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The Life of A Young Werewolf by lenette
Chapter 4 : Questions and Answers
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 3


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Remus spent his first week of summer vacation relaxing- sleeping late and not doing much work of any kind. His report card came in about ten days after he arrived home, and he had passed all of his classes with high marks. Included with the report card were the classes he would be taking the following year, a supply list, and a train ticket. That same day, an owl came from Professor Dumbledore carrying a package consisting of a summer’s supply of the tonic, pain potion, and wound cream that he used after his transformations. A note was attached explaining that these things would not cost any extra, that they were a gift from the school.

After a few days, he realized that his mom always had a lot of work to do in the free time she had, so he decided to help her out around the house. He knew how to wash dishes, tidy the house, and cook a few things. While she was gone to work each day, he would take care of any of those things that he could. When she was home, he got her to teach him more recipes. By mid- July, he knew enough to cook a few simple dinners, and would often have something prepared for his parents when they came home from work.

Even though the housework and his homework from school kept him somewhat busy, he still enjoyed his summer. The work he did for his mom only took a couple of hours a day, which left most of his time free for homework, reading, or sketching. The only thing that kept his summer from being completely enjoyable was his monthly transformation cycle. But he realized that the supplies Professor Dumbledore had provided did make a difference for him, and he was grateful to have them to use at home.

Remus exchanged letters with Sirius and James almost every week. Sirius had made up with his mom just enough to get her to agree to him spending several weeks at James’ house. The reconciliation was not sincere on Sirius’ part, but his mom apparently didn’t realize that. Because of Sirius’ extended visit, the two boys were having a great time. James’ dad agreed to allow Sirius to use his broom so that he and James could practice Quidditch. James also invited Remus to come over any time.

The invitation tempted Remus. He knew he would enjoy spending time with his friends away from school. However, he was not sure how he could explain to them having free time to visit when he was supposed to be taking care of his sick mother. The thought occurred to him of saying she was having a good day, but he realized he would also need to convince James’ parents, and he wasn’t sure if he could do that. After several hours’ thought, he decided the risk of blowing his cover, and losing his friends, was not worth it.

August came far quicker than he’d expected. His vacation felt as if it had barely begun, yet the calendar said it was nearly over. He spent several days going over his homework to make sure he’d done everything he was assigned. He had his trunk packed almost two weeks early, and checked it at least twice to make sure he’d packed everything he needed. Though he was excited about returning to Hogwarts, he was not nervous about it. He knew what to expect, and was looking forward to everything about school. He enjoyed his classes, and of course, he was eager to see his friends again.

On the day of his return to school, his parents took him to King’s Cross Station. His mother went with him, guessing that in the crowd of people, she would simply blend in. His dad put his trunk on the train for him, and after a relatively short goodbye, he got on the train.

Just after he boarded, he found Sirius, and tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hey Sirius”. he said.

Sirius turned to see who had spoken, then replied

“Hey, Remus. How was your summer?”

“Pretty good. Have you and James got a compartment?”

“James does- he got here before me. I saw him through the window just before I got on, so I thought I’d join him.”

The next compartment they came to was the one where James was sitting. After a couple of minutes spent arranging their stuff, they sat down.

"You had asked me how my summer was, Sirius. It was okay- not as exciting as yours I’m sure, but not bad. I got all of the homework done, and I spent a lot of time with mom. When she felt up to it, she taught me how to cook. She thought it would be a good idea for me to learn, and I’m actually pretty good at it. But how was your summer? I have heard from either of you in about three weeks."

"I spent about half of my vacation at James’ house. We spent a lot of time flying and playing Quidditch- sometimes just the two of us, but a few times some of the older kids that live fairly close played with us. About three weeks ago, Mom contacted me by floo network and wanted me to come home. She said she wanted to spend a little time with me before I went back to school, and of course, I needed to get my supplies. I’ve been kinda busy since I went home, and that’s why I haven’t written. I did manage to get all of the homework done too.” replied Sirius

 


“So you’ve been learning to cook? That’s actually not a bad idea, especially since your mom is sick. I’m sure she appreciates what you’ve done for her. How is she doing? I thought I saw her with you just before you got on.” observed James.

“Yes, she was with me and dad. She’s feeling okay today. She has some days when she does really well, and luckily enough, today was one of them. The healers don’t really know what’s wrong. As far as the cooking, she’s teaching me so that I can do it on days when she doesn’t feel up to it, which is more often than she’d like. Since she is still sick, I will still be missing school to see her.” replied Remus



“I’m surprised that your parents haven’t taken you out of school entirely since she’s so sick.” said James.


