The crowds of students milled around
the shining steam engine, reluctant parents still clinging to them. The steady trickle of pupils who managed to get aboard hurried to
secure their own cabins.
A group of tall, red haired children
who were having trouble escaping their fussing mother were approached by a
skinny boy with messy black hair and round glasses, behind which shone
a pair of emerald green eyes. A short, wild-looking girl followed him, her dark
eyes bright with excitement.
The mother engulfed them into her
hug when she saw them, then shooed the whole group of them away, waving
In the shadows at the back of the
platform, the Auror watched everything with full alertness. As the final group
boarded the train, she gathered her heavy velvet robes and glided out from her
cover, crossing the large platform in only a few long strides. She stepped onto
the carpeted floor of the Hogwarts Express and memories came flooding back to
her. She did not sway though, nor did she show any sign of having been on this
very train before. She was impassive, noncommittal, and above all, she never
showed her emotions. She did what was required of her and she did it with
spot-on, cold efficiency.
The warm lighting inside the train
brought out shimmers of other colours in the black cloak and hood that were
drawn up close around her, and the blue silk of her practical - yet smart -
trousers sent glitters of light dancing over the walls of the corridor.
Every compartment appeared to be
full, but the Auror did not get impatient, she just carried on down the aisle.
Finally she came to a room that she thought to be empty. Sliding the door open,
she saw that she was mistaken - it did not trouble her, that
had happened before - but the expression of the skinny black-haired boy with
glasses did trouble her.
Harry thought that the Dementors
had been brought back for some obscure reason, and reached desperately for his
wand, scrabbling one hand across the seat. Ron had given a gasp of shock, and
was also going for his wand. Hermione, though, retained her senses. “Hello. Can
we help you?”
The Auror shook her hooded head
once, then slid the door back, more unwanted memories
invading her head. He looks so much like James...
The next compartment was empty, however, so she slipped inside, and huddled
into a window seat, glaring at the land that blurred past her line of sight.
She had barely driven the demons
back when there was a click at the door. She jerked her head, and looked
quickly up at the baggage rack - how could she have been so stupid! Cursing her
past for distracting her, the Auror tugged her hood closer around her face, and
waited for the person on the other side of the door to finish talking and come
into the compartment that they had already claimed as their own.
When the door finally opened, the
Auror wondered if her whole set of duties at Hogwarts this term were just
someone’s idea of a joke. She stared with invisible eyes at the man who had
just entered the compartment. She stared at him as if just doing that could
make him go away, go back to the part of her she could ignore, not to appear
somewhere she was sure to meet him so often.
He peered into her cowl as he closed
the door, he was still smiling and a flicker was beginning in his eyes. The
Auror did not like that flicker. She raised her invisible chin, and her
invisible expression was daring him to remember her.
He finally found his voice. “Hello.
I’m guessing you’re Dumbledore’s new Auror?”
She now narrowed those invisible
eyes, and nodded briskly, annoyed by his deviating tactics. He smiled and sat
down opposite her, the profoundly dark grey eyes flitting over her, measuring
her up, comparing his idea of an Auror to Dumbledore’s idea. “I’m Remus Lupin,
teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts this year at
Hogwarts.” He held his hand out.
Her invisible lip curled. How ironic. But she extended her hand anyway, nodding once
His eyes fell upon her hand as it
clasped his, and she was satisfied to note a slight widening of them. He looked
up again at her and asked shrewdly, “If you don’t mind me asking - where did
you get that scar?”
She gave a harsh shout of laughter
inside her head, but she finally opened her invisible mouth, and whispered, “curse,” through an invisible wry grin.
His lips pressed together as though
he’d have liked to say something else, but instead, he just looked into her
hood, his eyes having surprising accuracy at pin-pointing the area her eyes
were - invisible or not. The Auror felt a slight flash of worry and she
wondered if it gave him the abilities to see better
through the shadows that the hood cast across her hidden profile. She couldn’t
control the shiver that time, the barrage of old scenes playing through her
head at breakneck speed.
The Forest...she was chasing it, catching up on it...nearly
there...there. It was what she had most feared, but he had to be avenged...she
had to do something...
