Disclaimer : I do not own Harry Potter
There was a silence after the lycanthrope's speech. Everyone was thinking of his words, his comparaison with wizards and Voldemort. And now that they had a werewolf right in front of them, so many questions came to their mind.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I'm Andrew Coal, by the way. And, if you have questions, you can ask, I guess..." he said awkwardly.
Many hands flew to the air at that moment, everyone wanting to ask their own question, but not daring to talk without permission.
"Yes ?" he said pointing to a third year Slytherin.
"How was it to be bitten ?"
Andrew chuckled weirdly, feeling a little ill at ease. But he knew that this could help him, and some of his friends and every werewolf that wanted to live a normal life. He was glad he had the opportunity to come and talk to those kids, even if it might be hard to answer certain questions.
"It was painful, and of course I was scared, and then I just blacked out. I remember waking up two days after, from what the other werewolves said later. I was disoriented and totally freaking out, and I just scream and cried, until one of the werewolves just took me by the shoulder and led me apart and just made me sat to a trunk. I was still crying but I couldn't scream. He just sat there facing me and said nothing. We stayed this way for some time, and then he said just one thing when I finally stopped crying : I'm sorry. And he left, glancing around to see if I was following him. The pain in my leg was still awful, but I just stayed a little away from them all and didn't complain."
Sad looks were now on him, some crying.
"Do you have other questions ?"
"How was it to live with a pack ?"
Coal looked down, his eyes not seeing the stone of the floor. He was remembering how he felt during that year he spent with Greyback's pack.
"It was hard. Especially considering that it was war time and that Greyback associated with Voldemort and wanted his pack to work for the madman too. Everyday, we heard the ones who thought Greyback was right talk about how they had attack someone or someone's child. And every month new people were joining the pack after being bitten, like me, mostly children. It was hard to feed ourselves, we didn't have much food, we didn't live in houses or anything... It was difficult but I wasn't alone. The man who took me apart the first day cared for me the whole time, until he was ordered to go fight in the last battle. When he refused, he was simply killed and I left."
"What's your life like now ?" a seventh year Hufflepuff asked.
"Much better of course. Miss Brown's association works to get in touch werewolves and people who have open position to fill at their work. She found me a job in a shop and everything was explained to my boss, who knows of my condition. We decided to have my days off on full moons. And as I have a job, I have money and I get to live a decent life. And even though the transformations hurt like hell, I'm happy. I have a job and my family and everything I need."
"Have you always taken the Wolfsbane potion ?"
"Since I left the pack and lived with the couple who took care of me until they found my parents, yes, I've always taken it."
"And has there been any accident, I mean, has it always worked ?" a small girl asked.
"Yes, it has always worked, but I do put on wards around the room I go in during my transformations. I don't want to take any chances."
Professor McGonagall looked at her watch and stood up. Everyone turned to look at her and she smiled.
"I am sorry to interrupt, but we don't have much time left, and Mr Weasley still has to talk. I suppose you can ask questions to Mister Coal after." she said a questionning look given to Andrew.
"Of course." he said gently and went back to the chairs, all eyes on him, in awe with the man, and conjured another one for himself, leaving Ron's free so he could still sit next to his wife and he went back.
Ron stood up and glanced at him smiling but quite scared to go talk to the children. He was more at ease when interrogating a suspect, really.
"Alright." he sighed, trying to bring out some courage. "My name's Ron Weasley, and I am an Auror and I also fought during the second wizarding war."
A few people laughed at him. It was clear he wasn't feeling at ease, and well, everyone knew him too. Harry Potter wasn't the only name remembered from the war.
"Yeah, uhm. I got to say that growing up in the magical world, of course I heard every prejudiced ideas about werewolves. And that's not an excuse of course, but I was fourteen when I realize that a lycanthrope had been teaching me a whole year." he said, giving an apologetic look at Teddy. "At the time, we thought he had been helping a mass murderer on the loose who wanted to kill Harry. Hermione, who had known since almost the beginning of the school year about Professor Lupin's condition, was the one who told us. I was probably the one who had the worst reaction to it. I basically call him 'werewolf' when he tried to help me with my broken leg. So here I was scared to hell because an Azkaban escapee who we thought wanted to kill my best friend was there talking about it with our teacher who turned out to be werewolf, and I had a broken leg... I remember that when I apologised to him later, he said it was okay, that it wasn't my fault and all. But I couldn't help but feel ashamed. And I still do actually. But he was one of the kindest people I've ever met, though we all got to admit that he had an addiction to chocolate, and really dementors were just an excuse..."
