Words are tough to say
Meanwhile, Dean was as puzzled as Seamus was. He’d never seen Lupin in the Common Room before. McGonagall had only come once or twice, and even then it had been because of very special circumstances.
There was something else too that gave the impression of being strange. Was it just him or did Lupin seem unusually sick? He’d met his eyes, and he could have sworn they were close to tears. There had been an odd glinting in them. And Lupin had quickly turned away. Maybe he was just very tired?
And why did he want Ron to come down? Had his friend got in trouble or something? Had he forgotten to give back his last essay, or received an awful mark? Or maybe he’d started a fight with Malfoy again?
But then─ why didn’t Lupin wait until their next class to speak to him? And why was it Lupin who took care of this anyway? McGonagall was their head of House, wasn’t she?
None of this really added up.
Dean reached the top of the stairs, slightly panting, and entered the Dormitory he shared with Harry, Ron, Neville and Seamus. Because they had just got up, there were clothes and books thrown on the beds, and a couple of other objects lying here and there on the night tables.
“Ron?” Dean spotted his fellow Gryffindor friend stuffing his books inside his schoolbag. They were to start their day with an hour of Herbology, followed by double Potions and Transfiguration. Not a very enjoyable morning, in truth.
At first Ron didn’t seem to have heard, so Dean called him louder. “Ron! There’s─ erm─ there’s─ I mean,─”
“What?” Ron looked up, surprised. He gave a quick glance around to see if Dean wasn’t warning him that something was about to attack him, then a frown of perplexity formed between his eyebrows when he saw Dean so hesitant to talk.
“What?” he repeated, his hand stopping midway in getting his thick Divination book out of his bag.
Harry walked into the Dormitory in that moment. He gave Dean a quick look, reached his four-poster bed, then quickly turned back to Ron and Dean when he realized they were probably talking about something serious.
“Anything wrong?” he asked Ron, seeing his friend immobile.
“Dean wanted to tell me something,” Ron finally reacted. He shrugged, and laid the book he had been holding on his bed.
“It’s Professor Lupin,” Dean mumbled.
Harry jumped. “What does he want?” he said aggressively, ignoring Ron’s reproachful glance. He knew Ron didn’t agree with him as to his behavior toward Remus, but again, what did his friend know about it all? What did they, all of them, knew about his feelings? None of them had been there that day in the Department of Mysteries─
“What does Professor Lupin want?” Ron asked with forced calm.
“To see you” Dean said “but I don’t know why.”
“Who told you that?” Harry asked before he could stop himself, his tone still full of irritation.
“Well I know because─ because he’s waiting for you down there” Dean pointed at the staircase.
“In the Common Room?” Ron asked again, clearly unconvinced. Dean simply nodded mutely, so Ron got up and went to the stairs.
Harry made a derisive sound and shrugged but then, his curiosity taking the better of him, followed Ron. Maybe he’d seize the occasion to tell Lupin, once and for all, that he wanted to be left alone.
Remus was imprisoned in a sea of memories and emotions he could not control and even less stop. He wanted the flow of images to stop, because he knew he would eventually turn mad.
He felt that maybe talking to someone might make things better. But who could he possibly find? Years before, there had been Sirius and James there for him; even Peter used to listen to him. And now─now there wasn’t anyone left…
Dumbledore would surely pay attention to what he would say. But Lupin didn’t feel very much like being comforted by metaphors and philosophical interpretations. McGonagall? Not really. Who else then? Snape?
No way. You’re out of your mind, Remus.
In truth, there was only one person who could help him, one who would understand his feelings because he shared the same grief. But that one person refused to even talk to him. Harry and he remained separated by an invisible yet insurmountable barrier.
Ron’s footsteps drove Lupin out of his contemplation. He got up at once, and waited for Ron to arrive.
Then Lupin gritted his teeth when he saw who was coming along. Harry.
Just ignore him, he thought. Now is not the time to be distracted. There are bigger things to be taken care of...
“Mr. Weasley, please follow me,” Lupin said as naturally as possible, tucking his hands into the pockets of his long cloak to avoid showing his nervousness.
“What’s he done?” Harry cut in shortly, taking a step forward as though to protect Ron.
Lupin couldn’t help but stare at him in the eyes. He wanted so much to look somewhere else, but this was beyond his will; it was a power drawing his eyes toward him, forcing him to stare at Harry.
Tell him. You know there’s no way you’ll be able to lie anyway, right?
But─ He’s not the one supposed to know. Dumbledore─
Dumbledore is not here, is he? Just go ahead. Maybe if you tell him the truth now it’ll make things better between the two of you.
Yes. I’ll do that
“There’s been─” Lupin started, but stopped abruptly.
“What?” Ron said expectantly.
Not in front of everyone, Remus! You can’t announce to the whole school that there have been numerous deaths! You can’t just walk in there and tell Ron that his father’s dead in front of nearly every Gryffindor student!
“Just follow me,” he turned to Ron, then in the direction of the rest of the people in the Common Room. “Miss Weasley,” he addressed Ginny. “Would you please come along too?”
The girl looked up at him with surprise then dropped the book she was holding on the table. It landed there with a sickening thump which sounded to Lupin as though he’d been slapped in the face.
One of her friends moved aside to let Ginny pass and, stiffly, she came forward. The Common Room had never been so quiet. There weren’t even mutters anymore; just many pairs of eyes staring at Lupin, Ron, and now Ginny.
Lupin felt the urge to sprint out of the Common Room; but he knew he better not. Awkwardly, he turned away from Harry and from everyone else.
Then two slightly worried Weasleys followed Lupin out.
“Never happy that one,” the Fat Lady complained with annoyance as Lupin asked her politely to open up.. “Make up your mind!”
“I have,” Remus silenced her in a dry reply.
The portrait closed and Lupin took the first staircase on the right; it led upstairs on the way to the staff room.
“Professor,” Ron said while walking behind with Ginny. “What’s going on?”
Lupin didn’t reply, and continued to climb the steps, one by one. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left─
Are you going to ignore them for a long time?
Are you going to─
All right! Just shut up and leave me alone!
Lupin summoned up all his courage.
“There’s been an attack,” he said quietly, continuing to climb. Left foot, right f─
“Attack?” Ginny and Ron said at the same time, stopping dead in the middle of the stairs.
Now. There’s no one around. Go ahead, tell them.
Because this is too hard─
…You know what? You call this what you want. I’m not telling them.
“Professor Dumbledore will explain it better than me.”
Come on, Remus. You didn’t mean that. That’s not what you wanted to say. You know there’s no way around just say it.
Remus stopped too and turned around, standing there in silence, raising his eyes to the ceiling far above.
When he brought them down, they were void, empty, drained. They showed no emotion; or rather, there were full of so many different ones that it seemed impossible to distinguish them from one another. And these emotions were killing him, burying him deep inside the ground, burning him alive.
It took his a great effort to speak, and when he did so, his voice came out choked.
“I’m sorry.” his voice was muffled but quite cold, detached. “Your father─” he now sounded far-off, distant. “─is dead.”
A/N Please leave a review! Next chapter coming soon... Thanks a lot for reading.
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