Through her grief-stricken stupor, Preia managed to finish the Wolfsbane potion. Despite Sirius’ insistent demand to inform Slughorn of Severus’ actions that night and his assumed ones in Hogsmeade, Preia vehemently refused and begged him to keep what he had heard in the dungeon a secret. Through his apparent rage, Sirius begrudgingly complied and left Preia alone in the classroom at her request. After completing her work, Preia bottled several vials of the thick concoction and left them on Slughorn’s desk. The next day, during Charms, the Potions master pulled her away from Professor Flitwick to excessively praise her work.
Yet Preia barely heard Slughorn’s words as he animatedly described his glee and pride. She was surprised that he did not question her quiet answers and sullen appearance. Her reddened eyes were framed by swollen mounds of skin and her hair fell around her face in a tangle that was uncommon even for her. Preia’s mind was not attentive to her professor’s words; she merely mechanically nodded at appropriate moments during Slughorn’s lengthy exaltation and returned to her work in Charms.
Had it not been for their classes together, Preia would have assumed that Severus had disappeared from Hogwarts. The boy did not look at her or anyone else, remaining even more quiet than usual as he completed his work with deliberate attentiveness. Severus would arrive in class after Preia and leave before her to ensure that they would have no contact; she never even saw him in the Slytherin common room or in the Great Hall. This relieved Preia, as she wasn’t even sure she wanted to speak with him. Yet despite the tension between them, the girl still wore the silver necklace. For some peculiar reason, she did not want to take it off.
Completely opposite of Severus’ actions, Sirius went out of his way to accompany Preia whenever he could. Still hoping the girl would change her mind, he constantly pointed out Severus’ shifty attitude and actions. Even during their last study session on the Sunday before the end of the term, Sirius tried to convince Preia to at least stand up to Severus and point out his wrongs. Yet Preia offered brief replies of refusal. They worked in silence, finishing their batch of Addleman’s Ambrosia quickly, allowing Preia to leave Sirius’ company as soon as she could. The next morning, Sirius had to bite his tongue when Slughorn collected their bottled assignment. Preia could tell Sirius was becoming frustrated with her. However, the last day of Potions meant the end of their forced comradery. His feelings did not matter. He had anything to do with her anymore.
“Good luck tomorrow, Preia.”
Preia looked up from her books at the smiling red-headed girl in front of her. She had been slowly nibbling on her sandwich and reading her Ancient Runes’ textbook in preparation for her final exam, completely oblivious to the fact that the Great Hall was very boisterous and lively for a Wednesday afternoon. She was sitting isolated from the other Slytherin students at the edge of their long dining table. “For what?” she murmured, her eyes lowered in a hazy daze.
Lily cocked her head and gave the girl another smile, but her brows were knitted in concern. “Um, the feast is tomorrow. They’ll be announcing the names of the W.W.A.N.D. students,” Lily said.
“Oh, yeah…” Preia whispered. Her chest felt surprisingly empty at the mention of the exchange program. The excitement that she had once felt was no longer present, replaced by a cold nonchalant hollowness. She lowered her head and continued to eat and read. “Thanks.”
“Are…you ok, Preia?” Lily said with worry as she sat down at the bench in front of the Slytherin girl. “You haven’t been speaking much this past week and I’ve barely seen you since Potions class on Monday. Why won’t you eat with us anymore?”
“I don’t know…” Preia murmured through her sandwich.
“Is there something we did? Did I upset you?”
“Did something happen to you?”
Preia paused, but replied, “I’m fine.”
Lily sat in front of the girl for a moment, her face flushed and her eyes brimmed with tears. “I really thought we were becoming close,” Lily muttered as she rose from the bench. “I hope one day maybe we can talk like friends.”
Preia looked up as Lily left in a swirl of long hair and dark robes, returning to the Gryffindor table where Leah and Clarissa were staring intently at Preia. The young girl sat still for a moment, her eyes watching as Lily sat next to her friends. A pang of guilt swelled in Preia’s chest and she felt her own eyes moisten. Quickly wiping at her face, Preia returned to the readings in her book and tried once again to shut out the noise of Hogwarts.
