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Just Like Old Times by minniemcmouse

Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 1,937

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language

Genres: Angst
Characters: Remus Lupin

First Published: 04/13/2005
Last Chapter: 04/13/2005
Last Updated: 06/09/2005


Marvellous Banner By Melihobbit! There was still hope. That was until Dumbledore told us the one thing which no one wanted to hear: there is a spy in the Order of the Phoenix. As he did sixteen years ago, he unwisely warned us and, once again, suspicions are building, causing us to crumble from the inside. Our one last defence – our unity – gone with a few words and replaced with feelings of isolation, melancholy and fear which cannot be removed. Yes, I think with a wry smile, it is just like old times.

Chapter 1: Just Like Old Times
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Just Like Old Times

A suspicious mind is a dangerous thing; once let loose it will devour any sense of trust which once surrounded it, leaving it isolated from all but feeling relatively safe within itself. Suspicious minds are also infectious; once you make contact with someone who houses suspicions many a time the feeling of distrust is passed on to make a new suspicious mind and very few people are strong enough within themselves not to succumb to this illness. The main question which is always wanting to be addressed is thus: what makes the first suspicious mind?

Think about it. People do not just become suspicious all of a sudden, so something must happen to make it so and invariably that something is the most terrible of things. It is an idea. Ideas are planted into the conscious and once an idea has been planted it can be very difficult to remove it. An idea may come from within the self or it may have been passed on by another, a suspicious mind perhaps?

In reality it does not matter where this idea has come from, it just matters whether it is there or not. We would be better of if it weren't.

I am sat alone amongst others at the kitchen table. I sip tea, not because I want to but because it is something upon which I can focus my attention when I feel I can no longer meet the gaze of those around me, or I do not wish to look up to Dumbledore who sits at the head of the table, discussing matters which are only vaguely interesting to me. The end is near and, just like old times, we do not know when it will be but for this once we know what will happen. We know that it will be Harry and Voldemort, as distasteful as the idea is to all who have met the boy. Since his death Harry has not been the same. As in the times of old I find myself unable to say his name. Previously out of hatred for a man thought to have betrayed us all but now just saying his name conjures back the images of that day and the thoughts of what could have happened had my grasp on Harry not been tighter, had I allowed him to run after his godfather. I thank Merlin every day that my strength was what it was, after all, to let him get himself killed in such a manner would surely ruin all.

The times are frightening, even to those who have already lived in their double fifteen years ago. People die; it is a fact of life. People are murdered; it is a fact of war and I see terrible things when I look into the eyes of others. I see hate, love, fear and every now and again a glimmer of hope or maybe happiness but that is rare now. More and more frequently I find myself observing something akin to suspicion in the eyes of others and I know that their thoughts which observe those around them and wonder, just how did Voldemort know what we’re planning? It does not matter how he knows now because we are already breaking apart from the insides and we all see it in everyone else: the suspicion branded into their eyes and we believe that it is not in our own, that we alone remain pure and uncorrupted, that no one else is as open with everyone or as honest as you are. Then you catch yourself looking at Tonks and wondering where she was last night and when Mad Eye scratches his arm is it because the Dark Mark tingles upon his skin? It suddenly strikes you when you stare into the mirror that you see the same suspicions burning in your eyes and you are no longer alone, you are one of them, just as distrustful and just as fearful and you know that you have been one of them all along.

My mind has wandered far now, my gaze lost in my tea and my train well of the tracks which they began on. Suspicious minds: That's where I began. There are suspicious minds all around and I was determined not to become one. I have trodden that track before and as much as I resisted I find myself walking it again. That mistrust of those around me could well have been what destroyed the Potters all those years ago although when really considered then maybe they should have been perhaps more vigilant of those around them and those they had trusted. It matters no longer now; they are long gone although sadly the man who caused their deaths is not. I can no longer think of the word 'vigilant' now without seeing the bizarre visage of Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody in his bowler hat. He wears it more often now to hide the fact half his hair fell out from a rather nasty curse in a battle only two weeks previous. I fear looking up into that electric blue eye but more so the one natural eye, the one which proves he is still human; he is still what I long to be but never can. I look up anyway; I know that I have allowed my thoughts to consume far more than I intended.