“I offered to stay home this year, but she wants me to go to school. She feels it is very important for me to get a good education, and dad agrees. There’s nothing I can do for her at home except cook or clean, and she doesn’t feel up to teaching me the things I’d need to know. Dad takes care of the housework when he gets in from his job in the evenings, and if they need any other help, they get one of the neighbors to come over. If she gets a lot worse, they will send for me, but otherwise, they feel once a month is often enough for me to visit.”

“It sounds like that arrangement works out okay for everyone.” said James



Just then, Peter came into the compartment and stowed his bag. James asked him about his summer, and he replied

"It was a pretty good one. We went to France for two weeks, and that was a lot of fun. I have some pictures that are being developed- Mom said she’d send them to me in a couple of weeks. After that, I spent three weeks with my dad’s sister and three weeks with my mom’s brother. They’ve got four kids about our age between them, but none of them is coming here to school. The boys are going to Durmstrang, and the girl is starting at Beauxbatons next year.”

 

“That reminds me, my brother Regulus is starting at Hogwarts this year. I’m hoping he doesn’t get sorted into Gryffindor. One good thing that came from my argument with mom is that she doesn’t expect me to show him around or help him. I wouldn’t do it anyway- he bugs me enough when I’m home, I don’t want to put up with him here if I don’t have to.” said Sirius.


“What are you going to do if he does end up in Gryffindor?” asked James

“Laugh- because mom said there’s no way he would be put in anywhere but Slytherin. Then I’d look into changing my name….or just get really good at ignoring him.” said Sirius with a laugh.

“Hopefully you won’t need to do that. If you two are as different as it sounds like you are, he’ll probably be put somewhere else.” said Remus.

“I guess we’ll know soon enough.” said Sirius



Since Peter had not completed the homework, Remus looked over what he’d done and helped him finish the work he had not done. Then James, Sirius and Remus decided to compare notes on theirs just to make sure they were all comfortable that they had the right answers.

Once they were done, they put their bags away, and began talking about what they were looking forward to this year.

"I’m going to try out for the Quidditch team again this year. After all the time we spent practicing, I think I can make it this time.” said James.

“I’m looking forward to Defense Against the Dark Arts. I’ve been reading in the book some, and we should cover some interesting stuff this year.” Said Remus

 


“I’m curious about the classes, but I’m also glad we’re allowed to have brooms this year. I don’t have one of my own yet, but maybe James will let me ride his. I’m hoping Uncle Alphard will get me one for Christmas. He likes buying stuff for me sometimes just because he knows it bugs mom. They don’t get along very well, but he likes me, so sometimes he’ll buy me something special.” said Sirius.

“That would be cool if he does get you a broom. But I don’t mind letting you use mine sometimes.” said James.

“I’m just hoping I pass this year. After that homework, I’m worried I won’t make it.” said Peter.

“If you didn’t wait until the last minute to do your work, and would really concentrate when you study, you would do a lot better.” Said James

“I don’t know, I’m just not as smart as you guys. I do try as hard as I can.”

“Then maybe you should see if some of the teachers or older students would tutor you.” suggested Remus.



Peter was distracted from responding by the train rolling to a stop. It gave a couple of short blasts from its whistle, and everyone began gathering their belongings to get off the train.

A few minutes later, they were seated in the Great Hall, watching the sorting ceremony. It was actually somewhat fun to watch when you weren’t the one being sorted.

To Sirius’ enormous relief, Regulus was sorted into Slytherin.

“That will make mom happy.” Sirius said.

“And you too.” added James

“Yeah, I’m glad because we all got what we wanted, especially that I don’t have to put up with him.” Said Sirius

They listened half-heartedly to the rest of the sorting ceremony. Gryffindor gained about 30 first year students by the time the ceremony was over. Professor Dumbledore welcomed everyone, then made a few announcements, which were mostly reminders from last year. Once he was finished, the feast began. About an hour later, the feast was over, and everyone was dismissed to bed.

The following day, classes began. Remus was excited and looked forward to the new year. Everything was comfortable and familiar to him. He knew where his classes were, who his teachers were and what to expect from them.

As he had expected, the teachers who had assigned homework asked for it the first day. In a couple of classes, most of the students had not done the work. Since he and his friends had completed it, they earned points for Gryffindor just for handing it in.

 

Soon they fell into the routine of classes and homework. Near the end of September, the Gryffindor Quidditch captain held tryouts, and James was thrilled. That Friday evening, Remus, Sirius and Peter followed James to the quidditch pitch to watch him. There were over a dozen other students there, from all years. The captain put them through a series of drills according to which position they were trying out for. James was trying for the seeker position, but was not quite quick enough. However, the captain asked him if he’d be interested in one of the chaser positions. He agreed and went through those drills.

