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Kjkit - Harry Potter and the Marcello School
Chapter 44 - Goodbye to the werewolf
Chapter 44: Goodbye to the werewolf
Later that afternoon, Harry walked along one of the long corridors leading from the Gryffindor's common room to the headmaster's office, where an Order meeting had been arranged for that evening. He was lost in nervous thought, partially about meeting the Order members again, but also due to the events he had planned afterwards.
He was so distracted by his musings that he didn't see the other boy until he had passed him by, and was only alerted to his presence by a small cough and the footsteps that were following his own.
Harry spun, his palm flat and poised ready to release a wandless curse should his follower be a threat. He almost heaved a sigh of relief as he recognised who it was, but didn't totally relax in the other's company.
"Malfoy." He greeted with a small nod.
The Slytherin nodded in return, not reaching for his wand, but choosing to lean against the oak-panelled wall of the corridor and examine his rival.
"I heard that you had returned, Potter." He started.
Harry nodded in turn, not wanting to provoke Malfoy in anyway.
"I've also heard some interesting rumours about you training at Marcello."
Even though it was posed as a statement, Harry could hear the question in his voice and took a steadying breath to calm the tension that was usually evoked by confrontations with the silver-haired Slytherin.
"What is it to you?" he countered calmly.
Malfoy shrugged slightly. "My father has told me a lot about Marcello." He said. "Claimed that it was one of the best schools around… My grandfather was a student there, and taught my father everything he knew."
Harry's eyes narrowed with wary curiosity. "You know how to handle a sword?" he asked.
Draco rolled his eyes at Harry, though the courageous Gryffindor could sense there was an element of bitterness in the gesture. "What pureblood doesn't know the art of swordsmanship?" he countered. But at Harry's silence further explained. "My father felt that my skills weren't worthy of a Malfoy, so stopped my lessons. I know how to handle a blade, but nothing that could rival the skills of those who have been to Marcello."
It suddenly dawned on Harry what the root of Malfoy's bitterness was, and realised that the stereotypical Slytherin had been brought up with a sense of inadequacy, much like he had in the Dursley's household. "Story of your life, right?" he asked.
Malfoy's eyes narrowed dangerously. "You know nothing of my life, Potter." He snarled.
Harry nodded. "True." He said. "And I'm not in any position to pry about them. So why are you here, Malfoy?"
The boy pushed himself away from the wall, and walked forward a few spaces until he was only a few feet away from Harry.
"My father has sent for me." He said. "I'm going to take my place by his side as Voldemort plans further attacks against Dumbledore and the Ministry. He wanted me to find out what I could about you before I left."
"And you expect me just to tell you everything I've learnt over the past few months so that he knows what to expect?" Harry asked, though he made an effort to keep his voice calm.
Malfoy stared intently into his emerald eyes. "I'm not one to follow you around covertly to find out your secrets, Potter." He said. "Merlin knows I have been in your shadow for too long now, and I'd loathe to spend any more time there than I have to."
Harry shook his head. "It doesn't have to be this way, Malfoy." He said. "You don't have to do what your father says to prove yourself. You shouldn't have to live up to expectations that cannot be achieved…"
"You know nothing of what is expected of me, Potter!" Malfoy snarled, taking a further step forward and spitting into Harry's face as he spoke. "You know nothing of the honour that accompanies being a pure-blood. You know nothing of the pressures to live up to your family name."
Harry didn't flinch at the other boy's close proximity, just continued to stare calmly into Malfoy's gaze. "I may not know." He said in a soft voice. "Voldemort never gave me the chance to find out what it was to live up to a family's expectations. But I suspect that my parents would have wanted me to be my own person. They would be proud of me when I made my own decisions, and would be there to help me if I made the wrong ones. Never would they have wanted to run my life according to their guidelines. Never would they have tried to make me into someone I wasn't ready to be."
"Well maybe we can't all be blessed with your perfect Gryffindor mentalities, Potter! Not everyone's families are as understanding as you would wish them to be. Some of us don't have a choice."
"Everyone has a choice, Malfoy." Harry said. "You don't have to go."
