Psalm 14: They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
A student was missing.
Severus Snape had not shown up this afternoon for his Potions exam. As Severus was particularly gifted with Potions, and therefore the Professor's favorite, this was highly unusual. When queried, none of his classmates could recall seeing him in classes that same morning either.
The infirmary had been checked, but Poppy had not seen him. He was not in the dungeons, nor the Slytherin common room. His year mates claimed they had not seen him since the day before. His bed was made, his school things packed neatly into his knapsack, and his books undisturbed.
When the young man did not show up in his bed that night, Dumbledore set the prefects and teachers to search the grounds of Hogwarts, and prepared to owl Severus's mother.
Dumbledore sat up sleepless that night, receiving slow trickles of information from the searchers who went into the Forbidden Forest. All reports were negative.
As the night waned, so hope waned out of the search parties.
Minerva and Poppy stayed behind in the castle, and periodically, would check in on him to hear of any word. Minerva stayed to supervise the remaining children, and Poppy stayed to be with her monthly patient.
As the sun rose, Dumbledore called the search parties back. Classes had been called off for the day, as the teachers and the prefects all needed to get some sleep. Besides, the Ministry had been alerted, and was sending additional people to aid the school and investigate the disappearance.
Severus's mother had not sent a response, but morning saw her sweeping though the gate to the Headmaster's office. The students watched her pass, pausing in their games.
Most students were relatively unaffected by their missing peer. Life went on in the Great Hall and in the Common Rooms, with children playing Exploding Snap and Gob stones and enjoying the unexpected day off.
Some of them, however, seemed tense and unsure.
Professor Flitwick had reported an altercation between Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew that had occurred in the hall by Gryffindor Tower.
Sirius had been shaking the smaller boy. Young Pettigrew had been sporting a bloody nose and some odd marks on his hands and arms.
Flitwick had said it looked like he had been bitten by a very large dog.
"I swear! I swear!" Peter had whispered. "You know I won't tell. I would never betray you."
When they had seen him, Black had dragged Peter through the portrait, and neither had been seen again that day.
Dumbledore and Madame Snape awaited word together. Food and drink were brought, but remained untouched. Madame Snape sat with her hands folded in her lap, looking to be carved of stone. She only moved to look up when a report was brought to the Headmaster's office.
Her head turned sharply towards the door when it opened again.
"Pardon me, Headmaster. May I speak with you privately?" Poppy Pomfrey hovered in the doorway.
Madame Snape barely acknowledged Dumbledore as he excused himself and followed Poppy down to the infirmary.
"What is it, Poppy?"
She stood; wringing her hands, and shook her head. "Oh, Albus, I don't know what to do."
Dumbledore examined her over the rim of his glasses.
"I became concerned, Albus, when I went down to the tunnel yesterday morning to get Mister Lupin. It is never...pleasant in that place, you know that. However, there seemed to be," she hesitated, "more..blood than there usually is."
She began to pace as she continued her story at a whisper.
"At first I thought that it was possible that Remus had just had a rougher night than usual. But Remus has been talking to himself. In his sleep."
Dumbledore straightened. "Go on. What has he been saying?"
Poppy stopped, and turned to face him. Her eyes were steady. "He says, 'I'm so sorry' and 'what have I done?' over and over. Sometimes he will add, 'Sirius, no.'" She licked her lips. "But it wasn't until he said, 'James, get Severus out of here!' that I came to get you."
"I see." Dumbledore tugged on his beard thoughtfully. "Has anyone seen Potter today?"
Poppy shook her head. "No, he has not come down to visit. None of those three have. And that's very unusual. Normally, I have to hit them with a broom to get them to budge from here after one of Remus's visits, but not today."
"I will take care of this, Poppy." Dumbledore turned to go. "Say nothing to anyone else. Not even Remus."
Dumbledore checked in with the Ministry searches, but as he expected, nothing had turned up.
He sent Minerva up to keep Madame Snape company.
"What are you up to, Albus?" Professor McGonagall's worried eyes examined him.
