"You may delay, but time will not."-Benjamin Franklin
My eyes flutter open as my alarm begins to blare its daily morning tune. I groan as I sit up to grab my wand from my bedside table and turn it off with a short flick. You would think that I would be used to this daily nuisance by now, as it hasn't missed a day in five straight years.
All of a sudden, I feel a pair of strong, bare arms reach up to grab me back into bed. I protest by giggling as lips meet the back of my neck, and I can't help but to roll over and give into his advances. His unshaven face rubs against my chin, and his hands make their way slowly up and down my back.
"Naughty boy, I have to get ready for work," I murmur playfully against his lips, parted in anticipation of another kiss. He pulls me into an embrace as he mutters something undistinguishable, kissing the side of my head softly. "What was that, love?"
"I said that I didn't want you to go," he clarifies as I sit up and stare back into his bright blue eyes. "You can take the day off work. Wouldn't you just love to lay here all day? Do nothing?"
"Andrew," I laugh. "Death Eaters don't just take the day off."
"How I wish they would."
"I wish that, too," I say, planting a final kiss on his lips before sliding out of bed and over to the closet. Along the way, I pick up various items of clothing that had been shed in a hurry the previous night, and throw them in the hamper. "I can feel your eyes, Andrew."
"What?" he scoffs, chuckling in the slightest way. "I'm not allowed to stare at my beautiful, perfect, smoking hot, naked girlfriend?"
"Nope," I joke, pulling on a pair of loose fitting jeans.
"Well, I going to anyway," Andrew retorts. He stays silent as I finish dressing. "Peca?"
"What?" I had gotten accustomed to this nickname of his, although it took the longest time for it to become natural. He didn't like referring to me by my last name, as everyone else did, and he didn't want to call me Dora because 'that's what your father calls you.' So, he took my middle name and shortened it to 'Peca.'
"I love you."
"I love you, too, Andrew."
With that, I swoop over to give him a final peck before rushing out the door, late as always.
I suppose I forgot how to sleep in, because for the past two years, I haven't been able to sleep past five. Stress can cause your sleep schedule to get wonky, and loosing all four of your best friends in one night can do that.
I walk slowly into the sleepy little town of Godric's Hollow, the fallen leaves making a crisp crunching noise under my feet. I made this trek last year at this time, and something deep within me is compelling me to make it again. Most of the villagers haven't even been bothered to get up out of their cozy little beds yet, for the chill of the late autumn morning wasn't inviting to anyone but a loner like me. Those who are actually awake give me odd stares as I walk deliberately toward the center of town, as strangers were uncommon in a place like this.
I sniffle as the cold air triggers my nose to run. I stop at the end of a block to catch my breath, as symptoms from the last full moon have not worn off completely yet. As I stretch out an ache in my calf, I hear someone call my name.
"Remus Lupin? That can't be you!"
I look around wildly, wanting to shut this disembodied voice up immediately, as shouting my name in public could still cause a disaster. My eyes land on a small, old woman tottering up the street, a scarf wrapped securely around her head. It takes me a moment to recognize her, but as she approaches, I can't help but to be surprised.
"Amelia, darling!" I exclaim, letting her give me a warm, welcoming hug. "How have you been?"
"I've been hanging in there," she replies, staring at me as a mother would her child. "And yourself?"
"I've been… fine."
"Well, that's wonderful, dear! I haven't seen you in the longest time, Remus. Why haven't you stopped by since the Potter's moved out?"
I have to swallow hard to keep the tears away. "I'm incredibly sorry, Amelia. I've just been extremely busy."
"Getting married, I hope?" she says, nudging me on the elbow. I blush. Hard.
"No, Amelia, not yet," I sigh.
"I'm surprised you haven't found a nice girl to settle down with, Remus," she tuts, fussing over me as she always did.
"I'm surprised as well," I mutter guiltily, dozens of names of women running through my head.
"It was so nice to see you again, dear," she says, somehow managing to pat me on the shoulder from a good two feet below. "Bring Lily and James around sometime, okay?"
I cough, trying to hide the pain as I nod.
