Writing For: asilvertear
Pairing: Implied Peter/James, implied Peter/Remus
Summary: you hate what your world has become; black and white with not a shade of grey in sight
Warnings: Angst, character death (various).
Author's Notes: Request was: How the soft boy became a hardened killer or...well, something that shows the dichotomy with him. He's one thing...and another. He's weak and cowardly...and strong and brave, in his own way. I'm not sure if this is what you were looking for (no, on second thought, I know it isn't), but this fic sort of ran away from me. So, I hope you enjoy it anyway. Thanks to happiestwhen for the beta (and the title).
You hate listening to broken screams and cruel laughter and the impossibly loud crack of skulls and floors colliding. You hate watching old friends (and old enemies) writhe in pain at the end of your Lord's wand, and you hate knowing that there is nothing you can do to stop it. You hate what your world has become; black and white with not a shade of grey in sight. But most of all, you hate the person you have become, so you close your eyes and press back against the dirty and chipped stone wall, pretending that you are someone (anyone) else.
At night, when the screams have stopped and the laughter is only an echo of what has been, a reminder of what is to come, you sit outside one of the cells. You stare into it for hours at a time, memorizing the endless maze of cracks that decorates the walls and the lines on the cold stone floor and the intricate dance of shadows cast by the harsh moonlight. The thing (you can't bring himself to refer to the creature inside as a man anymore) inside the cell never moves from its perch in the corner. Its body is twisted and mangled and not quite human anymore; the face too long, the nails too sharp, the ears not quite in proportion to its head. Bellatrix tells you that it's because it is too weak to complete Its transformations, that eventually, It will stay an animal.
Its mind, you know, is broken. 'It is a shame, isn't it?' Bellatrix will say softly, her dark, cold eyes never moving from the cell, 'that someone who was once so intelligent has been reduced to this.'
And you will force yourself to nod in agreement as the two of you watch It scratch unreadable symbols and marks that neither of you can recognize or read into the stone. 'He made his choice,' Bellatrix will continue. 'He could have been one of us.'
You say nothing (there is nothing left to say).
When the silence is thick and the night seems to stretch on forever, It will talk to itself. It's voice is rough and raspy and unfamiliar to you, and you can never quite catch what It's saying, only bits and pieces like 'Harry' and 'Sirius and 'Tonks' and 'dementor' and 'veil'. Words that, out of context, make no sense at all (and yet, in some twisted way you can't quite understand, make all the sense in the world.)
Sometimes, when you are sure no one else is around, you will talk to It. 'I was his first friend, you know,' you will say, narrowing your eyes and staring intently at the creature, as though looking for some sort of a reaction. 'We met on the train, and he let me sit with him.'
The thing doesn't move and, infuriated, you continue. 'You and Sirius and Lily, you stole him from me!'
There is no reply, but then you never really expected one.
You remember that day. You remember walking through the rubble and the ash and you remember the satisfying crack of splintering wood and breaking glass and you remember the muffled shouts as you stepdugyourheel on the photo frame.
Most of all, you remember the horrified look on Lily Potters face as you tossed her picture into the flames.
'James wasn't supposed to die,' you repeat again (and again, and again, and again). 'He wasn't.'
The thing doesn't move, but It doesn't have to.
It's not him you're trying to convince.
One sunny Monday morning, a young woman is thrown into the cell across from It.
When you think about it, you remember that things began to change in seventh year. It stopped being James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter, and it became SiriusandRemus and LilyandJames.
James was handsome and James was popular and James was everything you ever wanted to be.
Sometimes, when you think It is asleep, you look at the woman. You think you vaguely remember her from the time you spent at Hogwarts, but you aren't sure. You remember that she was a Gryffindor (Or maybe a Hufflepuff? You suppose it doesn't matter, anyway.) She was pretty (you suppose if you could change your appearance at will, you would have been, too), but no longer. Her hair is knotted and tangled and streaked with dirt and mud and her face (her eyes, her lips, her frown) is old.
'I was never strong like you, Sirius, and James were,' you say.
It makes a strangled sort of noise and curls up into itself, and you think that maybe, he isn't that strong either.
The screams are loud (the sobs louder) and you watch (can't look away) as It twist and turns and scratches at the wall and tries tomakeitstop. Whatever small part of the person he once was, you think, must recognize the woman.
It hates you.
But when the laughter begins, and the sobs (Tonks sobs) grow louder, you think that maybe it hates Bellatrix more.
'This is your fault,' she says, voice hoarse from screaming. 'You were his friend!'
You ignore her, because she is right (and you wish she wasn't).
You remember the day Sirius went to Azkaban as though it were yesterday. You remember anger and the force of the explosion and a shooting pain in your hand. You remember the shouts and the screams and the crying and the world towering (looming) big and large all around you.
And most of all, you can remember the laughter.
The air is thick and the raindrops heavy, falling across the ground in an elegant pattern of dropdropdrop. It reminds you of the times your mother and you would sit in the rain together when things got bad and let the rain wash away your worries.
The rain smells clean (like pine and fresh lemons) and familiar (vaguely like your mother's perfume) to you. The raindrops fall steadily, sliding downdowndowndown your skin and carrying away the grime and the dirt and the blood, but you frown to yourself because your worries -
(are still there).
You remember the day you saw Remus again. You remember seeing him on the train, looking tired and haggard (just like he always did). You remember the dementor and the chocolate and the talk of Sirius Black.
And most of all, you remember the twinge of guilt, knowing that Remus hated Sirius because of you.
One sunny Monday morning, Nymphadora Tonks is removed from her cell.
You never see her again.
The whispers begin three days later on a gloomy Thursday evening. 'Harry Potter is dead,' they say. 'The Dark Lord has won!'
That night, you don't sleep at all.
You never noticed it at the time, but whenever you held Harry, he cried.
'You're the only one I have left,' you say quietly, casting a long look at the thing. 'Marauders to the end, right, Remus?'
Remus doesn't respond (you aren't surprised), and you smile a bittersweet smile and raise your wand. 'I'm doing this for you.'
The words slip far to easily from your parted lips, and -
when Remus meets the green light, you swear you see him smile.