“Wake up, Shealin,” said Remus, shaking her awake. “It’s time to get up. We’ve got to go on a trip.”
Shealin’s eyelashes fluttered open; she sat up in her camp-bed. “Where are we going?” she asked.
“But I’m not old enough.”
“The person we’re going to see might understand you. Come on.”
Shealin hurriedly dressed in Muggle clothes—jeans, trainers and a plain navy button-down shirt—and then met Remus downstairs. “It’s very early, isn’t it?” she said as they went out the door. “Not even six o’clock.”
Remus smiled. “Grab hold of my arm.”
She did, and they Apparated with a loud crack. Shealin, who was used to this, landed easily, and looked around her: a modest house with a few acres of property. It looked reasonably well cared for, but there was a hint of raggedness about the place.
“Where are we?” she said curiously to Remus, who was striding up the little cobble-stoned walkway. She ran up beside him, and they walked together until they reached the front door.
“A bit outside Devon,” he answered, and knocked.
A moment passed. Finally the front door opened, revealing a relatively pretty but undeniably worn woman who looked to be in her mid-forties. The feature that made her pretty, Shealin reasoned, were her dark green eyes, the colour of moss. “Remus…is that you?” she said in a soft worried voice.
“Yes, of course, and I’ve brought Shealin,” said Remus. “May we come in, Eleanor?”
Eleanor nodded and stepped back, allowing them to enter into a small kitchen. “My husband is out,” she said, “and my other children are still sleeping. Don’t wake them up.”
“Where is he?”
Eleanor hesitated. “My husband or Darien?”
“Darien,” said Remus, taking off his cloak and putting it on the coat-rack; Shealin followed suit.
“In the cellar,” said Eleanor cautiously. Then her eyes fell on Shealin. “I thought I was seeing a ghost, but you don’t look entirely like her.”
“Like who?” said Shealin.
“Megara Trelawney,” said Eleanor, with a slight smile. “Any relation?”
“My mother,” said Shealin, who decided she didn’t like Eleanor very much.
“I never knew she had children,” said Eleanor, apparently surprised.
Remus cleared his throat. “Eleanor…?”
“Oh—oh yes, down there.” Eleanor pointed. “I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to distract you. Forgive me.”
Instead of replying, Remus pushed open the door to the cellar. He beckoned to Shealin. “Come, Shealin.”
Shealin followed behind him on the narrow stairs. “Why are we here?” she whispered.
“As I said before, we’re recruiting—or attempting to recruit, rather,” said Remus.
She heard the weeping before she saw anything, as she entered the medium-sized room. It was very dark, and then the room was flooded with light as Remus flicked on the light-switch.
“Darien?” said Remus carefully.
A boy was curled up on the bed in the corner of the room, his hands over his head. “What…d’you…want?” he said, his voice muffled. “I’m not going upstairs, you can’t make me.”
“It is I, Remus Lupin,” said Remus. “Perhaps your mother informed you I was coming?”
“She mentioned that,” said the boy, Darien. “But she never listens to what I say. I told her I didn’t want anyone here.”
“This is Shealin, Darien,” said Remus. He gave Shealin a tiny nudge, so that she stepped a bit towards the bed.
Curiosity got the best of Darien, and he looked up, half his face hidden in shadow. Their eyes locked, and Shealin felt, for the first time, something very strange form inside her. Not pity, but…she couldn’t explain it.
“You’re a werewolf,” said Darien. “Aren’t you?” he added hesitantly.
“Yes. I’ve been one since I was two years old.”
“But you’re normal,” he said. “You don’t look like me.”
And then he lifted his head, allowed his shadowed face to come into the light. A horrifying mass of red and pink scars was present, part of his mouth was twisted, he looked quite inhuman.
Shealin didn’t gasp. She didn’t feel the need to. Instead, she slowly unbuttoned her shirt, and let it fall. Her torso was just as scarred as his was, her arms covered in the wounds of thirteen years past. She turned, and her back was the same way.
“You…you…” Darien stammered. “How did you survive?”
“I was lucky,” said Shealin quietly, slipping into her shirt.
“I’ll leave you two alone,” said Remus, and he slid out of the light and up the stairs.
“Who attacked you?” said Darien, after a few minutes.
“Fenrir Greyback,” said Shealin. Unconsciously her upper lip curled in disgust.
His eyes—the right one was white, and the left green, the same shade as his mother’s—widened. “He didn’t tell you?” he said, jerking his head in the direction of the staircase.
“Tell me what?” said Shealin, warily. “What didn’t Remus tell me?”
“I’m…I’m Darien Greyback. Fenrir Greyback’s only son. He did this to me—my father.”