A/N I've not written any decent angst or any decent anything in ages, have I? It depresses me rather a lot. This isn't very angst-y. It's actually quite fluffy, which is a bit odd from me.
But, yes, I don't particularly like this. I don't think I got my point across. I didn't get that succeeded I-am-brilliant feeling when I finished it.
Dedication: Late nights, bananas and chocolate.
Summery: Dumbledore does not see a reason for Remus Lupin to not go to school.
The clock continues ticking, even though he desperately wants it to stop. Against the silence of the room it sounds terribly loud and reminds him that time continues to go on, ticking on and on towards six fifty-four. Six fifty-four. People say that torture and hell doesn't have a time or a label, but it does. This month, it is six fifty-four. A few months ago it was seven o' clock exactly. That was something he had said with a humorless laugh, because usually it was a fifty-four or a thirty-eight or some other odd number.
The clock is merciless. He stares at it, entranced, although there isn't a trace of fear in his features. He looks, simply, interested. He looks like he is wondering at how a thing can move so swiftly and never stop.
He does not blame it, though. He waits, patiently, for the time to come. He wishes that it wouldn't come, but he knows that it will and he knows it will happen.
It is the wait that is the worst. He hates the wait. He wishes he could just get it over and done with. He hates the wait and hates knowing what is going to happen to him and counting down the seconds.
He has to count down the seconds, though. He has to know. He always has to know.
Five, four, three, two, one.
The first waves of pain come, headlong, in a sweep across his body.
He wakes up to his warm bed and his warm pillow and his warm duvet. His duvet smells of him and, faintly, of blood, because he smells of blood. He wrinkles his nose faintly at the smell of fresh blood underneath clean bandages and rolls over, pulling the duvet closer around him. He does not care that he doesn't like the smell, but the duvet is his duvet and it is comforting.
There is an old man sitting in a chair next to his bed. He looks like he has been very interested in looking at the wall or the ceiling, or something very insignificant and boring. He has a long, flowing silver beard and hair and he looks very superior, although he wouldn't flaunt it. He is no where near, modest, however, and knows perfectly of the power he has.
Remus recognizes him from the many days that he blinks up at him from the Daily Prophet. He cannot think why he would be here, though. Awkward from looking so weak and feeble, Remus hastily pushes himself up onto his elbows. The old man smiles and says, quietly, "I wouldn't want you to think you had to be embarrassed in front of me, Remus. Please." He nods as he says please, almost inviting Remus to lie back down again, because he knows that Remus is waiting for that.
Albus Dumbledore is here to see him. Remus tries to think, mind rushing, about why he would be here. It was three months to his eleventh birthday- he had been counting, because it would be three months until anybody normal would be getting their Hogwarts letter. Albus Dumbledore has only been Headmaster for a while- his father says very fond things of him. He says that he imagines he is a very good Headmaster and that Remus may get into Hogwarts now. Remus never believes him, though, because he knows that it can never happen. Yet here is Albus Dumbledore, smiling at him.
"Thank you, sir," Remus says, quietly. He has a soft Northern accent and his voice is slightly rough from the previous night and he clears his throat awkwardly.
Albus Dumbledore looks at him and wonders why the worst things happen to the kindest people. He knows that Remus Lupin is a very good, well-mannered young boy and he tries his hardest at everything. He isn't sure how he knows it, but he does.
"Well, well, Remus," Dumbledore says thoughtfully. Remus' heart sinks. He is going to tell him that he cannot go to Hogwarts. Although he has always known that he could never go, that he would be too dangerous, he has always hoped. "You do seem to be a bit of a problem, don't you. I couldn't seem to think about what to do with you until a while ago when I thought of a way to fix everything." Remus blinks. This is not what he is expecting.
He is expecting disappointment, because that is what he has always expected. He is expecting to be the kid who cannot play football again. He is expecting to be the kid who cannot even swing a rounders bat properly. He is expecting that he will end up going to a Muggle school, which he wouldn't really mind, or, at least, he has taught himself not to mind over the years. He is not expecting this.
"I'm sorry, sir?" Remus says softly.
Albus smiles at him, powerfully. Remus cannot meet his eyes. He looks fixedly at his shoulder.
"It's all quite simple, really. I won't deny that there was the problem of other pupil's safety at first, but there is no reason why you shouldn't go to school. No, while I'm Headmaster, I'm afraid, you'll have to endure seven years of exams and learning." There is a twinkle to his eyes, though.
Remus wants to grin and beam but he cannot bring himself to believe this. He isn't sure why, but he cannot. Years of disappointment press in and he cannot bring himself to be let down again by accepting this and then having to leave.
"I can't- I don't think I can," Remus says, stupidly. "I'm too dangerous. I couldn't possibly go to Hogwarts; Professor Dippet told me, before, he told my dad."
"Oh, I'm afraid you must, Remus. You're a bright boy, I know it." Dumbledore's eyes have a slight reflection of sadness in them.
"I was told I can't," Remus says mildly. Dumbledore wonders where the hope is. He wonders where the fight is. He wonders a lot, but he doesn't ask.
"Would you like to?"
There was a pause, before Remus nodded swiftly.
"Well, that's settled, then," Dumbledore said cheerfully. Remus looked at him.
"How can you, though?" he said softly. "I would really, really like to. I've been told nothing bad about Hogwarts. But I can't. I can't hurt anybody. I can't make anybody go through- I can't take the risks, sir." Dumbledore looks at him gravely.
"I could never say I understood what you must go through, Remus," he said, finally. "But I can say you go through it very maturely. Let's give you the upper hand for once, yes?"
There's another pause, and finally he gets a true smile from the tired, injured boy. The true Remus Lupin shines, for a moment, from behind the defeated, resigned boy who has seen and been through much more than many grown men. In the end, though, he is just a boy.
There's an incoherent noise from the doorway, and for the first time Remus notices his father standing there. He looks so happy and he is smiling, beaming at his son. He beams and beams and he is so proud and happy for his son.
Dumbledore stands up and nods at Remus.
"I'll mail you some details on what will happen every month at Hogwarts, Remus," he says and heads towards the door. John Lupin looks at him, so happy.
"Thank you so much, Albus," he says and Dumbledore shakes his head.
"There's no reason why it shouldn't happen," he says, and he shakes John's hand.
And Remus Lupin, for the first time in a long time, feels just like every other boy.