten to the
core, and had gone over to the dark side long ago; he’d even met a couple who’d
sought out other werewolves deliberately for the bite. He just couldn’t
understand that. Why would you want to put yourself through such pain every
month...? The look in their eyes had sickened him inside.
like that? No, Sirius had told him. He cared about people, cared about what
they thought, what they wanted. But that was his problem: he cared. He cared so
much, too much. Whatever one could say about Severus, he at least had the
luxury of not giving a damn about other people’s opinions of him. Remus wished
he could have that. But he’d always wanted to be accepted, to be liked. Like
Neville, he’d always been so afraid of people discovering his
How could he not like the boy, sympathise with him?
frightened him, this need to be liked. More so than his curse did. He had heard
women talking about their ‘curse’, and he understood how they felt, in a way.
After a while, you got used to it. You got on with it. You prepared for the
worst and when it came, you coped. What else could you do? Nothing.
was all he felt now. Nothing. A deep emptiness inside his heart and mind. The
painful absences of two men who had died long before their time. And one who...
didn’t even want to think of the name. But it hissed out from between his lips
all the same. Another sign that full moon was nearing: he said things he didn’t
want to say, Freudian slips became common place, his self-control weakened day
worm. The rat. The man whose need for acceptance had grown so bad, he’d
betrayed his friends. The man who haunted his dreams, pleading for forgiveness.
Remus screamed at him in those dreams - "How could you...? How could
you...? Lily and James-!" Words which Wormtail had himself screamed at
came back to Sirius.
never said goodbye,
tell me, why
have to go and leave my world so cold?
himself well enough to realise that it wasn't just the fact that Sirius was
dead which hurt - it was the knowledge that they had never been able to have
more than a few moments alone, never spoken of the things that were truly
important. And there had been so many important things: his father, all the
things they had done together, what things had been like before Voldemort rose
and smashed the Marauders' lives to pieces. But Harry couldn't blame Voldemort
for Sirius's death, though it would have made things so much easier.
through stages of blaming himself, then Dumbledore, then Snape, then murderous
fantasies of killing Bellatrix Lestrange in the cruellest way known to Muggle
or wizard. But none of it made him feel better, none of it lessened the pain in
his heart at the thought that he would never speak to Sirius again. Harry tried
to tell himself that Moody was right: Sirius had died in battle, which was what
he would have wanted... But Moody hadn't seen the shock in Sirius' face.
knew the truth: Sirius hadn't wanted to die at all. He'd known the risks, but
he'd come because of Harry, because, as Dumbledore had put it, Harry was the
most important person in the world to him. But this, the idea of Sirius caring
about him that much, only made Harry feel worse. He didn't want to think about
it. It was because Sirius had cared that he was dead. Of course, if he was
going to be logical - something that had seemed particularly difficult this
year - it all went back to the fact that Sirius had been unable to stand
house arrest any longer. And that had been because of Wormtail's escape...
felt fresh rage and grief well up inside him. He had spared Wormtail at the end
of his third year for this? Wormtail was already responsible for his
parents' deaths, now he had killed Sirius as well. It wasn't that simple, he
knew that, but Harry still wondered about what he’d do if the situation ever
killing Wormtail would not bring Sirius back. Nothing could bring the dead back
to life, Dumbledore had said so himself. Harry was stuck with a shattered
communication mirror, a melted pocket knife and a broomstick still confiscated
somewhere in Hogwarts. Such a small legacy for such an important relationship.
wasn't fair! Harry punched his pillow, unwilling to destroy the bedroom like he
had Dumbledore's office. Sirius had spent thirteen years in Azkaban, unfairly
convicted, and then two years on the run, after knowing that he'd helped kill
two of his best friends. It was such a waste, a waste of a man, a waste of
life. Harry wiped his face where it was wet. He hadn't even said goodbye - he
hadn't said anything.
that's what a funeral's for," Hermione said gently inside Harry's mind.
