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J.K.Rîwling >> Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (page 44)


A shadow fell across them and they looked 'tip to see a very bleary-eyed Hagrid, mopping his sweaty face with one of his tablecloth-sized handkerchiefs and beaming down at them.

“Know I shouldn' feel happy, after wha' happened las' night,” he said. “I mean, Black escapin' again, an, everythin'—but guess what?”

“What?” they said, pretending to look curious.

“Beaky! He escaped! He's free! Bin celebratin' all night!”

“That's wonderful!” said Hermione, giving Ron a reproving look because he looked as though he was close to laughing.

“Yeah... can't've tied him up properly,” said Hagrid, gazing happily out over the grounds. “I was worried this mornin', mind... thought he mighta met Professor Lupin on the grounds, but Lupin says he never ate anythin' las' night...”

“What?” said Harry quickly.

“Blimey, haven' yeh heard?” said Hagrid, his smile fading a little. He lowered his voice, even though there was nobody in sight. “Er—Snape told all the Slytherins this mornin'... Thought everyone'd know by now... Professor Lupin's a werewolf, see. An' he was loose on the grounds las' night... He's packin' now, o' course.

“He's packing?” said Harry, alarmed. “Why?”

“Leavin', isn' he?” said Hagrid, looking surprised that Harry had to ask. “Resigned firs' thing this mornin'. Says he can't risk it happenin again.

Harry scrambled to his feet.

“I'm going to see him,” he said to Ron and Hermione.

“But if he's resigned —”

“— doesn't sound like there's anything we can do —”

“I don't care. I still want to see him. I'll meet you back here.”

Lupin's office door was open. He had already packed most of his things. The grindylow's empty tank stood next to his battered old suitcase, which was open and nearly full. Lupin was bending over something on his desk and looked up only when Harry knocked on the door.

“I saw you coming,” said Lupin, smiling. He pointed to the parchment he had been poring over. It was the Marauder's Map.

“I just saw Hagrid,” said Harry. “And he said you'd resigned. It's not true, is it?”

“I'm afraid it is,” said Lupin. He started opening his desk drawers and taking out the contents.

“Why?” said Harry. “The Ministry of Magic don't think you were helping Sirius, do they?”

Lupin crossed to the door and closed it behind Harry.

“No. Professor Dumbledore managed to convince Fudge that I was trying to save your lives.” He sighed. “That was the final straw for Severus. I think the loss of the Order of Merlin hit him hard. So he—er—accidentally let slip that I am a werewolf this morning at breakfast.”

“You're not leaving just because of that!” said Harry.

Lupin smiled wryly.

“This time tomorrow, the owls will start arriving from parents... They will not want a werewolf teaching their children, Harry. And after last night, I see their point. I could have bitten any of you... That must never happen again.”

“You're the best Defense Against the Dark Artsteacher we've ever had!” said Harry. “Don't go!”

Lupin shook his head and didn't speak. He carried on emptying his drawers. Then, while Harry was trying to think of a good argument to make him stay, Lupin said, “From what the headmaster told me this morning, you saved a lot of lives last night, Harry. if I'm proud of anything I've done this year, it's how much you've learned... Tell me about your Patronus.”

“How d'you know about that?” said Harry, distracted.

“What else could have driven the dementors back?”

Harry told Lupin what had happened. When he'd finished, Lupin was smiling again.

“Yes, your father was always a stag when he transformed,” he said. “You guessed right... that's why we called him Prongs.”

Lupin threw his last few books into his case, closed the desk drawers, and turned to look at Harry.

“Here—I brought this from the Shrieking Shack last night,” he said, handing Harry back the Invisibility Cloak. “And...” He hesitated, then held out the Marauder's Map too. “I am no longer your teacher, so I don't feel guilty about giving you back this as well. It's no use to me, and I daresay you, Ron, and Hermione will find uses for it.”

Harry took the map and grinned.

“You told me Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs would've wanted to lure me out of school... you said they'd have thought it was funny.”

