In the crowd, Fred and George looked at each other, and a smile appeared at the corner of their mouths.
Next thing you know, the two went straight to Professor Lupin relaxed.
“You look so handsome, Professor!” Fred walked over and embraced him.
“Yes, this is the best disguise I’ve ever seen on you!” George also followed and hugged Lupin.
Fred and George laughed as if they were attending a masquerade party. The two people had a few good jokes with Lupin and the mood gradually lightened up.
Behind them, other Gryffindor students were also coming to embrace Lupin.
Right before the hug, their professor’s horrifying looks made them nervous as if driven to death. But after it, every one of them showed a sense of honor and pride like never before. Their fear of the werewolf was fading out, and Colin even took a picture of professor Lupin.
Dumbledore, Fudge and the professors did not speak. They quietly watched Gryffindor students stepping up to hug Lupin in his werewolf form.
With the exception of Dumbledore with the faint smile on his face, all the other were surprised to assist such a scene that they had never seen in their lifetime: a terrifying werewolf standing there silently all in tears and before him, young wizards lining up to hug him. Everyone whispered a few encouraging words to Prof. Lupin.
It was absolutely overwhelming to watch such an “Arabian Nights” kind of event happening in real life.
They were letting go of discrimination and prejudice, and believing and embracing the werewolf with absolute trust.
Such a thing can only be done by young wizards, and perhaps it can only be done at Hogwarts.
Everybody came forward one after another. The last was Ginny, whose tearful eyes were all red.
Needless to say, she had cried the most among those who were scared.
After hearing that Evan and Hermione were attacked by a werewolf, she was so afraid that Lupin was losing his senses and attacking Ron and Harry.
Now that she found out that it was all a misunderstanding, she really felt embarrassed.
“I’m sorry, Professor!” Ginny said as she approached to hug Lupin, with her face all blushed, “I just shouldn’t have yelled at you. I shouldn’t have said that you are a monster. I hope that you can forgive me!”
Ginny finished her words and tightly embraced Professor Lupin.
Then she walked to Hermione. Now, with the exception of Ron, all Gryffindor students stood behind Professor Lupin and they all chose to trust him.
Expectantly, everyone looked at Ron who was standing in the corner, waiting for him to come over with them.
As time passed, the anticipation on their faced gradually faded. All the Gryffindor students were actually surprised that he did not come. He actually did not move at all. He stood alone in the corner with his head down and they didn’t know what was going through his mind.
Besides Ron, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin students were all in their places. None of them stepped up to embrace professor Lupin.
“Ron, what are you waiting for? Come on!” Said Harry anxiously. This night, he had felt that Ron was acting stranger than ever.
“I can’t! It’s not safe!” Ron raised his head sharply and replied bluntly. “He’ll bite us. He’s a werewolf!”
“Professor Lupin is safe!” Harry shouted angrily. “Didn’t you hear what Evan just said? The Wolfsbane potion helps him keep his mind!”
“No, he just attacked me…”
“Please, Ron!” Hermione also looked at Ron, her eyes shining with crystal tears. “Please wake up! There must be a misunderstanding here!”
“I don’t see any misunderstanding!” Malfoy said suddenly, with a malicious smile on his lips.
“Only idiots would believe in a werewolf, even if he was taking some kind of ridiculous potion!”
“Shut up, Malfoy!” said Harry fiercely. “Ron, what the hell are you doing? Are you just going to fall to Malfoy’s lies?!”
“I only believe in my own eyes, Harry!” Ron said in a monotonous voice. “I won’t pass. It’s not safe. Before you came in, the werewolf was ready to attack me. We should have him locked up in Azkaban.”
Evan looked at Ron in surprise and he felt that there was something really strange.
Ron’s behavior this night has been just too unusual. And he was the first to arrive on the scene, so his testimony was very important.
Evan had clearly said enough to prove that professor Lupin was safe. He told everyone that he was taking the Wolfsbane potion. All Gryffindor students stepped up to side with the professor. They are Ron’s family and best friends. But still, Ron insisted on accusing Lupin. This was not the Ron that Evan knew.
And then, there was Lucius Malfoy who had been standing by sneering, with his plot to drive Dumbledore out of school.
That used to be impossible to achieve on any given day. But it has become unusually easy tonight. As long as it can be proved that Lupin was attacking students, Dumbledore will have to bear the responsibility for that. He would have to resign from his position under pressure of the worried parents in shadow of the coinciding werewolf riot.
After all, he was the one who hired Professor Lupin as a teacher for the Defence Against the Dark Arts class.
This should make the bulk of Lucius’ conspiracy. But Evan didn’t think it was that simple.
He didn’t know where Lucius found out about Lupin’s secret. After all, many people knew about it.
It wasn’t important. What was key in Lucius’ plan was proving that Professor Lupin was as dangerous as other werewolves. For that to happen, Lupin should actually attack students.
That was the only way for Lucius’ conspiracy to work.
If the one that professor Lupin was accused of attacking was to be a Slytherin, Evan would have understood that, and it would fit well his idea of the possible conspiracy.
But the last one he expected to help Lucius was Ron. Everything seemed to go back to Ron. With his recent behavior, Evan felt clearly that there was something wrong with him.
It was the same feeling that he’s had last year, back when Tom Riddle controlled Ron.
Evan suddenly realized it, Ron should not be…
In the Office, Harry felt betrayed when he heard Ron’s answer.
It felt similar to what he felt when he tried to think about his parents being betrayed by their best friend, Sirius Black.
Heartbroken, he burst into tears.
He wiped off his tears hard, and he still had more anger within his heart than ever.
“You are lying. Professor Lupin did not harm us at anytime. He did not attack anyone!” Harry shouted madly.
“You should shut up, Potter! Stop shouting like a mindless troll,” said Malfoy with a sly grin. “The way I see it, Weasley is just making the wise choice! Anyone with a bit of intelligence would never take even half a step towards the monster next to you!”
Malfoy was right. Besides Gryffindor students, no one had stepped up to side with Professor Lupin.
It meant that they did not trust him. They did not believe he was safe in his werewolf form.
All that Evan and the rest of the Gryffindor students have done was in vain.