Harry, I'm sure that everyone will give you time alone, you know," came
Ron's awkward addition.
hadn't even been cleared," Harry muttered, his throat raw from the effort
of holding back his grief when other people were in the room. "Everyone
still thinks he's a raving lunatic, a psycho. They'll all be happy that
he's dead-" He choked again, imagining the headlines, the jubilation.
There might even be street parties. For an instant, he saw Sirius's reaction to
this, the raised eyebrow, the grimly amused smile - and then remembered that
he'd never see it again.
only pray that he'd be better by the funeral. He didn't want to have tears
pouring down his face by the time that happened. He wondered if Kreacher would
be there. He didn't know what happened to house elves after the last member of
their family died. Hermione would, no doubt.
sat up, grabbed a rather damp tissue from the bedside table and scrubbed his
face, then splashed cold water on his eyes to make them seem less red. He might
as well ask her: it was a subject that would keep Hermione occupied for some
time, and it might help him to keep his mind off what had happened for a while,
though somehow he doubted it. Sirius was on his mind whether he wanted to think
about him or not.
jumped off the bed and went to find his friend before grief ambushed him again.
been the blood in my veins
one who knows my middle name
smiles they came easy,
that I love you,
know I could never escape you
the choir sing,
tonight I’m an easy mark...
stared across the wound in the earth, trying not to look down, trying not to
remind himself of what lay in that coffin. He stared instead at the young man
opposite him, his hair actually neat for once, although slowly ruffling back
into its normal position, head bowed, glasses slipping slightly forward on his
nose. The hands were clenched. Remus bit his lip and looked down himself.
wanted to talk.
needed to talk.
didn’t know what to say.
you say to a boy who had just lost the nearest thing he'd ever had to a parent?
just didn't cut it.
It was a
typical English summer day: overcast, muggy and threatening to rain. They took
for granted that they could stand outside without anyone looking at them, but
for Sirius, that would have been paradise.
swallowed down a burning lump and reached forward to throw his clod of earth
onto the empty coffin. They couldn't find his body. They couldn't go through
the Veil. Harry had put forward the idea of just reaching a hand through - but
it didn't work like that. Remus knew that much.
all he knew. You didn't go through that Veil and come out again. James had
found it out, back in the Marauder days: the legendary Veil of Death, one of
the few places left where the realms of the dead and the living still lived
side by side. As the Muggles had spread over the Earth, such places had become
fewer and fewer. The wizards had closed them off or built buildings around
them, but they weren't perfect: people still disappeared through them and never
came back. Nobody knew if these Muggles were still alive but trapped or
actually dead. After Nearly Headless Nick's peevish
that ghosts were wizards who had not 'gone on' as he called it, James
had created a whole fascinating theory about how the ghosts of Muggles
could come back through the Veil to communicate their unfinished business.
Something about compensation for not having magic, if Remus remembered
Sirius had been a wizard through and through. A pureblood, if you wanted to be
technical. He hated the word: he spent days of thinking up an insult for
purebloods who believed they should be the only people at Hogwarts.
to Lily, he'd eventually found the perfect word. It wasn't even really a swear word
according to Harry, after a small enquiry. Apparently it was something that
Muggles used to clean their surfaces and toilets.
Slytherins hadn't known what it was, but they'd guessed it was a Muggle word
because they had no idea where it'd come from. Every time Sirius had heard
someone use the word 'mudblood', he'd called out 'Bleach!' in reply. The very
fact it was a Muggle word infuriated the Slytherins, who didn't bother, of
course, to find out what exactly bleach was. He should tell Harry about that.
