Chapter 8 : Extra Lessons
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It soon became apparent that Luna Lovegood was going to come up to Remus's desk after every single class, wanting to hear more about her mother. It saddened Remus a little, that Luna had to come to him to hear stories of her mother, when her father must have known her far better than he did. Yet he obliged, since it was obvious from the first day of class that the girl was lonely.
“Did you study with her a lot?” Luna asked.
“A few nights a week,” Remus said as he marked homework from his third years. “She was there most nights.”
“And you didn't talk?”
“Not at first. She liked keeping me company. None of my friends were very studious. Well, except for Lily Evans-”
“Harry Potter's mum?” Luna said.
“One and the same.” Remus smiled. “But most of my friends weren't ones for the library, except when exam time came. It was nice having someone to study with who wasn't talking constantly.”
“Dad told me that Mum would yell at him when he talked in the library their seventh year,” Luna replied.
Remus chuckled. “That doesn't surprise me. We didn't have an actual long conversation until the night we were paired up for prefect duty.”
As October progressed the weather grew chillier and the storms grew louder. James returned to the common room completely soaked from Quidditch practice on more than one occasion, although he made no move to cancel practices due to weather. The rest of the team could often be found cursing James under their breath. Remus only hoped that the weather would calm down before the first match, scheduled to take place the first weekend in November.
Remus soon fell into a routine of spending a few nights a week in the library studying with Addy. They never said more than two sentences to each other, but the routine was comfortable and Remus found it less distracting to do homework with Addy rather than in the common room with his friends. He hadn't told any of them about Addy yet and didn't really see the point. They'd probably just rag on him about it anyway.
When Remus entered the Great Hall on Tuesday morning in the second week of October, he noticed that everyone was far louder than normal for a Tuesday morning. He quickly found a seat next to James, who was deep in conversation with Sirius. Peter was sitting across from them, mashing his bacon into his eggs with more force than necessary.
“What's happened?” Remus asked as he piled eggs onto his plate. He had to eat fast, as he'd slept a bit later than normal.
“Lestrange,” Sirius muttered. “He's been released!”
“What?” Remus exclaimed. “How'd that happen? Where's the Prophet?”
Sirius pointed to a pile of ash in the middle of the table. “It's there. And they claim that they didn't have sufficient evidence. Can you believe that?” Sirius took hold of his knife and stabbed the business end of it into the table.
“So what, he's just out there now?” Remus asked. “Like it never happened?”
“All charges were dropped,” James said as he took the knife away from Sirius.
Remus lowered his voice. “But wouldn't he have the mark?”
“I'm sure he did,” Sirius said. “I bet you anything my lovely cousin Bellatrix has got one, too. I'd also wager my entire Gringotts account that gold exchanged hands.”
“It wouldn't matter if he was in Azkaban anyway,” James said. “There's loads more Death Eaters out there.”
James gestured to the Slytherin table, where Snape, Bulstrode, Crabbe, Regulus, and a few other assorted thugs were huddled together. Bulstrode glanced up, as if he'd felt them watching him. His eyes met Remus's for ten full seconds before he turned back to his fellow Slytherins.
“We know for sure that Bulstrode is one of them,” Remus said quietly. “And Crabbe's in training.”
“Snape is one,” James said. “I'd bet anything.”
“They can't do much from inside the castle,” Peter pointed out.
“Except recruit new ones,” Sirius said. “I wish my brother wouldn't hang out with them.”
Remus glanced at James and Peter. None of them stated the obvious. Sirius would refuse to believe it. Regulus would not be deep in discussion with Bulstrode if he wasn't planning on becoming a Death Eater.
“We'd better get to defense,” James said.
Remus took one last look at his uneaten eggs and stood up to follow James out of the room. He wasn't hungry, anyway. The fact that an obvious Death Eater could buy his way out of Azkaban was incredibly disconcerting.
Professor Banks immediately distracted them from Lestrange by allowing them to practice the advanced shield charms they'd learned about in their previous class. Still, thoughts of Lestrange and the rest of the Death Eaters were at the back of Remus's mind during the entire lesson. He doubted they would ever leave his mind until the man in charge was caught and in Azkaban.
“Lupin, I need to speak with you,” Banks announced after the bell rang.
