Chapter 1 : Last Left Standing
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DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of these characters, they all belong to J.K. Rowling. I'm not making any money off of this or anything like that so don't sue me!
A/N: Ever since I read Order of the Phoenix I've been needing to write this fic. I hope you all like it, but if not, then its all good because my conscious is now clear. And this is not, I repeat, NOT RL/SB SLASH!!! If anything, its kind of Remus/Tonks, but not a whole bunch. This is a one-shot fic, so this is it.
Last Left Standing
There were people all around him. People and flashes of multicolored lights. Everyone was moving, shouting. There was a sense of urgency in this place, a sense that if those dark robed, masked figures were not defeated, something terrible would happen. He could see himself calmly defeating the Death Eater he had been dueling with, even though he was also viewing the scene with an outsider's eyes. Then, the whirling of robes and the bombardment of spells suddenly ceased, and Dumbledore descended from the stairs radiating a kind of fury unlike anything he had ever before witnessed. Then his eyes fell back upon Sirius, who was still battling his own cousin. His gaunt yet still handsome face was alight with the pleasure of being active and with the adrenaline of battle that he had always loved so much. As the viewer, he wanted to call out to his friend and warn him of what was to come, and also leap at Sirius' opponent and finish her off right then and there, but his voice fell upon deaf ears and he realized that he could not actually move. He was merely a spectator in his own worst memory, and all that he could do was watch the horror unfold. Sirius battled on. His opponent shot a flash of red light at him, but he dodged skillfully aside to avoid a curse and smirked at his adversary.
"Come on, you can do better than that!"
And then she did.
The red light hit him, and Remus cried out in agony as he watched his friend fall through the archway and not reappear again. He could feel tears falling from his closed eyes, and himself fall into convulsions due to his horror. He tried to wake himself up, to end the nightmare he had actually lived through, but it was no use. His cruel dream was not finished torturing him yet, and he watched in misery as the Remus from that haunting night grabbed a traumatized and horrified Harry, who had been trying to leap through the archway after his godfather.
"There's nothing you can do, Harry-"
Please. Stop this! Let me wake up, oh God let me wake up
"Get him, save him, he's only just gone through!"
Let me out of this nightmare! I've lived through it once; I can't do this again!
"It's too late, Harry-"
Sirius! Why? Why did you have to leave us? Please, please come back!
"We can still reach him-"
I'm begging now, I've had enough! I can't stand this!
"There's nothing you can do, Harry nothing He's gone."
Why did you have to go? Why were you taken from us?
"He hasn't gone! SIRIUS! SIRIUS!"
"He can't come back, Harry. He can't come back because he's d-"
LET ME OUT OF THIS HELL! I'VE SUFFERED ENOUGH! Oh God, why? Why did you take him? WHY?
And suddenly Remus' eyes flew open to find an owl pecking at his arm. He sat up in his bed and covered his face in his hands to discover that his face was still covered in tears from his memory. It had been two weeks since that ordeal had taken place, yet it was still as fresh in Remus' mind as if it had occurred yesterday. The owl pecked at him much more sharply this time, and he became aware of his throbbing arm, which was bleeding slightly in places from the owl's pecks. The pain was sharp and stinging, and he revered in it. It distracted his mind from thinking of Sirius, or anything else. He welcomed the pain and found himself laughing bitterly. Remus savagely considered letting the owl bite away at his arm and the rest of his body, confident that the ache it would cause would never be even close to anything compared to what he was feeling now. Nothing could compare to what he was enduring. No one could possibly understand the agony, the grief. James, Lily, and now, even Sirius, were no longer with him. And now he was left terrified at the prospect of being completely alone, the last Marauder left. For Wormtail meant nothing to Remus, he was as good as dead in his eyes. Wormtail had sold Lily and James to be killed. Wormtail had framed Sirius, and as payment he had had to suffer twelve horrendous years in Azkaban. Wormtail had deprived Sirius of twelve years of his life, deprived Harry of his parents, and deprived Remus of the three people who he would have gladly given his life for. He had as good as sentence Remus to a life of isolation.
Tonks, who had Apparated into his house, (knocking over a small table in the process), disrupted his reverie. She hastily restored the furniture to its original position, and then gazed upon him with a mix of a shocked and compassionate expression upon her young face. She had never seen Remus like this; few had. He was disheveled and unshaven, his eyes were red and blank from fatigue and tears, the owl pecks on his arm were still bleeding, and he had the aura of a man who was completely lost because of overwhelming sorrow.
"We sent the owl a while ago, and they were wondering why you hadn't yet arrived, so they sent me," she said softly.
Remus studied her expression and named it at once: pity. He was commonly the receiver of such looks. How he loathed it. He hated causing people to feel piteous towards him; it made feel incredibly weak and stupid. Sirius had never looked at him like that. He had never pitied him, only worried about him. Or joked with him. Suddenly, the image of Sirius' laughing figure formed in his mind, and Remus almost vomited on the spot. Tonks made to run and comfort him, but he stood up quickly and read the letter, hands and letter shaking with his rage and grief at the fact that Sirius would laugh no more. Never again .
"D-Dumbledore thinks it would be b-b-best if you stayed at the Headquarters for a while," Tonks explained, choking on a sob that had been bubbling up inside of her.