Preia, after completing her last class for the school year, went directly to her room and prepared for her return home the next morning. Though she was finished with all of her homework, the Wolfsbane potion had long been turned in, and she had no more classes to attend, Preia felt no relief or happiness. The gloomy trance she had fallen into remained heavy on her shoulders and the girl could only define her mood as completely dismal.
She spent the later part of the afternoon packing her belongings neatly in her trunk and preparing her formal uniform robes for the evening’s festivities. Preia was aware that the end of the year feast meant her fourth year at Hogwarts would finally be concluded and Dumbledore would announce the students that would be selected to go on the exchange trip, but she still didn’t feel anything for the events that would occur that night. She couldn’t even be apprehensive and excited about the chance that she could be traveling across the world in a few weeks.
“Where did the day go?” Preia muttered irritably as she looked out the magically projected window of the dungeon bedroom. The sun had set too quickly; the sky was darkening slowly and tiny stars had begun to twinkle in the distance. Even though Preia wanted to be through with Hogwarts, away from the memories of the events that had occurred within the last few months in the halls of the school, she felt somewhat aggravated that the feast would be occurring so soon. She didn’t want to go through the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony; she just wanted to leave the castle behind and go home.
Dressing in her school uniform made Preia even more annoyed. Her clothes seemed to have taken on the characteristic of shrinking lately. Her formal blouse with the Slytherin seal emblazoned on the chest was now too small for her and Preia had to struggle to connect the buttons without leaving the garment gaping. Even her skirts seemed tight and constricting around her hips. Grumbling, Preia threw on her black robe, snapped it up to her neck, and pulled her witch’s hat over her hastily braided hair before leaving her bedroom in a huff and entering the Slytherin common room. The dungeon was alive and loud with the sounds of boisterous students. Many of the older Slytherins were toasting one another with smuggled bottles of elf wine, their cheeks rosy and voices rowdy. The noise was bothersome and added to Preia’s frustration. “Let’s get this over with,” she muttered as she passed quickly through the noise and movement of the common room and up the stairs to the dungeon exit.
Preia heard the boy’s name escape her lips before she even realized she had spoken it. The young Gryffindor student was standing against the wall in front of the dungeon door. He looked very shabby and Preia couldn’t help but be surprised at how sickly he appeared. His uniform robes looked oversized and ragged, falling languidly over his skinny frame. His complexion was almost white, his cheeks drawn and his eyes sunken into dark sockets. Three very red streaks ran across his cheek. His limp brown hair stuck out like wet straw beneath his wizard’s cap. He no longer looked like the attractive young man Preia admired. In fact, she couldn’t determine if Remus had looked this way for a while…
“Hi,” Remus spoke softly as he straightened up and approached to the girl.
“Wh-what are you doing here?” Preia blurted, her eyes still taking in his appearance. “What happened to you?”
Remus chuckled, unaffected by the girl’s slight rudeness. “I came to see you. And I’ve just been a little ill lately.”
Preia, taken aback by his first answer, stared with wide eyes. “Why?”
Laughing again, Remus shook his head. “Well, I can’t say that I didn’t expect this kind of…reception from you. Will you walk with me?” He began moving before the girl responded and Preia warily followed him. They passed through the crowds of students, Preia behind Remus as he navigated through the school. After several moments of silence, Remus turned to her, his expression somewhat solemn. “Sirius was worried about you and he—”
“Why is that you are always the one communicating Sirius’ thoughts concerning me?” Preia snapped loudly, unaware of the strange glances she was getting from students in the hall. “Why is that he can’t just speak to me directly?”
“Maybe because he already tried and no longer knows how to approach you considering how cold you’ve been lately.”
Preia’s jaw dropped as she stared at Remus. “C-cold!? How dare you call me—”
“Why didn’t you say anything to me when I called your name in the Great Hall yesterday?”
“Wh-what? I didn’t see you there.”
