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A/N: this chapter’s the last, sorry… but it’s a bit longer than the others!


CHAPTER 15
Together

They had arrived.

He and Harry were far from Hogwarts, far from Dumbledore, far from everyone. They were in a street, at a reasonable distance from a low fence behind which Remus couldn’t make out anything─ in truth he didn’t want to make out anything.

He took a few steps forward, knowing Harry was following. He didn’t want to continue walking, he didn’t want to see that one garden, he didn’t want to see what was left of it after fifteen years, and yet he couldn’t stop.

He took step after step, inexorably, until he could go no further. The fence was still there, but the house wasn’t.

Did he recognize the place? Of course he did. It had haunted his nightmares for fifteen years.

But being here, alive, was worse than the most terrible nightmare he could imagine.

Far worse.

He’d never gone back to Godric’s Hollow, never after that day shortly after the Potters had died, never, that was, until today.

Yet here he was, with Harry at his side, standing in front of his friends’ house. Or rather in front of what he could only call the ruins of the Potters’ house; fifteen year old ruins totally destroyed by the weather, the time, and the terror.

Ever since his friends had died the Fidelius Charm had been lifted, thus enabling every wizard to see what remained of the house─ but it was still hidden to everyone else. How ironical, wans’t it? Muggles didn’t know about the place where a Dark Lord who had hated them had met his end.

The ruins had seen the rain, the snow, the frost; they had witnessed numerous curious wizards wanting to visit the one place where Voldemort had disappeared. And then they had witnessed fifteen years of peace.

What were they going to witness next? Death again and times of fear, as before?

Cold ran down Remus’s spine. He had guessed correctly; the place brought out too many unbearable memories.

He let the leather book go; it would be useless for an hour, and then it would be their ticket for a trip back to Hogwarts. The thick Portkey fell loudly to the floor with a thud as Harry dropped it too.

Remus didn’t have to look at him to know that he was pale, and shocked, and frozen. They were both in the same state. His own hands were shaking; it wasn’t cold but now that he paid attention to it, his whole body was trembling as though he was immersed in ice.

Once again, memories flooded his brain, saturating him with images and sounds of another time.

He saw way past the crumpled rocks in front of him. They were no longer old stones piled up together; they were no longer the heartrending and depressing vestiges of a time that had met its end years before. They were full of life, full of joy and laughter.

Lily and James had bought the place not a long time after Hogwarts, a year after in fact, and they had invited Sirius, Peter and he, Remus, as soon as they had settled in. They had all arrived one after the other, coming to celebrate and looking forward to a cheerful evening.

Remus could smell in the air that Lily had cooked something delicious for them; she was splendid in her silky green dress. They were all cleanly and freshly shaved, and James had─ yes, that was right─ James had managed to flatten his hair for the occasion. Remus suspected he’d used more than one spell for that─ but surely someone would bring up the subject over dinner.

It had been one of the greatest days of his life. James and Lily had announced to them that she was pregnant, and Remus remembered James’s taunt at that moment: close your mouth, Sirius, I wouldn’t want to have to shut it for you.

Time had gone by quickly, faster than Remus would have wished. A year later, they were celebrating again. Harry was born, and no Death Eater could have erased the delight they had all felt upon seeing the baby. He was beautiful, and so small… so fragile.

So powerful, too, but that was another story. One that had ended up in this very house, on a cold automn night, when Voldemort had shown up. All because of what power ran in the blood of an innocent boy.

Remus stared at what had been the Potters’ garden. It was totally abandoned now, and the weeds had invaded it. All that remained was a tree. One tree. Harry’s tree.

It was something they had never mentioned to anyone; but after Harry had been born the Marauders had met there with Lily, and they had planted this oak. Now it was more than twenty feet tall.

Remus didn’t know what to say; somehow he felt like telling the story to Harry, like explaining him that maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that the oak was still there, and that he was alive… But how could he?

Slowly, he turned to him; Harry was staring at his parents’ house, at the place where his parents had died. At the place where he had lived.

Remus could see, with his open eyes, Sirius digging into the ground, then James and himself putting the tree in the soil. Peter had closed the hole. And Lily had held Harry the whole time, showing him what the four Marauders were doing.

“There,” Sirius had said with a grin, contemplating their work. He had then turned to baby Harry. “You know what?” he had muttered, “when this tree’s big, you’ll be coming home with a girlfriend under each arm.”

“Hey, don’t give him ideas!” James had tried to whack him over the head, and Sirius had avoided it, falling to the ground, playfully attempting to pull James down with him.

It had been three days before it had all happened. Three days before Voldemort had shown up and interrupted it all. Three days before the world had ended for them, three days before Sirius had been captured.

Remus fought against the tears. The next time he had seen him had been─ god.

In Azkaban.

He’d never told anyone. Not Harry, not Dumbledore, not even Sirius. He would keep that to the grave.

Yes, he’d been to Azkaban. The memory was perfectly clear.

About two weeks after he had been imprisoned, Remus had summoned enough courage to visit Sirius. What foolishness had taken him there? He wasn’t sure. Perhaps he just wanted to see Sirius, just to see him, to face him again just once and show him how much pain he had inflicted to the ones who had called him a friend.

If Sirius had a heart─ he used to, right?─ then at least Remus would break that heart as Sirius had broken his. He would hurt Sirius, the traitor. Sirius, who had betrayed them all.

Sirius, who was going to pay.

Somehow a part of him didn’t believe he was guilty; but the other part wanted vengeance. Sirius would pay for James and Lily as surely as Remus would transform into a werewolf the next month.

