On the day of James and Lily’s funeral Remus arrived at the church feeling numb all over. In the course of a week his whole world had changed, and one of the people he had thought he knew best in the world had been revealed as the worst kind of traitor. Life as he knew it would never be the same, and he wasn’t sure how he was going to face it. It had been difficult enough getting up that morning, making sure he went through the routine of showering, shaving, having some breakfast, finding clean clothes that didn’t look like he’d slept in them or ripped them to pieces during a full moon - especially now he didn’t have anyone around to encourage him, and he didn’t know how he was going to continue that charade in the weeks, months, years to come. And then, to top things off, the full moon was only a couple of days off now, which made him feel even worse. Another reason he still needed his friends – the ones who were never coming back.
James had been his saviour, of course. He understood that lycanthropy was a curse that would significantly impact on Remus’ future potential, and with that sizable inheritance he was able to offer a lifeboat, financially at least. Remus hadn’t been thrilled with the prospect of living off someone else’s charity – like Sirius had done five years earlier, he appreciated the gesture and took it while there were no other options, but he yearned for a windfall like Sirius’ which meant that he would be able to support himself. After all, he wanted to retain just a small amount of personal dignity.
But thinking like that meant that he was thinking about Sirius. And that was the problem. Remus didn’t like thinking about Sirius any more. He had thought he knew him, had loved him like a brother, just as he loved James and Peter, but the Sirius he knew was apparently not the real person. A charade, a pseudonym, however you wanted to describe it, all he knew was that Sirius had lied and spied and betrayed them all.
He still had trouble believing it. Yes, he had come to the conclusion that Sirius was the spy, but that was because there weren’t really any other choices. But he had never really, in his heart of hearts, believed it was true. Sirius had always been so forthright about that sort of thing, had sworn black and blue from the age of fourteen that he would die for his friends, and there had never been any inkling at all that that had really changed. Maybe it had all been a lie and he’d always been untrustworthy – but Remus had trouble believing that too. Sirius was so open, so genuine, that the idea of that being an act was just too preposterous to be convincing. Be that as it may, however, the evidence that there was indeed a spy was weighty and persuasive and it obviously wasn’t James or Lily, because they were the ones being threatened. And he couldn’t see it being Peter, doting, loyal Peter, so that left Sirius. But he had never convinced James not to trust Sirius, probably because a part of him had still trusted Sirius himself, and now look where that had got them. A personal visit for James and Lily from Voldemort himself and a one way trip to the grave.
Yes, he had considered, at an intellectual level, that it probably was Sirius who was passing on information, but until the proof was before him like that he’d never, deep down inside him, truly believed it. But this was definitely proof – the two coffins at the front of the church. They would have been burying Peter today, as well, but there hadn’t been a body to bury: the biggest piece of him they found once Sirius had finished with him was a solitary finger. Remus smiled despite himself – Sirius never had known where to stop, subtlety not being one of his traits. Anyway, there would be a memorial service tomorrow, in Nottingham where Peter’s mother lived, so once they were done here there would be a group all Apparating north at the same time.
Remus sighed to himself, lost in memories. They had been inseparable, the four of them – Remus, James, Sirius and Peter. Best of friends at school, they had been just as close after graduation, and James’ marriage to Lily, and the birth of their son, had if anything strengthened the bond they all shared. Even when it became clear that James and Lily were being targeted by Voldemort, they had stuck together like glue, each using the others as building blocks for their own strength. Separation didn’t lessen their friendship, nor distance, nor the war itself. The only thing that was going to keep them apart, it had seemed, was death.
And death it turned out to be, in its cruellest and most selfish form. One of them had sold information to the enemy, for whatever reason Remus wasn’t sure, but it was probably to do with Sirius’ own future. Not only had Voldemort found them, but in doing so he had bypassed the most difficult security features even Dumbledore could come up with. And he had just swanned into the cottage here in Godric’s Hollow and cast an Avada Kedavra at James and then at Lily, before turning to Harry. The baby.
The baby who, for whatever reason, couldn’t be killed. Something no one, not even Dumbledore, could fully explain. The baby who should have been brought up surrounded by love and friendship and had now been dumped with Lily’s sister, the one who hated magic, to be raised there. Remus would have liked to do it himself, to look after Harry in memory of his parents, but Dumbledore wouldn’t allow it, saying that the boy needed to be with his closest relatives. And in hindsight that was probably a better idea anyway – Remus was going to have enough trouble supporting himself without worrying about a toddler as well. And who would have looked after the boy during the full moon every month? No, Remus thought, he was definitely not a good or appropriate person to raise a child.
He looked around at the slowly filling church. He recognised a few people – members of the Order, people from school, a girl who looked like Lily’s description of her sister. But he couldn’t talk to any of them – the pain and shock he was suffering was still too raw and he was having enough trouble getting his head around it all in the first place without articulating that to anyone. He wanted to stay close to Dumbledore, who was even at his advanced age a strong enough authority figure for people to stay away from Remus.
Suddenly the service began, taking him by surprise, and it proved to be just as difficult to get through as he had anticipated. James and Lily Potter had been very popular and a lot of people wanted to pay their respects. In addition, the fact that Voldemort had met his downfall at their house meant that a lot more wanted to thank them for ending the war – apparently literally hundreds of strangers had expressed a desire to attend, and it was only by public request from Dumbledore via the Daily Prophet that most of them had stayed away. And still the church was filled, those in attendance representing the entire British wizarding world in paying their respects.
Remus found his mind wandering as they followed the parson outside to the graveyard for the burials. James and Lily were to be buried in the same hole, together in death as they had been in life, going to the afterlife hand in hand. Harry, of course, was the sole heir, and Remus would have expected no less, but he wasn’t sure how he was going to live now his source of income had died. He had enough gold to last maybe another week but no more, and he wasn’t going to ask anyone else for help. He still had that much dignity left. Even if it meant he starved, he wasn’t going to hold his hand out to anyone.
He was comforted by the tall figure of Dumbledore next to him by the gravestones. At least Dumbledore was always there to talk to, he was someone who really understood the limitations of lycanthropy and could offer practical advice on how to deal with it. He wondered, though, what would become of the Order now the war was over – they couldn’t fight Voldemort any more if there was no Voldemort to fight, so he assumed the organisation would be disbanded and everyone would go their separate ways. Back to their family and friends.
Both of which Remus had none. No family, and no more friends. The only person left alive who he had been at all close to, who had known he was a werewolf and hadn’t abandoned him because of that, was the reason they were all there, so it was obvious that no matter how close he thought they’d been he’d never really known Sirius at all. And so, nothing to look forward to, no one to turn to, no one to understand. He couldn’t rely on Dumbledore all the time, the man had a school to run on top of everything else.
Suddenly he noticed that the parson was looking at him expectantly, and realised that he was expected to start shovelling dirt onto the coffins, which were now in place in the grave. As the one closest to James and Lily, the only one left of their band of brothers, it was his prerogative to start the process off. And he would do it manually, without magic, glad of the physical labour which would make him feel even a little bit more human.
Remus sighed as he deposited the first shovelful of dirt in the hole. Life, as he had once known it, was completely over, and it was all up to him to try to make the most of what little he still had.