She looks just like Adeline, Remus thought as he watched the girl with long, blonde hair skip into his classroom. He watched as she took a seat at the very front table, paying absolutely no attention to him or anything else except the magazine she was reading. Remus's stomach clenched as he realized that he did not even know if Adeline had a daughter. He knew she married someone; he had seen the announcement in the Prophet, but he could not remember who.
Adeline, Remus thought again. They had lost contact years ago, but Remus now wished he had at least sent her a couple owls, asking about her. Maybe if he had he would know whether this girl in his first class he would teach at Hogwarts was Adeline's daughter. Maybe if he had not been so disengaged from the world all those years ago he would have.
“Moony! Hey, Moony!”
Remus stopped his trolley and and turned to see James Potter running top speed towards him, trolley clanging across the floor. His owl looked absolutely terrified, his cage perched precariously on the top of his trunk. Remus grinned and waited while his friend swerved through groups of parents and crying siblings and excitable first years.
“Prongs, you're going to kill someone,” Remus said once James came to a complete stop in front of him.
“I would never!” James exclaimed. “Anyway, I was just talking to Alice and she told me that Lily is Head Girl.”
“No surprise there,” Remus replied.
“And I'm Head Boy-”
“Which shows that maybe Dumbledore is getting senile.” Remus smirked.
“Shut it,” James said. “The point is that we'll spend more time together and maybe even go on a second date.”
“Unless you kill a first year with your trolley.”
“Who's killing a first year with his trolley?” Sirius Black asked as he joined them. His black hair was windswept and he was dressed in Muggle clothing, which would surely give his mother a heart attack if she happened to spot him while sending Regulus, Sirius's brother, off to school.
“James, if he doesn't calm down,” Remus explained.
“He's just excited to be Head Boy. It's all I've heard about the past month. I've got us a compartment for when you two are done patrolling the train.”
“We'd better get going,” Remus said. “I'm sure Lily will want to start the meeting as soon as the train leaves.”
“See you lot later!” Sirius said before taking off toward the train. “Going to track down Wormtail.”
The Prefects' compartment was already mostly full when Remus and James arrived a few minutes later. Lily was busy scribbling something onto a piece of parchment and everyone else was either talking about their summers or sitting silently. Remus sat down next to Alice, who must have been picked to replace Lily as the other seventh year Prefect. That meant he would patrol with her, which was fine with him. James sat down on Remus's other side and glared at Severus Snape, who was across from him.
“Well, we're all here now,” Lily said as she stood up. “This meeting will be short, but you need to pay attention. Welcome to all the new prefects.” She looked at the group of fifth year prefects and then at Alice. “And James, Head Boy.” Lily looked at James. “I've drawn up patrol schedules for everyone. This one has September, October, and November.” She picked up a stack of parchment and passed it around.
Remus took one and immediately checked to see if he was scheduled during any full moons. Sure enough, he was scheduled to patrol during the October full moon. He had spent the past two years coming up with excuses not to patrol during full moons and luckily no one got suspicious. Although now that James was Head Boy he could get him to cover and it wouldn't be an issue.
Snape was glowering at James, clearly confused as to why he was Head Boy. Remus was fairly certain Snape wasn't the only one confused, but no one else was staring evilly at him. Even Lily kept stealing uneasy glances at Snape as she went over the rules for patrols. Remus leaned back and closed his eyes since he'd heard it all before. The August full moon had been just a few days prior and he was still exhausted from it. Now that he was so used to having his friends with him on full moons during the school year it was worse in the summer when he was alone.
Remus hadn't realized he actually fell asleep until James poked him in the side a little while later. Whether it had been only a few seconds or a few minutes, Remus had no idea. James raised his eyebrows slightly at him and then nodded to Lily. Remus shook his head and then turned to Lily.
“-for more contention between students. The number of attacks in the past few months have increased and all we know for certain is that the attacks are always on Muggles, Muggle borns, and occasionally half-bloods. Someone's behind these attacks, most likely more than one someone, and there's a good chance they have children at Hogwarts. If you see anything suspicious, even if it's only a hunch, report it to either myself, James, or one of the professors. Professor Dumbledore wants us to err on the side of caution with this. If you think some altercation is more than just your average teenage issue, tell someone.” Lily lowered her voice. “Something's happening out there and we don't want it to enter Hogwarts.”
Remus glanced around at his fellow prefects. James looked more serious than Remus had ever seen him look before. Everyone was wearing the same serious expression, although two of the Hufflepuffs and one of the Ravenclaws looked slightly scared. Snape was still glowering at James, and James was glowering back. James and Sirius were both adamant that Snape was involved with the Dark Arts groups behind the attacks. Remus wasn't so sure. But it wasn't Snape's gaze that Remus felt the most uneasy about. It was one of the new Ravenclaw prefects. A girl, with the longest, blondest hair Remus had ever seen in his life, and big, wide, grey eyes that seemed to infiltrate his soul. She was staring at him and he had no idea why. Was it just because he had fallen asleep? Whatever it was, it made him uncomfortable. He turned back to Lily and tried not to make eye contact with her.
Lily had moved on to last minute announcements. “If you can't make patrol for whatever reason, let James or I know, preferably at least a week beforehand. James and I will patrol the train first and you can follow the schedule I've put on the back of the September calendar. I've scheduled our next meeting for three weeks from now. It's on the calendar.”
Lily sat down and stuffed the extra parchment back into her bag. Remus yawned and turned his September calendar over. He wasn't due to patrol the train for another two hours. Plenty of time for a nap.
“Was last year's Head Girl this organized?” James asked as he flipped through the parchment.
“Nope. She only gave us patrol schedules for a month at a time and we didn't have a schedule for patrolling the train. Same with the year before that, but the Head Boy organized everything that year.”
“James,” Lily said. “Let's get going.”
James grinned at Remus before jumping up and following Lily out of the compartment. Remus had a feeling he was going to enjoy patrolling a lot more than Lily was.
Remus turned to see Snape standing over him. Remus stood and crossed his arms on his chest. “Something you need, Snape?”
“Just wondering what Dumbledore was thinking, making James Head Boy,” Snape muttered.
“Dumbledore's got his reasons,” Remus answered. “And I don't think he's going to explain them to you.”
“More like he's going soft in the head,” Snape said.
Even though Remus had joked about the exact same thing a mere half hour ago, it was far more offensive coming from Snape since it was clear that he was serious. “I really don't think Dumbledore's choices are any of your business. Now, excuse me.”
Remus slid by Snape and left the now nearly empty compartment. He heard Snape mutter something under his breath that sounded a lot like 'halfbreed' as he left, but didn't acknowledge it. Snape clearly had no idea that Remus's being a 'halfbreed', as he put it, gave him great hearing. He was just glad there was no one else there to hear it.
The train corridor was fairly empty. Most everyone had already found a compartment and there were only the occasional forlorn looking first years and the trolley lady walking around. Remus found Sirius and Peter towards the back of the train. Being seventh years, they had secured a compartment to themselves and Remus was grateful. He wanted that nap even more now that he was forced to speak with Snape.
“Moony!” Sirius exclaimed as Remus entered the compartment. “Glad you're here. Wormtail and I can't agree on who we think this year's defense professor will be. He insists it'll be a vampire-”
“After last year's death no one's going to want the job. Vampires are already dead so there's no reason for one not to take the job,” Peter pointed out. He was referring to the fact that last year's defense professor, Professor Long, had been a victim of one of the mysterious attacks over the summer.
“Which is why he's going to hire a ghost,” Sirius said. “With vampires you run the risk of them sucking students' blood. And Binns is a ghost. He's worked out fine, even though he's boring.”
