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To Dumbledore's office and back

There was a bewildered, thunderstruck silence. For a second, the chatter and footsteps of hundreds of students reaching hundreds of different directions in the castle seemed to belong to another remote, inaccessible world. Lupin knew he was standing there in the middle of the stairs but at the same time, a part of him was somewhere else, far, lost in an ocean of sorrow and pain seizing his throat so tightly that he was unable to move, or even to think.

He saw a note of total confusion in both Ginny and Ron’s eyes. Ginny’s mouth had fallen slightly, a frown of perplexity on her beautiful face, and though she seemed to have heard the words clearly, she didn’t understand them. Ron’s expression had frozen, a smile not totally erased on his lips, but he, too seemed incapable of understanding.

You should never have told them, Remus. No one should ever had told them such a thing. It shouldn’t even have happened.

That’s right. Their father shouldn’t have died.

It’s all wrong anyway.

Still, Ron and Ginny remained without reaction.

Then, abruptly, the impact of Lupin’s words hit them both at the same time; Ginny raised both hands to her mouth and Ron took one hand out of the pocket of his cloak, meant to do something Lupin didn’t understand ─ take out his wand, or maybe even hit him─ but then changed his mind and let it fall to his side in desperation.

“No” Ginny muttered. “No!” she repeated, vehemently this time.

Ron straightened up, and suddenly grabbed the railing with his right hand. His knuckles quickly turned white because he was gripping on it so hard.

“That’s not true,” he said testily, raising defiant eyes.

“I’m sorry,” Lupin could only mutter softly.

There was a silence.

Enough, Remus. Let them grieve in peace now. Bring them up and let it be over with. If you were in their place you wouldn’t want someone staring at you like this.

“Come on,” he said faintly, turning.

“Wait,” said Ron, grabbing his sleeve and forgetting for an instant that Lupin was a Professor. “What happened?”

Lupin gently pulled out his arm and surveyed them both. “There was an attack” he weighed on every word, confirming Ron’s worse fears.

Ron’s eyes darkened and he didn’t reply.

“Let’s go,” Lupin declared as he saw a pair of Slytherins climbing in their direction. The last thing he needed was some trouble with another house.

You’ve done it. See, it wasn’t that hard─

Then why is it affecting me like this? It’s as though it was my father who had died, or someone close to me. Like─ like Sirius had died again.

Lupin fought not to stop in the middle of the stairs, resisting the desire to sit on a step and taking his head in his hands.

Of course it was hard.

That was the problem. Lupin had had too many people announcing to him that one of his friends had died.

Instantly, he remembered all the deaths which he had been informed of─

First, there had been his parents. But Lupin didn’t want to think about them; he had grieved so many years for them─ no, he was over with it.

Then there had been a few deaths of people he knew long ago; most of them had been wizards he’d met but whom he didn’t truly know, and who had died because of Voldemort’s Death Eaters. It was more the fact that many had died rather than the fact that he’d known them personally that had been hard to overcome. Back then, he had had friends to stay with, friends that would make dark times a little more enjoyable.

That was, until Lily and James themselves had died. He would remember, forever, the horrible minute that had followed the discovery of the Potters' deaths. He had waken up in the morning. At home. Grabbed the morning paper delivered to him by a Daily Prophet owl, then paid her, than laid the newspaper on his kitchen table without looking at it. The news could wait. He had poured himself some coffee, calmly, thinking the news of killings and Death Eaters actions and Ministry nonsense could wait.

Then he had sat down and the title had hit him, standing out in bold dark letters he would always remember.

Wizarding World celebrating The-One-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s downfall.

First he’d opened his eyes wide in shock, in happiness, not believing it. And then, just then, he’d recognized the burnt and destroyed place shown on the picture on the front page, and quickly scanned the title of the article. It was unmistakably Godric's Hollow─

The-Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, vanquished the Dark Lord─ both the Potters, his parents, dead─

Lupin closed his eyes at the memory.

Finally Ron, Ginny and he reached Dumbledore’s office. They hadn’t exchanged another word; but Ron had seized Ginny’s hand tightly, and, in brotherly way, put an arm around her.

“Come in” Dumbledore called as soon as Lupin had knocked. The Headmaster came to them, motioned for Ron and Ginny to seat down in front of his desk, and then came forward to Remus.

“Thank you, Professor Lupin,” he said in a low tone. “I’ll handle it from here. The lessons are to be assured as usual. We shall discuss this with all the teachers at lunch break.”

Lupin nodded and prepared himself to leave. He had a class to teach.

“Oh and─” Dumbledore said again “─no need to remind you to not say a word to the students about it.”

No. No need to remind me.

“Of course, Headmaster,” Lupin closed the door behind him, not envying Dumbledore. He had to talk to Ron and Ginny now…

No need to remind me of anything, thank you Lupin thought coldly. It’s all there in my head, every day, every minute, every second. I wish I needed to be reminded of the deaths and the fights because then it would mean I am able to forget about them.

“That’s it,” Lupin said, relieved. Finally. After four never-ending, interminable hours. He’d never thought he’d ever be as impatient as the students to get out. “End of class” the bell had just rung.

Loudly, his Hufflepuff fourth year class left the classroom. Now Lupin would go to Dumbledore’s meeting and get to know, at last, what was happening. It hadn’t been easy to teach all morning without knowing what had been going on.

He’d have to do it again in the afternoon but at least he would know what had happened at the Ministry.

I’m supposed to teach Harry’s class this afternoon he thought suddenly, cold running down his spine. They’re going to ask me where Ron is… And I’ll have to invent an excuse…

You’re going to

No. Not to Harry.

Of course you will. He can’t know. No more than any other student…

We’ll see.

No we won’t see.


Almost rageously, Lupin walked to the Professors' room.

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