Chapter 7 : Dementors
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“What was my mum like in school?”
Remus looked up from his record book, where he was jotting down attendance for the class of second years he just had. Luna Lovegood was standing in front of his desk, an eager smile on her face. Remus smiled and set down his quill.
“She was quiet at first,” Remus said. “She was in fifth year, I was in seventh. But after I got to know her she was loud. Quite the opposite of myself when I was in school.”
“Mum always said being quiet was nice because you can see things in people you couldn't if you were loud,” Luna mused, “but she said not to be so quiet that people ignore you.”
“That's a good motto,” Remus said. “Not one I adhered to when I was a student, mind you.”
“How did you meet?” Luna asked. “Mum never talked about having any boyfriends at Hogwarts besides Dad.”
Remus leaned back in his chair. That didn't surprise him. On the surface he and Adeline were just that, boyfriend and girlfriend, but below the surface they were so much less and so much more.
“I first saw her on the Hogwarts Express at the prefects' meeting, but we didn't talk to each other until October,” Remus told her.
“Will you tell me about it?” Luna asked. “About her? And what she was like back then?”
“I'm only taking you two at a time,” Professor Banks said as he led them down the path to Hogsmeade. “If you're all there at once the dementor is going to be too excited. The rest of you will wait at the Three Broomsticks.”
Every single person in class had shown up. Remus was slightly surprised, but then realized that he shouldn't have been. Most of their class wanted to be Aurors, so they obviously would not cower in fear at the thought of facing a dementor. In fact, the majority of the students were quite excited, James and Sirius included.
Healer Smethwyck pushed Remus's spell back until Sunday, claiming that Remus would be too worn out from facing a dementor to handle the spell. Remus disagreed, since the spells weren't nearly as painful as they had been at the beginning, but didn't argue. He no longer had to stay the night after the spell, so there was no difference in getting it on Sunday rather than Saturday.
They reached the Three Broomsticks a short while later, Remus and his friends bringing up the rear. Banks informed them that they'd be going in alphabetical order, so Remus, James, and Peter had a bit of a wait. They ordered Butterbeers while two Ravenclaws set off to face the dementor with Banks.
“Frank nearly passed out when he faced a dementor in training,” Alice said as she and Lily joined the boys at their table. Alice looked slightly terrified at the prospect.
“Everyone reacts differently,” James said. “You might be fine.”
“I'm just glad I'll get it over with early,” Alice said. Her last name was Bramley.
Remus didn't want to admit it to his friends but he was more than a little terrified about facing the dementor. They learned about dementors in third year and from that moment on he knew that the creatures would affect him more than his friends. His friends had lead fairly normal lives without any scarring incidents, unlike Remus.
The two Ravenclaws returned much sooner than Remus would have expected. Both looked a little shaken up, but none the worse for wear. Banks handed them each half a chocolate bar and sent them to the bar for Butterbeer.
“Black and Bramley!” Banks announced.
Alice gave a half smile to the group as she and Sirius stood up and left with Banks. The rest of the class formed a small circle around the two Ravenclaws, but Remus and his friends elected to remain at their table. Alice and Sirius would tell them about the dementor.
When Alice returned she looked like she was going to cry, or had already cried. Sirius was next to her and looking slightly awkward. Lily immediately stood up and wrapped her arms around her while leading her off to a secluded corner of the bar.
“What was that about?” James asked.
“I think Alice has something in her past that she hasn't told us about,” Remus said quietly.
“She didn't pass out but she started crying so hard that Banks had to cast his own patronus. Alice couldn't even do it,” Sirius said.
“Did she tell you what happened?” James asked.
Sirius shook his head. “She didn't say anything. I'd already done mine, so we just walked back in silence, eating chocolate. The dementors are weird, though. They bring up your worst memories, just like all the text books say. I kept seeing my mum screaming at me when I was little, telling me I'd never amount to anything.”
“That's awful,” Peter said quietly. Sirius just nodded and took a large chug of Butterbeer.