The Auror gasped, inadvertently tightening her grip on his
hand. She drew back, and drew into herself, back to the safety, less pain, less
emotion. He frowned at her reaction, leaning forward in concern.
“I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
He said nothing more, but seemed to
be lost in thought for the rest of the journey, considering bleak possibilities.
The Auror, however, considered nothing. Thought nothing.
At least, she fought to think nothing. Like stills from a Muggle movie, clips
of that night echoed and danced in front of her view, tormenting her, and
When the train finally pulled up at
Hogsmeade station, it was with relief that the Auror fairly fled from the
compartment, and curled up into a corner of the first carriage available.
Keeping a wary eye on her surroundings, she also managed to scare off any
student approaching her. None of them, it seemed, had any desire to share the
short trip with a mysterious creature whose black robes resembled a Dementor’s
* * *
The Great Hall was a warm and
welcoming area, even to the Auror, who was still trying to suppress her
memories. The candles shone brightly, and gave a golden glow to everything in
the room; the humming and buzzing sound of excited children discussing plans
for the new term - and fond memories of holidays - rose right up to the
Albus Dumbledore stood to address
the mass of people, and the Auror looked up at him as he glanced across
everyone in the room, wondering why, oh why did he ever choose her. There were
so many other Aurors, who didn’t have such a convoluted history at Hogwarts,
and were far better at their jobs than she. So why was she here?
Dumbledore was seemingly unaware of
her troubled thoughts, though, as he directed his twinkling eyes on each
student and staff member in turn. “Good evening. And welcome to Hogwarts, all
of you. As usual, I shall make my announcements short, but I would first like
to address a special issue this term.” The recently sorted first-years looked
up at Dumbledore with a mixture of apprehension and reverence, their round
faces gleaming in the candlelight. “Due to the... inadequacy of last year’s
Auror, I have hand-picked a lady whom I consider to be perfect for the job. She
will only be taking one lesson a month for each of you, as Professor Lupin, who
I am extremely glad to have back, will be unable to teach at certain times, as
I am sure you are all aware.
“At all other times, Miss Winters
will be patrolling corridors, stair-ways and grounds, rather like Mr. Filch
does,” there were a few groans at that. “And she will see that you are dealt
with in suitable fashion if she catches any of you out of line. Is there
anything that you would like to add, Miss Winters?”
The Auror blushed under her hood,
and composed herself sufficiently to say, “No, thank you, Headmaster.”
“Well, then. That is all...except
that I do want you to remember that she is here for protection of everyone, not for the amusement of some.” Then Dumbledore
spread his arms wide and smiled broadly. “Let the feast begin.”
* * *
The Auror soon discovered what the
Headmaster had meant by his last comment, regarding amusement. One of the first
lessons she had to take was with fifth year Slytherins. As she entered the
room, before she had said a single word, a lean boy with shining, slicked back
blonde hair said with a smirk, “Are we finally going to be taught about
werewolves today? Professor Lupin has been putting it off for ages but it is an essential
part of our coursework towards our O.W.L.s.”
The Auror turned to him in surprise.
“Excuse me. The lesson has begun, and I was under the impression that as a
teacher, I should be the one asking the questions and making the sarcastic
remarks. As a matter of fact, though, yes. You will be studying werewolves in
my lessons, and I don’t care what your textbooks say, I don’t want to hear any childish
comments about Professor Lupin. Or any others you may know who are unfortunate
enough to have the same...problem.” That seemed to stun them into silence for a
moment...it even shocked the Auror. Glad of her control and hoping it lasted,
she got out the register book from her tattered old rucksack.
Scrolling down the names, she almost
lost that precious control when her eyes fell upon ‘Malfoy, Draco’. Already
alarmed by the sight of Crabbe and Goyle’s sons’ names, she couldn’t believe
that the son of Lucius Malfoy had been given a place at Hogwarts.
“D...Draco...Malfoy...” She ground
out from between gritted teeth.
The blonde boy sneered at her
hesitation. “Present, Miss.”