Remus nodded dully, though inside he was filled with dread. He had to return to number 12, Grimmauld Place. Sirius' house. Where he had once slid down the banisters of the once grand staircases and laughed at his mother's outrage, where he had gleefully sang out-of-tune Christmas carols just months before, where that traitorous, despicable house-elf dwelled. The hateful thing that had aided to Sirius' eventual death. Before I die, I WILL have my revenge on him. Him and Bellatrix Lestrange. That was the very last place that Remus wished to set foot in.
"I-I can imagine that you'd rather not go, but-"
"I'll be ready to leave in a few moments," he said as he left for the bathroom to change into his robes.
Remus put on his robes and splashed cold water upon his face. He had to snap out of this, hide his feelings. He had done it many times before, and he could most certainly do it again. The man looked into his mirror, and was met with not his unkempt face, but Sirius'. This time, instead of laughing, it was apologetic and full of fear. Remus shook uncontrollably as he heard his friend's voice inside of his head
"Forgive me, Remus, I-I-I never meant for, I mean, I d-didn't think Snape would actually get to you-"
"I could have KILLED him, Sirius! Slaughtered him!" his sixteen-year-old voice roared.
"I know, I know, but I never considered that! I'm sor-"
"You've ruined EVERYTHING, Sirius! Don't you understand? It's not just that you almost made me a murderer last night! Snape knows what I am now! Do you know what that means? He could tell anyone, and then I'll be kicked out of Hogwarts before you can blink an eye!"
"B-but Dumbledore's made him swear not-"
"I highly doubt that Snape will keep his enormous mouth shut just because someone told him to, you just proved that that was possible last night! You practically TOLD him about me yourself!"
"No! Listen, Remus, I'm so, so sorr-"
"Get out of my sight!"
Remus slumped against the door and slid down to a sitting position. He put his head in his hands and struggled to compose himself. That had been the one and only time that he and Sirius had ever fought. He had been furious with his friend, and had felt completely betrayed because Sirius had told Snape how he could discover the nature of Remus' monthly disappearances. They had not spoken for the remainder of the year. But in the end, both missed each other's company far too much to carry on fighting. Remus had forgiven Sirius, and over extensive periods of time their friendship and his trust was repaired and restored. And at that moment, Remus regretted ever fighting with him; regretted all of the time they had been apart when they could have been creating memories together. He hoisted himself up unfeelingly and rubbed his tired, stinging eyes, wishing that there were a spell that could act as a sort of mental enema to remove every memory he had of Sirius. Remus was not sure of how much more torment he could stand. For one shocking moment, Remus wished that he had never met James or Lily or Sirius. That way he would not have had to deal with death. He would not have had to deal with the feeling of his still beating heart being ripped roughly from his body not once, not twice, but three times. And then he immediately felt remorse for even thinking of that. Those three had been his greatest, truest, kindest friends, the only ones he had ever had before Hogwarts; they had stood fast with him where others had fled, and most importantly, they had made him feel needed. For that, he had always been eternally grateful, and that had made coping with their losses all the more heartbreaking.
Remus was surprised and angry to hear the sobs escaping from inside of his chest, and he slammed his fist against the glass mirror before him in rage. It shattered into a thousand tiny pieces; some crashed to the bathroom floor and others remained embedded in his now bleeding hand. The pain seared throughout his hand, and once again Remus found comfort in it, momentarily forgetting his sorrow. It felt wonderful to not be able to feel his mental anguish, so peaceful. He wasn't able to think about Sirius when he felt physical pain, unable to contemplate about facing the rest of his years alone, so he picked up a piece of his demolished mirror. Remus was about to slit his skin when the lock clicked open behind him and Tonks entered the bathroom. Her eyes, (she had decided to make them a vivid green to match her short, black hair. It was not spiked for respect of her period of mourning for her cousin), grew round with horror at the sight of his bleeding arm and hand, and at the shard of glass he had been about to pierce himself with.
"NO!" she yelled, and grabbed the glass, but Remus held on tight.
"Let go, Tonks."
"No! Not unless you promise you won't hurt yourself!" she said fiercely.
"There's nothing left for me! I'm alone! I'm the only one left!" he shouted in despair.
Speaking the words aloud made them all the more real; all the more unbearable to accept.
"You're not alone, Remus, you can't think that! You've got the Order, and H-Harry! For the love of God, think of Harry!"
Tears were now cascading from her eyes, and she battled more furiously for the glass.
"James and Lily and Sirius are all dead! You don't understand what this feels-I can't-"
"Oh I don't, do I? He was my cousin, Remus!"
He struggled to wrench it out of her hand, but her grip was strong. Finally, he slowly released the shard, and Tonks stumbled backwards a few steps. She stubbornly brushed her tears away, and the realization of what he had almost done to himself, of what he had almost become gradually sunk in.
"He-he would never have wanted you to do that to yourself."
And she was right. Remus was ashamed of himself, for he knew that Sirius would have undoubtedly understood his grief, but he would have been horrified if he ever learned that his friend had cut himself. She pulled him into an embrace, and the two mourners wept in each other's arms: she, from relief that he had stopped his madness and from grief over her cousin's death, and he from grief and from fear of his future. It seemed like a long, dark tunnel of loneliness, where the sun was hidden by heavy gray clouds.
"I'm sorry you saw that, Tonks, I-I don't know what came over me-" he began to apologize, but she pressed a finger against his lips.
"You may be the last of your friends, Remus," Tonks whispered, looking up to meet his now dull gray eyes as she stroked his face tenderly. "But you will never be alone. You will always, always have me."