The Sugar Quill
Author: Magoo  Story: The Request  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.

***

Silently I approached the remains of the house at Godricís Hollow. I stopped in front of the ruins and cried out in pain. In the twelve years since James and Lily had died, it was virtually unchanged, regarded by many as the final shrine to honor Voldemorts' victims.

Twelve years...in two months it would be twelve years. Twelve years since Sirius had betrayed us. Twelve years since James and Lily had died. Today was their son's thirteenth birthday, and they couldn't even be here for it, just because James had trusted his best friend with his life! And it would be twelve years since I had been left with my pain. Twelve years...alone.

Kneeling by their graves, I felt the tears well up in my eyes. Regardless of the pain this visit caused, I still made it five times a year: on their birthdays, their anniversary, their deathday, and today, their son's birthday. Bracing myself against the tears that were sure to come, I moved closer to their graves and started to speak.

"Hullo Prongs," I began. "It's been a few months since I spoke to you last. A lot has happened since then. I just wish you were here to see it." My voice broke and I began to sob.

"Where should I start?" I continued, once I had regained my composure. "Well, I'm out of a job...again. At least this one lasted three months, long enough for me to save up some money before...well, Why am I complaining about my problems? At least I'm here...alive"

"But on a better note," I said quietly. "I do have some news. It's even good news for a change. There's this potion, the Wolfsbane potion. It's not a cure, not even close, but it makes me safe." My voice fairly shook with excitement as I made this remarkable revelation. "I no longer have to worry about passing on my curse. Well, I wouldn't have to worry, that is if I could afford it. But itís nice to know that itís there, and maybe someday..." my voice trailed off wistfully and I began sobbing uncontrollably.

"Well," a familiar voice broke in. "I may have a solution to both your problems."

I quickly got to my feet, rubbing my tear-streaked face with my earth-covered hands.

"Headmaster Dumbledore!" I exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you actually," was the astonishing reply. "I am in need of a Defense Against the

Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts this year. You are the most qualified candidate available."

I laughed dryly at that remark. "You want ME to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts?" I asked sarcastically. "Me, a dark creature teaching defense. I'm the subject material, Headmaster, not the instructor."

"You are a very gifted teacher, Remus. You always have been. And you are a good human being, regardless of what anyone else may say on the subject. In quite a few instances, you are a better human then most."

"Thank you, Headmaster," I said quietly, my voice filled with emotion.

"Unfortunately," Dumbledore continued. "Although that is one of my main reasons for asking you to fill this position, it is not the primary one."

I jerked my head up and surprise, and nearly fell over when I heard his next statement.

"Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban."

That one simple sentence hit me with the force of an Impedimenta Curse. How could he have escaped? He was never supposed to be let out. Not after what he did. Why did he escape? Who could he be after. Me? Or...no. He couldn't. He wouldn't. I looked up at Dumbledore expectantly. His next words confirmed my worst fear.

Dumbledore sounded more tired and weary then I had ever heard him. "We believe he intends to finish what Voldemort began, the destruction of the Potter family."

I stared at him, disbelief etched into my face. "You seriously mean to tell me Sirius escaped from Azkaban to kill his best friend's SON?"

Dumbledore nodded. "I'm afraid so. The Azkaban guards said he had been talking in his sleep.

Always the same words- 'he's at Hogwarts, he's at Hogwarts'. And Harry will be starting his third year nowĒ.

"No...not Harry. Not even Sirius would be callous enough to..."

My thoughts trailed into a memory, long forgotten. The day of Harry's birth. We had been happy then. We had been the Marauders. Nothing could beat us, nothing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

July 31, 1980

"Remus!" James' voice came out of my fireplace. "The baby! Itís coming!"

I stopped my work instantly and put down my report, an analysis of the death of the Prewett family from a few weeks prior.

"Coming Prongs," I called through the fire and reached for my Floo powder. "Godric's Hollow" I said and went on through the emerald flames.

Sirius and James were already at the hospital and were pacing back and forth. Behind me, the fire reared up once again and Peter stepped through.

Sirius grinned. "Just think Remus, another few hours and we'll have a new Marauder to corrupt," he said gleefully.

James turned to him, paling rapidly.

"Prongs, whatís wrong?" Sirius asked. "You're beginning to look as white as Moony usually does. You should be happy. Today is your day!"

"Gee, thanks Padfoot," I muttered.

"Oh come on Moony, you know I didn't mean it like that. Now seriously Prongs, whatís wrong?"

"Hours..." was all James managed to say before collapsing into the nearest available chair.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The next three hours were one of the best times in my life. Wormtail, Padfoot and I spent the time trying to build up Prongs' confidence. Sirius' idea of how to accomplish this was by retelling some of our more... interesting... for lack of a better term, accomplishments at Hogwarts. We were nearly three quarters through ďThe Tale of a Cockroach Named Snape,Ē when a nurse came down to inform us that Lily had just given birth.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

James fainted dead away.

