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CHAPTER 14
Portkey


Lupin woke up on Saturday morning, finding himself disoriented when he sat up. He was lying on a dusty floor made of wooden planks, and instead of seeing bright morning light his eyes met nothing but obscurity.

“Lumos,” he muttered nervously, taking the wand out of his pockets, then, waving it around, he suddenly remembered. He was in the Shrieking Shack, and somehow he had moved during the night, rolling to the floor in the middle of the main room. He noticed on the way his left arm was throbbing.

Seeing the bed that he was no longer lying on, Remus thought that if the Wolfsbane Potion made him tame, it sadly gave him nightmares than often led to him moving around.

Quickly, Lupin opened the door, crossed the two other rooms that led outside, and let the sun heat his face and shoulders. It felt good being outside; like a way to get rid of the events of the night. He didn’t try remembering what the nightmares had been about─ they were always more terrible with the full moon─; the less he knew about them the better.

Then he realized he was unconsciously seizing his left arm with his right, and, checking it with a glance, he became suddenly aware of the fact that there was dried blood on his sleeve. He grimaced as he rolled up his long shirt and saw a deep cut across his forearm. There were old nails in the Shrieking Shack that were as sharp as knives.

Remus took one last look back at the Shrieking Shack before getting back to Hogwarts. He wasn’t in a hurry because he had no lessons on Sunday, and furthermore he wasn’t willing to abandon the Shrieking Shack completely. However contradictory it was, he sometimes missed the place. It was almost like a second home to him. The first one was Hogwarts, and he loved it deeply. The other one was the one he went to once a month; a part of him hated it completely because it reminded him of his dreadful transformations; the other part of him used to like it because he enjoyed having fun every month with the Marauders.

He had wondered, oh yes he had wondered how on earth he had been friends with such great wizards. How was it that he, Remus Lupin, small shy boy who was a werewolf, had walked along with ones that would have been friends with anyone they wished? Ones who could have decided to make his life a hell as much as they had decided Snape’s would be; ones who decided what they did and when they did it… He wondered what reason had brought them to accepting him in their midst.

Maybe the same reason why they’re dead and you’re not.

And what reason would that be?

Fate, destiny.

I don’t believe in fate, I don’t believe in destiny.

God, you have got to believe in something!

No, I don’t.

Not even in humanity? Sympathy, dignity, courage, love, justice?

Justice?
the last word seemed to ricochet strangely in his head.

Remus walked into the Great Hall; he knew he was exhausted, dusty, tired, but he desperately needed to eat something.

The images of Lily and James came floating in front of his eyes, then the ones of Sirius and Peter. Right after them, the ones of a destroyed Godric’s Hollow, of Peter transforming into a rat in Harry’s third year, of Sirius falling through the veil, the fear he had know for thirteen years in Azkaban still imprinted in every line of his face.

Where was your justice in all this? he thought dryly. They didn’t deserve to die, none of them! Peter had a heart, Sirius, Lily and James had a LIFE! WHERE WAS JUSTICE?

He fell into a chair, as far away as possible from the other teachers. It wasn’t very hard; most of them had already left.

His eyes fell on the almost empty Gryffindor Table, and for once he was almost sad not to see Harry there. The Boy-Who-Lived was the last thing he had, in a way. He was just sorry it hadn’t been Lily and James who had lived to see him grow up.

He shouldn’t have been the one to survive them all. James was talented, he had a whole life in front of him with Lily and Harry; Sirius was handsome and also skilled. What could he, Remus, offer? A wolf bite, nothing more. Well, maybe sympathy, but who wanted his sympathy? No one.

Yes, he would have preferred to die if it had meant allowing Harry to have parents.

Then two─ no, three students walked in, and soon all the other ones who were there made a circle around them─ well, none of the remaining Slytherins, but the rest of them─ and an animated discussion started.

It seemed Ron was back.

The hours passed, excruciatingly slow, and finally it was time to go back to bed, sleep, and then it was Sunday morning.

Remus didn’t have to worry about not waking up in time; he hadn’t slept for a good part of the night. The idea of touching that Portkey terrified him as he got up and dressed.

He had plenty of time ahead of him, even if he was to meet Harry at eight fifty-five in his office. He crossed the desert Hogwarts to go to the kitchen, only asked for a strong coffee, remembering how the House Elves were, and came out with a burning mug, two slices of chocolate cake, a box of cookies, a couple of buttered toasts and some fruits.

Walking up to his office amusedly─ at least they had managed to relax him in the kitchen─ he soon started to grow anxious again. The Portkey was a leather book that Dumbledore had brought on his desk. Unable to stay seated, his paced his office, not really settling to anything.

At eight forty he started to be really, really on edge; not even sure if Harry would come.

He eventually did, at exactly eight fifty-five. There was a knock on the door and Harry entered, coming forward without a word.

“Here,” Remus muttered, pointing at the Portkey without looking at Harry in the eyes.

The closer he came to the big book the more his heart urged him to get away from it. Yet Remus didn’t hesitate and placed his hand on it firmly. Harry seemed to wonder for an instant whether he ought to run away too, but finally grabbed the Portkey with his right hand─ though without touching Remus’s fingers.

A couple of minutes of total silence passed. Harry and Remus both were as rigid as frozen sticks; Harry didn’t ask where they were going; in fact, he asked nothing at all.

Only a few seconds left now, Remus thought.

He remembered Dumbledore’s last words. I hope things turns out the way you want.

So do I, he prayed silently.

Then the world went upside down for a second, and Lupin’s feet touched the ground.

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