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Chapter 1: run, run, run away
You ran away.
The others, had they still been alive, would have set you on the right path. They would have pulled you aside, told you why being a coward will never settle anything, would never solve your problems.
But they were gone, and so you ran away from your wife, your unborn child, your family. From her, the only one to love you for as long as you can remember. She who, after Padfoot's death, held your hand as you openly wept. She who fought with you on many an occasion simply to prove that she did not care that you turned into a vicious and uncontrollable monster once a month.
And yet you ran away.
For reasons which, in your own mind, seemed noble. The child – your child – could grow up as a monster. Just like his father. How could she love you when she realises her son – your son – will forever be an outcast, like you? You couldn't bear seeing her upset, seeing her angry at you, disappointed in her child because of you. Because, at much as you hate to say it, he is still your son and she your wife, and watching them grow in contempt of you as the years go on is something you know you could not stand.
You told the boy, the one so much like his father, the one to set you back on the right path, that if by some miracle the child is not like you it will be better off, a hundred times so, without a father of whom it should always be ashamed.
And that is exactly how you feel. Your parents hid you from the world due to your condition. Your parents were ashamed of you. Whenever you brought home a picture of something you'd painted at school, or a piece of writing you'd spent weeks working on, they'd say well done; but you were a smart little boy, and you could see past the fake smile. You could see the glint of shame present in their eyes, the way they aged a decade overnight every time you were close to transformation.
It is your fault, you think. You believe that if you had not married her, none of this would have happened in the first place. If you had not loved, you would not get burnt.
So you kissed her forehead while she was sleeping, wrote her a note and ran; ran into the sunset with nothing but a bag and your wand and a sense of bravado that didn't quite settle right in your heart.
You can hear them, the two that died. The traitor's voice is nowhere to be heard, probably because he'd be running away with you. You can sense their disapproval from wherever they are, shaking their heads at you. You broke the number one rule of being a Marauder – never, ever, in twelve centuries and seven decades, run away from something. You are a Marauder, and Marauders do not run away.
Then why are you running?
Because you believe it is the right thing to do.
You justify yourself in your head. And to you, they make sense.
So, if you're really doing the right thing, why are you still feeling so guilty? You figure it's because there's still a war going on. You need to help.
And you need a distraction even more.
You learn where James' son is. You sit yourself down next to him, offering your help and service for his cause. It goes without saying that you are willing to die for him, for this war, for the good of wizardkind. Because, let's be frank, who cares about a lone wolf such as yourself? No-one.
Well. Dora cared. But a fat lot of good it did her, you think – she's carrying a monster's child now, thanks to you.
Instead of offering you a place with himand his friends, the boy asks why you're abandoning your wife, your unborn child, your family. You try to reason with him, with the excuses you told yourself before you left, but the façade leaves a sour taste in your mouth and the half-hearted defence you try to build just tumbles around you because you, in your heart, don't believe a word of the nonsense you're saying. Not that you'd ever admit it to yourself, you coward.
And this boy – no, this man – tells you what his father would say. Which just so happens to be exactly what you need to hear. That you're not thinking this through, that he is ashamed of you. And he looks so much like his father (except his eyes; he has his mother's eyes) that it's almost as though James is here, warning you, telling you that what you are doing isn't right.
You can't stand this. You fire a jinx at him and run, ashamed, cloak flying behind you. You run, run, run away, tail between your legs, head in hands, the guilt overwhelming. What have you done?
And even though you're trying to forget everything, trying to be numb, three things run around in circles inside your mind, a cycle determined to guilt you into submission. Your wife, sitting at home, reading the handwritten note you'd left her. Your child, growing up without a father. James, looking straight at you, saying he's ashamed of what you've done.
And this time, when you run, you run back.