The Sugar Quill
Author: Shavynel  Story: Last Moral Marauder  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Last Moral Marauder

            Save for the sound of steady breathing, the house was completely silent. The only soul in the house, Remus Lupin, sat in his kitchen, a place that was like all other rooms in the house in the sense that it was almost fit for human habitation.


            He stared at the news in the Daily Prophet and found no joy in what he saw. There was news about You-Know-Who being vanquished and all the odd happenings. None of that was what caught his eye. It was the article about the one who had once been his friend which drew his attention so well.




            The news yesterday hadn't been any better despite how the rest of the Wizarding World celebrated. His eyes searched the cluttered table till he found the headline of the day before.




                It might have meant times free of terror for others, but it didn't matter to Remus if Voldemort was gone or still around and attacking everyone in sight. His sorrows were only starting to accumulate. James Potter—Prongs—dead, Sirius Black—Padfoot—a mass murderer and—


"…identified as Peter Pettigrew…"


            —Peter Pettigrew—Wormtail—dead as well. The sacrifices couldn’t be greater. All his friends, once brothers, were gone in some way or another. There was no one to turn to now, no one to go to who would understand the sorrow in Voldemort's downfall.


"Sirius Black is being transferred to Azkaban …"


            Remus stared at the line for a long moment. His gaze was unwavering as if daring the article to say that it was true and not just a rumor. It was as if he was daring the picture of Black in his maddest hour to say, "Yes, I did it." He knew the truth and the sorrow behind it. He knew the traitor behind the work like no other would ever know.


            You deserved it, Padfoot. Traitor. Murderous Traitor. I thought you at least cared for James. But you didn't. You led him falsely. You led him to his death.


            It had to have been Black who told of the Potters' whereabouts. Remus knew that the Fidelius Charm had been performed only nights before with Sirius named Secret-Keeper. After seeing Sirius as best man at the wedding, such arrangements were not surprising. But what had he done with the knowledge endowed to him? He had murdered what used to be closest his friend.


"…twelve Muggles and one wizard…"


            His left hand dropped the paper so it rested halfway in his right hand and halfway upon the table. The freed hand ran through his light brown hair but stopped midway to pull his head towards the table so that his elbow could rest upon it. Remus looked despondent beyond salvation, and he was.


            I thought you were different from the other Blacks. Not thinking pure-bloods were the best and the rest not even worth thinking about. I thought you were different, but you're just the same. Being different didn't suit you, did it?


            Apparently what he thought had been wrong on many recent cases. Sirius was not to be trusted. James was not as invincible as he had always seemed to be, unless he had passed the trait to his son already. And Peter…


            Remus had been almost right there. Peter had never been as great as the rest of the Marauders but they had still taken care of him like a brother. He always seemed like he'd be one to leave the vicious world for some unworthy cause just because his brothers weren't there at the right time.


"…a wizard who had been in Black's year…"


            And mine.


            All the Blacks were the same. Bellatrix had turned sour, Narcissa was with Malfoy and Regulus had turned into a Death Eater as well. But none of them had been in Gryffindor. Sirius had the chance to be different and had already been set upon the path. But he still had fallen, and taken those before him down as well.


            I trusted you to be different, Padfoot. I trusted you not to let the werewolf get too far on our monthly expeditions. You did well then, but what about now? You let yourself get farther out than we can reach to save you. I trusted you to help me in fallen times as I would have helped you. I trusted you—


            —like a brother.


            The newspaper had been dropped upon the table so that he could reach out to the mug by the side of his paper. It lifted into the air by his hand, with the original thought to drink from it, but his eyes caught sight of the design upon it: a stag, a wolf, a rat and a dog.


            The mug was soon in the air, soaring quickly to reach the other side of the kitchen. It came down with a crash, shattering into pieces, upon reaching the ground. Such effect had allowed the tea that had been held within moments before to be splattered in a lovely array upon anything remotely close to it, including Remus and the Daily Prophet.