The people who knew Remus couldn't help but laugh at that. Well, it was true...
"He died a hero, a husband and a father. And I really hoped it would help change things for other werewolves. He was the first one to ever receive a First Class Order of Merlin, and trust me, he deserves it more than some wizards or witches. And he'll always be someone I'll look up to. And he was always the best DADA teacher we ever had, though..." Ron shrugged when he turned to his friends. "Yeah, that's not saying much... But he was a great teacher."
He nodded and went back to sit down next to Hermione who took his hand.
Professor McGonagall stood up again.
"Does anyone has anything to say ?"
She looked at everyone, but her eyes lingered a little longer on Knight, who felt this stare and shifted on his chair. He had to admit that he might have been wrong. He could see now that life wasn't easy for them. And they might not be monsters and want to turn everyone. But he wasn't ready to admit it out loud. He just stared in front of himself, red in the face.
Harry stood up again.
"I'd like to say something."
McGonagall smiled at him and he went back in front of everyone.
"I've met several werewolves in my life since the end of the war. And though Remus's friends becoming unregistered animagi during their Hogwarts years to help him through his transformations was something huge and showing how much they cared about him, I believe that the best thing that ever happened to him was Tonks, his wife. Someone who truly loved him not because or despite of his condition but accepting it as a part of him, that made him who he was and who she loved. Her patronus even changed because of him, to match his. And I never saw him happier than he was the day his son was born." he said glancing at Teddy, smiling. "And I think that's what he need to remember when meeting a lycanthrope when it's not the full moon : they are only people."
Lunch was now served at Hogwarts and Harry, Ron, Hermione, Andromeda, Lavender, Bill and Andrew were all sitting at the Gryffindor table. The noise in the Great Hall was almost deafening, everyone talking about what just happened and giving their opinion on everything, especially lycanthropes. Most were saying that they understood better now and how great it was of them all to come here and talk to them about their experiences. Of course, Harry Potter being here with both his best friends, the whole Golden Trio was a bonus.
Ron Weasley was wolfing down everything he could, still enjoying the school food. Hermione was smiling at him. She was glad they had come here, she felt like it had made a difference and that those kids might change the way they behave around werewolves and think of them. It was a step towards a better world for everyone. She just wished that their parents could understand too, and accept to have werewolves at Hogwarts. She believed that education for lycanthropes was the solution, and that would be so much better if werewolves could live as soon as possible with wizards and witches here at school.
Lavender was talking with Bill about how they felt after their attack and compared their behaviour around full moons, and how rare they liked their meat.
Andrew was surrounded by students asking him different questions about him and his life, and other werewolves. He was feeling a bit embarrassed because he never had so many attention on him before, but was glad that none of the kids had a disgusted look on their face, or a glare. They all looked at him excitedly, but not threateningly or looking scared.
Harry and Andromeda were talking with Teddy who was with Brian and Victoire, who wasn't always exactly listening to the convers tion, but was also glancing at her father proudly. She had always been proud of him and never cared about his scars. Some children were scared of him because of them, but she couldn't be, her father was the greatest ! Well, she knew it was a subjective opinion but how she wished more people thought like her. And to think that how her father was looked at in the street was nothing, as after the initial shock, people realized who he was, a war hero, and looked at him respectfully and admiring, that others were treated far worse. But they still looked disgusted by his appearance. And it hurt her sometimes, to see that look in their face, even if she knew her mother was right when she said 'L'opinion des autres ne devrait pas avoir d'importance.', and though it was hard not to care about other people's opinion, she tried to just forget about it. But maybe it wasn't what she should do about it. Maybe she should work on trying to make people understand better, like her father, and uncles and aunt and the others did today.
"So what did you think, Teddy ?" Harry asked him.
"It was great, Harry ! I can't believe you all did something like that, but I'm glad you did."
"Yeah, but the look he had on his face when he saw you both coming in with McGonagall yesterday ! You should've have seen it, really. He wa like torn between joy and fear, and it became quite ridiculous on him... I don't think I've seen his hair change colour so fast !" teased Brian.
Harry chuckled while Andromeda smiled fondly at him.
"I wasn't scared !" Teddy said vehemently but unable to stop himself from smiling.
"Why were you scared ?" asked Andromeda gently.
Teddy blushed a little. When his grandmother was talking like that, he felt like he was six again and trying to steal from the cookie jar...
"I didn't think that you'd get Knight sacked, and I feared he might..."
