Chapter 4 : A Whisper of Darkness
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“Welcome home, son. How was your first year at Hogwarts?”
“Great, dad... Mum, let go, I can’t breathe!” Remus gasped, wiggling away from her grasp.
“Hey, Remus, we’ll write to you!” James called as he and Sirius walked by. Sirius was staying at the Potters’ home for the summer holidays since he didn’t feel like being bullied by his parents about his being sorted into Gryffindor.
“Okay!” he replied, waving.
“I-I’ll write too!” Peter said, coming up to Remus and giving him a smile.
“Great, mate!” Remus said, patting Peter on the back. Peter grinned even wider and walked away. When Remus looked back at his parents, his mother looked surprised and his dad looked proud.
“So, you’ve made friends, have you?” his dad asked.
“Yep. James, Sirius, and Peter,” Remus said, grinning.
“They don’t know, do they?” his mother asked worriedly.
“No, mum, they don’t know.”
“Right, then!” his dad exclaimed, grabbing Remus’ bags and putting them on a luggage cart. “Let’s go home, and you can tell us all about your first year!”
“Yes, you didn’t tell us much at all in your letters!” his mother chasted. “You especially didn’t tell us about your new friends!”
“It was a busy year,” Remus said, shrugging.
On the ride home, his parents asked him countless questions about his classes, teachers, and friends. He tried to leave out as many details of his rule breaking as possible, but some things were too good not to share.
“So we hid in the hump of the one-eyed witch statue and waited for Severus to walk by, and when he did, we put the jelly-legs jinx on him! He was so angry, but he didn’t know it was us who’d done it, so he had to army crawl all the way up the corridor just to find someone to do the counter curse for him, since he didn’t know it. The teachers looked everywhere, but we hid in the passageway until they were gone!”
“I don’t know, Remus, it seems like these boys are being a bad influence on you...” his mother worried, looking back at him from the passenger’s seat.
“Oh, Reggie, they’re just being boys. Let them have their fun,” his dad soothed, but him mother shot him a glare.
“Robert, this is serious!” she exclaimed. “They’re breaking rules! It’s a wonder he hasn’t gotten in trouble yet!”
“Well, I did get a couple of detentions, but they weren’t so bad. We got to work with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest once, which was really cool!”
“Who’s Hagrid?” his mother asked.
“He’s the groundskeeper, half man-half giant. He’s really nice, and he loves dangerous animals. I think he’d explode from joy if he knew what I am,” Remus said, smiling.
“No, he’d probably shun you like everyone else if he knew. Don’t you even think of telling him.”
“Oh, that’s pleasant, Reggie. Son, I’m sure your friends would accept you for who you are, werewolf or not.”
“Don’t tell him that! He might get ideas. It’s our secret, Remus. And Robert, don’t say the “W” word!” his mother panicked.
“Mum, I don’t understand what the big deal is if I’m a werewolf or not. Why can’t we just say what I am and get it over with? I’m a werewolf. On the full moon, I go through a horrible and painful transformation into a monster and I’m a threat to society. Any other night or day, I’m myself, Remus, a normal wizard who wants to make friends and have fun. End of story.” Remus was breathing heavily now, exhilarated at finally speaking his mind to his mother. For too long had she refused to accept what he was, and when she finally did accept it, she didn’t want to admit it. He felt this was good for her.
His mother looked back at him, bewildered, while his father grinned from ear to ear.
“Atta boy, Remus!” his dad applauded.
“Fine. Fine!” his mother exclaimed, sounding slightly hysterical. “All I wanted was to protect you from the cruel, ruthless people out there who wouldn’t see you as you, Remus, but as a monster. But obviously you don’t want that. Fine! Go ahead, tell everybody and their brother! Just remember that people don’t give werewolves fair treatment. They’re dangerous animals to people, and nothing else.”
Remus sat back in his seat and folded his arms across his chest, letting that sink in. True, he was fine with what he was, but he knew nobody else would understand. Probably not even his friends. He let out a resigned sigh and stared out the window, not speaking for the rest of the car ride.