Two weeks, that’s how long it had taken him to finally stop telling himself he’d go the next day, or the one after.

The Dementors had let him pass, perhaps feeling the wolf inside of him, and Remus had found Sirius’s cell. It had almost broken him. His old friend had been lying on the cold floor, muttering incoherently in his sleep, in his nightmares.

Despite his fury, despite the fact that he would have wanted to give him a good punch in the head, Remys hadn’t woken him up. Just contemplated, as tears rolled down his face, where his so-called friend had ended up.

He didn’t know what exactly he would have done if Sirius had woken up and talked to him. Now that he thought back about it, he realized that maybe Sirius could have convinced him he was innocent, and then Remus could have found Dumbledore and they could have asked for a fair trial… who knew?

You know.

You were so enraged you wouldn’t have listened anyway; you would have attempted to strangle him.


He sighed.

So when Sirius had stayed on the freezing stones of his cells without seeing him, Remus had run away. As far away as possible.

Sirius never knew about that visit. No one had. And no one ever would.

Remus took his gaze from the House; he just couldn’t bear looking at it again.

Harry sat down, staring the ruins of his parents’ house through the fence. There were no tears rolling down his cheeks, but without seeing them Remus knew Harry’s eyes glinted.

There were so many things he wanted to say that he didn’t know where to start. Why had he brought Harry here exactly?

To make him remember what we’re fighting for, to make him understand his parents didn’t die in vain.

To show him we’ve been through more than others can even imagine. Both of us. We’re lost without the other.


He swallowed.

Now is the time to recognize it. Come on, Harry.

Now or never.


Harry looked intently at the grass for a while; Lupin could only imagine what thoughts he was trying to sort within himself. He stared ahead for a long, long time. For a moment Remus thought he’d take out his wand. That was, until─

“I’m sorry, Remus,” Harry muttered finally. It was barely more than a whisper, a strangled whisper, but Remus had no trouble hearing it. His heart jumped and it seemed it would break from the emotion.

Harry looked elsewhere, troubled, maybe wondering how Lupin was going to answer; but Remus placed a hand on his shoulder to reassure him, sitting down on the grass at his side.

He met Harry’s eyes and then, just then, they both understood what the other meant.

They didn’t speak. There was no need for it; they had finally reached a state of mute understanding far greater than words could bring. The other’s mere presence was enough.

There was something missing in Harry’s gaze, something Remus had become so accustomed to in the past few months that it startled him that it was gone: there was no more hatred in his eyes; no loathing, no disgust, no wish for payback, not even the slightest note of irritation.

Harry was looking straight at him, sincerely. He would fight Voldemort to his death, because that was his destiny.

No, it wasn’t too late for peace between them.

Harry had just started to accept it; and Remus felt as though maybe, just maybe he could let himself hope. The outline of a smile appeared on the corner of his mouth.

God, it feels so good.

Wondering what to say, he checked his watch and realized that they had already been gone for a long time. He opened his mouth to tell Harry how much time they had left─ and a detonation tore the serene silence.

A series of cracks seemed to rip the air.

NO!

It couldn’t be.

It couldn’t be, not when he had been so close to accomplishing what he had come there for.

It couldn’t be, because no one knew they were here. It was impossible, it was just plainly impossible.

And yet, at the far-end of the street, shadows Apparated. Again. And again, and again; first a couple, then three more, five, ten, fifteen. More and more showed up as the seconds passed, and then they regrouped.

To see more clearly, Remus put both hands in front of him to shield his eyes from the sun and stared ahead. From what he could make out, the ones who had Apparated all wore black cloaks and hoods.

And they all had their arms up, all of them, each carrying what was unmistakably a wand.

Harry tensed and Remus restrained himself for swearing, well-aware of the fact that they were standing there alone in an cleared street with a useless Portkey that wouldn’t work for another ten minutes beside them.

With no means of communication; no idea how to get help.

“This is hopeless,” Harry took in a breath. Remus’s vision blurred. What had he achieved in coming here? Nothing.

Nothing but death.

Nothing but seeing to it that both of them ended up killed.

It was time for a decision; instinctively Remus turned to the Potters’ house and took one last glance at the ruins.

No way he thought. I’m not Disapparating, not even to warn Dumbledore. Harry doesn’t know how to Disapparate, and I’m not leaving him.

Not now.

Not after what just happened between us. And not in front of that House. I wasn’t here last time, but I certainly not going to leave now.


He smiled, grabbing Harry’s arm. It was a sad smile, one that covered a grimace, a dead man’s grin. But nonetheless, it was a smile.

They had accomplished more than he could have dreamt for.

Yes, they would fight. For Harry’s parents. for Sirius, for Mr. Weasley, and for every one else who had died because of Voldemort.

Together, for the world, they would end it. And if they died trying, it wouldn’t be in vain.

As one, Harry and Remus got up, each reaching inside their pockets.

As one, they drew out their own wands, ready to fight.

As one, they stood hopelessly in the middle of Godric’s Hollow, the one place where it seemed fate struck so terribly, year after year.

Their eyes met momentarily, and Harry and Remus took a step forward.

Together.




A/N:I hope you don’t end up too depressed (or else just blame it on me!)

To answer some questions you might have, this story will NOT have a sequel to it… the end was voluntarily left open so I leave it to you to imagine what happens next…

Now, I really have no idea how to say this… but thanks a lot for your support, each and everyone of you. I am immensely grateful to all those who read and reviewed this story; it helped me continue writing and believing I might make it look good after all. Thanks also to Rosie who corrected my mistakes!
Please leave one last review if you have a couple of seconds before turning the page over…

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