“And so we would have,” said Lupin, now reaching down to close his case. “I have no hesitation in saying that James would have been highly disappointed if his son had never found any of the secret passages out of the castle.”

There was a knock on the door. Harry hastily stuffed the Marauder's Map and the Invisibility Cloak into his pocket.

It was Professor Dumbledore. He didn't look surprised to see Harry there.

“Your carriage is at the gates, Remus,” he said.

“Thank You, Headmaster.”

Lupin picked up his old suitcase and the empty grindylow tank.

“Well—good-bye, Harry,” he said, smiling. “It has been a real pleasure teaching you. I feel sure we'll meet again sometime. Headmaster, there is no need to see me to the gates, I can manage...”

Harry had the impression that Lupin wanted to leave as quickly as possible.

“Good-bye, then, Remus,” said Dumbledore soberly. Lupin shifted the grindylow tank slightly so that he and Dumbledore could shake hands. Then, with a final nod to Harry and a swift smile, Lupin left the office.

Harry sat down in his vacated chair, staring glumly at the floor. He heard the door close and looked up. Dumbledore was still there.

“Why so miserable, Harry?” he said quietly. “You should be very proud of yourself after last night.”

“It didn't make any difference,” said Harry bitterly. “Pettigrew got away.”

“Didn't make any difference?” said Dumbledore quietly, “It made all the difference in the world, Harry. You helped uncover the truth. You saved an innocent man from a terrible fate.”

Terrible. Something stirred in Harry's memory. Greater and more terrible than ever before... Professor Trelawney's prediction!

“Professor Dumbledore—yesterday, when I was having my Divination exam, Professor Trelawney went very—very strange.”

“Indeed?” said Dumbledore. “Er—stranger than usual, you mean?”

“Yes... her voice went all deep and her eyes rolled and she said ...she said Voldemort's servant was going to set out to return to him before midnight... She said the servant would help him come back to power.” Harry stared up at Dumbledore. “And then she sort of became normal again, and she couldn't remember anything she'd said. Was it—was she making a real prediction?”

Dumbledore looked mildly impressed.

“Do you know, Harry, I think she might have been.” he said thoughtfully. “Who'd have thought it? That brings her total of real predictions up to two. I should offer her a pay raise...”

“But —” Harry looked at him, aghast. How could Dumbledore take this so calmly?

“But—I stopped Sirius and Professor Lupin from killing Pettigrew! That makes it my fault if Voldemort comes back!”

“It does not,” said Dumbledore quietly. “Hasn't your experience with the Time-Turner taught you anything, Harry? The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed... Professor Trelawney, bless her, is living proof of that... You did a very noble thing, in saving Pettigrew's life.”

“But if he helps Voldemort back to power

“Pettigrew owes his life to you. You have sent Voldemort a deputy who is in your debt... When one wizard saves another wizard's life, it creates a certain bond between them... and I'm much mistaken if Voldemort wants his servant in the debt of Harry Potter.”

“I don't want a connection with Pettigrew!” said Harry. “He betrayed my parents!”

“This is magic at its deepest, its most impenetrable, Harry. But trust me... the time may come when you will be very glad you saved Pettigrew's life.”

Harry couldn't imagine when that would be. Dumbledore looked as though he knew what Harry was thinking.

“I knew your father very well, both at Hogwarts and later, Harry,” he said gently. “He would have saved Pettigrew too, I am sure of it.”

Harry looked up at him. Dumbledore wouldn't laugh—he could tell Dumbledore...

“I thought it was my dad who'd conjured my Patronus. I mean, when I saw myself across the lake ...I thought I was seeing him.” “An easy mistake to make,” said Dumbledore softly. “I expect you'll tire of hearing it, but you do look extraordinarily like James. Except for the eyes... you have your mother's eyes.

Harry shook his head.

“It was stupid, thinking it was him,” he muttered. “I mean, I knew he was dead.”

“You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night.”

It took a moment for Harry to realize what Dumblefore had said.