Make him smile.
become his main mission in life to make Harry smile.
else that might make Harry smile was Remus's middle name. He'd never exactly
understood why his parents had decided to give him such a plain and simple name
after one like Remus.
was your grandfather’s name, dear ," his mother had said when he'd asked
her, amazed after seeing it on the government registration document which
proclaimed his lycanthropy to anyone who wanted to see it.
memory made Remus smile now, though he'd almost cried with embarrassment at the
time. Sirius had been the only one to know the name, and then it had been
accidental, as he'd been staying over at the time and Remus's mother had yelled
it up the stairs after seeing that he'd got a B in one of his exams. His
parents had been keen for him to get good marks and prove that his curse didn't
affect his daily life.
Sirius repeated, utterly amazed. “But you’re not a ‘John’!”
that’s probably why they call me ‘Remus’, isn’t it?” said Remus dryly, before
adding, “You have to swear not to tell anyone else!"
Not even James or Peter?"
paused, noticing the look on his friend's face.
is really important to you, isn't it?" he asked.
you could say that," he replied, sarcasm dripping from his words.
I swear on the Map." Sirius had grinned, holding up the piece of paper,
which they had just begun to work on. "I siriusly promise not to tell
anyone about your middle name."
rolled his eyes. "Sirius, that was funny the first time, but this is the
a good joke never grows old!"
never said that was a good joke."
cheek was wet. Remus glanced up instinctively before realising that it was a
tear. He glanced at Harry again as the boy dropped his own bit of earth into
hadn't meant to say that out loud. Even though he'd taken his Wolfsbane Potion
this morning like a good boy, it wasn't really enough. And now those green eyes
were looking at him, and it was like looking at James all over again, and pain
burned in his chest. Why did they have to hold the funeral just before the full
moon? He was sure that Severus had planned it this way. It wasn't a logical
thought, but he couldn't think logically at the moment - he hated himself - he
should have sent Sirius straight back home - and Harry was still looking at
him, his green eyes turning his cheeks sallow in the grey light.
Remus could smell his pain. It wasn't as sharp as it had been, but it was still
deep enough and fresh enough to make him feel sick. Because the wolf inside him
was thinking of Harry as prey. Easy prey.
was a person. Harry was James and Lily's son.
alright," Remus whispered, his voice hoarse. It was as much for himself as
for the boy opposite him.
lips twitched a little. It was the beginning of a smile. His eyes were watery,
but he nodded to show that he'd heard. That he understood. That he was grateful
for that one simple sentence.
smiled back. If it had made Harry try to smile, then he was happy. He was in
control. For a while.
has come, taken you far
more you are travelling light,
Why do I
have to miss you so?
though you could not be there for me
you meant to be.
couldn't believe that it had been more than a month. Sirius had been gone for
more than a month. It still seemed impossible to Harry. He had stopped
expecting to see him, hear him, get a letter from him, but he still wished it
was possible. Still wished, on getting up, that today would be the day they'd
find him, bruised but alive.
that was gone now.
was standing at the funeral.
clenched his fists. It was an empty coffin. How could they put an empty coffin
in the ground, and a gravestone? He didn't want to look, but his eyes were
drawn to the inscription:
1960 - 1996
stopped short at that expression. Who had chosen that? Lupin, he was sure of
it. It was short, simple, and yet it was so right. Had Sirius ever been free?
Knowing all that he did, Harry believed he could give an answer: only when with
his friends, and, possibly, walking back to Hogwarts with Harry, believing that
he would be pardoned, believing that he would be able to live a normal life
again. Otherwise... he had grown up in a family almost as bad as the Malfoys,
despised by them for his rebellion, probably suspected by his fellow
Gryffindors for his family background; he had been thrown into Azkaban without any
kind of trial, knowing who had really killed his best friend; spent twelve
years in that hellhole; one searching for Wormtail; one on the run; and one
incarcerated in his filthy, creature-ridden family home with a Hippogriff, a
senile manipulative house elf and a screaming maternal portrait for company, not
forgetting that whilst enduring all this, he had been taunted by his old
nemesis... The review of Sirius's life was incredibly depressing.