"And what would you rather I do?" Malfoy started pacing in front of the still figure of Harry, gesturing with his hands in such a way that indicated his agitation. To Harry, it told him of the helplessness the Slytherin was feeling about the situation. "Stay here and cower under Dumbledore's protective wing? I think not. As soon as You-Know-Who arrives that foolish muggle-lover will have other priorities. He wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice a select few to protect the greater good. He won't be able to help me when my father comes for me."
"Then let me help you." Harry proposed. Malfoy stopped his pacing and stared at his rival in silence as he continued to speak. "I have many new skills that I can use against your father, Draco. I'm a multi-animagus, cross species even. I have also developed a concentrated wandless magic, which I can control for infinite periods of time. Not to mention that I will soon become Doyen, the future headmaster, of Marcello." He pulled Kudos from its invisible sheath across his back, and watched as Malfoy's eyes widened. "If I request it of them, Marcello's students will defend you to their best of their abilities. I doubt your father would be able to get near enough to harm you."
"What sword is that?" Malfoy asked in awe.
"The Sword of Kudos." Harry said. "It was given to me by the Doyen at Marcello as he died, on the condition that I would take over the school when I was ready."
A small, uncharacteristic smile appeared on Malfoy's face as he gazed at the sword, and Harry saw the smallest flicker of hope appear in his grey eyes before the boy gave his head a quick shake, restoring the cold mask that commonly graced the Slytherin's face.
"So the famous Harry Potter will lead his admirers into battle." He gave out a short laugh. "Dumbledore's Golden Gryffindor has returned to rid the Wizarding world of all evil, and still he pretends as if he actually cares about those who have ridiculed him and taunted him throughout his school life." He spun on his heel and started striding away down the corridor away from Harry, his head held high and his shoulders pulled back.
"Its not like that, and you know it, Malfoy!" Harry shouted after him. "I'm not like that!"
Malfoy paused as he reached the end of the corridor and half turned to look back at the dark haired wizard. "You'd better be." He said in a serious monotone that Harry could barely decipher at that distance. "Else the rest of the Wizarding world doesn't a chance!" and disappeared around the corner, leaving Harry standing alone in the despotic atmosphere.
Minutes later found Harry walking up the steps leading to the headmasters' office. He paused with a sigh outside the shut door, absently listening to the voices from within. He looked back down the stairs, thinking about the confrontation he had just had with Malfoy and jumped when he heard a voice address him from behind.
"What's seems to be the problem, my boy?"
Harry turned to see Dumbledore stepping out from a doorway that he had never seen before. As the headmaster closed it behind him, Harry noticed that the frame seemed to melt into the wall, making it practically unnoticeable unless you were directly looking for it.
"I've just met Malfoy." Harry returned as the headmaster walked over to him. "He's gone to join his father." He watched as a look of defeated acceptance crossed the old man's face. "I tried talking with him" Harry continued. "But I just couldn't get through…"
Dumbledore smiled at him. "Some people just can't change, Harry, no matter what we try and do for them. Particularly in young Malfoy's case. His desire to impress his father far outweighs any individual logic he may own, and I fear that he may come to realise that too late."
The headmaster looked at the young man standing in front of him. "You look truly magnificent in that get up." He said with a proud smile, and Harry blushed. He had been convinced by Ron, Hermione and his closest Marcello friends to arrive in full battle robes. He had naturally argued against it, but, as usual, had been convinced otherwise by his friends. "Are you ready for your first Order meeting?"
Harry nodded. "Hermione and Ron said they were coming." He said. "But when I went to the common room to walk up with them they weren't there, so I'm assuming they are already inside."
Dumbledore nodded, and placed a hand on Harry's shoulder before pushing him to the office door. "In you go." He said gently.
As Harry walked in the door, he immediately felt suppressed by the silence that fell over its occupants. He scanned the room, noticing various familiar faces from the meetings that had taken place in Grimmauld Place the year before and gave a quick nod to some of the more recognizable members that smiled at him in return. Harry allowed Dumbledore to lead him through the silence to a seat between Horus and Leo who were there on behalf of the Marcello students, and Ron and Hermione who gave him quick smiles before the peace was broken by the cry of Ron's mother.