“Binns wasn't a ghost when Dumbledore hired him,” Peter said. “He died while on the job.”
“You're both wrong. He's not going to hire a vampire because there would be an outcry from parents. It's exactly why I won't have much luck getting a job when I graduate-”
“Moony, don't say that,” Sirius interrupted.
“It doesn't bother me,” Remus lied. “I'm completely expecting it. Anyway, he won't hire a ghost because what ghost is going to want to teach in the afterlife if they never taught while they were living? Ghosts don't need money. I don't even think they can hold it...”
“But still more realistic than a vampire,” Sirius said.
Remus groaned. “Yes, fine, more realistic than a vampire.” He stepped over Sirius's trunk and sat down next to the window. “I'm going to take a nap. Have to patrol the train in two hours.”
When Remus awoke James was in the compartment and strangely enough, so was Lily. Alice was there as well, but she was hovering near the door and was probably only waiting for him so they could patrol.
The shift went quickly and was uneventful. The most he had to do was tell a few first years to stop running up and down the corridor. He and Alice talked about their summers and what classes they were taking this year as they walked. Towards the end of their shift Remus saw the blonde fifth year prefect again. She was in one of the compartments near the front of the train.
“Do you know who that new fifth year Ravenclaw prefect is? The blonde girl?” Remus asked Alice. If anyone knew who she was, it would be Alice. She had an uncanny knowledge of everyone in the castle, students, staff, and ghosts included.
“Adeline Mosley,” Alice said immediately. “She's pretty quiet, but very smart. Why?”
“Just curious,” Remus said. For some reason he couldn't forget her eyes and how they seemed to not just look at him, but read him, as if he were an open book. It was an uneasy feeling, especially since Remus's own friends had told him multiple times that he was incredibly difficult to read.
The rest of the train ride went fast. Remus felt it went faster than in years past and he realized that it was most likely because this was a year of lasts, starting with this train ride. It was his last train ride to Hogwarts (assuming he stayed at Hogwarts for Christmas) and he was about to start his last year.
Remus was quiet as he traveled to the school from Hogsmeade in a thestral pulled carriage with James, Sirius, Peter, Lily, and Alice. His last ride in a thestral pulled carriage. He remembered when he was just starting as a first year and seventh year seemed so far off that he didn't even think about it or what he would do after he graduated until fifth year. That was when he had received career advice from Professor McGonagall. What a disaster that had been. She clearly hadn't wanted to admit that Remus would have few job options available to him and Remus hadn't wanted to think about it. But he had. He had spent the entire summer thinking about it.
The Great Hall filled up fast. Even Remus cheered up upon seeing its star filled ceiling and the gold, sparkling plates waiting to offer food. He joined his friends at the middle of the Gryffindor table and smiled to himself as Lily chose to sit next to James rather than at least five seats away from him as she had done the previous year. He met Alice's eyes and she giggled as she nodded towards the two of them. Alice was hoping Lily and James would get together as much as Remus was.
Remus glanced up at the staff table and and his eyes rested upon the only unfamiliar face. Obviously the new defense professor, this man gave nothing away about his personality in his appearance. He wore plain black work robes, his hair was grey and thinning, and his face showed little emotion. Nor was he speaking with any of the other professors. Professor Dumbledore, on the other hand, was deep in conversation with Professor Sprout and Professor Flitwick.
Soon, Professor McGonagall entered with the new first years. The Sorting Hat sang its usual song and then the first years were sorted into their houses. Remus cheered with the rest of his house at the addition of every new Gryffindor.
Professor Dumbledore stood after the last first year joined the Hufflepuff table. “Welcome students, new and returning. Just a few brief announcements before we begin our magnificent feast. First years should be aware that the Forbidden Forest is indeed, forbidden, as is the Whomping Willow. We have a few openings on all the house Quidditch teams, so please give your name to your head of house if you are interested in trying out.
“Now,” Dumbledore's voice turned far less cheerful, “I am sure most of you are aware of the attacks that have taken place over the summer. I urge you all to keep your eyes open. If you see any suspicious behavior please tell myself or another professor. That said, do not go looking for trouble. Prefects, as well as Head Boy and Girl, I'd like to meet with all of you after you show the first years to their common rooms. It will be held in my study. But let us not dwell on the bad news at the moment. Tuck in!”
The gold plates filled magically with food and Remus, suddenly starving, loaded his plate high. Hogwarts feasts were one thing he would definitely miss after graduation. There was no other place where you could actually eat whatever you wanted every single day.
“Dumbledore's distracted,” James said in between bites of chicken. “He forgot to introduce the new defense against the dark arts professor.”
“He's not even eating,” Lily said as she gestured towards the staff table. Dumbledore was speaking with Flitwick and Sprout again. Only Flitwick was eating out of the three.
“Bet we find out at that meeting tonight,” Remus said. “And I'm sure it has to do with all the attacks.”
“And you'll tell us, right?” Sirius said before taking a large bite of potato.
“Yeah, we're the only ones who aren't prefects,” Peter added.
“For a good reason.” Remus smirked. “But he did make James head boy...”
“More evidence that his mind is on other things.” Alice laughed. “Anyway, did everyone have a good summer? I hardly saw any of you on the train.”
“Best summer I've ever had,” Sirius said. “First summer without seeing my parents at all. What about you? What's Frank up to?”
Frank Longbottom, Alice's boyfriend since fifth year, had graduated Hogwarts last year. “He started Auror training a month ago so I haven't seen him much,” Alice said wistfully. “But he said he'll try to make it to Hogsmeade for the first Hogsmeade weekend.”
“That'll be us in a year,” Sirius said. Sirius, James, and Alice had all decided to become Aurors last year after the attacks started becoming more frequent. Remus wanted to join him, but there was no way the Ministry would accept a werewolf into their Auror training program. His friends were still waiting on their acceptances.
“Hopefully,” Alice said. “None of us have been accepted yet.”
“They'll take us,” James said. “They're going to need people.”
“Frank says Moody is very picky about who he accepts, though,” Alice pointed out.
“Can't blame him, really,” Lily said, lowering her voice when she noticed one of the first years attempting to listen in. “With all these attacks. They've no idea who's behind them. What if they accidentally accepted one of them into the Auror program? They'd have infiltrated the Ministry.”
Sirius stabbed a piece of chicken with an extreme amount of force. “Which is why they might not take me. Wish I could just erase the fact that I'm a Black.”
“They'd be stupid not to take you, Sirius,” James said. “No one hates the Dark Arts more than you. Plus, you don't live with your parents anymore and you haven't spoken to them in over a year.”
“There's no point worrying over it now,” Alice replied. “It's out of our hands.”
Remus agreed with Alice and was happy when the conversation slowly turned to Quidditch. He always felt uneasy when his friends spoke of the future. They had everything planned out and he didn't. It was unnerving.
James and Lily went immediately to Dumbledore's study after the feast was over. Remus and Alice lead the first years up to the common room as fast as they could and then joined them. James was standing outside the stone gargoyle and muttering the password for all the prefects as they entered. Remus ascended to the study with Alice and saw that it was filled with all the professors and most of the prefects. The air was thick and the atmosphere grim. Remus swallowed hard, sat down on a chintz couch next to Lily, and waited for Dumbledore to begin.
A/N: I know, the last thing I need is another novel, but this one just popped into my head the other day and was just begging to be written. I haven't abandoned my other stories; my muse is just preferring this one at the moment. Don't worry, the others will be written, too.
None of the names on the class roster jumped out to him as possibilities for Adeline's daughter. But then again, she most likely wouldn't have Adeline's last name. He wished he could remember who she married all those years ago, but the information just wasn't there. He would find out her name when he took attendance.