took a deep breath and threw his clod of earth in with the coffin. Even if he
thought Sirius's death unfair and cruel, maybe it was for the best. At least
now Sirius wouldn't have to hide anymore. He wouldn't have to put up with
Kreacher or his mother. He was free. And that was what Sirius had wanted,
wasn't it? To be free: free of his past, his family, his guilt.
true. But it didn't help the pain. And it didn't fill this huge space that
still existed inside of Harry. He had known Sirius for such a short time. How
could he have grown to love him so much? Why did his absence feel like such a
huge hole in Harry's life?
were no answers.
looked up into calm brown eyes, and felt the pain in his chest shift very
slightly, just as it had after that meeting with Luna. Professor Lupin's face
was pale and drawn. It was full moon tonight, and Harry admired his old professor
for coming to the funeral. He really should have been at home, but he'd put
aside his personal problems and come through for Sirius, like always. At the
moment, he looked particularly ill, and Harry wondered what was going on. Lupin
had known Sirius for much longer than Harry, but Harry hadn't seen him cry.
He'd been able to talk pleasantly on the ride back to Kings Cross. Harry had
wondered at his calm: perhaps Lupin knew something he didn't? Now, he couldn't
believe that Lupin knew anything more than he did. His face spoke plainly of
his pain and grief, and one solitary tear glittered on his cheek. Yet as he
opened his mouth, Harry realised that he wasn't even thinking about himself.
Harry found himself trying to smile at his old professor, trying to reassure
him that he wasn't going to collapse or blow up as he had in Dumbledore's
ray of sunlight broke through the clouds.
Harry thought. It was alright. He was alright for now.
all that mattered.
brother, you are older than me
still feel the pain of the scars that won't heal?
eyes have died, but you see more than I:
you're a star in the face of the sky...
days later, Remus tottered down the stairs of his modest home and boiled
himself a cup of tea, collapsing on a wooden chair. It hadn't been a bad one
this time: someone had sent him a huge slab of meat by owl. Remus had sat on
his hind legs whilst the owl had hovered in the kitchen, dropped the meat on
the floor, and then hooted. Remus had bowed down, thanking the bird, then
chewed and gulped his way through the meat. It had watched him for a while, its
golden eyes quizzical, but not judging his hunger.
matter how much he enjoyed himself as a proper wolf, he was always aware that
this time, a time where his needs, likes and dislikes were wonderfully simple,
was limited. And whether he transformed into a werewolf or a normal one, the
transformation was still excruciating. In fact it was rumoured that the wizard
who had created the Cruciatus Curse had watched werewolves transform to get an
idea of the pain he wanted to cause. It was a big reason why most werewolves
were so introverted and angry at the world. Enduring that kind of pain, as
Dumbledore had told him at his special interview to become a Hogwarts pupil,
took great endurance and a strong mind.
wondered if that was true: if his mind was really that strong. In some areas,
yes, but not in others. Just like anybody else really.
laughed, a black laugh. He didn't allow himself to sink into self-pity at any
other time of the month, but at these times, with his emotions still so raw and
close to the surface, it was impossible not to feel just a little antisocial
now he was alone.
and Sirius had understood his pain, for any kind of metamorphosis was painful,
and their many attempts to become Animagi had left them panting, white-faced on
the floor, gripping the bedposts as they willed themselves not to scream. He
had not taken pleasure in their suffering, but quietly helped them, distracted
them until their bodies felt human again. Even when they finally managed to
become animals, it was still painful. 'Flash pain', James had called it:
intense, bone-searing, but quick.
