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The Life of A Young Werewolf by lenette
Chapter 18 : A Taste of Freedom
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 1


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The following day, though they slept later than they had planned, they were eager to get started on the work at Sirius’ house. There was a lot to be done, and even though none of the boys really liked cleaning, Sirius had promised James and Remus they could stay at his house any time they wanted, which was enough incentive to make them quite willing to help him with any work that was required. Since Remus had more knowledge about cleaning than the other two boys did, he showed them the things he had learned about nonmagical cleaning methods.

After about two hours of working on the living room, they stopped to take a break and admire their progress. By dividing the work between the three of them, they had managed to clean the ceiling, walls, draperies, windows and fireplace. The carpet and furniture still needed to be cleaned, but they were confident they would finish that before the day was over. While they were resting, Sirius decided to show them the one room in the house he had not opened the previous day- his uncle’s bedroom. He led them up the stairs into a large bedroom that Remus easily realized reflected what Sirius had told them about his uncle’s personality.

The furniture in the room was much like the living room- the bed and chairs in the room were of a dark wood with elegant embroidery and thick cushions; the dresser and nightstand matched the chairs. On the table that stood between the chairs was a hand-cranked phonograph and a stack of muggle records; the nightstand had a stack of muggle magazines on its top. The room was decorated with a mixture of paintings that did not move and a few scattered photographs that did. At first Remus didn’t recognize the subject of the photographs, but he stepped closer to the dresser and picked up a photo in a gilded frame; the subject was a small boy with dark eyes and a familiar mischievous smile. As he looked at it, he realized it must be Sirius.

Just then, Sirius reached across the dresser and picked up a pocket watch from a tray that held several other small items. Startled, Remus replaced the photo and said

“Sorry- I didn’t mean to snoop…I just wasn’t sure who was in this photo.”

“Don’t worry about it- you weren’t snooping. I brought you guys up here to show you this room and everything in it. I’m betting you noticed that was one of the few photos in here that moves. He only has a few of me, and none of the rest of the family. Regulus never liked to come over here, and his other nieces and nephews didn’t spend much time with him either. They just couldn’t understand him or his opinions.” said Sirius.

“That must have been hard for him.” said Remus.

“I think it was; he never really said anything about it, and as a kid I didn’t think much about it myself. I just knew I liked him and I didn’t care what my parents thought about him. I spent time with him anytime they would let me…and a couple of times after I started school that they never knew about. This photo is from my seventh birthday- one of the best- and worst- days I had with him. It was the last time I got to visit him here and my parents knew about it.”

“It looks like you were quite happy about something in the photo.” observed James, who had come over to where they were standing and looked at the image.

“I was. It was my birthday, and after spending the morning at home with my parents and Regulus, I was allowed to go on an outing with Uncle Alphard. He picked me up that afternoon- he offered to take Regulus, but Regulus didn’t want to come. We apparated to the beach, then went to this little restaurant right across the street that made really good hamburgers. After we ate lunch, we played in the sand for a while, then we waded and splashed in the water. When I got tired of that, we went further down the beach to an area where they had some rides set up- we rode the bumper cars, carousel and Ferris wheel. Finally, we were both tired, and it was getting late in the day, so we came here. Of course, he had a gift for me, too…a toy version of a motorcycle. It was about waist high to me then, and it ran off a battery. It was bright red with orange flames. I rode it all over the yard here that day…I don’t think I quit until nearly dark. I remember it felt like I was going so fast; I thought it must be just like the real thing. When it was time for him to bring me home, he brought it with us…but mom wouldn’t let me keep it.” said Sirius.

“Was she afraid you would get hurt?” asked James

“Ha- not hardly. She was not about to let that ‘muggle trash’ in her house. Dad tried, a little at least, to explain that it was a very expensive toy, and that Alphard wouldn’t be able to return it. Even though he didn’t care for muggle stuff, he didn’t want to be the cause of someone wasting that much money. Money was one thing that was at least as valuable to him, maybe more, than his pure blood status. It didn’t matter to mom, though. She didn’t care how much it had cost or what he might be able to do with it, it was a muggle toy, and she would not even consider allowing it in her house. So, Uncle Alphard brought it back home, thinking I’d have a chance to come play with it again. But I never did- after that, they wouldn’t let me go on an unsupervised visit with him again, and of course he wouldn’t bring it out in front of them…we only came here one more time after that anyway. Right after I entered Hogwarts, he sold it. He sent me a letter telling me he was going to do that, and enclosed a photo he’d taken of me riding it that day. He’s got a few of me on it around here somewhere. This particular photo is from the beach.” explained Sirius.

