Life is never an easy thing… especially when you’re different. Now you’ll have the people who will tell you everyone’s different, and you have nothing to feel ashamed about. But there’s always that very likely chance that you’ll find those few people who will milk it for all it’s worth… which is why you must keep it a secret, your true identity. Then there’s always the chance you’ll find someone who will understand completely, and they promise to be your friend through thick and through thin. Life is perfect then… You have one single, solitary friend who is able to look through you and see who you really are.
The only problem is… what if you didn’t know what they really are?
Remus Lupin woke with a start and sat bolt upright in his bed looking wildly around the room. Then, upon seeing that everything was just as it had been when he had gone to sleep the night before, he threw his blankets off and got down from his bed, shivering as his bare feet touched the cold floor. Remus had had yet another nightmare. This one had been about that fateful night nine years ago when he had wandered, unwittingly, into the forest and had been condemned to a life as a werewolf. The weeks preceding the bite he had been plagued with these nightmares, each growing steadily worse, until his parents had to get him a case of Dreamless Sleep Potions. Then once he had turned ten they thought he was able to stop his nightmares, and they had thought right as they only occurred once in a while.
Remus hurried downstairs, eager to go to Diagon Alley later that afternoon so he could get his school supplies for his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Remus’s first two years at Hogwarts had been anything but fun. Most of his fellow Gryffindors thought him to be a little oddball who read too much for his own good. He was often the butt of many jokes of the Slytherins because of his weak exterior, though they didn’t know how badly Remus could jinx them if he really tried. The boys in his year - James Potter, Sirius Black, and Peter Pettigrew - paid him absolutely no mind, which he was fine with. He didn’t want any of their cruel pranks to be targeted at him. But, despite his first two years, he could only hope that this year things would improve.
“Did you sign my Hogsmeade form, Dad?” Remus asked when he spotted a man with sandy brown hair and grey eyes sitting at the kitchen table.
Mr. Tom Lupin looked over his copy of The Daily Prophet and nodded at his son. Remus used to have those grey eyes before he was bitten. After that they had turned a mysterious golden colour, though it was nearly undetectable and he got away with saying they were hazel to anyone who asked. Remus smiled gratefully. Hogsmeade was the only entire Wizarding village in all of England and third years and up were allowed to visit it on certain weekends.
Of course Remus’s fellow third years had no idea that Remus had been visiting Hogsmeade for a long time before they had, although it wasn’t for any reason that Remus found enjoyable. In Hogsmeade there was a building dubbed the Shrieking Shack., for the reason that every month the villagers would hear ear shattering cries of pain and thought they belonged to a rowdy group of poltergeists. Little did they know that it was Remus Lupin enduring his monthly transformations into a werewolf.
“You’ll love Hogsmeade, Remus,” said the voice of Remus’s sixteen year old brother, Blake. Blake grabbed and apple out of the fruit bowl and took a seat at the table. Blake was the Lupin’s second oldest child, and Remus the third oldest. They had a nineteen year old daughter, Cassie. She worked as a curse breaker for Gringotts Bank, and she was often abroad with her work, but she was expected to be visiting at the end of the week. After Remus’s accident in the forest, Mr. and Mrs. Lupin weren’t sure if they wanted to have another child, but eventually they had Remus’s five year old sister, Lucy.
“My advice, buy everything out of Zonko’s before those boys in your year do,” Blake said, leaning over the table to where Remus had just sat down. That was the typical advice of Blake, who was very protective of Remus, even before he had become a werewolf. Blake was always looking out for him. It was only because of Remus’s protests that he didn’t beat the pulp out of the people who picked on him at school.
“Yeah,” Remus agreed. He knew the James, Sirius and Peter would love to get their hands on every prank item within the store, and that spelled danger for anyone who wasn’t part of their clique, Remus included.
“That’s not the only reason to go to Hogsmeade,” reminded Mr. Lupin from behind his paper.
“Well, yeah,” Blake agreed grudgingly. “If you’re interested in the history of it, like Remus probably is.” He winked at his brother and got up from the table. “What time are we leaving to go to Diagon Alley?”
“12:30,” Remus said quickly.
Blake nodded and disappeared up the stairs.
“We have to get back early though,” Mr. Lupin said, folding up his paper. Remus raised an eyebrow, but then a look of comprehension dawned on his face. That night was the full moon, and once that thought appeared in his mind, his stomach lurched painfully. “Remus,” his dad said slowly. “No one at Hogwarts knows, do they?” Remus shook his head. His dad smiled, seemingly satisfied.
That’s all good for him, Remus thought bitterly. His parents didn’t understand that maybe, just maybe, if someone knew, things would be better for him at school. People just thought he was a weak wizard because he always looked worn out. They had no idea how good of a wizard he was. They knew nothing about him because they never bothered to get to know him. His parents didn’t even know how many times Blake had caught him sitting miserably under the stairs in the Entrance Hall, nursing an injury of some sort. Of course Remus made his brother promise not to tell their parents, not wanting them to worry about him. They worried about him enough.
