The minutes before Harry’s class entered seemed like eternity. Until the bell finally rang, and he had no choice but to open the door for the Gryffindors.
To teach for a whole hour was, in fact, easier than he would have thought. It was mostly a matter of nerves. He forced himself to be indifferent, and suspected Harry did the same on his side.
But things got worse when, an hour later, both Harry and Hermione stayed behind. This would have surprised Lupin on normal times ─ why would Harry want to face him?─ but he had a pretty good idea what they wanted.
It was Hermione who talked, and it seemed Harry was just there as a bystander.
“Professor,” she started uneasily.
True, it mustn’t be easy talking calmly when you have someone at your side wishing nothing but to shout and leave the room Lupin thought.
He raised his head, with an expression of slight surprise.
“Erm─ do you know─” She shifted uncomfortably on her feet. “I mean… where’s Ron?”
There. Don’t pretend you didn’t wait for that question.
There was a very uncomfortable silence. Lupin could see Hermione almost regretted having asked the question. But it wasn’t her fault if Harry and he had a problem. Of course not.
“Ron─ er─ Ron is not here for the moment,” Lupin muttered. There was no need to say it louder, the classroom was empty. And, as his feeling of nausea increased as the minutes passed, he had rather not tell them more firmly.
“Is he─ is he sick?” Hermione tried. She sounded worried, maybe─ maybe nervous as to what his answer might be?
Lupin shook his head. This wasn’t getting anywhere. Better he say the truth: he couldn’t tell her. Maybe… maybe she would understand and leave.
Along with Harry.
“I’m sorry, Hermione, I’m─ not authorized to tell you.”
He knew it was hard for her to hear that. She, on Harry’s contrary, and along with Ron, had talked to him a lot at Grimmauld Place. He wasn’t really a teacher anymore to them; just a friend of the family. They had laughed together and played Exploding Snap together and tried a few tricks to play on Ron’s brothers, Fred and George, during the summer. Just to show them they weren’t the only ones able to prank others…
That’s not the subject, Remus. You just want to avoid facing your responsibilities, don’t you?
Perhaps I do...
“An announcement will be made this evening,” he said apologetically, trying to explain the situation to her. “Dumbledore’s orders.” He shrugged, and she seemed to know what he meant. However, even if she understood, he saw her face paling. Harry had also frowned despite his apparent will to remain stubbornly quiet.
This is stupid, Remus, you know that.
Now they’ll think he’s dead or something. And you can’t blame them for these thoughts, what with everything happening nowadays…
But on the other hand, I really can’t tell them…
Look at Hermione’s face, Remus! You know she saw you were tired and worried. She knows, and Harry probably does, too, that something has happened… they’ll try anything to get the Daily Prophet… and if they find out before this evening… Dumbledore will think this was you who told them…
He needed to make them understand the situation wasn’t that bad. Even if it wasn’t true…
“He’s all right,” Lupin let out a forced smile. “He’s all right” he repeated in an attempt to convince them.
Hermione bit her lip and nodded. “Ok. I guess─ We’ll be on our way then. Goodbye, Remus.”
“Goodbye,” he replied, glad that despite the tension in the room Hermione still called him ‘Remus’─ he was really a friend now─ and turned around to walk back to his desk and gather his papers.
Yet he soon realized Harry hadn’t moved an inch. Hermione was looking back at him in puzzlement, a couple of feet away.
“Harry─” she said with hesitation, her eyebrows low in a frown “are you coming?”
To Remus’s surprise, Harry opened his mouth to speak. “I want to know where Ron is” he said obstinately, his voice full of menace.
Hermione looked at him as though she was imploring him to follow her out, then walked toward him and meant to grab his sleeve. “Come on, let’s go,” she said determinedly.
He pulled his arm away from her grip, and took a step forward to Lupin’s desk.
“Tell me what’s going on!” his voice was now full of barely concealed anger.
Lupin raised his head and stared at him in the eyes, for probably the first time in weeks. If Harry wanted to play this game, if Harry wanted to pretend they were enemies, then be it. He wouldn’t be the one to lose.
“Watch your behavior there, Potter.” His tone was harsh and didn’t carry the least trace of sympathy.
Hermione raised her head expectantly at Lupin, not knowing what to do. He motioned for her to leave them alone, with an expression meaning he would handle it.
But would he be able to? Harry was shaking furiously with rage and anger. As soon as the door closed, he pointed a finger at Lupin.
“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS CONSIDER YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW EVERYTHING?”
“Harry, don’t─” Lupin said, doing his best to make him calm down. He knew he needed to handle this or he’d never be able to teach again.
“YOU KNOW WHAT, I DON’T CARE IF YOU WERE MY DAD’S FRIEND OR ANYONE ELSE!”
Quiet down, Harry. Everyone is going to hear us─
“YOU’RE NOTHING MORE THAN A MURDERER!”
“LET ME SPEAK!” Remus tried to be harsh.
But Harry was so enraged he seemed beyond control.
“YOU WANTED TO MAKE ME─”
Someone’s got to be hearing this Remus thought. With all the noise we’re making, if there’s no student outside the class, than a teacher might be passing by─
And surely, barely half a second later─
The door opened abruptly. Harry fell quiet in an instant.
Oh, no Lupin closed his eyes and took a couple of steps forward, so that he was no longer behind his desk but rather between Harry and the way to the door. That’s got to be the worse thing that could have happened right now─
“I heard shouting” the shadow of Severus Snape closed the door silently and walked forward, a malevolent sneer impeccably drawn on his pallid face, his black cloak billowing in his back.
“Severus─” Lupin warned in a whisper.
“Well, well, well,” Snape replied, bending aside on his left to see past Lupin, his eyes focusing on Harry and becoming narrower. “Why am I not surprised?” he snickered. “Family reunion?”
God, make him shut up Lupin thought with all his might, seeing Harry turn bright red in fury, then whiter than death.
“He’s not my family,” Harry said coldly, his voice full of bitter resentment. “He never was. And never will be.”
It hurt hearing the words. Lupin gritted his teeth and said nothing, enraged inside himself at the knowledge that Snape had triumphed, that Snape had won.
You got what you wanted, didn’t you, Snivellus? Harry said in front of you that he hated me. You’re just horrible, trying to feel better in infuriating others… deepening the wound…
Now get out. Get out and leave us alone before I accidentally end up strangling you…
“Not your family?” Snape repeated in Harry’s direction, insisting on every word to make it sharp like a razor blade, his sneer more pronounced than ever. “Should I remind you, Potter, than this man was your father’s best friend? Your godfather’s best friend too─?"
Lupin wasn’t quick enough to retort before Harry did .
“You’re no better than he is,” Harry muttered and, eying Snape with what Lupin clearly distinguished as disgust, he pushed aside a chair to walk away and closed the door loudly on his way out, leaving a furious Lupin and a somewhat stunned Snape facing each other.
A/N: Here it is........ hope you liked this chapter, it was a little longer than the previous ones..... anyway.... I hope you guys review!
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