For the final round of the Speed of Lightning Competition!


"Defense Against the Dark Arts"

"The werewolf is one of the most dangerous beasts known to man. It is particularly threatening because, during the rest of them month, the werewolf looks like any other human being. They manage to live among us without our knowledge."

Teddy feels his fists clench tightly and he's glad that he isn't holding his quill, or it'd have snapped. That's because they're people! he thinks fiercely. He knows without having to see it that the turquoise is leeching out of his hair, leaving it flaming red. The professor remains oblivious.

"Can anyone tell me the proper way to distinguish a werewolf from a normal wolf?" Professor Mariad asks. "Anyone?" He sighs. "Does no one read? Turn to page 394, you'll find the list there."

Teddy doesn't move. He doesn't take out his book, and he doesn't turn to page 394. He hears another student read off the list, and he grits his teeth and tries not to do anything to get himself expelled.

"Now, there are several effective ways to escape a werewolf attack, all of which include either incapacitating or killing the werewolf. Do not try to run without incapacitating it. Werewolves can reach incredible speeds, and if they catch you, they will either turn you or kill you.

"The quickest way to incapacitate a werewolf involves the Impedimenta Jinx; however, the effects last for such a short duration that it is nearly ineffective, and not recommended. The most effective method, of course, involves killing the creature, but that does tend to involve a rather longer amount of time – though, it is always an option to first incapacitate and then kill the werewolf, for absolutely certainty of safety. That being said, does anyone know what the most recommended method for incapacitation of a werewolf is?"

His eyes scan the classroom and he notices Teddy's lack of a book. "Mr. Lupin? Is there a reason you've chosen not to participate today? This is important beyond the classroom, you know. This lesson will instruct you on how best to escape a dangerous beast-"

Teddy stands up in one fluid motion, shoving his chair backward as he does. His hair has reached an all new shade of angry red.

"I can't do this," he says. "My apologies, Professor." He spits the last word out like it's an obscenity, as much disrespect loaded into those three syllables as he can possibly manage. And before he allows himself to do anything worse, he slings his bag over his shoulder and stalks out of the room, slamming the door forcefully behind him.

Once he's out of the classroom, Teddy tries to calm himself. He's never been this angry before, and he's not proud of it – it scares him a little bit. He feels very much out of control. He takes a deep breath and starts walking.

He's walking fiercely but aimlessly through the halls when he finds himself outside the gargoyle that Uncle Harry says leads to the Headmistress' office. He's agitated and frenzied and he knows that he really ought to talk to someone, so he pauses in front of it. "I need to speak with the headmistress," he tells the gargoyle.

"Name, please."

"Teddy Lupin."

The gargoyle's stare goes blank for a moment, and then it moves to reveal a staircase. Teddy hesitates only a minute – he's never been to the Headmistress' Office before, surprisingly enough – before climbing onto the rotating stairs.

He stops at the massive wooden doors, mildly intimidating.

"Come in, Mr. Lupin," Headmistress McGonagall says through the doors. And with that, Teddy pushes them open. He begins to pace in front of her desk. The Headmistress appears to be attempting to hide her bemusement.

"What can I help you with, Mr. Lupin?"

Teddy stops pacing and faces her stubbornly. "He can't say those things!" he says fiercely. "He can't! He doesn't know!"

"Mr Lupin, you are going to have to properly explain the situation."

Teddy flops down into the chair in front of her desk. "Professor Mariad began teaching about werewolves today," he says.

"Ahh," replies Professor McGonagall, as though that explains it all. "He's not particularly fond of them as a species, is he?"

Teddy shakes his head. "It isn't fair of him!" he insists. "It isn't fair. He doesn't know."

"No, Mr. Lupin. It is not fair. But such is the way of things." She looks at him pensively, pausing for a moment, and then she speaks again. "I remember, Mr. Lupin, another conversation I had, many years ago, long before this office was mine. A conversation with another boy who had a similar quarrel with the third year Defense Against the Dark Arts curriculum – though this boy came to me as his Head of House, rather than as the Headmistress."

Teddy looks up at her. He's so surprised at her words that the anger seeps away without his notice, as does the vivid red of his hair. "My father?" he asks softly.

Her lips turn up just a little bit at the corners. "No, Mr. Lupin. Not your father. I was later informed that he spent the entire class period staring avidly at his desk, 'as though it could tell him the secrets to the universe.' That was always his way: to endure it. No, it was not your father who would protest the injustice of it all – it was his best friend. Sirius Black."

Teddy blinks in shock. "Uncle Harry's godfather?"

Headmistress McGonagall nods once. "Yes, indeed. And your mother's second cousin, as well. And I do suspect that, had your mother known your father at the time, she would have reacted similarly."

She looks as though she wants to smile at him but feels it would be improper. "I believe it is a family trait prolific within the Blacks – the indignant sense of injustice." Teddy is somewhat startled by this; he doesn't think anyone has ever complimented his Black lineage before.

"However," the Headmistress says sharply. "Indignation or not, Mr. Lupin, you do have to complete the section of third year Defense Against the Dark Arts, just like everyone else. As it stands, I will offer you the same thing I offered your cousin, so many years ago. You may, if you wish, learn all of the material independently, complete the classwork independently, and turn it all in to me. I will mark it objectively and that mark will go on your file. You need not attend class, but you must be working on appropriate classwork during the scheduled time slot."

Teddy tilts his head, contemplative. It would be weird to have class all by himself, but he's not sure he can listen to another one of Professor Mariad's lectures on werewolf eradication. Especially because he knows that, at some point, they'll have to cover things like werewolf rights and laws. Teddy can usually control himself pretty well, but today was scary, and he doesn't want to feel like that again.

He nods. "Thank you, Headmistress."

She meets his eyes very carefully. "It is my job to accommodate my students, Mr. Lupin. I will ensure that you receive the proper materials by your next period of Defense. The librarian will have them – that is where you shall spend the period."

Teddy nods again. He stands up, and the Headmistress nods a goodbye. Teddy's almost to the door before he stops and turns back. "Headmistress?"

"Yes, Mr. Lupin?" She looks up from her papers.

"Did… Did Sirius accept your offer?"

"Yes, Mr. Lupin. He did."

"Oh." Teddy isn't even sure why he wanted to know, but her answer makes him feel somewhat warm. He smiles softly, turning back around. He pushes the wooden doors open, and before they close behind him, he would almost swear he hears the Headmistress say one last thing – but for the fact that it seems very out of character for her.

"They would be proud of you, Mr. Lupin."