Harry grinned as he was enveloped in the hug from the maternal figure of the Weasley family. Her exclamation had broken the silence of the room, and for the third time since his official return, Harry found himself the centre of a crowd of people, all wanting to shake his hand or give him a welcoming hug as they asked for further details of his absence.
"If we could all take a seat, then maybe Mister Potter could enlighten those of us who don't already know about his time away?" Dumbledore suggested, and Harry once more found himself the focus of attention as he recounted his story.
He included more details than he had told to his friends in the Gryffindor common room the evening before, yet kept some secrets, such as his elemental abilities and his phoenix form, from becoming common knowledge.
"Thank you, Harry." Dumbledore said, standing as Harry finally took his seat and gratefully accepted the glass of water that Hermione had poured for him, ignoring the curious and thoughtful looks of the others around the table. "I am also happy to introduce Leo and Horus, who are Masters at Marcello. They and a number of their students have accompanied Harry back here to help us against Voldemort, as it seems there will soon be a number of students with similar abilities siding with him."
"Has there been any news of Voldemort's latest plans?" Kingsley asked in the short silence that followed. "There has been no news at the Ministry, and Fudge seems to find it more beneficial to travel the country and create a good public image rather than focus his attention on organising Ministry resources against possible attacks."
Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully. "That man is more foolish than is healthy for this community." He said mostly to himself, and looked up around the table. "Mundungus." He called, acknowledging the man who was sitting at the furthest point of the table away from them. "Have you heard any news?"
Mundungus Fletcher was a man well known for his shady dealings with lesser-known wizards. Even though he often had problems prioritising his activities, he was loyal to the Order, and was able to provide useful information gather from various useful contacts that knew about Voldemort's plans.
He nodded his head a couple of times around the group as he hesitantly stood up, not fully appreciative of the attention directed at him. "From what I've heard around, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named isn't overly pleased about young Harry's return." He said. "Word on the street is that he has had to move his base of operations, though to where no one seems to know."
"Why would he do that?" Tonks asked. "It seems madness to do something like that when we still have no idea of how to attack him."
Harry coughed slightly, attracting everyone's attention as he raised his hand apologetically. "Though I'm not one to question Voldemort's sanity," he paused and let the usual response to the Dark Lord's name die down. "I do believe I know why he's had to move." He glanced around the group before continuing. "When Orson dragged me off to Riddle Manor after Christmas, I kinda let loose on my magic again. My guess is that his family home would resemble that of the Dursleys about now."
Some of the groups laughed slightly at his apology. "Well it certainly buys us some time." Shacklebolt said.
"But buys us time for what?" McGonagall asked. "What can we realistically do? There are so many people who are becoming too scared to venture out of their homes due to the threat of Voldemort attacking them, and there is nothing we can do to alleviate those fears."
The room descended into unorganised mutterings as the members discussed various ideas with their neighbours. Only five people sat silent, thoughtfully watching the proceedings and catching snippets of varied ideas and proposals for the future.
Leo turned to look at the strong features on the face of the boy next to him. "What are you thinking, Pi?" he asked softly, after watching Harry's expression for a long moment.
His question caused the other three silent figures to turn their attention to the future Doyen, and watched as the boy nodded his head a couple of times, his eyes darting around a wax-burn in the middle of the table in front of him as he thought through the finer details of his potential plan.
"It seems to me that the most frightened out of all of us is the students." He said in a distant voice. "Being kept within the confines of a castle without any means of releasing their nervous energy will provide Voldemort with just the type of chaos he needs to overthrow the wards here and launch an attack."
His quiet voice had caught the attention at those near the group, but still he didn't make eye contact with anyone, just continued to stare at the table.
"Its not only the students, though." Hermione said. "There have been a lot of reports of Wizards trying to move out of England to safer shores. They don't want to risk Voldemort attacking them."
Harry nodded. "They just need something to rekindle their faith." He said. "Something to unite them all together." He turned to Hermione. "Isn't that what the Sorting Hat said at the welcoming feast the other year? That we must unite within the school or face the dangers?"
