The moon rose silver, round, and full of magnificence on the hot, muggy night. The small neighborhood nestled in the outskirts of London had a peaceful, unsuspecting air, and most of the Muggles living in the area had retired to bed. One man, a hard-working Wizard by the name of Jonathon Lupin, however, was far from sleep. He was pacing the front hall, all the curtains on the windows drawn, fingering the wand tucked in his belt and running a hand over his face in worry.
The huge, gray wolf across the street in the dense forest could sense every movement, every breathe, leaving his chest. It’s wide, yellow eyes glowed in anticipation as it’s maw split into a hungry, feral grin. Long, sharp, dagger-like teeth poked out of it’s lips, dripping saliva. It’s back was hunched, legs bent, ready to spring forward at the slightest opportunity. It knew why John Lupin was so worried, and it laughed silently at the reason.
There would be blood shed tonight, and the wolf was hungry.
A car drove down the street, slowing as it approached the Lupin house. The wolf crouched lower, waiting. The driver’s door on the car opened wide, and a tall woman stepped out carefully. She stared around her uneasily, as if sensing the tension in the air. John rushed to the front door and threw it open, his voice soft but urgent in the humid air.
The wolf listened amusedly in his hiding place, his ears pricked forward attentively, catching every word.
“Rachel--get Remus and get inside. Now.”
“Wha--John? What is it?”
“It’s not safe. Get inside!” John almost begged, and his wife listened. Her eyes wide, she scampered to the passenger door and pulled a very tired, sandy-haired young boy from the car, looking to be around seven or eight years old. He blinked sleepily and looked around--right at the spot the wolf was crouching.
And that was when it sprang.
“NO!” John bellowed, ripping out his wand and racing to get in front of his wife and son. His wife screamed, pulling the boy close to her, but the wolf was faster. It barreled over the car, smashing two windows and denting half the roof in. It leapt at the woman and the boy, and then everything seemed to happen in slow motion.
John roared a spell, and it flew over the wolf’s head. The woman twisted to the ground, shielding her son under her own body, but she wasn’t fast enough. The wolf opened it’s massive jaws and grabbed the boy’s arm.
Immediately, the warm, sweet taste of blood filled the wolf’s mouth, and it almost staggered in it’s rush to escape. The boy screamed in agony, and the sound was like music in the wolf’s ears. It wanted to taste more blood--to lick the ground where the red liquid had splattered--but it controlled itself. Not yet….
Another spell whipped over the wolf’s head, and it sprinted back to the woods, the boy still being dragged under it. He was screaming and sobbing in agony, trying desperately to escape the death grip of the wolf’s jaws. The wolf grinned again in malice. It was too late now… the poison was probably already coursing through that sweet, warm blood….
And then the wolf tasted it--the slight, bitter tang of the poison, finishing it’s job. The boy was already unconcious, his arm almost torn off, but the wolf knew it had done it’s job. It dropped the boy in a small clearing, raking it’s claws across his back for good measure.
It turned and left the clearing and the boy behind, returning deep into the forest as the full moon began to sink below the horizon.
John Lupin staggered into the clearing, following the path of snapped branches and dragged underbrush, and his own instinct. The sight of Remus--his only son, his own flesh and blood--made his breath catch in his throat.
Remus was lying face-down in a pile of blood-soaked dead leaves. One of his arms was twisted horribly, and was almost torn off. His back was ripped open, soaking his shirt and pants with the crimson liquid. John felt his heart breaking as he knelt next to his unconcious son.
“Remus? Remus…” he called hoarsely, laying a shaking hand on his son’s shoulder. Remus’s eyes fluttered open, but he closed them almost immediately and cried out.
“Daddy… it hurts…” he whimpered, his voice breaking.
“I know, Remus… just lay still for a minute…” John murmured, feeling a pit form in his stomach. Was it too late? He took his wand and muttered a healing spell, recalling his days in healing school. The horrid wounds on his son didn’t close. He tried again, this time using a stronger spell. It didn’t work.
Desperate, John tried a pain-relieving spell--one of the strongest he knew. There was no change.
“Daddy…” Remus mumbled faintly. “Please… make it stop…” Silent tears falling down his face, Remus opened his eyes again to look at his father.
