His Mother’s Eyes
This story is based on characters and situations owned by J.K.
Rowling. No copyright infringement is intended. Some of the dialogue in this story was taken verbatim from the first
Scholastic paperback printing of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,
Chapter 10, The Marauder’s Map, September 2001.
tale was inspired by the bridge scene in the movie version of PoA. Remus spoke openly of his admiration for Lily. His
conversation with Harry implied a closer relationship between Lily and Remus
than had been revealed in the books. Here’s my take on what might have
Remus Lupin glanced up from the
hinkypunk’s cage at the front of the classroom and surveyed his third year
Defense Against the Dark Arts students with pride.
Boys and girls, chattering in excitement, gathered up their books and funneled
toward the exit. Remus adjusted the shabby robes that hung on his lean frame,
made thinner by his latest episode of lycanthropy. It felt good to be back
teaching and to have been missed.
His gaze settled on
thirteen-year-old Harry Potter. The boy’s build and the unkempt black hair that
stuck up at odd angles were so familiar, the spitting image of his old friend.
The resemblance was uncanny. Harry, not James, he reminded himself.
“Wait a moment, Harry,” Remus
called out. “I’d like a word.”
Harry turned and approached the
Dark Arts professor’s desk. Remus tucked his books back into the battered old
“I heard about the match,” Remus said,
meeting Harry’s inquisitive stare, “and I’m sorry about your broomstick. Is
there any chance of fixing it?”
“No,” Harry answered. “The tree
smashed it to bits.”
That old Whomping Willow, the tree
that had been planted on the grounds in Remus’ youth, had just demolished
Harry’s prize broomstick. James would have been upset about that, too, and
about losing the Quidditch match to Hufflepuff. James was fanatic about
Quidditch that way.
“Did you hear about the dementors
too?” Harry queried. The words seemed to catch in the boy’s throat.
A mixture of compassion and regret
flooded over Remus. The boy before him seemed so young and so vulnerable. But
he suppressed his instinct to embrace the boy like he would his own pup.
What could he say to Harry? For all
the boy knew, Remus was just another professor at Hogwarts, not an old friend
of his parents. Nor did he know what Remus was or the sordid details of the
monthly madness that plagued him with every full moon. A guarded secret that
Remus was not about to divulge.
Remus did his best to allay Harry’s
fears. He was his Dark Arts professor, right? He could talk about dementors
without getting personal. Be comforting, but stick to the facts. But nothing
could prepare him for Harry’s next comment.
“When the dementors get near me—”
Harry’s brilliant green eyes looked away, full of fear. “I can hear Voldemort
murdering my mum.”
The revelation hit Remus like a
Stunning Hex. He reached for the boy out of sheer instinct, caught himself at
the last instant, and yanked his arm back down into place.
In the silence that followed, Remus
stared into those green eyes. Harry had his mother’s emerald eyes. Now here she
was, staring back at him through her son’s eyes. Harry’s words haunted his
thoughts. I can hear Voldemort murdering
my mum, murdering Lily.
Lily Potter? He had buried her
memory the day they lowered her casket in the ground beside James. Whenever
those old memories resurfaced, he would brush them aside. Think of something
else. Just like he did when he first saw Harry on the
Hogwarts Express. Take care of business. Deal with the dementors. Keep
focused on the present. Why couldn’t he shrug it off now?
By the time Harry had left the Dark
Arts classroom that afternoon, Remus was shaken. Oh, he’d made a calm show of
it on the outside. But now that Harry had gone, Remus’ collected exterior had
started to crack. He sank back down into his chair. A trembling hand rested on
His thoughts lingered on those haunting
eyes, Lily’s eyes. Remus’ memory traced back twelve years to the last time that
he’d seen them.
The morgue at Godric’s
Hollow was a gloomy place, not one that invited loitering. An uncontrollable
compunction to flee overtook a person the moment he stepped into the
place. Remus recalled the room, dimly
lit and dank with that smell of death and decay hanging in the suffocating air.
Horace Crypt, the undertaker with
the cadaverous stare, who looked as though he was about to depart the ranks of
the living himself, beckoned Remus over to identify the bodies. The old man’s gnarled
and liver-spotted hands pulled out the drawer.
Lily lay on the cold slab, looking
just as she had in life. That rich, long, red hair framed her face. The pink
lips were slightly parted. The green eyes still open, stared in unseeing
surprise, as they had in her last moments just before the Killing Curse had cut
short her young life. Even in death she remained radiantly beautiful.
“Yes, that’s her.” Remus nodded to
the undertaker. The words had emerged from his throat in a sort of hoarse
His shaking fingers reached for her
face. He brushed the cheek, now cold and pale, then
closed the lids with a gentle stroke. He turned away, choking back his tears.
Remus entered his Hogwarts office,
unsure of how he had gotten there. He did not remember the long walk through
the corridors of the ancient school or the students jostling past him in their
haste to get to classes. He jerked his head, trying to clear his thoughts, but
he could not throw off the memory of that emerald gaze.