Hermione agreed hesitantly and Remus Lupin leant forward, attracting Harry's attention to where he sat on the other side of Horus next to Snape and the headmaster. "What are you proposing, Harry?" he asked.
Harry stared into the werewolf's eyes for the briefest of moments, before sitting up straight and meeting the gaze of the headmaster who had also been watching the boy's actions.
"You have banned Quidditch." He stated, and continued without waiting for a response from anyone. "And whereas I can see that was necessary due to the potential dangers, it also increases the stress levels within the school. That stress then spreads through the letters and other correspondence to the students' families, and then spreads again to the places where they work…" Harry took a deep breath, suddenly aware that most of his half of the table was now listening to him. "It is amazing that something as simple as Quidditch can cause so much discord. I propose that we try and organise a chance for some of that stress to be released. A Quidditch tournament! To be run over a weekend, or even on one day! Everyone is invited!"
The table fell into silence after Harry had finished his speech enthusiastically. Many of the Order members were sharing confused looks, none of them really understanding the reasoning behind Harry's plans. Suddenly Snape slammed his palm flat against the table and leant forward. "You're baiting him!" he exclaimed.
Immediately the table erupted with noise, everyone trying to argue the absurdity of Harry's suggestion until Dumbledore called order and looked to the multi-animagus for further explanations.
"Yes." Harry said in a calmer voice that caused the final few mutterings to die away. "I am baiting him. If we organise the event to take place within the next couple of months, and advertise it well, then he wouldn't be able to resist the opportunity. All of the people he wants out the way the most will be there. You, headmaster," he nodded to Dumbledore. "Snape, various Ministry officials, myself… and all on the grounds of the one place he wants to conquer. It would be a chance he couldn't afford to miss."
He took a slow sweeping look over the silent Order members, observing some of them shaking their heads at him. "But!" he exclaimed. "There will also be all the parents of the students, all of whom are capable of wielding a wand should the need arise. And also extra security, provided by both the Ministry and the Order. I think that with a few other defences we could prove to him that we are not about to roll over and submit to his attacks. If he chooses to come to Hogwarts then he will have to come to us on our own terms. We'll have the upper hand, and it'll be the only chance we'd get to beat him." As he finished his proposal he looked at Dumbledore, who nodded in understanding.
"But what about the students?" Remus asked. "The risk would be colossal."
Harry nodded. "So we plan some drills in advance." He said. "Allocate the prefects and older students the job of getting the lower years safely into their common rooms where they can be sealed in and protected until things become calmer outside. I also propose that we ask the house elves to use their powers to additionally protect the students. They are powerful little creatures, and I think we could do worse than to place them in charge of defending the castle against any Death Eaters that manage to get through our ranks."
"And what about the other defences?" Moody growled from the other end of the table.
Harry worried his bottom lip with his teeth for a moment, thinking, but not dropping the gaze the one-eyed man levelled at him. "I believe the twins can get their creative juices flowing." He said, turning to the identical Weasleys. "Maybe not so many of those orange smoke bombs that I saw in Diagon Alley, but maybe a few appropriately placed swamps would hinder their movements slightly? As well as any new prototypes that need testing?"
He left the twins grinning at each other, and looked between Dumbledore and Charlie Weasley. "And how hard would it be to chain a dragon up somewhere behind the castle, just to deter any rear attacks?" Before they could reply he diverted his attention to Hagrid. "And what about your brother? Is he still in the forest?" When the half-giant nodded he continued. "And could you talk to Aragog? I would go myself but I'm liable to get eaten. Tell him that it's a free for all for him and his family if any wizards enter the forest that day. We'll just have to warn those coming to the tournament not to stray near there." He paused a moment before continuing. "Maybe I could say the same to the Centaurs…"
"Have you gone crazy?" Ron asked, just as confused and alarmed at the suggestions his friend was making as the rest of the Order members who were sat around the table. "The Centaurs would never listen to us, not after what happened in the forest last year. They made it perfectly clear that they wanted nothing more to do with wizards."
