Chapter 49: A New Beginning
Last night I wrote what I thought were the last words to my story. I thought there was nothing left for me; that everything that was ever going to happen had happened, and I would be miserable until the day I die. I was wrong.
This morning I awoke, just like any other day. I made a bit of tea and sat down in my chair to read the Daily Prophet, that had been delivered earlier. The picture on the front page caused me to choke.
There was a man, with beady hollow looking eyes and a pale bony face framed with a tangled matted mess of hair. He didn't look a thing like I remembered, but something about him was the same. I'd recognize that face anywhere. It was Sirius. I forced my eyes away from his, and read the headline. Black Escapes Azkaban. I read it over and over again, finally understanding what it said. Sirius had escaped. He could have been anywhere, and he was dangerous. What did he want? What the hell could have kept him sane long enough to be able to escape after twelve years? No one had done it before, ever.
It was the last thing I ever expected. I thought Sirius was gone forever, but perhaps he was back to find the rest of us, those of us who had survived his last murders, so he could finally finish us off. I looked back into that picture. Those eyes. There was something about those eyes. I got a strange feeling in my stomach when I looked at them. It almost felt like doubt, maybe even pity. I threw the paper to the floor. Again, I heard Sirius' words to James. I'd give my own life before I'd ever let Voldemort come near you our your family. I didn't feel the usual rush of anger I felt when I heard those words. Instead, I began to cry. I didn't try to stop myself; I let the tears come. Sometimes that was the way I could think the most clearly. I had the strangest feeling that I'd forgotten something, or neglected to realize something back before James and Lily died, but I couldn't figure out for the life of me what it was.
I glanced at the table and noticed a letter sitting on the table where the paper had been. It was addressed Mr. R. J. Lupin. I never received mail. Curiously, I picked up the letter and carefully opened it. I recognized the handwriting in an instant. It was from Dumbledore.
Hello. I do hope you have been well, although I suppose after all that has happened, that is a rather unrealistic wish. I also assume you have already heard the news about Sirius' escape. I'm writing because I have a request of you. I'm in need of a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for the upcoming school year. (We haven't been having much luck keeping them around the last few years). I am hoping you would fill the position for me. We haven't had a better teacher since you resigned twelve years ago. Besides that, with Sirius on the loose, I think you'd be safest at Hogwarts. None of us know what he's planning to do next, of course. But it's best to be safe. James and Lily's son Harry will be in his third year, and I thought perhaps you might like to see him. His resemblance to James is remarkable. Please consider my request. I think you'd be much happier here. I'll be awaiting your response.
I stared at the letter. I'd never even thought of going back. I thought I'd never see that school again. But now the idea of walking through those hallways, seeing all those teachers and students again, seemed unusually appealing.
It has been a long twelve years, all because I thought there was nothing left. I thought the best days of my life were over, and they may well be. But never give up living. Never throw away what's left. I could spend the rest of my life in this shack, assuming I've seen all I'm going to see, done all I'm going to do, and believe that everything that went wrong was meant to torture me for the rest of my life. Or, I could move on. After twelve years, I could finally accept that the past is the past and that there's still a future ahead. Because there's always a future ahead, no matter what. It's a lesson I learned back in second year; it's a lesson it took me twelve long years to learn again.
It took me twelve long years to learn that I was wrong about my life. Perhaps I'm wrong about some other things too. It can be a wonderful feeling, the feeling of doubt. How could have I ever given up when there is so much left out there? Sirius escaped from Azkaban. In an odd way, I almost feel a certain amount of glory for him. It reminds me of the Sirius I used to know; the devoted prankster who could escape from any situation.
Today has been an interesting day. I don't know if it's good or bad, right or wrong. I don't know what's going to happen to me, if I should be happy or sad, or angry. I don't know what the days to come will bring. I feel so mixed up, so confused. There's a feeling of nervous excitement in the pit of my stomach. Everything is so unpredictable, and I like it. That's the way life should be.
I will go back to Hogwarts. I will live my life. I will not hide from the world anymore. My name is Remus Lupin and I am not afraid.