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Chapter 89 : Old Life and New Life
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Old Life and New Life
It was only seven in the morning on the thirty first of July when there was a sharp knock on the front door of Remus’s and Sirius’s flat. Remus’s eyes instantly snapped open and, in the same second, his arm shot out towards his wand on his nightstand. Ever since he had come home from the hospital, he had been jumpier than usual. Healer Jenkins said this would be natural. He had been attacked on the streets far too close to his home for his liking. He wasn’t about to get over that very easily. There was always the chance it could happen again and he wouldn’t make it this time. Luckily there hadn’t been a repeat and he’d been allowed to heal in peace.
But when someone pounded on your front door at seven in the morning, there was nothing good about it.
Remus sleepily slipped into his slippers and padded across the room. Once out in the hallway, he glanced into Sirius’s room and saw the man had not been disturbed by the sudden noise. Remus wasn’t surprised. Sirius slept like the dead, why should this be any different? Remus had half a mind to make Sirius go answer the door, as he was still sick from the full moon that had risen just days ago, but he was already up. He knew he wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. He may as well go see who it was who had disrupted his sleep.
Remus stopped at the front door, shutting his eyes with a grimace as the knocking started again. He tightened his grip on his wand and extended his arm towards the door. “Identify yourself!” he demanded forcefully. He wasn’t about to let a potential Death Eater into his house. He wanted to know who it was and he wanted to be sure it was who they were claiming to be.
“Alastor Moody, open up, Lupin!”
There was no disputing Moody’s distinct voice, but Remus knew that Polyjuice could aid in this charade, or a much practised person could be just as convincing. Either way, he was not letting this supposed Moody into his flat. He was not landing himself in St. Mungo’s again, not because he had let his defences down. “Prove it!”
“I am a member of the Order of the Phoenix, one of the top Aurors and I will break four more of your bloody ribs if you don’t let me in right this moment!”
That sounded like something Moody would say, alright. Besides, who else would know just how many of his ribs had been broken? Remus unlatched the door and let the man in. But when Remus got a good look at Moody, he saw something was very wrong.
Moody was looking at him in a way that he had never looked at him before – he looked sorry. Moody never looked sorry about anything. He hadn’t looked at Remus that way when he was lying in a hospital bed in St. Mungo’s. Then he had looked as though he was about to strangle the nearest person. Moody never even looked sorry at the various funerals they had gone to for Order members. What was causing him to wear that expression? “Moody, what’s going on?”
Moody heaved a giant breath and nodded to the armchair. “You need to sit down for this, Lupin.”
At exactly seven in the morning on the thirty first of July, Lily Potter awoke with a start. Why was her bed wet? It was then that she felt pain, a terrible pain she had only heard stories about, though she had been warned she would experience it soon. Oh no, this couldn’t be happening, not yet! She and James weren’t ready for it! They hadn’t finished setting up the nursery, they hadn’t finished buying everything they would need, and they hadn’t even picked out a name yet. Boy or girl, they had expected to have a name for either and they didn’t. The baby couldn’t be coming yet.
“James,” Lily hissed, yet her voice was not loud enough to awaken her husband. It also didn’t help that James seemed to become deaf when he slept. James didn’t even move in his sleep. Using whatever strength she had, she nudged James in the back, so hard, in fact, that he toppled sideways off the bed, right onto the cold floor.
“Wha-What?” James’s untidy mass of black hair appeared from behind the bed and he climbed back onto the bed, looking in amazement at Lily. “What was that for? If you wanted to wake me up, just nudge me a bit!”
Lily ignored the last bit and said hurriedly, “James, it’s time!”
James rolled his eyes. “Time to go back to sleep?”
Lily felt another pain in her stomach and groaned. James’s eyes widened as he realised what she meant. He instantly went into a panic. “Time? No… no it can’t be time yet! We’re not ready! I need to build the cradle; we need to pick a name!”
“That’s going to have to wait now, James. We need to get to the hospital.”
James seemed to go into overdrive. He sped out of bed, pulled on a pair of socks and shoes and grabbed Lily’s hospital bag before bolting out of the bedroom. It was only when he was at the bottom of the stairs that he realised something was missing. Something extremely important was missing. Turning on his heel, he ran back up the stairs and burst back into the bedroom, where Lily was waiting for him.