Remus watched as the rest of the class filed in, chattering away about their summers. None of them, Ravenclaws or Gryffindors acknowledged the girl at the front table. She did not seem bothered by this. It reminded Remus of his first few weeks at Hogwarts. The girl continued to flip through her magazine, even after the bell rang and he began calling out names.
“Luna Lovegood,” he said when he was about halfway done with the list.
“Here,” the girl said quietly as she raised her hand and finally closed her magazine.
Luna Lovegood, that was her. That was Adeline's daughter, Remus was sure of it.
Adeline Mosley was the last one to enter Dumbledore's study, along with the other fifth year Ravenclaw prefect. Remus didn't know his name. James followed the two of them and sat down on Remus's other side. Dumbledore ceased his conversation with McGonagall and rose from the chair behind his desk. The room quieted and everyone, including the former headmasters in their portraits, paid rapt attention to him.
“I know it is not customary to call a prefects' meeting on your first night back, but I have pressing issues to discuss that cannot wait, especially considering what will be in tomorrow morning's Prophet,” Dumbledore began. “The Auror department has made some discoveries about the seemingly random attacks that have been taking place for the past two years.”
Dumbledore's expression was grave and he began to pace around his desk. He paused in front of Fawkes's perch and stroked the bird's head a few times before continuing.
“The attacks are in fact connected, as we have suspected all along. They are not random, but instead are carefully planned, most likely by a single individual. I have my suspicions about who this individual is, but I will not tell you until they are confirmed.
“What we have now confirmed is that the group behind the attacks are calling themselves 'Death Eaters'.”
One of the fifth year prefects gasped loudly. McGonagall averted her gaze downwards, and Flitwick shook his head. Remus swallowed and shared a glance with James, whose face was identical to Dumbledore's.
“They are pureblood supremacists.” Dumbledore's voice turned harsh. “Every single attack has been on Muggles or Muggle-borns. Their wish is to eradicate all Muggle-borns from wizarding society. They do not believe that Muggle-borns have the right to learn magic or live in our society.”
Remus glanced at Lily, who looked absolutely terrified. How anyone could think that Muggle-borns such as Lily did not have the right to learn magic was completely ridiculous. Lily was far more clever than half the purebloods at Hogwarts.
“Sir,” James said, “if you don't mind me asking, how did you discover this?”
“The Auror department captured one of these Death Eaters after the attack last week. They kept him in custody and he has given us information in exchange for a lesser sentence.”
“But the Prophet did not say that someone had been captured,” James pointed out.
“The Auror department did not want to alert the other Death Eaters and the man in charge to the fact that one of their comrades had been captured by the Ministry,” Dumbledore explained. “It will be in the paper tomorrow. Unfortunately the Death Eater refused to give the name of the man in charge.”
“But you know who it is, don't you, Professor,” Patrick Finn, a seventh year Ravenclaw, said.
“As I mentioned earlier, I have an idea, but am not going to say anything until I have proof,” Dumbledore said. “However, the man the Auror department captured did give other names, which is the main reason why I wished to speak with you.”
Remus glanced at James. James was staring intently at Dumbledore, his face hardened. James, being a pureblood, probably knew of many of these pureblood extremists. The Potters were very respected in the wizarding world.
“Many of the names this individual gave have children at Hogwarts,” Dumbledore said gravely. “Others graduated within the past few years. It is quite possible that you are familiar with them.”
“Are you going to tell us who they are?” Patrick Finn asked.
“No,” Dumbledore replied. “Nothing has been confirmed and I do not wish to start any rumors. The Auror department is working to round these people up and question them. It is possible that if many are caught it could increase tension amongst students. Especially between purebloods and muggle-borns, as well as the children of well-known Aurors. We need you to be aware and keep your eyes open. Report everything, as I am sure Miss Evans already instructed you to do.
“A word of caution. These attacks are not to be taken lightly. They have been building over the past few years and I suspect this man in charge has ties all over Britain. If we capture those who carry out an attack, he will find others to carry out more. There is no doubt in my mind that they will not stop until we find and capture him.”
“The Ministry is working on it, right?” Lily asked. Her voice was quiet and timid. Remus had never heard her speak like that before. Lily was always calm and confident, from the moment he met her when they were eleven.
Dumbledore nodded. “Yes. However, I am unsure of how long it will take.” He paused and seemed to glance at each person in the room in turn. “One final note before we all turn in. The Death Eater who was captured graduated five years ago. His name is Rabastan Lestrange.”
James gasped. Remus knew why. Rabastan had a brother, Rodolphus, who had married one of Sirius's cousins a little over a year ago. Rodolphus was a few years younger than his brother. Remus remembered the pair of brothers from their time at Hogwarts, and both had been quite foul. So had Sirius's cousin, Bellatrix, for that matter.
“It will be in the Prophet tomorrow,” Dumbledore said. “But let us worry about that tomorrow. I believe we all need some rest. Good night.”
The professors lingered to continue speaking with Dumbledore, but Remus and the rest of the prefects left. Remus walked back to Gryffindor tower with James and Lily, none of them saying a word. He noticed that James gave Lily a hug after they descended from Dumbledore's study, and she reciprocated.
The common room was practically empty when they arrived, the fire having died out a while ago. Sirius, Peter, and Alice were still there, though, sitting in the squashy armchairs in front of the fire. Sirius stood as soon as they entered.
“They figured out the attacks are connected,” James said. “All coordinated by one bloke and their goal is to get rid of muggle-borns and half-bloods.”
“Shit,” Sirius said. “Shit, that means my family's involved!”
Remus glanced at James. It was something he had been thinking throughout the meeting with Dumbledore, but he had not voiced his concern to James.
“You don't know that for sure-” Alice began.
“Yeah, yeah I do,” Sirius cut her off and began pacing the room. “They'd love nothing more than if there weren't anymore muggle-borns. How did Dumbledore find all of this out anyway?”
“The Aurors captured one of the Death Eaters,” James said quietly. “It's going to be in the paper tomorrow, but...” James's voice trailed off.
“But what?” Sirius asked. “Tell me, James.”
“It's Rabastan,” James said. “He's the one they captured.”
“There's a surprise,” Sirius said sarcastically. “My idiot cousin married into a family even worse than the Blacks. I'm sure her husband's a Death Eater, too.”
“I'm going to bed,” Lily said suddenly. “I'll see you all in the morning.”
James made a move to go after her, but then stopped. He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. Once Lily had disappeared behind the door to the girl's dormitories, James turned back to the group.
“She's scared out of her mind,” he said quietly. “She's tried to hide it but I think knowing that it's an organized group whose goal is to get rid of muggle-borns is just too much.”
“Who can blame her?” Remus said. It scared him, too. “No one's safe. None of us. Sirius deserted his family and James is a pureblood but they're going to hate purebloods who like muggle-borns as much as they hate muggle-borns. As for the rest of us, our blood certainly isn't pure.” Remus wasn't even sure he wanted to know their stance on werewolves, but he had a feeling it was similar to their stance on muggle-borns.
“All the more reason to get out of here and become Aurors so we can stop this,” Sirius said quietly. “We're not going to be able to do anything stuck in this castle.”
Alice nodded. “I'm heading to bed, too.”
Remus and the other three boys said good night to Alice and then ascended to their own dormitory. It was familiar and Remus was glad to be back, but he couldn't shake the uneasy feeling that had plagued him since the train ride. He wasn't sure whether it was the Death Eaters or not knowing what he would do when he left school. Probably both, he thought as he climbed into bed. Luckily, he was too exhausted to think much about it and drifted off to sleep quickly.
