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Empty Chairs At Empty Tables by Sweet Decadence
Chapter 1 : There's A Grief That Can't Be Spoken
 
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beautifulCI from my khanh (abyss@tda)



Remus Lupin walks down the length of the lonely table, the Great Hall completely empty, the stars twinkling brightly on the enchanted ceiling. He runs his finger over the top of the smooth grain of the wood, remembering all the times he had spent sitting at that very table, all the memories, all the plans, all the pranks; his friends were gone. He was the only Marauder left. He was alone. James- gone, Sirius- gone, Peter- as gone as he could be, and might as well have been dead. Peter was dead to Remus at least. His once friend was long gone, lost to the taste of- albeit, evil- power.

There's a grief that can't be spoken, there's a pain goes on and on
Empty chairs at empty tables, now my friends are dead and gone


He takes a seat on the bench where he would sit when he was young, smiling weakly at the picture Sirius had etched into the table when they were in fourth year. It was nothing more than simple stick figures, but nonetheless, it was of the four of them. Pete was hardly a stick figure, to be entirely honest; Sirius had made him more of a circle- but regardless, it was the four of them together. The closest thing Remus would ever see to the happy group of boys ever again. It was this very table that they had made their ill-formed plans to try and defeat the dark forces that had started to take over. They had been so stupid to think that four simple boys like themselves could take this on. So young and uninformed and foolish.

Here they talked of revolution, here it was they lit the flame
Here they sang about tomorrow, and tomorrow never came


He remembers their rallies like it was the day before, when he would watch James and Sirius stand on the benches, trying to recruit whoever they could to join their fight in the war. He can still see it as he sits there looking around; the memories pouring into his mind clouding around him like an apparition.

"Who will stand up to them, eh?" A transparent James shouts, even though it only sounds like a whisper to Remus, "Who will join our side of the fight?"

"Eternal glory to those if we win! Now who really wants to pass that up?" Sirius smirks as he appears next to Remus, taking a bite out of an apple, "I know I don't, mate. Just think Remus, we could save the magical world as we know it. We could be heroes- eternally remembered, written about, praised. We could have it all, Moon. And on top of that, we'd be doing what's right."

Just as swiftly as the misty vision had appeared, it was gone again, leaving Remus alone in the dark hall once again.

From the table in the corner they could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing and I can hear them now


He lets his head fall into his hands, tears threatening the corners of his eyes. They were dead because they stood up for what was right. It didn't seem fair. And why was he still sitting here, alone, alive? Why wasn't he with his friends? He was a coward; James and Sirius had gone into it head-on. He was the one to take the less dangerous part of their revolution. Sirius always told him it was because he was the smart one, but Sirius wasn't around to tell him that anymore. They were gone, and it was his fault. He refused the position of Secret Keeper to Lily and James. He had gotten them killed. He had let Sirius get framed for something he didn't do, for murder that- deep down- Remus knew he had never committed. He took away his best friends' lives, in more ways then one.

"Don't beat yourself up about it Moon," James' voice rings in his head, "Pete can do it, we trust him too. He is, after all, a Marauder, yeah? I understand completely."

He can feel James patting him on the back, but when he turnes to face him, there is nothing there but dust particles glimmering in the moonlight.

James and Sirius. They had both died in a battle. James in a battle for his son and wife's lives. Sirius in a battle for Harry's. Remus had let them down by not being more aggressive, by not being more vengeful and pushed towards the fight. Peter had been lost in a battle for his soul. And there he was, sitting at their table, healthy and alive. It wasn't justice in the least.

The very words that they had sung became their last communion
On the lonely barricades at dawn


"I am so sorry," Remus weeps into his hands, "I'm sorry that we didn't fall together, for the same purpose. We should have gone together. I should have fought harder."

His shoulders spasm with the sobs wracking through his body, he can feel his lungs being crushed in his complete anguish and despair. A pain that would live as long as he did; a pain that would never go away.

Oh my friends, my friends, forgive me that I live and you are gone
There's a grief that can't be spoken, there's a pain goes on and on


"We can win this," He hears James say, and looks up to the the ghostly version of the young Prongs again, "We can defeat him together."

"If we stick together, we can get through anything," Lily smiles as she appears and rests her hand on James'.

"They're right, Moon," Sirius smirks as he sits atop the empty table.

He reaches his hand out to the young boy next to him, wanting- wishing him to be real, but his fingers pass through him like air.

"We can band together and defeat this," Frank Longbottom nods, Alice's arm linked through his, the two of them smiling brightly at him.

"Why are you doing this to me?" Remus weeps, "Why are you coming back now? Why?"

He slams his fists on the wood, the ghosts disappearing once again as quickly as they had shown up.

They would never rally here again. They would never be together.

Phantom faces at the window, phantom shadows on the floor
Empty chairs at empty tables, now my friends will meet no more


"We aren't winning," Remus speaks to the dark, "We can't win. We aren't together, we can't beat this. We're losing. You're gone, I'm alone, and this battle is a lost cause."

"Nothing is a lost cause, Remus. There is always a chance. Where there is love, and friendship, and family, there is hope." He hears Sirius' voice in his head, "There is always a chance."

"I won't let you have died in vain," Remus breathes heavily, "I won't let you have died for nothing. I will fix this. If it kills me, I will change this. For my family, my brothers, my friends; I will not let my selfishness go unpunished. I will give my life for this. And I will see you again. I will see you all again. I promise you that."

Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me what your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs and empty tables, now my friends will sing no more


 




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