Disclaimer: Anything you recognise does not
belong to me, however much I wish that it did. Instead, it all belongs to J. K.
Rowling. However, anything you do not recognise does belong to me.
Summary: “How could it have come to this? How did we fall
so far?” It is the day after Christmas, and while the rest of the world is
returning to normalcy after the holiday, one man isn’t feeling very cheerful.
The holidays have only allowed him to remember the pain and loss of the
previous year, though he tries desperately to forget those memories. But as a
fresh blanket of snow has covered the ground, he decides to take a walk to
clear his mind, and at the same time, he decides to take a chance; he allows
himself to just remember.
Author’s Note: I was very pleased with
how this story turned out. It was written for Beth (Marauder by Midnight) for
the Gryffindor Secret Santa, 2006, over on the MNFF forums. I used the prompt
of “Winter Wonderland”, which was basically to tell about a person’s thoughts
as they take a walk through the snow. Also, a ‘Thank You’ goes out to PirateQueen for beta-ing
this. Now, I present for your enjoyment, Forever, a one-shot
about remembering the past.
A bright, golden sun rose the morning after Christmas to shine light on the
world. All across the land, people were slowly waking themselves from a deep
slumber, the inherent joy of the holiday season slowly seeping from them as
they were now on the other side of Christmas. Presents had been opened, and
today, children would play with their new possessions while mothers and fathers
went to work — cleaning up after that late Christmas party, those annoying
relatives who had imposed their stay, and then left without offering to help at
all. To most, the day after Christmas was like any other day, but to one man,
it only gave him more time to think, more time to dwell on the losses of the
The same sun that was shining down on children and telling them to get up and
play with their gifts was also gleaming through glass windows and adding light
to a dingy living room of a small house that was greatly in need of repairs.
The sun gave light into the room, its rays shining
down to reveal a thin, brown-haired man slumped in a chair by a dying fire, a
half-empty bottle of Firewhiskey on a nearby table.
As the light entered the house and fell upon the man’s face, he gave a grunting
sort of snore, unconsciously putting his hand up to shield his face from the
sun’s beams. He turned over in the chair, but as he did so, his arm knocked his
drink from the table and sent it to the floor, where the glass shattered and
the liquid ran in rivers from the impact. The noise of such a crash woke the
man suddenly from his sleep, and he sat up jerkily, rubbing his eyes as he did
“Damn,” he muttered as he saw the spilled Firewhiskey
and broken glass pieces at his feet. Trying desperately to clear his head of
the groggy feeling that is made from combining large
amounts of alcohol and sleep, the man rose from his chair and stumbled across
the room until he reached a discarded grey cloak on the nearby sofa. Reaching
inside one of the cloak’s pockets, he revealed his wand and, pointing it at the
mess below his chair, mumbled a few spells. The liquid disappeared and the
shards of glass soared from the living room floor and into the nearby kitchen,
where they were quickly disposed of. Still holding on to his wand, the man walked
down the corridor and into his bedroom.
“You look terrible, honey,” said his bathroom mirror as he splashed some cold
water on his exhausted face. The man simply glared at the framed glass
rectangle and left, stumbling half-consciously into a change of clothes. He
threw his crinkled and patched grey robes on his bed and donned a well-worn,
dark blue pair, pocketing his wand as he did so. The change made him feel a bit
better as he made his way to the kitchen. When he got there, however, his
stomach gave a motion of protest. Too much alcohol, he thought.
Instead of eating, he simply sat at the rickety wooden table and stared out of
his kitchen window. A fresh white blanket of snow covered the ground, the old
snow having been covered by new flakes the night before. Perhaps that’s what
I need, he thought, his light brown gaze still focussed on the wintry scene
outside. Just take a walk and clear my head. And so, after sitting for a
few more moments, the thin man stood up and headed towards his front door,
grabbing the long, grey cloak from the sofa as he did so and fastening it
around his shoulders.
The moment that he stepped outside, the man gave a slight shiver as the cold
pierced him. He had not expected the temperature to be so low, but as he walked
on, he came to the conclusion that it felt good, in a way. Perhaps if he became
cold enough, he would be able to just go into a deep sleep out here in the snow
and leave this world. No, Remus, the man
thought. Stop that train of thought right now. You’re not going to do such a
stupid thing, and there’s no reason why you should even consider it.
Still, that thought stayed with him, in a deep corner of his mind, and would
not leave no matter how much he tried to make it do so. The past two months had
been far worse than he had ever thought it possible for time to be. He wanted
to forget everything that had happened since that night, but at the same time,
he wanted to remember it. Or, more correctly, he could not forget them.
