Summary: Remus Lupin is returning to Hogwarts as DADA
Professor, much to Poppy Pomfrey’s joy.
But the shadow of Sirius Black hangs over Hogwarts …
Disclaimer: Naturally I do not own JK
Rowling’s characters. <span
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>She
invented them and the wonderful world of
Hogwarts. I am just happily visiting her world for a while.
Author’s Note: Someone suggested that after
‘A Most Unusual Student’, it would be interesting to see Poppy Pomfrey’s
reactions to the events in ‘Prisoner of Azkaban’. I wasn’t going to go any further than MWPP at Hogwarts, but then
one day that little plot bunny emerged from its hole - and so here is
This is not an exact
re-telling of every event in PoA, though of course I have used actual dialogue
in some scenes where Poppy is concerned.
There are no plot spoilers for ‘Student’, so I will be writing the two
fics in tandem, and posting chapters in each as the muse strikes me.
My thanks as always to those
who have encouraged me with this, particularly Mincot, Catherine, Yolanda,
Axelle, Allemande, and Zsenya (who assured me that another version of PoA, by
Poppy, would not be too much).
Chapter 1. A Rabbit out of the Hat.
Lupin was coming back to Hogwarts.
‘Professor’ Remus Lupin now - Defence Against the Dark Arts
teacher. Remus Lupin – my Remus. Remus Lupin - werewolf.
had announced it at the staff meeting ten days before term had started, and the
arguments were still raging with certain staff members. But Minerva and I had known before
then. We’d joined Albus for supper that
summer evening, the twilight glowing softly purple and gold, and the breeze
bringing with it the faint scents of flowers and forest.
believe I have found us a new Defence professor,” Albus said mildly, as we
helped ourselves to cakes.
long as he’s better than that last gilded idiot!” Minerva’s considered opinion of poor Professor Lockhart was that
there had been ‘almost no mind to lose’.
I have no doubts as to his competence,” chuckled Albus, eyes twinkling wickedly
over his teacup. “Though I must say he
does lack Gilderoy’s talent for self-promotion.”
mind the publicity. Does he know his
subject? And can he teach? Our second and third years are quite
woefully behind in that subject, Albus – and you know it.”
I haven’t actually experienced his teaching,’ Albus admitted, but the twinkle
became even more pronounced. “But yes
- he does know his subject. Knows it
very well, as I recall. And I think he
will be an asset to Hogwarts, a most interesting asset. Oh yes, most interesting.” He took a large bite of strawberry sponge.
Minerva was clearly feeling quite testy, and I wondered if she had another
headache. “Albus, please put us out of
our misery. Just who have you managed
to conjure up this year? We’ve had
three Defence teachers in four years, none of whom I’d trust to get rid of an
angry beetle, and now … ” she paused, and swallowed suddenly. “And now we have Sirius Black on the loose.”
Sirius. I did not want to even think of Sirius. None of us wanted to think of Sirius. Traitor Sirius. Murderer Sirius. Loyal
deputy to You Know Who. Expert in Dark Magic.
The only person to have ever escaped Azkaban.
twelve long years I had tried to put his memory out of my mind, to forget the
clever, mischievous, handsome boy that I’d known so well, and come to like –
even love. Well, as much as I ever
allowed myself to love any of the students.
But then, Sirius had been special … and so had his friends … James …
Peter … and of course, Remus … Remus Lupin …
precisely because of Sirius Black that I have asked this person to come and
teach, Minerva.” I realised I had
missed part of Albus’ reply. I smiled
at him, trying to counter Minerva’s obvious ill-humour.
what rabbit have you pulled out of your Headmaster’s hat this time?” I said
lightly, wondering all the same whether any sensible witch or wizard would take
on the job of Defence teacher at Hogwarts with Sirius Black supposed to be
my dear, I doubt that anyone could ever call Remus Lupin a rabbit. Even our dear Professor Snape.”
heard Minerva’s cup crash into its saucer, was dimly aware that she was staring
at Albus Dumbledore as if he’d finally gone quite mad. My own cup seemed frozen in my fingers, and
I felt as though someone had dropped a cauldron of Freezing Potion over
me. He couldn’t mean it … surely Albus
couldn’t mean it …
said nothing, just finished his piece of cake and brushed the crumbs out of his
beard. A smear of cream dotted the end
of his nose, and he wiped it absently with a large red and blue spotted
handkerchief before leaning back in his armchair and regarding us both with a
strangely sad expression.