“Wow, that was really harsh, not that I’m surprised, given what you’ve said about your mother. How did he manage to give you some of the other muggle gifts you got later on?” asked Remus.

“He would sneak them to me. The Christmas after this incident, he stayed away- he just felt it was for the best. After that, he’d send me a gift with a normal wizard toy, or something he knew they wouldn’t be too suspicious of, and if there was a muggle toy, it would be hidden somewhere else in the package. I made a habit of being careful when I opened gifts from him, and of sitting away from my parents if possible so that they wouldn’t see inside the package. Once I started going to Hogwarts, he would just send my stuff here. I could hide it in my trunk and they’d never know about it. They never bothered looking in my trunk, so anything I put in there was safe.”

“I guessed it might have been something like that- I knew he’d found some way to get things to you. It’s sad that they kept you two apart so much, but at least you managed to work out a way around their objections.” said Remus.

“Yeah, I did, and I don’t regret doing it, even though it meant lying to my parents. Uncle Alphard was a special person, and I’m glad I got to know him. I’ve got some other things I want to show you guys too, if they’re still here.” explained Sirius.

He looked around on the dresser, and on the tray that had held the pocket watch, he found a silver signet ring. Sirius picked it up, then held out it and the watch to show them.

“This was my grandpa’s watch. Uncle Alphard got it because he was grandpa’s favorite. He told me several years ago that he wanted me to have it. He convinced my mom that he’d lost it so that she wouldn’t try to get it for Regulus. The ring had been a gift from his mother on his seventeenth birthday. He wore it until a few years ago; then he gained a bit of weight and it wouldn’t fit anymore. But he had planned to give it to me for my seventeenth birthday, that’s why it’s still here. Even though I’m not fond of some members of my family, he felt I should have a few keepsakes to remember others by.”

He then picked up the money that was lying on the tray and counted it aloud.

“One pound, five shillings and two pence in muggle money; five galleons, three sickles and two knuts in wizard money…I bet he’d been to London recently.” Sirius guessed.

“Why do you say that?” asked James.

“Because of the muggle money. He probably had done some shopping there and this was his change from a purchase. It’s not enough to buy much on its own, but he probably didn’t take time to exchange it for our money. He liked to shop in London for a lot of different kinds of things, and I’m guessing he was either tired or in a hurry when he came back and that’s why he didn’t exchange this for our money.”

Now that Sirius was caught up in the memories and mementoes his Uncle Alphard had left him, he began cleaning off the dresser. It took them almost an hour, because even though James and Remus picked up a few things, Sirius needed to look at each object before deciding what to do with it. Most of the stuff was just common papers and everyday objects, but there were a few other small treasures that Sirius found. Aside from the ring and watch, he found a pair of cufflinks and the photo of James, Remus and Peter that Sirius had taken during third year and sent to his uncle.

Once the dresser was mostly clean, they decided they were ready to return to the Potters’ house. After dinner that evening, James, Sirius and Remus spent some time in the den, playing chess, when Remus reminded them that the full moon was in two days.

“Do you think your parents would let us stay overnight at Sirius’ house that night?” asked Remus.

“I’m sure they probably will, if we present it to them the right way. As long as we make sure they understand we aren’t planning anything wild, I don’t think it will be a problem.” replied James.

“Since your dad saw how much work needs to be done over there, I don’t think he’ll question it too much.” said Sirius.

“When we finish this match, let’s go talk to them.” suggested Remus.

A few minutes later, they went into the living room, and thanks to Sirius expressing interest in being able to work on the house more, along with James’ assurance that they would not get into any mischief, the Potters agreed they could spend the night. Mrs. Potter was a bit concerned at first that they wouldn’t eat well, and then Remus reminded her that he could cook well enough to feed them.

