I don’t believe it, but the letter says it is so- and why would Dumbledore lie? Why would he tell me Sirius was a traitor? OoC Remus
Beta: Looking for one
Rating: PG (for powerful angst)
Written: Sept. 8, 2007, 1 to 1:30 AM
Characters: Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore
Summary: I don’t believe it, but the letter says it is so- and why would Dumbledore lie? Why would he tell me Sirius was a traitor? OoC Remus
Disclaimer: All characters, settings, etc, are the copyright of JK Rowling and Bloomsbury Publishing. And I’m not making money off of this.
I sit here, staring out the window. Waiting. Waiting for what, I don’t yet know. But I’m waiting, sitting here in this chair, an open book on my lap. In this book, folded between pages the faint breeze has turned, is a letter. A rather impersonal, informative letter- from Albus Dumbledore. Unusual for him, but I suppose he didn’t have time to write a touching, heartfelt letter. He is a busy man after all: especially now, cleaning up the mess Voldemort and his Death Eaters have left behind. Straightening out the chaos Sirius- funny, clever, loyal Sirius- helped cause. I don’t believe it, but that’s what the letter says- and why would Dumbledore lie? Why would he tell me Sirius was a traitor- that he killed Lily, James, little Peter, and a handful of innocent muggles- unless it was true? Which it is not, of course- it simply defies the laws of friendship, the eternal promise of marauders, and the love we all held- hold- for one another. I cannot think of anyone with the capacity for such cruelty.
My one consolation is that this man, the one who claims to be Dumbledore in the letter, has reported that baby Harry is alive. Breathing, all tiny fingers and toes still attached, only an ugly scar to mark the tragic murder of his parents. The man impersonating Dumbledore- the one who can imitate his writing so well, the one who wrote me this letter- has not even attempted to fool me into thinking Harry gone. He has shown me a small shard of kindness in my cold world, even as his words shatter it.
I know now for what I’m waiting. I’m waiting for a laughing, joyful Sirius to burst through the door, a sign that all is right in the world, perhaps even telling me, “You believed that letter? I can’t believe you thought me capable of killing Prongs and Lily. Aw, Moony, how tragic- you’ve no sense of humor! None!” Or maybe I’m waiting for Peter, peering around the doorway in a manner that greatly resembles a rat- alive, if a tad paranoid. No, I’m waiting for Dumbledore, infuriated by this- this imposter! Who wrote a letter in his hand, signed it in his name, and wrote in a style so incredibly Dumbledore-like that I am, even now, half-fooled. I’m waiting for someone to come here, to my lonely flat, and tell me the tears that track down my cheeks are for naught- to tear this silly letter to shreds and help me forget it ever existed. I’m awaiting the moment I can give a feeble laugh and shake all this off.
I’ve been waiting for a while now- several hours. If Dumbledore were really presenting evidence of Sirius’s betrayal to the Ministry, he’d be nearly done now. He'd be preparing to visit me- the one who lost everything in the space of a day. But how silly! I should just go see the Headmaster now, have a good laugh, and return to my enthralling novel about a witch posing as a muggle nurse, curing patients of terminal diseases, then getting framed for stealing supplies and a few drugs. I’m at the part where the medical staff discovers that patients are no longer experiencing miraculous recoveries- and realizing that she tended to everyone who walked out, cancer-free or in impossible remission. You know, the good part- the part where everything is about to be fixed, and she prances off with the handsome doctor who never doubted her. The part where all that went wrong is wiped away, all the hurt forgotten and meaningless.
I hear a soft knock on the door, but know my waiting will continue. That I will wait a long time for my happily ever after, for the return of my friends. I will wait many years, I feel it, perhaps all my life and more, to rid myself of the sickening contents of the letter nestled between the pages of a book that tells only lies. For there is no happiness left to be had- the knock, the quiet reluctant knock, told me so.