mind was a conflict of whirling, swirling memories: a shy little grey-eyed boy
in Diagon Alley – freezing cold mornings in the Shrieking Shack when I’d knelt
in the dust and blood to heal his wounds – the way he’d always come to kiss me
good-bye at the end of each year – the anguish over Davey Gudgeon – getting
teased by the others about his first girlfriend – his mischief and his laughter
- the transformation from a self-effacing skinny child into a slender,
confident, good-looking young man – his paintings – his friends ….
Gwen – dear Gwen. Remus had brought us
together, mother and matron, and for nine years I’d been blessed with her
friendship. I still kept all her
looked across at Minerva, sitting silent and thoughtful, fingers laced together
in her lap. And suddenly I was
transported back to this very room and another supper some twenty-five years
ago – when Albus Dumbledore had told us that he needed our help, because
Hogwarts was going to have a most unusual student next year.
think he will be able to find Black?” she said slowly, working through the
implications of that statement. “Does
he know young Potter’s here? That
Black is probably after him? What if
Black finds out he is teaching here – wouldn’t he be in danger too?”
he knows. And no, I doubt Professor
Lupin is in any danger himself. Unless
of course he goes looking for Sirius – but I have told him that is best left to
the Ministry, and they will have guards round the school.”
Sirius – hunting Remus.
Remus – maybe trying to find and kill Sirius. The world had turned upside down for so many of us on Halloween
1981 – treachery, murder, the deepest of friendships shattered. Four close friends, and suddenly two were
dead, one was in Azkaban – and one was left to find his way through a world
that no longer made any sense, where he was an outcast, bereft of the people
who’d been the centre of his life for the last ten years, who’d sworn they’d
always be there for him ...
* * *
I remembered him at the Potters’ funeral, whey-faced, eyes haunted,
moving as if in some sort of hollow dream from which he’d never wake. Edmund had been there too, silently
supporting his son, grieving in his own way for the two boys he’d known so
well, for Lily, and for Harry. I could
only imagine his thoughts about Sirius – the boy he’d liked more than any other
of Remus’ friends.
The other Hogwarts staff had
left Remus alone, just a quick word afterwards before departing, embarrassed,
confused, hardly knowing what to say to the one who was left.
But I’d gone and waited
silently with them under the trees beyond the graves as the other mourners
drifted away. We’d watched Lily’s
sister and her pompous husband leave the funeral in an indecent hurry, clearly
hating the very thought of associating with wizards and witches. That was the only time I saw any life in
Remus’ eyes: there’d been a flash of anger as Vernon Dursley had pushed past
elderly Mrs Corban, one of the Potters’ neighbours. It was followed by a look of desperate longing as he saw someone
hand Harry to Petunia, and watched her shove the little boy roughly into the
back seat of their Muggle car. Remus
would have taken Harry, I knew – would have loved to have had him – would have
made a wonderful father – but werewolves were not permitted to be guardians of
other people’s children, and there were even some restrictions on having their
After the others had all
departed, Remus went and stood quietly by the graves, just staring at the
lettering, chiselled so new, so precise, so cold in the creamy grey stone. Edmund and I said nothing, just waited,
understanding each other as we had at Gwen’s funeral. At last Remus turned and came back to us, nodding slightly at
Edmund, dry-eyed, resigned, lost in a world of his own.
“Remus.” I spoke hesitantly, wondering if he’d even
noticed me there. For a long moment we
just looked at each other, neither having the words we needed – only we didn’t
need words, I realised, as I reached out and put my arms around him.
He was taller than me of
course, and my head rested against his shoulder; but it felt strangely as
though he was a boy again, a frightened boy seeing the Shack for the first
time, or waiting for the inevitable agony at moonrise. We held each other for a long time, and I
felt my own tears sinking into the smooth dark blue wool of his robes, felt the
quivering tension in his body, the unspoken agony in the way his arms clasped
me almost painfully against him. I knew
he was crying silently inside, knew that he’d never show it to the world, but
he’d show it to Edmund – and to me.