Lily remained with Alice until it was her turn twenty minutes later. Alice then rejoined the group, slowly sipping her Butterbeer as she sat down. Remus was unsure whether to ask her about the dementor, given her reaction.
“I knew that would happen,” Alice said quietly.
“Are you okay?” Sirius asked.
Alice nodded. “I only ever told Lily this, but I had a little brother. He died when I was ten.”
“I'm so sorry,” Remus said. The others nodded in agreement.
“I was there when it happened,” Alice continued. “So were my parents. He had spattergroit.”
“But that's not usually-” James began.
“I know,” Alice cut him off. “He had a reaction to a potion they gave him at St. Mungo's. It all happened so fast there was nothing the healers could do.”
The group descended into silence. There was nothing to say. They all knew now what Alice had seen when she faced the dementor. She watched her brother die. Nothing was worse than that.
After Lily returned they had a good forty-five minutes until Remus's turn. Remus pulled out his Transfiguration book and got started on next week's reading. James and Sirius began to plot ideas for a new prank. Lily and Alice started whispering about James and were too quiet for James to hear, but not Remus. Peter pulled out a pack of Exploding Snap cards and proceeded to make a card castle out of them.
“Lupin and Marlow!” Banks announced.
Remus closed his book and stood up. His friends wished him luck and he made his way through the maze of tables to the door. Jack Marlow of Ravenclaw was already waiting next to Banks. Remus didn't know him too well, but knew he was quite possibly the smartest bloke in the whole school.
Banks lead them up the main road of Hogsmeade, past Zonko's, Honeyduke's, Dervish and Banges', and even past Madam Puddifoot's. They turned onto another road as the wind picked up. Soon, they had reached the Shrieking Shack. Remus didn't like looking at the Shrieking Shack when he was at Hogsmeade. It was haunting to look at and he hated knowing that it was there only for him. The place had been an endless source of amusement for his fellow classmates during third year, but luckily they all grew out of it.
They reached the base of a tall mountain and the air suddenly dropped twenty degrees. Banks stopped walking and Remus knew that the dementor was near. He felt the chill deep in his bones, which caused his leg to throb painfully. He could feel the happiness leaving him.
“An official from the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures has control of the dementor. It's just up there.” Banks pointed to a clump of trees a few meters off. Remus could just make out a dark, cloaked figure. It was the dementor.
“When I give the signal, he'll release it. You'll go one at a time. Once it's near enough, you'll know when that moment is, think of your happy memory and send your patronus. Start thinking of your memory now. Your patronus will not work if your memory is not strong enough. I'll keep an eye on you and if I think you're struggling, I'll send my own patronus. Lupin, you're first. When you say 'ready', I'll call the dementor.”
Remus nodded. He brandished his wand in one hand and steadied himself with his cane in the other. This was it. The memory of receiving his Hogwarts letter was burned into his brain and he had no problem imagining it. He even remembered the smell of the house when the owl arrived. Chicken noodle soup. His mum had been cooking it for dinner.
“Ready,” Remus said.
Banks shot a spell toward the dementor and soon it began gliding forward. Remus's heart started thumping hard. He swallowed and noticed that his wand was shaking. He tried to steady his hand, but was no use.
Soon, the dementor was near enough for Remus to see it clearly. It was eerie, the way it floated down the street, its black cloak billowing in the wind. A hand extended from the robes; it was wrinkled and looked decomposed. The air grew colder and Remus heard a rushing in his ears. All the happiness was gone now. This was it. It was time.
“Expecto!” he shouted, trying to get a grasp on his memory, which was now fading from his head. “Expecto patronum!”
A slight wisp of silver shot from his wand. The memory was gone now. No matter how hard he tried, he could not bring it back. All that was left were the bad memories. The scene in front of him was turning fuzzy and fading to black. Suddenly, he heard voices in his head.
His mother was sobbing loudly. Great, giant sobs loud enough to wake Remus up. They were only interrupted by the sound of his father, speaking with a Healer Smethwyck.