“Want us to wait?” Sirius asked as he packed up his bag.
Remus shook his head. “I've got Arithmancy next anyway.”
Remus grabbed his bag and ambled up to Banks's desk as his friends left the room. Banks waited for a few lingering Ravenclaws to leave the room before he looked up from his grade book.
“How is your leg, Lupin?” Banks asked.
Remus was slightly taken aback. None of his professors had even acknowledged there was anything wrong with his leg and he liked it that way. “It's better,” he said.
“Glad to hear it,” Banks replied. He leaned back in his chair and folded his hands across his chest. “I've been thinking about the dementor.”
Remus groaned inwardly. He'd been relieved when Banks didn't bring up the topic of the dementor in class after it had happened. The last thing he wanted to do was rehash it now, two weeks later.
“While the chances of you encountering a dementor are practically incalculable, given that you aren't going to become an Auror, I believe that everyone should be able to face one if needed. They are unpredictable creatures. If you wish to practice more I can obtain permission to bring another dementor to Hogsmeade once a week until you are successful,” Banks explained.
Remus hadn't really thought about what would happen if he came across a dementor, but Banks had a good point. However, the thought of facing one again, willingly at that, was slightly terrifying. But he supposed if Banks was offering, he should take him up on it. With practice, he could prove that he wasn't the weak, sickly kid he'd always been.
“Yes,” Remus agreed. “I'll do it. What about everyone else, though? Alice didn't get her patronus right either.”
“I'll offer it to Miss Bramley as well as the other two who were wildly unsuccessful. Once I have the details worked out I'll let you know,” Banks told him. “Let me get you a pass to your next class.”
The more Remus thought about facing the dementor again the more determined he became. The fear was still there, but it lessened. He knew he would pass out again but no one would be there to see it except for Professor Banks and possibly three other students, who also had issues with dementors. And when the lessons were finished, he'd be able to conjure a corporeal patronus while facing a dementor.
Remus told his friends about the dementor lessons that evening, except James, who had Quidditch practice. They were mildly surprised that Banks had offered.
“Wish he'd let all of us face the dementor again,” Sirius said. “My patronus wasn't corporeal either.”
“But you didn't pass out,” Lily pointed out. “Remus and Alice are the only two who really need more lessons. Practicing patronuses on real dementors isn't part of the N.E.W.T. curriculum anyway. We'll do it more in Auror training.”
“I wonder who the other two are,” Peter mused. “Banks said there were two others?”
Remus nodded. “He didn't name them, though. Lily, who were you paired with?”
“Ron Fremont,” Lily said. “He didn't pass out. He did better than I did.”
“Guess Remus and Alice will find out soon enough,” Peter said.
Remus glanced at his watch. “I've got to get going. Patrol tonight.”
“Remus, you know I can take you off patrol until your leg's better,” Lily said.
“My leg's fine. It's better than it has been in weeks,” Remus assured her.
Lily told him that before every single one of his patrols. He'd only skipped one at the beginning of term and had no intention to skip anymore. Although, he had suspiciously been paired up with either Lily or James ever since the Bulstrode incident. Lily had changed the schedule without explaining why to anyone, but Remus and James both knew that Remus was the reason. Rather than argue with Lily, which was a pointless endeavor, he just dealt with it.
“You're not with one of us tonight,” Lily said. She looked a little uneasy. “James is at practice, of course, and I've got a meeting with Professor McGonagall in a half hour. But if there are any issues, I can reschedule with McGonagall-”
“Lily,” Remus interrupted her. “I'm fine. Who am I with?” Not Snape, he thought, anyone but Snape.
Lily pulled the schedule out of her bag and consulted it. “Adeline Mosley. She's a fifth year, Ravenclaw. I've patrolled with her once. She's nice.”
Remus smiled to himself. Patrolling with Addy would be the next best thing to patrolling with either James or Lily, and loads better than patrolling with Snape.
“I'll see you lot later, then,” Remus said.
Remus met Addy at the top of the grand staircase. She was sitting on the top stair reading a novel, as if she'd been waiting a while. Remus checked his watch. He was a good fifteen minutes late.
“Hi,” he said as he walked up behind her. “Sorry I'm late.”