Harry nodded. "But have you looked at the sky recently?" he asked, glancing at Remus as he continued. "Not only is it nearly the full moon, but Mars is closer to Earth than it has been for years. The sky couldn't get much brighter."
"You think you'd be able to use that to convince them to join us?" Hermione asked dubiously.
Harry shrugged. "Even if they don't want to outwardly support us, they won't have much choice when Death Eaters start storming through their homes in the forest to get to the school. They deserve to be given the chance to defend themselves if nothing else. And at the same time, it would help us out by defending attacks from the direction of the forest."
The room looked towards the headmaster. Many of them were half expecting him to call Harry's ideas foolish and naïve, and were shocked when the old man nodded his head with a sombre expression on his face "Alas," he said in a low tone. "Though I do not wish to force anyone into a possible life-threatening situation, I fear that this may be the only option we have to prevent a long and dangerous war with Voldemort." He looked at Harry. "It seems that all we have needed is someone with the courage to point out the obvious. Harry is right, the Quidditch tournament will bring people together, and will remind them of better times. But at the same time it will give them something to fight for…"
"You can't be serious!" Snape spluttered. "It'll be a massacre." A number of other witches and wizards nodded in their agreement, but the headmaster shook his head.
"A drawn-out war would have the same effect, Severus." The headmaster said patiently. "But with a longitudinal war we would not have the control that comes with drawing Voldemort onto home turf. The priority, of course, will be to protect the school and those within her. The older and more capable students can take charge of them inside the castle, just as Harry suggested. That would leave the adults to protect the front of the school with the professors, Order members, and any Aurors we can recruit." He sighed. "I suspect that we shall need all the help we can get."
The rest of the meeting passed in a very short time as most people were still in shock at Harry's proposition of actually inviting the Darkest Wizard of the time onto the grounds of the one place they believed was safe from his attacks. Dumbledore arranged a time for another meeting of the full membership and other allies of the Order in the great hall for later that week.
Even though the meeting itself was over, it took a long time for the people to disperse, and Harry found himself subjected to a number of confused and anxious looks from the Order members as they congregated in small groups.
He stood in the corner with Leo and Horus who had not been as affected by Harry's suggestions as the other meeting members. This was most probably because they had not yet formed the same sort of attachment to the school as the Order members had, many of whom were ex-students and were hesitant to agree to any plan that threatened their sanctuary.
Harry let the ideas of his fellow Masters wash over him as he looked sombrely over the crowd in Dumbledore's office. He smiled slightly as he made brief eye contact with Remus Lupin who stood talking with the other Hogwarts' professors. Over the course of the day he had often seen the lycanthrope place his right hand into his robe pocket and take a quick glimpse of the blood red stone that Harry had given him for Christmas. Harry had noticed that the man had carefully wrapped the treasure in a silk handkerchief, an obvious protection against the burning sensation he had felt when Harry's phoenix form had sung to him that morning in Grimmauld Place. Now, even as he watched, the boy saw his friend reach once more into his pocket, as if the stone was a source of reassurance for him.
He started to stride across the room towards the tired-looking man, but Leo checked his progress by placing a hand on his upper arm. "What are you up to now, Pyro?" he asked, though his suspicious tone of voice was undermined by the caring warmth in his eyes.
"I'm going to give a friend his gift." Harry replied, and Leo nodded, dropping his arm. "I'll take him up to the astronomy tower. There shouldn't be anyone up there this time of night." He hesitated before walking away. "Maybe you can come up a bit later, just to make sure everything went okay?"
Leo smiled as Harry's voice let slip the level of hidden anxiety the boy was feeling. "I have faith in you." the Master assured him. "But Horus and I will come up shortly. Just to make sure." He added with a nod.
Harry smiled appreciatively at him, then continued to make his way across the room to where the defence professor was standing.
Remus Lupin looked up as the son of his departed friend came to stand before him with a small smile on his face. "Well, Harry, you certainly know how to get people thinking." He said, indicating the room with a small wave of his hand.
Harry nodded, but didn't stop looking at the werewolf's face. Remus shifted uncomfortably under the intense emerald gaze that reminded him so much of the boy's mother. "What is it you wanted, Harry?" he asked, and watched as the boy's smile fell from his face, being replaced by a serious determination.
