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Chapter 1: The Fallen
The pews are lined with people, each one with linen dabbing carefully at their eyes. He hurries in late, eager not to attract attention. He has grown so use to being inconspicuous that he finds no difficulty in acting in this way. He was the traitor, the stray wolf who led the innocent to their deaths. Now the secrets are out, he can be in the moonlight.
All of the people he thought he knew and thought he loved are not here. James and Lily have died. His former friend has now turned foe. The other, dead in heroic circumstances. Circumstances he should have had some input in.
He can hear the congregation sing Peter’s praises now. How brave he was, how great he was, what a good friend he was. Remus is forced to hang his head low, much like he has done for the rest of his life. He has failed them. He allowed them to become one of the fallen. He allowed them to be here, in this form.
If only he had been the secret keeper, or even Peter, then they may have not ended up here. Peter isn't even getting a funeral, merely a memorial for the brave act he did. Remus would rather have that than be alive. At least Peter tried to prevent him from causing any more harm.
He deliberately keeps his eyes low when the fallen two enter the church and start the slow procession up to the waiting vicar. The last time those two were part of that procession it was in significantly happier times.
He copies the congregation as they rise and fall in perfect synchronisation. It has become a practised technique over the past few years. He wants to be part of it, the mimics. He believes he can escape the pain among the masses. If he and the others had been part of them they would not have died. He would not be here. He would not be alone.
One cannot be brave on their own, he muses. The proof is in the congregation as they sing, steady and sombre, to the mahogany boxes. They are united now, grieving over the two young lovers. Yet, where were they during the war? They didn’t do anything to prevent this from happening. They didn’t do anything to prevent him from turning traitor. They left them to fight the battle to the bitter end, on their own. It is only now that they decide to turn up.
He wants to scream at them, cast them from this place. They don’t know what they went through. They don’t know the horrors he saw, and what the two in the mahogany boxes saw. They are innocents, something which he can no longer relate to. In fact, he has never been able to relate to them ever since he was branded with the bite. That mark separated him from the others and the cracks have only grown deeper since.
He tries to keep his temper at bay. He cannot think of them, it’s too soon. Too painful. Instead, he thinks of Harry. Baby Harry. Another one who is among missing. It is rumoured he is now with his aunt. His aunt which his mother both loved and detested. He never thought he would be envious of the infamous Petunia, but he is now. She has Harry. By having him, she has a piece of them.
He shouldn’t be feeling envy on a day of sorrow. He needs to make up for this someway, anyway. Then it hits him. He will make Harry proud, and one day, when he is ready, he will be told. Told of everything; the war, his parents, what their former friend did, even of this very day.
They were the mighty four, now three have fallen. He will keep the torch burning. Burning for them and for Harry. He was always the observer among them; he will remain in that role for Harry.
The ceremony is coming to a close and he can hear the congregation whisper about Lily’s kindness and James’ loyalty. They don’t know the real Lily and James though. Not like he does-did, he means. He reminds himself he needs to use the past tense not the present.
The vicar gives a nod to the pallbearers who begin to move. The congregation stands for one final time and file out, slow and sedentary. The mahogany boxes lead the way. Remus cannot bear to think of who are inside of them, knowing he played a part in their fate.
They continue to march to a mound of recently dug up earth. A worm is still wriggling in the fresh soil. This is a rare case of the world of living colliding with the world of the dead. The procession comes to a halt there. Everything is silent. Everything is stationary. The inevitable is about to happen.
The pallbearers lower them into the ground. Their fate was intertwined, as is their final resting place. The air is still, the same as Remus’ thoughts. He wants to remain there forever, protected. The moment is stolen from him all too quickly. Even though he cannot see them, he knows this is the final time of them being partially visible. His last memory of them. Of James and Lily.
Their grave is soon closed. The wizard shows his lack of attachment to the two by performing the process in a matter of fact way. Not the care, the thought, they deserve. A few members of the congregation step forward to place flowers by it. The masses converge after that and the grave is soon lined with a multitude of colour.
Remus doesn’t try and pick out the individual faces. This moment is focused on them and only them. Besides, the tears are obscuring his vision, so every object has been merged to form a kaleidoscope.
The crowd slowly disperses. Furtively at first, then with growing confidence. They have performed their deed. They have said their goodbye. Staying in a place of sorrow will only remind them of all the other tragedies of the war.
Yet he remains unmoving, unable to comprehend the situation. He has adapted a stone like state, much like the rest of the graveyard. He almost wishes he can become part of it. That way, he need not be reminded of what has happened and what he could have done.
It is only when the sun begins to fall that he is reminded of his purpose. He needs to say goodbye to the fallen. Tears stream down his face, as he bends gently to the ground.
“You will not be forgotten,” he whispers, as he grazes his fingers against their names. The slab of stone is cold as how he is feeling. He does not see an end to this frozen state, not for a long time anyhow. Everything has been taken from him, all the good is gone. It’s meant to be a time for a celebrating; the reign of darkness is over, yet Remus still cannot find the end of his tunnel.
Author’s Note – the quote used in the summary is from Thomas Campbell’s poem, Hallowed Ground. I always imagined that Remus would have been affected a lot by James and Lily’s death and I hope it’s reflected in this one-shot. I would love to hear what you think of it, so if you left a review that would be great