"I see." Harry said, glancing toward the now former teacher. "I really hope today made him open his eyes on his opinions and actions."
Teddy looked at him too, and could see his former teacher's thoughtful look. He didn't look proud and sure of himself as he did that morning.
"You know what ? I think he did, or he's starting to."
"Well, that's a good thing." Harry said.
Teddy looked thoughtful too, now, a question on his mind, ready to spill it to his godfather and grandmother, but wasn't sure he actually wanted to know the answer in case it would disappoint him. But the choice was made for him when Harry saw his tormented face.
"What's wrong, Teddy ?"
The teenager was still torn between asking or not. He shook his head and just went for it.
"Did my father really never look happier than the day I was born ?"
"I know I haven't known him for long and that I hadn't seen him much after he resigned, because I was at school or camping, as Ron says it, but yeah it was actually a bit weird to him like that, though being in the middle of the war was a big part of what made it weird. But yeah, Teddy, I had never seen him look this happy." Harry said, having a fond smile for his godson.
"I got to say that it was only after you were born, because that was also the day he looked the most scared." Andromeda said with a small laugh.
"Hey ! I totally understand that !" Bill turned to her. "I mean, try being a man looking at his wife giving birth, and you'll be scared to hell, I'm telling you. I don't think women realize what they're doing other than giving birth... How they scream, and crush our hands, and yell at us that we're gonna pay for making them go through that."
He faked a shudder, eyes full of fears.
"I know what you mean..." Harry said hoarsely.
Andromeda just rolled her eyes at their antics, while both teenage boys laughed, though really not wanting to know what they mean soon. Victoire just smiled, used to see her father and uncle that way.
"He loved you, Teddy. They loved you, and still do, even though they're not here to tell you." Andromeda then said when they finally stopped laughing. Harry and Bill nodded, confirming her statement.
"I love them too."
After lunch was over, Teddy saw Professor McGonagall standing up and leaving the Great Hall followed by Professor Knight. He took his decision without really thinking about it. He got up and followed them to the Headmistress' office after telling his family and friends that he had something to do.
When he got to McGonagall's office door, he hesitated a little before knocking. He opened the door when he heard the woman's voice telling him to go in.
"Hi, Professors." he said quietly.
"Mr Lupin. What is the matter ?" the headmistress asked him.
"I wished to speak with Professor Knight, if that's okay, Professor."
McGonagall looked at Knight and saw his confused stare. He looked up at her when he felt her eyes on him and nodded at her questioning look.
"Alright. Do you wish for me to stay ?"
Teddy felt a little embarrassed at that. He didn't want to seem disrespectful, but he wished to speak to Knight alone, however he didn't want to feel like he was dismissing the Headmistress herself from her own office.
"Uhm... Well -"
"I'll leave you two alone." she just said smiling at the metamorphmagus who nodded.
"Thank you, Professor."
After she left and closed the door behind her, Teddy turned to Knight who just looked down at his feet and didn't dare meet the boy's eyes. Teddy didn't know whether to smile, thinking that what his godfather and the others said really did have him rethink about what he said, or embarrassed, because the guy had lost his job because of it.
"I'm sorry you lost your job." he finally decided to say after some time, wincing, expecting a glare and more yelling from the man.
Knight looked up, a little surprised at the student's words.
"I'm sorry for how I behaved to you, and what I said." he just replied.
"I was blinded by my brother's death. And it's no excuse, but that's all I can see when I hear the word werewolf. My brother's body. And it ruled my life for so long, it still does. I'm still trying to get over it. And now I'm trying to stop convicing myself that werewolves are all to blame for what happened to him. I guess it just makes it easier, to have someone to blame, someone other than yourself for not being able to defend him."
Teddy just stared at him, not knowing what to say.
"I'm sorry about your brother." he whispered.
Knight gave him a small sad smile.
"Thank you. I'm sorry about your father. And your mother too."
Teddy nodded again, walking up to the man. Holding out his hand, he stared in his former teacher's eyes for long before Knight took his hand to shake it.
"I hope you find peace, sir."
AN : So... That's the end ! It feels weird, actually. I loved writing that story, and I'm a little sad I won't be working on it anymore... So maybe it just feels like there might be a sequel, if I'm not too busy and if it is asked for.
Anyway, I hope you liked this last chapter. And thank you to everyone who added that story to their favorites and/or followed it, and for the reviews, it really makes writing even better and it means a lot !
'L'opinion des autres ne devrait pas avoir d'importance' means 'Other people's opinion shouldn't be important.'
And please, review !