Reveals are up at hp_friendship, so it's time to post here!
Thanks as always to Maggie, and I hope you enjoy this glimpse into Prisoner of Azkaban even half as much as I enjoyed writing it! My prompt was: Anything set during the year Lupin teaches Defense Against the Dark Arts. McGonagall reminisces about the boy Lupin, Lupin reflects on his memories of his former teacher, Lupin seeks out advice, the two of them share memories of James/Lily/Peter/Sirius, one of them shares a funny student story or plays a prank on the other ... anything, really. May be happy, sad, funny, angsty, dramatic ... give us a snapshot of the staffs' lives at Hogwarts.
Five Times a Conversation Between Professors Lupin and McGonagall Ended in Thanks, and One Time It Didn't Have To
There was nothing to do as he began the process of packing up his office but try and sort through his churning thoughts and emotions. There were plenty of them, more than enough to keep him occupied. Last night had been a whirlwind, a maelstrom, and so much had happened, not all of it good.
The first thing he'd done after finding himself human in the forest at dawn was run as well as he could for the castle and the Headmaster's office to demand, panicked, "Did I hurt anyone?" Though blessed relief had flooded through him at Professor Dumbledore's negative reply, the next thing he'd done was resign. Then he'd asked after Sirius.
As Professor Dumbledore had recounted all that had happened after moonrise the previous night, Remus had been overwhelmed with dismay. So much had gone wrong because of his carelessness and thoughtlessness. Peter had escaped. Sirius and Harry and Hermione had almost been Kissed. Sirius had had to run again, his name still sullied. And all of that was nothing compared to the knowledge of what could have happened. Remus had reiterated his resignation. Snape needn't have lashed out; Remus would have been gone without the other man's actions, but Severus had always been petty and driven by a need for revenge. And now he had that.
He felt Professor McGonagall's presence in the office doorway before she spoke. Slowly, he turned and met her eye, seeing there all the sorrow and regret and apology that, before this year, he would never have expected her to show so openly. She said nothing, because what was there to say?
To spare her from having to find the words, he spoke instead, saying lightly, "I think I might have to disagree with you about this job being cursed."
As if his words had broken some barrier, she came into the room, almost reaching for him as she said, "Remus, we can weather this." Remus just smiled and shook his head.
"Don't you dare," he said, his tone still light. What Professor McGonagall didn't know was that this step was routine. He had done this countless times, and while this job and this place were harder to leave than others had been, the routine was still there. "I didn't resign because they found out I'm a werewolf," he informed her. "I resigned because I put students in danger. I acted in a manner unbefitting a Hogwarts professor last night."
"You're one of the best professors we've had walk these halls," she countered passionately. Remus gave her a wry look.
"You have afforded me more praise in this past year than during my entire tenure as a student here. It's starting to get disconcerting."
"What is left to be said?" he asked quietly. He held her gaze for a long moment. She did not reply. "You'll have storms enough to weather, I imagine. There's no need to add mine to the mix. So don't you dare."
"Where will you go?" she asked then, and Remus knew she'd accepted his decision, even if she wasn't happy about it.
"I've had some success in the Muggle world in the past," he said, his tone light again as he turned back to his trunk. "They don't immediately think 'werewolf' when you ask for every full moon off. They're just pleased to have a worker who only wants one evening a month free."
He could read in her face what she thought of his teaching potential being wasted as he toiled in a Muggle shop somewhere, but she gave the thoughts no voice, for which he was grateful.
"I shall, of course," he continued, "be available if Professor Dumbledore should require me again."
He watched her sort through what to say next, watched as she considered and discarded several possible comments, and he could only imagine what they had been.
Aren't you glad Sirius's innocence has been proved?
Will you keep in contact with Harry?
How could you not have told your Transfiguration Professor that those three achieved Animagus status in just three years?
But regardless of the things she might have said, when she spoke, it was simply to ask, "Are you all right?"
He considered his answer carefully. "It doesn't hurt less," he said finally. "That it was Peter and not Sirius. It doesn't hurt any less. But at least, with him, I can see how it happened. I can look back and see where it started. So the wondering is lessened. But the guilt is stronger."
"The guilt?" she asked, confused.
"I think it was our fault, what Peter came to," Remus clarified, and he could see Professor McGonagall jump to contradict him, so he continued swiftly. "Indirectly. We protected him too much at school. We fought too many of his battles. So when we left, and he didn't have us anymore . . . he was vulnerable, and he was scared. Two things the Death Eaters were adept at taking advantage of. It doesn't absolve it, not at all. I'm still disgusted, angry, betrayed, all of it. But I can't say I don't understand."
There was a long silence, then Professor McGonagall said softly, "Your gift for empathy is . . . enviable." Remus gave a short, soft laugh, then turned back to his packing. After another long silence, Professor McGonagall spoke again.
"Is there anything I can do?"
"Look after Harry for me?" he asked. "Last night was, I think, hardest for him, and I have a feeling his struggles are far from over. I wish I could do more for him, had more time to explain, but . . ." He trailed off, not having the words he needed to finish the thought, but she understood.
"Of course," she said softly. "And Remus? If there is ever anything you need, please don't hesitate to ask." He knew the offer was genuine, and it touched him more than he could have expressed. "You will always have a place here," she said then, and he smiled indulgently.
"I appreciate the sentiment," was his soft reply, "even if I doubt its veracity."
They shared one last long look, an understanding reached between them, and then she nodded and moved for the door. But there was one last thing left to be said.
"Minerva," he called softly, using her name for the first time. She turned and met his eyes, and the words he had been about to say died on his lips, because they were inadequate. There was no way to express all he wanted and needed to convey. But somehow, he knew, she understood.
"It's been a privilege, Remus," she said simply. He smiled, and she left. And that was enough.
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