"And bring little Harry around, too, if you will. I'm sure he's so big by now!"
"Oh, he is," I mumble, entirely unsure of my statement.
"I've got to get going, dear, but it was lovely to see you again!"
"It was lovely to see you, too," I say, closing our conversation with a final hug. I bite the side of my cheek as I watch her walk away, a million things running through my head. That conversation only reminded me of how much guilt I had to live with. Guilt of not telling her the truth.
Amelia had been Lily and James's next door neighbor during their stay in Godric's Hollow. Although no one was supposed to know about them, they befriended Amelia because she could do no harm to them, as she was a Muggle. She got to know me after Lily and James 'moved out' because I was one of the only people allowed into the rubble to gather their belongings. She simply saw me as someone who was helping them 'move.' I used to come by the house a lot, and every time Amelia would ask why, I would tell her that they were having trouble selling the house and they needed someone to watch it for them. Thus, we became acquainted. As the months went by, my visits became less and less frequent until I stopped going entirely. The last time I was in this neck of the woods was exactly one year ago today.
I also felt guilty about not being honest when it came to women. Of course I wasn't married, or in a stable relationship of any kind, but I hadn't gone all these years without attention from a woman. These past few years had been extremely hard on me, and I made a lot of decisions that I deeply regretted. Using the last of James's fortune on paying a different woman to keep me company every night was a big one.
I am falling apart at the seams, I'll admit it.
That night at dinner, I pick at my food and eat little as Andrew goes on and on about how he was up for the promotion to be in charge of The Department of Magical Games and Sports. After a brief career ended by an injury playing on England's Quidditch team, he worked his way quickly up the ladder in that department.
"Can you believe that?" he concludes.
"Yeah," I answer, not really paying attention.
"Peca, were you paying attention to what I was saying at all?"
I sigh deeply, the feeling that had been growing in the pit of my stomach all day finally taking over me. "Honestly, love? No… I'm sorry."
"What's eating at you?" he asks. I look up from my plate and into his face. He looks genuinely concerned.
"It's just…" I sigh again, burying my face into my hands as tears well up in my eyes. "Two years ago today wasn't a very good day."
His hands rest comfortingly on my shoulders, and I feel some tension release. "Peca, I don't know what you're talking about."
"It's the Potters, Andrew."
A heavy, charged silence fills the air.
"I'm so sorry, Nymphadora."
I feel a twinge of anger at him for not remembering, but then it occurs to me that this murder isn't at the center of everyone's lives like it is mine. I bring my hands off my face and into my lap as Andrew hugs me tightly from behind. "Don't be sorry, you weren't the one who murdered them."
He doesn't know how to respond to this, so he buries his face deeper into my shoulder. "I need some time alone, if that's okay?"
"Of course," he says, releasing me. "I was just trying to help in any way I could."
"You did beautifully," I admit, planting a kiss on his lips. "I love you."
"I love you, too," he says bashfully, caressing my hand with his thumb.
After locking the bathroom door securely behind me, I sit down on the toilet lid with my head between my hands. I stare blankly at the white-tiled floor, unsure as to how I was supposed to feel. The pain in my chest ached almost as deeply as it did on that night.
At around four in the morning, I receive the patronus. It is Lydia's hawk circling around my bed, screeching to get my attention. I sit up immediately, as anything in the middle of the night could be nothing less than an emergency. Andrew groans beside me, rolling over as Lydia's panicked sob is emitted from the hawk's mouth.
"Lily and James's position was compromised. They are dead."
My heart freezes, and then plummets into my stomach. I cannot react quickly enough as the hawk dissipates into nothing, flying out of bed and into my combat boots before Andrew can even make a comprehensive sentence.
"What the hell is going on?"
"My friends-" I stutter, rushing around the room to grab my wand and coat. "They've- Voldemort- I gotta go."
I apparate directly onto Lydia's front lawn. She hears the crack and throws the door open, running down the path to meet me.
"Tonks! Tonks, Sirius did it!" she screams, tears running down her face. She throws her arms around me, almost knocking me to the ground. "Sirius betrayed them!"
