Chapter 30 : Epilogue
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It was a dark, cool, crisp evening. And it wasn’t going to get any better. Halloween had always been a mystical, fearful holiday, but this Halloween was going to be like no other. Only one person registered the fact that it was Halloween and it was the one person who would be forced to endure bolts of pain in the coming moments.
A young man, with a face of a man much older, sat at a modest table in a bare cottage. He stared out the window that was right next to the table , waiting for the full moon to show, waiting for the pain. A thought flitted across his mind, regret that he had distanced himself from his friends, that he had not researched more into who the traitor was.
Someone was sending Voldemort valuable information and the Order of the Phoenix was feeling the effects. People were dying left and right and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The traitor had hidden his tracks so well the Order was having difficulty in finding even one suspect and the young man feared the worst.
He heaved a sigh and continued to stare at the moon, disappointed that clouds had covered the barely-risen moon.
Everyone was on edge lately, especially his closest friends. Peter and Camryn’s engagement wasn’t going nearly as well as anyone had hoped. It seemed like everywhere they turned some problem came up or another and the wedding date was being pushed further and further back. James and Lily were so worried about Harry all the time that Remus felt it was a small wonder they weren’t put in St. Mungo’s yet, for paranoia. And Lena was still hurt that Sirius refused to take their relationship to the next level. The two had been dating since their seventh year at Hogwarts and things didn’t look any better in the coming months or weeks, or even days.
Remus looked back at the low clouds, waiting for them to reveal the full moon.
Finally the pain took hold and Remus felt himself transforming. He wouldn’t know the truth about the rest of the night until many years had passed.
Times were difficult and getting harder at every passing moment. Tempers flared, but nowhere as badly as in one humble apartment.
“Peter, you have to stop him!” shrieked a young woman, her long black hair swaying dangerously close to the candlelight behind her, the only light in the bare room.
“Cam, I can’t! You know I can’t!” yelled a young man who looked much older due to the wrinkles that were emphasized so much more in the lone candlelight.
“You can’t let him kill Lily and James!” screamed Camryn, her arms flailing frantically, in hopes of getting her point and fear across the room to her fiancé, Peter Pettigrew. “You should have never joined! You should have just fought alongside the rest of us! You shouldn’t have turned into a traitor!”
“I AM NOT A TRAITOR!” cried Peter, losing all control over himself. “I refuse to tolerate such language about me to be spoken in my house! I am not a traitor! I did what was necessary!”
“And it was necessary for you to help a mass murderer?!” screamed Camryn. “Someone who is trying to wipe out an entire portion of the human race?!”
“It was to protect us! All of us!” yelled Peter, inching closer to Camryn. “This way HE won’t hurt you!”
“That doesn’t matter if he’s just going to kill Lily and James!” shrieked Camryn, careful to stay away from Peter.
“Camryn, please,” he pleaded, his voice hoarse. “All they have to do is hand over Harry and everything will be okay. He won’t hurt them as long as they just hand over Harry.”
“They won’t do it,” said Camryn resolutely, quieter now. “You know they won’t. They love him and they won’t just hand him over to a murderer.”
“They will if it will save their lives,” said Peter, confidently.
“No, they won’t,” said Camryn, her voice also hoarse from all of the yelling that had occurred. “He’s their son; they won’t hand him over.”
“It’s all they can do,” whispered Peter. “They must do it.”
“They won’t,” said Camryn, so sure of herself. “And everyone will blame you for bringing about their downfall. You know that; you know you will become known as the traitor. You’ve gotten in too deep and you’ve blocked all of your ways out.”
“I’m sorry, Camryn,” was all he could say, before Peter Pettigrew left the room, never to see Camryn Whinskle again.
“James, what are you doing to Harry now?” asked Lily tiredly, exhausted from the day’s work as she walked into the living room of their modest bungalow.
“Nothing,” said James with a teasing grin, as a faint blue smoke flew out of his wand.
“You’re going to get him wired up AGAIN and it’ll take me hours to get to go to sleep,” said Lily, with a hint of laughter in her voice. James laughed, scooped up his look-alike, baby son, and stood up off of the floor.
“Then I’ll just have to put him to bed, won’t I?” teased James, leaving his wand on the couch.
“Oh, won’t you? Thanks, love,” laughed Lily as she smoothed Harry’s hair back out of his eyes. Upon hearing his mother’s laughter, Harry began to laugh to, the simple, carefree, baby laugh that he had, which caused James to laugh just to hear it.
“I’ll put him to bed, Lily,” said James, kissing his wife on the cheek. “Why don’t you just go up to bed; I know you’re exhausted.”
“It’s fine, James; I’ll put him to bed,” said Lily, lifting Harry out of James’s arms. “Besides if you put him to bed, he’ll be awake all night.”
“That’s not true,” laughed James. “I’d have him asleep right before you woke up.”
“Exactly,” said Lily with a laugh. “It’ll only take a second-“
Suddenly the front door of the young couple’s home fell to the ground, on the other side of the hallway. All three family members fell silent immediately. James motioned to Lily to wait right there. He quietly crept down to the doorway at the end of the hall and peered into the other room stealthily. James jumped back as if he had been scalded and ran to his wife and baby son.