We parted soon after: I
kissed him and made him promise to write to me, to keep in touch and let me
know how he was doing. And I said that
he could always call on me, no matter what: Gwen would know I’d always look
after Remus, I thought. He promised
faithfully that he’d write, and that we’d see each other from time to time; so
I hugged Edmund goodbye and left them together, father and son, standing side
by side as an autumn drizzle started to drift down.
I’d been in Canada with
Jasper and his family when Edmund had died two summers later, and hadn’t made
it to his funeral. I’d written to
Remus, and he’d come to see me in London before I returned to Hogwarts. I’d cooked him dinner, and we’d sat and
talked – about his childhood, his parents, my friendship with Gwen, about my
own family and mutual friends, about what he was doing with his life. We’d spoken of the Potters – Remus hadn’t
heard anything about Harry, and neither had I – and we reminisced about Peter
and schooldays. But the talk was full
of awkward pauses, of hesitations in the middle of stories, of remembrances
started, then stopped in mid-sentence.
Because we never mentioned Sirius.
Not a word. Not once. And that was the very hardest thing of all.
Eventually Remus departed,
and since then I hadn’t seen him. We’d
written of course, and sent each other cards for Christmas and birthdays. But his letters became shorter and less
frequent, and I knew, reading between the lines, that he was finding life
hard. I took to sending him small
hampers at Christmas, telling him that a large ham from Madam Rosmerta’s own
supplier, some Honeydukes chocolates and Mother Truffle’s puddings were
essential to his welfare – as were the jars of healing ointment and Rubus
Remedy which I also included. I wished
there was something more I could do for him, but I couldn’t offer him a job,
and he said he was ‘managing’. Which
was the truth, but not the whole truth.
I sometimes felt so helpless as I remembered Gwen and Edmund and their
hopes for their wonderful son ...
* * *
“Poppy?” Minerva’s voice finally penetrated, and I
became aware that she and Albus were watching me. I realised my cup was now held at a precarious angle, and hastily
leant forward to return it to the saucer lest the dregs spill on Albus’ lovely
carpet. I swallowed and sat back,
trying to compose my erratic thoughts.
Albus?” I asked. “What sort of
guards? Many of the aurors have retired
afraid I have been forced to agree to the Ministry’s wishes in this matter,
Poppy.” Albus sounded resigned, even
regretful. “The Ministry insists that
Sirius Black poses a grave danger to Harry Potter, and to anyone at Hogwarts –
so they are sending a squad of Dementors to patrol the school.”
Dementors! At Hogwarts! Was the entire Ministry out of their minds? We had children here – hundreds of innocent
children – how would they cope if they met a Dementor? And the staff – how were we going to manage
with those – those – things –
floating around? Minerva was staring at
Albus in equal horror.
cannot mean that, Albus,” she said faintly.
“Surely you cannot permit Dementors to come here to Hogwarts!”
looked at us sadly. “Unfortunately I
have no choice. As you know, no-one before has managed to escape from
Azkaban. For someone even to survive
there this long is almost unheard of – well, there are occasional survivors,
but I am afraid they are mostly quite insane. So if Sirius has managed to
escape, then we must prepare for the very worst. I do not, of course, know
whether he is insane or whether he is just singularly determined to finish what
he apparently started. Either way, the
school must be protected.”
Albus – Dementors! How are we going to
manage with those creatures roaming the grounds? How is anyone going to concentrate? You’ll have half the students in hospital!” Minerva was aghast.
Dementors will not be in the castle, Minerva,” he replied calmly. “Nor will they be in the grounds where the
students and staff can be affected. I
will not permit that. They will remain
at the gates, and patrol the perimeter though, and they will also patrol in
Hogsmeade and the surrounding country.”
sat silently, dazed at the sudden turn of events. Dementors! I’d have more
than one child ill before the first day was out, no matter where they were
patrolling. More to the point, would
they stay out there? Or would they come
looking for other – victims?
snorted. “If they couldn’t keep Black
IN Azkaban, Albus, then just how do they think they are going to find him
outside? He’s certainly not your
average wizard by any means – he never has been. So he’s not going to show himself anywhere near here, surely! Why would he try to reach young Potter – IF
indeed that is who he is after – in the one place where he will be protected?”