“Of course you didn’t,” Remus spoke slowly. “I practically stood in front of you and screamed your name, but you looked right through me and kept walking.”
Preia opened her mouth to speak again, but quickly closed it in shame. She looked away from him and hung her head. “Sorry,” she muttered. “I just…”
“You’re pathetic if you are going to let Severus Snape turn you into this kind of person.”
The words stung Preia harder than anything Severus had said in the dungeon the previous week. Remus, the one person she admired, was speaking so harshly to her. Tears immediately filled her eyes as she spun toward Remus. “How…how could you say something like that to me?” wailed the girl.
“Preia, this isn’t who you are,” Remus said quietly. “We haven’t spoken much until recently, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t noticed you. When you’re around Snape, it’s as if he’s got you wrapped up in that dark cloud that’s always surrounding him. You’re aloof and closed off to everyone else but him! But when he’s away it’s like you’re actually human. You’re impulsive and outspoken…you have flaws.”
“What makes you think you know that much about me?” Preia barked as she stamped out of crowded halls of Hogwarts and into an empty courtyard. She spun around angrily. “We don’t even know me! Why do you think you’ve just got all of my inner workings laid out bare for you examine?”
“Because despite your persistence in alienating yourself from the rest of the world, whom you see as unfit and beneath you, you are not that complicated!”
The early evening’s weather was pleasant with a cool gust that rustled Preia’s cloak around her small body. Preia stared at Remus, the wind cooling the wet tears on her cheeks. The small smile that now crossed Remus’ lips made his pallid appearance slightly fade. “You’re a nice girl, Preia. Hanging around with the likes of Snape has only masked the personality that attracted both Sirius and Evans to you.”
Preia blinked and wiped away her tears on the sleeve of her robe. “Did…Lily say something to you?”
Remus shook his head. “I over heard her talking one day at dinner. She was quite upset about the way you had been acting toward her. I’ve seen you with her those girls quite often. You must have gotten close.”
Hanging her head, Preia stared at the vibrant green lawn beneath her dark robes. Her eyes moistened again. “Yeah…Lily’s a great person…unlike me.”
Even though Preia heard the crunch of the grass beneath his feet, she did not realize that Remus Lupin was standing directly in front of her until she looked up and found her eyes gazing into his own. Preia flushed as Remus put a hand on her shoulder and smiled warmly. “You aren’t a bad person, Preia,” he told her confidently. “If you were, there could have been no way that Sirius would have tolerated you.”
Preia snickered. “Yeah…him tolerate me. That’s the way it was.”
Remus chuckled and grinned wider. “Sirius may be a stupid, arrogant git, but he’s a great judge of character. He was really upset about what happened with Severus. I’ve never seen him so angry. I think he took a slight fancy to you this year.”
The girl blushed fiercely and turned her head. “Oh, stop! There’s no way…”
“Friends are people that are there for you no matter what,” Remus said. “No matter what happens between you, they never turn their back. You should ask yourself if Severus Snape is really that kind of friend to you.” He smiled at her and took a handkerchief from his pocket. “Here, your face is all wet. Wouldn’t want to look like you’ve just been drowned.”
Preia giggled as she took the napkin and wiped at her eyes, covering as much of her face as she could to hide the fact that Remus had made her skin even redder. Suddenly remembering the close proximity between her and the boy, she quickly turned away from him. Her heartbeat quickened as she inhaled Remus’ scent on the linen. She had never felt better in the past few months. “Remus…I…”
“Merlin’s beard! Is that what time it is?” Remus exclaimed as the loud chiming of the clock tower echoed in the distance. “We are going to be late!”
The end of the year feast and the W.W.A.N.D. results suddenly sprang into Preia’s mind. The anxiety, excitement, and happiness that she desperately wanted to feel about the night’s events suddenly came flooding back to her in one large rush. “Oh, no!” Preia exclaimed. “We better run!”