It had turned out to be nearly impossible to revive him. We had tried everything, pouring cold water on his head, poking him with our wands, turning him into a snake and back...yet even being turned into the dread symbol of Slytherin failed to wake him up. What it did take was the voice of a very irate redhead screaming, "James Harold Potter, if you don't get up here right now, I'll kiss Snape."

Faced with that thought, Prongs was up and running. He had reached the top of the stairs and was holding his newborn son before the rest of us had even left our seats.

"Well," Peter said. "Now we know who the boss in THAT family is."

Sirius stared at him. "Did you really think for a second that Lily was not the boss. Our Thorn does have a bit of a temper you know." And with that remark, he bounded up the stairs towards the happy family.

Peter and I exchanged a look and followed him up the stairs.

Lily was sitting up in bed, holding her newborn son. "His name is Harry," she informed us the second we walked through the door. "That is his name, regardless of what those two boneheads happen to think."

"Why?" I asked, looking at the baby in her arms. All that was visible was a tuft of black hair. "What do they want to call him?

"JCC," Sirius said cheerfully.

"PJ," Prongs replied

"Huh?" Peter and I said together.

"James' Carbon Copy and Prongs Junior," Lily replied, her voice full of ice.

Deciding to be diplomatic, as usual, I replied, "I think Harry would be perfect."

"Traitor!" two voices called out.

"Good!" Lily smiled. "I knew that was why I was going to ask you to be one of Harry's godfathers."

I paled. "Remus, what's wrong?" James asked. "We thought you'd be thrilled to be asked."

"I am Prongs, believe me I am," my voice trembled. "It's just that I can't."

"Moony, if this is about your lycanthropy, you know that we,"

"Maybe you don't, but the Ministry does," I broke in. "Werewolves aren't allowed any sort of position. Not like that. I...should something happen..."

In the background I heard Sirius muttering about the stupidity of the Committee for Dangerous Beasts. Lily and James exchanged a glance.

"If we can't make it official then," Lily announced. "We'll make it unofficial. You are Harry's godfather Remus, in all but name. We'll make sure he knows it as he's growing up too."

"And we'll be sure to lodge a complaint at the Ministry," James added.

"Thank you," I whispered.

"That means you get to share babysitting duties with me Moony!" Sirius exclaimed jovially.

And we spent the rest of the night laughing, over PJ, our new miracle, who I had promised to always protect, always cherish.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Laughing, thatís how I'm always going to remember Sirius. So proud as he was named Harry's godfather. How could this be the same person who had escaped to kill this child? I just couldn't understand it. The Padfoot I knew would never have, never. And my thoughts trailed down memory lane once more...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

October 31, 1981 was a full moon. It had been a particularly bad transformation for me, as it had been one of the very few I had gone through alone since the others had become Animagi in the middle of our fifth year. Prongs hadnít been able to be here because he was in hiding with Lily and Harry, protected by the Fidelius Charm. They had been perfectly safe, because with Sirius as their Secret-Keeper, Voldemort would never find them. They had asked me, but I had told them no. My illness had posed too much of a danger. How could they entrust their lives to me, a werewolf? I had just known that they would be better off with Sirius as their secret keeper. After all, he and James had been like brothers. He would have died before betraying them, just as we would have for him. I hadnít been worried at all, with Padfoot to protect them, no harm would come.

What had been odd about this particular full moon was that neither Padfoot nor Wormtail had shown up. Usually at least one of them would. Sirius was probably busy, maybe meeting with Dumbledore about a mission for the Order. And as for Peter, well, he had been acting odd lately. It had seemed almost as if we were losing him.

'Maybe I should voice my suspicions to the headmaster,' I had thought to myself. But no, I decided. It was enough for them to trust me. I shouldn't go around accusing others. And Wormtail had been a Marauder. His betraying us would be like Severus Snape and Sirius shaking hands and calling each other 'friend or ally'. NEVER happening.

As the sky began to darken, I finished placing all the wards on my house to ensure that no one was able to enter the house, and most importantly of all, I couldn't get out. I finished just as the moon poked over the horizon.

Pain.

It had exploded throughout my body. The aches grew as my bones reshaped themselves, as the hair began to sprout. I dropped down on all fours.

'No,' I thought with the last vestiges of my rational mind. 'Please, not again, not tonight.' And then the darkness had claimed me.

* * * *

I awoke to sunlight streaming through my windows. The pain was still with me. I had cuts, bruises and lacerations all over. I reached for my wand and was able to heal the most serious of my injuries to the best of my ability. As the pain began to lessen, I took a glance around the room, or at least what was left of it. It had been almost completely trashed. The wolf had been angry last night. Almost as if it had known that something was wrong. All the furniture had been ripped apart and chewed on. There was a dent in the wall from where the wolf had tried to escape.

