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Chapter 3 : New Recruits
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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!
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