cannot answer that, Minerva. I know
little more than you do. Sirius Black
is, apparently, fixated on Hogwarts – and presumably that means Harry
Potter. So we must take all necessary
steps to guard him – and to ensure that Sirius is recaptured and returned to
words seemed to hang there like a doomsday pronouncement. What sort of world were we in, that the three
of us could be sitting here and talking of Dementors and sending Sirius Black
back to Azkaban? I found myself wishing
this was all a terrible nightmare, that I’d suddenly awake to a bright new dawn
and find myself looking forward to four delightful boys returning for their
next year. James - Sirius - Peter -
Remus! I’d almost forgotten about him. I sat up sharply. “Albus, what are you expecting Remus Lupin to do? Apart from teaching Defence of course.”
certainly do not expect him to go looking for Sirius, Poppy. Not at all.
But if anyone can shed any light on how Sirius might try to get into the
castle, or what exactly he might do in particular situations, then Remus Lupin
is that person. After all, they were
in enough trouble together when they were students! Though of course James was always closest to Sirius.”
will Lupin be arriving?” said Minerva.
“And more to the point, what arrangements have you made for his – his
difficulty each month?”
is a new potion available now – you’ve probably heard of it, Poppy. It’s called Wolfsbane, after one of its main
herbs. It renders a werewolf quite harmless – they still transform, but they
lose the craving to attack and bite.
They are able to remain as a normal wolf, so Remus will just stay locked
in his rooms during the full moon, and he will not need to go to the Shrieking
Shack again. The potion is very
complex, and few are capable of making it properly. Luckily, Hogwarts is blessed with one such expert. I intend to ask Severus Snape to make it
Snape. Albus was going to ask our
Slytherin Potions master to make Wolfsbane potion for Remus Lupin, the person
he probably detested most in the entire world. Well, apart from James Potter and Sirius Black …
said Minerva tightly, “Albus, do you know what you are saying? Don’t you remember what they were like at
school? Severus will probably add a
cup of arsenic to the first cauldron of that potion, and I really have to
wonder whether you should ask either of them to trust the other to that
am aware of their feelings while at school.
Quite aware.” Albus reached out and calmly poured himself another cup of
tea. “But I believe Remus Lupin is the
best person for the Defence job this year, for various reasons. Regardless of personalities, even Severus
will have to concede his competence in the subject. Oh yes,” he said, seeing her look, “I’ve heard the rumours that
Severus would like to be the Defence professor, though he has never spoken to
me on the matter. But I suspect he has
expressed a belief that the subject is not being taught as it should be.”
you ever consider him as Defence professor?” asked Minerva. “It may be easier to find another Potions
expert, you know.”
have heard that suggestion. But
regardless of his own knowledge of the subject – which is considerable - that
is one position Severus will not hold.
At least while I am Headmaster.”
is that?” I asked.
have my reasons,” he said. “And Severus
knows what they are.” His tone would admit no further discussion.
you going to tell the other staff about Remus?” I asked. “What will they think – will they
agree?” I knew Filius would be no
problem, but I could just imagine Severus.
And Professor Trelawney.
thought long and hard about whether I should tell them or not, Poppy,” he said
gently. “But they have a right to know
– especially as one or two of them might be called upon to fill in for him
during his ‘absences’.”
and I looked at each other: there’d be no question where our support would lie.
you manage to persuade the others, Albus, when will Professor Lupin get here?”
full moon is two nights before the start of term, and Remus said he preferred
to remain at home for that. So I have
asked him to accompany the students on the train. Unless the Ministry manages to catch Sirius in the meantime, they
could be vulnerable while travelling.
And the Ministry is quite likely to insist that the Dementors check the
train before it arrives, so it will be as well to have someone who can cast a
good Patronus charm if necessary.”
smiled suddenly at me. “Poppy, don’t
look so glum. I thought you of all
people would look forward to seeing Remus again!”
do, Albus, I do. It has been far too
long. But I wish it was not in these
circumstances!” I felt a terrible
sadness; my thoughts were whirling like billywigs and I felt a headache
developing. I rose abruptly.
thank you for the delicious supper. I
– I have a few things to think about.
I’ll see you tomorrow. Good
before either of them could respond, I left the room.