Remus had said quietly, "imagine that kind of pain going on for minutes...
even hours. That's what it's like for me."
what it was still like.
on the door made him jump, his head snapping up. He retained a few lupine
qualities the day after his full transformation and the scent of the person at
the door was immediately recognisable. But as he slowly opened the door,
surprise lingered on his face to tinge the pleasure.
was looking a little better. His hair was back to its usual rumpled state. His
clothes fit him for once, since Vernon
and Petunia had been thrown into a panic by the threat of the Order’s visits,
and whilst they would not have won any fashion awards, they were comfortable,
covered all his steadily growing limbs and didn’t have any holes in them. From
Harry’s point of view, this was the biggest improvement of the lot.
this isn’t a bad time,” he murmured, looking at Remus’s ashen cheeks and the
shadows beneath his eyes.
at all: if you’d called twenty-four hours ago, then it might have been a
problem,” Remus joked weakly, letting him in after peering around. “Nobody came
came with me to the gate, but I wanted to… see you alone,” Harry answered,
walking through the hall as if he’d lived there all his life. The kettle had
long since boiled and he watched, fascinated, as it poured Remus a cup of tea
all by itself, then hovered, waiting to see if he wanted one.
thanks – Butterbeer would be nice,” Harry added. Remus pointed his wand at the
larder: a large bottle flew out, its top slowly unscrewing as a glass danced
forward. It seemed to know exactly how much Harry wanted, and waited until he
had caught hold of the glass before returning to its former place. Harry
grinned: the magical world still had the capacity to amaze and delight him. For
one moment, the sorrow and tension melted from his face and he looked like any
other fifteen year-old boy. Remus started smiling
It was wonderful to see the joy on Harry’s face.
it know...?” Harry asked, his sentence trailing off as he
hesitated, drinking his tea whilst wondering how to put this. Finally, he
decided on the truth. He didn’t want to lie to Harry. Sirius wouldn’t have
wanted him to keep secrets.
what your father always had when he came round my house,”
honestly. “He always drank it in a glass like that too – well, when my parents
were around. If they were out, he drank it straight from the bottle.”
grin grew wider. Despite the recent revelation that his dad’s character hadn’t
been as perfect as he’d assumed, the image was comforting, almost familiar.
Professor Lupin was smiling at him, his eyes kindly, the expression taking
almost ten years off him. Harry noticed that the hair around his ears was
almost completely grey now, but the rest remained a golden brown. His face
hadn’t seen a razor for three days, so there was a faint shadow around his chin
and lips. He was dressed in a tatty dressing gown, which was loosely belted.
Harry caught sight of a thin white chest. He shivered and took a sip of his
drink, feeling the warm liquid seep down through his body with gratitude.
Sometimes Lupin looked so fragile. He hated that. He didn’t want to lose Lupin;
nobody wanted to lose Lupin. He was knowledgeable, diplomatic, and good with
people, a real credit to the Order. He was still the best Defence Against the Dark
Arts teacher they’d ever had.
you could come back this year!” Harry said impulsively, staring at his
reflection in the beer.
expression took Remus by surprise, but it warmed his heart at the same time. It
was flattering to think that Harry wanted him back not just for who he was, but
for his teaching skills as well.
you know that’s not possible,” he said gently.
ignored him. “Maybe if I wrote to everyone in the DA,” he said, thinking out
glanced up. “Nobody told you?”
familiar, but refresh my memory.”
next ten minutes, Lupin listened intently, as Harry recounted the tales of the
DA – Dumbledore’s Army, the private group of students who had come together in
Harry’s fifth year to learn what they could from the Boy Who Lived. Lupin
wasn’t surprised that it had been Hermione’s idea. He was also pleased that
Harry had explained to his two friends that surviving Voldemort was not a
matter of saying the right words, swishing the wand in the right way, and
so angry,” Harry said reflectively. “They were acting like... like it was some
kind of game.” He pushed his hair back in a gesture that almost choked Remus’s
throat, it held so many memories. “I don’t think they ever realised before...
how terrified I’d been. Even in the cemetery with Cedric...” His voice grew
hoarse and he swallowed, taking a sip of Butterbeer before continuing. “Even
when we discussed that, I don’t think they really understood... how
I’d felt. They didn’t see me the night after I came back...”
told me what you were like,” Remus said quietly, draining his mug.
suppose they didn’t think it was different from seeing Riddle die in the
Chamber of Secrets... yes, I know about that, Harry. Neither of them has seen people
die yet... Try to be patient with them.”