But how am I supposed to deal with this? How is one man supposed to go on after
losing everything like that?
Remus did not have an answer, and for the past two
months, that was all he had looked for. An answer as to how and an answer to
the one question that plagued his mind more than any other these days:
Why James and Lily? he thought, his feet dragging
along in the snow as he stuffed his hands deeper inside his pockets to keep
them warm. Why Harry? Why Peter? Why did you do it, Sirius? Why the war?
Why? Why? Why?
The thoughts and questions wandered through Remus's
mind, just as the man wandered along the snowy trail. The street outside his
house had been blanketed by the recent snow, and none of it had been cleared
yet. Of course, the country areas usually remained in such positions for quite a
while, but Remus did not mind in the slightest. He
liked the snow. He liked the way that the snow felt like it could almost cover
the entire world and let it start fresh again. He liked the pure, white colour
of the snow as it fell over the dirty earth, hiding the bad from people’s
sights, in a way.
How could it have come to this? How did we fall so far? And as Remus walked along the side of the street, he paid no
attention to where he was going, nor did he care to wipe away the tears from
his eyes. For the first time in weeks, Remus allowed
himself to simply remember.
The train rolled down the tracks on its way towards Hogwarts, and students’
voices came floating down the corridor outside from all directions. A young,
brown-haired boy, his eyes tired and a book held in his hands,
didn’t seem to care too much until the door to his compartment opened up.
“Mind if we sit with you?” said a boy with black hair and glasses, his hazel
eyes gleaming mischievously out from behind the frames. When the brown-haired
boy shook his head, the two visitors entered and sat down in some of the empty
seats. The boy with glasses spoke again. “I’m James Potter,” he said, “and this
is Sirius Black,” he finished and motioned at the tall boy with long black hair
that had accompanied him into the compartment.
“I’m Remus Lupin,” answered
the brown-haired boy, shaking James’s and Sirius's extended hands. The three
boys smiled at each other, somehow already knowing that they would become friends.
Introductions between the three had scarcely finished before another boy
entered the compartment. “Can I join you?” a short, blond-haired boy asked. He
seemed like he was a bit shy, but overall, nice.
“Sure,” said Sirius, as he moved over to make room for the fourth arrival.
“Quick introductions: That’s James Potter; he’s Remus
Lupin; and my name’s Sirius Black.”
“I’m Peter Pettigrew,” answered the blond-haired boy, a smile on his face to
match those of his three new friends.
“What are you lot doing here?” hissed a fifteen-year-old Remus
Lupin, his eyes glaring at his three friends as he
paced across the living room of the Shrieking Shack towards them. He did not
need to spare a glance outside to know that the moon would be rising in a
little less than an hour.
“We saw Pomfrey lead you down here, and we followed,”
said James, throwing his Invisibility Cloak haphazardly to the floor in a far
corner of the room.
“We know your secret, Remus,” whispered Sirius,
staring piercingly at his friend with his grey eyes. “We found out a few years
Remus felt his heart fall a bit at those words. This
was it, then. They knew, and now they would abandon him. But wait a minute?
he thought. They found out years ago,
“Don’t you care?” he asked, slightly dreading the answer.
“Of course we do,” said James, “but you’re our friend, and we didn’t want to
“Rather, we came up with a better idea,” said Sirius.
“It’s a very clever, and fool-proof plan,” continued Peter.
Remus just stared at his friends, confusion covering
every inch of his face. “What are you talking —”
“We became Animagi,” said James. “We taught ourselves
how to do it, and we can all become a different animal now.”
“That’s why we followed you tonight,” Sirius continued when James had stopped.
“Since we can do the transformations perfectly now, we can spend the full moons
“It’s just like another adventure or massive prank,” finished Peter.
Fifteen-year-old Remus Lupin
still could barely comprehend his friends’ words. The only part he really
understood was that they knew he was a werewolf, and they were fine with it.
They were still his friends.
“Thank you,” he muttered, but it was so quiet that he wasn’t even sure that
Four beams of wand light were all that illuminated the small chamber within the
secret passageway on the fourth floor of Hogwarts, and only four hushed voices
could be heard. Variations of phrases like “Come on” and “Hurry up” were
whispered back and forth between the four seventh-year Gryffindors
until finally, they seemed to reach their destination. As one, the four
individual wand lights went out, but the room was soon illuminated like it was
mid-day and sunlight shone inside.
“Well, this is it,” said one of the boys as he and his friends sat down on the
floor together. “Graduation’s in a few days.”
“We finally made it out,” replied Sirius, shoving some of his hair from his
face as he spoke. “Even Peter managed to pass his N.E.W.T.s.”