"What I must, Minerva."
Albus began the slow climb to Gryffindor Tower, almost certain of what had happened. But he had to speak to some students first, before he could act.
The entire Common room hushed instantly as he walked in. All heads turned his way, waiting to see what could actually bring the Headmaster up to the seventh floor.
The pretty prefect moved from her game of chess, her face concerned. "Yes, Professor?"
"Miss Evans, will you locate Black, Potter, and Pettigrew for me?"
Lily nodded, worry in her eyes. "I believe they are up in their room, sir. Would you like me to send one of the boys to get them?"
"That won't be necessary, Miss Evans." Dumbledore looked at all the frozen faces around him and half smiled. "There is no need to stop with your games, children. Everything will be fine."
No one moved.
Lily took a half step towards him. "Excuse me, sir. But have you heard anything about Severus yet?"
"No, Miss Evans, I regret to inform you that we have not. We're you and Mister Snape friends?"
"Not close friends, Professor, and possibly not what you would call friends." Lily looked at her hands. "He would help me sometimes, in Potions, and I would help him with Charms."
"And did you not find him unpleasant, Miss Evans? That is the complaint I have heard most often."
"He was difficult to get along with, that is true, Professor. But he was not cruel, as a habit. He just did not bother to speak with people he saw as immature."
Dumbledore examined the redhead standing in front of him. She, for one, seemed honestly concerned about poor Severus.
"Do you think," she hesitated. "Do you think that James and Sirius had anything to do with Severus going missing?"
Dumbledore frowned faintly. "Have any of them said anything to you?"
"No, sir. But, Severus is the person Sirius likes to prank most often." She lowered her voice. "Most of the time, Headmaster, those pranks are rather nasty. I can't help but think that this is a prank that went wrong somewhere."
"I will take that into advisement, Miss Evans. However, I do need to speak with all three young men. Will you see we are not interrupted?"
"Of course, Professor."
Lily moved to guard the stairwell of the boy's dormitory. Dumbledore received a grave nod from her as he passed.
There was muffled pleading voice leaking through the door to the four boys bedroom.
Dumbledore increased his pace, unsure of what three panicked boys could do to each other. Pushing the door open, the pleading stopped abruptly.
Only one boy looked at him.
A terrified Peter Pettigrew crouched over James Potter's still frame on the bed.
Dumbledore was already moving rapidly, wanting to stop whatever it was Peter had been doing.
It was only after he had backhanded the boy, knocking him onto the floor, that he noticed the bloody cloth and the bucket of water beside James's bed.
"Please Professor," Pettigrew implored as he staggered to his feet. "He won't wake up. And he feels too hot."
Dumbledore pulled Potter's clumsy bandages back from his shoulder. It was raw and painful looking. James stirred underneath the Headmaster's hands, moaning in pain.
"We need to get him to the hospital wing, right away." Dumbledore easily lifted the boy up into his arms. He swept down the stairs, past a startled Lily Evans, moving through whispering students, and to the Infirmary, trailing Pettigrew behind him.
"Poppy!" Dumbledore barked. He lowered the boy as gently as possible onto an empty cot. No students were currently in attendance, with the exception of Mister Lupin. And he was tucked into the back corner with a privacy screen.
Madame Pomfrey was already bending over James anxiously.
"Why did you not bring him here sooner?" She asked Peter sharply.
Peter twisted a blood stained rag in his hands. "Sirius said.."
"Sirius?" Dumbledore interrupted. "Where is Mister Black? Quickly!"
"I don't know. I swear." Peter looked miserable. "I haven't seen him since this morning. He told me to take care of James, and that he would be back later after he had fixed things."
Dumbledore drew Peter away from James's bedside to give Poppy room to work on him. "Mister Pettigrew, it is very important that you tell me everything that has happened. Do you understand?"
Pettigrew grew pale. "You don't understand, Professor. Please. I can't tell you."
"You must, boy!" Dumbledore clasped his shoulders. "If you don't, then I cannot promise what will happen to either yourself or Mister Lupin, if it is what I think it is."