Addy closed her novel and stood up. “Hi, Remus Lupin. That's all right. I had a book. I never go anywhere without a book.”
“Me either,” Remus said. “Well, I don't have one now, but I don't usually need one during patrol.”
Addy smiled. “I bring one anyway. So, where should we start?”
After two full years of prefect patrols, Remus had a route that he took most times he patrolled. The only time it varied was when he patrolled with Snape, who insisted upon taking his own route.
“We'll start from here and work our way up,” Remus said as they set off down the corridor.
Remus and Addy remained quiet for the first two floors. They didn't have much to do. There were a few first years who needed to be told to get to their common rooms and a pair of third years dueling with each other. Remus let them off with a warning and sent them off to their respective dormitories.
“Did you read about Lestrange?” Addy asked as they made their way down one of the third floor corridors.
“I did,” Remus said.
“It's scary,” Addy continued, “knowing that he's out there and whoever he's working with.”
“Dumbledore and the Aurors are working to find all of them,” Remus assured her.
“Half my year want to become Aurors,” Addy said. “Fifth year and all...we're supposed to be figuring out what we want to do.”
“All of my friends except one have applied to the Auror Academy,” Remus told her.
“What about you?” Addy asked.
“No,” Remus said. “I didn't apply.”
Addy glanced at his leg for a split second and Remus guessed she thought that was the reason why he hadn't applied. “I don't want to become an Auror. I just don't think I could take it.”
“Professor Banks told my class that they usually only take a few people a year, but twenty applied this year,” Remus said. “Most of my defense class applied.”
“I guess they'll need more Aurors, with everything that's going on...” Addy's voice trailed off.
Remus nodded. They turned to the staircase and made their way up to the fourth floor, a comfortable silence between them. The fourth floor proved to be no more interesting than the third and they continued to the fifth.
“Who do you usually patrol with?” Addy asked after Remus told a second year Hufflepuff to get back to her common room.
“James or Lily, mostly,” Remus told her.
“You're friends with them, aren't you? I patrolled with Lily once. She's not someone I'd want to anger,” Addy said.
Remus laughed. “No, definitely not. I've been friends with them since first year.”
“I've patrolled with Severus Snape the most,” Addy muttered. “Do you know him well? I'd never met him until a few weeks ago. He's quite nasty.”
Remus cringed. He felt bad for anyone who had to patrol with Snape. “You don't know the half of it,” Remus said, remembering the awful prank from the previous year.
“Is he as slimy as he seems?” Addy asked.
“I've been in classes with him since first year. He'll do just about anything if it benefits him in some way and he's got an incessant need to find out everything he can about people he dislikes.”
“Remind me to stay off his bad side, then,” Addy muttered.
“Not much you can do there,” Remus told her. “If he decides to hate you for some reason, that's it. I really don't think you have to worry, though. He hates Gryffindors the most.”
“You lot are a bit cocky.” Addy laughed. “I know a few Ravenclaws who don't have much patience for Gryffindors.”
“We're not all cocky,” Remus said.
“I see that,” Addy replied.
Remus and Addy spent most of the remaining time of their patrol discussing the various classes they were taking. Addy was one of the few people Remus had met who enjoyed Arithmancy, so it was nice having someone to discuss it with. The actual patrol remained uneventful, the most exciting part being finding two fifth years snogging on the astronomy tower. At the end of the patrol, Remus walked Addy back to Ravenclaw tower.
“I hope we patrol again soon,” Addy said. “And I'll see you in the library.”
“I hope so, too,” Remus agreed, and he meant it.
“Good night, Remus Lupin.” Addy smiled.
Remus returned the smile. “Good night, Addy.”
Remus received word from Professor Banks that his first dementor lesson would take place on Sunday and continue every Sunday afterward for as long as needed. Remus spent the remainder of the week thinking of the lessons and flip-flopping back and forth between being excited and nervous. By the time Sunday arrived the excitement and nerves had melded together to form one weird emotion that mostly resulted in him not sleeping much the night before, despite having just received the spell for his leg.
The lessons were at eleven o'clock so at ten-thirty Remus and Alice set off for Hogsmeade. Banks had instructed them to meet him at the Three Broomsticks. It was strange walking to Hogsmeade on a weekend that was not a Hogsmeade weekend and Remus had the slightest feeling that he was doing something wrong, even though he wasn't.
