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A/N: Hey I want to make thoughts II catch up with this one but I figured you guys were going to KILL me if I didn't update that one too... so here you go!

Close transformation

Up. He needed to get up, because it was morning and the sun was already high in the sky. He didn’t have lessons to teach until ten─ thankfully because he hadn’t slept much. He’d only got to bed at seven in the morning to drowse on and off for a couple of hours.

Lupin quickly dressed, laced his shoes and walked out, but not down the stairs─ he didn’t feel like breakfast at all. Of course even if breakfast was over in the Great Hall he could have gone to the kitchens to grab something, but eating wasn’t what he had in mind. Quickly he went to the Staff Room and, crossing the empty place in a few steps, reached the stairs that led to Dumbledore’s office.

“Come in,” Dumbledore’s voice reached him through the oak door. Lupin entered the office─ he would never stop being amazed at it─ and sat down when he arrived in front of Dumbledore. Fawkes, the Phoenix, was flying around near the ceiling, stretching out his wings in circles of colors.

Remus started telling Dumbledore what he had in mind as soon as the Headmaster had raised his eyes from the parchment he was scribbling on. Dumbledore listened to him calmly, as always, and when Lupin was finished─ he told his story without looking at Dumbledore because it was just too hard─, Dumbledore stayed quiet.

Lupin feared for an instant that maybe he would say no. Maybe he wouldn’t think this was such a good idea and maybe he’d send him back without another word─

“I understand,” Dumbledore said finally, and Lupin let out a breath. But Dumbledore seemed a bit agitated; he shook his head slightly: “Remus, the danger─”

“I know,” Lupin said quietly. Once out of Hogwarts, no one would be there to protect them.

Dumbledore stared at him for an instant, as though trying to judge whether Lupin would be able to handle it.

Come on, no one would know it, how could they attack us?

Dumbledore had again something in his gaze that Lupin didn’t like.

Stop looking at me like I’m a kid needing compassion…

“Very well, if you’re sure. I’ll set that Portkey for you. Nine o’clock, Sunday morning.”

They were on Friday, which meant Lupin would have to warn Harry soon. He grimaced and, before leaving the Headmaster, didn’t forget to address him another issue.

“By the way,” he said “I’ve met two troublemakers tonight during my patrol.”

Remus clearly saw a twinkle in the Headmaster’s eyes when he looked up with mild surprised and asked “And who would these troublemakers be?”

“A couple of red-haired twins.”

When the Headmaster smiled and chuckled, Remus understood Dumbledore had suspected it already.

“Then I shall threaten them with detention, shouldn’t I?”

“Perhaps...” Remus whispered. He didn’t know how Dumbledore did it: serious and dark then joyful and full of laughter barely a second later.

“Remus─” Dumbeldore called from his desk when Lupin bowed slightly and turned to the door. “I hope everything turns out the way you want on Sunday.”

Remus thanked him tiredly with a vague gesture of the hand and walked out, not knowing whether he ought to feel relieved or apprehensive. Dumbledore actually agreeing to his plan could mean either that it truly was a good idea or either that it was totally hopeless and dangerous but that Dumbledore didn’t want to waste Lupin’s optimism; in which case he had just stuck to Lupin’s desperation.

In a way, it would have been less trouble if Dumbledore had rejected his idea.

And in a way, he also wished that Dumbledore stopped being so sympathetic with him─ that note of pity in his eyes was just a reminder that the Headmaster knew all about his life and how miserable he was feeling. He didn’t need it.

Maybe Dumbledore’s just pushing you to talk to him. Because it’s not good to keep it all to yourself…



Sighing, he went back to the second level of the castle and entered his Defense Against the Dark Arts class. He didn’t have to stay alone for a long time; soon the bell rang and he waited for his Hufflepuffs first years to arrive for class. When they came out they were replaced by the seventh years Ravenclaws and Slytherins, then, in the beginning of the afternoon, by the fourth years Slytherins and Gryffindors─ which really didn’t get along fine.

By the time the Gryffindor six years, the class he dreaded, arrived, Remus had a headache. Ron was still with his family, and Lupin knew Harry still wouldn’t talk to him. Everybody was nervous, and especially the students in this class because one of them was missing.

At the end, Lupin saw Harry about to leave quickly─ as usual. Hermione was muttering something to him, but he only seemed to want to get out as fast as possible.

“Harry,” Lupin called over the tumult─ the thing was, nobody was out yet since Harry was always the first one to leave and they all turned back. “Could I have a word?”