The next morning Remus walked to the Great Hall with James, Sirius, and Peter. When they arrived he noticed that everyone in the room was sitting in small groups, surrounding copies of the Prophet. Lily and Alice were already at the Gryffindor table and had a copy of the paper between them. Both girls were reading and their breakfasts remained untouched on their plates.
Remus and the other boys sat down across from them and waited until they were done with the paper. Sirius scooped some eggs onto his plate but didn't eat them. James kept glancing over to the Slytherin table, the only table in the room that was not focused on the Prophet. In fact, the only bloke at the table looking sullen was Sirius's younger brother.
Remus poked Sirius in the side and nodded to the Slytherin table. “Regulus looks upset.”
Sirius shrugged. “Not my problem. It's probably because the rest of his awful friends graduated last year. I'd bet my broomstick that they're all involved with the Death Eaters.”
“And Regulus?” Remus asked quietly.
“No, not him,” Sirius replied immediately. “My parents will no doubt agree with what the Death Eaters are doing but I'm not sure they'd want to get involved with carrying out the dirty work.”
“Well, Snape's still here,” James muttered as Snape joined Regulus at the Slytherin table. “Think he's involved?”
“If he's not already he will be as soon as he graduates,” Sirius said.
“You lot want to read this?” Alice asked as she handed Remus the paper. She and Lily looked shaken.
Remus held the paper out in front of him and read. James, Sirius, and Peter crowded around him.
Months-Long Investigation Revealed
Head Auror Alastor Moody spoke late yesterday of a six month
long top-secret investigation the Auror department has carried out.
The goal of the project was to discover information on the mysterious
attacks that have plagued wizarding Britain over the past two years.
The project culminated last week with the capture of one of the
'The attacks are all connected,' Moody said to reporters. 'We believe
they have been coordinated by one individual and carried out by
a team of followers that call themselves the “Death Eaters”.'
Perhaps even more shocking are the motives of these Death Eaters.
Aurors revealed that it is a group of pureblood supremacists who
believe that magic should be limited to pureblooded wizards only.
This information was confirmed by the captured Death Eater, who
refused to give up the name of his leader. Rabastan Lestrange, 21,
is currently being held in Azkaban prison where he awaits trial
'I wish to be clear that this is by no means over,' Moody said. 'If
anything, it is only just beginning. There are many more Death
Eaters on the lose, not to mention their leader. The public needs
to keep their eyes open and their wands on them at all times.
Report any and all suspicious activity.'
“No new information in there,” Remus said when he finished. “Just confirms everything Dumbledore told us last night.”
“Look at Lestrange,” Peter said. “Looks a whole lot different than he did when he was at Hogwarts.”
Peter was right. He looked like he had aged at least five years. His hair was long and stringy, his face covered in stubble. The sneer on his face gave him a truly evil look, far from the arrogant schoolboy look he had when he was at Hogwarts.
“Timetables!” McGonagall suddenly said from behind them.
Remus startled and dropped the paper, nearly spilling his goblet of juice. He had almost forgotten that it was the first day of classes.
“Mr. Lupin,” McGonagall said as she handed him his timetable, then moving on to his friends.
Remus glanced at the piece of parchment. He was continuing with the same classes he had taken in sixth year, which gave him quite a few free periods. Today he had Transfiguration right after breakfast, then Herbology, a free period after lunch, and then Care of Magical Creatures.
“Double potions this afternoon,” James said. “Lovely way to start the year. Bet we have some sort of contest that Snape will win.”
“Your fault for choosing to stick with potions,” Remus pointed out.
“I had to. You need potions to be an Auror.” James sighed. “But Transfiguration first. At least we can start with something easy.”
“Are you kidding?” Peter exclaimed. “Transfiguration's not easy. And McGonagall's going to slam us with homework.”
“That's nothing new,” Lily said as she swallowed her last bite of toast. “We'd better get going, though.”
Remus shoved a final piece of bacon into his mouth, grabbed his bag, and followed his friends out of the Great Hall. They made their way through the castle, stopping to tell a first year where Potions was, and made it to McGonagall's classroom before the bell rang.
“How do you not know that the dungeons are in the basement?” Sirius said as they sat down at the back table. “It just doesn't make sense.”
“He was a first year,” Lily replied as she pulled a quill and pot of ink out of her bag. “Maybe he didn't know that Potions is in the dungeons.”
“It says 'dungeons' right on the timetable,” Sirius muttered. “They get dumber every year...”
Lily sighed loudly and slammed her book on the table a bit louder than necessary. James glanced at her and then turned to Sirius.
“Lily's got a point. Lighten up a little,” James said. Lily smiled and Sirius smirked at James.
McGonagall walked in the room and shut the door behind her. She looked slightly more stressed than the previous night which was not a good sign for Remus and the other seventh years.
“Welcome to seventh year Transfiguration,” she began. “I wish I did not have to remind you of your N.E.W.T.s in June, but previous years have taught me that students rarely develop proper studying skills by their seventh year. So, again, I shall remind you of the importance of these exams. Most, if not all, of you need at least an 'exceeds expectations' on your exam in order to qualify for the job of your choosing. If you follow my instructions, do all of the homework, ask for help when needed, and learn from your mistakes I guarantee you will achieve that mark.
“The homework will increase this year, starting with today. I am not sure where students get the impression that seventh year is a time to slack off and ignore classes. If anything it is the most important year of your Hogwarts career. For tonight I ask that you to read the first two chapters of the book and write down three questions you have as well as a foot of parchment explaining what you learned. Now, if you have not already, take out a quill, ink, and parchment. Today we will begin to learn about human transfiguration....”
The rest of the day proceeded much like Transfiguration had. Professor Sprout was slightly less intense about homework and N.E.W.T.s than Professor McGonagall, but Remus still had to pay rapt attention in Herbology in order to understand what was taught. Care of Magical Creatures was the exception, however Remus suspected that the reason they spent the day looking after crups was that Professor Kettleburn lost another two fingers from his left hand and could not open the container of crup food or successfully hold his wand.
James, Sirius, Lily, and Alice arrived at dinner full of complaints about Potions. Snape won the brewing competition, as was expected. Even Lily seemed irritated by this which was unusual.
“Snape seemed awfully happy about something, too,” James said quietly as he spooned gravy onto his potatoes. “Snape's rarely happy about anything, but today he was.”
“Weird,” Remus said. “You'd think he'd be angry about Lestrange getting caught.”
“Maybe something awful's happened that we don't know about yet,” James muttered and turned to Sirius. “You should ask Regulus.”
“Regulus is not a Death Eater,” Sirius snapped. “He might be friends with Snivellus but even my idiot brother wouldn't be dumb enough to become a Death Eater.”
James muttered an apology under his breath and the group settled into uncomfortable silence. Remus had suspected Sirius's brother of being mixed up in Dark activities for the past year, but unlike James, he didn't bring it up with Sirius. While Remus thought it odd that Sirius refused to accept what was right in front of him, at the same time, he could understand why he was clinging to that last bit of hope. However, what Remus thought even odder about the whole conversation was the fact that Lily did not once deny Snape's involvement with the Death Eaters.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed the first chapter! I've taken a few liberties with Rabastan. It was never said whether he was captured prior to being captured for torturing the Longbottoms, but I wanted to use a Death Eater that readers would be familiar with. He will still be captured for torturing the Longbottoms. You'll just have to keep reading to find out how!
Luna Lovegood, he thought as he finished the attendance. Lovegood, Lovegood... Xenophilius. Xenophilius Lovegood. Remus remembered him now. The weird Ravenclaw boy a year below him who told anyone who would listen (and plenty who wouldn't) about magical animals that didn't really exist.