The boy glanced over his shoulder at the screen protecting Remus from the rest of the room, and slowly nodded his head.
"I don't know it all. I wasn't there."
"Tell me what you do know, and what you think happened. But first, and most importantly, was Potter bitten?"
Peter looked down at the rag in his hands. He nodded.
Madame Pomfrey and Professor Dumbledore exchanged a single horrified look.
Peter stuttered, "I was there for the first part. Snape and Sirius were getting into it over something stupid, like usual, so I really wasn't paying too much attention. But I heard Snape say something about the Shrieking Shack, and Padf..Sirius dared him to go down there two nights ago." He looked up with anguished eyes. "Sirius dared him to go down to the Shrieking Shack. On the night of the full moon."
Dumbledore sank into a chair, and gestured for another to come over for the boy. Absently, he poured a teacup and a saucer out of his wand, filling it with a gesture. Handing it to Peter, he asked, "And did he go? Did you stop him?"
Peter clutched the teacup with shaking hands. "Siruis saw me, and made me swear not to tell. He said that Severus wouldn't do it, that he was too much of a coward." The boy took a cautious sip of tea. "I didn't think he would actually go down there either, but I told James, just in case."
Dumbledore prompted gently, "And then what happened?"
"I don't really know," Pettigrew admitted. "A lot of confusion. James took off to yell at Siruis, but by then, Remus was already in the tunnel, and I couldn't get to him to warn him with Madame Pomfrey there."
A low moan interrupted the conversation, and both Professor Dumbledore and Peter turned towards the sound.
Madame Pomfrey was propping a groggy James Potter up in the cot.
"James!" In his haste, Peter's teacup dropped to the floor and shattered into confetti.
James blinked towards the smaller boy, a dazed expression still on his face. "Hi, Peter. Are you sick? Why are we in the Infirmary?"
"Peter, will you go sit with Remus, please?" Professor Dumbledore asked. "I need to speak with Mister Potter alone."
Peter hesitated, looking worriedly at his friend's shoulder. "Yes, Professor." Pettigrew slowly made his way across the room, turning back to look at James one more time before ducking behind the privacy screen.
Dumbledore waited while Madame Pomfrey helped James drink a nasty looking potion.
His color improved rapidly, and his eyes focused on Dumbledore's face. "Hello, Headmaster. I would say it's nice to see you, but I think that might be out of place."
Dumbledore half smiled at the boy over his glasses. "Hello, Mister Potter. I wish we did not need to have this conversation, but I fear we have no choice."
The boy sighed and touched his injured shoulder. "I know, sir. How much did Peter tell you?"
"Just that Mister Black dared Severus Snape to enter a very dangerous place on the full moon. And that you went to speak to Black."
James nodded. "I was hoping that Peter was wrong. Sometimes Peter doesn't understand when Sirius is kidding. But when I got there, Sirius wasn't exactly talking. He got really defensive about it. Said it was a joke, and no one would get hurt."
Dumbledore waited while Potter readjusted on the cot.
"I can't understand how Sirius could have said that. No matter how annoying Snape could be, I can't believe that Sirius could even joke about something like that."
"There are some pieces I am missing, Mister Potter. Before we get to what happened in the tunnel with Snape and yourself, I think it is about time you tell me about the four of you."
Potter squirmed a little under the Professor's intense stare. "What do you already know?"
"That you, Mister Black, and Mister Pettigrew are aware of Mister Lupin's unusual circumstances, and that you have found a rather unique way to protect him."
James relaxed a fraction. "So, you do know we are Animagi? Remus and I were pretty sure you did, but Sirius was convinced we had gotten away with it."
"Very little, Mister Potter, goes on in the school that I do not know about," Dumbledore said. "However, the things I have missed in the last day or so are horrifying. I need to know what happened to Severus. His mother is sitting in my office, and I have no idea if her son is dead or alive."