Remus was broken out of his thoughts by a faint pop in the next room and footsteps approaching the kitchen. He looked up and saw a dark haired woman with green eyes standing in the room.
“Cassie? What are you doing here?” he asked.
“Got off work early,” she replied offhandedly. “So I thought I’d come to see how my favourite little brother’s doing,” she added fondly, ruffling Remus’s hair. Remus pushed her hand away. He had always hated it when anyone ruffled his hair, especially when his sister did it. Cassie was taller than their parents and extremely sunburned. Her face was covered in freckles due to the fact that she spent most of her time in the desert with the sun beating on her constantly. Though, despite her sunburned appearance, she was still very pretty. “So how are you, Remus?”
“Fine,” he lied.
She nodded slowly, seeing right through his lie, but she didn’t question him any further. That was what Remus liked about his sister. She would ask how he was and if he felt like lying she wouldn’t question him about it. His parents on the other hand… they were another story entirely. If he told them he was fine on the day leading up to the full moon, they would worry if the moon was causing him to lie. But Cassie would just let it slide.
“Excited about your third year?” she asked conversationally.
“Not really,” Remus answered bluntly.
“Still haven’t made any friends yet, have you?”
“Well this year could be different from all of the other years. This year you might have more friends than you could want.”
Remus tried smiling at her. He knew that she was right, but she had told him the very same thing the summer before his second year, and it had yet to come true. He hated thinking that he was going to be spending most of his life thinking that he just had to hope that the next year would be different. He wanted to it be different right then and there. Cassie didn’t even know what it was like to go through school without a single friend. She had been in her seventh year when Remus was in his first and every time he had seen her she was with a group of friends, and the same went for Blake as well. Though he wasn’t as popular as his sister, he still had a good group of friends.
“Where’s your brother?” Cassie asked hesitantly.
“Went upstairs,” Remus answered indifferently.
Cassie stood up and went towards the stairs. “I think I’ll go and say hi,” she said and retreated upstairs.
Remus leaned back in his chair and looked up at the ceiling. He hated himself sometimes for what he was. It was the one thing preventing him from being normal, even by Wizarding standards. His sister and brother couldn’t even begin to contemplate what he went through every month. They had no idea what kind of pain he went through. They just had no clue.
“Remus Lupin, get your feet off the table.”
Taken by surprise, Remus toppled over sideways and fell off his chair. He heard the familiar intake of breath and looked up to see his mother, Maria Lupin, standing over him. His mother was one of the usual mothers who worried a little too much about their children. But her amount of worry increased ten fold for him when he was bitten by the werewolf. Now every time he fell over or got a scrape she was a nervous wreck. She held out a hand and helped her son up.
“Oh I’m sorry,” she apologised, taking it up herself to straighten her son’s shirt.
Remus backed away and did it himself. “Please, Mum,” he muttered.
“Did you hurt yourself?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Mum, just lay off, please?” And before even waiting for an answer Remus marched up the stairs and went to get ready for their trip to Diagon Alley. He passed his little sister Lucy as he made his way to his room, and discovered she had found his wand and was attempting to perform one of her own invented spells. Remus doubled back and snatched it from her before any damage could be done. Pocketing his wand, he disappeared into his room to change.
“Remus, hurry up!” his brother called from the foot of the stairs.
Remus bounded out of his bedroom, pulling his robes over his black shirt and ambled down the stairs. He bolted into the living room to see his family assembled at the fireplace. His father stepped aside and gestured for Mrs. Lupin to step into the emerald greens flames raging in the fireplace. So, stepping gently into the grate, she grabbed a handful of Floo Powder and shouted loudly and clearly, “DIAGON ALLEY!” and vanished in a rush of flames. Cassie went in next, holding Lucy’s hand as Lucy was not allowed to Floo by herself. Now, a little too anxious, Remus hurried in front of his brother, who was just about to step into the fireplace and Flooed out of the living room at warp speed.
His feet landed hard onto the stone grate below him and he lost his balance for a moment, nearly toppling over to the right, but he managed to stay upright. He quickly stepped out of the fireplace, before his brother could land on top of him, which had happened one too many times and he knew he would not enjoy it. Blake wasn’t overweight, but it was still rather painful to have someone who was three years your elder to land on top of you. He looked around and discovered he was standing in the Leaky Cauldron’s barroom and he saw that the rest of his family was standing at the bar, in discussion with Tom the barkeeper.
Remus liked Tom. He was one of the few people who knew Remus was a werewolf, but didn’t mind at all. Remus wasn’t quite sure how Tom knew when he was younger, but his parents had disclosed to him that it was Tom who had found Remus after the werewolf, Fenrir Greyback, had bitten him. So naturally he was concerned about Remus’s well being after discovering him bloody and unconscious. He went along to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries to see the how the Lupin’s were faring. Remus had remained in the hospital for a week in a half, suffering from various other wounds along with his fate determining bite.