He wished he could remember more. Wouldn't that be the type of information that he should remember? Who his ex-girlfriend married? But the wedding had taken place during the most tumultuous time in his life. So much had happened in those few years after graduating Hogwarts. It distracted him throughout his lesson. His first lesson at Hogwarts, and he could not even concentrate because he was being thrown into the past.
Remus decided to get a head start on his Transfiguration homework after dinner and headed straight for the library. Things were still awkward between James and Sirius, but they went to the common room together anyway. Peter went with them.
The library was practically deserted. Remus wasn't surprised since most people rarely did any homework on the first day of classes. It resulted in the library being very crowded on the first weekend back. Remus located a table in the back and began to read his Transfiguration book. He had just finished the first chapter when he felt someone staring at him.
Remus wasn't sure whether it was because he was a werewolf, but for as long as he could remember he always had a very good sense of when people were staring at him. Even if they were across a crowded room, he could sense it. In an empty library, he was very aware of it and could not concentrate. He looked up from his book and glanced around.
There was a girl at the next table. Remus had heard her walk in but had not paid any attention to who she was. Now he did. She was the same girl that had been looking at him in the Prefects' compartment on the train. Her long, blonde hair was resting on the table, covering the textbook that lay in front of her. She quickly looked away when she noticed Remus watching her.
Remus returned to his reading, but he couldn't concentrate. Why was this girl watching him? Why had she been watching him on the train? It didn't make any sense. He did not know her, she was two years below him, and she was a Ravenclaw. Remus had never been the recipient of a girl's stares before. James and Sirius had, many times, but rarely did anything come of it. James had had his heart set on Lily since fourth year and Sirius had only been on two or three dates. But he, Remus? Never before. It probably didn't even mean that, Remus thought.
After attempting to read for another ten minutes Remus finally gave up in defeat and shoved his book back into his bag. He couldn't study while that girl was there. It was too unnerving. Maybe James and Sirius would be over their little fight and things would be back to normal in the common room.
Remus felt the girl watching him as he left the library and it only caused him to speed up. He took the long way back to the common room in order to avoid a corridor that had been dungbombed by a few second years and then had to duck into a classroom to avoid Filch, who was on his way to locate the second years. Finally, he made it back to the common room, which was bustling with Gryffindors.
However, things were anything but normal amongst his friends. Sirius, Peter, and Alice were sitting at a table in the back, but James and Lily were sitting together on one of the couches. Together. Just the two of them. Remus caught Sirius's eye and raised his eyebrows. Sirius winked and Remus headed to the back table.
“When did that happen?” Remus asked.
“Right after dinner,” Sirius answered. “They haven't even come over to see what we're up to.”
“It's almost like Lily actually likes him,” Peter said.
“You're all so dense,” Alice replied. “Of course she likes him. She's liked him for a year now.”
“Then why did she take until May to agree to go to Hogsmeade with him?” Sirius asked.
“You're a bloke. You wouldn't understand,” Alice pointed out.
“Clearly not,” Sirius muttered. “Anyone up for a round of Exploding Snap?”
Remus, Peter, and Alice readily agreed. As they played, Remus glanced at James and Lily every so often. The two were heavily into whatever conversation they were having, completely ignoring everything around them. They both looked happy, too. Remus smiled. He was glad Lily had finally come around and seen that James wasn't the shallow bully she thought he was.
The next day Remus and his friends met the new defense against the dark arts professor. Dumbledore still had yet to introduce the man to the general student population. It was clear at every meal that Dumbledore was far too distracted by things going on outside the walls of Hogwarts to focus solely on the school. This worried Remus. Dumbledore was always the man who put his students before anything else. Whoever was terrorizing the wizarding world must be someone to be afraid of if he was causing Dumbledore to become distracted.
Remus and his friends settled at two tables in the middle of the room, as per their usual seating on the first day of a new defense professor. Sitting in the front could be dangerous if the professor was had a tendency to spit while he talked or if he had a fear of vampires requiring him to use garlic as a perfume. Sitting in the back was dangerous if the professor felt that all students who sat in the back were making trouble and needed detention all the time. That had taken place with their third year defense professor, landing all the boys in detention at least three times a week.
This professor looked completely normal, which put Remus on guard. Rarely was a defense professor normal. The entire wizarding community believed the position was cursed, so only an insane witch or wizard would take the job.
“Good morning,” the man said as soon as the bell rang. “I trust all of you are here for N.E.W.T. level defense against the dark arts. I'm sure many of you are wondering why I possibly took this job and that is a valid question, considering its past.”
Remus turned to glance at Sirius, who shrugged. Never before had any of their professors explained why they would take a cursed position.
“The answer is simple,” the man said. “I do not believe a position can be cursed and my defensive spells are up to par. If they were not, I would not be qualified to teach. My name is Professor Banks and you may address me as such.
“I understand there are quite a few of you who are aspiring Aurors. At this point, you will have put in your applications to the Ministry and are awaiting responses. Am I right?”
Sirius nodded enthusiastically.
“May I have a show of hands of who has applied?”
Remus glanced around the room. Sirius, James, Lily, and Alice all raised their hands, along with a number of Ravenclaws, one Hufflepuff, and even one Slytherin. The numbers amounted to nearly half the class. Remus sank down in his seat and tried to avoid the gaze of any of his classmates.
Banks nodded. “You may lower your hands. Of those who raised their hands, only half will be accepted.”
There was a murmur throughout the class.
“Of those who are accepted, only half will make it through training successfully. Of those who succeed to become certified Aurors, only two will last the first year.”
“You mean the rest will die?” Oliver Huntington, the sole Hufflepuff who had raised his hand, asked.
“No,” Banks answered. “It's a distinct possibility, but the stress is what gets to most young Aurors. The stress and the strain of working long missions puts on relationships. My point is, is that the Auror field is one of the hardest lines of work one can possibly get into. In light of recent events it does not surprise me that so many have applied. Usually a Hogwarts class only contains about five or six applicants. I counted about twelve of you.”
Remus stared down at his desk and picked at a loose sliver of wood. More than anything he wished he could have raised his hand. He was just itching to fight against the Death Eaters, but he couldn't. He wished Banks would stop going on about it.
“I am determined that most of you succeed,” Banks continued. “It is unrealistic that you will all make it, but consider N.E.W.T. defense Auror boot camp. I will teach you basic Auror spells and other information that will help you in training. This will also ensure you, even those not planning on becoming Aurors, will pass the exam.
“More importantly than that, you will be able to protect yourself. It is not only Aurors who need defensive training beyond O.W.L. level. You, in this class, are the smart ones.”
“How do you know all of this?” Oliver Huntington asked. “All this Auror stuff?”
Banks gave a wry smile. “I was one of those Aurors who only lasted a year on the force. Passed my training with flying colors, went on a few successful missions, came home after the longest one to find out that my wife was pregnant with twins. She had to go on bed rest four months in and that was that for my Auror career. I've been working a desk job in the department ever since.”
Remus was shocked that Banks revealed all of that. None of their other professors said anything about their personal lives. But in just those few sentences, and his talk of Aurors earlier, Banks had earned the trust of every student in the room.
During the remainder of the class Professor Banks gave an overview of what they would be learning. It was very intense. Difficult spells, including the Patronus Charm. Patronuses always had a certain appeal to Remus due to their protective nature.
“Read the first two chapters for homework,” Banks announced as the bell rang. “And come up with one spell you really want to master before the year is up.”
Remus shoved his notes and book into his bag and followed his friends to the door. They were all talking about Auror training.