He saw many students throwing questioning glances in Harry’s direction, and Harry froze. Then he wheeled around. There was a mixed expression of utmost irritation, anger, and hatred on his face as he came back to Lupin’s desk in a corner of the room. Harry waited impatiently for the students to leave without saying a word, shifting with annoyance from one foot to another, and Hermione joined him with a slight frown at Harry’s expression.

“What?” Harry said quite impolitely to Lupin as soon as the last of his classmates had left the classroom.

That was truly rude; had it been Malfoy, Lupin would have taken twenty points from Slytherin just for the way he had addressed him. But from Harry─

From Harry he just couldn’t. And as he couldn’t really start a friendly conversation with him either─

“Be in my office on Sunday morning, at eight fifty-five,” Remus muttered.

There was a silence.

Now that’s not something you were waiting for, is it? Lupin thought as he saw Harry’s face turn to puzzlement.

“Why?” Harry said finally, his face so red Lupin knew it wouldn’t be long before the tone went up between them.

“I have to show you something,” Lupin said quietly and calmly. “Remember. Sunday. Eight fifty-five. My office.”

And, with that, quite satisfied, Lupin walked past Harry and out of the classroom.

The rest of the day went on as usual─ or, should he say, as usually as it could go once a month. Tonight was the full moon. Preparing himself for it in the evening, he opened the flask of Potion Snape had given him─ or, rather, put on his desk. He hadn’t met Snape at all during the day.

Then Lupin took the Invisibility Cloak Dumbledore had lent him the first day at Hogwarts in first year and that he had never quit─ as a souvenir of more enjoyable days─ and put it over his shoulders.

He didn’t feel like tranquilly waiting to transform in his room. Of course, the Potion made him tame; but that night he had another thing in mind.

Crossing the grounds with the Invisibility cloak over him, he walked to the Shrieking Shack, pressing the knot of the Whomping Willow before reaching the old abandoned ‘haunted’ place.

Tonight, he was the ghost. He visited the shack again, finding a part of it destroyed. He hadn’t been there since Harry’s third year, when he had reached it precipitately to find Sirius─ but always nurtured the hope that he would come back one day.

Locking himself inside─ one was never too cautious─ he checked room after room. It was exactly like in his memories─ the same worn out couch, the same chairs and the same old bed in a corner of the main room. James and Sirius had had the fun of their lives there…

He bit his lips and started the long wait until the full moon showed up. There was a very small window high above the floor that he couldn’t reach but that let him see the sky, a window he had always liked because he could dream of better times even when it was the full moon. He liked it more that way with an opening inside the sinister Shrieking Shack; even if seeing the moon was almost unbearable, at least he knew when it would come out, and it also eased the feeling he always had of being imprisoned in a cage.

God, if only they were still here with me.

You didn’t think it would happen, did you Remus?

He stopped pacing the room.

I didn’t think what would happen?

You didn’t think a time would come when you’d be here alone again, right?
Lupin looked around the old place again, where so many things had happened, where nothing more would happen with the same people.


I didn’t.

It was a promise we made each other. I had sworn I’d be there for them, and they had sworn they’d always hang around when I needed it. They were my family, I was theirs. That was it.

They had been James, Sirius, Peter; but for him, they would always be Padfoot, Prongs, and Wormtail. The best friends he had ever had. He knew perfectly well no friendships he would make from now on would ever match this one.

As he sat down, Remus felt a solitary tear roll down his cheek. He didn’t wipe it away. There was no one to see him cry here, no one to see his pain.

They had laughed with him. They had suffered with him. They had waited for him, too, in the moments were he had thought he’d burst from the tension of knowing he might transform anytime.

Tonight, he would wait again, but alone. Because they had died without him. It didn’t matter if Peter was physically alive; his heart was as good as dead.

Time passed slowly, so slowly that he let his thoughts wander in the silence of the night. The silence─ he used to like it before, because it brought peace. Now, he hated it when there was no sound to be heard.

Silence brought out to the surface memories that could haunt a man.

Trying to free himself from his past, he thought of the gloomy future awaiting him. The years to come wouldn’t be trouble-free, he knew it. The weeks that lay ahead would bring news to the wizarding world of Voldemort’s growing army of Death Eaters. Even the following days…

Agonizing. It was how he would feel on Sunday morning. The pain would be excruciating. Devastating.

And yet he had chosen it on his own free will.

He needed to do it because he saw no other solution. This would be tough, so tough, he knew it. Yes, it would probably bring back the worse memories buried deep inside him; it would make him relieve every instant of it… but it was the only way for Harry to face the reality.

Before it was too late.

Remus decided he wouldn’t change his mind, not now. He wouldn’t escape it and would do it to prove himself that he still had this bit of courage left, just that tiny bit of strength, because if he didn’t, he’d never be able to look at himself in the mirror ever again.

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