The Sugar Quill
Author: stargal62889  Story: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables  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.

There's a grief that can't be spoken

A/N: Yes, I LIVE! After a longer than planned for sojourn from fandom, I am back with this one-shot. It takes place sometime during the summer after book five. Not really sure of much more. Hey, what can I say, it came to me at 11 oíclock the night before my AP US exam. Heh. Thanks to my wonderful beta, NightZephyr.

Disclaimer: None of this is mine. It is all JKR's, except for the lyrics to Empty Chairs at Empty Tables, which is from the divine musical "Les Miserables," which, for the record, was written before I was born, so I couldn't have written that.


There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone

Remus pushed his hair out of his eyes, not caring how messy it became. His other hand rested lifeless on the wooden table, and his cup of tea had long become cold. He picked at the fragments of wood sticking up from the table. They were the perfect size, he thought, the type that could give you splinters, yet tiny enough so that most touched the table without a second thought. It was only afterwards that they would notice the tiny wooden sliver in the center of their palm. The table was old, and had been in this house for a long time. Located in the basement kitchen, so much had occurred around it, and turning his palm face down, Remus tried to will the memories to overtake him. What he was doing here, he had no idea. He knew he should go to bed, that the evening had been long and would only grow longer, and that tonight, like all of the nights preceding it and likely all of the ones to come, it would be filled with pain. He was alone, and he could share his feelings with no one. It seemed as though everyone he let close to him died. James, dead. Lily, dead. Peter, well, Peter was gone. And SiriusÖthe pain was still bright, too sharp. Once, they had all been bright-eyed young adults working against Lord Voldemort, filled with hope and life. And now, they were dead. All but Remus, the lone Marauder. How fitting then, that Moony was the only one left. After all, werewolves are destined to be lonely. Had he ever known a happy werewolf?

His entire life, Remus had felt the most alive around his friends. They were there for him, through the darkest of his days. Especially Sirius. For the past few years, Sirius was the only one who had any idea of what Remusís life had been. He had been there, during the bleakest times, but he had also been there when Remus was the happiest. When Remus had realized the truth about Sirius, that Peter had been the murderer, it felt like a long-dead part of him had been awoken. Suddenly it was no longer about what he could not do as a werewolf, but what he could do as a man. Once again, he was able to look past the dark present into a future that held happiness.

And now Remus was sitting in Siriusís basement kitchen. The waning fire cast shadows on the wall that, if he squinted closely enough, could be Marauders, together, painted on the wall. The crackle of wood in the hearth could be Siriusís bark-like laugh. And there was Sirius, sitting across the table from him. Sirius, young and happy. Remusís heart swelled with excitement. Could it be? Had his friend just appeared? He had never been dead, only in hiding. Oh, thank Merlin, he thought. Sirius smiled, and Remus reached out to touch him, but then as soon as it had appeared, the illusion disappeared, leaving Remusís arm stretched across the table, and his heart broken yet again. For he was still alone in the cold basement, with tears streaming down his face.

"Why?" he said, trembling. "Why him?" He was so full of life. It wasnít his turn yet. It wasnít Lilyís turn yet. It wasnít Jamesís. Why am I the only one left? Would it have been better to die, to let someone else have taken his spot in life? He would have done it in a heartbeat. But there was still a war to fight.

Lily and James had been so helpful in the last fight. Together, the Order planned, plotted, and ate around this table. And now they did again. Yet many were gone, and many more would leave. Who will be the next, he thought. Molly? Arthur? Dumbledore? Hagrid? Will I be the only one left, alone? And how will that be, with no one around? What is the point of even trying anymore?

He heard a shuffling at the door. Turning his head ever so slightly, Remus saw Ginny standing in the doorway.

"Um, Professor Lupin?" Ginny said quietly. Remus began to speak, but his breath caught in his chest. "Can you come upstairs? We need your help." Remus turned himself around and looked at Ginny intently. She was only fifteen years old. Why was he fighting this fight? It was because Ginny deservedóno, needed to be able to live the life that she was entitled to. And no matter the amount of pain he was in, he needed to be strong in order to win, or die fighting, like Sirius had.

"Yes, Ginny, Iíll be up in a moment." His voice cracked, and for the first time, he realized that he was crying.

Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more.




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