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A/N: Thanks for those who reviewed!


CHAPTER 2
Why...?


Three years later, during Harry’s sixth year. Same place, a day after the beginning of term.

The classroom looked familiar. Too awfully familiar, maybe. There was the same sunlight, the same bare walls, the same chairs, the same dusty windows.

In fact, Lupin didn’t think it had changed at all since the days he’d been a schoolboy sitting in the far right corner of the classroom with Peter, Sirius and James. Just having fun, careless and oblivious to the fate that would strike them only a few years later.

Would he be condemned to dwell on his memories forever, seated there at this same desk?

He had left the post of Defense Against the Dark Arts for two years, but now he was back. Three years before, he’d seen Harry for the first time. Now both their destinies were tied together in this fight against Voldemort.

Three years of suffering had passed. Among them, two during which he’d been reunited with his best friend, true. But what had that accomplished?

Now Sirius was dead.

If only he was still in Azkaban. That’s a horrible thought, but at least he wouldn’t be dead.

The weight of guilt was heavier than ever on Remus’s shoulders. As if James and Lily’s death and everyone else’s hadn’t been enough sixteen years ago…

And Harry still refused to speak to him. They would probably have a hard time facing each other during class… Remus knew that would bring a very uncomfortable tension, and wished he could avoid teaching him for a while.

Of course, he knew why Harry refused to speak to him. He knew why he hadn’t yet forgiven him; why he would probably never forgive him.

Lupin knew he shouldn’t have held him back in the Department of Mysteries.

But I did what was right

There had been the laugh, and then the jet of light…

His hands shook slightly and he closed his eyes, wishing the vision could go away.

Yes, I did the right thing.

Didn’t I?


Sirius was falling through the veil. Harry was jumping on his feet, running forward in a desperate attempt to catch him before it was too late…

Yes, he’d done what was right. Harry would have died had he tried to go beyond the veil to save Sirius. He, Lupin, had saved Harry’s life…

He had held him back for his own safety. He’d only protected him, and that was all─

That’s a downright lie, Remus. You just want to believe you did what was right. You didn’t want to admit Sirius was gone, right? You wanted him to come back, and you only held Harry back for a few seconds because you wanted to believe he’d make it back alone without risking anyone else’s life… Or you would have gone there yourself, wouldn’t you?

Of course I would have. I didn’t think he was really gone.

Then why were you the one who made Harry face the truth?

Because he had to realize it was no use to go there. Because it was too late. Because
I was too late.

Remus stood up and walked to the window, taking a glance outside.

There were students chatting on the grounds. What use was it to think about all this now anyway? It wouldn’t change anything.

It was hard to remember when the last time he’d been as happy and careless as the students outside had been.

Then the bell rang. Remus tidied up his notes, walked to the door, carefully putting on a blank expression on his face, resting aside his thoughts. He needed to appear as natural as possible. What if he looked a mess? What would the students think? What image of an adult would he give out?

He sighed, took a deep breath, waited for a minute so no one would be late and then opened the door for the sixth years Gryffindors and Ravenclaws to come inside. They were mixed together now since in their sixth years students had chosen what subjects they would keep.

His eyes rested for a quick second on Hermione, who smiled slightly; on Ron, who said hello, and then─

Harry’s eyes met him for barely an instant, and Lupin saw all the determination, all the wish for payback in Harry’s eyes. It was the look of someone desperate, and that look Lupin would never forget.

You think I’m not suffering every second either? Remus thought. You think this is easy for me?

Harry turned away, as he always did since July when in his presence, and went to sit at the back of the class.

“Good afternoon” Lupin closed the door and went to sit back at his desk. He carefully avoided setting his eyes on Harry. “Welcome back for another year. I hope you all managed to get your new books…”

The lesson started and for a whole hour, it was as though Lupin was just a teacher and Harry just a student seated there in class. Lupin showed no emotion, Harry showed no reaction. But inside, both were burning to sprint out as far away as possible from the other, to forget.

Then the bell rang, as a lifesaver.

If only you’d just talk to me, Lupin thought as he saw Harry storm out of the classroom. Because the longer we wait the harder it’ll be.

He did as best as he could to smile as the last students walked out and then, as soon as he was alone again, Lupin’s smile vanished. He couldn’t help thinking just twenty-two hours. Just twenty-two hours before I have to see him again.

And it would be like this all year, and maybe even the year after, and the next. That was, if Voldemort didn’t show up long before.

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