On the day of the full moon, they packed the things they needed, including a big basket of food from Mrs. Potter’s kitchen, and used the floo network to get to Sirius’ house by noon. Though they spent some time working, they had also brought along a wireless set, and a few other things to amuse themselves. About an hour before dark, Sirius showed Remus the bedroom he intended for Remus to use overnight.

“Are you sure you want me in here? I know it’s an empty room, but what if I damage something?” Remus asked.

“Don’t worry about it…if you do, we’ll repair it. I don’t mind.”

“Wouldn’t it maybe be better to put me in the basement?” asked Remus

“No, it wouldn’t. There’s more stuff down there than there is in this room. But most importantly, you’re my friend, and I am not gonna lock you in the basement…not as long as I have another option.”

“Okay, if you’re sure this is what you want.” said Remus.

“I’m sure. And just so you know, this bedroom has access to the spare bathroom through this door.” he said, showing Remus a door that led to the bathroom.

“I’ll put my supplies in there so I can get to them easily when morning comes.”

“That sounds like a good idea.” said Sirius.

They went back downstairs to the kitchen and made a quick, light dinner for the three of them. As soon as Remus finished eating, he and Sirius went back to the empty room. Once Remus was inside, Sirius slid home the lock he’d installed on the outside of the door. Remus noticed the closet as he entered the room, and thought of how he used the closet in the shack at school to store a spare set of clothes. He decided that since he couldn’t use magic to repair the clothes he was wearing, to strip and put his clothes in there so that they wouldn’t be damaged during his transformation. He had just enough time to accomplish this before the moon began its ascent and his transformation began.

The next morning when he returned to his human form, it was a couple of minutes before he remembered where he was, and why he was nude. After a moment, his memory cleared, and he recognized Sirius’ spare room and recalled putting his clothing in the closet. He sat up, stretched gingerly, then began examining himself. He had a few new wounds on his chest, but luckily, that was all. A glance around the room revealed a long, jagged claw mark in the wallpaper on the wall across from where he sat. He hoped Sirius would not be upset over it…he had told Remus it didn’t matter if he damaged anything, but Remus would be concerned until he showed it to him. He then rose, went into the bathroom and tended his wounds. Once this was finished, he put on his underwear and t-shirt, then gathered his pillow and blanket so he could rest for a while. He curled up on the floor and drifted off to sleep.

Remus was awakened several hours later by the sound of voices. Apparently, Sirius and James were trying to decide if they should check on him. After a moment, Sirius opened the door a crack, and upon seeing Remus awake and sitting up in the floor, he and James came into the room.

“How are you feeling, Remus?” Sirius asked.

“Hungry, and sore, but I’ve been asleep for a while, so I’m not as tired as I am usually. I didn’t keep you guys awake all night, did I?”

“No. We stayed up late, but it was because we wanted to…we sat up talking and listening to the wireless for quite a while. We finally went to bed around 2 a.m. But we slept fine when we did go to bed. We were wishing we could change into our animal forms and keep you company, but we know we can’t do that.” said James.

“No, you can’t…I don’t want you to risk getting caught. I’m glad you were able to sleep.” said Remus. Then he looked over at the torn wallpaper, and showed Sirius.

“I was afraid I’d damage something…look at this.” said Remus

“It’s no big deal- we can fix it later. I’m honestly not sure I want to keep this particular wallpaper anyway. Don’t worry about it.” replied Sirius.
 

“Okay…as long as it’s no big deal to you. Do you guys want something to eat? I’m hungry.” asked Remus.

“Yeah, I’m hungry. We were just talking about lunch…that’s what made us think we needed to check on you. We know you usually come from the hospital wing around lunch time or a bit after, so we guessed you might be ready to get out of here and eat.” said Sirius.

“You’re right. Let’s go see what we can come up with for lunch.” replied Remus.
They went downstairs and the three of them worked together to prepare lunch. After they ate, they decided to tackle really cleaning the kitchen. They had finished the living room the first day they worked on their own, and had spent the days since then working on the bedrooms. Sirius was eager to get his uncle’s bedroom clean enough for him to use, and they had finally succeeded the previous day. There were still a lot of things he needed to sort and decide what he was going to do with them, but the bed, dresser, and closet were clean enough to use.

