The Sugar Quill
Author: TheGreenWolf  Story: And So I Leave You With This  Chapter: Default
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And So I Leave You With This

Author’s note: My thanks to Suburban House Elf for beta-reading my story.

 

And So I Leave You With This

 

The stars shone against the inky blackness of night, tiny white specks against the dark. The sky was unbelievably clear that night; the constellations were perfectly visible and to use a telescope would have made it worse rather than better. It was on a night like this that the ancients would have seen and created the constellations that hung above.

 

The air was chilly, being the October night that it was. There was a bite to it that promised that winter was well on its way. The light of the stars and the half moon gently bathed the small village of Godric’s Hollow, through which for a moment a slight breeze blew. It was the last thing to stir before the night became completely still.

 

Not much happened in Godric’s Hollow. Life was simple there, but it was good. Being as late as it was, midnight maybe or maybe earlier or later, all the houses were dark and quiet. So quiet and dark, actually, that the village seemed to be empty. But, of course, that was not so.

 

In fact, there was still one cottage on the outskirts of the village in which the lights were still on. A man and a woman sat in the living room, he reading a book while she rocked their young son in her arms. She smiled faintly as the young child wrapped his small fingers in her long red hair. She looked down at her son and saw her green eyes reflected back at her, and her smile grew a slight bit more.

 

But no matter how much her son, who even now looked almost exactly like his father, could lighten her heart, she could not be really happy, could not completely forget her worries. That was nearly impossible under the circumstances. Sometimes she even wondered if she would ever be able to again, even if the war were over.

 

He had been watching his wife for a few moments, unknown to her. He had watched the subtle changes on her face, seeing her eyes turn from hope to despair. He didn’t blame her in the slightest, though. He was confident that things would turn out for the best. But, then again, there were moments when he wondered whether or not he had the right to be so confident, owing to the dark days that they were in.

 

He set the book he was reading down on the table and sat down next to his wife. He gently put his arm around her, pulling her close and holding her protectively. He just wished that so long as he held them, his wife and son could be protected from all the harms and dangers of the world.

 

They sat there for a while like that, neither of them saying a word; even Harry was quiet. Then she looked up at him, a single tear running down her face. “James,” she murmured. She wanted to say more, but she didn’t have any words to even attempt to describe the feelings within her.

 

But James didn’t need to hear words, for he knew exactly what his wife was feeling. “It’s okay, Lily,” he said as he held her even tighter. “It’s okay. Everything will be okay….”

 

*          *          *

 

Lily had heard it first, a noise coming from somewhere outside.  It wasn’t anything loud or definable, but it was a noise, a disturbance, and she certainly didn’t want any disturbances. It could just be some stray animal, she knew, but it could also be something much, much worse.

           

She had just come back from putting Harry to bed when she heard it. She walked in to see James sitting there, rigidly upright, as if someone had just poured ice-cold water on him. His untidy black hair seemed even untidier than usual and his glasses were slightly askew.

 

She froze in her tracks when she saw this, knowing instantly that something was not right. She was starting to feel cold dread taking over as she watched James’ face, intense with concentration. And then she heard it too; something was moving outside when nothing should be.

 

She realized she had her wand out now and was gripping it tightly. She took her eyes off the windows and door for a moment and saw that James had his out as well. “Lily,” James said, not even glancing at her. “Check the back of the house and make sure everything is all right.”

 

But she knew that whatever made those noises was at the front of the house, not the back. She most certainly did not want to leave her husband alone; two had a better chance than one. He turned to look at her, and their eyes met. “Please, Lily.” After a few seconds, she nodded and turned around to walk to the back of the house.

 

She had not taken more than five steps, however, when she heard the terrible crashing sound of the door being blasted open and splintering into a million pieces. She started turning around when she heard James’ shouting, panicking voice call out. “Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off!”

 

She quickly turned towards the hallway leading to Harry’s room and bolted. She was halfway down the hall when she heard Voldemort coldly and triumphantly hiss, “Avada Kedavra.” There was a flash of green light and the sound of something large falling to the floor. Her heart broke.

 

She forced her mind away from what she had just heard, though; she could not, would not, think about that. All she could do was put all her concentration into getting Harry and leaving as quickly as she could.

 

She ran down the hall and into Harry’s room. She pointed her wand over her shoulder and said, “Colloportus,” knowing that it wouldn’t do anything, but doing so on instinct anyway.