“There is no hope?” his father asked.
“None,” Healer Smethwyck said. “There is no cure. He'll have to live with it the rest of his life.”
“Every month?” his father asked.
“Every month,” Healer Smethwyck confirmed. “You'll need to find somewhere safe for him to transform.”
“Oh, God,” his father replied. Remus could hear his father's quiet tears now. “No hope, none. Oh, Remus, Remus, Remus...”
“Remus! Remus!” This was a new voice. One that was not there in that scene in St. Mungo's. “Remus!”
Remus slowly opened his eyes. His vision was still fuzzy. He blinked a few times and it came back. Professor Banks and Jack Marlow were standing over him, looking concerned. He suddenly realized he was laying on his back and attempted to sit up. His head swam and his back throbbed.
“Here, Lupin, eat this,” Banks said as he shoved a piece of chocolate in Remus's face.
Remus took the chocolate and sat up. He ate it slowly while Banks and Marlow watched him. He could feel his cheeks turning red and wished more than anything that it had been James, Sirius, or Peter with him rather than Jack Marlow. He also wished that it had just simply not happened.
“You need the hospital wing, Remus,” Banks said quietly.
“No,” Remus said as he attempted to stand up. Jack offered his arm and Remus took it. “I'm fine. They're just memories.”
Banks nodded. “Fine. Well, you still should return to the Three Broomsticks before Mr. Marlow takes his turn with the dementor. I'll walk you. Mr. Marlow, you wait here. Have someone go with you back to the castle afterward. You need to rest.”
“I'm fine,” Remus muttered again.
Banks seemed to know enough not to ask Remus about what he heard when he passed out and the two walked silently back to the Three Broomsticks. Once inside, the rest of the class looked at him curiously when they saw Jack was not with him and that Banks left immediately.
“What happened?” Sirius asked as Remus sat down at their table. “You look like a ghost.”
“I need to go back to the castle,” Remus said quietly.
“I'll go with you,” Sirius said immediately. James and Peter made to get up too, but Remus told them to stay and take their own turns with the dementor.
It was a slow walk back to the castle. Sirius didn't ask Remus about the dementor, instead waiting for Remus to bring it up himself, which Remus was grateful for. James would have asked immediately, but Sirius never pushed. That was the big difference between the two of them and Remus was glad that it was Sirius walking with him and not James.
Once they reached the Hogwarts grounds Remus felt slightly better. He was still embarrassed and still felt the effects of the dementor, but he was a little better.
“I passed out cold,” Remus said quietly. “I don't even know how long I was out.”
“You were gone a good twenty minutes,” Sirius said. “We were starting to wonder what happened. Everyone else was only gone around ten or fifteen.”
“Did your vision go fuzzy?” Remus asked.
“A little,” Sirius said. “But I managed to keep the dementor away. Wasn't a corporeal patronus, though.”
“I only got a wisp of silver. Then I heard things,” Remus said. “I heard my mum crying when I was in St. Mungo's after I got bitten, and my dad, talking with the healer.”
“That's awful,” Sirius said, clapping his hand on Remus's back. “No wonder you passed out.”
“I just hate that it had to be me. To pass out, you know? It's always me,” Remus muttered.
“No one's going to blame you,” Sirius assured him. “Dementors are scary. Makes you almost feel bad for the prisoners in Azkaban. Could you imagine, having to deal with them all the time?”
“I'd be out cold the whole time,” Remus pointed out. “But yeah, it'd be awful.”
“Guess they deserve it,” Sirius said. “Lestrange and all them.”
“Guess so,” Remus agreed, but he wasn't quite sure. He wasn't sure anyone deserved to experience dementors constantly.
Remus spent much of the day in his dormitory. He fell asleep for a few hours after returning to the castle and completely missed lunch. After dinner James and Peter probed him about the dementor incident and then James bragged about producing a corporeal patronus on his fifth try. Remus wasn't in the mood for James's bragging, though. James may have seen his corporeal patronus as evidence of his magical ability, but Remus just saw it as evidence of the easy life he led. Eventually, Remus decided to just go to the library rather than try to ignore James's constant rehashing of his patronus.