“Mr. Lupin, could you come see me, please,” Banks shouted over the commotion. “I'll give you a pass to your next class.”
Remus sighed and turned around. Every single defense professor had called him to speak with them after the first class. Surely his classmates were getting suspicious by now.
“Yes, professor?” Remus asked, as the last few students left the room.
“I was very intrigued when Professor Dumbledore told me there was a lycanthrope at Hogwarts, and he tells me you are one of the best students,” Professor Banks said.
Remus was slightly thrown at the term “lycanthrope”. Only Healers used that term, mostly. Others just called him a werewolf.
“I just wanted to let you know that I can be flexible with due dates,” Banks went on. “Extensions, and the like, if assignments are due during a bad time.”
“Uh, thanks,” Remus muttered. He wasn't sure how he felt about that kind of special treatment.
“I'll let you get to class,” Banks said as he scribbled a pass and handed it to Remus. “Remember, Mr. Lupin, don't let your illness get in the way of what you really want to do.”
Remus nodded, took the pass, and left the room. That was strange, he thought, as he hurried to Arithmancy. The previous defense professors had called him to speak with them after the first class for a variety of reasons including sheer curiosity (second year) and dislike (fourth year), but never to offer him extra time on assignments or life advice.
None of Remus's friends asked him what Banks wanted since it had happened in every previous year. Nor did Remus offer up the information to them later at lunch, although he wasn't exactly sure why he didn't. Something about Banks rubbed Remus the wrong way, but he couldn't pinpoint it. On the outside the man was perfectly normal, if a little intense about the Auror stuff. They had had far worse in terms of defense professors.
Remus's first Prefect patrol of the year was that night, scheduled to begin at eight. The first few patrols of the year usually involved telling first years that it was curfew and escorting them back to their common rooms. That night he was patrolling with one of the new fifth year prefects, but luckily not Adeline Mosley. She was very odd and Remus didn't wish to spend a three hour patrol with her. His partner was Janine Camp, a Slytherin.
Remus met Janine in the Great Hall and they set off for the upper floors, where most rule breaking took place. Janine was quiet, which Remus was happy with. The first two hours of their patrol was rather uneventful and like usual, consisted of escorting first years to their common rooms.
The two prefects were just beginning the third and final hour of their patrol when Remus heard lowered voices in a nearby classroom. Janine hadn't noticed.
“Shush,” he whispered to her and slowed his pace. “I hear something.”
“I don't,” Janine said.
Remus ignored her and followed the voices. They grew louder and soon Janine heard them, too. Remus paused in front of the classroom.
“He is not someone you want to say 'no' to,” the deeper voice said.
“I never promised anything,” the other voice replied. Whoever it was, they sounded slightly afraid.
“Attending the meeting was promise enough,” the first voice said. “Malfoy told you that before you went.”
Malfoy, Remus thought. If Lucius Malfoy, who graduated three years ago, was involved with this it was nothing but trouble.
“Fine, fine, I'm in,” the second voice muttered. “Guess I don't have much choice, do I?”
“No, you don't. He would punish you severely.”
Without a second glance at Janine, Remus burst open the door. This was exactly the sort of thing Dumbledore was talking about. Something was going on here and Remus didn't like it.
There were two Slytherins in the room. The larger of the two was in their year. A bloke by the name of Nathan Bulstrode. The smaller, but only by a fraction, was either a sixth or fifth year. Remus was unsure of his name.
“What are you two doing in here?” Remus demanded, his anger rising.
“What's it to you, Lupin?” Bulstrode asked.
“It's past curfew, and I'm a prefect,” Remus pointed out. “Who's your friend?”
“Burt Crabbe,” the younger one muttered.
“I'm going to have to ask you to follow me to the headmaster's study,” Remus said. He wasn't messing around with possible Death Eater activity. It would be straight to Dumbledore with both of them.
Bulstrode started laughing. “Seriously? We're not going to see Dumbledore.”
“Yes, you are,” Remus said, folding his arms across his chest and blocking the door.
“I don't think so, Lupin,” Bulstrode grabbed his friend by the robes and stepped closer to Remus. Up close, Remus could see that Bulstrode easily had six inches on him and probably fifty pounds.
Bulstrode, still having a hold on Crabbe, plowed right into Remus and shoved him into a nearby desk. Without looking back, the two Slytherins ran out of the room. Remus heard their footsteps disappear as he stood up. He winced. He'd landed on his left leg, which happened to be the leg he'd injured severely during last week's full moon.
“Are you okay?” Janine asked, hurrying to help him up.
“Fine,” Remus muttered. His leg stung with pain, but that didn't bother him as much as the proof of Death Eater activity in the school.
“You don't think-” Janine started.
“Junior Death Eaters?” Remus finished for her. “Yeah, I'm sure of it. Malfoy's up to his ears in Dark Arts and these two idiots are working for him.”
Janine looked terrified. Remus wished they hadn't discovered this on her first patrol. It was a bad introduction to a job that normally wasn't all that eventful. He sighed and left the classroom, Janine following.
“We're going to Dumbledore,” Remus said quietly.
Janine nodded. The two of them said nothing on their way to the headmaster's study. Remus muttered the password (James had given it to him the previous day), and the two stepped onto the stairs. Remus knocked once they were at the top and it was followed by an immediate “come in.”
Dumbledore did not look surprised to see them. It was clear that he was expecting something to happen on one of the first few days.
“Mr. Lupin, Miss Camp,” Dumbledore greeted them, “please, have a seat.”
Remus and Janine sat. Dumbledore folded his hands on the table and waited for one of them to begin.
“We found two students having a conversation that sounded a lot like one between a Death Eater and a probable recruit,” Remus began. “Nathan Bulstrode and Burt Crabbe. They were in a classroom and Bulstrode seemed to be making threats to Crabbe, telling him that 'someone' would not appreciate him bowing out of whatever they were in. Lucius Malfoy's name was thrown around as well.”
Dumbledore unclasped his hands and began stroking his beard thoughtfully. “That certainly is suspicious. I'll request a meeting with both boys.”
“I attempted to bring them now, but they refused,” Remus told him.
“But Bulstrode shoved him into a desk,” Janine put in.
Remus sighed to himself. He wasn't going to tell Dumbledore that. The headmaster had more to worry about than Remus getting shoved into a desk.
“I'll order detention,” Dumbledore said. “Are you okay, Remus?”
“Fine,” Remus replied. He knew he needed to stop at the hospital wing for a potion if he had any hope of getting to sleep at night, but again, it wasn't something Dumbledore needed to know.
“In the future, just inform me of any situations like this. I'll take care of it. Don't attempt to bring them directly to me. Death Eaters, even new recruits, are incredibly dangerous.”
Dumbledore stood and began walking towards the door. Remus and Janine took that as their cue to leave.
“Remember, Hogwarts is not immune to the outside world,” Dumbledore said quietly. “I truly appreciate your dedication to the school, both of you. You may return to your common rooms. Don't worry about the remaining half hour of your patrol.”
Remus and Janine bade the headmaster good night and then left. Remus said good night to Janine at the stairs, as she walked down, and Remus up to the hospital wing before returning to his common room. Dumbledore was right. Whatever was happening outside the castle was creeping in, and faster than Remus would have thought.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed this!
Remus was distracted by thoughts of Adeline throughout the entire class. It was almost a relief when the bell rang. The students packed up quickly, immediately returning to the conversations they had suspended in order to sit through the lesson. All but Luna, who packed her things slowly and seemed utterly nonplussed about the fact that none of her classmates had waited for her.
“I'm very happy Professor Dumbledore has found us a good Defense teacher this year,” Luna said offhandedly as she picked up her bag. “Professor Lockhart was vile.”