 

She had just gotten to Harry’s crib when the door crashed open. Harry was crying now, woken up by all the chaos. She turned around and saw Voldemort’s eyes staring at her. There was a look of hungry exultation in his eyes as he held up his wand, anticipating the kill.

 

“Not Harry! Not Harry! Please – I’ll do anything,” she sobbed. She was going to die – that she knew as if it had been etched into her bones – but at least, she knew, there was a last bit of ancient magic that she could invoke to give Harry a chance.

 

“Stand aside, you silly girl… stand aside, now….”

 

“Not Harry, please no, take me, kill me instead.”

 

“Stand aside. Stand aside, girl!”

 

“Not Harry! Please…have mercy…have mercy….”

 

Avada Kedavra!”

 

There was another flash of green light, and she knew no more.

 

*          *          *

 

Peter hadn’t been home. He had arranged to check up on Peter to see that everything was all right, but he hadn’t been there. When he had arrived at his house a couple of hours earlier, all had been still, silent. It wasn’t a peaceful silence, however, but a tense one, filled with uneasiness. His house had an air of something that was abandoned in haste. Everything was in its place, though. There was no sign of a struggle or a fight. Nothing. Sirius shuddered at what those implications could mean.

 

The air was crisp and cold as he flew on his motorbike across the dark sky. The lights of the houses and cars dotted the countryside, sometimes being obscured by a few of the clouds beneath him. He shrugged off the cold though, too busy trying not to think about what he might be seeing soon to be able to deal with the weather. He knew he was getting close to Godric’s Hollow, but he willed his motorbike to go faster than it already was, hoping beyond hope that he wasn’t too late.

 

Sirius started to make his way down from the heavens, the ground getting closer and closer to him as his anticipation became greater and greater. He gripped the handles of his motorbike tightly, his eyes scanning the ground for what he did not want to see.

 

But then he did see it, and he was instantly filled with such an immense amount of pain and sadness. He felt the pain and sorrow welling up in him, coursing through his body like the blood in his veins. “James…” he said, his voice full of emotion and his eyes full of tears. “Lily… Harry…what have I done?”

 

The ruins of the Potters’ cottage stood below him, destroyed and smoldering. He landed just a few seconds later in what used to be James and Lily’s front garden. He hopped off his motorbike the second it touched the ground, hearing it crashing over in his hurry. He bounded toward the remains of their house, heedless of the rubble and the small fires that littered the ground.

 

Their house was barely standing, he could see. The roof had all but disappeared, and the walls stood precariously on their foundations. He ran into where the door used to be and stopped dead. Just a second ago he had thought he had felt all the pain that a person could feel, but now he could feel ten times that amount as his gray eyes took in what lay before him.

 

He walked into their house, slowly making his way to the center of the room, trying so hard to convince himself that what he was seeing was not really there. Up until that point he had half believed that maybe, just maybe, they had been able to escape. Maybe they had gotten away just in time and Voldemort had only destroyed their house in a fit of rage. He closed his eyes and shook his head as if trying to shake the images that lay before him out of his mind. Please, let this just be a nightmare….

 

But he opened his eyes and everything was still there, just as real and terrible as it was before. He sank to his knees where his best friend lay unmoving. He was trembling by this time, and he would not have been surprised if his face were as pale as James’. Sirius reached out his hand and put it on James’ shoulder, feeling the coldness of his body through his robes. “Prongs…” he said in a cracked voice. “I’m so sorry, Prongs. I’m so sorry.” My best friend. How could I have done this to my best friend? James. My best friend. Gone. Dead….

 

He got up and started to slowly make his way through the rest of the house, through the rest of the wreckage, leaving his friend’s body, motionless but yet unmarked behind him. He was walking in a numb haze, not quite knowing where he was going, but knowing exactly where at the same time. He had known this house almost better than his own. He had been here so many times, so many days and evenings filled with laughter and happiness.

 

But now the house was empty, still, silent. It was a house of the dead now. He looked around the house, seeing if he could find any more evidence as to what happened, although his imagination could fill in what had occurred all too well for him. He wondered what had happened to Lily and Harry, though. He hadn’t found their bodies yet. He hoped he would find them soon, however, just so that he would know that they were not in Voldemort’s hands. If Voldemort had taken them, they were worse than dead.

 

He made his way down the hall and into what had once been Harry’s room. When he walked in, he saw Lily lying on the floor, dead just as James had been. He stared at her, she who had once been so beautiful and even in death still retained much of that beauty. He looked at her peaceful face, and Sirius knew that if she were anywhere else, he would have said she was sleeping.