James paled and leaned back against his pillows. He ran his hand through his unruly hair and sighed. "When Sirius didn't tell me anything, I went looking for Snape. He wasn't in his common room or in the dungeons, so I figured he had gone down into the tunnel. I..." James swallowed hard. "I..I was already too late. I saw the wolf jumping, and even though I changed, I wasn't quick enough."
Dumbledore pulled a brightly colored handkerchief from his sleeve and handed it to the distraught boy.
Potter took it gratefully. "Professor Dumbledore, Severus Snape is dead." He laughed wryly. "Remus killed him. And bit me." He ran his hands over his face. "What are we going to do, Headmaster?"
The professor leaned forward and touched James's arm. "We will do what we must."
They sat in silence for a moment.
"Professor?" James asked. "Where is Sirius?"
"I'm afraid I don't know, Mister Potter. Do you have any suggestions as to where he might go?"
James shook his head. "He came in, at the end. After it was too late. Peter had gotten there earlier, and we had gotten the wolf contained somehow. And then, here comes Sirius, grinning like nothing had happened." He looked down at the handkerchief. "He stopped laughing pretty quickly. He said that we shouldn't tell anyone. That he would handle it."
"Mister Potter?" Dumbledore quietly regained the boy's attention. "We have searched all of Hogwarts, and we have yet to find any sign of Severus Snape. Do you know what Mister Black might have done?"
James shook his head. "Peter might know. I don't even remember getting back to the Tower."
"Very well. Get some rest." Dumbledore patted his hand and stood. "Poppy, will you keep an eye on all three boys? I think Mister Pettigrew would probably like to stay with his friends tonight."
"Of course, Headmaster." Madame Pomfrey walked Professor Dumbledore away from James Potter's bed. "What should we do about Potter's bite?"
"That, Poppy, is something, I don't know," Dumbledore said heavily. "Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go speak to the search parties. If Mister Lupin awakens, or if Sirius Black happens to come in here, please alert me immediately."
Dumbledore nodded to Pomfrey and exited the Infirmary. His steps were slow as he turned towards his office.
There were too many factors to consider in this mess.
Lupin did, in fact, kill another student. But that did not make him guilty of murder. Sirius Black dared Snape to enter the hiding place of a known werewolf. Did that make him an accomplice, or merely an idiot boy playing a cruel prank? Peter Pettigrew had known, and done nothing. What was his part in this? And James Potter, whose only sin was that he was too late to intervene.
Severus Snape had not been a well-liked student. But personal feelings did not change the facts. One student was dead. One was missing, one was recovering from a werewolf bite, and one was the werewolf.
If this all came out, Remus Lupin would be dead.
He, as headmaster, would almost certainly be asked to step down. He could also be imprisoned for risking the lives of every student at Hogwarts by allowing a known lycanthrope to even be here.
With a wave of his hand, his office door opened, reveling Minerva and Madame Snape as they turned to face the door.
He shook his head slightly at the questioning look on Professor McGonagall's face.
Madame Snape looked worn with fatigue, and after hearing that there was still no news, she reluctantly agreed to rest for a while. A prefect was located to lead her to a guest room, leaving Minerva and Albus alone in his office.
She busied herself picking up scattered parchments and abandoned plates on the low table beside the fireplace. Dumbledore lowered himself into his chair with a sigh.
There was silence in the office for several minutes.
Sirius Black, Albus mused to himself. It all comes back to Sirius Black.
"Albus?" Minerva questioned.
He ignored her.
She hesitated uncertainly when she got no response, and then left, shutting the door quietly behind her.
Dumbledore remained still. Through the window, sunset marked the end of the second day Severus Snape had been missing.
An hour later, Madame Pomfrey sent for him, reporting that Remus Lupin was awake and wished to speak to him. The boy sat propped up in bed, looking frail and tired. Remus Lupin looked straight ahead, keeping his hands folded in his lap. His eyes were blank with horror.
Peter Pettigrew and James Potter were both asleep in their own cots. Peter was sprawled on top of the blankets, still wearing clothes and shoes. James was still and pale, his wounded shoulder swollen and painful looking.