"I would like a quick word with you, if that's okay?" the boy said. "I haven't had that much of a chance to talk to you alone since I've been back, and I feel that I owe you some explanations."
Remus shook his head in disagreement. "You don't owe me anything, Harry." He said softly, but the boy shook his head.
"Just… will you come with me?" he looked at the lycanthrope pleadingly. "Please?"
Remus nodded, and followed Harry from the room, neither of them saying any goodbyes to the other professors or Order members. Both men walked in silence for a time, Remus sub-consciously letting the teenager guide their direction as he waited for Harry to start speaking.
Harry took a deep breath and started to talk in a low voice. "Before I was taken" he started. "I spent a lot of time thinking about Sirius' death, and about all I could've done to prevent it…"
Remus shook his head and interrupted before Harry could continue. "There is nothing you could've done, Harry." He said. "There were a large number of people to blame that night, so don't go thinking that anything you could've done would have prevented Fate from taking control. Sirius died as he would've wanted, and most importantly, he was doing it in defence of the one person he could still count as family."
Harry walked in silence until the end of the corridor. "It seems that a lot of people I love have died to protect me." He said in an emotionless voice. "My parents, Sirius, Kat…" he drew in a long but shaking breath. "There was one time at Marcello when I questioned that. I was thinking that if I didn't let anyone love me, then they wouldn't want to put themselves at risk because of me, and they wouldn't get hurt."
"But life doesn't happen like that, Harry." Remus said. "You can't control who decides to care for you in that way."
Harry nodded. "Kat saved me that night." He continued. "She told me that she wanted to leave Marcello, and come to stay with me here at Hogwarts." His lips twitched in a half smile as he remembered that night. "I honestly believed that she was the one thing that would never leave me. After all, Voldemort didn't know about her, and she was more than capable enough of defending herself against any Death Eaters…" He sighed. "When she died I became aware that I had a choice. I could either give into those feelings again, knowing fully well that there would be no-one there to catch me to bring me back. Or I could learn from the lessons they gave."
Remus looked intently into the boys face. "And what lessons were those?" he asked.
Harry met his gaze. "Pretty much what you just said." He explained. "That I can't control who loves me. But I also knew that, until Voldemort and his followers are gone, there isn't much I can do about the risks they would take for me."
He looked back along the corridor, and Remus noticed that there was a stairway at the end that led up into the astronomy tower. "But I can show them how much they mean to me." Harry said in a determined voice that caught the lycanthrope unawares. "Something I sorely neglected to do last year."
He started walking up the stairs, pushing Remus' shoulder with his hand as they climbed. As soon as they entered the windowless room at the top, the werewolf turned to Harry. "What are we doing here, Harry?" he asked hesitantly, not really understanding the boy's intentions.
Harry turned to the werewolf and looked him in the eye. "Remus, do you trust me?"
Lupin frowned at the out-of-place question, and his eyes darted quickly around the room before he answered. "Of course." He replied. "What's…?"
"No!" Harry shook his head. "I mean it. Do you really trust me? This won't work unless you do."
"What won't work…?"
"Remus! Please?" Harry said. "Do you trust me?"
Remus looked into the anxious green eyes in front of him and nodded quietly, seeing that this wasn't the time to ask Harry why or what he was doing. "I'd trust you with my life." He said. "Just like I trusted your father."
Harry seemed to accept this answer, as he gave a quick nod and took Lupin's shoulders and pulled him to the centre of the circular room. "Kneel down" he told the werewolf and he himself lowered himself to the floor so that they sat opposite each other with their knees touching.
"Do you still have that stone I gave you at Christmas?" he asked.
Remus nodded, a small frown still creasing his forehead as he pulled out the silk-wrapped stone. Harry took the gift and gently unwrapped it, placing the stone against the flat of Remus' hand.
The werewolf flinched slightly, expecting the burning sensation to start again. When it didn't he relaxed his features and examined the stone closer. "What is this?" Remus asked and Harry shifted his weight slightly, taking deep breaths and making himself comfortable.