“Lily, it’s him! Go! Take Harry and run!” he said hurriedly.
“I’m not leaving you, James!” cried Lily, as James tried pushing her toward the end of the hall, toward the bedrooms.
“Lily, there’s no way we can defeat him,” said James, in a strained voice. “The least I can do is give you and Harry fighting chance to get away. Now, please, go! Save yourself and Harry! Run, Lily! Take Harry and Run!”
“James, please-“ started Lily before James cut her off by placing his lips roughly on hers. They broke apart less than a second later and James held Lily and Harry, before staring avidly into Lily’s eyes and then sprinting into the other room, in hopes of helping his wife and son.
Lily watched James run around the corner before she ran down the hall into Harry’s room. Suddenly the entire house filled with an eerie, green light.
“James!” cried Lily, turning to face the doorway again. But reason came to mind. A plan that had been set down since she and her husband heard the prophecy filled Lily’s entire body.
“I’m so sorry, Harry,” said Lily as she placed her baby son into his crib in front of the only window in the room. “I love you, and so does your Daddy, Harry. I’m so sorry.”
Knowing she had nothing to protect herself, Lily had to wait mere seconds before He had entered Harry’s room.
“Voldemort,” said Lily with a slight gasp, regardless of her efforts to hide it.
“Move away, girl, all I want is the boy,” said the darkly clad murderer, only the red in his eyes visible.
“You’ll never get him,” said Lily, surprising even herself with how strong her voice sounded.
“You don’t have to die,” said Voldemort, raising his wand to point it at her. “You can watch as I kill your son, knowing you will still live.”
“Never,” came Lily’s one-worded reply.
“Move aside, silly girl!”
“I’ll never let you near my son!” screamed Lily in desperation.
“Very well, then,” said Voldemort. “Enjoy death. Avada Kedavra!”
It was quick and painless. Lily Evans Potter didn’t even know when death began and life ended. All feeling was erased. She and James were gone. But Harry survived.
“This is to be quick and to the point, are we clear?” hissed a tall, masked man.
“Yes, yes, yes, we’re clear, we’ve been clear for the past ten minutes, Lucius,” said another masked figure, a woman.
“Shut it, Bella,” hissed the man. “Let’s go.”
“Finally,” muttered the woman.
The two speakers and three other masked figures stealthily climbed their way into the small apartment.
“Who’s there?” called a young woman, with long black hair.
“Miss Camryn Whinskle.”
“I beg your pardon?” called Camryn as she came into view, her wand held in ready position.
“It is time for your date with destiny,” said the man, who was evidently leading the group.
“Thanks to your traitor of a fiancé,” said the woman who had argued with the man. “It’s really too bad he isn’t here to witness this horrific event.”
“Excuse me?” asked Camryn with a hint of impatience in her voice. Suddenly, her wand flew from her hand.
“Impatience will get you nowhere in life,” said another young man who was behind the leading two, holding her wand.
“And I doubt it will get you very far in death,” said first young woman with a sneer that was obvious in her voice.
“Good-bye, Miss Whinskle,” said the first man. “Avada Kedavra!”
A steady knock woke a young woman of her slumber. The woman stood up off of the lumpy sofa, stretched, tried to smooth her short blonde hair that had grown a few inches longer than she usually had it and answered the door, forgetting that her wand was still on the mantle on the other side of the room.
“Peter?” she asked when she opened the door. “I thought it was Sirius.”
“I’m sorry, Lena, but can I come in?” asked Peter quietly.
“Sure,” said Lena as she opened the door wide enough for Peter to slip through. “What’s up?”
“I-I need to take care of some business,” said Peter as he pulled out his wand. “James and Lily are dead. Harry survives but he will be the only one to do so.”
“Wh-what?” stuttered Lena as she almost fell the ground, catching herself on the lumpy sofa at the last second. “How? Why? When? Wh-what?”
“The Dark Lord has killed Lily and James,” said Peter calmly.
“Where are Sirius and Remus and Camryn?” asked Lena in bewilderment.
“Sirius will be arrested as the result of turning traitor for the Dark Lord, Remus will, no doubt, run away in the morning, and Camryn has disappeared,” said Peter, keeping a calm aura about him.
“Bu-but,” said Lena as she tried to balance herself, using the sofa for support. Several minutes passed before she could speak again. “You seem to be taking this rather well.”
“I have a mission to complete,” said Peter as he raised his wand and pointed it at Lena.
“Oh, Merlin!” gasped Lena. “You’re the traitor!”
“I did not intend for this to happen,” said Peter, sensing Lena starting to panic, as he began to panic himself. “No one was supposed to get hurt.”
“Peter you are responsible for so many deaths and yet no one was supposed to get hurt?” asked Lena incredulously.
“I just wanted to help!” cried Peter. “We needed to join the winning side in order to survive!”
“We all knew that even in the face of death, we would choose the right side, the valiant side,” yelled Lena, pleadingly. “Peter, how could you do this to us?!”