suddenly realised that he’d said Sirius’s name. Easily, calmly, as if he did it
every day. He glanced at Harry, who was looking right at him.
to... to thank you,” Harry said in a rush, suddenly realising that this must be
how Ron had felt when he tried to apologise after the first task in the
Triwizard Tournament. “I didn’t think I’d make it through the funeral... I knew
that Sirius was free and that he’d be happy now... but I couldn’t make myself believe
it, if you see what I mean, and then when you said that... It made me feel
better,” he ended lamely, his face turning red. He knew that Lupin looking at
him, but he couldn’t look up, he just couldn’t. Then he
angry with himself: he had faced up to Voldemort and he was scared of looking a
friend in the eye? Slowly, Harry lifted his head.
it or not, Harry,” said Lupin, his eyes glittering, “it made me feel better
too. It’s not right that he’s gone. I wish with all my heart that there were
some way to bring him back, just as I’ve often wished there was a way to bring
your parents back. I will always miss him - we will always miss him. But
I know that Sirius wouldn’t want us to sit around mourning his absence – he’d
prefer us to celebrate his life and achievements.”
what?!” Harry demanded, his voice wavering dangerously as he fought off the
ever-present tears. He hated himself for snapping, but his self-control was
still not the best it could be.
considered, not at all offended by Harry’s tone, fingers tapping his chin.
“Well... Sirius was the first man to escape out of Azkaban,” he said slowly.
“And that was when the Dementors were guarding the place. Even if you take into
account that he had the good fortune to be an Animagus... it took a lot of
courage, foresight, planning and sheer bloody nerve to do that. And if there’s
one thing Sirius had it was nerve,” he added fondly, chuckling to himself. “Not
to mention that he consistently managed to avoid being captured by the Ministry
for two years... which is no small achievement, if you think of the Aurors
remembered Kingsley Shacklebolt’s desk, covered in clippings of Sirius,
articles about him dating back years before Harry was born, there’d even been a
tiny square detailing Sirius’s birth to his mother and father and where the
party celebrating his arrival would be held. He found to his amazement that
he’d started grinning too.
actually became an Animagus without outside help,” Remus added,
he helped you to stay alive. He’d probably think that his greatest achievement,
Harry. Helping you to stay alive. So let’s not cry over him. Let’s be thankful
for what he did, and the peace which he’s now enjoying.”
finished, they both noticed that the kitchen was filling up with sunlight. In
fact, one ray was shining right in Remus’ eyes. He tutted. “Very funny,” he
muttered, turning away so that Harry could blow his nose and pretend to have
something in his eyes. Harry laughed weakly. “Weird,” he commented.
all: he always liked having the last laugh,” Remus replied, with a sly grin
that both surprised Harry and made him grin back.
Professor Lupin,” he said, meaning, thanks for everything.
nodded silently, showing that he understood. “You’re welcome, Harry. Now I’m
going to cook myself breakfast. Would you like some? I can’t offer you Hogwarts
Harry said eagerly, squinting as he got struck in the eye by a ray himself.
“I’d love to have some.”
it about time you started calling me ‘Remus’?”
beamed, still squinting. “Yes, sir – I mean, yes, Remus. Did you like the meat
I sent with Hedwig?”
blinked at him. The stunned look on his face made Harry snort with laughter as
he turned away and finished his Butterbeer. Remus smiled fondly at his back.
After all he’d been through, all he’d seen, he’d thought that nobody could
steal a march on him, but Harry had managed it. Amazing. Shaking his head, Remus
turned to the stove. He remembered meeting that house elf, Dobby, who had sung
Harry’s praises: now he understood why. Harry, like Ron, like Hermione, had a
heart of gold.
first time in months, Remus saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Or it could
just have been another sunbeam hitting him in the face.
he said, trying not to laugh. “I liked it a lot.”
the door, there's peace, I'm sure,
know there'll be no more
It was a
sunny day in the village of Little Whinging. Children ran to the village shop, holding
pocket money in their hot little hands. Husbands mowed front lawns whilst wives
complained to each other of the heat over their fences.
