Once we had finished NEWTs, Hogwarts became an even more pleasant place for all of the seventh years. Even the ones that knew they had done poorly felt a weight lifted off their shoulders. My friends were not concerned at all about their NEWTs, though I was a bit concerned about the Potions one. We all enjoyed the lazy days of sleeping in late and going to bed late(or early, in a way), which was a nice change of pace from our school days of waking up early after going to bed late.

The day before graduation, we were returning to their dorm after an all-day unauthorized trip to Hogsmeade. As we headed up the stairs leading up to the Gryffindor dorms, Peter declared in awe, “The world is our oyster.”

James beamed. “I’m actually looking forward to the Auror training. Sure, it’s going to be grueling, but at the end, I’ll be an Auror. The blood, sweat, and tears will all be worth it.”

“Yeah, I guess it will be more fulfilling than a lifetime of working at Zonko’s,” Peter admitted, half-joking.

“We’ll work our way up!” Sirius insisted. He, along with Peter, had snagged cashier positions at Zonko’s.

Peter agreed, “Yes, we will.”

I found myself to be dreading the end of his time at Hogwarts. I hadn’t really considered my life after Hogwarts, since I was a person that lived in the moment and I didn’t want to dwell on the future. All of my friends had prospects of some sort, but I had nothing. Werewolves didn’t procure promising positions. That’s why werewolves often took refuge in werewolf colonies detached from Wizarding society. I still had no desire to branch off from my friends and the rest of society. I knew I would have to accept a life of struggling financially, but at least I had good friends to fall back on. Peter, Sirius, and I would be getting a flat together.

As if reading my mind, James suggested, “Moony, I think you could try for a position at the Being Division.”

“It’s worth a shot,” I replied. I didn’t have much faith in James’ confidence.

We entered our dorm, which was empty until we stepped into the room. I found an envelope on the foot of my bed. Unsurprisingly, it was addressed to me. I picked it up.

“What does it say?” Peter inquired.

“I’ll find out.” I ripped open the envelope, expecting a letter informing me that my job application had once again been rejected. Instead, I received shockingly good news unrelated to a job offer.

Remus John Lupin, I am pleased to inform you that you will have the honor of being the valedictorian for Gryffindor. You are one of the four valedictorians selected to give a speech at the graduation ceremony. Prepare a five-minute speech that will suitably summarize you and your classmates’ Hogwarts experience and where you all will end up.

Sincerely, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore

In an uncharacteristic display of victory and pride, I pumped my fist in the air. Lily and I had been neck and neck for the title. I had assumed Lily would be Gryffindor’s valedictorian. Perhaps it was a pity vote from Dumbledore, but I still basked in the glory of being the valedictorian.

“What does it say?” James eagerly asked.

“It could be news that Oatmeal is having regular bowel movements at home since Moony always sets himself up for disappointment,” Sirius guessed.

“Actually, I received news yesterday that my precious has been constipated,” I replied.

Sirius mockingly gagged. “Your wee little kitty needs to shit!”

“I haven’t received any word on Oatmeal’s condition today. However, I’ve just been notified that I will be Gryffindor’s valedictorian.”

James and Sirius wolf-whistled. Peter claimed, “I knew you had it in you!”

“So, it’s you for Gryffindor, definitely Natalia Aquila for Ravenclaw, probably Mara Larson for Hufflepuff, and I guess Narcissa Black for Slytherin,” James predicted.

“Of course my dear little cousin is,” Sirius sneered. “For the most part, you nailed it. I’d say Clifford Croft is the Hufflepuff one, though.”

James nodded. “Oh yeah, I forgot about him. He’s the one that never leaves his dorm. The only time he’s not at school is the summer.”

Peter shook his head in pity. “What a fucking awful life.”

“Who cares about Clifford? Our Remus is a valedictorian!” Sirius clapped me on the back. “We should sneak out tonight for some shots in celebration!”

“I can’t be hungover for graduation!” I pointed out. “Besides, I’ve got a speech to write.”

“You haven’t already prepared one? Did you really think dear Lily would be Gryffindor’s valedictorian?” Sirius asked incredulously.

“What have I told you about calling her ‘dear Lily,’” James muttered.

Ignoring James, Sirius told me, “We’ll get out of your way so that the most inspiring valedictorian speech in Hogwarts’ history can be crafted.”

“What am I going to say?” I started.

Peter shrugged. “I don’t know.”

James reminded, “You’re the brain.”

“You’ll think of something. You can always bullshit it,” Sirius encouraged.

“Speak from the heart,” Peter advised.

They left me alone in the dorm. I searched my trunk for a scrap of parchment and a inkwell. I managed to pluck out a piece of parchment, but I had to resort to searching through Sirius’ trunk to borrow his rarely-used inkwell. I used one of my textbooks to bear down on. The parchment remained blank for a moment, but words soon spewed out on the page. I formed a well-detailed outline of a speech about how people change and life adjusts. In three hours, it was eleven o’clock at night and I was unusually confident with my choice of words.

“Finally, Gryffindor’s valedictorian, Remus Lupin, will speak,” Dumbledore announced to the Class of 1978. “As I’ve said before, hold your applause until Remus concludes.”

