Icy branches creaked in the biting wind. Glittering snow crunched underfoot. The distant sounds of merriment drifted across the pristine fields as carolers serenaded for the first time in years, reveling in the restored peace on earth.
But for Remus Lupin, there was little peace and no joy. His happiness had been part of the price for saving the wizarding world. He wished he could say it had been worth it, but he wasn’t sure it had. He missed them desperately, the only true friends he had ever known. Salty tears cut a warm trail down his cheeks. Nearly two months now
He had been invited to a party with what was left of the Order, but he couldn’t bear that. Perhaps it would have been good for him, spending the evening with the only people on earth who came close to understanding and sharing his loss, but he just couldn’t stand the haunted looks or the pity with which they looked upon him.
So he walked, trying to escape the sorrow, searching for something, anything
to ease the pain, hoping the bitter cold could numb the aching hole in his heart. And he walked…
The soft peeling of bells drew his attention and he looked up at a small village before him. At its center stood a small church. Moonlight glinted off of the bell swinging in the steeple. Colored light glowed from behind the stained glass, reflecting off of the snow covered ground, warm and inviting. He felt drawn to it.
He wandered up the salted walk to the crèche. Looking down at the statues, he couldn’t help but think of another family, another baby…
“Why?” his voice broke. “What happened to peace on earth?”
He fell to his knees and wept, overcome by grief and unaware of the people passing. Then, the voice of a child crossed the yard.
“Mum, that man is crying.”
…it’s none of your business.”
“But it’s Christmas; he shouldn’t be sad,” the child’s voice rung with innocence.
He looked up at the child’s bright face and his mind filled with sounds of other children, laughing and gleeful; images of children playing, oblivious to the terror gripping the adults in their world; the young and hopeful faces of his friends…
But there was evil in the world and it had stolen them from him. One had gone willingly, for reasons he knew he would never understand.
But the others had fought…and won
, defeating evil with love. Love so great it gives a man the courage to stand against overwhelming power; love so fierce that a mother willingly trades her life for that of her child…
He looked at the babe lying in the manger. The mind-boggling love of a father, that he would give his only son…
And then he knew. It had been for the good, the innocent, the children…and something bigger than himself.
He had found what he was looking for. Peace was found in the promise of hope.