After what seemed like a very long time while the other potential chasers tried out, the captain finally announced the chasers he had chosen, and James was among them. Sirius, Remus, and Peter all cheered for him, and when the newly formed team was released from the field, they met him and congratulated him.

“Great work James.” said Remus.

 

“Yeah, it looks like out summer of practice really paid off.” said Sirius

“Good job, James.” said Peter.

“Thanks guys. Especially you, Sirius. I couldn’t have done it without you.” replied James.

“Yeah, I know. I taught you everything you know about Quidditch.” teased Sirius.

“I don’t think so! But it is easier to tell how fast you’re flying when you have someone to beat.” said James.

They talked and teased each other most of the way back to the common room that evening.

 

Now that James was on the Quidditch team, he had frequent practices. At first, this caused him to struggle to get his homework done, because he wasn’t allowing himself enough time. Sirius and Remus helped him as much as they could, proofreading assignments or helping him if he had trouble understanding anything. After a while, he worked out a plan for himself that helped him get his work done on time.

October and November passed uneventfully for Remus. His transformations were being handled the same way they had been the previous year, and because of the care he was receiving, he recovered from them quickly. He had not changed the excuse for his absences, and his friends seemed not to question that his mother was ill.

However, on Monday before December’s full moon, which fell at the beginning of the month, he was confronted with his worst fear. That night, after dinner, the four of them were in the dorm, and James started asking questions.

“Are you going to see your mom this weekend, Remus?”

Remus immediately sensed something different in James’ voice. He started thinking quickly of how he might answer whatever else was coming without revealing the truth. At the same time, he was trying to remain calm and keep the panic and dread he felt from showing on his face.

“Yes, I am.” he replied cautiously.

“Why are you going now, when you’ll be seeing her again in two weeks for Christmas? Has she gotten worse, or is it something else?” asked James.

Before Remus could answer, Sirius spoke up.

“James, I thought we agreed not to ask about this. We both know we’re probably wrong about it, and even if we’re right, what difference does it make?”
“It doesn’t make a difference- he’s my friend no matter what his answer is. But I’m hoping he trusts me- us- enough by now to tell me if I’m right.”



Remus was now nearly one hundred percent certain they’d figured out his secret. He could continue to lie to them, and they probably would have a hard time proving him wrong. But James had said he was his friend no matter what; Sirius apparently felt the same way, since he was trying to prevent James from asking anything else. Remus was tired of the lies, the secrecy, and needing to watch every word and step around his closest friends. He decided, if his hunch were right, that they were on to his secret, he would be honest. So he asked

“What are you two talking about?”

“I know this is probably going to sound crazy, but…James thinks you’re a werewolf.” said Sirius.

“I’ve noticed you always go home on the full moon, and I caught a glimpse of your chest the other day- when I accidentally opened the door to your shower- and I noticed you have a lot of scars. If I’m wrong, I’m sorry, but I wanted to know.” said James, his voice more normal than it had been earlier.

 

Remus took a deep breath, summoning his courage, and saying a little prayer that they really could remain friends with him once they knew the truth, and then said

“You’re right- I am a werewolf. I don’t actually leave school on the full moon- I am kept isolated from everyone. The Whomping Willow is guarding a tunnel that connects to a small house that I stay in while I’m transformed. That way no one but the staff can get to me, and I can’t get out and hurt anyone. I stay in the hospital wing, away from the view of anyone else, on the day I transform back to normal. The scars you saw are from over five years worth of transformations. Since I’m kept apart from humans to bite or scratch, I scratch myself instead. I can’t help it; in fact I don’t even know I’ve done it until I return to normal.”

“So why did you say your mom’s sick? Is she really? Why didn’t you tell us before now?” asked James.

“No, my mom’s not sick, unless something has happened that I don’t know about. I used her as a way of hiding my absences because I didn’t want anyone to know what I am. If anyone else in school finds out, they will probably want me thrown out, and Professor Dumbledore right behind me for admitting me to school. Most people hate werewolves- and maybe they’re right to feel that way. From what I’ve learned, most werewolves don’t try to keep from hurting people the way I do. But I don’t want there to be even a small chance that I would hurt anyone. As far as why I didn’t tell you, it was because I lost the only friends I had as soon as they found out what I am. I didn’t want to take the chance of that happening again. But I changed my mind just now when you said you were my friend no matter what…I believe you, and I really don’t like lying to people. I guess you can understand why I have to most of the time.”

“Yeah, I think I do understand…if people feel that way, you can’t be completely honest right at first. I did mean what I said, though. You are my friend, and this doesn’t change that. What you said earlier about this summer, about learning to cook and clean, were you really doing that?” asked James.
“Yes, I was. My mom has taken a part-time job, and my dad works full time, so they need a little extra help around the house. I didn’t mind- I had three hours to myself on the three days each week that she works, so I used part of the time to do the housework. Mom also figures I need to know how to do these things, so I can take care of myself because I’m not likely to ever get married.” said Remus.