I can't believe what she's saying for I was still in shock. "Calm down, Lydia. Explain what happened."
After leading her inside and calming her down, I get the entire story from her. The entire, horrible, heart-wrenching story. I can't help but break down as well, melting into a puddle of tears and pain. I didn't ask where she heard all of this from, because frankly, I didn't care. The sheer magnitude of what I just heard was enough to make one reckless.
I couldn't believe it. Sirius. Sirius Orion Black. One of my best friends. The boy who used to obsess over his hair. The boy who used to belt Christmas songs across the common room just to make me smile. The boy who put his life on the line to better the life of his friend. The boy who used to laugh at the stupidest things. The boy who used to lovingly call me Chickadee. The man who lost everything, yet still managed to keep a smile.
"This is a dream, Lydia," I mumble, my tears finally subsiding.
"It's a nightmare."
I left Lydia's house a few minutes later to return to the comfort of my own home. Andrew was very confused and looking for answers when I walked through the door, and with a new wave of tears, I explained. He took the news as I would expect, with a stern face and a sad shake of the head. He held me close as I cried until dawn, still not wanting to believe it.
The Daily Prophet the next morning was not at all what I expected. It was joyous, when I expected nothing but sorrow, mourning the loss of two of the finest wizards there ever were. But no. Everyone was too distracted by the excitement of finally vanquishing the Dark Lord.
I thought long and hard that day about what made Sirius do such a thing. The only conclusion I could come to was that he was driven off the edge by Marlene's murder a few months prior. He took it hard, as we all did, but of course it would've hit him the worst. He was never quite the same after she was gone.
I hear a knocking at the door.
"Peca?" Andrew calls. "You alright? You sound like you've been crying pretty hard."
I wipe the tears from my eyes and begrudgingly open the door. "I have been."
He eyes me sadly for a minute before pulling me into his embrace. He kisses my forehead softly and sways back and forth. I feel the pain subsiding, and I can breathe again.
*Sirius's POV* *Two years earlier*
"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! IT WASN'T ME! YOU'RE MAKING A HUGE MISTAKE!"
My cries go unnoticed as I'm dragged down the long hallway lined by cells on either side. I kick and scream as I'm pulled, my already broken and bruised body being beaten up more by simple carelessness. The other prisoners scream at me as I pass, clanging the bars with tins and staring at me with wide, mad eyes. I recognize some of them as Death Eaters that I had I captured and sent to this hell on earth.
The calm persona I had when they caught me standing on that street full of the carnage that that swine Peter had created was long gone, as the pure shock that had overwhelmed me at the time had been replaced by fear and the need to survive. Of course the prison guards didn't care about what I was shouting, as I was just another soul to suck dry.
"Yeah, that's what they all say," a grimy looking man coos through the bars at me. He spits at me feet as I pass.
The tears come then, and my body starts to contort as I sob. My best friends were dead at the hands of a liar, a cheater, and a coward. I scream over the cries of my fellow prisoners as the guars unlock a cell for me. I'm brutally thrown in against the hard stone floor, blacking out momentarily as they lock the door behind them. I am utterly exhausted, but I pick myself up and muster enough energy to spew profanities at them as they glide away. I scream until I can't anymore and then collapse into a ball on the floor of my new home.
I think of James. I think of Lily. I think of Marlene. I think of Scarlet. I think of my daughter. Maybe it would be better if I just killed myself at this point. No. I couldn't do that to Harry. He can't grow up with the belief that his godfather was a murderer.
I open my eyes and they land on a large piece of rock laying against the cell wall. Without thinking about it, I sit up and reach for it, weighing it in my hands before bringing it to the wall like a quill on parchment.
The tears come again, less violently this time, but nonetheless they come, the floodgates opened.
How I wish I would wake up from this nightmare.
The screams of the prisoners were getting louder, as most of them screamed because they didn't know what else to do. I wonder if I would ever fall that far off the edge.
So do I remember how to do this or…?
Yes! I suppose I'm back? Maybe?
I'm doing well guys, life is just great at the moment. Let me know what you think of this!
I love you all forever!
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Aria MarkijohnWrite a Review