Preia and Remus dashed up the stairs out of the courtyard and back into the school’s corridors. They laughed as they sprinted across the cobblestone floors; Preia almost slid into a suit of armor and Remus ran straight through the ethereal figure of the Bloody Baron. They reached the Great Hall just as Filch, the caretaker, was about to close the massive double doors. “See you after the feast!” Remus called to Preia as he walked the opposite direction.
“Bye Remus!” Preia replied cheerfully. She watched him walk over to his three comrades at the Gryffindor table. Sirius was staring curiously at Remus; he glanced at Preia, who only smiled brightly and waved at him.
Preia walked up the aisle between the Gryffindor and Slytherin tables to any empty spot at the front. Her eyes glanced up and down the long table of green and silver clad students, all rambunctiously talking loudly. Near the middle, surprisingly sitting separate from his usual entourage, was Severus. He was looking down into his empty plate, seemingly lost in his own reflection. Should I say something? The girl thought, feeling the slight courage to at least tell Severus that she still hoped they could go on the exchange program together.
The girl turned to her left, realizing that she had just passed by Lily, Clarissa, and Leah. Lily was smiling at Preia, her expression warm. “Good luck!”
Preia smiled back and could tell that Lily and her friends were surprised at her new demeanor. “Thank you, Lily!” she chirped and waved. She walked down to the empty space on the bench at the Slytherin table and nestled into the seat just as sumptuous feast appeared on the table. Everything is going to be ok now, Preia thought as she immediately began to fill her plate. Everything is going to be great.
As Preia filled her stomach, the emotions that she had lost during the past week flooded over her in intense waves. Her worries about Severus disappeared and the gloominess she had felt continued to disappear as the delicious meal satiated her. She became increasingly giddy as the feast continued into the evening and soon the entrees were replaced with sweets and cakes. The queasy, rumbling excitement grew in her stomach and Preia wished that the desserts would be consumed quickly.
Preia’s heart leapt into her throat as Dumbledore eventually stood at a podium in front of the faculty table and raised his hands. He smiled warmly and began his final speech. After speaking briefly about the current events happening across the country, he awarded the House Cup to Hufflepuff and made a slightly lengthy address to the graduating seventh years.
“I no longer wish to delay what many of you are waiting for patiently,” Dumbledore said with a broad smile. “As I announced at the beginning of the term, the Wizards and Witches for Academics through Neighborly Discovery program is an opportunity for students to interact with one another in the spirit of humane comradery and understanding. The eight students from Hogwarts will accompany those chosen from the other six participating schools in a seven-week journey around prominent educational establishments in our Wizarding world.
“The four Heads of House and I had a very difficult time choosing only eight recipients among the many qualified applications we received. We considered not only the written essays of the application and marks in classes, but intimate details observed by the Heads of House concerning conduct, disposition, and personal growth throughout this year. I have consulted the entire faculty in regards to these criteria and have made the final decision. The eight that we have chosen are only a few of the brightest and deserving at Hogwarts. I wish them luck on the journey that they shall embark on next week at the start of the program.”
The Great Hall was in dead silence, eagerly anticipating Dumbledore’s next words. The four Heads of House and four Ministry of Magic officials stood at the front of the Great Hall at Dumbledore’s sides, each holding a rolled ivory scroll. “To the Most Esteemed Board of Advancement for the Education of Young Witches and Wizards,” Dumbledore read from a very official looking piece of parchment, “I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, do hereby submit the names of these candidates to the W.W.A.N.D. student exchange program and declare them eligible and entitled to all attached benefits. May these recipients come forth at the call of their name and receive their certificate.
“From the House of Gryffindor: Fourth year, Remus Lupin, and Sixth year, Laurel Towler.”
The Gryffindor table erupted into applause as Remus and a tall, black-haired girl rose from the benches and approached the front of the hall. James, Sirius, and Peter were cheering wildly, whistling and slapping the table as Remus sheepishly went to McGonagall and received his certificate. Much to the disgust of the silent and sullen Slytherins, Preia joined the Gryffindor students in congratulated Remus. Her heart fluttered wildly as she clapped. To go on the trip with Remus would be unreal, she mused with a blush.