I stand, and see, through the glass of the door, an elderly man. A Dumbledore who looks his age, looks world-weary and saddened. And it is this, more than the letter, more than the knock, that declares to me that this letter was penned at Hogwarts, in a circular office, on a desk by a phoenix’s perch. It declares to me that this letter would not infuriate Dumbledore and launch a search for an imposter- he wrote it, after all. It contains no lies, only pain.
Vaguely, I feel myself falling back into my chair. My book- my book and that abomination- have long since fallen to the floor. I’ve not the strength to open the door, but that’s all right- Dumbledore, the genuine Dumbledore, will let himself in; he knows. I’ve not the strength to keep my eyes open, my head up. I don’t know where the strength to breathe comes from, but it is with me still. I have little strength beyond what I’m using merely to exist, but there is a little- and I use it to wait. To keep a small flame of hope alive in my heart, to wait for eternity and hope all this waiting will be rewarded.
I hear the door close softly- Dumbledore has let himself in, as I knew he would. He slowly rounds the bookcase, his aged body passing pages of joy and lies- of places where evil dies and good survives, flourishes, and thrives. “Remus,” he says. He sounds tired. Not as tired as I am- he has the strength to stand, still. Maybe because he’s exerting no energy waiting. Maybe because he’s heard Sirius crowing Voldemort’s praise as he’s thrown into a frozen cell guarded by creatures of nightmare; because he’s seen James’s eyes, the life gone from them. Because he’s seen Lily, equally lifeless, in her destroyed house, gone to live with her husband eternally, separated from her only son. But I’ve not seen anything but that letter- the letter that I value only as a bookmark, for it is good for nothing more. Certainly not for destroying lives- for obliterating worlds. Ink and parchment can not be so powerful.
“Remus,” he whispers again, quieter this time. “Remus- I’m so sorry.” Logic has failed my faith once more- there is no way the world as I knew it still exists and Dumbledore stands before me, with dead eyes, apologizing. I lean back in the chair, exhausted by the internal battle between agony, loss, and mourning and that tiny hope, the determination that time will solve everything. Dumbledore unknowingly, unwillingly amplifies all that I’m trying to crush. Unintentionally echoing and reviving a poisonous doubt I had finally expelled, he whispers, “They’re gone- and I’m so very sorry. So sorry. There is no changing fact.” No changing death, he means. No righting the ultimate wrongs of the world.
Dumbledore has more to say, but I can’t hear him- I’m busy. Busy waiting. Eventually, he leaves. Maybe he realized that nothing he could say would bring me comfort; he left me to do as I will. Trusting man, that Dumbledore. He must have sensed that, were it not for the fact that I’m waiting, I would have sought a nice cliff off which to jump the moment he stepped off my porch. And he left anyway, trusting me to do right by myself and by my friends’ memories.
I bend down and retrieve the letter, allowing the book to close on my page- what happiness can a fantasy world hold when the one where I live has shrunk to encompass nothing but suffering, but misery? I unfold the letter, but tears blur my vision. Not that it matters- I know what those loopy, long letter say. They sentence me to a life without my friends, to be the last marauder. To never hear Lily singing Harry a lullaby again, never see James’s shock as Harry learns a new word, never hear Siri-… never hear Peter’s squeaky voice again. I’ve been sentenced to a life in hell by a bookmark. There’s a joke in there, somewhere, and though I can’t properly grasp the irony of it, I laugh. Empty laughter echoes through out the room, ending my wait- I was waiting to laugh, wasn’t I? But laughing alone, and the sound is so depressing that I stop. The determined faith has vanished, my patience and determination defeated- Dumbledore’s absence has won the battle his hollow words could not.
I return to my book- what else is there to do, in a universe where only I exist? I finish quickly. The protagonist dies in the end. Dies- and I envy her. Envy her escape. From lies, letters, Dumbledores, but mostly from futile waiting and dying inside while breathing still. Standing, for I am not dead and am now the strongest of all, I reshelf the book. I will sleep, waiting for the morning. For the morning will come, will reward my waiting as neither death nor any human being would.