            He grumbled something under his breath, inaudible even to himself, as he stared at the place he last saw the cup before it crashed. The piece with the dog's eye was staring at him, almost in a pitiable way. He was in no mood to clean up his mess.


"…stood there laughing madly…"


"…went without resistance…"


            It wasn't like Sirius to do that. It wasn't at all like Sirius not to defy things or to go quietly even if he was at fault. The only times Remus could recall Sirius going quietly to anyplace he was called was if he wasn't guilty or if he had a prank ready to be pulled somewhere near. But Remus couldn't believe that Sirius could possibly be innocent of this crime when all facts pointed to him.


            Sirius had always been slightly reckless, but he had never harmed anyone permanently until now. There were the times he had said he'd kill those Slytherins for what they were and those were times that Remus had laughed with him. Occasionally, he had given up an idea, but few were the times he had enough recklessness in him to pull off something against someone without reasons stronger than reality behind him.


            Peter was our friend, my friend at the very least. You killed him. You killed him without shame.


            The werewolf within him wanted to howl his sorrows to the air and chill the bones of all around. He wanted to tear the traitor to pieces. He lusted to fill others with the fear, sorrow and anger suppressed within him. But there were few who were not in joyous moods after Voldemort's downfall and those who might have shared his sorrow and anger were dead.


"…suspect he was also…"


            Realization dawned upon him as he sat there silently brooding in the kitchen. He, Moony, might have been next in line to die by that particular corrupted Marauder's hand. His two friends were gone, both from the same small group, and he was left standing with a killer. No Marauder there, just a murderer.


            His fist came down upon the table where Sirius's face was, collapsing the silence which had stood since the mug had been broken moments before. An imaginary knife pierced the face which was so quietly going to Azkaban. Anger spread within his veins to consume any judgment he had.


            I wish you hadn't caught him. I could have joined them, the good Marauders. Now I'm left in this corrupted world with a corrupted Marauder who's locked up somewhere just because he didn't have better judgment. You escaped all those years before when you wanted to, Sirius, why didn't you do so now when your life was at stake?


            Remus shoved himself away from the table, forcing it to slide a few inches away.

However, the chair, having received most of his energy, toppled over to crash into the wall behind as he stood up. The kitchen was now in a larger mess than he would have been proud of.

"…many Death Eaters are still at large…"


            It seemed, until now, impossible that any of the Marauders would ever be associated with Death Eaters. The four of them would have laughed at such a ridiculous idea mere weeks ago, or even days, but now it was different. Before they might have found a Marauder's name in the same sentence as "Death Eater," but never had any of them expected it in that context, except maybe one.


"…believe he was in the inner circle of…"


            Remus bit back emotions. More than a year of information had been passed. And neither Sirius nor James had hid well the fact they had thought it was he who passed such information to the wizard naming himself Lord Voldemort.


            All that time James had been misled by his best friend and closest brother. Remus had no doubt those two had been closer than with himself or with Peter. They were rarely apart for anything. If one had detention, the other served just as many times and no more while he and Peter had served many times less. It was as if they had been at a competition of a sort, proving to themselves that they were closer than anyone else could be.


            If you only knew, James, of what he's done to you and Peter. You wouldn't have wanted to match it. You wouldn't be proud.


            Remus stormed out of the kitchen with the article word-for-word clear in his mind. It would never be forgotten no matter how he might try to be rid of it. He had stared at it too long this morning to ever forgive Sirius or lose memory of those words.


            He approached his bedroom with a sense of caution as if something would jump out at him. But instead, he had entered the room to throw the first thing he saw across the length of the small place. The latest and last Christmas present from Sirius had landed moments afterwards with a thud coming from a place out of sight. He would have left it there, but it had been from James as well.


            "Accio case." It was still in fine condition, just a single tearing edge. His hand ran over the embossed words and nostalgia filled him.