 

“Sirius, mate,” said a gruff voice, shaking him out of his reverie. He looked up and saw the gigantic form of Hagrid standing at the far side of the room. He seemed to be holding a bundle in his arms, but Sirius could not tell what.

 

Yeh’ve seen, then?” Hagrid asked, the moonlight allowing Sirius to see that his usually ruddy face was quite pale.

 

“James, you mean?” said Sirius, in a flat, emotionless voice. “Yes, I’ve seen.”

 

There was silence for a while, Sirius looking but not seeing, and Hagrid studying him. “There’s nothin’ that yeh coulda done, Sirius. When You-Know-Who wants someone dead, there’s not much ter be done abou’ it.”

 

Sirius looked sharply at Hagrid and his eyes flashed. He opened his mouth to say something but stopped; Hagrid didn’t know what had happened, what he had done. Hagrid didn’t know that there was something that Sirius could have done, that he could have prevented their deaths. Hagrid didn’t know that, when it came down to it, Sirius had killed them….

 

“But, at leas’ Harry survived, and You-Know-Who is gone, now,” Hagrid said. “I don’ know how, but that’s what happened.”

 

Sirius’ eyes widened in surprise. He had not been expecting to hear that. “Voldemort’s gone?” Sirius asked, and Hagrid flinched. “But how? And Harry? Harry’s alive?” he started walking towards Hagrid, carefully stepping around Lily’s body. “Where is he, Hagrid?”

 

As he got closer to Hagrid, though, he could tell that whatever it was that Hagrid was holding was moving. Could it be Harry? Is it possible that he really survived? He shook his head. He didn’t dare get his hopes up.

 

“I have him, mate,” said Hagrid. “I can’t have bin here fer long ‘fore yeh showed up. The poor thing was cryin’. I don’ blame him, though. I woulda bin cryin’ too, if what jus’ happened ter him woulda happened ter me.”

 

Sirius was standing next to Hagrid now, and he could see that the bundle that Hagrid was holding was really Harry wrapped in some blankets. When he looked at Harry, he was once again filled with pain as he was forcefully reminded of James and what he had done to him.

 

Harry looked around calmly, although his eyes were slightly red as if he had just been crying. Harry looked up at Sirius and then smiled and giggled at seeing so familiar a face. Sirius’ eyes were drawn to Harry’s forehead, though, where a gash marred the smoothness of his skin. It was a very odd cut, he noticed, shaped like a lightning bolt. Sirius had never seen anything quite like it before. He looked up and asked, “How did Harry get this, Hagrid?”

 

He was silent for a second before answering. “It musta bin from when You-Know-Who tried ter kill him. When he tried ter kill little Harry, he musta repelled it somehow an’ reflected it right back ter You-Know-Who.”

 

So a curse scar, then, thought Sirius, but I’m sure no one will have ever come across any like this. He looked at Harry for a bit more before saying, “Give Harry to me, Hagrid. I’m his godfather, I’ll look after him.” He wanted to get Harry - and himself, for that matter - away from there as quickly as he could. He wanted to get Harry to where he could be warm and safe and himself to a place where he could try to start to heal his wounds.

 

But Hagrid shook his head. “I can’ do that, Sirius. I’ve me orders from Dumbledore ter take Harry ter his aunt’s an’ uncle’s.”

 

Sirius was shocked. “His aunt’s and uncle’s? But why? What could possibly have possessed Dumbledore to send Harry there, of all places? Has he completely forgotten the fact that James and Lily made me his guardian, were anything to happen to them?”

 

Hagrid remained adamant, however. Sirius knew Hagrid would never go against Dumbledore’s orders, not in the slightest, but that didn’t stop him from trying to persuade Hagrid to give Harry to him. They argued for a while and it was nearly a quarter of an hour before it finally hit him. Peter!

 

How could he have been so stupid? He had wasted all this time here when he should have gone after Peter long ago. He couldn’t do anything for James and Lily now, but he could take care of Peter. Oh, yes, little Peter was certainly going to pay.

 

“All right,” said Sirius finally. “Use my motorbike to take Harry to his aunt’s and uncle’s. It will be quicker that way and safer. I won’t need it anymore.” He paused for a moment. “Just let me say good-bye to Harry, first.”

 

Hagrid nodded and held out Harry so that Sirius could hold him. He took Harry in his arms, holding him to his heart. Harry grabbed hold of Sirius’ shoulder length hair as he gently hugged him. “I’m sorry, Harry. I promise I’ll be back for you as soon as I can,” he whispered to him and then gave him back to Hagrid.