“I think you need your pregnant wife, James,” she said pointedly, shaking her head at him.
James grinned sheepishly. “Right, right, of course.”
Within no time Lily was settled into St. Mungo’s and all there was left to do was wait. Healer Watkins told James that it would be several hours before anything happened and he should go get something to eat or alert any family he may want to. The first people that came to mind were his friends. He would stop at Sirius’s with the news and tell them to get Peter and come to the hospital. Sirius was going to be a godfather; of course he would want to be there when the baby was born.
Clearly Sirius hadn’t gotten around to putting up his Anti-Apparition wards yet. This was proven when James was able to Apparate straight into Sirius’s bedroom, landing directly on the man’s legs. Sirius awoke with a strangled yelp and he instantly went for his wand. Blinking rapidly, it took him a few seconds to recognise the figure that had just appeared in his bedroom. “What, in Merlin’s name, are you doing?” He stared at James in astonishment, this was not the kind of wakeup call he enjoyed. He didn’t enjoy any wakeup call, actually. “Get off my legs and out of my bed.”
James leapt off the bed and attempted to yank the covers back off his friend. Sirius gripped the blanket tighter and pulled it back up to his neck. He stared at James in amazement. “Oi, what’s the matter with you?”
“Get out of bed; get to the hospital, Lily’s having the baby!”
Now Sirius was the one to leap out of the bed in a rush. He pulled his socks and shoes on. James told him to wake Remus and get Peter and meet him at St. Mungo’s as soon as they could. James then disappeared. Sirius didn’t waste any time. Within moments he was rushing out of his bedroom and starting across the hall to wake his roommate up. He was surprised to see that Remus’s bed was empty, though he hadn’t gotten around to making it yet.
He found Remus sitting in the darkened kitchen. What was more, Remus was already dressed. Had he heard James come in and decided to get dressed without having to be told? But something was wrong. Remus was sitting with his forehead in hand, his face obscured. He hadn’t even moved when Sirius entered the room. He hadn’t made the slightest sign of acknowledgement. It was as if he hadn’t heard him at all. “Come on, Moony! We need to go!”
Remus’s voice was quiet and detached when he spoke. “Go where?”
“Lily’s having the baby!” Sirius had expected Remus to have the same reaction he had – to jump out of his chair and rush out the door in a flurry of excitement. They had all been waiting for this day for months and it had come earlier than they expected. But Remus didn’t move, except to lower his arm to the table. It was then that Sirius saw something deeply upsetting.
Remus looked lost. His face was red and drawn and his eyes blinking rapidly, as if he was desperately trying to figure something out. He looked sick and disbelieving and Sirius almost didn’t want to know what was making him look this way. It hadn’t been very long since he’d come home from the hospital. Maybe he had reawaken an injury from the attack? “Remus, what’s the matter?”
When he spoke, it was with the same detached voice. “Moody came by earlier.”
That was never a good thing. Sirius very much doubted the man came by to see how Remus was healing. “What did he want?”
Remus inhaled deeply and it was then that Sirius noticed the man’s hands were shaking madly. Remus clenched them tightly on the edge of the table, as if he was bracing himself. “He… he heard about a commotion out in the country, some campers heard it. When he went to see what was causing it, he saw it was near my parents house… the Dark Mark was over their house and when Moody went inside… my parents are dead, Sirius.”
Sirius felt like someone had punched him hard in the stomach. No… no, he wasn’t hearing his friend correctly. Harry and Anna Lupin… they couldn’t be dead. He had just seen them and they had been perfectly alive! They couldn’t be dead. They were too young, too full of life. Looking at Remus, Sirius knew there was no denying it. They were gone. Sirius began to sputter. “What… I…”
Remus went on speaking, as if he hadn’t heard Sirius’s sputtering. “I was just there; Moody and Dumbledore told me to come home for a bit, until I was ready to go back.” He took another deep breath and shakily let it out. “I’ll never be ready to go back… but I’m going there in a few minutes. There’re things I need to do.” Remus, who had been gazing steadily at the tabletop, finally turned to Sirius. “My parents are dead.”