He plopped the battered briefcase
on his desk and sank into his chair. His hand swiped over his forehead,
brushing the prematurely graying strands of light brown hair from his tired
eyes. Maybe a drink would help.
His hand reached for the bottom
drawer of his desk and pulled out a shot glass and a small hip flask of firewhisky
kept for medicinal purposes. He poured himself a drink and tossed it down in a
single gulp. The whisky burned down the length of his esophagus. He grimaced
and stared into the bottom of the glass. Another memory surfaced through the
dregs of the drink.
Remus set the shot glass down on
his desk. He extracted a small wooden box from the bottom drawer. His fingers
fidgeted with the lock, opened the box, then rifled
through the contents. He extracted a photograph and stared, transported back in
time once more.
Remus looked up from the glass
clasped in his hand. A wistful smile crossed his lips. Lily’s laughing eyes met
his gaze. He raised the glass in a toast to the beautiful bride, now his
Gaiety lit every face at the lavish
wedding reception. Lily’s green eyes danced, her cheek flushed with the bloom
of her youth. Her arms encircled James Potter’s neck and she gazed into her
groom’s face. James stared back, matching her look of adoration.
“Just lovely,” the photographer
proffered, raising the flash bulb. “Hold that pose and…POP!” The blinding flash
bathed the couple in its warm amber glow.
Lily and James burst into reams of
laughter. The best man, Sirius Black, had thrust his shaggy head between theirs
at the last moment. His cheeky wink and rakish grin would forever be preserved
with the other wedding memories.
From his seat in the corner, Remus
watched. He chuckled at Sirius’ antics. Outside, he laughed and cheered with
the rest, but inside some small flicker of hope died. He stared back into the
bottom of the glass in his hand, then took a deep
draught, drowning his hidden pain in the forgetfulness of the liquor.
The photograph dropped from Remus’
fingers back into the box. His hand ran through the sandy hair streaked with
gray. He paced across his office to the windows. Perhaps some fresh air would
help to dispel his ghosts.
Outside, clouds had blanketed the
early November sky, blotting out the last rays of sunlight. A cold drizzle fell.
Remus opened the leaded panes, allowing a gust of sobering air to wash over his
Down below, a red-haired girl
dashed for cover from the elements. A young man offered to share his umbrella.
The two students huddled under the umbrella, laughing and shaking the dampness
from their clothing.
Remus was down upon that courtyard.
Rain pelted against his young face. He raised an umbrella, glad that he’d
thought to bring it on his walk. A familiar female voice beckoned from behind.
He spun around to see Lily Evans running toward him, attempting to shield
herself from the sudden downpour by holding her books over her head.
“Come on,” Remus said with a nod of
his head, “under the umbrella.”
He held out his umbrella to Lily
and together they dashed for the protection of the covered walkway. Once under
the portico, Remus lowered and closed the umbrella. His hand brushed his disheveled,
light brown hair from his eyes. He gazed over at the female companion thrown
into his path by the fateful cloudburst.
Lily set down her books. She shook
the rain from her bohemian skirt with the fringed sash and attempted to wring
the water from her silky red hair. Droplets trailed down her face and chest.
The peasant blouse, made transparent by dampness, clung to her body. Lily
remained innocently unaware of the alluring spectacle that she made or the
effect that it had on sixteen-year-old Remus, awash in hormones. He averted his
gaze in a sudden flush of embarrassment.
“Y-you’re soaked,” he stuttered.
“You’ll catch cold like that.” He took off his outer Hogwarts robe and offered
it to her. “Here, take this.”
“Thanks.” Lily pulled the cloak
around her shoulders and shot him a grateful smile.
Remus felt a rush of heat surge up
though his body at the sight of that smile. Now he knew why James always acted
like such a fool around this girl. He felt a bit weak-kneed himself, a novel
and somewhat giddy sensation.
Reality quickly checked him back to
earth. Those brilliant green eyes now regarded him with a quizzical stare. He
glanced down at his own attire: one of his father’s button-down dress shirts worn
over faded and patched blue jeans. He’d never given his clothes a second
thought before. But in the presence of this girl, he was suddenly aware that his
clothing was outdated and tatty. Not like the silky shirts in bright colors
with wide collars and the leather jackets trimmed with fringe worn by his
classmates. He blushed with chagrin.
“Laundry day,” he lied with a wry grin.
The truth was that this clothing
was representative of his wardrobe. His parents had spent the bulk of their
fortune scouring the country for remedies to his “medical condition,” their
delicate term for his lycanthropy. What little wizarding
gold that remained was used for necessities; thus, his clothing consisted of
hand-me-downs and consignment shop purchases. And he usually wore his Hogwarts
robes over his garb anyway, so no one but his friends in the Gryffindor boy’s
dormitory ever knew.
Lily smiled at him once more. Remus
breathed a sigh of relief. Apparently, she had believed his lie or perhaps she
didn’t care much about outward appearances.
“Remus, I’ve been meaning to ask
you,” she said, faltering and blushing. “I’m having trouble with my Advanced
Charms homework.” She cast him a shy, hopeful glance. “I was hoping that you
could help me.”