Remus was slightly stunned at her complete honesty, especially with him, a professor. Nor did he quite know what to say to her comment.
“Dad says I'm a good judge of character,” Luna continued, “and I can tell you'll be a wonderful teacher. I disliked Professor Lockhart from the start.”
Remus chuckled. “Thanks. I'll do my best.” In the span of an hour, Remus could already tell she truly was Adeline's daughter.
Remus awoke the next morning with a searing pain in his leg and silently cursed Bulstrode as he slowly sat up in bed. Upon arriving at the hospital wing after meeting Dumbledore, Remus discovered that getting shoved into the desk had re-opened a large, healing wound from the August full moon. Madame Pomfrey had re-sealed it, but it was a deep wound that already had a risk of permanent damage.
“You okay, Moony?” James asked as he exited the bathroom.
“Not really,” Remus replied. “You were off with Lily last night, so I didn't get to tell you. One of the fifth year prefects and I found Bulstrode and Crabbe in an empty classroom talking about joining the Death Eaters. Bulstrode shoved me into a desk and it re-opened a really nasty cut from August.”
James dropped his towel, which he had been using to dry his hair, on his bed and walked over to Remus's, sitting down next to him. “You told Dumbledore, right?”
“Yeah, of course, but Dumbledore should be more concerned with the fact that they're Death Eaters. They're getting detention for it anyway,” Remus explained, as he attempted to get up. “I'm going to go to the hospital wing and get some more potion before class.”
“I'll help you,” James said, throwing one of Remus's arms over his shoulder. “You'd take three months to get there on your own.”
A half hour later Remus was in bed in the hospital wing, Madam Pomfrey having diagnosed his leg as severely infected. Only the second day back and he was laid up with no chance of getting to class. And all because of Bulstrode and his stupid desire to be a Death Eater. This was just another clear indicator to Remus that he will never lead a normal life. No matter what Professor Banks said, his lycnathropy did hold him back.
“We'll visit at lunch,” James said. “And I've got a free period this afternoon.”
Remus shook his head. “No, spend your free period with Lily. The weather's nice. Take her for a walk around the lake or something.”
“Remus, if you're stuck here, I'm going to be here to visit you. Lily will understand.”
“I'll be out by tonight,” Remus assured him.
“Maybe,” Madam Pomfrey said as she handed him another potion. “You need to stay off that leg. You've got tissue damage and that's never going to heal if you're walking on it.”
“It's the second day of classes!” Remus protested. “And N.E.W.T. level at that!”
“I'm sure you'll catch up,” Madam Pomfrey said dryly. “Mr. Potter, the bell's going to be ringing shortly, so I suggest you get to class.”
James glanced at the clock and sighed. “I guess I should get going. I'll let you know what you miss in Transfiguration.”
“Thanks,” Remus muttered.
The pain potion kicked in a short while later which Remus was thankful for. But at the same time it made him feel that being in the hospital wing was utterly pointless. Eventually he fell asleep, but more out of boredom than exhaustion.
At lunchtime James returned, followed by Lily, Sirius, Peter, and Alice. Madame Pomfrey looked slightly peeved that all of them came at once, but didn't say a word.
“I'll kill him, I swear,” Sirius muttered as he sat down in a chair next to Remus's bed. “Bloody Bulstrode.”
“It wasn't completely his fault,” Remus pointed out. “If he'd pushed anyone else into that desk they would've been fine.”
“That's not the point,” James said. “It's what it means. Prefects used to be respected and now they're not. Even Dumbledore isn't respected anymore. That's the scary part. These Death Eaters are answering to this mysterious bloke and won't listen to anyone else.”
“And, just the fact that he did land you in the hospital wing,” Lily said. “Pushing you into a desk like you're both in primary school.”
“Did you see him in Transfiguration?” Peter asked. “Looked ready to murder someone. Bet he got awful detention from Dumbledore.”
“Scrubbing cauldrons with Slughorn,” Madam Pomfrey whispered as she walked past. “Every night this week and then doing lines with Dumbledore himself Saturday afternoon. But you didn't hear that from me.”
“You really are her favorite student,” Lily said after the nurse returned to her study. “But seriously, Remus, you're going to have to watch your back around him from now on. He's going to blame the detention on you. Don't go anywhere alone.”
“None of us should be going anywhere alone,” Remus said. “You lot should get down to lunch. I'm fine, I swear.”
James looked skeptical, but still followed the others out of the hospital wing. Remus sighed and rolled over in bed. Lily was right, of course, that Bulstrode was going to be after revenge. Yet somehow that didn't scare Remus, at least not as much as thinking about what he was going to do next year when he didn't have Madam Pomfrey around to help him.
Two days later, Remus was still in the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore were having an intense conversation across the room and they were just far away enough so that was unable to eavesdrop. A Gryffindor first year lay in one of the beds, recovering from a curse sent by a Slytherin fifth year. Remus assumed that the nurse and the headmaster were discussing the fifth year's motives and he had a bad feeling about it.
A few minutes later Dumbledore left and Madam Pomfrey administered a potion to the poor girl, who was moaning in her sleep. Madam Pomfrey then made her way over to Remus's bed.
“What were you and Dumbledore talking about?” Remus asked.
“Afraid I can't tell you, Remus,” she replied and rolled up Remus's pants leg to examine the injury. “Your leg still hurt?”
Remus nodded, even though it pained him to admit it. The wound looked much better, having healed leaving all but a nasty looking bruise and a faint scar. He had tried walking on it earlier but it hurt, even with pain potion.
“While it is too soon to tell whether there is permanent damage, my suspicions tell me that there is,” she said quietly. “It would have healed properly had it not been for the incident the other night. I'm afraid there isn't much we can do now, although I would like to have it looked over by a healer.”
Remus's heart sped up. Permanent damage? Despite his many years transforming into a werewolf he had never gotten permanent damage before. It was one thing to basically get sick and injured once a month and then recover. It was a completely different story to never be able to walk normally again.
“But I can't walk on it,” Remus said quietly, his voice cracking. “It hurts every time I put weight on it.”
“I'm going to put you on a pain management regimen, at least until you see a healer. And you'll have to walk with a cane,” she told him.
Madam Pomfrey sighed. “I hope not, Remus, but at this point I cannot say.” She turned and went to her study for a moment and then returned with a wooden cane and a bottle of potion. “Take two tablespoons every four hours. I'm going to owl St. Mungo's and set you up with a specialist. They'll owl you with the day and time.”
Remus nodded. All he wanted to do was return to his dormitory and crawl into bed, despite the fact that he'd been in bed all weekend. Any last remaining hope of becoming an Auror, if by some slim chance the Ministry changed their stance on werewolves, was now gone. In twenty years the Ministry may take a werewolf, but they would never take someone with a permanent leg injury.
On his way back to Gryffindor tower Remus received many strange looks from his fellow students. However, word had obviously gotten around about his altercation with Bulstrode since he heard both his and Bulstrode's names whispered by these students as he passed. By the time he finally made it to Gryffindor, he was cursing the fact that the tower was so far away from everything else.
“I swear, Remus, I'll murder him Muggle style,” Sirius growled as soon as Remus sat down in one of the comfy armchairs in front of the fire. As seventh years, the group had permanently taken over this area.
“Is it permanent?” Alice asked.
“Probably,” Remus answered. “I have to go to St. Mungo's, though.”
“It's crap, Remus, utter crap,” Sirius said.
“I know it is,” Remus said shortly. “But there's really nothing I can do about it. I think I'm going to go to bed.”