After spending about three hours working in the kitchen, it was practically spotless. Every surface shone like new, and the cabinets were organized. When they took a break, James glanced at his watch and reminded them that his parents would be expecting them back that evening. So they gathered the belongings they intended to bring back with them and used the floo network to return to the Potters’ home.

Over the next several weeks, they split their time between Sirius’ house and the Potters’ home. They took several days off to just have fun and enjoy their summer, but they also worked on the homework they’d been assigned. Their report cards had arrived the week after they left school, and they had all three received passing grades in all of their classes.

Near the end of July, James received a letter from Peter asking if he could come for an overnight visit. He had managed to convince his parents that he should be allowed to visit if for no other reason than because his friends could help him with his homework, which of course he was struggling to complete. They had agreed, so he only needed to secure the Potters’ permission for the visit. James’ parents agreed that Peter could come over whenever he was allowed, and he arrived the next day. The boys spent much of that afternoon at the Potters’ house, but since Peter had not had the opportunity to visit Sirius’ house, they got permission from the Potters to spend the night and much of the next day there.

After showing Peter around the house, and pointing out how much progress they’d made on cleaning, the four of them brought their schoolbooks and sleeping bags into the living room. They decided they would sleep there, since it was a large room, much like the Potters’ den. Since the day was blisteringly hot, they decided to spend at least a couple of hours working on their homework.

“How far have you gotten on the homework, Peter?” asked Remus.

“I got the work done in History of Magic, and I’ve done the reading for Potions and Defense against the Dark Arts, but I haven’t done the essays for those classes, and I haven’t done the reading for Charms or Transfiguration.” Peter replied.

“It’s a good thing you’ve still got five weeks left before school starts, then. We can help you with the essays, and proofread the work you’ve finished, but only you can do the reading assignments. You can’t do the other essays until you do the reading.” said Remus.

“I know. I will start on the reading assignments when I go home, and hopefully have them done, and the essays done before the ride back to school. If possible, I’d like to come over here one more time this summer so you guys could help me finish up.” said Peter.

“That would be fine, but you really need to get used to doing things like this for yourself. After all, when we graduate, I’m not gonna be around to check your work behind you at whatever job you may get.” said Remus.

“I know that, and I am trying to do better.” Peter explained.

“Well, let’s see what we can do.” said Remus, stacking his own books on the table.

Peter pulled the work he’d completed from his bag and handed it to Remus, along with his partially finished essays. Sirius and James turned their attention to proofreading each other’s work. They worked on homework until early evening, when they decided they were ready to prepare dinner. Since the basket of food they had brought from Mrs. Potter’s kitchen contained some hot dogs, chips and soft drinks, they decided to roast the hot dogs over a fire in the fireplace.

They listened to the wireless while they ate, and afterwards they played chess and spent several hours looking at the immense collection of muggle books and magazines Alphard had left behind. His interests had apparently been quite varied, as he had literature on topics ranging from cars and motorcycles (which Remus suspected he planned to send to Sirius) to music and history.

Sometime after midnight, they unrolled their sleeping bags and went to sleep. The next morning, they slept until nearly 10 a.m.. After a quick, light breakfast, they decided to return to James’ house because they were not sure when Peter’s mother would return for him.

Once they arrived, they decided to spend some time outside. They swam for a while, then James and Sirius talked Peter and Remus into playing Quidditch. In spite of Peter’s dislike for flying, he was willing to play the keeper position. After about an hour, they went back inside, and set up the chess set. As they were playing, the conversation turned to their plans for the remainder of the summer, and the new school year.

“I know I told you guys before school was over that you could come over anytime, and that I thought the house would be ready to move into by the end of summer, but I don’t think that’s gonna be such a good idea. The house will be clean before summer is over, I’m sure, but since none of us is of age to do magic away from school, there are a lot of things we wouldn’t be able to do for ourselves. We can’t produce fire to cook or to have a fire in the fireplace, we can’t use magic to clean…we have to use muggle stuff or come up with other ways to do what we need. So I think it’s best if I just continue to live with James’ family for the summer, and we’ll be able to put this place to good use next year. But I am going to move anything I don’t need all the time over here, so that when school is out next year, it will be easier to finish up moving in.” said Sirius.

“I wondered if you had thought of those things earlier, when you were talking about moving in here. We could probably get away with an occasional spell to light a fire, but if we do very much magic away from adults, the Ministry is sure to know about it. I definitely think it’s better to just stay with the Potters until you’re of age.” agreed Remus.