            Professor R. J. Lupin


            Remus sunk down onto his bed and opened the case and almost feared what he knew he would find.



            Hope this comes in use. You'll find the rest of our present inside. Prongs is responsible for anything you didn't enjoy (including chasing things), but if you liked it, it's my fault.



P.S. Not Peter. Prongs and Padfoot. Padfoot got too lazy to finish the words.

P.P.S. Prongs said it was all right when I first wrote it!


            At that time, he had puzzled over what could have been inside and what it had meant by "chasing things," but now the chocolate frogs were long gone. They had not been seen by Remus until they had hopped widely out of reach and his friends had started laughing themselves delirious. James and Sirius seemed to have opened all of the boxes before stuffing the frogs in the case and shutting the lid to bring it over. He hadn't finished reading the note when the frogs hopped out and all the Marauders spent a good part of the time afterwards chasing jumping chocolate.


            There had also been a few things to remind him of things they had done in school or otherwise. Remus had found a number of photos and a single quill once the frogs had been eaten.


            He remembered that last prank they had pulled before leaving Hogwarts for the world beyond. The enchanted quill had been a different one, Severus' to be exact, but it brought back the memory nonetheless. It had been charmed to write love notes addressed to Severus for a week on and off. Severus seemed to have believed them until the last day when the final note had come signed and not anonymous like the rest had been.


Dear Dearest Severus,

            I still love you no matter what, even if you can't figure out who I am.


With love from,

            Padfoot           Moony             Prongs             Wormtail


            The result had been wondrous as the Marauders' nicknames were no secret to those in the school. They had passed him in corridors and given him loving glances as he sulked and tried to stay hidden for the rest of the year. The story had, of course, spread through the school in the little time that was left, but it hadn't cost the Marauders anything at all.


            They had been a close group of friends and the elite group to some (including those in the group for the most part). But now it was just a broken circle that would never be mended.


            His eyes turned to the photos, a collection of moments since their fifth year at Hogwarts. The first he laid his hand upon was the wedding. James and Lily were standing side by side with foolish Sirius as their best man. The simplicity of the picture and the formality of it had made him howl with laughter before for it represented neither James nor Sirius as they would have been at school. Now it served only to turn his thoughts of Sirius even further into the deep end of things.


            How could you have changed so much? It seems impossible that you and he are the same person.


            Remus hoped the man's conscience was biting him hard, but Sirius never seemed to have had one. Sirius had never seemed even the slightest bit guilty about many of the tricks he played. No guilt when he went off with shouting words towards some professor's office or when he stumbled back into the common room late at night after detention. There had been no guilt, so why would there be guilt now? But so many things had changed. Sirius had gone without resistance.


            He placed the photo back into the case with a disappointed look. Disappointed not in what Sirius had become, but in his own self for not having seen his true face before it had been publicly shown.


            The words of the article were engraved into him forever:



By Aeson Lyngbaek


            Standing in the midst of the wreckage on Downing Street was Sirius Black with his wand triumphantly raised. He stood there laughing madly upon the rubble like a victorious lord after a long battle. Black seems to be the cause of the death of twelve Muggles and one wizard.

            The largest part found by the Ministry of the wizard was a finger. This has been identified as Peter Pettigrew, a wizard who had been in Black's year at Hogwarts. From reliable sources it is known that Peter was a friend of the murderer and had not expected the attack until the day of his death.

            Sirius Black is being transferred to Azkaban under heavy surveillance. After initial mad calls from the mass murderer, he went without resistance to his fate: a life in Azkaban. He is to be handed to the dementors this evening.

            This added with past evidence leads the Ministry to suspect he was also involved in some of the more violent acts from You-Know-Who. It also leads them to believe he was in the inner circle of Death Eaters, You-Know-Who's closest supporters.

            You-Know-Who may be gone, but many Death Eaters are still at large. The Ministry would like to warn everyone to stay on the look out for Death Eaters."


            I thought you cared.

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