“Hey,” muttered Peter, his blond hair still as short as it was when he was
“Peter did great,” said Remus, clasping his friend on
the shoulder as he glared at Sirius, who gave a slight shrug. “We all did.”
“Yeah, and James finally managed to go out with Lily, who for some odd reason,
seemed to agree to marry him as well.” Sirius smirked at the first boy as he
spoke and dodged James’s hand as he reached out for revenge. The four of them
all descended into fits of laughter as they exchanged varying degrees of jibes
with each other — over girls, grades, pranks, and whatever else seemed to come
across their minds.
And then, a slight silence fell, and the humour and playfulness seemed to leave
as the situation took on a feeling of seriousness. The feeling, though slightly
foreign, was still closer and more realistic than any of them would have wanted
it to be.
“I guess the joking times are pretty much over,” whispered Peter, looking up at
Remus and the others. “What with
the war going on and all.”
“Well, things will change a bit,” said Sirius, “because we won’t be in
school anymore. But that doesn’t mean we have to change.”
“Of course not,” answered Remus. “We’ve been friends
for seven years. There’s no reason why we wouldn’t continue to be after
Hogwarts. Our friendship is deeper than that, really.”
“Our friendship is like family, to be honest,” said James. “We’ve acted like
we’re brothers all of these years.”
“That’s it. We’re closer than friends; we’re brothers.” As they all thought
about it, the four of them all came to the same conclusion. It was true. James,
Sirius, and Peter all nodded their agreement to Remus's
“We are brothers,” said James, smiling.
“We always have been,” continued Peter.
“And we always will be,” finished Sirius, his eyes looking at James, Remus, and Peter in turn. “Forever.”
“Forever,” whispered Remus as he suddenly stopped in
his walk. The memories still floated in his mind as vividly as if he had lived
them all yesterday, and tears continued to fall from his eyes, though he did
not make one movement to wipe them away. His last amount of strength finally
spent, he collapsed where he was, not caring for a second that the cold snow
was seeping through his robes, freezing the skin beneath. And for the first
time since he had heard the news two months ago, Remus
allowed himself to lose control and break down. There was no one around, after
all, but even if there had been, he wouldn’t have cared a bit.
His body shook with the force of his sobs, yet Remus
did not stop. He had taken a chance in remembering the past, in recalling the
good times, but now, such memories only made the thoughts of recent events hurt
even more. “We were supposed to be brothers!” he exclaimed up at the sky, not
sure if he was yelling at James, Sirius, Peter, or even himself. “We were
supposed to be together! FOREVER! We had said FOREVER!”
As he screamed and cried, Remus Lupin
felt a cold breeze blow around him, causing his cloak to swirl in the air, and
looking up, he saw more snow beginning to fall from the sky. Its flakes fell to
the ground and started covering the old layer of snow and, as he watched it,
his mind made a connection with the whiteness that he had not fully realized
earlier. The snow was also covering him; it was cloaking over and hiding the
horrible memories of two months ago and telling him to continue on. It was, in
a way, giving him answers to his questions.
He realized that he didn’t need to know why, not really. Yes, he would always
wonder how they had fallen, but perhaps, it wasn’t good to dwell too much on
that thought. And yet, a part of him even wondered if they had all fallen as
much as he believed. Could Sirius have really done it? But such a
thought was for another day, if at all.
“He’ll be fine,” whispered a young, red-haired woman as she approached her
husband and wrapped her arm around him. “It’s been hard on him, but he’s
strong. Remus will get through it.”
The man sighed as he took his eyes from watching the scene on earth below and
looked at his wife. “I know,” he sighed, “but he was right. We did say we’d be
brothers forever, and … well … I guess Moony just feels betrayed. And what he
thinks about Sirius …”
“I know, James,” said Lily as both she and James looked back down on the earth
and watched Remus head back towards his home. His
shoulders were slumped against the cold, yet his walk seemed a bit lighter at
the same time, almost as if a weight had been lifted slightly from his soul.
“But I’m sure the truth will come out in time, and I doubt Remus
completely believes Sirius is guilty even now.”
“I hope you’re right,” he muttered.
And with that, both Lily and James Potter watched their friend enter his house,
shutting the door behind him before making his way to the living room, where a
roaring fire soon sprang to life in the fireplace. As the fire blazed, Remus relaxed back on the sofa, a warm beverage and a book
in his hand.
Author’s Note: Thanks for reading, and I hope you
enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. What started out as me
trying to force out around 800 words for this story (writer’s block is truly a
pain), ended up becoming a full one-shot at around 2700 words! Again, though,
thank you very much for reading, and comments are appreciated.