“I hadn’t thought of those things either, but I agree with you both…so many things are hard to accomplish without magic. You don’t really think about how much you use magic for every day until you’re in a situation where you can’t do that. So, if you aren’t gonna move in this summer, what are we gonna do with the weeks we have left of vacation?” asked James.

“I thought I would continue to clean the rooms that need it, and sort through the stuff I haven’t yet, and then move my extra stuff in here a bit at a time. Doing it slowly will give me a chance to organize it all…not that it will necessarily stay organized.” Sirius said with a laugh.

“Are you gonna come here for the Christmas holidays?” asked Peter

“I don’t know, I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.” replied Sirius.

“I haven’t been thinking about the holidays yet, but I am concerned about whether or not I’ll be able to handle the courses Professor McGonagall told me I’d be taking. When she first showed me the list of classes, I didn’t think it would be too bad, but I’m getting nervous about it.” said Remus.

“I think you’re worrying over nothing, Remus. Professor McGonagall wouldn’t have suggested you study for two career paths if she didn’t think you could handle the work. I’m sure you’ll do fine.” said James.

“Yeah, you’re one of the best students in our year. I’m sure it will be a lot of work, but you’ll do great. You just might not have as much free time as you have in past years.” offered Sirius.

“If he doesn’t have much free time, who’s gonna help me study?” asked Peter.


“One of us will help you. But you need to start studying better on your own…you aren’t likely to have someone that can help you so much when you start working somewhere.” said James.

“I know, and I plan to do better this year. But I always get so nervous and confused when I’m studying for tests. I just don’t feel very sure of myself …I don’t think I know the material to pass the tests.” explained Peter.

“If you get in a habit of reading the material yourself, doing the homework early so you don’t have to rush, and rereading your work, you’ll understand more, and then tests won’t bother you so much. I think what causes you to get nervous is when you don’t know the answer to one question, you start doubting everything you do know, and you second-guess yourself. So instead of answering with what you really believe to be right, you question it and give some other answer…and that just makes the problem worse. If you do what I suggest, then review a bit each week, by the time a test is announced, you’ll feel more sure that you know the material and you’ll do better.” said Remus.

“I’d never thought of it that way, but you might be right.” replied Peter.

“So are you ready to go back to school, Sirius? James?” asked Remus.

“I am. There’s a cute girl in Hufflepuff that I noticed last year and I’m hoping to ask her out this year. I’d just seen her at the end of last year, and there was a rumor that she had a boyfriend. I don’t know if it was true or not. But maybe she’ll be free this year.” said Sirius.

“So you’re looking forward to going back just because you might get to ask this girl out?” asked James with a chuckle.

“Yes, I am. What are you laughing about? It’s not as if you haven’t been thinking about a girl…how many times have we heard you talk about Lily Evans this summer?” asked Sirius.

“More than I care to count.” replied Remus.

“I haven’t really been that annoying have I? Besides, the reason I’m really looking forward to going back is Quidditch.” said James defensively.

“You might make someone believe that, but it won’t be me. And yes, you have been annoying.” said Sirius.

“Well, I have just been trying to figure out how to act around her to get her to go out with me.” explained James.

“I already told you, an ‘act’ won’t get you anywhere with Lily. If you can’t be yourself, and be sincere, don’t bother. Lily’s very bright, and she dislikes a liar as much as she dislikes bullies. If you can’t really change your behavior, then you’re wasting your time.” said Remus.

“He’s right, James. I don’t know Lily very well, but I have noticed her enough to realize she’s very smart. And I know from what other girls say that bullying other kids doesn’t impress anyone.” Sirius agreed.

“Maybe you just haven’t found a girl with a sense of humor.” said James.

“It’s not that, the girls I’ve dated can appreciate a joke or a harmless prank occasionally. But some of the things you’ve- we’ve- done recently were actually mean, and there’s nothing funny about that. Besides, we are sixteen, we’ll be adults in a few months, it’s time we start showing more maturity.” said Sirius.

“I guess you’re right. I’ll try to give the kids a break. But Snape- he’s a special case- I make no promises about him.” James said reluctantly.