Remus hurried over to the bar to join his family and Tom greeted him with a cheerful smile and offered a bottle of butterbeer to him, which Remus declined. They didn’t have much time to spend in Diagon Alley. So once they were joined by Mr. Lupin and Blake, they made their way to the back alley entrance to the alley. Walking through the brick wall, which had politely parted itself when the correct bricks were tapped; they entered Diagon Alley and immediately made their way to Gringotts Wizard Bank. Mr. and Mrs. Lupin descended the trolley to the vaults while their children milled around the main lobby. Remus, who had been watching a line of goblins stamping some documents, noticed a boy who looked to be about his age, but he had never seen him before. He had jet black hair and grey eyes, and was wearing a red fur cloak. Curious, he approached the boy.
He stopped halfway over to the boy and made to turn around; trying to thwart his curiosity, but the boy turned and saw him.
“Hi,” he said in a friendly voice, though Remus detected a slight accent in the boy’s voice that was not English like his.
Hearing the friendliness in the boy’s voice, Remus walked over.
“Hi,” he said quickly. “Are you new around here? I’ve never seen you in Diagon Alley before.” The boy nodded in response. “Well, where are you from?” Remus asked slowly.
“I’ve just transferred from Durmstrang and I was hoping to meet someone who I can talk to at Hogwarts. What year will you be in?”
“Oh, me as well. Then I’ll be seeing you there I expect.” The boy turned to leave, as he had just been handed a sack of gold by one of the goblins and Remus stopped him.
“Wait, I didn’t catch your name.” The boy stopped and turned around, smiling.
“Oh, Larry Wilkins,” he said, looking over his shoulder and out the door. “Yours?”
“Well, Remus, I’ll be seeing you at school then.” And, with that, the boy was out the door.
Remus then remembered that his parents were retrieving their gold and he went back over to where Blake was waiting. He discovered that Blake had been watching Remus talking with the boy, which wasn’t exactly an odd thing for Blake to do, as he had always been suspicious of anyone that wasn’t already friends with his brother. He shrugged, and said nothing to Remus, not that he could since their parents returned and they joined up with Cassie and Lucy, who had gone outside for some fresh air.
They split up once they were outside. Mr. and Mrs. Lupin decided to head back to the Leaky Cauldron for a drink while their children shopped. Blake and Remus had to go shopping for their school supplies so Cassie took Lucy to Quality Quidditch Supplies, seeing as how they were allowing anyone to have a test ride on the latest models. Walking down the cobblestone street, the two boys said nothing. They merely looked inside the windows of various shops, until they got to their first stop – Flourish and Blotts.
The bookstore was oddly empty for that time of year, late August. Apparently everyone had gotten their school stuff early. Upon entering the shop Blake was hailed by two of his fellow sixth years so he told Remus to wait outside for him once he was finished getting his books. Remus nodded and looked at his school list. He only needed three books for that year – The Standard Book of Spells: Grade 3, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Arithmancy: Grade One. He only had to look for a moment before discovering a stack of his Care of Magical Creatures textbook. He went over, grabbed a copy and made to leave when a voice stopped him.
“Taking Care of Magical Creatures as well?”
Remus turned around to discover a boy with black hair and shockingly blue eyes standing above him. Sirius Black – Remus’s fellow third year. Remus nodded in response and so did Sirius.
“Should be interesting,” Sirius said conversationally.
“Yeah… interesting,” Remus stuttered, not knowing what else to say. He was never on speaking terms with Sirius Black, not once in his life.
“You okay?” Sirius asked suddenly. “You look kind of sick.”
Remus realised how pale he must have appeared, due to the impending full moon. He quickly muttered something about having a head cold.
“Um… why are you talking to me?” Remus asked curiously. It was an innocent question and Sirius knew to expect it. He had no other answer except, “There’s no one else here. Well see you at school then.”
Remus caught up with Blake after purchasing his textbooks and they set out for Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, being that Remus’s school robes were just a bit too short on him. Out of the robes shop they went to the Apothecary, as both of them were short on Potions supplies and their shopping was done.
Once they were back at the Leaky Cauldron they joined their parents for dinner, all the while having a lively conversation with Tom. Remus was half listening to the conversation, as he had just begun to develop a painful headache. The only one who seemed to have noticed this was Cassie, who quickly mentioned it to her mother.
“Oh, that’s right,” Mrs. Lupin said in a hushed voice and she quickly stopped up, announcing to Tom that they had to leave.
Tom nodded, looking understandingly at Remus, whose head was swimming.
“Been nice talking to you all,” he said cheerfully. “And feel better,” he added to Remus, who smiled gratefully.
The Lupins quickly made their way over to the fireplace, arriving home in a good amount of time before the full moon.