The summer came and went. Remus felt like things between he and his mother had become even more tense than they had been already, which almost seemed impossible. At dinner they rarely spoke, and any other time they didn’t speak at all. The night before he was due back on Platform 9 and ¾ for his second year of Hogwarts was the same night that Remus had to go through another transformation. He was upset that he’d be tired and irritable, but at least he’d have a whole month at Hogwarts until his next change.
“I’m so sorry, honey,” his mother apologized as she led Remus to the shed they’d designed to keep him in during his changes. “I know how much you hate this.”
“It’s fine, mum. I’ll be all right,” Remus assured her, giving her a hug. “Make sure you stay away.”
“I’ll be fine, dear. I just wish I could keep you company. It must be so lonely, spending a whole night alone like this.”
“I’m used to it,” Remus lied. “Now hurry and lock the door, the moon’s almost up.”
With one last kiss on the forehead, his mother left the shed and locked the door behind her. Remus sat on the ground and waited for the moon to rise. He couldn’t help but be excited that soon he’d be back at Hogwarts with his friends, playing more pranks and searching for more hidden passageways. When Remus changed, he almost felt that the idea of Hogwarts made him feel a little more human.
“Remus, hurry! It’s almost eleven!” his mother shouted, waving him and his father over to the brick barrier separating platforms nine and ten. Remus went through the barrier at a run, his parents following him at a casual walk as to not attract attention. As soon as he was through, James and Sirius were on him like wild dogs.
“We’ve got great ideas for this year!” James exclaimed. “I wanted to mail them to you, but we couldn’t risk the owls being intercepted. Someone might tell Professor Dumbledore.”
“This year’s going to be great though, mate! You won’t be sorry you met us!” Sirius bragged.
“Oh, and my parents bought me a new racing broom! Best one out there, a Cleansweep! It’s the favorite for the World Cup this year! No way I’m not getting Seeker!” James said.
“Hey, have you seen Peter? We can’t find him anywhere,” Sirius complained. “Bloody irritating, he’s always there when you don’t need him, but when you want to ask him something, he vanishes!”
“No, I haven’t seen him yet,” Remus said as they began to push their luggage carts towards the train. “What do you need him for?”
“I’ll tell you later, mate,” Sirius whispered, casting a glance at Remus’ parents. “Hey, lover boy,” he said, turning to James and pointing through the crowd. “Lilly’s over there. Go talk to her.” James looked like he was torn between staying with them and going to her, but after Sirius gave him a slight shove, he left. “She’s the only thing he’d bloody talk about all summer. I was ready to puke,” Sirius told Remus as they loaded their stuff into an empty compartment.
“Do you think he’ll actually take her out on a date this year?” Remus asked.
“Ugh, I hope so. Just so he’ll stop talking about her so much... but I guess that probably won’t help, will it?”
I suppose not,” Remus agreed.
“Remus, can we speak with you for a second?” his mother asked.
“I’ll see you in a minute,” Remus said to Sirius, who nodded and boarded the train.
“Now, you be good. No taking any risks, all right?” his mother asked.
“Yep,” Remus agreed, not really meaning it.
“Don’t go into the Forbidden Forest this year, all right? I’ve been hearing some pretty sketchy stuff lately.”
“Wait, what do you mean?” he asked, but his mother just smiled and shook her head almost worriedly.
“Nothing you need to worry about. Just don’t put yourself in danger, all right?”
“Yeah,” Remus said, nodding slowly, wondering what could have his mother looking so worried.
“We’ll see you soon, Remus. Think about coming back for the Christmas holidays this year,” his dad told him, giving him a pat on the shoulder.
“Okay,” Remus said. The train whistled, and Remus gave his mom one last hug before turning and leaping onto the train. When he entered the compartment, James, Sirius, and Peter were already inside. He looked out the window and waved goodbye to his parents before sitting down and tuning in on the conversation.
“—that two muggles and three wizards were dead!” James was exclaiming to Sirius and Peter. Peter looked petrified, and even Sirius looked worried.
“Wait, what happened?” Remus asked.