“I… I know it hurts… Just stay still… I’m trying…” John told his son, trying to sound as sure of himself as possible. Remus had always counted on his dad to make pain stop, to use his magic for healing and to fix things. For the first time, John was helpless.
“I’m sorry… I promise I’ll be good…” Remus begged, his word turning into sobs. John felt his own tears falling down his face.
“No, Remus! It’s not your fault--don’t ever blame yourself for this!” he begged, but his son’s eyes were turning cloudy and closing again.
“Please…” he begged, but his voice was slurred. Within seconds, Remus had fallen unconcious again. John bowed his head. He knew it was too late. The poison had to have spread already.
He gently lifted his son onto his arms, cradling him close to his chest, and slowly left the woods.
Remus was dreaming. He dreamt he was floating in a cool, comfortable ocean. The water was still, the night sky above him filled with magnificent stars. He didn’t want to move. He didn’t want to go home, because that meant more pain. He wanted to lay under the stars forever, in the peaceful silence.
Then, suddenly, everything changed. The water turned icy-cold and choppy, tossing Remus around, nearly drowning him. The water wasn’t salty--it was extremely bitter. Remus tried to flip onto his stomach and swim, but he couldn’t move. The sky that had been so calming before was now menacing and cruel.
What had once been a dream had turned into a terrifying nightmare.
A huge, ugly, black ship was speeding horribly fast toward Remus, cutting through the water easily. It’s sails were ripped and ink-black, the wood rotting and the steel rusting. And on the very front of the ship, standing silently and terrifyingly, glaring at Remus with yellow, glowing eyes, was a giant wolf. It’s mouth split into a horrible grin, but instead of teeth, it had needles filled with poison.
Remus tried to move--to swim out of the way of the terrible beast, but he was paralyzed. He tried to scream, to wake himself up, but he couldn’t. He was trapped.
Then suddenly, it got very bright. The wolf turned to look at the sky, and so did Remus. A huge, silvery orb was rising. The full moon.
Remus screamed in pain. His back and arm were on fire--flaming in pure agony. The wolf watched Remus being tortured with a smile, and then raised it’s long, lean face to howl.
Remus woke up screaming.
He was lying in a strange, white bed. Healers and adults were standing over him, talking quickly and pushing him in a stretcher through unfamiliar white halls. They didn’t seem to hear him, or notice that he was on fire.
“No! Stop! Help!” Remus screamed, trying desperately to move, but he was strapped onto the bed like an animal. “Please!” he sobbed. “Daddy!”
And then his father was standing over his bed, staring into Remus’s eyes. “Stay still, Remus. They’re trying to help you.”
Remus nodded, tears and sweat streaming down his face, and didn’t struggle as he was carted through more hallways. His father wouldn’t lie….
A Healer held a potion to his lips, and Remus drank. The pain didn’t stop, but everything seemed to get fuzzy around the edges, until he finally slipped into a dreamless sleep.
“I’m afraid it was too late… your son is going to be a werewolf.”
Rachel Lupin nodded as the Healer explained, her mind reeling.
“We can give you three options. We can send him away to a pack in Transylvania, to live with his own kind; you can take him home and he can live with you; or we can… put him down, so to speak.”
The young Healer looked expectantly at Rachel and John. “I’ll give you some time to decide,” he murmured, and left the small room, closing the door behind him.
Rachel turned to her husband. “How bad is it?” she asked, trying desperately not to let the tears fall. John was pale and wide-eyed, looking like he was in shock. “That bad, huh?” Rachel muttered. Being a Muggle, she didn’t really have much idea as to what was a big deal as a Wizard, and what wasn’t. John put his head in his hands.
“The best option would be to send him away,” he said into his hands, his voice muffled.
“No.” Rachel was surprised how strongly she felt that way. Her son--her baby--had no place he belonged but at home. John raised his head and looked at her, wiping one of the tears that had started to fall down her face.
“Rachel… this is bad. Werewolves are uncontrollable monsters. Even they lose their minds on full moons. Not to mention how painful it is for them…” his voice caught. Rachel was right. They couldn’t let Remus grow up--live like this--alone. Rachel nodded, ignoring the lump in her throat.
“We can’t leave him, John… we can’t…” And then she broke down sobbing. John pulled her close, fighting back his own tears.
Yes, they would keep Remus. He was their son, not some animal. They would do everything in their power to let him have a normal life. They would raise him to be kind, and teach him to love.