I stood up from my reserved seat and walked up to the platform. My nerves finally struck me. My anxiety had been a faint pulse until now. I was apparently considered the most qualified person to speak for Gryffindor, and the speeches from the valedictorians from the other houses had been even more eloquent than I had expected. Sirius winked at me, but this didn’t quell my nerves. Groping the outside of my pocket, I felt for the piece of parchment where I had scribbled my speech. I couldn’t feel it. I jabbed my hand in my pocket, and I discovered  a fairly large hole in my pocket, and my speech had apparently slipped out through the hole.

“Um…” I began, staring at my feet. “Well, I…”

My mind drew a blank. I was unable to find the words I had wanted to say. Peter once compared part of my mind to a safe, and this was certainly true, although this wasn’t what he had meant. Peter was saying that I was a private person. At the moment, no one, including me, was privy to the part of my brain that could form coherent sentences.

“Ah… the…I...” I fumbled. I struggled to come up with a word or phrase that wasn't "fuck,' 'shit,' and 'Why am I doing this?"

“Oh shit!” Marlene McKinnon bellowed. My head snapped up to look at her. “Malfoy is trying to fucking kill me!”

Lucius accused, “She won’t stop bothering me!”

“You started it first! You set me off!”

Professor Slughorn casted two Full Body-Bind Curses at them to prevent a duel. Professor McGonagall transported them via a Locomotion Charm to the inside of Hogwarts. While everyone was distracted by the outburst, Sirius launched a wad of parchment at me. I barely managed to catch it. I opened it up to find a note from the rest of the Marauders scrawled on it.

Moony, don’t lose your shit. You have too many words crammed in your brain to be speechless. Say what you need to say so we can get out of here in a timely manner. -Prongs

You’ve got this. There’s a reason why you’re the valedictorian, and that’s because you deserve it. -Wormtail

Good luck, Moony. Make us howl. -Padfoot

I smiled and tucked the note in the pocket of my robes. When I was cleared to continue my speech, I was ready, even if I was winging my speech since I still couldn’t recall the point I wanted to get across. “Out of all of the deserving people in my House, I was selected. I’ve been fortunate to be considered worthy enough to represent Gryffindor in this capacity. The other valedictorians-Narcissa, Natalia, and Clifford-nailed their speeches in a way that I won’t quite be able to.”

I cleared my throat before continuing. “I have been granted the opportunity to meet some of the best people that have existed. The teachers I’ve had at Hogwarts have offered me so much guidance and have been filled with so much faith in my capabilities. I can attribute my academic success and some personal growth to all of them. I’m sure many of you can share my experiences with the wonderful teachers at Hogwarts. I must thank all of my teachers at this moment. I would suggest that all of my peers let a teacher be aware of the impact they’ve had on you.

“My parents, oh, you are overflowing with love. I am grateful for you and all that you’ve sacrificed to take care of me, despite the struggles we have faced. There’s no need for you to have parenting regrets, because I am proud of the person I’ve become, and you have allowed and encouraged me to become the person I’m supposed to be, rather than a sham of a kid, like some of my peers are forced to be.”

I swallowed and tucked a loose lock of my hair behind my ear before my speech started rolling again. “Most of all, I have to thank my friends since they’ve truly shaped me the most. Friends that will stick with me through thick and thin for the rest of my life-those are hard to come by, and some people never have such permanent friendships, but I was able to meet my three best friends at such a young age-for those of you unaware of who they are, my friends are Sirius, James, and Peter. We became friends on our first train ride to Hogwarts. We were eleven year olds that bonded over the similarity we all shared and continue to share-we admired, and still admire, the bold. As far as I can tell, I’m destined to be friends with as long as we live. I don’t see any evidence that would prove otherwise.

“It’s amazing how fierce loyalty can be forged at such young ages. Of course, my friends and I were placed in Gryffindor, the house known for loyalty. The Sorting Hat must have seen the potential we had to devote ourselves to each other. Our darkest secrets can be exposed to each other without them causing rifts among us. We are not known for rowing; in fact, I can only think of one instance where we had a row, but considering we’ve been friends for nearly seven years, that is an Herculean feat, a nearly impossible feat. I cannot begin to count the number of times I’ve wondered what I’ve done in this life to deserve friends such as them.

“Why are some people deprived of the opportunity of friendship such as I’ve experienced? It seems like fate required Peter, James, Sirius, and I to meet. I can’t imagine a lifetime without any of them. I have no desire to imagine living without any of them. Though the Wizarding world is known for its close relations, even this sort of relationship is highly unusual. Perhaps this is why I found our friendship so marvelous. Knowing that such tight-knit friendships are not guaranteed are probably why I don’t take my friends for granted. Also, the experiences we have shared have made me treasured them, but they wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have this peculiar friendship.

“These fast times at Hogwarts are about to end. I could be bitter about some of the best years of my life coming to an end. Instead, I’m going to embrace the future and whatever it may hold. Hopefully, you all share this hope in the future. It is not wise to dread what is meant to happen, good or bad. No matter what happens in your life, may bitterness never eat you away.”

I paused, uncertain of the reaction my personal yet vague speech would stir. I was shocked when the conclusion of my speech caused a standing ovation. The clapping was too thunderous to be real to me, My acute werewolf senses could pick out my friends wolf-whistling in the crowd. I appreciated the enthusiasm of the crowd, wishing I could capture the moment in a Pensieve.

Track This Story:    Feed


Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.

Register Today!