You Were Never Like This
Chapter 3 - Care of Magical Creatures Professor
Lupin woke slowly in the dark hours of early morning. He felt drained and as though someone had punched him hard into the stomach. Actually, he felt half that good. His stomach was empty, his mouth dry. Moaning, Remus kicked off his covers and walked over to the windowsill where he kept a jug of water. He had left the window open, he realised. Regretfully, he shivered and was about to close it when he caught sight of movement. He saw Shamari scurrying off towards Hogsmeade.
Wondering why she would be going there at three in the morning, Remus put aside the jug and leant out. As far as he could tell, Shamari was in a hurry and didn't want to be seen. Frowning, he shut his windows and turned away. Nah let her to it. He was damn hungry and he sure as hell knew where the kitchens were. Remus chuckled to himself, drawing his dressing gown over himself.
When he arrived at the kitchens, he found the house-elves beginning to stir, their large innocent eyes blinking tiredly at him. He found one who was awake and asked for something to tide him over until breakfast. Once this was done he sat on one of the tables, gazing thoughtfully over the house-elves. They knew everything going around Hogwarts, didn't they?
"Tell me," Remus said to the elf. "Where is Miss Witherspoon going this morning?"
The elf wrinkled its nose. "To get a message for master."
What message would Dumbledore send for at three in the morning? Remus cast aside his snack, thanked the elf then strolled through the corridors, deep in thought. He barely noticed the portraits warily looking at him, barely noticed the suits of armour as they passed. Before long, the sun was peeking over the trees, and Remus thought he'd better get ready for breakfast.
Remus arrived outside Hagrid's empty hut with a feeling of dread in his stomach. Hagrid's last lesson, according to Dumbledore, had been talking about dragons. This lesson was to SHOW the class dragons. Slightly apprehensive, Lupin eyed the Chinese Fireball with mounting dislike. Why Hagrid chose to involve such creatures in his lessons, Remus could never guess. He just hoped he'd be alive by the time break started.
And these strange books Hagrid advised! Lupin chuckled, cautiously opening his Monster Book of Monsters. He flicked through it absently, and then curiosity overcame him. He checked the index under W. After getting the page for 'werewolf' he scanned over it, noting that not even a school textbook was without racism.
He tossed the book aside, scowling. Before he had come to the castle, he'd worked with a number of wizards who knew what he was. They'd avoided him and never said anything when Remus was in the room. When he'd vanished every full moon, the next day they'd say he missed a lot of work, making it almost impossible to get through it all. He was relieved that Dumbledore had called him away - more than relieved.
"You're worrying about what they'll think of you, aren't you?"
Remus jumped, startled. He hadn't expected any students for at least half and hour. He turned around to see Harry Potter leaning against Hagrid's hut in a casual manner. Draped over his shoulders was his school robes joint by his scarf trailing down to the ground.
"Right in one." Remus sighed. "Who'd want something like me to teach them?"
Harry looked at him seriously. "I would, Professor."
Lupin smiled and retrieved the now escaping text. As he bent over, he had the strange sensation of feeling another pair of eyes of him. Standing up quickly, Remus spied Shamari striding out over the lawns, looking extremely harassed. Lupin fidgeted, well aware that Harry was watching Witherspoon approach as well. Shamari stopped an arms length away from Remus. "You don't know how it is. And about last night, you deserved..."
She trailed off as she caught sight of Harry. Without explanation, she turned on her heel and walked as quickly as possible away from Hargid's hut.
"What's wrong with her?" Harry asked curiously. "She didn't hang around long."
"She just didn't want any students to think she had a reason to dislike me." Remus chuckled.
Remus shot him an unreadable look. "You don't need to know that, Harry."
At lunchtime, a much-wearied Remus Lupin made his way to the Great Hall. Students had been giving him shrewd looks all the way through. Grumpily, he slouched into his chair and distractedly ran a hand through his already messy hair. His thoughts drifted to Harry who'd seen Shamari come striding down like she was descending into hell. The boy was beginning to suspect something, Remus knew and he didn't like it.
"Tough classes?" Shamri asked venomously from beside him.
At least she's talking to me by choice, mused Remus before replying as cheerfully as he could, "Oh, the usual. I'd forgotten how much I hated Care of Magical Creatures."
Was it his imagination or did she almost smile? Whatever it was, she quickly masked it with a scowl, turning back to her full plate and shovelling it all down. Shamari looked worried somehow, tense. And it wasn't just Lupin's presence that was doing it. Remus frowned as he watched her. He began to notice her hands were shaking slightly and her eyes were darting across the room nervously.
"Hey," he said softly. "Are you okay?"
He expected her to say something furiously, mention it was her life and none of his business. Instead, Shamari let her cutlery slide out of her fingers and turned to him. "What do you think?"
"No, you're not," Lupin replied quietly so that no one else would hear. "You can tell me what's wrong, Shamari."
It seemed as though she'd snapped back to her old self, for she turned back to her lunch. "You caused me this pain. I hope you live with that for the rest of your life, Remus Lupin."
Ouch, he thought seriously.
He turned away from her and stared avidly down at Harry, whom he saw was looking back at him in some form of understanding. Remus knew that look - it was the one James sported when he'd figured out something and was planning to chase up on it. With a deep sense of foreboding, Remus stared down at his empty plate. He distracted himself for the remainder of lunch wondering how long it took the house-elves to clean dishes every day.
It was a great relief when students began to file out of the Great Hall, chatting happily together and maybe planning a game of Exploding Snap before their next lesson. Remus watched them go, secretly wishing to be one of them again, without a care in the world. Well, almost. Some of their faces were sad, lost in thought. Others were...full of malice and triumph.
When the last stragglers began to leave, he shot to his feet and strode out. His mind was in turmoil, as usual. He was thinking about many a thing when he collided with something very solid.
"Ouch, Professor!" Harry laughed.
"You're following me," Remus stated without hesitation. "Shouldn't you be spending your lunch time with Ron and Hermione?"
Harry fell into step beside him, obviously not about to be brushed off easily. They walked in silence for some time until they had reached the library. Harry stared at him. "Is this some kind of hint? Look, I don't have any work to do in the library."
"Harry!" Remus cried in exasperation.
The student held up a hand, silencing Lupin. "Just answer me this one question. Why does Professor Witherspoon hate you so much?"
Remus looked up at Harry who was a couple of inches taller than him. "It was a long time ago Harry. Nothing of real importance."
"Oh?" teased Harry. "Then what about all those arguments you two seem to have."
"Have you been eavesdropping?"
Remus just stood in the corridor, arms crossed. He felt appalled that Harry had been listening, but also relieved that he now could tell someone what was going on (besides staff members). So he told Harry everything about Shamari and why she hated him. When he finished, it was five minutes before the next lesson.
Harry grinned at him. "See what you can do if you try? Don't worry, no one will hear about this from me. I'll see you at dinner, Professor."
As Remus hurried down to Hagrid's hut, he couldn't help but wonder if he'd made the right choice in telling Harry.