Truth Amid the Lies
By Anne B. Walsh
Fifty-one months later:
It strikes me, Remus Lupin mused â€˜aloud’ as he pushed a luggage trolley through King’s Cross Station, that none of us have the proper attitude for returning to school except those of us not actually going.
Ah, but several of us are not returning to school, but rather going there for the first time. Danger cast a tolerant glance towards the jubilant trio of eleven-year-olds in front of them, chattering rapidly together about the marvelous times they’d have at Hogwarts. And it makes a difference to be on the other side of the desk, I think. Although you never minded school, did you?
No, I never did. I suppose I’m unnatural that way.
Danger chuckled. Learning magic is a little different than memorizing facts and figures one will never use in the real world. Which would explain the attitude of certain members of our party. If Meghan sticks her lip out any further, I think she’ll trip on it.
"Come on, Pearl, it isn’t that long to wait," Sirius coaxed. "Just three years. Think about poor Marcusâ€”he’s got to wait eight whole years. He won’t ever be at school the same time Harry is!"
"Yeah!" Marcus added from atop his father’s shoulders. "It not fair!"
"Three years is so a long time to wait," Meghan said, her arms crossed. "It’s almost as long as Rosie’s or Marcus’s whole life! And Abbey gets to go even though she’s just a baby!"
"That is true," Lily said, dropping back with her daughter by the hand, "but think about this, Meghan. Once you get to school, you have to learn to do magic their way, not your way. While you’re still at home, you can still learn all the secrets. Especially if you have a special friend who’s very good at magic and enjoys teaching a student who really wants to learn."
"Ohhhhh." Meghan nodded hard. "I understand."
"Besides," Aletha added, "a little bird told me that there might be an opening on the staff of Hogwarts next year. For a Potions professor. You don’t know anyone who’s good with potions, do you, now, girls?"
Rosie Potter giggled. "You silly, Letha," she said with all the assurance of four years of experience. "You gonna be professor? Like Moony?"
"Yes, I think I might be a professor like Moony. And that would mean I’d need quarters at the school. And if certain people behave themselves between now and then..." Aletha bestowed withering glares upon Marcus and Meghan. "...they might even be allowed to come along."
"Leaves Padfoot right out," James said from behind them, where he was maneuvering another trolley. "I don’t think he’s ever behaved himself in his life."
Remus tuned out the squabble and smiled at the small person perched atop the trunks on his trolley. "Ready for another train ride, sweetheart?" he said.
"Yes!" Abigail Lupin, age three and a half, bounced up and down, her grin altering not a whit. "I wanna ride on the train, and pet the avisible horsies, and go to the feast! And then play with the house-elves and help Mummy and Daddy make lessons!"
"That’s right," Danger said, snatching at her daughter’s collar as one of the trunks shifted. "And somewhere in thereâ€”oofâ€”" She released Abbey, put her hands on her back, and stretched. "Somewhere in there, you’re getting a baby brother. Or sister."
"Yay baby!" Abbey bounced once more, then slid down from the trunks and trotted back to Remus. "I love you, Daddy," she said with little-girl seriousness. "You love me?"
"Oh, yes," Remus said, freeing one hand from the trolley to stroke the cheek of his miracle. "I loved you before you were born." And not just because you were the twelfth in our Pack magic, the tipping point that let Harry beat Voldemort... but that certainly didn’t hurt...
"You still love me when baby gets born?" Abbey asked worriedly.
"I will always love you, my little joy." Remus tugged one small brown ringlet. "More than you can possibly know."
"Nuh-uh." Abbey shook her head. "I know lots. I know this much." She spread her arms wide.
"Well, there’s a lot more to learn," Remus said, chuckling. "There’s always more to learn. Now go say good-bye to Rosie. You’re not going to see her again until the first Quidditch match in November."
Abbey ran back towards the other adults, Danger following at a more sedate pace. Remus watched them go, his trolley slowing almost to a stop.
"Knut for your thoughts," said James from his other side.
"I was just thinking about how beautiful they are," Remus said softly.
"Know the feeling." James rested his arms on the handle of the trolley. "Of course, there was a time I didn’t think I’d ever see them again. Or at all."
"And I know that one." Remus grinned. "I’d say we’re even."
"Pretty much." James held out his hand. "Shake on it?"
"Gladly." Remus reached for his friend’s hand, then paused. "What have you got on there?"
"Moony!" James assumed a highly indignant expression. "How dare you insinuate that I would prank a simple, friendly handshake? I’m hurt. Hurt, I tell you."
"What is it?" Remus repeated, fixing James with a glare.
James snorted. "Bulbadox powder. And Padfoot owes me a Galleon. I told you it wouldn’t work," he called over his shoulder.
"Bollocks," Sirius said, snapping his fingers.
Six hands smacked him as high as their respective owners could reach.
"Ow!" Sirius glared upwards at his son. "Et tu, Marce?"
"Tigermum and Mama Letha and Danger say I whack you if you say words like that in front of me," Marcus said righteously.
Sirius pouted. "Everybody picks on me."
"Come on!" Harry shouted over his shoulder from just in front of the wall between platforms nine and ten; Draco and Hermione must have already gone through, as they were nowhere to be seen. "We’re going to miss the train!"
"All right, here we come," Lily called back. "Come on, girls, let’s run!"
Remus smiled, watching from his trolley as Lily and the girls vanished through the wall, Aletha, Danger, and Sirius with Marcus close behind. He had never been able to decide which he liked better: summers, when the entire Pack could gather at the Manor Den and luxuriate in their time together, or the school year, when he could pass along to hungry young minds the knowledge he so enjoyed gathering.
And if that’s the worst problem in my lifeâ€”that I can’t decide which part of it is betterâ€”
"Moony?" James snapped his fingers under Remus’ nose. "You awake?"
"Coming." Remus shook his head and started for the wall masking platform nine and three-quarters.
I have it good. Very, very good.
And that is, without a doubt, the truth.
Nearby, and yet impossibly far away, a being who no longer even knew his own name howled in unceasing rage.
I can still escape... still escape... it is not impossible, not for me... I will escape, and have my revenge...
But deep down, he knew it was a lie.
Well, this is it. End of the road for this fic. Hope you've enjoyed! Please let me know!