“From the House of Hufflepuff: Sixth year Renton Thurston and Sixth year Elrica Edwards.”
Preia watched as the two giddy Hufflepuff students joyfully ran up the aisle and joined Remus and Laurel at the front of the hall. Her pulse continued to quicken steadily. Slytherin next, please…
“From the House of Ravenclaw: Seventh Year Maddox Entwhistle and Sixth year Gail Belby.”
Preia’s heartbeats seemed to become suspended. As if in slow motion, she watched Dumbledore’s eyes scan to the bottom of the parchment as the two students excitedly hugged their Head of House and took their certificates. The fading applause of the Ravenclaws brought about a silence that almost deafened her. Please, please, please, please:…
“From the House of Slytherin…”
“Sixth year, Balthasar Montague…”
“and fourth year…”
She heard herself gasp in for air.
Preia could have sworn that a scream came from her lips, but the applause of the Slytherin table and her own hammering heart momentarily deafened her. Her body seemed to float as if propelled by a charm and she rose from the table shakily. Tears were streaming down her eyes and her head was swimming as she walked the short distance to Professor Slughorn, who was beaming proudly as he held a thick ivory scroll toward her. The girl smile d broadly as she took it from him and turned around to face the rest of the hall. The Slytherin students were still clapping loudly and Preia was overjoyed to see Severus applauding with them. She then turned to the Gryffindor table where a few of the students were standing and cheering. Preia could see Lily, Leah, and Clarissa jumping up and down excitedly while Sirius and even James and Peter were shouting praises. Looking to her right, Preia saw Remus clapping as well, a warm grin on his face as he winked at her. Preia felt her heart swell. She was going to burst.
Dumbledore continued to speak, congratulating the students and elaborating on their trip, but Preia could no longer hear anything beyond her own blood rushing in her head. She felt faint, but the adrenaline that pumped through her body kept her on her feet. Her trembling fingers broke the wax seal stamped with the Ministry of Magic emblem on the parchment and unrolled it.
A small piece of paper fluttered open from the parchment and Preia had to stoop to rescue it from the floor. She peered at it curiously, reading the very formal handwriting:
Following the conclusion of the ceremony, please come immediately to my office on the second floor. I do believe that you know where it is. It is imperative that you come as soon as the ceremony ends.
P.S. I have quite a fondness for lemon licorice.
Preia wrinkled her nose at the last line of the letter, but her heart pounded even faster. A private meeting…with Professor Dumbledore! Preia shouted inside her head. She looked back at the elderly wizard who was still speaking to the student body. What could he possibly want to talk to her about? Was it about the Wolfsbane potion? Did he want to congratulate her? Or was it a meeting with the other W.W.A.N.D. recipients as well?
Thoughts fluttered through Preia’s head and she forced herself to take a deep breath to calm down. She felt mad with glee and apprehension. Hopefully, it wasn’t anything bad…
After the students were dismissed from the Great Hall, Preia left swiftly from the Slytherin table. She did not want to the Headmaster waiting for her arrival.
“Preia, oh my gosh! Congratulations!” Lily exclaimed as she, Leah, and Clarissa bounded up to her and threw their arms around her neck. They giggled excitedly and Preia couldn’t help but laugh as well. “I just knew you would get selected! I’m so happy for you!”
“Are you excited? Oh you must be so nervous!” Leah cooed as she looked at the gold writing on Preia’s certificate.
“Yes, I am,” the girl chuckled. “I don’t know what to think right now! I feel so dazed!”
“You’ll have to send us postcards and pictures!” Clarissa said with a smile. “Oh, you’ll get to see America and Japan…”
“And you get to go with Remus Lupin too,” Lily beamed with a nod. “He’s a very amiable person and very smart too. I think the two of you would get along wonderfully? Do you know him?”
Preia felt a blush coming on, but willed her body not to let it show. “Ah, somewhat. I’m sorry girls, but I have to meet Dumbledore in his office.”