“My dad works at the Ministry of Magic as an auror, and he was called in on a case. Muggles had reported it, and the muggle prime minister called the Ministry to check it out, because they didn’t know what was going on. There was a weird thing in the sky, almost made of smoke, and it looked like a skull with a snake slithering out of it’s mouth.” Peter squeaked in a terrified way and pulled his shirt up over his nose in horror. “They went inside, where there were a lot of muggles investigating these dead bodies on the ground. They’d done testing and found that two were muggles and three were wizards. One worked with my dad in the auror office.
“The muggle authorities were really confused, because the people weren’t killed in any muggle way, like a gun or knife or anything—”
“Wait, what’s a gun?” Remus piped up.
“It’s a silver wand thing muggles use to kill each other,” James explained. “Anyways, the muggles were confused, but my dad and the other aurors knew right away that the killing curse had been used on them. They searched everywhere for clues, but nothing was found. It’s a real mystery. Oh, but one thing struck my dad as odd...”
“W-what was that?” Peter asked, almost seeming like he wished he wasn’t asking the question.
“The three wizards were all muggle born, visiting with the two muggles because they all grew up together. And you know that some wizards have a problem with muggle-borns. My dad reckons that had something to do with the whole mess.”
“Yeah, probably somebody from my family,” Sirius said in disgust. “They’re all about pure-bloods and whatever. To think Bellatrix will be unleashed on the world this year... It’s horrifying.”
Bellatrix Black was Sirius’ cousin, the one booing him during the sorting when he’d been chosen to be in Gryffindor. She’d given them a lot of trouble last year, and Remus wasn’t fond of her at all. Narcissa Black, who was Bellatrix’s sister, was almost just as bad. She was only four years older than them, and she acted like she was better than everyone.
“No offence, mate, but I really hate your family,” James said, grimacing.
“No offence taken,” Sirius agreed. “I hate the lot.”
“What about that Andromeda you told us about?” James asked. “You said she’s not like them.”
“Yeah, she’s all right. So is my Uncle Henrik, but my parents don’t like to talk about him. I’ve only met him once, but he seems all right.”
“Hey, Sirius, can I talk to you for a second?” The compartment door had just slid open, and a boy with black hair who slightly resembled Sirius had stuck his head in.
“Sure,” Sirius said with a smile. He then addressed his friends. “Guys, this is my brother, Regulus. This is his first year at Hogwarts. Regulus, this is James, Remus, and Peter.” They all smiled at Regulus, who nodded back. “Guys, I’ll only be a minute.” He then followed Regulus out into the hall.
“W-when do you think the trolley will come by?” Peter asked, patting his stomach. “I-I’m starving!”
“Me, too,” James agreed. He then looked at Remus. “Hey, are you feeling all right, Remus?”
Remus, who’d been staring out the window at the changing scenery, looked up.
“Err, yeah, I’m fine. I didn’t get much sleep last night,” he explained.
“Yeah, you’ve got terrible bags under your eyes,” James said, nodding. “We’ll try to be quiet if you want to get some sleep?”
Sirius walked back into the compartment and sat down, looking sour.
“What’s wrong with you?” James asked him.
“Nothing. My brother just told me that my mum wanted to make sure that I wasn’t coming home for any holidays this year, and to ask if I could stay at your house again next summer. Regulus is supposed to send her an owl as soon as he gets to Hogwarts.”
“Well, that’s unpleasant,” Remus said.
“Yeah, she’s a right old bat, she is,” Sirius sighed. He then perked up considerably and said, “Hey, how about for Christmas I send her a pair of my old socks? Gryffindor colors, of course! That’ll be a good joke!”
“How come she acts like that? I mean, sure, you’re in Gryffindor, but you’re still her son,” Remus reasoned.
“I’m an abnormality. I’m like a monster to her. I think she’d rather have a werewolf as a son than me,” Sirius complained.
Remus frowned at the mention of werewolves but didn’t speak.
“Well, you should just tell her to shove off and let you live your life the way you want to live it,” James offered.
“Yeah, I guess. If I’m lucky, those dark wizards who killed those people aren’t only singling out muggles and muggle-borns, and my mum’ll be next.”
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