 

Hagrid started walking out of the room, then stopped and turned around. “Yeh take care of yerself, Sirius,” he said.

 

“Don’t worry about me, Hagrid. Just make sure Harry stays safe.”

 

“I’ll protect him with me life,” said Hagrid, and with that, he left.

 

Sirius waited for a while until he could no longer hear his motorbike in the distance. Then he said one last good-bye to Lily and James, transformed into Padfoot, and set out for the hunt.

 

*          *          *

 

Sirius had been looking for Peter for well over an hour. He had been looking for any sign, any scent, any trace of where that rat could have fled to. It was much easier to hunt as Padfoot, and his keen senses had finally led him to the city, where he had been since the grey dawn had started to push back the darkness of night.

 

But it was well after dawn now, and Muggles were busy bustling about, hurrying to this place or that place. Sirius was in his human form now, and he was looking at each face that passed him as he looked for the rat that he was after. He knew that the rat was here; it was just a matter of time before he found him.

 

He walked along, making sure he blended in with the Muggles. He wanted to make sure that he saw Peter before Peter saw him. If Peter saw him first, he might get away before Sirius even knew that he was there, and he certainly was not going to let that happen, not on his life.

 

But then he saw him, and Sirius almost laughed at the sight of him. The rat was trying to act as if nothing was wrong, as if he hadn’t just betrayed James and his family, as if he wasn’t one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. He was trying to act that way, but he wasn’t succeeding in the least. Sirius watched him as he skittered along nervously, and started walking after him, slowly closing the distance between them. Peter saw him just then, and he froze, his eyes widening with fear. He quickly turned around and started hurriedly walking away from Sirius, leaving Muggles muttering in his wake.

 

Sirius walked briskly after him, though much more gracefully than Peter. Peter kept running into people, which made him go slower than if he had taken his time. There was a look of grim determination on Sirius’ face as he watched Peter turn down a side street. He followed after him, and he smiled slightly when he saw that the street that Peter had turned down was a dead end.

 

Peter must have noticed this as well, for he stopped walking half way down the street, turning around to face Sirius. Their eyes met; Peter was still afraid, but Sirius thought that he saw a streak of confidence in his eyes, too. Confidence? he wondered. What could give him confidence when he knows that I’m about to kill him?

 

“You filth! You piece of vermin!” Sirius growled, his voice cold and fierce. “You traitor! Did you really believe that you could have gotten away with what you did?”

 

Peter was making sobbing noises, but Sirius could see that his eyes were dry. What did he think he was doing? “What have you done, Sirius?” Peter shouted at the top of his lungs.

 

“Me?” Sirius asked incredulously. “It was you, Peter.” His voice was dripping with venom now. “I know you for what you truly are now, even if no one else does. Now I’m going to make sure that you can’t betray anyone again. Good-bye, Peter.”

 

Sirius raised his wand, about to curse him, when Peter did something completely unexpected. Peter, in one fluid motion, took out a knife from his pocket and cut off his finger. He let out a squeal of pain, but then shouted, “Lily and James, Sirius! How could you?” He put his wand behind his back, muttered a few words and suddenly there was a large explosion. Sirius ducked to the ground, but looked up just in time to see that Peter had transformed into a rat and was speeding down into the sewer.

 

Sirius slowly got up to his feet and looked around. There was a large crater in the middle of the street in roughly the place where Peter had been standing before. Bodies were everywhere and he could hear Muggles screaming in horror and distress. He could see at least twelve bodies, lying there motionless and, what was more, he could see Peter’s finger and his robes lying in the exact center of the crater.

 

Sirius started to laugh; it was not filled with happiness, to be sure, but it was a cruel and mirthless laugh. No wonder he was so confident, Sirius thought bitterly. He knew what he was going to do, knew how he could escape. He’s finally shown that he is capable of some brilliance and wriggled so much that he was able to slip away.

 

It was the perfect plan, Sirius knew, and that made it all the more ironic to him. He just stood there as his soft chuckle became louder. Yes, it was definitely the perfect plan. Nobody knew that the Potters had switched their Secret-Keeper at the last moment. No one would know that it was really Peter that had betrayed them. Everyone would think that Sirius was the spy, the traitor. Everyone will think that Peter died trying to revenge the Potters. Well Peter, he thought. I underestimated you and now you’ve gotten the better of us all.

 

And he had thought Remus had been the spy! He started laughing even harder at that. Perfect, innocent Moony! How could he ever have believed it was him?  I hope you can forgive me, Moony. It seems that with one single mistake I’ve managed to hurt all the people that I care about most. But, then again, you won’t forgive me, because you will think that I’m the spy, too. That thought made his laugh as cold as the wind in winter.

