The Sugar Quill
Author: Jem (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Night Vigil  Chapter: Default
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They were in a bubble

Night Vigil

Remus Lupin sat up in his bed with a sudden jolt. Reality came rushing back with a sickening heaviness. Oh god, it was true. They were dead. James and Lily, dead. Peter, dead. Sirius… oh god, not Sirius. He put his head in his hands and felt the hot tears among his fingers. Surely this couldn’t be reality…. He had forced himself awake trying to escape from a nightmare too overwhelming to bear… but he had woken to a grim reality even more monstrous in its truth. He knew one thing—he couldn’t stay in this bed any longer and think. There must be someway to escape thinking…and remembering…and feeling.

He flung the covers aside with a sudden violent movement, then swung his legs out of bed and sat on the edge, lost. He had moved this far, but now…what to do? Where to go? Oh god, couldn’t someone or something remove the crushing pressure from his chest? The strangulating grief that, like him, had nowhere to go… He wanted to scream, to cry out, to react somehow, in some way that would bring relief. Please…take this cup away…

Harry. Oh god, the baby. All alone now – oh, poor Lily. The tears began to run down his cheeks. Again. How many times would he weep? The thought of Lily being torn from her baby cut like a knife. God, she had loved that boy. He had been her whole existence, really. Remus had not quite understood the fierce nature of motherhood. He had been surprised by the sudden consuming drive that a helpless baby had exacted upon his friend’s wife. Surprised and amazed. He had never really felt completely comfortable when James had thrust the baby into his arms and stood proudly admiring his progeny, chest puffed up with pride, completely lost in the beauty of his new creation. Remus had felt slightly outside the meaning of it all. They were in a bubble. James and Lily, and Harry— the three of them in a perfect world, enclosed in a bubble. Inaccessible at some level, really. Perhaps it was because this foray into parenthood was something Remus didn’t understand. Or perhaps it was because he was afraid. Afraid to let himself become too close to a young, impressionable—and innocent—being. It had been as if he were watching from a window—enjoying the scene, happy for his friends, but not quite part of them. They had been so absorbed in the rapture of a new being, a new direction in life, and a new future… Remus dropped his head in his hands once again. Their future had now been ripped away from them. No, it couldn’t have happened. Someone, please, this was all a mistake, please…

He turned abruptly and threw himself back into bed, curled on his side, needing to take some kind of action to try to soothe his mind. Well done, Sirius, he thought viciously. Leave the boy with only one person to help—the person who happens to be a monster. God! Why had this happened? What could he do? How could he help? He was torn with the desire to take the boy, to beg Dumbledore, or to even steal Harry away if necessary in order to protect the child as his own. If he could have Harry then it would be all right. He would find a way to pry inside that bubble and overcome whatever it was that stood in his way of feeling the same intensity that James and Lily had shown their son… He would do it for them. He would somehow make up for the horrible injustice of it all.

And yet… It could never be. Well done, Sirius. Did you purposefully plan it this way? Leave Harry with the only one who can't possibly help…the one of the group who is utterly worthless… Bitterness tore at his heart. Any of the others would have stepped in and saved Harry from having to live with Lily's sister, with a woman who was so unlike Harry’s mother that it was difficult to believe there was a blood bond. Any of them, James, Peter, even Sirius himself—the Sirius he remembered— would have known how to handle such a crisis. Any of them would have willingly and easily nurtured a helpless child so brutally left behind. Remus shook his head hard and flopped himself onto his other side in the bed, trying to interrupt the stream of thoughts running through his mind. There was no point in thinking that way. James and Peter were dead. Dead! The word still ravaged with white-hot intensity. And Sirius…

He threw the covers off and sat again on the edge of the bed. He had to do something. He had to somehow find relief from this terrible pressing grief, this anguish, this unfathomable change in his life…in the lives of those left behind… Why had he been spared? It would have been much better if he had been taken— anything would be better than this agony. Why had he been chosen to deal with this— all alone? Why, Sirius? Why not kill me? Why did you want James? Take me! Leave James to take care of Harry, leave Peter… why Peter? Was it just spite? Why take Peter too? And so many innocent Muggles…

His thoughts broke off in strangled sobs. The deaths were hard enough to take. But the betrayal… No, not Sirius. No, it couldn’t be. He could not accept that the one man he would have trusted above them all had betrayed so cruelly. The one man he would have never believed capable of… of such a thing. He would have laid down his life for Sirius. He would have sacrificed everything for his friend—for any of them really. They were all brothers to him. And of course there was Lily—her image would not leave his mind. He saw her face so clearly—aglow with love for Harry, beaming at him, her hands always fussing over the baby, endlessly smoothing his hair which stubbornly resisted all her efforts, lips hovering over his sleeping head as he rested in her arms, protected, safe, loved…the world at his feet.

Aaargh!… Such howling agony. Where was the moon when he needed it?

He finally rose, driven by desperation. The sky was dark and desolate. It was some ungodly hour of the night but he didn't even look at the clock. What difference could something as abstract as time mean to him now? He found himself pacing. One step, another, and another. Moving ahead. No reason or motive. Just moving. Unknowingly, he was outside, absently pulling his thin clothing a bit tighter around him, breathing in the cold November night air. It was a shock to his lungs, to his insides, to his very being. He welcomed the shock. He breathed it in, breathed it out. Felt the air moving. He became conscious of the act of walking, each foot placed carefully on the path ahead. He could feel the firm ground beneath him. It was somehow rising to support him. He was on solid ground, and this fact seeped into his consciousness. His shoulders relaxed slightly, a bit of the tension leaving with each successive step. There were no answers. There was no clear future. But the earth supported him. That fact kept him going. And somehow he found that he needed to walk. He needed to move, to feel the stretch in his muscles, to know that he had the ability to exert his own will, small symbol that it was. A symbol that he was alive, that he had the power to choose his course. No matter that it was a meaningless pacing around the perimeter of the garden. He could choose. And so he kept on, one step after the other. He kept moving for those who were gone, perhaps, although he knew it wouldn’t bring them back. Perhaps it was more for the one who now found himself chained. The one who had lost his ability to choose. Who could no longer choose to stand in the middle of the night, stretch his muscles or attempt to relieve the agony in his mind by changing rooms or wandering outside. The one who could never again walk around the garden if he so chose.

And so Remus kept his vigil. He walked, one foot after the other, each step dedicated to those who could not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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