Chapter 1 : Chapter One: The Beginning
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Remus Lupin was a perfectionist, an obsessive, somebody who likes to do things properly. Whilst the other marauders spent their time playing pranks and generally causing mayhem, he was the one who ensured that they never went wrong. He was the one who planned ahead, who insisted on a Plan B, a get-out clause, an alibi and a reason for everything. Neurotic, some might call it, but they loved it all the same. It was for this reason that he was currently sitting at the writing desk he had somehow managed to secure, in the Gryffindor common room, alone. The rain was beating down hard on the windows and, as the sky grew dark outside and the clouds knitted together to form shapes in the sky, his mind wandered from the latest in a series of ‘get Snivellus’ plans, an idea no-doubt commissioned by Sirius in revenge for… living? Breathing? Well, something at least. Remus had never quite seen the issue with Severus Snape, a lonely boy without many friends who, although unpleasant, was certainly no threat to the marauders, especially Sirius. Nevertheless he had dutifully gone along with whatever his friends had decided, however disagreeable the consequences.
It was nice, Remus thought, to have friends.
When Remus had been a child he had kept mostly to himself, preferring that other children not know about his ‘problem’. He reasoned that it would either terrify them or that he’d end up harming them in some way, never to forgive himself. He remembered his first and only true slip-up. A boy he did not know. A night he could barely recall, yet so embalmed into his mind that he would never forget it as long as he lived. In the days (weeks? Months?) after “the incident” he had tried, with vain, to apologize to the boy, to see him. Painfully, he recalled visiting the house – a solitary figure up at the window, looking down apprehensively, as Remus himself had on so many nights.
A scream from the crowd outside shattered his thoughts - another goal from James. Everyone in the castle was outside, everyone except him. Remus did not understand the plan, his head ached and he longed for a breath of fresh air – the common room was beginning to taste stale now. He missed being part of the unity, the excitement: he missed his friends.
The plan lay abandoned on the desk, only to be picked up again when the rest returned. It was completed. The untidy scrawl stretched across the page occasionally crossed out and written again, barely legible. It was odd, people thought, that such a perfectionist, such a conscientious person could write so messily. It was odd, but it was possible.
“It’s my idiosyncrasy,” Remus had said, the first time any of the marauders had challenged him about it. Only just in his third year, he was rather pleased with himself to be able to use such an intelligent-sounding word to mask what he considered to be a bit of an embarrassment - even Peter had better writing than him, though generally something far less intelligent to write.
“Idiotsycrasy?” Peter asked, a confused look on his face. “But we don’t think you’re an idiot…”
“Idiosyncrasy,” Remus had said gently. “It means something slightly unusual or eccentric, a quirk if you will.”
“So basically you’re trying to tell us that you have a ‘quirk’?” Sirius asked, a slightly amused expression on his face. “A quirk for a quack! You’re not really Remus Lupin are you? You’re an impostor! A fake! A duck!”
At this Peter had begun to look very worried and Remus had had to cut Sirius off in his tracks. Who knew where a conversation like this could lead. Since then his handwriting had not improved at all. In fact, Remus doubted if it had improved since the day he first picked up a quill. He still hadn’t quite got the hang of them, even now, in his sixth year at Hogwarts. The ink and the dipping, the scratching noise – it all seemed so unnecessary. He would have been much happier with a normal muggle pen.
The crowd was screaming again, the exhilaration of a match. The release. A wave of scarlet clad supporters were making their way back up to the castle; their proud strides, and the looks on the faces of the green clad students following, were enough to tell Remus that Gryffindor had won the match. He smiled as he located his friends, caught amongst the midst, James and Sirius hoisted up on the shoulders of the crowd, their quidditch robes spattered with mud, and little Peter, running behind to keep up. It was such a typical picture that Remus could not help but roll his eyes as he watched James run his fingers coolly through his hair, while a red-headed figure stalked off ahead, into the castle. Just minutes later they burst in, upturning desks, chairs, bookshelves and cheering all the way. His friends engulfed him in a wave of scarlet, covering him in the wet, the mud, the sweat pouring from the two dressed in quidditch robes. “We won!” Sirius shouted, his face smashing against Remus’ shoulder as he leapt across the desk towards him. “We won and I got Snivellus right in the face with a bludger after the match!”
After the usual congratulations, the party began. The euphoria from the crowd was still fresh in the room, although Remus knew it would soon grow stale. Everything did, in the end. The others were so caught up in their victory that they did not notice him slip off to bed. Remus Lupin enjoyed the after-match party as much as anyone else but he wasn’t feeling his best; the full moon was approaching. As he left, he noticed a certain redhead slip up the stairs to the girls’ rooms. “Oh go on Evans, I was only joking.” Sirius’ voice rang across the common room. James remained in silence.
An hour or so later, the party was still raging on downstairs. Remus was thinking about the plan again. He doubted they would use it now, after Sirius’ ‘victory’ at the match. He imagined that they would at least have to postpone – Sirius was bound to be serving detention for a month, maybe two depending on how hard the bludger had hit, and they could not carry it off without him.
Remus didn’t notice the footsteps as someone ascended the staircase to the boys’ dormitory. He had his back turned to the entrance. It was only until he felt someone sit down beside him on the bed that he turned around. “This is genius!” Sirius exclaimed, waving the parchment in Remus’ face. “Absolute genius,” he said more quietly, turning his head to the scribblings before looking back at Remus in awe. Remus smiled.
Yes indeed, Remus thought, his face warming a little as Sirius beamed across at him; it was very nice to have friends.
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