A/N: Final chapter! I can't believe it! I'll be posting the first chapter of the sequel soon! It will be called Living with Emma.
I stayed in the castle overnight, in one of the guest suites that time, since Remus was a little preoccupied with howling at the moon. I took advantage of the opportunity to sleep in, and when I finally emerged from my room, I was invited to have breakfast in the headmaster's office, even though it was almost noon.
He had quite the interesting proposal for me, and I gladly accepted.
"Thank you for breakfast, professor," I said, on my way to the door of his office.
"Than it's Emma to you," I replied with a smile.
I left soon after that and made my way downstairs. Harry said that they didn't want to go to Hogsmeade, so I assumed he would be on the grounds, but I met him only one floor down, looking as if he'd run a marathon.
"What's going on?"
"It's Lupin…" he gasped. "He… has… resigned!"
"What?! Why?" I asked. And why hadn't Dumbledore told me? I'd just been in his office.
"Don't know, I'm on my way up to his office."
We ran together, and found the door to his office open. His suitcase was mostly packed, and his office cleaned up. He was bent over his desk. "Hello, Harry, Emma," he said, only turning around after he'd said that, revealing what he had been looking at: the Marauder's Map. He smiled. "I saw you coming."
"I just saw Hagrid," Harry said, "and he said you'd resigned. It's not true, is it?"
Remus sighed and started opening his desk drawers, taking out the contents. "I'm afraid it is."
"But why?" Harry asked. I let him do the talking right now, I just levelled Moony with my patented I-am-disappointed-in-you glare.
Remus told Harry that Snape had told everyone he was a werewolf. Harry protested, but Remus explained that parents would be protesting.
"You're the best Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher we've ever had, the older students agree! Don't go!" Harry pleaded.
That boy had some serious puppy dog eyes, and even I was melting. Remus turned back around and continued to empty his drawers, probably so he wouldn't have to look in those green eyes and say 'no'.
I realized that nothing I would say would change his mind, so I kept my silence. Let the boy plead, it might help.
Before Harry could think of another argument, however, Remus spoke. "From what the headmaster told me this morning, you saved a lot of lives last night, Harry. If I'm proud of anything I've done this year, it's how much you've learned… Tell me about your Patronus."
Harry did as he was bid, and told the entire story, causing Remus to smile.
"Yes, your father was a stag when he transformed. You guessed right, that's why we called him Prongs," he said as he threw the last few books into his case, closed the desk drawers, and turned to look at Harry and I.
"Here," he said, and handed Harry his invisibility cloak back, along with the map. "I'm sure you and your friends will find a use for these."
"You had better be using those for pranks only, Harry, no more sneaking out of the school, unless it is an absolute emergency, as in life and death, understand?" I said, raising my eyebrows, and putting my hands on my hips.
He grinned. "Yes, ma'am!"
I caught Remus' eye and winked. He smiled at me.
There was a knock on the door, and Harry hastily stuffed his newly reclaimed items into his pocket. It was professor Dumbledore, and he didn't look at all surprised at seeing me and Harry here.
He told Remus his carriage was at the gate and said goodbye. Before he could leave, though, I pulled him into a tight hug and made him promise to visit. Harry shook his hand.
After he'd left, Harry stared at the empty desk chair.
"Why so miserable, Harry? You should be very proud of yourself after last night," Dumbledore said, perceptive as always.
"It didn't make any difference, Pettigrew got away," he said bitterly.
"Didn't make any difference?" I asked incredulously. "Harry, one of the first things you said to me when you entered the Hospital Wing was 'two innocent lives saved', doesn't that count for anything? Or what about uncovering the truth? You have no idea how happy Remus and I were when we realized it hadn't been James' best friend who had betrayed them. Even when we thought he was the traitor we kept some of his secrets, and I was never able to think of him as a murderer. It took a load off our shoulders we didn't even knew we were carrying. And I'm sure Sirius' life will be more bearable knowing that at least the people most dear to him know he's innocent," I said passionately, unable to keep silent.
"Your aunt is quite right, Harry, you saved an innocent man from a terrible fate," Dumbledore said, backing me up.
Harry frowned, as if something had just come to his mind. He told us about a prediction professor Trelawny had made the day before, and went on to blame himself in advance for Voldemort's inevitable rise.
I left it to the headmaster to convince him of the opposite, but paid close attention when he said that there was now a bond between Harry and Pettigrew. The teen had saved the rat's life, and the latter now owed Harry a life.
"James would have done the same, Harry. Contrary to what Snape might think, your father was a very generous man, and he loved deeply, once he grew out of his hormonal teenager stage. He would've been so proud of you."
Harry stared at his hands. "I thought it was my dad who'd conjured my Patronus. I mean, when I saw myself across the lake… I thought I was seeing him."
"An easy mistake to make. I expect you'll tire of hearing it, but you do look extraordinarily like James. Except for the eyes… you have your mother's eyes."
Harry shook his head. "It was stupid, thinking it was him. I mean, I knew he was dead."
I put an arm around his shoulders, but didn't say anything; I would've probably thought the same, even if it was just wishful thinking.
"You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night."
I looked at him sharply, he shouldn't have known that… It took Harry a second longer, probably because he wasn't used to thinking of his father by that name.
"Last night Sirius told me all about how they became Animagi," Dumbledore said, smiling. I tensed up, but his eyes never flickered to me, even for a second, Sirius must've left out that little detail about me. "An extraordinary achievement – not least, keeping it quiet from me. And then I remembered the most unusual form your Patronus took, when it charged Mr. Malfoy down at your Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. You know, Harry, in a way, you did see your father last night… You found him inside yourself."
And then the headmaster left, leaving me to actually comfort my young nephew.
In the next few days leading up to the end of term – Dumbledore had offered to let me stay and then floo home before the students left on the train – more people came up to me than I had ever experienced. They all seemed to think Remus and I were 'together'. I set them straight as soon as possible. Then, they asked me to give him all sorts of messages. "Tell professor Lupin we'll miss him!" "Tell him to expect a letter, we'll make sure the next professor won't stay a week!" "Tell him I really loved his lessons." "…"
I eventually got so sick of it, I conjured a huge card with 'Thank you' on the front, and told the students to write their messages on there. It didn't do much to help their questions about him, though. They wanted to know the weirdest things, most of which I declined to answer. There was lots of speculation on next year's teacher as well, some of them even asked if I was going to try it. I could honestly say that I would not be taking the Defence position.
I could tell Harry was a little troubled, even though he tried to hide it. I tried not to smother him too much, so I spent a lot of time getting to know the students, and was especially interested in my new ward's behaviour in class. Most of his teachers thought he was a bright young man, with a lot of potential, if a little lazy with his homework sometimes. Some of his professors out-and-out said they liked him: Hagrid, McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout especially.
I eventually tried to cheer him up by pointing out that he'd never have to return to his muggle relatives again, and promising he could have his friends over, as well as going to visit the Weasleys some time. Hermione would be vacationing in France for the entire first month with her parents.
His spirits were lifted even more as he realized Gryffindor had won the House Cup, as well as the Quidditch Cup, which meant that the end of term feast took place amid decorations of scarlet and gold, and that the Gryffindor table was the noisiest of the lot. I sat at the High Table, at Remus' regular spot, and having a cheerful conversation with Flitwick.
'Life's pretty good,' I thought, as I saw Harry laughing along with his friends, and I could've sworn I saw him place a bet with the Weasley twins. He'd be alright, I decided, and turned back to my conversation.
THE END… for now…
A/N: So this is the end for now, please tell me what you think!
First chapter of Living with Emma is updated, so go R&R that too! ^^