“Come to the Gryffindor common room when you are done. We always have a little party after the feast! We’ll sneak you in,” Lily said with a wink.
Preia nodded and smiled. “Alright. See you then!” She turned and began to walk quickly down the aisle to the hall entrance. Her eyes quickly scanned the Gryffindor table, looking for Remus, but she found that he no longer occupied his seat. Sirius Black, however, was still at the table and quickly rose when he saw the girl approaching.
“Well, well, Smarty Snake, looks like your anal obsession with studying paid off,” he said with a grin. “Congrats to you. If anyone deserves it, you do.”
Preia smirked at him, but couldn’t help but smile broadly. Her glee wouldn’t permit her to be annoyed with Sirius. “Thank you, Sirius,” she replied. “Do you know where Remus is?”
Sirius’ grin slightly wavered and for a moment Preia felt that he appeared bothered. “Ah…no…” He murmured, running his hands through his hair and looking sheepishly at the ground. “He kind of dashed out after Dumbledore finished his speech. Say…would you mind if we—”
“I’m sorry, Sirius, but I have to be somewhere. I’ll be at the Gryffindor common room later on tonight. Maybe I will see you then!” Preia smiled at him and patted his shoulder as she quickly passed him by and left the Great Hall.
Quickly pushing through the crowds of students in the corridors, Preia made her way up the stairs onto the second floor and traveled the short distance to the large stone gargoyle that marked the location of Dumbledore’s office. Nervousness was beginning to mix with her excitement. Peering around the walls, Preia looked for a door. There was no evident entrance to the office. She circled around the edges of the large stone creature a few times, yet couldn’t find a knob or handle of any kind.
Removing the small note from her robes, Preia read its words again. There were no further instructions, only the very odd line about Dumbledore’s preferred treat. “Lemon licorice?” she snickered out loud as she shook her head. “What does that have to do with—”
With a slight shudder, the gargoyle began to rotate on its base. Preia leapt back as the enormous statue turned until it was facing the opposite direction, revealing a hollow in its structure that led to lit stairwell that ascended into the ceiling. “Wow,” Preia breathed as she cautiously entered the statue and climbed the circling stairs. The statue began to turn back to its original position and the loud, jarring sound it emitted encouraged the girl to ascend quicker to the elegant dark wood door at the end of the staircase. She took a moment to smooth down her robe and readjust her hat. Then, with a deep breath, she knocked on the door.
“Please come in,” the headmaster’s voice came from the other side.
Preia pushed her way into the office and was instantly astounded by its appearance. Strange artifacts and objects littered almost every crevice and shelf, gleaming and whirring. The framed photos of past Headmasters were quiet, gazing intently at the girl, who was struggling to take in all of the magnificent attributes of the room. She looked to the front of the office where Dumbledore’s exquisite desk sat along with two cushioned armchairs. A small brightly colored bird, barely full grown, was nestled on a perch next to the large chair in which the Headmaster sat.
“Welcome, Ms. Crescent,” he spoke softly. “I am pleased you could join us.”
It was then Preia realized she and Dumbledore were not alone. As she approached the armchairs, a boy leapt up from one of the seats and turned toward her. It was Remus Lupin.
Preia’s heartbeat quickened again for the third time that night. Why were only she had Remus in the office? Hadn’t the other recipients been requested as well? “Please, Ms. Crescent,” Dumbledore said as he gestured to the vacant chair. “I assure you that all will be explained in due time.”
Remus watched Preia with wide eyes as she approached the chairs. Clearly, he was just as confused as she was, so he chose to mimic the girl and sat down. “Sir,” Preia spoke somewhat shakily, “I would just like to thank you for choosing me to represent Slytherin in the W.W.A.N.D. program. I appreciate this honor most—”
“Ms. Crescent, I am sure that you’re ecstatic about the exchange program and I know that you are very appreciative of the opportunity. Your humility is one of the reasons we chose you.” He gave her a small smile. “I appreciate your thanks, but we have something to discuss in a very brief period. I would not want to keep you two from any…illicit celebrations that may be occurring this night.”