“You don’t understand! It was a choice of life or death! I had to live!” screamed Peter, tears starting to stream down his face. “It was for Camryn! So we could live together forever!”
“Peter, you can’t do this! Please don’t do this!” pleaded Lena, feeling herself tear up. “Please, Peter, don’t do this!”
“I have to, Lena,” whispered Peter, tears still falling silently. “If I don’t, they’ll kill Camryn. And I can’t let that happen.”
“Peter, please don’t,” said Lena, quietly, letting the tears fall. “Please, I’m begging you. Don’t do it.”
“I’m sorry, Lena,” breathed Peter, before shouting, “Avada Kedavra!”
He turned slowly and exited the apartment. He shot the Dark Mark into the air before leaving the premises, only to go home to find that Lena’s death had just been a ruse: Camryn was already dead.
Panic was searing through his heart.
Where was the traitor?
He could barely see, tears were blurring his vision.
I have to find him before anyone else does.
Thoughts kept traveling back to the burning house, the eerie green snake floating above it.
He killed them, he deserves death.
He began concentrating on the path he was on as the main streets of London came to life.
I must kill him. No one else will believe he is guilty.
The young man tore around a corner and continued sprinting, all the time looking for one person, the one person who alone would allow his conscience to rest, the one person who was causing all of this pain, the one person...
He was the traitor...Peter.
Sirius continued sprinting down the streets of London, trying to look down empty alleyways as he raced past them. The rat had to be somewhere nearby; London couldn’t hide him, not from a dog hot on his scent. Sirius knew he was getting close, the air was full of the traitor, full of his guilt, full of his crimes, his murders.
Sirius had spotted him, trying to squeeze his way through the traffic that took up the London sidewalks. The plump, young man shuddered as the Sirius fought his way closer and spun him around to face him.
“You did it!” His face was livid as he stared down into the traitor’s beady, black eyes, knowing he was to be the reason for the end of Sirius’s life, the end of his freedom.
“D-did what?” stuttered Peter, suddenly fearful for his life.
“You killed them!” cried Sirius, no longer able to control his emotions as tears began to pour down his face.
“M-me?!” exclaimed the fat man, trying to attract the attention of as many passerby as possible. “No! You did it, Sirius!”
“What are you on about?”growled Sirius, pulling Peter up to his eye level by lifting him by his collar.
“You killed them! You killed Lily and James!” screamed Peter, finally succeeding in capturing the attention of many people. “How could you, Sirius?!”
“I-I killed them?!” said Sirius, in a low voice as he threw Peter back onto the ground. “How could you accuse me of your crimes?!”
“How could you do it? Kill Lily and James, Sirius! Your best friend!” shrieked Peter from the ground, his face growing whiter as Sirius advanced.
“Me?! I would never do such a thing!” bellowed Sirius as he grew menacingly closer to the man on the ground.
“Lily and James, Sirius! Your best friend! You orphaned their son! He’ll never know them!” shrieked Peter, louder and louder with every step Sirius took.
“You filthy rat!” yelled Sirius as a he pulled out his wand and a huge explosion occurred, causing him to fly several feet back, landing spread eagle in the middle of the street.
All the thoughts he had been trying to keep bottled up were suddenly let loose.
Lily and James were gone. Harry was an orphan, to be raised by his muggle aunt and uncle. Remus had had to endure a night of horror by himself. Camryn was gone. Lena was missing. And he, Sirius, would be sent to Azkaban, if not immediately handed over to the dementors.
But at that moment, all Sirius could do was laugh. Because, suddenly, he welcomed death. He welcomed the thought of no longer feeling any pain. He welcomed the idea of seeing his best friend again. He welcomed the notion of being free, free of pain, sadness, responsibility, chaos, the war. He knew there was nothing to fear. If he died, he would have his best friend there to greet him. And if he lived, maybe one day he would be able to see Harry, see the boy, and later man, he would grow into.
And at that moment, it didn’t matter that he was being carted off to Azkaban, without a trial, without a fair fight, without any of that.
At that moment, all that mattered was that Sirius knew, deep down, he was going to be just fine, live or die, it didn’t matter, he was going to be just fine either way.
A/N: And that's the end.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing and posting it. I want to thank everyone who read this fiction and doubly thank those who reviewed. And I want to especially thank "Harry And Ginny" and "Mira": you two reviewed on every single chapter and I can't tell you how much I appreciated it. Knowing that you were there to read whatever was in the next chapter, and would then give me constructive criticism and encouragement; I cannot find the words that fully express how grateful I am for that. Thank you so much.
Well, this was the end of 376 days of hard work during the actual writing process and I have no idea how many more days were spent editing and formatting to the point that you were able to read it.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed it.
I won't be writing a sequel to this because I inadvertently cut off all pathways to be able to write a sequel. But I'm not sure if it was entirely inadvertently ;)
But I will be focusing on "Under Fire" a lot more now - hopefully to the point that posts will be pretty routine soon. And I will be starting a new fiction soon called "Black Stars."
So, I hope you will all be around to read those. If not, thank you for reading this. :)