And on a
wooden bench in the park, Harry Potter and Remus Lupin sat
side, eating 99 Flakes™ and enjoying the silence. The combined presence of
Harry, the dangerous lunatic who was enrolled in St Brutus’s Secure Centre for
Incurably Criminal Boys, and Remus Lupin, who suffered from the heinous crime
of being a stranger, had managed to slowly empty the park until they had it all
to themselves. Not that they minded this. In fact, they liked it.
always this peaceful around here?” Remus asked lazily, snapping off a piece of
his Flake™ with unconcealed pleasure.
when I’m around,” said Harry, catching his eye, so that they both started
laughing. “I’m an incurable criminal; they’re hardly going to let their
children anywhere near me.”
what you mean,” Remus said with a sigh.
winced, kicking himself. “Believe me, you’re not losing out. Most of them are
incredibly spoiled. You’re worth ten of them.”
Harry,” Remus grinned, and took another bite out of his Flake™.
mention it,” Harry replied. He always ate his chocolate first and then
proceeded to carefully eat his ice-cream. It had been such a rare treat in his
childhood that he’d acquired the habit of making it last as long as possible.
Hermione and Ron were always fascinated by his ability to make the most out of
the smallest bit of food, but Harry had the impression that Remus found this rather
been three months,” he said abruptly, staring across the flat green.
stopped eating and sighed. “I know,” he answered. “I was going
the grave on Saturday... I suppose...?”
won’t allow me to come,” Harry said heavily, shaking his head. “You should have
seen Uncle Vernon’s face when I told him about going to the funeral. Honestly,
if Moody hadn’t shown up, I think I’d have had to try desperate measures.”
Remus raised his eyebrow. “Like what?”
grinned sheepishly. “A threat to let Hedwig fly around the living room, leaving
her – um – mark all over Aunt Petunia’s four-piece suite, wall-to-wall
carpet and china ornaments.” His grin grew wider. “She’d have done it as well.
She hates them as much as I do.”
really hate them, Harry?” Remus asked mildly, in that tone which always told
Harry to be more precise.
frowned, thinking. “I don’t know... I don’t hate them like I hate Voldemort, or
Bellatrix... I suppose I feel the same way about them as I do about Malfoy...
they’re annoying and they’re blind... but they’re not evil. Well, not
compared to Voldemort or the Death Eaters.” He scratched at the white scars on
looked at them too and bit his lip. The sight of those white lines always
caused a huge rage inside of him, but he never let it out or said anything.
What was done was done. He knew that better than anyone. He gently touched the
hand, covering the scars so that he couldn’t see them anymore.
tell Sirius that you wanted to come,” he said softly. Harry looked at him and
stopped scratching, which was what Remus had wanted, so he moved his hand away.
you tell him... that I still miss him?” he asked hoarsely. His voice had been
slowly breaking over the summer. By the time he was sixteen, it would be
totally broken. It was a strange thought, and somehow scary. Harry didn’t feel like
this new voice, this adult voice, was really him. But there was time.
That was something that he had learned from Remus: you took life one day at a
time. What was the rush? The future moved at its own pace: even Voldemort
couldn’t change that.
him. And I’ll be there for your birthday. Molly’s cooking up a feast.”
nodded: he could already imagine it. It would be nice to see the Burrow again.
Bill might be there. He’d see Fred and George, Ron and Hermione, and Ginny.
Maybe even Percy. He hoped he’d see Percy. Somehow, it just wasn’t the same
without him. Harry had also sent invitations for the first time in his life:
one to Neville Longbottom, somewhere in Lancashire, and one to Luna Lovegood, who knew where.
