Disclaimer: Any recognizable characters aren't mine, but are J.K. Rowling's. Too bad, I might have taken better care of them… ;)

A/N: I didn't think I'd be able to write for a long time after 'Deathly Hallows', but this popped into my head this morning and I felt I needed to get it out. As usual, I shall deal with my complete and utter heartbreak and devastation with some humour. Catharsis, here I come! I hope.

The Best Death

The afterlife was a place of beauty, of peace, of tranquility… But the serenity was suddenly broken by the start of an all-too familiar dispute.

"Prongs, you wanker!" came the scornful voice of Sirius Black, who threw his hands up into the air in frustration. "Walking up to Voldemort without a wand? What, did you think you'd win him over with your charming smile and dashing good looks?"

"Oi!" James Potter retorted in indignation. "I was trying to save my wife and child! It was a courageous way to go – too bad I can't say the same about being killed by a bloody curtain!"

The other man narrowed his eyes in annoyance. "How many times do I have to tell you? It wasn't a curtain, it was the Veil of Death! Bit more impressive than mere drapery, that."

Now the third man added his input. "He has a point, Prongs," Remus Lupin said diplomatically. "The ominous name really does make it sound a tad better than you're implying."

"Plus, I was trying to protect your son," Sirius pointed out. "A bit of gratitude and respect would be nice, but instead I keep getting cracks about staying away from windows!"

"I have endless respect for your intentions, Padfoot, it's just the means of death I can't get over! A curtain, seriously…"

"Yes, Siriusly!"

"You have to admit, it does seem a bit…" Remus paused as he tried to search for an appropriate word. "…Anticlimactic?"

"Anticlimactic?" he repeated, aghast. "It was the dramatic culmination of an epic battle, anything could have happened! Unlike poor Prongs' demise over here," he snorted, hitching a thumb in James' direction. "Honestly, even Trelawney could've predicted that one."

"Predictable, you say? Hardly! I placed myself in the path of one of the most powerful Dark Wizards of all time – he could have done anything to me!"

"Now, that's true…" Remus mused.

"Ahh, Moony, ever the peacemaker, weren't you?" James grinned. "Nice to see things haven't changed much. But now that you've finally joined us, why not get in on our long-standing argument?"

"And what argument might that be?" he asked amusedly. "It's hard to keep track with you two."

"We're vying for the title of Best Death, of course!" Sirius announced. "And frankly, I'm surprised you're even a contender, mate. I had my money on you going out rather quietly – Death by Book Mould, or something of the like."

Remus raised his eyebrows, but merely said, "Perhaps I shouldn't be party to this…"

"Still too modest, are you?" chuckled James.

"Oh, not at all," Remus responded mildly, trying to suppress a smile. "It's just that I'm bound to win, that's all. It'd be unfair to you both, really, to simply jump in and take the title so handily."

The other two men gaped silently at him for a few moments before Sirius managed to sputter, "Excuse me? Forget Beyond the Veil – I think you've gone Around the Bend instead!"

"Yes, just how do you figure you'd win, Moony?" frowned James. "Please, enlighten us!"

"Well, as you said, all you two have is a wandless plea and a nose-dive through a curtain – whereas I have a particularly impressive final battle with Death Eaters," Remus explained calmly.

"Oi, I was battling Death Eaters too," Sirius protested. "And at least my untimely demise was unique! What, you two both went out with an Avada Kedavra? So did half the people here, what's so special about that?"

"More impressive than a sodding curtain," James muttered under his breath, while Remus insisted, "I hardly think it's anything to scoff about! There's no shame in being in a duel to the death and taking the curse meant for your wife!"

"Oh yes, Moony definitely deserves nobility points for that," Prongs nodded.

Sirius barked with laughter. "Nobility points? Hardly! Doesn't it cancel out that Tonks took the curse meant for him at the same time?"

"Er, yes, well, I can't say I was anticipating that…" Remus frowned. "But my selfless motives were still there!"

"Oh, of course they were – that's our Moony, a noble, self-sacrificing martyr to the very end," Sirius smirked.

"I wouldn't be so smug if I were you, Curtain-Boy!" a voice interrupted them, and the three men turned to see Tonks and Lily staring at them with strange expressions that combined exasperation and amusement. "Remus went out a hero – I say he's got you all beat."

"Might you be a bit biased, Mrs. Lupin?" James wondered sarcastically.

Tonks smirked and shrugged innocently, while Lily imperiously raised a brow and looked over at her husband. "Of course she's biased – but that doesn't mean she's not right! It really was very heroic of you, Remus," she added, turning to him and smiling approvingly.

"So what am I, chopped liver?" James pouted.

"Oh, hush, I think your actions were just as gallant," she placated him, rolling her eyes. "I say it's between James and Remus – Sirius, you ought to just pull out of the running and save yourself some embarrassment. You really have no chance of winning here when you were already bested by a curtain."

"Veil of Death!" he hissed, looking mutinous. "And if you two shrews are going to gang up on me like this, then I'm not sure I even want the damn title anymore!"

"What's the matter, Sirius – sour grapes?" Lily cooed in faux sympathy.

"Or sour drapes?" Tonks laughed.

"That's it, no more wifely input!" he roared, waving his arms and trying to shoo them away. "We men will settle this between us, somehow…"

The two women glanced at each other, sighed in exasperation, and then turned to walk away amidst yells of, "At least I got some good spells off beforehand!", "If that doesn't show Gryffindor courage, what does?", and "It's NOT A BLOODY CURTAIN!"

"They're going to be rowing about this forever, aren't they?" Lily questioned rhetorically.

"Seems that way," Tonks replied. "Where'd I get the impression that the afterlife was supposed to be peaceful?"

"It probably was before… But with the Marauders here? Not a chance."

Well, there you go… I've never written anything so quickly before, and I know it's no masterpiece, but it actually does make me feel better. Hope it helps you too. Please review, and lemme know! Also, feel free to rant and rave about DH injustices as much as you want to – believe me, I'm right there with you. ;)

- ish -