Scowling at them from under her
ever-present hood, the Auror knew from that moment that this would be her
* * *
Her other classes that day went much
more smoothly, however. The additional fifth years that she taught were far
more agreeable, the Hufflepuffs copying every one of her words down, and even
managing some sympathetic grimaces at the textbook’s descriptions of the
werewolf curse. The Gryffindors were in general quite quiet and reserved, being
used to letting Hermione Granger answer all the questions for them. But the
Auror especially enjoyed teaching those from her old house. The Ravenclaw fifth
years were so eager to learn and listen, yet they also joked and questioned. It
made her remember the lesson her class had received on werewolves, and how
different the class of ‘78 had been compared to all other classes that Hogwarts
had ever seen.
Their year had always been
an unusual one. Of course, there were still the bullies and the heroes, but
there weren’t many...intellectuals in their year. Ravenclaw lost out greatly in
the sorting, with only two first years joining that house. But the Sorting Hat
had decided, and its decision was final.
little Charles Cookson and Sephine Winters were put into the same timetable as
the Gryffindor first years. Their continuous wit and wisecracking never
seemed to get on the teachers’ nerves, like others’ did.
Sephy and Cookie were
giggling especially loudly one History of Magic lesson,
and Professor Binns noticed. It had been years since he had heard laughter in
“Miss Winters do you find something I am saying amusing?”
“Well then, you must
have been listening to what I have been saying. Please repeat it.”
Some of the
Gryffindors sniggered. Maybe finally one of the ‘arrogant two’ would get their
But they were to be
disappointed. “ ‘In the March of 1286 the goblin
leaders gathered in the Valley of Eoch in Northern Scotland to discuss plans of rebellion. Morin the
Malevolent headed the meeting...Miss Winters do you
find something I am saying amusing?’ ” And to top it off she even got Binns’
The ghost looked
slightly ruffled, and most put out at having been denied the opportunity to
punish Sephine. “So. You do listen. Very
well then.” And with that he slipped back into his incessant droning,
whilst all looked on the Ravenclaw girl with awe.
Black had turned round from the row in front of the pair of Ravenclaws and
asked incredulously, “How on earth did you do that?!”
s just memorised the text book.” She answered matter-of-factly, pointing
out the paragraph. “Look. Right there.”
“Jeez...” Those around
her laughed at her mischievous grin, and soon began to learn how to combat the
boredom of Binns’ lessons with the Ravenclaws’ help.
By the time their year
had reached the fourth grade, although still remaining true to their house
personalities, Sephine and Charlie had learnt to compliment the winning team of
James Potter and Sirius Black by joining in their antics.
Defence Against the Dark Arts was usually a lesson in which they
indulged in some quality prank-planning, but when Professor Ascentus announced
the page number for the day’s lesson, it was revealed to be about one of the
most advanced forms of Dark Creatures. James, Sirius, Lily and Peter’s faces
fell. All glanced at Remus, who had turned an unhealthy shade of white.
“...So, I was
thinking, if we used that slug-thing on Snape, then...hey, what’s with you
guys? I though we were planning our revenge today? C’mon, you don’t think them
wolves in the Forbidden Forest are gonna come and getcha, do you?”
Even Sephine had
picked up on the expressions that the Marauders wore, and she had deducted that
it would be wise not ask, and wiser not to know. Scowling, she nudged Cookie in
the ribs and shook her head in warning.
“What? I mean, it’s
not like there’s anything to worry about here! Is there?” Charlie made a
mock-suspicious glance at Ascentus and gasped in ‘horror’. “My God... I should
have guessed, Sir!”
But he exclaimed a
little too loudly. “Mr. Cookson? You should have guessed that werewolves only
transform in the light of the full moon? Well, yes, you should have guessed
that. Now would you care to tell me anything else you ‘should have guessed’?”
Ascentus looked down at Charlie over his half round glasses, waiting for an
answer. Charlie pretended not to see this look and began mock-frantic
scribbling at his roll of parchment.
Ascentus cleared his
throat. “Mr. Cookson?”
“Are you going to
answer my question?”
“Oh, sorry. I thought
it was a rhetorical one. Yeah. I should have guessed that you’d have heard me
say that, cause I can never keep my big gob shut?”