Preia smiled and nodded, wringing her hands anxiously as she stole a quick glance at Remus. The boy was quiet, staring intently at Dumbledore. He looked oddly morose.
“Well, I have to say that I am pleased that the both of you will be attending the W.W.A.N.D. program with one another,” the Headmaster sighed as he settled back into his large chair and folded his hands. “Two of Hogwarts’ brightest minds and most deserving students—you will undoubtedly benefit greatly from this journey. I will look forward to see how this experience will help you mature as both students and beings in a vast and diverse world.
“Mr. Lupin, you are leader amongst the Gryffindor student body. Many of your peers look up to you and you are a model student from which many should emulate. You are calm, rational, and very level-headed for a young man of your age. You also are very friendly and do not let your studies get in the way of your social development, nor vice versa.
“Ms. Crescent, you exhibit many of the traits Mr. Lupin does. With marks higher than most of the seventh and sixth year Slytherin students, you have a grasp of every subject taught here at Hogwarts. The faculty and I were worried, however, that you did not exhibit enough sociability and interactivity with other students to attend a program in which you would have to work with wizards and witches from other countries. However, through the eyes of your Head of House, we were able to see your transformation into a very gregarious and affable young lady. You are a well-rounded, accomplished witch that can, and will, undoubtedly complete any task set before her.”
Professor Dumbledore turned to Remus and smiled. “Mr. Lupin, I think you would find it quite fascinating that your colleague here was able to brew Wolfsbane this term. Along with her other studies, Ms. Crescent completed the very complex potion and delivered an entire batch to Professor Slughorn.”
Preia blushed fiercely at the Headmaster’s praise, fiddling with the hem of her robe. Yet when she glanced at Remus, her pride quickly melted. He was staring at her, his eyes wide in a look of slight distress. His skin had gone completely pale and there were a few beads of sweat at his brow. “Oh,” he spoke in a mute tone as he turned away again. Preia felt a lump rise in her throat. Is that all he had to say?
“I am certain that Ms. Crescent worked diligently on the Wolfsbane throughout the term,” Dumbledore said as he leaned forward, his eyes still on Remus. “It is not an easy or brief task, as one must not only brew the elixir over several weeks, but also make certain that it works effectively on the unfortunately afflicted. Is it safe to say, then, that she is an accomplished potions maker and completed the elixir with accuracy?”
The room was quiet and Preia stared curiously back and forth between the Headmaster and Remus. Was that question directed to Remus? Preia thought as her confusion deepened. Remus looked even more ill. His ashen face made the red welts on his cheeks even more vivid. “Y-yes,” he spoke in a low tone as he gulped. “Sh-she did.”
Preia furrowed her brows and looked at Dumbledore. “Professor,” she spoke cautiously. “I’m sorry, but I’m not following what you’re saying. I don’t understand what the Wolfsbane has to do with Remus.”
Dumbledore smiled patiently. “Unfortunately for you Preia, though you were able to complete the Wolfsbane without error and followed the directions from your potions manual most carefully, you were unable to test the concoction and its effectiveness. It is Mr. Lupin here that confirmed that the stress and toil you endured throughout the term in addition to your numerous assignments and tasks, was indeed both precise and efficient.”
Her eyes darted toward Remus, and then looked again Dumbledore. Her mind was whirring wildly, trying to sort out the small hints that littered the wizard’s words. He couldn’t possibly be saying…that…Preia thought as her jaw dropped and she looked at the boy next to her, who had lowered his gaze to the floor. It couldn’t be…
“My, Ms. Crescent,” the Headmaster said with a small chuckle. “I am surprised you had not figured it out before. You are one of the brightest witches Hogwarts has seen. Yet perhaps your newly discovered perceptiveness developed a little too late in the term. You see, Ms. Crescent, Mr. Lupin is a werewolf.”
Remus' secret is brought to light, but why is Professor Dumbledore telling Preia this? Will it change the pair's budding relationship? Preia prepares for the W.W.A.N.D. program in Chapter 10!
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