Sirius was reminded of their third year when his grandparents had died. He remembered Remus’s thirteen year old self rushing about the dormitory, stuffing his clothes into his bag as he prepared to go home. He had said the same thing about them, as if he was trying to grasp it. Sirius imagined this was much harder. Remus’s parents were everything to him. They had been by his side since he was a child. They didn’t abandon him when he was bitten. Now they were gone. “I… I don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t,” Remus said, getting unsteadily to his feet. Sirius held out a hand to help him, but Remus shrugged away from it. “I… I need to get back.”
“Do you want me to go with you?” Sirius knew there were the different stages of grief and he had a feeling Remus might skip a few, that or they wouldn’t go in order. If he was about to lose it, he would need a friend there when it happened.
“No… go be with James at the… at the hospital.” A tremor ran through his body as he took another shuddering breath. “Dumbledore and Moody are there, they’ll help me with… with what I need to do.”
Remus pulled his coat on and brought a hand to his stomach, looking as if he may be sick.
Sirius felt as though he had to say something, anything, and all he could think of was, “I’m so sorry.”
Remus took another breath. “I am too.” And he disappeared.
Sirius had just left Peter at the bathroom when he went to find James. He was in a haze. He just couldn’t grasp what he had been told. Mr. and Mrs. Lupin couldn’t be dead. They just couldn’t be. He had seen them not so long ago and they had been perfectly alive. They had been in their homes as they would have been on any other evening. He couldn’t get the shocked look on his friend’s face out of his mind. Remus looked so bloody lost. He had already seen his parents and Sirius knew there was no recovering from that. To lose a parent, to lose both parents in such a terrible way and at the same time, Sirius wasn’t sure Remus would ever get over that.
In fact, Sirius would understand completely if his friend just decided to break down. Yet, somehow, Sirius wasn’t sure if Remus could. In the nearly ten years that he had known Remus, he had never seen him cry. He had seen him come close, right after an extremely painful full moon. It had been in their second year, when they had abandoned him because they found out his secret. Sirius had let his curiosity get the better of him and snuck into the Whomping Willow and the Shrieking Shack and found twelve year old Remus lying on the cold floor.
But that had been a completely different situation. He had been in pain; the full moon hadn’t been a good one by any means. Sirius had never seen his friend just cry out of sadness. It was clear he could feel it, but he hardly ever let go and indulged it.
Sirius looked up and saw James hurrying towards him. There was the absence of the fatherly gleam in his eyes, so Sirius safely assumed Lily hadn’t had the baby yet. Sirius managed a smile for his best friend. “Hey, Prongs, how’s Lily doing?”
James came to a halt in front of Sirius and looked sheepishly at him. “She just blamed me for women’s… err… time, you know. Actually she blamed the entire male species, but it was directed at me.” James shrugged and looked around, noticing there were two people missing from the group. “Where are Wormtail and Moony?”
“Wormtail’s in the loo,” Sirius told him before beckoning James off towards a corner by the window. He kept his voice low when he spoke. “Something bad happened, James.”
James noticed the unusual amount of seriousness in Sirius’s voice and bent forward in interest and worry. “What’s going on?”
“Moony’s parents were killed this morning.”
James’s face looked much as Sirius expected his own had when he first found out. Had this been under any other circumstances, Sirius may have chuckled a bit at James’s jaw dropping right open. “They’re… they’re dead?”
Sirius nodded sadly. “Moody came by this morning and told Remus.”
“Well, where is he now? Is he okay?”
“I don’t think so. He’s gone home. Dumbledore and Moody are there with him, so he’s not alone.”
James nodded. That was a good thing. James knew it was important to be with others during a time like this. He had surrounded himself with his friends when his parents had died and they would have to be there for him. “Maybe you should go home; someone has to be there when he gets back.”
“He wants to be on his own, Prongs.” Remus didn’t have to say it, but Sirius knew. When he got back to the flat he was going to want to be by himself. He wasn’t alone now, that was the most they could ask for, but later he knew Remus wouldn’t want company. “I’ll check in later, just to make sure he got back okay.”
James said nothing else and was quickly called into the ward Lily was in. With a frantic look towards his best friend, he sped off to see what was happening.