Remus heard his friends whispering as he left, but he really didn't care. All he wanted was sleep, and dreams that were free of Death Eaters and Aurors and everything else that was happening.
By Wednesday it became old news that Remus was walking around Hogwarts with a cane and a limp, to everyone except Remus, that is. He was regretting doing Care of Magical Creatures and Herbology due to their lack of proximity in the castle. Walking on the grounds was much more difficult than walking inside the castle. Luckily the pain potion he was on worked wonders.
“James, JAMES!” Sirius shouted at breakfast. Remus looked up from his eggs and saw that Sirius was holding an official looking letter. Similar letters were sitting in front of James, Lily, and Alice.
James turned away from Lily, to Sirius, and then to his own letter. “Merlin! D'you reckon?”
“Open them!” Peter shouted.
James, Sirius, Lily, and Alice ripped their letters open. Remus leaned over Sirius's shoulder and read his, although he didn't need to since Sirius read it aloud.
“Dear Mr. Black,
We have received your application into the Auror Academy, U.K.
Based on your application you have been initially accepted, pending
an in-person interview to be conducted by Alastor Moody, Head
Auror. Please report to the Ministry of Magic on September 19th
at 10 a.m. You will need to bring your wand and Apparition license.
Head of Admissions
Auror Academy, U.K.
Ministry of Magic”
“I'm in!” James exclaimed. “Are you lot all in?”
“Yes!” Lily and Alice said together.
“When are your interviews?” Sirius asked.
“September 20th,” James answered.
“Me, too,” Lily said.
“Mine is September 21st,” Alice said.
“I'm first,” Sirius replied. “Merlin, I'm first!”
Remus couldn't help but grin as he saw how excited his friends were. It was true that he would never, ever become an Auror, but the next best thing was having all his friends become Aurors, Remus thought.
“Hey, look, you're getting a letter, too, Remus,” James said as he pointed to an unfamiliar owl.
James was right. It landed on Remus's plate and dropped a letter into the remains of his eggs. Remus opened it and saw that it was informing him of his appointment at St. Mungo's. Not nearly as exciting as his friends' letters.
“I've got my appointment at St. Mungo's on Friday,” Remus told them. “Eleven in the morning. I'm to floo from the hospital wing.”
“I'll go with you,” James said immediately.
“You have class,” Remus pointed out.
“I don't care,” James said.
Remus was secretly happy that James insisted. He hated going to St. Mungo's. At least this time he was pretty sure he wouldn't have to stay the night.
“We'd better get to Transfiguration,” Peter said.
Transfiguration, along with Charms, had become incredibly awkward since Remus's incident with Bulstrode. The Slytherin was in both of those classes with Remus and he hated it. Bulstrode stared at him the entire time, making it very difficult for Remus to concentrate. Unfortunately, Remus wasn't very good at making a quick escape after class was over and he knew it was only a matter of time until Bulstrode managed to corner him.
That day happened to be the day. A number of unfortunate events led to the encounter. The first being the fact that McGonagall hurried out of the classroom as soon as the bell rang, having mentioned an urgent meeting with Dumbledore. The second being the fact that Remus knocked his ink over as he shoved his notes back into his bag, resulting in nearly else leaving far before him. Bulstrode was waiting for him outside the room, long after everyone else, save for Sirius, James, and Peter had left.
“Lupin,” Bulstrode growled, blocking Remus's exit. “How's the leg?”
“Get out of the way,” Remus said.
“I don't think so. Because of you I've got a week of detention,” Bulstrode said. “What do you say I get your other leg, just to make things even?”
“I said, move!” Remus shouted.
“You'd better leave, Bulstrode,” James said, stepping closer to the Slytherin.
“Oh, yeah?” Bulstrode laughed. “It's none of your business what I do.”
“I'm Head Boy,” James said, crossing his arms across his chest. “And you're asking for another detention.”
“I've already got enough detention thanks to Lupin!” Bulstrode shouted. He reached into his bag for his wand.
James pulled his own wand out of his robes and aimed it at Bulstrode, who had his wand aimed at Remus. Before Remus could even set down his bag to get his own wand, Sirius lunged forward and punched Bulstrode in the nose. Bulstrode, not expecting a physical fight, fell over in surprise. Sirius was on top of him and the two were dueling, Muggle-style. Remus stepped back to get out of the way and James bent forward to try and pull Sirius off of Bulstrode.
“You bloody. Evil. Lousy. Git!” Sirius shouted.
“Blood traitor!” Bulstrode replied as he got Sirius square in the jaw. “You could've been on our side, Black!”
“I'm going to be the one putting you lot all in Azkaban!” Sirius exclaimed. “You and my bloody family and whoever the hell you're working for!”
Remus was beginning to think that this was about more than just the fact that Bulstrode threatened him.
“You idiots will never find him,” Bulstrode said, suddenly calm.
“Just you watch,” Sirius seethed.
By this point a crowd had formed. James was still trying to pull Sirius off of Bulstrode, but didn't succeed until a Ravenclaw broke away from the on-lookers and helped. After that, the crowd started to disperse.
“Sirius, what the hell?” James exclaimed. “You could've just disarmed him!”
Sirius was breathing hard. Blood was flowing freely from his nose and his jaw looked bizarrely out of place. “They're killing people, James. All of them. Did you see his arm?”
“His arm?” James exclaimed. “I was too busy trying to keep you from killing him!”
“He's got a snake and a skull tattooed on his arm,” Sirius whispered. “I know that tattoo.”
Sirius was turning pale now and Remus wasn't sure whether it was from the loss of blood or noticing the tattoo. James looked as confused as Remus felt. What difference did his tattoo make?
“How do you know it?” Remus asked quietly.
“Lucius Malfoy has one just like it,” Sirius explained. “I'd bet my right arm it's some sort of Death Eater symbol.”
Remus didn't bother to ask how Sirius knew Lucius Malfoy had one and James didn't, either.
“Dumbledore. I need to tell Dumbledore,” Sirius said weakly.
“You need to go to the hospital wing first,” James said.
Remus skipped Herbology in order to go to the hospital wing with James and Sirius. At that point he would have missed more than half the class anyway, with the time it would have taken him to walk down to the green houses.
Dumbledore was in the hospital wing, speaking with Bulstrode. Madam Pomfrey immediately got Sirius into bed and began to heal his various injuries. James and Remus sat down on the adjacent bed and Dumbledore strode over to them five minutes later.
“Well, I've heard Mr. Bulstrode's side of things and now I'll hear yours,” Dumbledore said.
“I'd rather speak in private,” Sirius said.
“You aren't to speak right now,” Madam Pomfrey replied. “And Mr. Bulstrode is asleep so this might as well be private.”
“He threatened Remus, sir,” James said immediately. “He drew his wand first, but Sirius did start the physical fight.”
“Is that true, Mr. Black?” Dumbledore asked.
Sirius nodded. “But that doesn't matter! He's got a tattoo, it's a skull and a snake intertwined. Lucius Malfoy has one, too.”
Dumbledore's face hardened. He stood and strode over to Bulstrode, where he examined the boy's arm. He returned to Sirius's bed and nodded to Madam Pomfrey.
“Mr. Black, you will serve detention tomorrow night. I'll arrange it with Professor McGonagall and owl you the details. For now, I need to be returning to my study.”
“But what about the mark?” Sirius asked. “It's the Death Eater mark, isn't it?”
“I cannot say at this point, Mr. Black.”
Dumbledore didn't need to say it. The look in his eyes was enough to confirm the detail. The intertwined skull and snake tattoo was the mark signifying a person's allegiance to this mysterious evil wizard, and Nathan Bulstrode was indeed a Death Eater.
A/N: Thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed this!