“Even with him, you should be careful not to start anything. Defend yourself if needed, but don’t be the one to start it. Just out of curiosity, why are you suddenly so interested in Lily?” asked Remus.

“For one thing, she’s beautiful- she’s probably the prettiest girl at Hogwarts. She’s smart too, and I realized I don’t mind so much if she’s better in class than I am. I’ve listened to you talk about her, and I want to get to know her better. Unless of course, you were going to ask her out.” said James.

When James said that, Remus realized he’d never said anything to his friends about that part of his life. He’d never had a conversation with them like he’d had with Lily the previous year. So he decided now was the time to talk about it.

“No, James, I’m not going to ask her out. But she is a very dear friend to me, so I’d appreciate it if you treat her well. Your question brings up something I wanted to tell the three of you. I don’t plan to date anyone. I like girls, Lily included, and there are several others that I think are especially pretty and smart. But I don’t think it would be safe for me to get involved with someone. I don’t know if a person can be infected by kissing, and it’s not a risk I’m willing to take.” explained Remus.

“Isn’t there some way you could find out? Would the healers at St. Mungo’s know?” asked Peter.

“I don’t know if they would or not. I’m one of very few werewolves who have tried to live a normal life and not infect anyone. I don’t know if they have had a way to find out. But I do plan to try to see them soon.” said Remus.

“I really think you should. At least that way, if the information is available, you’ll have an answer. If you don’t mind me asking, why are you telling us this?” asked James.

“Because you’re my friends and because I know the question of why I’m not dating would cross your minds at some point. Knowing you and Sirius, you’d probably even try to set me up with someone. Giving you this information now will spare us all some embarrassment.” replied Remus.

“You’re probably right there, because it’s quite possible we would have tried that. In fact I thought about it last year. Now that I know this, I will respect your wishes.” Sirius responded.

“Same here. But as far as what I was saying about Lily, I realize an ‘act’ won’t work, but how should I approach her? What should I do?” asked James.

“I’d say try to get to know her. You’re gonna need to do this slowly, because she has a bad impression of you right now, especially after that incident with Snape last year. It won’t be easy to convince her you’ve changed, especially just on your word…she will need time to see that you really have changed. Once she does, she’ll be more willing to spend time with you; you might try studying together, or just talking to her before classes at first. After that, if you ask her on a date, she might accept. The hardest part will be making sure she sees the change in your behavior as sincere, not just something you’re doing for her benefit. The best approach is to just behave better whether she’s around or not, that way it’s more real.” said Remus.

“That makes sense to me, even though it will take a lot of effort. What do you think, Sirius?” asked James.

“It sounds good to me too. Remus knows Lily better than any of us, so of course he understands her better. I’m sure his suggestion is a good one.” Sirius confirmed.

“Talking about school reminded me of something- I need to get in touch with Professor Dumbledore and make the arrangements for my school supplies and uniforms. I’ll also need to see if the school will pay for a visit to St. Mungo’s. Do you guys mind if I light a fire and use the floo network to go see him?” asked Remus.

“Of course not, go ahead.” said James.

Remus lit a fire, then used floo powder to travel to Professor Dumbledore’s office. Fortunately, the headmaster was in and did not have visitors. Remus brushed the soot off himself, then cleaned up the floor. As he was doing this Professor Dumbledore spoke to him.

“Hello Remus. Is everything okay? I’m surprised to see you.”

“I’m sorry to drop in on you unannounced, and everything’s fine. But I realized I needed to speak to you about the arrangements for my school supplies.” said Remus.

“Your arrangements from last year are still in place. All you need to do is go to the shops you normally use, select your supplies and identify yourself to the clerk. Everything will be billed to the school, as before. I’m guessing you’ll need new uniforms this year too- it looks like you’ve grown a little since last year, and maybe put on a little weight. Mrs. Potter must be feeding you three pretty well.”

“Yes sir, she certainly is. She cooks as well as my own mother did, and it seems like she feeds us every time she sees us. She seems to think I’m far too thin. I just tell her I’m that way because I’m so tall. She believes me, I think. Neither she nor Mr. Potter seem to have figured out the true nature of my condition.”

“That’s good. I’m guessing you’ve been using Sirius’ house as a place to go for your transformations this summer?”

