When he reached the top of the stairs leading to the staff room, nearly everyone was there already. Most teachers, not knowing where the meeting would be, had chose to remain outside the professor’s room; and Prefects were standing a little away from them, paired by houses.
The Hufflepuff and the Ravenclaw prefects were talking together in low voices; and, farther away, Malfoy stood with Parkinson, the other Slytherin Prefect. Instead of starint a conversation eyed closely the other Prefects. There was slight sneer on his face that meant quite clearly that he had no wish to mix with them.
Hermione and Harry were nowhere to be seen.
It didn’t cross Lupin’s mind that they might not come─ no, Hermione was much too serious for that─ and he bet they were ready to do anything to help Dumbledore in ensuring security at Hogwarts now that they had learned about the attack at the Ministry and the death of Ron’s father.
So where were they?
The door between the gargoyles opened suddenly and Dumbledore motioned for them all to walk in. Lupin couldn’t help but stare at him for a while. His graying beard was as impeccable as ever; the half-moon spectacles, straight on his nose. He walked with assurance, determinedly. There was no trace of hesitation in the way he took measured steps, or in the way he had turned around for the teachers to follow him.
But there was still something in his eyes that stood out that evening; something Lupin couldn’t help noticing, though he wished with all his might he hadn’t. There was a shadow in the Headmaster’s eyes that Lupin had never seen before.
Well, he had. And that was the problem.
The face had grown older; the expression on his face was way wiser. But the note in the eyes was the exact same as long ago, in darker times. More than fifteen years before. A mixture of deep anxiety, tiredness; a silent wish for it all to be over, for the world to rest in peace.
Teachers sat, one after the other, and Prefects did the same. When the last ones drew a chair, Harry and Hermione showed up.
Hermione’s face was puffy─ she had probably cried. Harry seemed exhausted. Silently, Hermione went to sit beside Lupin─ there weren’t many chairs left now─ and Harry sat on her right, thus two seats away from Remus, without a single glance at him.
As soon as they were all there, the door closed and Dumbledore started talking.
“You all are aware of what is going on” he said in a sinister way. “Now it is getting late and I do not wish to hold you long. The Patrols start tonight.”
There were a few nods around the table; but most of them stayed quiet. None of them really wanted to hear this, none of them wanted these watches. They would only add tiredness to the regular, already exhausting days filled with nervousness and edginess.
“It will be one Prefect and one teacher per shift. To ensure each of you some comfortable sleep, there will be three shifts per night, thus making every watch no longer than three to four hours.” Dumbledore paused for a while and looked at some parchments he had in front of him.
“Tonight: Harry Potter and Professor Snape will have the first watch. Professor Lupin and Mister Malfoy, you have the second. As for the third, it will be Professor Flitwick and Fawcet.”
Lupin glanced sideways to the boy. Draco was eying him darkly from the other side of the table; and he was watching Harry too, with disgust.
That’s right, Draco. You’re going with me.
Snape gets to have Harry.
Lupin couldn’t help despising the Slytherin boy. He knew he had no right too─ as a teacher, he had to be fair and neutral. But Malfoy had such a way of infuriating him… with constant provocation in his attitude…
He reported his attention back to Dumbledore, who went on in giving the Patrol shifts for the whole week.
“Any questions?” Dumbledore finished.
No one moved.
“Very well. You shall report to the Staff Room to start patrols” he was talking to the Prefects now. “The first one starts in twenty minutes─ you can go and warn you classmates you will be leaving at night from time to time.” The Headmaster gathered his parchments, gave a tiny nod to conclude it all, and wheeled around.
It took a while before Lupin stood up. He didn’t have to wonder why he was only on patrol this night, and never later in the week─ other teachers had to take two, if not three shifts in the week to assure a rotation.
But the next day, he would be way too tired for that.
Tomorrow was the full moon.
Great he thought. Things are really getting better─
“Lupin” he heard his name called and only then did he realize, once finding himself staring at Snape’s greasy face, that everybody else had left the table.
“What?” Remus said without thinking.
A frown formed on Snape’s face; as though he was clearly unhappy about something.
Snape wants to be addressed as ‘sir’ the thought crossed Lupin’s mind. He guessed it were Fred and George who had told him that back at Grimmauld’s place and grimaced at the thought of being back there─ an everyday remembrance of Sirius…
But that wasn’t the question. Snape had already started talking again.
“You see, I suppose you are no more thrilled at the idea of working with Malfoy than I am to work with Potter.”
Lupin’s eyes narrowed and he glared at him. Did Snape mean what he thought he meant? Was that a proposition to exchange Prefects?
“What do you say we find a compromise?” Snape’s face was inches from his own now.
No that’s too easy…
Lupin almost started panicking. He knew Snape wanted to trade students because he strongly disliked Harry; but there was more to it. It was a trap.
You just want to know what’s going on between Harry and me, don’t you?
So what are you going to answer?
If he told him he wanted to trade, Snape wouldn’t know about the fact that Harry hated him. But that would mean patrolling with Harry…
And if he refused to trade, Snape would know… And Snape must not know. At no cost…
“I suppose Professor Dumbledore has his reasons” Remus simply replied, avoiding a direct answer.
“Does that mean you refuse?”
“It just means I see no point in trading” Remus stated.
Snape’s expression became colder than ever. He was furious. “Does he have reasons, too─” he whispered malevolently, “─for not giving you other shifts for the rest of the week, Lupin?”
I don’t care if you’ve noticed…
But just stop right there, Snivellus.
One more word and I swear I’ll─
“Or maybe─” Snape went on “it has to do with the fact that you will be occupied with something else?”
Shut up cold started running down Lupin’s spine. Cold, and also something else that rose through him. Anger. Disgust. And, above all, a raw wish for payback.
“Oh, it’s the full moon tomorrow, isn’t it?”
JUST SHUT UP!
Yes, that was it, payback. For all these years, Snape had looked down on him, Snape had hurt him. With comments, gestures, irritating words here and there. With looks that told clearly Lupin was nothing more than a monster, when Lupin had had nothing to do with the way he’d been treated by his classmates at school.
True Lupin had never stood up for him. But he had never put him down either. And Snape had been annoying, infuriating, terribly provocative and downright irritating.
This time he was going too far.
For a second, a flash crossed Lupin’s mind.
It had been at Grimmauld’s place the year before. Arthur Weasley had taken him apart that evening, telling him he needed to tell him something. Ron’s father had walked in the kitchen during the day, along with the entire Weasley family, only to find Snape and Sirius facing each other, wands raised, ready to strike…
Arthur had wanted to know if Sirius would control himself, because he feared the hatred between Sirius and Snape could menace the good work of the Order. Lupin had assured him Sirius would behave, just to reassure him.
But you knew he wouldn’t, right, Remus?
Of course I knew. That’s how Sirius was. Reckless, uncontrolled, irresponsible and immature. Easily angered, foolish and arrogant.
But who cared? He was proud. That’s the way he had always been, that’s the way he had been our friend, that’s the way we wanted him to stay.
HE WAS PROUD!
Now Arthur was dead, Sirius was dead.
And Sirius hadn’t finished the job on Snape; that’s what stood out to Lupin’s mind that evening.
He would have his revenge. For both of them.
Slowly, very slowly, while he didn’t quit Snape’s eyes, Remus’s right hand descended toward his pocket. He gained inch after inch with his expression perfectly disinterested, as though Snape’s words had not the slightest effect on him until, at last, the tip of his fingers met his wand.
A/N: yes, another chapter coming soon! lol don't kill me I'll update when I can I promise!
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