“Want me to go with you?” Sirius offered. The look he gave Remus told him that Sirius knew the exact reason why Remus was going to the library.
“No,” Remus answered. “I'm just going to be reading. Won't be much fun.”
The library was mostly empty, which was no surprise to Remus. There weren't many Hogwarts students who studied on Saturday nights. Sunday was the time that most people went to the library to do their homework. The exception was the month preceding exams.
Remus chose a table in the back, far away from Madam Pince's glaring eye, and took out his Transfiguration book. While Remus excelled at most subjects (the exception being potions), he did have to work hard to get a good mark in transfiguration. He found this kind of ironic considering he transformed into a werewolf once a month.
After a half hour of reading Remus had finished that week's chapters. He was just pulling out a roll of parchment and a bottle of ink to begin the assignment McGonagall had given them, when he heard someone sit down at his table. Slowly, he closed his bag and sat back up. There was a girl sitting across from him, staring directly into his eyes. It was the same girl who had watched him in the library at the beginning of term. It was Adeline Mosley.
“Hi,” she said. “You're Remus Lupin, right?”
Her eyes were big and blue. Remus wasn't sure he'd ever seen such big eyes on a person before; they almost reminded him of James's owl's eyes. Her blonde hair was done in a braid that started on one side of her head and went down to the other side. There was a streak of purple going through the braid.
“Er, yes,” Remus replied, eyeing her warily. He was utterly confused as to why a fifth year Ravenclaw would be sitting at his table when practically every other table in the library was empty.
“I'm Addy,” Adeline said. “Short for Adeline. I was studying over there.” She pointed to a table across the room, in the stacks. “I saw you and you looked sad. Are you okay?”
Remus looked at her in surprise. He hadn't realized he looked sad, and he was shocked this girl had come over to tell him that. It was more than a little weird.
“Um, I guess?” Remus answered, unsure of what to say.
“It's okay if you don't want to talk about it. But I find that when I'm sad I like being around other people, even if I'm not talking. Is it okay if I study here?” Addy asked.
“Sure,” Remus replied. It wasn't like he could say no. It was a free library after all.
Addy opened her bag and pulled out The Standard Book of Spells, Grade 5 . She opened it and began to read, without saying another word to Remus. Remus shrugged to himself and set to work on his transfiguration assignment.
Soon, he forgot that Addy was even there. She was incredibly quiet as she studied. The only evidence that she was there was the sound of her turning the pages. Remus didn't even feel her eyes on him once, which meant she was completely absorbed in her reading. Remus finished his assignment without difficulty and decided to return to Gryffindor. Despite his nap, he was quite exhausted. Somehow he didn't think it had been such a good idea to face a dementor so soon after the full moon.
“I'm going to go back to Gryffindor,” Remus said as he put his books away.
Addy looked up. “All right. It was nice studying with you, Remus Lupin.”
“You, too,” Remus agreed, and he was surprised to realize that he meant it. Addy had been right. He even felt better about the dementor incident than he had before she joined him. It was weird, the way the mere presence of a stranger had made him feel better.
“I'm here most nights,” Addy said. “If you ever want someone to study with again.”
“Okay,” Remus agreed. Again, he was surprised to find himself agreeing. “I'm here most nights, too.”
“Good night, Remus Lupin,” Addy said with a slight smile.
“Good night,” Remus said as he grabbed his bag and cane and walked toward the door.
He thought about Addy during the whole walk back to Gryffindor tower. She was unlike anyone Remus had ever met before, but he realized now that that was a good thing. Somehow she knew exactly what he needed that night – someone to sit with him without talking – and didn't expect anything more. It was nice, Remus thought, and he found that he actually looked forward to seeing her in the library again.
A/N: Thanks for all the wonderful reviews!
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