Last night Sirius told me all about how they became Animagi,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “An extraordinary achievement—not least, keeping it quiet from me. And then I remembered the most unusual form your Patronus took, when it charged Mr. Malfoy down at your Quidditch match against Ravenclaw. You know, Harry, in a way, you did see your father last night... You found him inside yourself.”

And Dumbledore left the office, leaving Harry to his very confused thoughts.

Nobody at Hogwarts now knew the truth of what had happened the night that Sirius, Buckbeak, and Pettigrew had vanished except Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Professor Dumbledore. As the end of term approached, Harry heard many different theories about what had really happened, but none of them came close to the truth.

Malfoy was furious about Buckbeak. He was convinced that Hagrid had found a way of smuggling the hippogriff to safety, and seemed outraged that he and his father had been outwitted by a gamekeeper. Percy Weasley, meanwhile, had much to say on the subject of Sirius's escape.

“If I manage to get into the Ministry, I'll have a lot of proposals to make about Magical Law Enforcement!” he told the only person who would listen—his girlfriend, Penelope.

Though the weather was perfect, though the atmosphere was so

cheerful, though he knew they had achieved the near impossible in helping Sirius to freedom, Harry had never approached the end of a school year in worse spirits.

He certainly wasn't the only one who was sorry to see Professor Lupin go. The whole of Harry's Defense Against the Dark Arts class was miserable about his resignation.

“Wonder what they'll give us next year?” said Seamus Finnigan gloomily.

“Maybe a vampire,” suggested Dean Thomas hopefully.

It wasn't only Professor Lupin's departure that was weighing on Harry's mind. He couldn't help thinking a lot about Professor Trelawney's prediction. He kept wondering where Pettigrew was now, whether he had sought sanctuary with Voldemort yet. But the thing that was lowering Harry's spirits most of all was the prospect of returning to the Dursleys. For maybe half an hour, a glorious half hour, he had believed he would be living with Sirius from now on... his parents' best friend... It would have been the next best thing to having his own father back. And while no news of Sirius was definitely good news, because it meant he had successfully gone into hiding, Harry couldn't help feeling miserable when he thought of the home he might have had, and the fact that it was now impossible.

The exam results came out on the last day of term. Harry, Ron, and Hermione had passed every subject. Harry was amazed that he had got through Potions. He had a shrewd suspicion that Dumbledore might have stepped in to stop Snape failing him on purpose. Snape's behavior toward Harry over the past week had been quite alarming. Harry wouldn't have thought it possible that Snape's dislike for him could increase, but it certainly had. A muscle twitched unpleasantly at the corner of Snape's thin mouth every time he looked at Harry, and he was constantly flexing his fingers, as though itching to place them around Harry's throat.

Percy had got his top-grade N. E. W. T. s; Fred and George had scraped a handful of O. W. L. s each. Gryffindor House, meanwhile, largely thanks to their spectacular performance in the Quidditch Cup, had won the House championship for the third year running. This meant that the end of term feast took place amid decorations of scarlet and gold, and that the Gryffindor table was the noisiest of the lot, as everybody celebrated. Even Harry managed to forget about the journey back to the Dursleys the next day as he ate, drank, talked, and laughed with the rest.

As the Hogwarts Express pulled out of the station the next mornIng, Hermione gave Harry and Ron some surprising news.

“I went to see Professor McGonagall this morning, just before breakfast. I've decided to drop Muggle Studies.”

“But you passed your exam with three hundred and twenty percent!” said Ron.

“I know,” sighed Hermione, “but I can't stand another year like this one. That Time-Turner, it was driving me mad. I've handed it in. Without Muggle Studies and Divination, I'll be able to have a normal schedule again.”

I still can't believe you didn't tell us about it,” said Ron grumpily. “We're supposed to be your friends.”

“I promised I wouldn't tell anyone,” said Hermione severely. She looked around at Harry, who was watching Hogwarts disappear from view behind a mountain. Two whole months before he'd see it again...

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: J.K.Rîwling
Viewed 112269 times

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