This was written for keeptheotherone's Missing Moments Lottery Challenge at the HPFC forum. My character was Remus Lupin, the time frame Prisoner of Azkaban, and the additional challenge to write in first person.

Coming Back

I never expected to come back. The seven years I spent here as a student were the best of my life. "Schooldays are the happiest days of your life" may be a truism, but for me it's the absolute truth. I wish it had ended there.

I never expected to come back, and I never wanted to. Too many memories. Too much has changed. And maybe I haven't changed enough. If I had, maybe it would be easier.

But Professor Dumbledore - Albus - is nothing if not persuasive, and so here I am, established in a small bedroom in the staff quarters, with my own office and the title "Professor" before my name. It's not that I don't think that I can do the job. Who should know more about Defence against the Dark Arts than I? But with who - what - I am, Professor Dumbledore is taking a risk in employing me, and I am taking a risk in accepting the job. It will only take one bright student to look at a moon calendar and work out what my monthly absences mean, and the castle could be in an uproar. Coming back here might be the worst mistake of my life.

I walk to the window and look out over the familiar grounds. The moon - a half moon tonight - is bright and the sky is clear. I can see right to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, and I cannot help but remember. The four of us. Moony, Padfoot, Wormtail and Prongs. A friendship that could not be broken. Or so we thought.

So I thought.

Why did he do it?

Why?

How could he. How could he?

I have asked myself that so many times over the last twelve years. Why Sirius, why? And why did I not see it coming? I thought I knew you. I thought we understood each other.

No.

Stop.

That way madness lies.

And now he is free. If anyone can truly be described as free after what he has done. How do you carry on living knowing the depths of your betrayal?

They will catch him soon enough, and if the Ministry yields to the Dementors and lets them have him, well, it is no more than he deserves.

James, Lily, Peter...

Yes, it is no more than he deserves. Traitor. Deceiver. He deserves it.

He deserves it. He does not deserve my pity, or even my remembrances.

I sigh and turn away from the window. I have a job to do, and whatever my doubts, I will do it to the best of my ability.

My new life begins tomorrow.