"It's something I've been researching for a while now. A present from me to you, to show you how much I care."
Remus frowned. "You don't have to do this, Harry." He said. "I know things have been hard for you…"
Harry smiled again, silencing the lycanthrope as he reached for the man's other hand. He made the werewolf cup the stone in between his two palms before covering them with his own.
"You have to trust me." He said. "What's going to happen next will feel… strange. It might even hurt a little bit. But you have to accept the feeling. Don't try and push it away."
Remus frowned slightly, but nodded. "I trust you." he said again and Harry nodded lightly before closing his eyes and inhaling deeply.
Lupin frowned as Harry let the breath out slowly, and gasped as the boy opened his eyes to reveal them glowing with a power he had never seen before. Before he could react to the oppressive pressure that had filled the room Remus felt something reach into his body. A sharp pain coursed through his veins, making his muscles spasm, his hands burn, and a scream erupt from his mouth.
The pain was over almost as quickly as it had started, and the Hogwarts' professor fell forward, collapsing onto the floor. He felt something land with a thump next to him before letting his eyes roll back and succumbed to the awaiting darkness.
Remus Lupin awoke a couple of days later to the familiar sensation of being in the Medical wing. For a brief moment he thought he was back in the time when he was a student at Hogwarts, and had been allowed to rest under the watchful eyes of Madam Pomfrey as he recovered from the ordeal he went through every full moon.
With a start he realised that there were a number of people talking in excited whispers at the other end of the ward, and fell back to reality with a shock when he realised that he was no longer a student at the school, but a professor of defence.
He opened his eyes, and let them focus on the figure of a boy sitting in a chair by his bed. It was nighttime, and the moonlight falling through the window gave the boy a fantastic look, as his upper right face was painted silver by the lunar glow whilst his lower left face was golden in the light radiated by the candle on his bedside table.
"What happened?" he croaked.
Harry smiled and leant forward. Remus could see that the boy was a lot paler than he remember him to be. But through the boy's tiredness, Remus could sense warmth radiating from him as his emerald gaze turned to the open window opposite. The lycanthrope followed the direction of the boys' eyes, and felt his heart stumble as he realised the consequence of what he saw.
He started to push himself to his elbows, ignoring the exclamations made by the others in the ward as they rushed over to his bed.
"How…?" he turned to Harry, who just shook his head and held out a hand. The defence professor took it, and let Harry support him as he stood up and stumbled over to the window. He rested his hands against the stone window ledge and stared up into the sky.
Harry watched with satisfaction as the older man's eyes filled with tears, reflecting the image of the full moon before they blinked, sending the sparkling tears down the face of the cured lycanthrope.
"How…?" he repeated, and, attracted by the movement of the boy in front of him, looked down to see the stone that he had been given as a present was now filled with a swirling black cloud.
"The powers of phoenix a far superior to those of a wizard." Harry said gently. Remus reached for the stone, but Harry pulled it out of his reach. "And one of the purest forms of light magic there is. Once activated it worked against the darkness of your curse, hence it burned you when you first touched it. You just have to understand how the magic works."
Harry's smile grew wider as Remus turned back to the window. "You're free, Moony." Harry said quietly, letting the words sink in as more tears fell down the man's face. He glanced over the man's shoulder at the others who were standing with happy faces in the room behind them. "Though I feel we might have to think up another name for you." he added, and gasped with surprise as the man suddenly threw his arms around his lithe form, spinning them both around and letting out a loud laugh as the realisation hit that he would never have to go through another painful transformation again.
A/N – another chapter finished. I'm afraid I might not be getting as much done this week as I hoped, as I've been in more of a reading mood than a writing one. I will endeavour to get this finished when I go home for a fortnight, and shall post all chapters (hopefully until the end of the story) in one go. If any of you want to contact me for any questions, or maybe even some tasters of what's to come, then feel free to join Hunta's group (address is in my bio) and you may just catch me in her chat room sometimes!
Once again, thanks for all the reviews. Hope I replied to all those who had questions, and hope to hear from you all again. Kit. Xxx
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