Lupin comes by to talk to Harry...
CHAPTER 3: LUPINE LAMENTATIONS
Harry went down to lunch after getting dressed. His relatives (Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, and their son, Dudley) greeted him with merely a glance. They had been much more lenient to him this summer for two particular reasons: Harry had saved Dudley from a pair of dementors the previous summer; and because the Order was sending someone to check up on Harry every few days. Harry helped himself to a piece of toast and some fried tomatoes.
Harry was just finishing his last bite of toast when there was a high-pitched screech from upstairs and a scream from Aunt Petunia, and a moment later, with Pigwidgeon was zooming downstairs and straight into Harry's hand.
"NOT ANOTHER STUPID OWL!" Uncle Vernon roared.
"Geez, you crazy owl, are you EVER calm!?" Harry said exasperated. After shoving part of his napkin into Pig's mouth to stifle the hooting, he unrolled the scroll in its claws and read it.
Being our initial investor, you are cordially invited to the Grand Opening of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes at 93, Diagon Alley, this Monday at noon! Lupin has agreed to pick you up at 11:45 A.M. Also, they might want to take pictures of you along with us, so you'd better get over your camera shyness, mate!
Fred & George Weasley
Harry grinned. He took out a pen from his pocket, turned the parchment over, and wrote onto it: Sounds great. See you then.
He gave the rolled up scroll to Pig, who clutched it in his tiny claws, then took the napkin out of the owl's beak, and threw the bird out the window as though it were a tennis ball.
Harry turned to the Dursleys and said, "Don't get so upset, that owl's always like that."
He was just washing the dishes and putting them in the dishwasher when the doorbell rang. Everyone looked at each other.
Harry broke the silence by saying, "Er, maybe I should get it, if you know what I mean."
His three relatives nodded silently in agreement, and after closing the dishwasher, the boy went to get the door.
Remus Lupin stood at the doorway with a smile on his face, although he looked tired, or at least more so than usual. "Hello, Harry," he said.
"Hello, Professor," he replied.
"I haven't been a professor for years, Harry."
"I know, but you're still the only decent Defense Against the Dark Arts professor I've ever had."
"Thanks, I'm touched. Can we talk some place more private?"
"Of course, come in."
After shutting the door behind them, Harry went over to the kitchen to address his relatives.
"Aunt Petunia," he asked carefully, "One of those people from the train station as come to talk to me. Is it alright if I discuss things with him in my room?"
Mrs. Dursley jumped a little after hearing it was how "one of those people from the train station," but calmed down a little as she remembered this particular wizard - a calm-looking man who didn't appear very strong but very tired, and maybe a little shabby.
"Of course," she said with a rigid nod.
"This way, Professor," Harry said quietly, leading him up the stairs and to his own room.
Lupin frowned at the state of Harry's room. Something about it seemed a little... wrong, although he couldn't quite explain how.
Lupin sat down at the chair with went with the desk while Harry flopped onto his bed. "So... what's up?"
"I just wanted to talk to you."
"Well, the Dursleys are treating me right, if that's what you mean."
"No, Harry, I mean... about Sirius."
There was a very uneasy silence between them while Harry looked down, and then away.
"Harry, please, talk to me," Remus said.
"What do you want me to say?" Harry asked him.
"Well, you're upset about what happened, aren't you?"
"Of course I am!" Harry said, shooting up.
"Well, don't you want to talk about it?"
Harry settled back down again as he searched for an answer to that. "I... I just don't know, Professor..."
"I am hurting too, you know."
Harry looked up at the last Marauder, and it seemed like almost instantly, he had aged about a dozen years.
"Life was normal and happy enough for me... that is, before I was bitten by that werewolf..."
It seemed as though since Harry wouldn't open up, Lupin was doing so himself.
"My parents, bless them, did everything they could to try and help me. Apart from locking me in the basement every full moon, they spent plenty of money trying to find anything even close to a cure... more than they should have, if you ask me. We were a healthy middle-class family, but all their attempts to help me and keep me under control pushed them down to one of the lower brackets by the time I was in my seventh year at Hogwarts.