“Pull in the claws;
you’re only hurting yourself, Charlie.” Ascentus snorted, and picked up his
textbook once more, adjusting his spectacles. “‘The werewolf
curse is a particularly nasty curse, as the bearer of it has no control over
his or her actions when in wolf form. No matter how much one may only want to
do good, or only have a pure heart and innocent wishes, the wolf will embody
all opposites of your true self. There are as yet no known cures for the curse,
but many of our top alchemists are working towards ways of reducing the
suffering on all parts.’ Can any of you tell me, please, some of the
disadvantages that one with the werewolf curse would face in our society
Silence reigned. Not
even James or Sirius seemed to know the answer. Lily was more interested in her
table than her textbook for once, and Remus Lupin looked like he had been
dipped in talcum powder. As he began to shakily raise his hand, Sephine
practically leapt out of her chair, hand stretched high above her head. “Ooh!
Ooh, Sir! I know!” Everyone looked at her, astonished. But then she scrambled
out into the aisle down the centre of the classroom, a grin trying to work its
way onto her face. “But I can’t tell you now, because I really need to get to the
toilet! And I think Remus does too...or else he may puke on Lily’s notes!”
Over the gales of
laughter, Sephine saw the boy’s surprised expression. He frowned at her in
question and mouthed “What?”
interrupted the noise of the students. “I think that that would be an excellent
idea, Miss Winters, as it’s obvious that Miss Evans has put a great amount of
effort into her notes. Off you go then. And stop dancing, child!”
Sephine pretended to
rush from the room in a fit of desperation, but as soon as the door closed, she
waited around the corner for Remus to emerge, a look of...panic? upon his pale face.
He stopped opposite
her, apprehension and suspicion plain on his features. “What did you do that
“I already said,
didn’t I? You looked about ready to let loose over the table, so I thought I’d
try and save us all the hassle.”
unconvinced, Remus nodded slowly. “Right. Thanks. Do I really look that bad?”
She grinned playfully.
“No worse than usual, honey.” And flounced off down the corridor, leaving an
only slightly mollified Remus Lupin staring after her in wonder.
That had been when the Auror should
have first guessed. She should have known from that lesson, that conversation, and
her friend’s monthly absences. But she had been too preoccupied with her own
intelligence. She had been too self-absorbed to put together clues that the
others had put together way back in the second year. And it had cost her more
than she was willing to remember.
She sighed, and felt her shoulders
slump wearily as she leant forwards on the desk. A hurried march in the
corridor made her look up, though, as a billowing set of black robes strode
past. The Auror frowned, reaching inside her pocket and floundering for the
piece of paper that was ever present there. As she studied it and worked out
who had just passed her office in such a fury, she felt another set of memories
tickling at her consciousness.
She stumbled out of the
hospital, padding quietly down the corridor. All was quiet this late at night.
She was surprised to
find that it didn’t pain her, there was just an odd tingling in her
fingers...as though they were almost numb...but not quite. The blood trickling
into her palms cooled down the heat that had accumulated there since last
night, and the black spots clouded the vision that had been all too clear since
The balcony in front
of her swayed and rocked in and out of focus. She smiled, amused at the comical
appearance of her surroundings. As the balcony drew nearer, beckoning her, a
confident and yet oddly nervous stride made her turn her head slightly. On
seeing who was approaching, she groaned and made for the balcony with doubled
“Sephine! Stop it!” As
he reached out to grab her wrist, his hand drew back just as quickly, and he
stared at the shiny red liquid that now coated his palm too. “What on earth do
you think you’re doing?!” His normally deep, menacing voice had risen in pitch
She sneered at him,
trying to move away. He couldn’t understand. Stupid, lousy, traitorous Death
Eater that he was. “’rrroff.” the words came out slurred, and she swayed
dangerously towards the balcony.
He swore under his
breath, then grabbed her wrist again and hauled her after him, back towards the
“No.” She managed to
protest. “Don’ wannoo.” But he was far stronger than she in this state, and she
almost managed to feel guilty at seeing Madam Pomfrey’s horrified expression.