“Yes sir. The house was in good shape, except for a few minor repairs, which Mr. Potter helped us with, and some cleaning. The cleaning is mostly finished now, but Sirius’ uncle left a lot of stuff behind to be sorted, and that is going to take a while. My only regret about transforming there is that I damaged the spare room I’ve been using- I made a rather large tear in the wallpaper on one wall. He said it was no big deal, but I wish I had been able to repair it.”

“If he’s not in a hurry to repair it, you can mend it next summer. But if he wants it repaired now, I could perhaps drop by and take care of it.”

“Thanks for offering to help, but he said he would repair it next year, so I think it will be okay until then.”

“You’re welcome. I’m guessing there’s more you wanted to discuss with me than this, though.”

“Yes sir, actually, there is. I was wondering if it would be possible for the school to pay for me to see the healers at St. Mungo’s?”

“Are you hurt or sick?”

“No sir. It’s silly, now that I’m talking to you about it. I just wanted to ask them some questions about my condition.”

“There’s no reason to feel silly about asking questions. Obviously, you feel you need this information, or you wouldn’t have thought of asking them. Do you mind telling me what you want to ask?”

Remus thought for a moment about backing out, saying he’d changed his mind. But he’d come this far, and in some ways, Professor Dumbledore was like a father to him. He had certainly risked embarrassment several times on Remus’ behalf. He decided to tell him what he wanted to find out.

“Well, sir, I wanted to see what they could tell me about girls. I want to know how risky it would be for me to get involved romantically with a girl.”

“I knew this would come up eventually. I don’t have an answer for you; I had thought that perhaps your question would be one I could answer myself…not that I don’t want you to see the healers, but if I had an answer, you would have had some information, at least. But yes, the school will pay for a visit for that. I’m betting the healers will have some questions for you as well.”

“I’m sure they will. I haven’t seen a healer since I was twelve. One of the times mom went in, they wanted to examine me too. I wasn’t sick, but because of my condition, they wanted to gather some information. When I was young, they were keeping close watch on my growth because after I was bitten, I lost some weight and seemed to be growing more slowly than they felt I should have been. I think I’ve mostly made up for that now, but I’m sure they will want to ask a bunch of questions.”

“I’m sure they will, and they will give you their opinions and any advice you need. I wish you had told me earlier that they were watching you, we would have made arrangements for you to go each year.”

“I didn’t really give it much thought. Mom had planned to take me before I started fourth year, but she was so sick we didn’t get around to it, and after she died, it just completely slipped my mind.”

“It’s understandable that you wouldn’t think of it after that. The healers will probably ask you the same question, though. When do you want to go see them, and do you want me to go with you?”

“If you want to come, and it’s not an inconvenience for you, I would like for you to be there so that if there is anything you need to know, you’ll hear it from them. As far as when, it doesn’t matter, I just can’t go today, because the Potters don’t know I’m here. Peter had spent the night, and all four of us were in the den talking, and I just came here without even thinking to ask them. They’re pretty lenient, so I don’t think they’ll mind, but I wouldn’t want to be gone for several hours without them knowing I was leaving.”

“I agree- you shouldn’t leave without telling them about it. Even though they aren’t your parents, they have been taking care of you, and you need to be considerate of that. I realize today was just a slip, and won’t be a big deal, but try not to do that again. As far as your appointment, I do want to go with you, for the very reasons you gave. Why don’t we try to go tomorrow, and either I can apparate to the Potters’ home to pick you up or you can come here by floo network and we’ll leave from here.”

“I think it would be best if you apparate there to pick me up. That way they’ll know who I’m with and where I’m going. You can give them whatever reason you’d like. I will let them know about coming here today- I’ll tell them I came to discuss my school supply arrangements, and I’ll tell them that I didn’t ask them because I didn’t want to disturb them, which is true.”

“That’s fine. I’ll probably tell them that I’m taking you to St. Mungo’s tomorrow and that it is an arrangement your mom set up several years ago for you to see them every couple of years. I will probably say that I don’t know why she made those arrangements, but that I had promised her I would see to it that you went.”

“I’m sure they will accept that. What time do you plan to come pick me up?”

“9:00 a.m. should be early enough, I think.”