The Three Broomsticks was practically deserted when Remus and Alice arrived. Remus supposed it was a bit early for the Sunday lunch crowd. Professor Banks was already there, sitting with two other students at one of the tables. Remus recognized the girl as Beth Warner of Hufflepuff. She was one of the few people in their defense class who did not apply to the Auror Academy. The sight of the other student at the table caused Remus to stop in his tracks. He was none other than Severus Snape.
Remus turned to Alice who was wearing a shocked expression that Remus figured was similar to his own. Snape needed help facing dementors? Remus never would have guessed.
“Ah, Mr. Lupin, Miss Bramley,” Professor Banks greeted them as they reached the table. “We're all here, then. Let's set off. We're at the same spot we were before.”
Professor Banks got up and lead the way out of the pub. Beth Warner kept up pace with him, but Remus and Alice walked a few meters behind. Snape, for some reason, slowed to walk with them.
“Not a word, Lupin,” Snape growled. “If you mention this to anyone, well, everyone will find out something about you.”
“Snape, I couldn't care less that you need help with dementors,” Remus told him. “We're all here for the same reason.”
Snape nodded curtly and sped up to walk in between Remus and Beth. Alice turned to Remus with a quizzical look on her face. “What was he talking about?”
“Nothing,” Remus muttered. Alice shrugged but didn't push Remus for information.
What Remus had told Snape was partially true. He didn't care that Snape needed help with dementors and he had no desire to spread the information around the school, although he would tell James, Sirius, and Peter. But Remus did care that Snape would see him face the dementor. The last thing Remus wanted was for Snape to see him pass out in front of a dementor.
They finally reached the empty road where the dementor was stationed. A very bored looking Ministry official was standing there waiting for them. Remus assumed the other official was with the dementor.
“These lessons will work similarly to the previous lesson with the dementor. We won't practice conjuring patronuses without the dementor present, as none of you have problems with that. However, I do suggest you all think of more memories to try. Bramley, you're up first. The rest of you can wait over there.” Banks gestured to a clump of trees a few meters off.
Remus, Snape, and Beth walked over to the trees and Remus turned to watch Alice. Banks didn't waste any time. Within two minutes the dementor was gliding toward her. Remus felt the air go ice cold, even at his distance, and began to think of better memories.
The problem was was that the memory of getting his Hogwarts letter really was the best memory he had. It was when he felt happiest. He supposed the moment when he was sorted into Gryffindor was a good choice. He decided to go with that.
Remus was too far away to gauge whether Alice was crying like she had with the previous dementor, but he didn't see much of a patronus. However, she did not pass out. Banks conjured his own patronus and the dementor flew back. This same process was repeated five or six times before Alice walked toward the clump of trees.
“You're up, Remus,” Alice said once she reached them. Her face was streaked with drying tears, but she didn't say a word about it.
Remus nodded to Alice and made his way over to Professor Banks. The dementor was back with its keeper, but the air got colder as Remus drew closer. All the happy memories started to fade from his mind, but he held on to the one when he got sorted.
“Ready, Lupin?” Banks asked as soon as Remus arrived.
“Yeah,” Remus replied, thinking only of the moment when he got sorted.
Banks sent a spell towards the dementor and it started gliding forward, just as it had the previous Saturday. Remus's mind grew fuzzier as it got closer, the cold seeping into him further and further. All the good memories left Remus's head except for the one when he got sorted.
“Expecto patronum!” Remus shouted as soon as the dementor got close enough.
A wisp of silver shot out of his wand towards the dementor. The dementor stopped for a few seconds but then continued forward.
“Expecto patronum!” Remus shouted again.
The wisp of silver was smaller this time and did nothing to slow the dementor. It continued to glide closer and closer to him. The air grew even colder. Remus's mind swam. The memory of being sorted into Gryffindor flew from his head.
“Expecto, expecto...” Remus said, and then all went black again.
Remus was back in St. Mungo's, laying still in a hospital bed. His eyes were closed and he couldn't see anything. His mother was sobbing loudly, his dad speaking with the healer.