"I was friends with James, Sirius, and... /Peter/... and was also friends with Lily by seventh year. Even as Voldemort was constantly growing stronger and stronger outside of Hogwarts, we managed to stay a tightly-knit group of friends.
"I was there at your parents' wedding, when they looked so happy. About a year after that, I waited outside with the other Marauders while Lily gave birth to you, and later got a chance to hold you. I made sure I visited whenever I could, between how dangerous it was in those days, like when I used to spy on werewolves who were being persuaded to join Voldemort's cause back then.
"And then after that night on Halloween, 1981... probably the worst week of my life, hands down." Here, Lupin put his hand in his hands for a moment, collecting himself before he went on. "Your parents were dead, Wormtail was supposedly dead, and Sirius was at Azkaban, supposedly guilty of betraying your parents and killing Wormtail. I wanted to see you one last time before you were left here with your relatives, but Dumbledore insisted that once you were left here under their care, that no one from the Wizarding World deliberately try to contact you, so that way you could grow up safe and not find out about Hogwarts until you got your first letter.
"And so, for more than ten years, I had nothing left for me here in Britain, between lack of friends and trying to find a new job when people would refuse me employment because I was a werewolf. For most of that time, I managed in the United States, where living conditions for werewolves are not perfect either, but witches and wizards there are somewhat more tolerant towards them. Even when I came back here to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts during your third year at Hogwarts, as well as to be here just in case Sirius did try to come after you, it was still one of the hardest times of my life.
"And then, imagine how everything was up-ended for me at the end of that year, when I found out that for the previous twelve years, Sirius had been unjustly incarcerated and Wormtail was guilty and alive all along. I was both happy over being reunited with Sirius again and furious at Wormtail. Even though we failed to bring Wormtail to justice that year, at least Sirius was still out there, in hiding but still alive and well.
"And then, barely a few months ago, Sirius died, trying to save you..."
"If you just want to yell at me for getting Sirius killed, then just do it already!" Harry suddenly got up and yelled, surprising Lupin. "I as good as killed him, didn't I?"
Lupin looked quite shocked. "I'm sorry, Harry," he said, "I wasn't blaming you at all. It's certainly not your fault."
For a split second, Lupin thought he saw tears in Harry's eyes, but the next second, they were gone. "I got him killed," Harry moaned, sitting back down. "I went in, thinking I needed to save him, only to have him come to try and save me instead... he wouldn't have had to come at all if I hadn't gone..."
Lupin honestly didn't know what to do... he did have to admit that Harry had been well-intentioned but reckless that night, but he certainly wasn't about to tell Harry that now. He only wanted to comfort Harry, but he didn't know how.
"Harry," he said slowly, "I wasn't trying to make you upset. The point of my ramblings, with how things have been difficult for me for most of my life... the point I was trying to make was that I've had to go through hard times myself because of something I had no control over, and I also grieve for Sirius. I guess... I just wanted to talk to you."
Harry had calmed down now, but there was still that look of unbearable guilt and grief in his eyes.
"Is there anything you want to say?" Remus encouraged him.
Harry briefly flashed back to in his second year, when Dumbledore asked him if he wanted to say anything about the attacks on other students, and yet Harry said nothing even though there was so much on his mind.
"I'm sorry, Professor, I just don't know what to say," he said finally.
"I understand, Harry," he said at last. "I admit it, I came by because I wanted to talk to you about Sirius... hopefully help both of us... but I know I shouldn't rush it, either."
"Don't worry about it, Professor," Harry said dully, literally waving it aside with his hand.
It was then that Lupin noticed something. "Harry, what's that on the back of your hand?"
Harry twitched a little in surprise as he remembered. "It's nothing, Professor, don't worry. Just a scratch..."
With surprising speed, Lupin's own hand shot out and grabbed Harry's by the wrist.