I sighed and tried to drag myself off to bed. Cleanup would have to wait until later. Sleep now. I only made it as far as the sofa in the next room before I could get no further. I was too weary; too badly injured. Collapsing, I figured I would rest, and then tend to the rest of my injuries and begin to repeat my house. Closing my eyes, I blocked out the pain and dreamt.

* * * *

I awoke once again to a rapping on my door. "Remus!" a familiar voice called. "Remus, you need to open up!"

It took a second for the voice to register. It was the voice of Mundungus Fletcher, one of the Aurors in the Order of the Phoenix.

Pulling myself out of bed, I limped over towards the door. Undoing all the wards, I opened it, wincing at the bright sunlight.

"What do you need Muddy?" I snapped.

Mundungus' usually cheerful face had a solemn expression, one I had never seen the likes of before and prayed with all my heart I would never see again. He spoke very quietly, "Lily and James Potter are dead."

My left leg, already injured from the previous nightís transformation, buckled and then gave out on me completely.

"No," I whispered. This couldn't be happening. Not Lily and James. No, not them. They had to live. They had to raise Harry. They couldn't leave me.

Another thought struck me. "Sirius," I whispered. "Is he alright? How badly did they torture him?" The words fell out all in a rush. I just had to know that he was alright. I couldn't bear to lose him to.

Mundungus' expression changed into one I didn't recognize. Was it hate? Pity? Anger?

"Remus," Mundungus began, his voice choked with sobs. "Sirius was the traitor. He betrayed us. He betrayed us all."

The wail that arose from within me was the most horrifying sound I had ever heard. It was the sound I made as I lost everything. The sound of pure despair.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" I screamed. "Not Sirius, no." Not moving from my position on the floor of the entryway of my home I just sat there and sobbed for so long that I lost track of the time.

"Remus," Mundungus' voice said sharply, trying to register through the fog that had appeared in my mind. "Remus, I need you to hold yourself together. I'm not through speaking yet."

I looked up at him, my eyes blazing with molten fire. "I'm going to kill him," I said quietly. "God help me, I'm going to kill my best friend." I paused for a moment, then continued. "How could he? James and Lily and Harry..." I began to sob again.

"Harry's alive,"

My eyes lit up. "PJ is safe," I whispered, pulling myself up off the floor. "Our little miracle is safe." My eyes then narrowed, "Where's Sirius?"

"You don't have to worry about him," came the reply. "Peter Pettigrew already found him, Sirius is on his way to Azkaban."

I smiled. "Good old Wormtail. I can't wait to..." my voice trailed off in mid-sentence when I saw the suddenly familiar, yet foreign look, reregister on Mundungus' face. "No. Not him too." I cried as realization dawned on me. "Sirius killed him, didn't he?"

It wasn't really a question, but Mundungus nodded anyway. "I'm so sorry Remus."

I couldn't believe it. Everyone, gone. They had all left me. Betrayed me. They had promised they would always be there for me and now they weren't.

But I wasn't the only one who was alone now. "Who's getting custody of Harry?" I asked.

"He's going to live with his aunt and uncle, you know, Lily's sister and brother-in-law."

"But I'm all he has. He knows me. We're all thatís left. We need each other. Please..."

He shook his head. "I wish I could help you, Remus, I really do. But there is no way that the ministry would give a child, specifically this child, to a werewolf."

"But I have to!" I cried. "I have to protect him! They'd expect it of me."

"But he doesn't need protection anymore. Remus, Voldemort is dead. Harry stopped him."

I didn't care. "What's the point of there being peace if we don't have anyone to share it with? Please, Mundungus, there has to be something you can do?"

"No...Harry isn't allowed any contact with our world. Not 'til Hogwarts. I'm so sorry." Hereally meant it. Even with my distraught condition I could hear the sympathy in his voice. "Maybe one day." He headed towards the door, but paused. "If you need anything, just let me or Arabella know."

I nodded silently, as I no longer had anything to say. After hearing what he had said, I no longer cared. I had nothing. I had no friends, and they wouldn't even let me keep my promise.

"Oh Peter," I whispered to myself. "I'm so sorry for thinking it was you. Please forgive me."

Grabbing my wand, I performed a summoning spell to get all of my scant possessions together. Grabbing a bag, I packed quickly. I didn't even bother with a note. Who would I tell?

My thoughts trailed off...Marauders. We were the Marauders. We were invincible...we were dead...were we ever even there?

As I walked out of my house, I had just one thought. Somehow, someday, I would keep my promise.

* * * *

July 31, 1993.

"Alright Professor, I've made my decision. I'll teach."

"Thank you Remus," the headmaster began.

"I promised to protect him a long time ago, Headmaster," I interrupted. "I intend to keep my promise... No matter what the consequences."

And for the first time in twelve years I held my head up high, and felt the steel come back into my spine. After all, I was a Marauder, the last Marauder. And if it took one of us to beat one of us, then so be it.

 

 

 

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