You Were Never Like This
Chapter 7 - The Love Doctor
Remus noticed that over the weekend, Shamari avoided him. She made sure she arrived early for meal times a left as soon as he sat down next to her. When it came to Monday, she had not uttered a word to him and vice versa. Remus wondered if she was angry with him, but dismissed this idea. He convinced himself that what happened on Friday was not his fault at all.
But he kept nervously watching Harry. It seemed that the boy hadn't told anyone, for the school rumour mill stayed relatively quiet. Yet everywhere Remus went, he knew Harry followed, knew that Harry was watching him intently. Did the Quidditch player see something that Lupin could not see himself?
Remus decided to visit the library at lunchtime to clear his head. He sat at the back of the Restricted Section, leafing through a very boring book about loathsome curses. He was really waiting to see if Harry showed up, seeing as he had become the professor's shadow. Lupin heard footsteps approach him and looked up, but it wasn't Harry.
Shamari Witherspoon was walking along a rack, trying to find a particularly evasive book. Instead she found Remus leaning the chair against the stonewall and looking at her with sincere eyes. "Hey, Shamari."
"Sod off," she told him. "I'm looking for a book, not conversation."
Remus raised an eyebrow. He noticed a flush rising in her cheeks and she searched avidly for cover, but she was looking at him out of the corner of her eyes. Lupin looked down at his book and asked mildly, "Which book?"
"Curses: Ones You Wouldn't Want on You," she replied shortly.
Grinning, he picked up and the book and got out of his seat, flourishing the book to her. Scowling at him, Shamari accepted it and stalked off down the rows of books, looking for another one. She snapped as she went along, "When you're not drunk, you tend to be up proverbial creek."
"So I'm not so bad when I've had a few drinks?"
"I take that back." Shamari glowered at him. "You're just as bad drunk."
Remus paused to drink from his hip flask. He noticed Shamari giving him a dirty look but did not stop until he had emptied the flask. He smiled somewhat sloppily. "You didn't think so on Friday."
"Drunk," she muttered under her breath.
"Oh, I'm not drunk," Remus informed her coolly. "Just curious."
Reaching the end of her tether, Shamari wheeled around to face him, her open handed slap connecting with the side of his face. Remus' head snapped sideways and he staggered, nursing his sore cheek. When he finally regained himself, Witherspoon had vanished. He moaned and got to his feet, the only part of him in any pain was his pride.
Sighing, he left, making his way to his rooms. As soon as he arrived, he drowned himself in whatever alcohol he could lay his hands on. He didn't want to admit he had a drinking problem. But he soon forgot this as he drank himself into a stupor.
Shamari was making the most of her free period - planning the next few classes, of course - when in come Dumbledore wearing a very perplexed expression. Professor Witherspoon cast aside her notes. "Yes, Albus?"
"You do not mind committing this time to substitute a class, so you?"
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled over his half moon spectacles. "A Care of Magical Creatures class has been left without a teacher. Since you know the topic being taught, I thought you might step it."
Shamari looked up sharply. "Where is he?"
"I would rather like to know that myself," mused Dumbledore thoughtfully.
When they checked his rooms later, they found him considerably inebriated.
A Week Later
When class had finished for the day, most students walked at a leisurely pace towards the Great Hall for dinner, dreading ploughing through their homework later. Had they been interested in what Harry Potter was doing, they would have realised that he was not at dinner, but instead walking across the Hogwarts grounds awaiting the arrival of his godfather. Blowing on his hands to keep them warm, he stared without break at the gates. He had no doubt, just a slight annoyance of how late his visitor was.
When he saw the black dog bounding its way up towards him, Harry called over, "You're late."
The dog regarded him closely, and then shrugged this off, following the boy up to the castle, as any faithful pet would do.
Remus had a difficult decision. Was tonight's bottle going to be wine or brandy? Carefully, he put the brandy aside and chose the wine. He recalled the telling off Shamari had given him when she'd returned from substituting his class to find him sprawled on the floor. Struck with a strong desire not to be on the end of her temper, he slid the wine into the drawer next to the other discarded bottle. Remus sighed and stood up, stretching. Maybe he'd go to sleep early.
A knocking on the door and instantly recognised Harry's voice. "Professor! Do you have a minute?"
"Maybe I do, maybe I don't," Remus called.
"You do, actually," came through another voice, very familiar.
Remus' eyes widened and he scrambled over to the door, throwing it open. In front of him stood Sirius Black, looking quite amused about something. Sirius strode in and settled into Remus' favourite chair and started going through his liquor. Lupin demanded hotly, "What are you doing here? You could have been caught!"
Sirius was busy examining the brandy, sniffed it then threw it disdainfully out the window. He turned back to Remus. "Harry wrote me that the Love Doctor was needed."
Remus went bright red and quickly looked out into the corridor to see if anyone was listening. Shutting the door hastily, he shot Harry a pleading look that grinned back.
"Don't get me wrong," Remus told Sirius, saving the rest of his alcohol from being thrown out onto the grounds. "I'm pleased to see you...but, risking your life to interfere with mine?"
"I'd call it fixing up," corrected Sirius with a sly smile.
Lupin glared at him, but this only fuelled the other's amusement. Harry made for the door, and as he opened it, looked over his shoulder at the positively steaming Remus and grinning Sirius, saying in a sarcastic voice, "I'm sure Remus would want to talk about his fledging love life."
"When I get my hands on you..." Remus warned, but Harry was gone.
The professor spun to face Sirius who looked back innocently at him.
"I hope Dumbledore knows you're here."
Sirius chortled. His friend took this as a no. The Love Doctor propped his feet up on the covered desk, knocking over a decent sized bottle of port. "So what can the Love Doctor do for you?"
"Wrong answer! Tell the Doctor who the lucky girl is?"
Remus retrieved the port and set it neatly back on the desk far from Sirius' feet. "If you must know, Shamari Witherspoon."
Sirius stared at him for a long time, without saying anything. A long silence ticked away between them and Remus began to feel as though time had stopped and Sirius' blank look was frozen for all to see. Finally, Sirius managed weakly, "The blonde of Ravenclaw? The girl you bit at the Sixth Year Dance?"
"The very same," Remus replied, amused to see Sirius so shocked.
Sirius still looked dumb struck, his jaw hanging open a little. He grabbed the port and guzzled it, ignoring Remus' protest. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, the Love Doctor shook his head slowly as if to let it sink in. "Well, well, well. Funny how the world changes, eh?"
Remus sighed in annoyance. "Look, I don't need any match making on your part."
"You don't? What a pity," Sirius remarked casually. "How do you feel about her, then?"
"None of your business."
Sirius stood up, grinning in a way that reminded Remus of a banshee. "I'm making it my business."