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CHAPTER 4
The Gryffindor Common Room



Remus just hated being the one to deliver bad news. As though receiving it wasn’t horrible enough; now he had to be the one telling Ron and Ginny what had happened to their father… And he simply didn’t have the heart to announce the tragic events.

At least Fred, George, and Percy aren’t here any longer. That’s three less to talk to…

But that’s not the problem, is it, Remus? Telling two of them or twenty, what is horrible is having to say the words, right?


Remus stopped in front of the Common Room. The lessons would be starting in approximately twenty-five minutes, meaning students were either still in their Dormitories or in the Common Room, chatting or finishing some late work…

Lupin didn’t really mind going in there. Most teachers were reluctant to enter what they considered the students' sanctuary, but in fact, considering Lupin had spent seven years in Gryffindor, it was understandable that he had become used to this common room. He was more dreading having to speak to Ron or Ginny.

“Well?” asked an irritated Fat Lady. “Are you going to say the password or can I go back to sleep?”

Remus looked up at her tiredly, realizing he had already arrived in front of the portrait. He muttered ‘Strawberry Beans’, and the Fat Lady stepped aside, revealing a small alcove and, further, the Gryffindor Common Room.

Lupin walked slowly into it, ignoring the remarks of the Fat Lady in his back.

He thought his heart would stop when he saw the couches, the desks, the chairs, the fireplace… Even the windows…

It was as though he was still a student, about to go to class. He could see with his open eyes James and Sirius running around the couches to be the first one to catch the Snitch… now James had caught the Snitch, Sirius was rolling on the floor laughing because he’d thrown over half the desks in his way… and they both tucked a hand in their pockets in unison…

Lupin knew their game perfectly, of course, but so many others didn’t… then there were a couple of explosions, and two fireworks set themselves alight, seemingly out of nowhere, making Peter jump as he’d been contemplating a fifth year girl… he himself was bent on a table, pretending to be reading but, in fact, smiling inwardly at the sight of his friends having fun…

There had been no menace then. No worries, no terrible memories. It was as though the word 'sadness' had never been invented. Even being a werewolf during those years seemed almost bearable; because he knew that with such friends around he’d never be alone.

Lupin’s heart tightened when he came back to the painful reality. He saw Ginny laughing with a couple of girls sharing her Dormitory. She was so innocent, so young.

And she had no idea that in a moment, bad news would shatter her world.

Another glance around told Lupin all he needed to know. Ron, Hermione ─ and Harry─ were nowhere to be seen.

“Hello Professor,” a couple of students saluted him.

His throat was so dry Remus felt he wouldn’t be able to reply, so he just nodded curtly. He went past Ginny and her friends to arrive in front of Dean and Seamus, reading a Quidditch Magazine not far away from the window.

“I really like the way he flies” Seamus was showing Dean a player in a bright green Quidditch outfit. “Have you seen him in the last match against─?”

“Can one of you bring me Mr Weasley?” Lupin said quietly, interrupting their conversation.

Dean and Seamus looked up at him, and Lupin saw their eyes widen a little.

“Er─” Semaus started.

“Yeah” Dean said, gesturing at the staircase. “I think he’s up there” he said slowly. “I’ll go get him” he walked away.

There was a silence between Lupin and Seamus. Now Seamus had laid down the magazine and was biting his lips, not knowing what to say.

“Is he─," he dared ask "I mean, did Ron do something?”

He's not in trouble, if that's what you mean.

Well, that's not true, he
is in trouble. He doesn't have a father anymore.

Lupin shook his head, unable to reply. Seamus seemed even more uncomfortable than before.

Now Remus imagined what he would say to Ron. Maybe a simple Professor Dumbledore wants to see you would be enough. But what then of Ginny? Ron wasn't stupid. Surely he would understand quickly that if his little sister needed to come along then it meant it had something to do with his family─

You’ll have to tell them, Remus.

No. Dumbledore will do that.

You’re going to bring them all the way to the Headmaster’s office without answering their questions? In silence, without telling them anything?



That’s right, Remus.


Lupin drew a chair and took a seat, looking really pale now, even paler than usual, and that only increased the curiosity of everyone staring at him. Some students had interrupted their regular activities to wonder what he was doing here, and they were now muttering in whispers some sentences he couldn’t hear.

The morning sunrays lighted the desk in front of Lupin, sending colorful shapes throughout the Common Room. The atmosphere should have appeared calm, relaxed, and serene. But he wasn’t feeling any of this. In fact, he was into his thoughts so deeply that his eyes were fixed forward.

So it was going to start again. War. Desolation. Killings. Sacrifices.

Betrayals.

That was the worse of it. Getting up in the morning to be with your family, your friends, and discovering that they were no longer there for you.

Knowing that they had chosen the other side, the enemy’s side, because they alone could offer you much more than your daily routine. Strength, hope ─or at least they wanted you to believe in that hope─, thrilling sensations of no limitation, eternity. And power. They attracted you to that power so much. They made you believe it was yours to grab but in fact you would never get it.

For Lupin, the Common Room was nothing more than a calm refuge before the storm which had started already. In a week, the smiles would not be there any longer. There would be anxiety, fear, tears, and desperation. No more careless games, just anxious and constant glances out of the window. Fear at the sight of a wand, at the sound of a spell, at a shadow coming out of the corner of a corridor. Suspicion, muttering, half-spoken conversations. The Daily Prophet would be read again. Students would point at the ones on which fate had struck, on the ones who had lost a family member. Inside of them, they would simply be dreading the future, waiting their turn.

Those would be sure signs that Lord Voldemort had risen again.

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