Chapter 1 : Graduation
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Silence draped with fear, worrM, and sorrow hung in the air of the marauder’s compartment. And on each of their minds, hanging upon and unbearable thread, was a single thought: these were possibly the last moments that they could ever spend in the company of each other.
Sitting next to the door, Lily Evans’s eyes glazed over with a thin layer of tears. The boy sitting next to her noticed, and his hand, resting upon her knee, gave a reassuring squeeze.
“You okay?” he whispered.
Lily nodded. However, James Potter did not buy into it. He glanced at the boy directly across from him, where Sirius Black, his best friend, sat staring out the window. His gray eyes were unusually sunken, almost dead looking. Whether by chance or by pure instinct, Sirius’s head snapped in James’s direction. With an inclination of James’s head, Sirius read his message. Sirius reached for the wand in his back pocket, flicked it twice, and put it away. The door to the room shut and locked with a click.
A tear slipped from Lily’s eye, and though she tried to hide it, the others in the compartment noticed. “I can’t do this,” Lily moaned.
In the window seat nearest Sirius, Remus Lupin’s head lifted from the book he had been reading. “Can’t do what?” he calmly asked.
Lily sniffed, wiping at her eyes. “Leave. I just can’t. It’s too...too hard, saying good-bye.”
Sirius walked over to Lily, where he crouched down Dan placed a hand on her vacant knee. “Good-bye?” he whispered. “Who says anything about good-byes? It’s just like another holiday. There are going to be no good-byes.”
“He’s right, Lils,” James soothed. He wrapped his arm around her and drew her in closer to him. “There’s no need to say good-bye; I won’t leave you, Sirius won’t, Remus and Pete won’t. We’re still together.”
“Always will be,” Sirius added in an undertone.
Moments of silence passed. Sirius returned to where he sat, and Remus put a scrap piece of parchment in his book, marking his page. He placed it in the empty corner seat between himself and Sirius.
Night continued to approach, swifter than it normally would. The Hogwarts Express pulled closer to its destination with every moment that passed.
Lily had fallen asleep on James’s shoulder. James had fixed his stare on the spot above Sirius’s head where wall and ceiling connected. Sirius rested his head on the wall, legs drawn up to his chest, seemingly deep in thought. Remus had given up on his book an hour ago, and was now sitting slouched over, hands clasped in his lap. Only the shadow of a being in the corner seemed not to have moved, and remained undisturbed.
A faint noise stirred from Lily’s prone figure. James stirred, looking down at his girlfriend’s auburn-red hair. Lifting his shoulder slightly, he said, “Lily? Did you say something?”
In a voice barely above a whisper, in a tune that seemed to carry, Lily’s voice rose into song. Though it started weak and shaky at first, it gradually grew stronger. “And so we talked all night about the rest of our lives, where we're gonna be when we turn 25. I keep thinking times will never change, keep on thinking things will always be the same. But when we leave this year we won't be coming back, no more hanging out cause we're on a different track, and if you got something that you need to say you better say it right now cause you don't have another day. Cause we're moving on and we can't slow down; these memories are playing like a film without sound.”
At this point, Lily lifted her head and looked at James in the eye. She brushed a finger to his cheek, and continued, “And I keep thinking of that night in June: I didn't know much of love, but it came too soon. And there was me and you, and then we got real blue.” She rested her head again on James’s arm and, in a slightly louder voice, continued, “Stay at home talking on the telephone with me, we'd get so excited, we'd get so scared, laughing at our selves thinking life's not fair. And this is how it feels....”
She stood and walked over to the corner seat between Remus and Sirius. She sat down, with a hand on each of their legs, looking intermittently from one to the other. “As we go on, we remember all the times we had together. And as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.”
Lily paused, but the words still continued. Though he remained in the same position as he had been in for the past hour, Sirius sung quietly, “So if we get the big jobs and we make the big money, when we look back now will our jokes still be funny? Will we still remember everything we learned in school? Still be trying to break every single rule?”
Remus continued. “Will little brainy Bobby be the stockbroker man? Can Heather find a job that won't interfere with a tan? I keep...I keep thinking that it's not goodbye, keep on thinking it's a time to fly. And this is how it feels....”
Lily, slightly more lively then she had been, and Sirius, his voice still sullen, joined in. “As we go on, we remember all the times we had together. And as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.”
A heavy, bothersome silence ensued, disturbed only by the sound of the train rattling along on its tracks. Quietly, Lily whispered, “We will still be friends forever.”
It seemed as though the song had ended. Lily was about to get up and return to her position next to James when another voice added their own lyrics to the composition. “Will we think about tomorrow like we think about now? Can we survive it out there? Can we make it somehow?” Lily looked over to where James sat, his head bowed, but his mouth forming the final verse. “I guess I thought that this would never end, and suddenly it's like we're women and men.”
Sirius lolled his head to the side, facing the others for the first time in an hour. Two thin lines formed by tears made their way down his face. “Will the past be a shadow that will follow us 'round?”
Remus looked up, his face in a similar state. “Will these memories fade when I leave this town?”
James kept his head down, but the small drop of water that landed beneath his gave away that he too was crying. “I keep,” he sniffed, “I keep thinking that it's not goodbye, keep on thinking it's a time to fly.”
Lily stood and walked to the center of the compartment, took James’s hands in her own, and pulled him to his feet in a standing position. She did the same with Sirius, then Remus, ignoring the lone shadow in the corner of the room.
Slowly, starting with Lily, the three boys joining in with time, the began to sing, “As we go on, we remember all the times we had together. And as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.”
The train began to slow, and with time, pull to a halt. Lily went first to Remus. She gave him a great hug, kissed him on the cheek, and whispered melodically so that the others could still hear, “As we go on, we remember all the times we had together.” Remus leaned down and kissed her on the cheek in reply.
When she finished, she went on to Sirius, who she hugged tightly, resting her head on his shoulder for a moment. She put her hands on his face, and said in the same voice that she had used with Remus, “And as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.” Sirius bent over enough to allow her to plant a firm kiss on his brow, which he swiftly returned, grinning sadly, as though his expression were that of strained force.
Finally, she came to James. However, the young witch could no longer bring herself to hold her bearings. She dissolved into tears, collapsing on James’s shoulder, clutching to the back of his shirt.
James held her close, and leaned down to her ear. “As we go on, we remember all the times we had together. And as our lives change, come whatever, we will still be friends forever.”
Remus and Sirius exchanged pained glances, faces still damp. They moved towards each other, and embraced with a brother-like love that had developed between the Marauders over the past seven years. The two broke apart and moved towards Lily and James, still absorbed in each other.
For a long moment, the four held each other close as one. No words or movements necessary; they just took in what was their friendship for what could be the last time. They wept freely in the comfort of each other, and paid no heed to the emptying of the compartments around them.
Finally a complete silence took hold of them. The train was deserted. Only then did they release each other and gather their things. For a long time afterwards, they stood and stared at those around them.
“Come on,” James rasped. “Our folks may be worried.”
Sirius nodded, and the other two followed. Sirius stayed just long enough to be the last one out, and shut the door behind him.
None of them noticed the watery-eyed boy who sat huddled in the corner of the room.
Peter Pettigrew sat alone, and sung into the deepening dusk around him, “We will still be friends forever....”