Then she saw Severus’ disgusted expression and she remembered why she’d done
it. But, unfortunately for her plans of revenge, the world went black half way
to the cold stone floor.
The Auror glanced down at her
scarred wrists and frowned in thought. The state she had reached that day had
been the ultimate in depression. No longer having any desire to see the next
day. But Severus had stopped her. Why? He had never shown any liking to her. In
fact he pretty much loathed her for her help in the Marauders’ pranks. So why?
She sighed and put the piece of
paper away. When she left her room she intended to find Snape and ask him, but
as she walked up the second flight of stairs her attention began to wander.
Soon she found herself just walking up all the staircases - to the top, or as
high as one could go. The 3rd floor wasn’t much different from the others, but
a small, quiet room at the end of the corridor caught the Auror’s attention.
Moving towards it she began to see that a very faint metallic glow emanated
from it. She peered around the doorway and gasped in joy at seeing all the old
house trophies again.
Grinning like a kid again, she moved
from cabinet to cabinet, reliving everything from point-gaining Quidditch
matches to point-gobbling detentions and pranks. The Quidditch cabinet held a
plaque for each team combination Hogwarts had seen, and the Auror spent a long
time searching for the ones she yearned to see again.
Finally, finding the plaques for the
year she wanted, she sat down slowly on the cold stone floor.
Rory Oldran Delana
Sally Torin Tai
The Auror snorted to herself as she remembered how close
the last match of that year had been. Another shining plaque next to the
Ravenclaw one interested her:
Sirius Black Remus
Carmichael Holmes Florence
The Auror shook her head in disgust,
remembering that match. But she let herself remember
it. Anyone who knew of it wouldn’t hasten to forget it. It had been so unheard
of that a Chaser would catch the Snitch, even accidentally. And it had been a
while before Madam Hooch would give in and drop the idea of a rematch.
“AND THOSE GRYFFINDOR
CHASERS ARE STREAKING UP THE PITCH! LOOK AT THE TEAMWORK! THEY SEEM TO READ
EACH OTHERS’ MINDS! WILL THEY FINALLY STRIKE BACK AGAINST THE ALMIGHTY POWER OF
THE RAVENCLAWS?” The commentator, Terry Jordan was practically jumping up and
down on his stand with the excitement of it all. And he had good reason to -
the Gryffindor Chasers were regarded as one of the best teams Hogwarts had ever
seen, but so far this game Gryffindor has scored nothing.
The three Chasers shot
towards the Ravenclaw Keeper, who watched as the boy in the centre passed the
Quaffle to the boy on his left, dodging the Bludger that had been heading for
Remus Lupin grinned at
Sephine Winters as he rocketed towards the goal she guarded. Intending to get
past her before releasing the ball, he swerved left and right to try and
confuse her. However, she remained perfectly still - watching him approach with
an amused expression.
Finally deciding to go
for it, Remus zoomed to her right, desperate to get past her.
Sephine moved faster
than he could have guessed, though, and before he knew it, she had taken off
towards the other end of the pitch, Quaffle under arm, throwing a wink back at
him. She weaved between Beaters and Chasers, showing off to the crowds as she
fooled the Gryffindor Keeper, too, hurling the Quaffle with all her might
through the hoop.
CAN’T BE ALLOWED! OUTRAGEOUS!” Jordan raged and roared, even the new Head of
Gryffindor, Professor McGonagall, looked especially sour. But the Headmaster,
Albus Dumbledore, merely smiled as Madam Hooch pondered over a rulebook.
Finally, she looked up and nodded reluctantly.
“Yes, that’s allowed.”
“WHAT?!” Jordan nearly
lost his balance as he leaned forwards. “INTOLERABLE! ABOMINABLE! SCANDALOUS!
DISGRACEFUL! ATROCIOUS!” McGonagall finally turned towards him and warned,
“Jordan, have you been employed to act as a thesaurus or a commentator?”