Sirius took a seat in one of the empty chairs and was only vaguely aware of Peter sitting down beside him. This wasn’t right. This was supposed to be a happy day, one of the happiest days. This was the day their two friends became parents and the Death Eaters had to go and ruin it, just like they ruined everything else! What had Mr. and Mrs. Lupin done to deserve it? Nothing, that was what. They hadn’t done anything to deserve their fate, yet that didn’t stop the Death Eaters from killing them. Hadn’t it been enough when they attacked Remus off guard? No, they had to go back for seconds and got him in the worst way they knew how.
“Today was supposed to be a good day, wasn’t it, Wormtail?”
“Yeah, it was,” Peter said slowly.
“Why has it been rubbish so far?”
Peter shrugged, shifting uncomfortably in his seat. He hadn’t known about the plan to kill the Lupins. He didn’t know what he would have done if he had known about it. He was certain the others had kept it from him because they knew he socialized with Remus, knew that he worked with him, and he could possibly let something slip. He may have let something slip. As much as he was angry with his friends, he didn’t think Mr. and Mrs. Lupin should have been killed. Yet who was he to stop it from happening? It was just another way for the Death Eaters to demonstrate the power they had.
Grudgingly, Peter wondered how the man was faring. Poorly, he imagined and, in this instance, Peter honestly couldn’t hold that against him.
Several hours passed and nothing happened; only that Lily was steadily getting closer to delivering the baby. James came out a few times to keep them updated and to persuade them to go get something to eat. Peter had taken him up on that offer without much persuasion and Sirius used this chance to go home to see if Remus was back yet. When he arrived back at their flat, he went to open the door, only for it to open on the other side.
“Ah, Sirius.” It was Dumbledore and Moody. “I would welcome you inside, but this is your home.”
Sirius smiled weakly, knowing Dumbledore was simply trying to cheer him up. “Is Remus inside?”
“Yes, but I believe he said he wished to be alone.” Dumbledore considered Sirius for a moment. “Of course, I know you will go inside, regardless.”
Sirius nodded and then turned his attention to Moody. “What happened?”
“The Death Eaters got them, that’s all there is to it.”
Sirius raised a sceptical eyebrow; the answers were never that simple when Alastor Moody was involved in something. He made it complicated. There had to be more to it. “Come on, Moody, that’s all?”
“In this case, I think they were just trying to make a point.”
“And so they killed his parents?”
“I’m not saying that it’s right. Harry and Anna were good people.”
They were good people and their lives had been ripped away from them before their time. “Is everything taken care of? Is there anything I need to do?” He would do whatever he could to make this easier for his friend. He knew Remus would be like James in this case - tell him that he didn’t have to do anything. What was different about this situation was that James had been expecting it. Remus had been caught completely off guard. Would that possibly make him accept help when it was offered?
Sirius doubted it. His roommate was too stubborn for his own good sometimes.
“You can talk to him,” Dumbledore suggested, knowing that was what Remus needed the most at the moment – someone to talk to. Sirius nodded to the two men as they moved past him and out of the building. The house was silent and he found Remus sitting in the kitchen, papers spread on the table in front of him. “Hey, Moony.”
Remus glanced up in acknowledgement, but said nothing.
Sirius was not surprised by this. He simply took the seat across from his friend. “What’s all that?” He had a strong idea of what it may be.
“Their wills,” Remus replied quietly, his eyes still glued to the papers, though it was evident he was no longer reading them. “How’s Lily?”
After everything that he had gone through that day, Sirius was startled to hear such a simple question. “She’s doing well. I think she tried to chuck something at James at one point, but we do that all the time, so I think he’s used to it.” Sirius chanced a grin, but he didn’t see the same appear on Remus’s face. “Look, mate, anything you need me to do, just say the word and I’ll do it.”
Remus shook his head. He clenched his eyes shut and ran his hands over his face. Merlin, he was tired. “I’ve got it under control. Why don’t you just go back to the hospital?”
Sirius had half a mind to say he would just go back the next day, as Lily was certain to have had the baby by then, but he didn’t. Dumbledore had said Remus wanted to be alone and if that was the only way he could help him, he would do it. “Alright,” he said, rising from his seat and pushing the chair in. “If you need anything, let me know and I’ll come home.” Remus nodded and Sirius took this as his leave.