The blood drained from the werewolf's face, making him look even paler than it was before. "How did this happen, Harry?"
Harry yanked his hand back from his former mentor's grasp, but not saying a word.
"How did this happen?" Lupin reiterated, this time a little more forcefully.
"Umbridge," he muttered.
"Can you explain what happened?"
"Every time I tried to tell her the truth about something and she didn't want to hear it or accept it, she'd make me 'write lines' in detention," Harry said bitterly, unable to stop himself as all his pent-up anger came out. "There was this black quill she made me use... I'd write something with it, the words would come out in my own blood, and the words would be cut into the back in my hand."
For the first time since Harry could remember, Lupin actually looked angry. It was a terrible thing to watch, seeing this or any other normally placid man get angry.
Before he could stop himself, Harry also mentioned what else Umbridge did and tried to do to him.
"She also sent the dementors after me last summer to shut me up, she attacked Hagrid and Professor McGonagall during the night of my Astronomy O.W.L., and she even tried to use the Cruciatus Curse on me!"
"She WHAT?" Lupin yelled, actually rising out of his seat and looking furious. Harry was now a little scared at this point, even more so than that night when Wormtial escaped because the full moon turned Lupin into a werewolf. On that night a few years back, it had been a mindless beast who had no control over himself; but this time, it was a civilized human being who knew full well about right and wrong but still wanted to make Umbridge suffer anyway, and could think of several different ways to do that.
Often, human beings could be worse than mindless beasts in that they could be more creatively cruel. Umbridge had been a perfect example of that.
"Harry... why didn't you tell anyone about this?" Lupin asked him seriously once he had calmed down.
"I didn't want to get the professors in trouble because of me," Harry said quietly.
"This is very serious, Harry... we will have to press charges against her."
Harry remained silent, but Lupin pressed on, "Do you really want to her to get away with this? What if she tries something to someone else like she did to you?"
"Do I have to testify if it comes to that?"
"You would be the most logical choice for you to testify, Harry, when you think about it."
Harry silently contemplated Lupin's words. "I'll testify," he said at last.
"I realize this can't be easy for you, Harry," Lupin said, "but you are very brave in doing this."
Harry shrugged. Lupin was getting up to leave when Harry suddenly remembered something.
"Actually, Professor... if it's not a problem... can you come back in an hour? There's some things I want to write to some people, but I don't want them intercepted or anything. I was hoping you could make sure they get safely delivered."
"Is it for Ron or Hermione?"
"Actually... it's for a few other classmates whom I haven't written to before."
For a split-second, Lupin was rendered speechless by how Harry didn't want to talk to him or his best friends, but wanted to talk to someone whom he knew but hadn't even written to before. But then Lupin realized that he most likely wanted to talk to them about something other than Sirius.
"Sure, I can do that," Lupin said with a reassuring smile. "See you in an hour, then?"
"'Bye," Harry said with a brave grin, which faded a moment after Lupin departed.
Realizing that he gave himself an hour to write a few things which he could have also written the night before, he decided to finally get down to business.
(End of Chapter 3.)
A/N: I don't know why I went for the thing for reconciling with the Dursleys to such an extent like I did in earlier versions of this. I think maybe I'll just keep it at the lowest tolerable levels. J.K. Rowling has actually been accused by some people of anti-family, but personally, I think she was just trying to make a point about how child abuse and neglect exists and how it's a problem, much like how she uses prejudice discrimination against Muggle-born witches and wizards, giants, werewolves, centaurs, etc. to teach how real-life prejudice and discrimination are bad.
Also, as for how this chapter was... eh, I don't know. I tried to show how Harry is sometimes hesitant to ask for help.
However, on another note, I decided to make it so that Lupin had been a professor in America for several years, which would explain why his bag (first seen in Chapter 5 of PoA) reads "Professor R.J. Lupin" when he's never taught at Hogwarts before Harry's third year. Maybe if I can somehow manage it, I can somehow show a glimpse of my version of Wizarding Washington, D.C.