“Yes, Professor, sorry,
Professor. THE SCORE IS NOW RAVENCLAW 140 POINTS, AND GRYFFINDOR 30!! COME ON
YOU REDS! YOU’D BETTER SCORE A FEW, AND SOON, OR ELSE IT WILL ALL BE UP TO
LITTLE JAMES POTTER TO GET THAT SNITCH BEFORE RAVENCLAW SCORE ANY MORE!”
Almost all the players
on the pitch took that statement of Terry Jordan’s completely personally. In fact, almost everyone in the stadium took it personally. To all it
was a challenge, waiting to be contested.
The Gryffindor Chasers
huddled tight, beginning another run on the closely guarded hoop at the
Ravenclaw end of the pitch. Sephine was still enjoying herself immensely, and
the more enjoyed she became, the more relaxed her movements became...more
relaxed into the speed needed to guard a Quidditch goal...
As she saved the Quaffle
and began her next attack on the Gryffindor goal, the two Seekers, from
opposite ends of the pitch, came to life, and hurtled towards a point mid-way
between the goals. Each one was apparently unaware of the other as they both
had eyes only for the golden ball floating in wait for them.
Even Sephine slowed
her crazy pace to a standstill as she realised that they wouldn’t be able to
dodge one another in time. “Prongs! Cookie!” She shouted, trying to snap them
out of it. Remus and Sirius saw it too, and both made their way to the spot
where James and Charlie were about to crash.
Sirius hovered beneath
them, looking up out of a windswept black mop, and shouting in futility at his
friends. Remus circled them, unsure of what to do. The Snitch didn’t move.
The entire arena went
deathly quiet as James and Charlie collided head-on with a loud ‘tock!’ The
Snitch stopped fluttering, its delicate wings hanging at odd angles...and fell
straight into Gryffindor Chaser, Sirius Black’s lap. The Seekers, meanwhile, hovered
a few feet apart, rubbing their heads and cursing the Snitch for leaving little
round dents in each of their foreheads.
If possible, the crowd
had gone even quieter. All waited for Madam Hooch to announce what this meant.
She flicked to and fro through the pocket rulebook she carried in her robes at
all times, and examined the broken Snitch closely. Eventually, she regarded the
crowd and teams with an uncompromising expression. “For that example of
Snitchnip five penalty shots will be awarded to Ravenclaw.” The Gryffindor
crowds groaned in unison. Hooch blew her whistle sharply for silence. “Enough!
Those are the rules! Gryffindors: all but the Keeper, down at the Ravenclaw
goal please with the Ravenclaw Keeper, Seeker and Beaters. Ravenclaw Chasers – pick
one person to take the shots.”
Kevin Gramdor stayed
opposite Jonathan Sandley, whilst Rory Oldran and Delana Santoas flew away from
them, wishing Kevin good luck.
The stands were
completely silent as Kevin fidgeted on his broom, Quaffle in hand. Finally he
made a quick surge forwards before hurling the red ball as hard as he could
towards the goal. His nerves must have been affecting him worse than it seemed
– the Quaffle missed by a couple of meters and Jonathan seemed to sag a little
on his broom in relief.
The second penalty was
saved, the third missed again, but the fourth and fifth hit their target.
Ravenclaw left the pitch that day triumphant – winning by 160 points to 30.
The Auror laughed quietly at the
memory of that match and the time after it. She had laughed then too - albeit
not so quietly. Never took anything seriously. The amount of trouble she had
given James, Cookie and Sirius for it though...They’d had those
Snitch-impressions in their foreheads for almost the last two weeks of term;
not even Madam Pomfrey could do much about them. And Sirius...well he’d
actually been quite embarrassed behind that elaborate facade of arrogance. He’d
never asked for the Snitch to fall on him! Of course, you rarely get what you ask for, often get what you don’t
ask for. The Auror reflected, pondering the gleaming gold of the
How long she sat there she didn’t
know, but lost track of time, and finally allowed herself to drift through some
long-forgotten memories. Only innocent ones, though. She was fed up of ones of
the other sort. Eventually, as the trophies achieved an eerie sliver-blue light
from the cold winter sky appearing through the high windows, she shivered, and
left the warm memories with the warm light. Becoming cold and efficient once
more with the cold light...she hoped.
* * *