“There is no hope?” his father was asking.
“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!” Remus slowly opened his eyes and saw Professor Banks standing over him. It only took him a few seconds to realize he'd passed out again.
“Eat this.” Banks handed him a piece of chocolate and Remus shoved it in his mouth as he stood up. The chocolate immediately helped and he soon felt warmth spreading throughout his body.
“Do you want to try it again?” Banks asked.
“Yes,” Remus said. The only way he was going to get passed this was to keep trying.
“I'd suggest a new memory,” Banks said as he sent the usual spell toward the dementor.
Remus decided to try the Hogwarts letter memory again. It really was the best memory he had.
The dementor drifted closer. Remus's heart sped up. He was expecting to pass out again. The air grew cold again. It was familiar now and Remus was expecting it.
“Expecto patronum!” Remus shouted.
The wisp of silver was bigger this time and more formed. It was nowhere near his wolf patronus, but it was something. The dementor slowed down for a full ten seconds before it continued. Remus sent another patronus, this one just as powerful as the first. He sent a third, and then a fourth, before the world grew fuzzy again. It was progress, he thought, just before he passed out again.
The memory was the same. It was always going to be the same, Remus realized. Until he managed to produce a decent patronus he was going to have to relive that moment when he regained consciousness at St. Mungo's only to hear his parents fall apart.
When he came to, Banks gave him another piece of chocolate. “One more time, Lupin, and then you're going to have to wait until next week.”
Remus nodded and prepared himself. The dementor glided toward him once more, bringing with it the cold, mist, and sadness. Remus steadied himself and pointed his wand at the cloaked figure.
“Expecto patronum!” he shouted.
His patronus was now a silver blob rather than a mist. It stopped the dementor for ten seconds. Remus sent another one, and then two more. The fourth had even more shape to it, but Remus could feel the dementor draining him of his energy and happiness. His vision was growing fuzzy again.
“Expecto patronum!” Banks shouted.
A large gorilla burst from Banks's wand and sent the dementor back in the direction it had came. Remus's vision returned to normal and he accepted the chocolate Banks handed him.
“Madam Pomfrey would probably murder me in my sleep if she knew I let you pass out in front of a dementor, let alone three times,” Banks explained. “Finish that chocolate and go tell Mr. Snape it's his turn. You're improving, Lupin. You'll get it soon.”
“Thanks,” Remus said and set off toward the clump of trees.
Snape was sneering at him when he arrived. “I wasn't expecting you to be that bad at patronuses,” he said.
“Shut it, Snape,” Remus muttered. “And it's your turn.”
Snape stalked off rather pompously, Remus thought, for someone who was also here for remedial dementor lessons.
“That last time you nearly had it,” Alice said once Snape left. “You didn't pass out.”
“Only because Banks did his own patronus before I had the chance,” Remus explained.
“Still,” Alice said, “it was better.”
Remus turned to where Snape was standing. He was very interested to watch how Snape dealt with the dementor. He watched as it glided toward Snape and watched as Snape attempted to conjure his patronus and failed. However, he didn't pass out.
Banks let Snape try about seven times before he called it quits. Snape didn't pass out once, although the last time he looked slightly unsteady. Upon his return, he glared at Remus, as if warning him one last time not to tell anyone.
Snape took off for the castle before Beth Warner even had her turn. Banks didn't stop him. Remus and Alice waited, figuring they might as well take advantage of the fact that they were allowed to be in Hogsmeade. Once Beth finished Remus and Alice walked back to the castle, a few paces behind Beth and Professor Banks.
They didn't talk much on the return trip. Remus was relatively satisfied with the lesson, although he wished Snape hadn't seen him pass out. However, there was one thought about Snape that Remus just couldn't get out of his mind. The reason Alice had problems with the dementor was that she saw her brother die. Remus's problems were obvious, seeing as he became a werewolf when he was five. What happened in Snape's past that gave him problems conjuring a patronus? The question ate at Remus's brain and he couldn't let it go. There was a part of him that almost even felt bad for Snape, although he'd never admit that to James or Sirius. Unfortunately, Remus doubted whether he'd ever find out what had happened in Snape's past that was so awful.
A/N: Thanks for all the lovely reviews!
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