"Mister Lupin?" Dumbledore greeted the boy as quietly as possible.
Slowly, Remus lifted his head. "Hello, Professor."
His voice steady, and his face was calm. The pain showed in small ways. The lines around his eyes were deeper. His hands twitched and tightened around the blanket covering him.
Dumbledore lowered himself into a chair beside the young man's bed. "Mister Lupin, I know you have been through much, but I do need to speak with you."
"I understand, Professor." Remus continued to stare straight ahead, not meeting Dumbledore's eyes. "You want to know how I came to kill Severus Snape."
Albus returned the boy's calm with his own. "Yes, I do. And I need to know what you want to do about it."
"I shall turn myself in, of course, Professor." Remus turned to face the Headmaster, face and voice still calm. "It would be irresponsible for a dangerous werewolf to remain where others could be injured." He swallowed, and his composure wavered. "Or killed."
"Will that be wise, Mister Lupin?" Dumbledore examined the boy over the rim of his glasses. "Surely you aware of what happens to werewolves who have attacked humans?"
"They are destroyed. Put down like the animals they are." Remus's voice was far away. "They are taken somewhere private, and injected with a serum that will bring on drowsiness. They are kept sedated until the full moon." He gave Professor Dumbledore a dreamy look. "Then, when the change is just beginning, they are killed. The bodies are displayed as half wolf, half man for the night of the full moon and the following day." He looked down. "My mother will be sad," he continued in an almost normal voice. "She will have nothing to bury. Not even ashes will be left when they are finished."
"Please don't talk like that."
James's eyes were still closed, but he swallowed tightly as he repeated, "Don't talk like that, Remus."
Lupin whispered, "James, you should be resting."
The boys remained where they were. It was like each was speaking to himself.
Potter's mouth quirked in something that was not a smile. "Shouldn't I know what's coming, Remus?" He opened his eyes and examined the ceiling. "Shouldn't I know what is going to happen to me, as well?"
Remus passed his hand over his eyes. "Oh God, James. I'm so sorry."
"Shut up, Remus." James turned away, his voice weary. "It was my own damn fault."
"No." Remus said. "It wasn't."
Both boys sat in silence. Neither looked up nor spoke when Dumbledore left.
Potter stared at the wall, hard eyed and silent. Lupin stared at his hands, picking at angry scabs on his hands. Pettigrew snored on his cot, oblivious to the tension.
The name of Sirius Black remained unspoken.
Dumbledore was weary. He had not slept in almost three days.
And he still had no answers.
And Madame Snape was watching him from the end of the hallway, her eyes accusing.
Lupin planned to turn himself in.
What would it accomplish?
Severus Snape's body had not yet been recovered. As long as it remained missing, there was a chance to...what?
If Remus turned himself in, he would be killed. As would James Potter, once it was discovered that he had been bitten.
And what would happen to little Pettigrew? To Hogwarts?
Three boys lay in the infirmary tonight.
And he did not know what would happen to any of them.
Poppy's strained face appeared at his elbow.
He let her lead him past Madame Snape's angry gaze and into an empty classroom.
"Oh, Headmaster." She wrung her hands. "Oh, Albus. He's gone."
The Professor felt dread building up in his chest. "Who is gone, Poppy?"
"Remus Lupin." She began pacing. "I left all three boys sleeping. I gave all of them a potion to help them sleep, and I left for a few minutes. When I came back, he was gone."
"And the other boys?" Dumbledore asked sharply.
"Sleeping," she waved the question off. "Oh, Albus, where could he have gone?"
Dumbledore was already making his way out of the room. "I am quite afraid I know, Poppy."
He hurried, but he was old, and did not move as fast as he used to. So he was already too late by the time he arrived at the classroom the Ministry had been using as headquarters.
Dumbledore entered, ignored, in a room full of people abuzz with talk about the boy murderer.
"He's confessed," a whisper traveled across the room from a huddle of people. "Said he would take us to the place he did it. And we found what was left of the body."