A broad grin broke over Remus’
face. “Let’s go to the library,” he suggested, gathering up her books. “You can
dry off there and I can explain that charm theory.”
The walk to the library and the
events of that afternoon passed in a blur. He selected a secluded table in the
corner far from Madam Pince’s watchful eye, where
they could converse undisturbed.
Remus pulled out a parchment. He
drew figures on the page, while explaining the intricacies of the thirteen
basic wand motions that comprised the basis of all charms. Then he explained
how those few motions could be rearranged and permutated to perform various
spells and incantations. That led to a discussion of basic combinatorics
and number theory.
While he spoke, he was certain that
the topic must have seemed very dry and boring to Lily. But instead, she seemed
to hang on his every word. When he finished, her emerald eyes stared at him in
“Wow,” she gushed. “You made that
sound so simple and clear. You really should be teaching that course in place
of old Flitwick.”
he stammered, reddening under her praise.
“I’m serious,” she said. “You
really have a knack for teaching. You must consider it.”
“Thanks,” he replied. “I will.”
Those green eyes bored into his for
a moment. He squirmed with discomfort and looked down at the parchment. His
hand doodled on the page.
“You really are sweet, you know,”
Lily ventured. “Not like that joker Sirius or stuck-up James.” She rolled her
Remus’ head shot up to face her.
“They’re not like that,” he said, shaking his head. “Sirius, Peter, and James
are the most loyal friends I’ve got. James only acts like that around you. Trying
to impress you, I…I think.”
“Well, he can stop trying,” she
Remus looked back down at the
parchment. James was crazy about Lily. He worshipped the ground she walked on
and had for several years. If only he could just be himself around her.
Instead, he turned into a big-headed git wherever he
was in Lily’s company.
Remus looked up to find Lily
staring at him again with those big green eyes like limpid pools, so clear and
wide that he could almost see his own reflection in them. His heart leapt. A
lump had risen in his throat, nearly choking off his breath.
Lily leaned in. He froze, unable to
move. He felt the soft, wet brush of her kiss on his cheek. The intoxicating,
sweet, cherry scent of her lip gloss hovered in the air.
Remus had never been kissed by a
girl before. Mother’s kisses didn’t count. The experience left a tingling
sensation where her lips had touched him. Then his cheek burned hot. A dizzying
rush of heat flashed across his chagrined face. Sweet Merlin!
Lily giggled, noting his shyness.
“Thank you for your help,” she said, “and for the umbrella and your robe.”
She pushed back her chair and stood
up to go. Her hands swept his robe from her shoulders. She folded it neatly and
laid it over the back of her chair, then gathered up her books.
“See you around,” she said, over
Remus stared, watching her go. He
sat rooted to his chair. His fingers reached for his quill and scrawled a note
to himself in the corner of the parchment.
Another chilly gust of air blew
through the open window and across Remus’ face, rousing him from his reverie.
He strolled back to his desk and plunked down into the chair. Once again, his
eyes searched through the keepsakes in the small wooden chest. He extracted an
old, yellowed parchment covered in inky diagrams. His hands ran over the page
and smoothed the creases in the worn paper. His fingers traced the words
scrawled in a tidy, microscopic hand on the lower left-hand corner of the page.
love you, Lily.
He’d never acted on those words;
never once told her or anyone else how he felt. How could he? His best friend
was in love with the girl. Friends were such a precious commodity to a young
werewolf, dearly won and not to be forfeit in a fight over a girl.
His hand swiped a stray tear from
his tired eyes. Memories are funny things. Just when you think that you’ve
buried the past, something comes along to push it back to the fore.
No regrets? Of course, he had
regrets. But he couldn’t change the
past. He’d accepted that long ago. Even if he could, he knew that he’d made the
right decision all those years ago. He chose his friend that day, as he had
many times since.
But the present was something that
he could change. And what better way to demonstrate his love for James…and Lily…than
to help their son in any way he could. Yes, he would teach Harry how to fight
the dementors. He knew that now.
A knock on his office door jolted
Remus. He hurriedly folded the paper, replaced it in the box with his other
keepsakes, and stowed the treasure chest back in the bottom drawer of his desk.
The snowy, bearded head of Headmaster Dumbledore peered into his office.
“Good afternoon, Remus,” Dumbledore
greeted. “I trust that I am not interrupting anything?”
“No, sir,” Remus replied with a wan
“I wondered if you would be so kind
as to join me for afternoon tea,” Dumbledore said. “I have just acquired some
wonderful new volumes for my library that you may find of interest.”
“I would like that,” Remus replied,
rising from his desk. “Thank you, sir.”
Dumbledore’s piercing gaze surveyed
Remus over the half-moon spectacles. “I understand that you have been talking
with young Master Potter.” A knowing twinkle glittered in the old man’s eyes.
“He looks remarkably like James, does he not?”
“Yes, sir,” Remus replied,
strolling from the room. “Except that he has his mother’s eyes.”
“Ah yes,” Dumbledore nodded sagely.
“That he does.”