 

The Ministry had started arriving by that time. He noticed Cornelius Fudge as well as a few other witches and wizards from the Department of Magical Catastrophes and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. They took his wand and snapped it in half, but he didn’t care. He was too busy laughing at the irony of it all. They bound his hands behind his back and started leading him away, probably to Azkaban. Sirius went along with them, not struggling or putting up a fight.

 

All he did as he walked with them was laugh.

 

*          *          *

 

It had been over a month since the events of that Halloween night. Christmas would be coming soon, but it would not hold any joy for Remus. He was too numb to feel anything. His body had stopped letting him feel emotions to protect him from all the pain that he had just been forced to go through. Even if he was numb, he was having trouble dealing with it all. He kept asking himself how it could have gotten so far, how it could have gotten so bad, that things had come to killing and betraying. But he had no answers and was unlikely to get them any time soon.

 

Remus sighed as he sat at the meeting table in the Headquarters for the Order. He really didn’t want to be here; he really just wanted to be by himself for a good, long time. He neither wanted nor needed to have people fuss over him, asking him if he was okay and wondering if there was anything that they could do for him. He knew they meant well, but having people worry over him made it seem twice as bad than it already was. He certainly didn’t need that.

 

But Dumbledore had asked him to come here and so he did. He felt obligated towards the Order to do so, and Dumbledore had promised that he wouldn’t keep them there for long. He just hoped that Dumbledore’s definition of “long” was very, very short.

 

One by one, the other members of the Order started arriving. Minerva came first, followed shortly by Mad-Eye and then Arabella and the rest of them. Mundungus was the last to arrive.

 

They all sat down, each in their usual seats. As they did so, Remus was painfully forced to notice that there were four chairs that remained unoccupied. He shook his head, making sure that his face was as smooth as glass on the outside. His insides, however, were shattered. But there was nothing he could do.

 

He sat with his hands folded lightly in front of him, talking politely to Minerva who sat across the table from him. He wasn’t really thinking about what he was saying, though. He was just taking up time until Dumbledore decided to start the meeting.

 

They were all chattering or drinking Butterbeer or tea as they waited. Dumbledore sat at the head of the table, seemingly lost in thought. This went on for a few minutes until Dumbledore rose from his seat, and the table fell silent.

 

He looked around the table slowly. “Welcome,” he said, “to the final meeting of the Order of the Phoenix.” He paused. “While the wizarding world will take a long time in healing, I believe that it is time to let you go, so that you can begin putting your lives back together.

 

“But before I leave you to that, I think it is in order for us to honor the dead – both those innocents who were killed and those who died fighting for our cause.

 

“For the innocent to die is a most terrible thing. They did no harm to others and had no part in this war. The innocent are those who make this world happy and a good place to live in. Without the innocent, there would be nothing worth fighting for.” He raised his glass. “And so we drink to the innocent who were killed.”

 

They all stood up, muttering, “To the innocent.” Remus moved mechanically, mimicking the others. This meeting was starting to seem more painful than he originally thought it would be.

 

“The loss of those who died for our cause is also terrible. They were our friends, our comrades, and so their loss hits very close to home. But they died the most honorable deaths, for nothing could be more honorable than defending the innocent and battling evil. And so we drink to those who died for our cause – we will remember them always.”

 

Remus had been staring at his hands until this point, but when he stood up to drink, he looked at Dumbledore and their eyes met. There was sympathy in Dumbledore’s eyes, but Remus didn’t care; he was too busy trying to keep his emotions from spilling over the top.

 

“But although we all shall mourn those we lost, we must keep ourselves prepared. While Voldemort may be gone for the moment,” many people unconsciously flinched at this point, “I do not believe that he is dead. I trust that you all will carry on as best you can with your lives, but never forget the events of these past eleven years. I hope you all will always remember the lessons that you have learned, and that you will always have ‘constant vigilance.’” Dumbledore nodded his head in acknowledgement of Mad-Eye.

 

“But I do not wish to leave you all on this depressing note, and so I leave you with this: we have hope. We know that Voldemort is not invincible, and though he may want us to think otherwise, we know that he has vulnerabilities, just as any other wizard has. We know that, though the road may be long and dark, we can overcome any evil that comes down our path.” Dumbledore raised his glass once more. “To hope, to the future, and to Harry Potter – the boy who lived.”

 

//
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