He’d received a reply from Neville almost immediately, written mostly by his Nan from the handwriting and tone, but at the
end, Neville had added his own little message: DA Rules OK. That had
made Harry smile. He hadn’t received anything from Luna, but then he didn’t
expect a reply from her. She’d probably just turn up, wandering in as if she’d
meant to come somewhere else, greeting Ginny and Hermione as if she was in a
dream. Harry wondered what Fred and George would make of her. He wondered what
Luna would make of the twins. It would be his most interesting birthday so far.
That was for sure. And yet...
he could be there too,” he said softly, finishing off his cornet.
looked at him, his brown eyes soft but also oddly perceptive. “What makes you
think he won’t be?” he asked with a small laugh. “Just because you can’t see
him, doesn’t mean he won’t be there, Harry. In fact, I’d bet my clothes on the
fact he’ll be there somehow, someway. And he’ll make sure you know it.” He
stood up. “Now come on: before your uncle and aunt start worrying.”
snorted. “Worrying about what I’ve done, you mean,” he said dryly.
said why they’d be worrying, just that they’d be worrying,” Remus replied
calmly, causing Harry to start laughing again as they made their way to the edge
of the park in brilliant sunshine that caused both of them to squint their
wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy by any means. But, they both thought as they
walked silently back to Harry’s home, Sirius never went for the easy route
in life. Why should he do so in death?
it was better that it was hard, Harry decided, squinting against the sunlight.
At least that way, he knew that Sirius was there. His heart felt light for the
first time in ages. Remus’s words had reminded him of Luna.
not like I’ll never see her again, is it?”
think we’ll see him again?” Harry asked, looking up, but only a little. He’d
thought, and finally shrugged. “Who knows? If you tried to predict Sirius, he’d
do exactly the opposite, just to prove that he was his own person. So, um...”
He grinned. “I’m going to say ‘no’.”
nodded and looked straight ahead. The future rolled slowly towards him, taking
its time, refusing to be rushed. Just like Sirius. “I’m not going to see you
again!” he yelled at the sky and grinned.
wait. He’d been doing that all his life.
of Life by Emiko
in the Sun by
Are Not Alone by
Word Was a Piece of My Heart by Jon Bon Jovi
Light by Sophie
Daniel by Elton John
in Heaven by
whilst listening to:
Fantasy VII Theme
by Nobuo Uematsu
Theme by Nobuo
of Life (Final
in the Dark
Light by Sophie
All characters and settings belong to JK Rowling, not me: how do I know this?
Because I wouldn’t have to take out a student loan otherwise. ;) I don’t own
any of the songs either.
NOTES: Well! This was the first Harry Potter story I ever wrote. I was still in
mourning for Sirius when I read it, and I think you can tell. The Final Fantasy
games, for those who don’t know, are a Role Playing phenomenon which are
available on the Playstation and have gorgeous soundtracks. Despite this, I
have never played one and do not own a Playstation or a Playstation 2, but it’s
on my list of “Things to Buy When I Get a Good Job”. KareKano is a Japanese
animated series focusing on the lives of a group of high school students which
is available on DVD for those who are interested in anime. The song “Travelling
Light” is only available on the re-issued Timbre album, which has a
bonus CD. It’s lovely and simple and uplifting.
Notes – Cadbury’s Flakes™ are chocolate bars which are sold in England (and Canada, according to Megan, my beta). They are
literally flakes of chocolate melted and melded into a bar, so they tend to
crumble when you eat them and scatter you with chocolate crumbs. 99 Flakes™ are
popular ice-creams which you can buy from any good ice-cream van around Britain in the summer. They are ordinary whipped
vanilla ice-creams in a cone, with one or two Flakes™ stuck in the ice-cream,
depending on how much you are willing to pay. They got their name because
originally you only had to pay 99p for one. The price has recently gone up but
the name has stuck.
thanks as always to Megan, my beta and the people who have reviewed my first
two stories, The Only One and Destination Unknown. Look out for
my story about Crookshanks, coming soon!