Dumbledore felt the ache sink into his bones as he sagged. Too late. An innocent boy would soon die. And he could do nothing.
"So you heard." The Minister of Magic stood in front of him. The short man gave him a sympathetic look. "I am sure this is a shock for you, Albus."
"Yes," he managed. "Yes, I am afraid it is."
"There have been no decisions yet, about what will happen." The man gestured for a chair to be brought for the Headmaster.
The weariness overwhelmed him for a moment, and he let his years drag him down into the seat.
"We are still trying to get all of the information." The Minster rested his hands on his knees and leaned forward. His voice was low. "We are not sure what the impact on Hogwarts might be yet, but I will do what I can."
"Thank you." Distantly, Dumbledore wondered why he was not yet in chains as well. Must be that they had not yet figured out that he had known all along about what happened. "May I see him?"
"No, Headmaster." He looked regretful. "While we are questioning him, we need privacy to make sure we get all the facts."
"Have you informed Severus Snape's mother yet?"
"Yes, she was here. But all she has been told is that we are questioning the suspect. She does not yet know who it is, or that young Severus is dead."
Dumbledore gathered his remaining strength and found his feet. "I should go plan what to tell the other students. There are bound to be rumors everywhere by now." He nodded to the Minister. "If you will excuse me."
"I will send for you when we are finished here."
"I appreciate that." The Headmaster left the room much more slowly than he had left it.
The boy had turned himself in. There was nothing to be done for him now.
Now, all there was to do was wait.
It only took about an hour. He was sitting at his desk, staring at the parchment in front of him. How do you announce the death of a student, the possible imprisonment of another, and the headmaster's resignation all in the same speech?
He had made a mistake. And two young boys had already paid for it.
So, when the knock came at the door, it was a relief. A part of this mess would be finished. The truth would be out.
He followed the Ministry representative down the stairs to the entrance hall. They were taking the boy to Headquarters for his trial.
He must be there. The boy was his student, after all. And it was his fault this had happened. It was right that he see him off.
Dumbledore waited, silent in the crowd of students, teachers and Ministry employees.
Madame Snape was lead past, weeping silently. The crowd waited until she was past before beginning to whisper speculatively amongst themselves.
The crowd shifted. A group of Ministry workers hurried down the hallway, blocking who was in the center of the circle.
"Headmaster?" The Minister tapped his shoulder. "Would you like to know what has been decided?"
"Yes, of course." The Headmaster followed the group with his eyes, but turned to follow the Minister.
"I am very sorry to say, Headmaster, that this is a very serious crime. We have never had such a horrible thing happen at a school in our entire history. Not even that mess with the boy with the monster."
"Will the school be closed then, Minister?"
The Minister looked honestly surprised. "Of course not, Headmaster. One bad seed does not make the whole school suspect."
Before Dumbledore had the chance to absorb this, the Minister went on.
"Now, would you like to speak with the..boy, before we take him in for trial?"
"Yes, thank you."
Again, Dumbledore followed the Minister through the hallways of the school. They made their way outside to a waiting coach. There were bars on the windows, and the doors glowed with a faintly malevolent energy.
Dumbledore let himself into the coach. It was dim compared to the brightness of the day outside, and it was a few seconds before he could see.
"I just wanted to say one thing, Professor," said a rough young voice. "I want you to tell Remus that I took care of it, like I said I would."
Dumbledore examined the boy in front of him. "Hello, Mister Black." His voice was extremely mild. "We were getting quite worried about you."
Sirius Black shook his head and smiled unpleasantly. "Don't pretend, Professor. I know what I did."
"And do you know what you are doing now?"
"I told them the truth, Professor." Sirius Black looked straight at him out of exhausted red-rimmed eyes. He shoved filthy dark hair out of his face, chains rattling as he moved. "I killed Snape."
"That is one way of looking at it."
"It is the only way of looking at it," Black interjected sharply. "I killed him, and I dragged his body into the Forbidden Forest and I buried it. End of story."