“It sounds like she’s really thinking ahead.” said Sirius.

“She is, because she wants me to be as prepared as possible for whatever may happen. That’s why she wanted to get me in school here- she wants me to have a good education and a chance to make friends. She agreed with me on the cover I’ve been using for my absences. We’ve had to deal with some mean people since I was bitten, so we all generally hide my condition from everyone.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, why do you go to the hospital wing for so long? Do you mind telling us a little more about what happens?” asked James.

“I go to the hospital wing partially for my scratches to be tended, but mostly to rest. I’m guessing you don’t know a lot about werewolves, so yes, I’ll tell you more. The transformation process really hurts. It feels like my whole body tears itself apart. Every inch of me changes- and it happens twice in the span of a day. So when it’s over, I hurt everywhere. The scratches- which are usually long gashes made by my claws- are very sensitive at first. Having them dressed is somewhat painful, but once it is done and the paste starts working, they feel a little better, at least enough that I can stand to put clothes on over the bandages. It takes over a week for them to heal completely, if they’re very deep, it can be quite a bit longer than that. Even when they heal, they leave worse scars than other types of injuries, that’s why my chest looks so bad. I have scars like that on my legs, and a few on my back too. The other reason I go to the hospital wing is, as I said, to rest. I’m always very tired when it’s over. My mom has watched me a lot while I’m transformed and said I barely sleep- I only curl up for a few minutes at a time, but most months I don’t sleep at all until it’s over. I don’t eat either- werewolves only seek human prey. Mom tried a couple of times pushing meat through a flap in the door, and I just tried to bite them, but I didn’t eat the food. They talked to a healer about the fact that I don’t eat and were told that it was okay, I could make it that long without food- it’s really only a few hours. So they stopped trying to put food in the room for me. But going that long without sleep or food leaves me weak and tired. Another part of the condition is that I don’t remember what I do for that night. My last memory is the pain of changing, and then when I change back, it takes a minute for me to realize what has happened.”

“That sounds horrible. No wonder you feel rotten when you change back. I’m surprised you come back to classes as soon as you do.” said James.

“I didn’t think I’d be able to at first. When mom was teaching me, she always let me have two or three days off when I’d either not work at all, or just do a little work. But here, Professor Slughorn makes a special tonic for me that helps me get my strength back quicker than just food and rest could. Professor Dumbledore also gave me a vial of potion for pain that really helps. I can sleep better when I take it, and I can move around easier that first day. He made sure that not only do I have those things here, but also I get to take them home for breaks and over the summer. Thanks to all of this, I have very little problem keeping up with my work.”

“How do you get all of the assignments and notes that you miss?” asked James.

“The teachers all know about my condition and which days I will miss, so they make copies of their lectures for me, along with the details of the homework assignments. Professor Dumbledore gives these to me when I return to normal so I can start working on them as soon as I feel up to it. The teachers always allow me a few extra days to turn in my homework so that I have enough time.”

“I had a feeling it might be something like that.” said James.

“Is there anything else you want to know?” asked Remus.

“No, that’s actually a lot more information than I expected you to give me. I appreciate you sharing so much with us. I’m glad you didn’t mind talking about it and answering questions.” said James.



Remus looked over at Sirius and Peter, trying to think of what to say to make sure that they understood he really needed them to keep his condition a secret from everyone else. However, before he could speak, Sirius said

“You have my word that I won’t repeat any of this to anyone. I would never risk hurting a friend that way, and I do still want to be your friend. Your illness doesn’t change that.”

“Thank you, Sirius. I’m glad you feel that way. I’m counting on all three of you to keep this a secret. The teachers all know, and no one else needs to know. I feel that I can trust you. Peter, will you keep this a secret too?” asked Remus.

“Yes, I’ll keep your secret. I’m your friend too.” said Peter.

A while later, after everyone else was in bed asleep, Remus lay awake, thinking over their conversation. He had expected that his friends would eventually figure out that he was hiding something, and that they might even guess at what it was. He’d realized as he’d seen them at their homework that Sirius and James were very bright and would likely figure him out sooner than he wanted. But he had not guessed it would be this year- he’d hoped to have a bit longer before he had to face their questions. However, the biggest surprise for him had been their attitude- they weren’t hostile toward him or scared of him. They seemed more concerned about the fact that he’d lied to them than they were about his condition. He was still in shock over the fact that not only had they promised to keep his secret, but that they still wanted to be his friends.


 


 


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