You Were Never Like This
Chapter 11 - A Word of Warning
Lupin stared at his door, but did not approach it. If she was still in a fiery mood, he'd rather let her cool down. The blonde of Ravenclaw was not to be taken lightly when she was angry. After a few minutes, Shamari stormed away. Peeves appeared and grinned wickedly, but said nothing. Remus glared at him until the poltergeist had left. It then struck the professor that Peeves had actually been trying to help.
One Week Later
Remus hated it when it snowed. It meant freezing down by Hargid's cabin all day teaching equally freezing students. Even the bonfire he'd erected didn't shut out the cold. Soon enough, the classes were cancelled to his great relief. He spent most of his time trying to figure out where all his liquor had gone or helping decorate the Great Hall with Christmas trees.
But this became tedious and Remus found himself wandering aimlessly through the corridors, occasionally exchanging a few words with Peeves. Having said nothing to Shamari all week, Remus soon sunk into a slouch and began going on numerous drinking binges. It became a customary sight to see him weaving down the corridors at nighttime. At these times, a dog was seen chasing after him in a vain attempt to save the professor from himself.
One such night, a few days before Christmas, Shamari was strolling down the corridor and bumped straight into him. Scowling, she sidestepped him, muttering, "Drunk."
She took Remus' arm and began leading him back to his rooms. He was beyond any understandable speech, so he mumbled most of the way. When Shamari at last saw the slightly ajar door to his rooms she was relieved. She was about to push him inside when he shook her off him.
"Do you want to come round to my place for Christmas?" Remus attempted to ask, but it came out as a garble.
Shamari stared at him, "Excuse me?"
But his speech had become garbled again and he fell into his rooms. Shamari looked down at him thoughtfully before shutting the door. She walked slowly to her own study and by the time she'd reached it, she'd made up her mind. She was going to spend Christmas with Remus Lupin.
Remus woke up in the morning with a killer headache. He was surprised to find himself sprawled on the floor of his study - as he usually woke up somewhere on the third floor. Shrugging, he managed to find some respectable robes, pulled them on and struggled down the corridor to the Great Hall. Already his breath smelt of alcohol.
The hall was mostly empty, early as it was. The only person besides him was sitting up at the staff table, staring down without interest at her plate. Shamari Witherspoon looked up suddenly and something almost, but not quite, like a smile crept across her face as she said brightly, "Good morning Remus. I'd like you to know I've come to a decision."
"About what?" he asked, baffled.
Shamari idly inspected her empty goblet. "I will spend Christmas with you."
For a moment, Remus looked stunned. He took his seat and looked at her warily. "How did you know I was going to ask?"
"Obvious, isn't it?" Shamari scoffed. "You asked me last night."
Lupin groaned and buried his face into his hands. He couldn't remember anything he had done the night before. He last remembered gulping down some of his favourite brandy. He waited for the blonde of Ravenclaw's temper to rise, but it did not. Instead, she ruffled his hair affectionately. "You were drunk, but I'll still go with you."
Remus turned his head up just him time to receive her kiss. Caught off guard, he did nothing (as usual) to stop her. Shamari pulled away and flashed him a smile before getting up. Without another word, she strode out of the Great Hall for a destination unknown. Remus smiled also.
As the term drew to a close, more students than ever recorded before chose to remain at school for the Christmas break. A tension hung in the air as more horrific reports sailed in from Voldemort's hand. It had become part of normal life, really. This had been the usual since the summer following the ill-fated Triwizard Tournament just under three years ago.
Seemingly undeterred by this, a black dog trotted towards a certain office belonging to a certain sober man. Once out of sight, the dog was replaced with the notorious Sirius Black who was just hoping to get a chance to say goodbye to his friend before he took to the roads again. He tapped slightly on the door and, when getting no answer, pushed it briskly in.
There was no one present in the study, but he thought he heard voices coming from Remus' other rooms. Sirius frowned, stepping quietly towards the voices. Suddenly, the buzz of conversation dropped. Bracing himself against the locked bedroom door, Sirius strained to budge it. It hit him that the door was not locked, but instead, meant to be pulled and not pushed.
"Aw, shucks," he muttered and pulled the heavy door open.
Remus and Shamari were entangled on the floor, the former trying to release himself. Sirius laughed so hard he had to lean on the door jam to keep from falling flat on his face. Crossly, Lupin detached himself and quickly tried to push his friend out into the study. Sirius was beyond speaking as he shook with laughter, stopping at the desk to retrieve some very strong liquor.
A few minutes later, Remus came out of the bedroom alone, looking extremely vexed. "You could have knocked."
"Nah." Sirius winked at him. "Just came to see how the chemistry was. Besides, you never liked me sneaking off without a goodbye. Please tell me that wasn't anything serious," he added.
Remus glared at him, but desisted. Forcing a smile onto his face, he thumped his friend soundly on the back. "Not what you're thinking of. Have fun."
Sirius snorted, transformed and bounded out the ajar door. Lupin sat heavily in his chair and barely noticed Shamari when she entered. To his surprise, she looked hardly annoyed for the interruption. Instead, something remarkably like amusement crawled across her face.
"Why does everyone see the joke but me?" complained Remus grumpily before storming out of his office and off to Peeves for a long rant.
Down by the Hogwarts gates, Harry said his own farewell to his godfather. Risking human form, Sirius told him seriously and quietly, "I want you to keep a good eye on Witherspoon for me. Maybe I'm just being stupid but there is more to her than meets the eye."
"You don't mean what I think you mean, do you?" Harry asked shrewdly. "Because I don't think - "
Sirius cut him off sharply, "It doesn't matter. Promise me you will, Harry. Give me your word."
Harry deliberately took his glasses off, inspected them and settled the bridge back onto his nose, a sly grin engulfing his face. "I suppose so. Now quit worrying! Hogwarts can function without you, you know. I don't want to have to see you, or hear about you for at least a month. Get going," he added in a more reserved way.
Shooting Harry an annoyed and concerned look, Black once again became a dog, bounding off down the path into an oncoming dark, which soon covered the castle. But before it could, Harry had already forgotten his godfather's warning and was taking leaps up towards the Entrance Hall, avoiding large clumps of snow.
The Hall was full of noisy, excited students, most of which going home the next day for Christmas. Harry, Hermione and Ron were staying behind, as usual, due to the amount of "ministry" activity at the Burrow - the Weasley's had decided that it would still be dangerous to have a Potter in their household. But it was wondered whether Fudge's death was the real reason.
Remus Lupin was rosy in the cheeks from drinking a little too much wine (or maybe brandy from a hip flask) and he kept missing his mouth with the fork. Well, why wouldn't he be anxious? The next day he was taking Shamari to his boarded up little house in Wessex, which could certainly do with some sprucing up now that he thought about it.
He didn't notice that Professor Witherspoon wasn't shooting her usual scoldings his direction, but if he had, Shamari would have waved it off dismissively. She looked decidedly pale, though it was at least three weeks before the full moon would dawn once again, and fiddled with her cutlery rapidly. It took her the sound of her knife falling on the plate to rouse her. She even jumped.
"What's up?" Remus leant over, picking up the knife and offering it to her. "Regretting your decision to spend the Christmas at my humble abode?"
Shamari smiled at him, grateful for the interruption from her thoughts, "Not at all, Remus. I was just...thinking."
"Now that's trouble," Lupin joked lightly.
Shooting him her typical frown, Witherspoon approached her food with more enthusiasm than ever before. Remus didn't notice this - he was amusing himself by pulling faces at the back of Snape's head. It wasn't quite amusing, however, when Snape turned around and caught him at it.