"And Mister Lupin and Mister Potter?"
Black jerked forward as far as the chains on his arms would let him. "Remus and James had nothing to do with it," he hissed. "I killed Snape."
"Mister Black," Dumbledore said. "You have publicly confessed to the murder of another student. Do you have any idea what will happen to you?"
Black smirked. It was not a pleasant look. "I will be imprisoned in Azkaban. Or killed." He lowered his voice to a harsh whisper. "Better me than Remus. He didn't do anything."
A knock came at the door. "Professor Dumbledore? We need to take the prisoner away now."
Fear flashed through Sirius Black's eyes, but his kept his face uncaring as Dumbledore stood up to leave.
"Professor," the boy hesitated. "Tell Remus, tell James, that I'm so sorry."
As Dumbledore turned to shut the door behind him, the boy inside suddenly looked very young and weary. Sirius watched him leave with haunted eyes.
Dumbledore nodded to the Ministry guards surrounding the carriage. One lifted a hand in acknowledgement, and then turned to signal the others.
The Headmaster stood in front of the school, watching one of his bright students be taken away in chains.
He had never felt so old.
But it was not yet time for him to rest. He still needed to go tell the boys in the Infirmary what had happened.
And Mister Lupin. He had left the Infirmary. If he had not turned himself in, where had he gone?
Minerva McGonagall was waiting for him at the top of the stairs when he re entered the school. Her face was lined with grief as well, but she fell into step with him as he passed her.
"So, now what, Albus?"
"I will need to tell the other students something. And I need to speak with the teachers as well. Will you call a meeting for me, Minerva?"
"Certainly, Albus." Minerva made her way purposefully towards a knot of students blocking the hallway. "We will meet you in half an hour in your office."
"Thank you, Professor McGonagall."
The other teachers were all aware of Remus Lupin's condition. As Snape's death had occurred over the full moon, and involved one of Lupin's closest friends, there would be speculation.
As of now, the only people who knew the truth were himself, Lupin, Pettigrew, Potter, and Poppy.
Could they all be trusted to stay silent?
Would Lupin allow his best friend, the one who was responsible for setting him up to kill, to take the blame for that death?
And how would Potter be explained? It would be noticed if two boys were always absent around the full moon. The other students would not believe that both were always ill at the same time. And the teachers would want to know what had happened that had led to him getting bitten.
For the third time in two days, he made his way back to the Infirmary. Anxious students filled the halls, their talk about Black and what had happened came to his ears.
Lily Evans watched him pass by as she tried to soothe frightened first and second years. They exchanged grave looks, but did not speak.
There was a noticeable absence of students gathered around the Infirmary door. As Dumbledore approached, he saw way.
Remus Lupin was curled up against the door. The other students, some because of fear, some because of sympathy, were giving the blank faced boy a wide berth.
Dumbledore helped the unresisting boy to his feet, and led him back into the Infirmary.
"Why did he do it, Professor?" Remus murmured. "Why did he tell them he killed Snape?" His eyes were glassy and unfocused. "My fault, Sirius. This is my fault."
Dumbledore eased Lupin into a chair, and within seconds the boy was supported by James Potter and Peter Pettigrew.
"Should you be out of bed, Mister Potter?"
James did not take his eyes off of Remus. Peter glanced at Dumbledore, but turned back to his friends.
Dumbledore stepped back, and let them have room to grieve. He made his way to the window, but continued to monitor the quiet voices behind him.
One boy was dead, and four other boys' lives were in shambles.
"No, Mister Lupin. This is not your fault." Dumbledore mused. "It is mine."
Please post a comment on this story.
Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: All Gone Aside
Author: alianora [email] [website]
Details: Standalone | PG-13 | gen | 31k | 08/21/04
Summary: The aftermath of a prank gone horribly wrong
Notes: Written for Victoria P's Psalm Fic challenge, and Cluegirl's Shrieking Shack AU Challenge
Disclaimer/Other: I'm just playing in JK Rowling's Sandbox.
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