Dumbledore is speaking now and once again he speaks words which all dreaded to hear. The worst words he could possibly have said in reality.

"There is a spy in the Order of the Phoenix."

Those words should never have been uttered. Just like old times I find myself believing that we would have been better off without that knowledge, better off as a group, whole with a rotten centre than shattered pieces alone. Still that was the one word, the one idea that set our minds working and shifting straight onto Suspicious Mode: 'spy'. The idea that one of our own would be working against us after knowing us so long is something terrible to think, something so awful and atrocious that we simply refuse to believe it. Many did so in the past and many are doing so right now: Molly's hands are to her face and her mouth slightly open in shock and I know, as certainly as I know that my name is Remus John Lupin that she doesn't believe it and will refuse to. Other people are not quite so certain of the security in the Order: Severus glances at those around him surreptitiously and I see the way his eyes come to a halt on me as if I would be the one to betray Harry and the entire Order - the only things I have left which resemble a family to me now. Once again it is the curse of the werewolf which brings the eyes of the others to a rest on me and just like old times that will be their mistake. Mistrust because of ancient prejudices; if possible, that is the worst mistrust of all.

Dumbledore gives a few moments silence for the information to pass through our thick skulls and for our slow minds to process the information that we are not trustworthy. Well, one of us is not and one of us, given the correct knowledge will bring us spiralling downwards to our doom. It is my opinion that he tells us this, not so that we might become separated but so that we might become more guarded but that is never the way. The way is always narrow, narrow enough at least so that we must walk the path alone, in isolation and without the trust of anyone else. I hate it. I hate the way that we separate once more and I know that if we are to lose it will be because of Dumbledore, because he told us what we should never rightly know.

I feel almost betrayed by him. He knows the damage that one single word can do to a group once so tightly knit and yet he believes that just because we won despite this all those years ago then the same must be true now. This is so very typical of him to neglect the small fact that this almost destroyed us last time but no, he always knows best (and I hate to admit it but he does in reality) and has the last say in everything. Well what if I didn't want to know that someone wants us all dead?! What if my ignorance was bliss? It matters little now though, my ignorance has been banished and I am fully aware that someone at the table, who most likely stares at myself hoping to see some glint of malevolence in my eyes (or perhaps a sign above my head reading 'traitor'?), would sooner stab me than embrace me. Still, who wouldn’t? I am a werewolf after all.

I move towards self pity once again and I know that many people would want to give me a good kick to the shins for it although in one case more likely shoot the killing curse at me.

I sigh as everyone begins to depart from the meeting and the realisation dawns that I am under the influence of a suspicious mind once again and already I try to see the spy in everyone I encounter. Sadly, there are some mistakes that one cannot learn from and just like old times Dumbledore may have ruined all by informing us of things we never should have known.

Some things are far too similar to the past for my liking even as I stare around at the people making their way out of the room, they are physically feet away from me but my mind is already distancing myself from them and locking myself in a shell which none can penetrate, just as they do as they give out subtle glances from their worn eyes. Fear, anger but mostly fear reflected back at me but I no longer care for it. Just like old times Dumbledore has potentially ruined everything we have built up for so long and as my thoughts twist and writhe I wonder just whether or not I was right to decline such a generous offer made for the second time in twenty years. I wonder whether it would have done me any good to turn away from the light and become all that the Order fears. Just like old times I know that I was right to say no, despite everything Voldemort can offer, I know that I was correct to decline and to stop any thoughts of crossing from everything I know to all that is unfamiliar and evil. Another suspicious glance in my direction is all it takes to make me wonder just what kind of a family I have when they would suspect me of betraying them. Just that one glance makes me think that maybe I should have accepted, if only so that their fears of me were founded and if only so that I would deserve their suspicions.

The offer will be made again, shortly. Voldemort knows I break slowly from the hating glances of those around me, shielded only too poorly. The soul can only take so much rejection. Believe me, I know.

Just like old times I declined such a generous offer to me and yet… yet I wonder if I was right to do so. After all, it would not do to make the same mistakes thrice, would it?