A/N: Many thanks to Sveltskye for deciphering what I
meant to say, and helping me then to say it; Gryffinjack, for the
encouragement, and keeping me on my toes; Alezandrian, for the chapter title;
and the rest of the WWR pack for the support.
Disclaimer: I admire JK Rowling for the fabulous world her imagination
has created; I have made no profit from playing in her vast backyard.
You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful
flower garden, but you will grow … if you are in pain, if you experience
losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a
gift to you with a very, very specific purpose.
How many days has it been? One day blends
so easily to the next. One day at a time. I thought that was the solution… my
days never end.
A claustrophobic room in the Ministry of
Magic held three figures—Two Aurors certain of their responsibility and
rightful place in the coming war, and a man who liked to think of himself
(whenever he did think of himself) as beyond mere definition. The endless,
redundant inquiries of the Aurors droned on; the answers, in turn, were just as
repetitive. Remus Lupin’s mind wandered again under the day’s barrage as the
Aurors paused to look at their notes.
The numbers are only the beginning of
the story: 30 interrogations, 14 days and nights, 12 Death Eaters, 6 broken
bones, 3 hospitalizations, 1 death, 1 departure. How many casualties of war
are there going to be in the final tally?
Inevitably, the two Aurors found their
second wind, and continued with their questions.
“Are you not part of a loosely constructed
“We know of Tonks, Mooney, and Shakelbolt,
who else is involved?”
“The five of you just happened to meet each
other and wander into a battle in the Department of Mysteries?”
“Well, I suppose we could not expect more
considering your background.”
“Are you expecting us to believe that
students established D.A. without the influence of a similar adult group?”
“Your kind’s undue influence over underage
wizards and witches, such as young Potter undermines…”
THAT CRACKS IT.
Remus’ voice was no longer quiet and
controlled. Granted, it was still slow and deliberate, but now it had taken on
a determined edge with belligerent undertones. “Gentlemen, and I do use that
term loosely, I have come here daily for the last fortnight. I have answered
insipid question, after question. To be succinct, gentlemen, I have had enough!
Remus noticed that the one of the Aurors flinched as he looked to his older
partner who merely seemed to view Remus with deepening contempt. Remus
continued, he was resolved to put an end to this daily nonsense. “Either you
two are hard-of-hearing, daft or a combination of the two, for I have not
altered any of my answers! Given that I believe our difficulty here is the
latter and not the former I will attempt to make my position clear one, final
The older of the Aurors, his voice clearly
betraying his surprise, interrupted. “Mr. Lupin, there is no need to raise your
“No sir, you are quite correct there, not a
need but in fact a requirement. Given your last remarks, I am not of a very
kind "kind" at this moment,” Remus cut off any avenue for
further debate. He continued, his words chosen precisely, and his volume ever
slowly increasing, “You may have the right to question my whereabouts, the
right to question my activities, the right to assume that I am most dangerous
if grievously provoked ---however, you have to no right whatsoever, to presume
that I am a threat to Harry Potter. I would never endanger Harry Potter; I have
always had Harry’s best interests at heart!”
Remus took a deep breath and regained his
composure. “You have my statement about my involvement in the activities of
last month. Either detain me permanently now as the truly dangerous creature
you seem to think I am, or end this nonsense now! There is far more important
work that two skilled Aurors can accomplish in the defeat of the Dark Lord that
is being encumbered by this needless charade!”
The two Aurors moved quickly together in a
hushed conversation. A moment later, the elder of the Aurors looked at Remus
with contempt and said, “Very well Mr. Lupin, you are now permitted to leave. I
warn you; however, that rogue activities are severely frowned upon by Mr. Fudge
and the Ministry. I’d keep my nose clean and not try to sniff out trouble if I
were you.” With that the two Aurors left with a flourish.
It was all Remus could do to keep a civil
tongue in his head as he departed the Ministry. “Bloody hell!” he exclaimed,
as he blindly walked into a lamppost.
Can’t even see straight anymore! Walk it
off, just walk it off, clear my head. Emmeline
was right; these fools understand everything and nothing.
Remus found himself wandering the streets of
London, his anger just barely contained below the surface. This was uncharted
ground for him. His walk seemed to be accomplishing absolutely nothing; indeed,
he was angrier than when he embarked. Eventually Remus found himself walking
along the Thames near the Tower of London. His legs told him that the nearby
bench was a requirement not a luxury.
After a time Remus stood up and leaned on
the wrought iron railing that lined the shore. The water of the Thames lapped
at the stone embankment, as he stood alone with his thoughts.
The water has always soothed me before.
Perhaps if I just stand here for awhile…I don’t understand why I feel like
this. Could it be too much thinking? Yes, that’s the problem; don’t think…too
much thinking and I can’t function.
“What is the matter with me?” He asked the
opposite shore, the anger still clearly there. The voice in his head that he
had been trying to suppress all day broke free and answered loudly.
ASK ME NO QUESTIONS, AND I’LL TELL YOU
Remus shook his head to drown out the voice
as he looked back from the horizon down to the base where he stood. It was as
if the answer to his question had leapt up slapped him in his face. Of all the
irony of ironies, he was standing above the infamous Traitor’s Gate.
Remus’ mind began racing with an onslaught
of thoughts as he started to pace along the waterfront. There were two voices
that raged in his head. One voice wanted to suppress the feelings of the past
week, while the other angrily demanded that they be brought to the surface.
Betrayal has many forms Peter’s is only
the most obvious.
SO WHO BETRAYED WHOM? AND WHEN?
This is not something I want to face,
this is what I have been avoiding, staying up every night to the point of
exhaustion so thinking is not possible.
WHAT WOULD YOU THINK IF YOU REALLY LET
YOUR MIND GO?
Thanks to the Ministry, I have just
acquired all the time in the bloody world to think.
AND WHOSE FAULT IS THAT?
Excuses for not thinking are wearing
thin. Fine, Peter isn’t the only one I consider a traitor, far from it. Damn
it! Don’t think about it!
OH, BUT YOU HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT
The internal struggle, of the two voices
waging war in his head, finally broke to the surface as Remus said bitterly
aloud, “Why Sirius, didn’t you ever…”
An equally bitter voice from behind Remus
finished his question. “…stop to bloody well think about the rest of us? I’ve
been asking that same question to the water for a week now, and I think it’s
about high time we had an answer. It is just a little thing that I want---an
answer, but I haven’t gotten one yet.” The voice came from Tonks, who had been
standing off behind Remus observing for who knew how long.