The hospital was quiet when he got back and Peter was just where he had left him. The man had managed to dig up a copy of the Daily Prophet and Sirius felt a horrible pang hit his stomach. It was going to be strange to read that newspaper without any of Harry Lupin’s articles in it. Sirius resumed his seat beside the man and asked, “Has anything else happened?”
“I think Lily tried to strangle James at one point,” Peter commented idly as he ruffled the pages of the paper. “But that could’ve just been my imagination.”
Sirius snorted. Peter certainly had an overactive imagination then. Yet he honestly wouldn’t be shocked if the woman had tried to strangle her husband. “Is she any closer to having the baby?”
“She must be, there was a lot of excitement in there before and it wasn’t because James had done anything stupid.”
Sirius couldn’t help but sit up straighter in his seat upon hearing this. After everything that had happened today, to see Lily with her little baby would be the most joyous thing they could experience. Merlin, he felt almost like the expectant father as he paced back and forth, waiting for James or one of the Healers to come out with the news. He was going to be a godfather!
A little while later the door to the ward opened and a rather unsteady, though deliriously happy, James stepped out. He walked up to Sirius and Peter, who had gotten up when he came out. “I’m a dad,” he whispered shakily. “It’s a boy. I have a son!”
“Oh, Merlin, congratulations, James,” Sirius said as he pulled his best friend into a hug. He could feel the man shaking with happiness.
“He looks just like me, he’s barely got any hair but it’s still messy like mine.”
“Is the world ready for another James Potter?” Sirius asked with a smirk. He doubted the world would ever be ready for that. “Have you picked a name for him yet?”
James shook his head. “Not yet. Wait a few minutes and come in. They’ve just taken the baby to clean him.” Every time James spoke about his son, this goofy, disbelieving grin crossed his face. He couldn’t believe he was a father. James disappeared back inside the ward and said he would come back out to get them.
Peter, however, wasn’t staying. He said he had to hurry off, though he wouldn’t elaborate on where. He simply asked Sirius to offer his congratulations to Lily for him. Within fifteen minutes, the door opened again and James told Sirius to come in. Lily was lying on the hospital bed with a small bundle in her arms. James was right. The tuft of black hair on the baby’s head was as messy as James’s. Their faces were practically the same, though Sirius couldn’t tell about the eyes yet, as they were shut. The shape definitely didn’t look like James’s.
“Here’s your godson, Padfoot.”
“Hate to tell you this Lily, but it’s a right shame he doesn’t look like you,” Sirius said with a laugh.
“I know, I wish he did,” Lily said with a sly grin at her husband. James, however, was too thrilled to take offense to this. The woman looked bloody tired, but the happiness emanating from her overpowered it. “We need a name, you know, James.”
“I think Sirius is a brilliant name, but that’s just my opinion,” Sirius said with a snarky smile. “I should probably be getting home,” he said to James, who nodded understandingly. Sirius crossed the room and leaned forward to kiss Lily on the cheek. He clapped James on the shoulder and disappeared from the room.
“Any ideas for a name?” Lily asked as James took a seat in the chair beside the bed.
“Harry,” James replied without hesitation.
“Harry?” Lily repeated with some surprise.
“Yeah – Harry Potter, the names go well together, don’t they?” Lily couldn’t deny this, they did have a nice ring, but she didn’t understand why James had picked Harry. If anything, she thought he may have picked his father’s name. James easily saw the confusion and so he explained. “Harry and Anna Lupin were killed this morning. That’s why Sirius has gone home.”
Lily’s eyes had widened in shock. “Oh my… they’re dead?” She didn’t seem to be able to say anymore than that. “I… Harry is the perfect name.”
James smiled. “I think so too.”
“And I want to pick his middle name.” It took not even a full second for Lily to think of it. “James. Harry James Potter.”
Excerpt from Chapter Ninety: The Eulogy
“Look what Mrs. Sherman sent over.”
Remus looked around and saw Sirius had just entered the room, carrying a tray of what looked like his favorite biscuits. “She didn’t have to do that…”
“Considering we moved out without giving her a good reason, I’m inclined to agree with you,” Sirius said, setting the tray down on the coffee table. “But she insisted and asked me to tell you that she’s sorry.”
Remus swallowed with noticeable difficulty and nodded.
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by Rose Wilts
sugar & spice@TDA