“I’ll be ready. I think I should get back to their house now. Thank you, Professor, for agreeing to this. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll see you in the morning.”

With that, Remus walked to the fireplace and used the floo network to return to the Potters’ den. Even though he would have preferred to tell them about his visit with Professor Dumbledore himself, they had discovered he was gone when Peter left and he had not been there to say goodbye to his friend. Sirius and James had explained to the Potters that Remus was taking care of ‘school business’ with the headmaster, and they had not been upset that he’d left without telling them. As soon as his friends told him what had happened, he talked to them himself, confirming the story his friends had told them.


The next morning, Professor Dumbledore arrived at the Potters’ home by 8:30 a.m. Remus was in the kitchen, so he heard the headmaster explain to Mr. Potter that he had come to take Remus to St. Mungo’s as part of an arrangement Mrs. Lupin had made with the hospital. He assured Mr. Potter that Remus was not ill, and that the visit was simply a check- up- that Remus had, as a young boy, been a bit frail and prone to minor illnesses, and that the healers had suggested she bring him in regularly to make sure he was well. Mr. Potter accepted that, observing that perhaps that was why Remus was so thin. Assured that everything was okay, he stepped into the kitchen and told Remus the headmaster had come to collect him.

Remus went into the living room and greeted the headmaster, then the two of them stepped outside into the bright summer sun and apparated to Diagon Alley. They landed about a block from the storefront entrance to St. Mungo’s hospital. As they walked, Professor Dumbledore asked Remus

“Do you want me in the room for the examination, or would you prefer I wait outside? I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, so whichever way you want is what I will do.”

“I’d rather you wait outside during the exam, but be in the room afterwards, so you can hear whatever they tell me.”

“Okay, that’s what we’ll do.”

Once they were inside the hospital, Professor Dumbledore told the Welcome Witch about the appointment he’d made and she told him where to go to meet Remus’ healer. They went to the room they had been directed to and waited. Soon a young healer named Daniel arrived and Professor Dumbledore spoke to him.

“This is Remus Lupin. He’s a student of mine at Hogwarts, and a werewolf. He’s been treated here for the last ten years, but I did not know until recently that you were trying to keep close watch over him. If I had known earlier, he would have seen you more often.”

“That’s quite alright, Professor. I’m sure we can update our records and everything will be fine. Is he having a problem?” asked Daniel

“No, sir. But I’ll let him tell you the rest. I’ll wait outside.”

When the door closed behind Professor Dumbledore, Daniel turned to Remus and said

“So, what brings you here today, Remus?”

“I have some questions that I’m hoping you can answer?” Remus replied, hesitantly.

“Okay, I’ve got some for you too, but you go first.”

“This is embarrassing, but I really want to know. Would it be safe for me to be intimate with a girl?”

“Just for the sake of being completely clear, you are asking about kissing, or maybe sex?”

“Yes sir” Remus replied

“Well, I don’t really know. There’s still so much we don’t know about how the infection occurs, that I just can’t be sure. We’ve had very few opportunities to study werewolves, especially in situations like yours, that we don’t have much information. All we do know for sure is that when a werewolf’s saliva enters the bloodstream of a non-infected person, that person becomes infected. We haven’t learned if it can be spread any other way. We do know that sharing a cup or eating utensil is safe, because your parents did that for years. But a kiss could be risky if the person had a sore in their mouth. So, to be safe, I’d say you probably shouldn’t be intimate with a girl...it would be very risky for her. You haven’t already done this, have you?”

“No, sir. I would never take a chance like that without checking first. I was hoping for a different answer, because there is a girl at school that I really like, but there is no way I’d put her in danger.”

“You’re a very smart young man, and I hope someday to be able to tell you that there is a way for you to do that safely. But for now, there just isn’t. I’m sorry…I know that isn’t what you want to hear.”

“It’s okay- I had guessed that might be the case. But at least I know for sure. I’d rather know now, before I ever get involved with a girl, because I won’t need to break off a relationship because of it. At least this way, the only consequence to deal with is me being certain I can’t date.”

“I know that will be hard to deal with, but maybe you’ll have a busy enough life to somewhat make up for it. Is there anything else you need to ask?”

“No sir, but you said you had some questions for me.”

“I do, and I want to examine you too. If you’ll undress, we can talk while I examine you.”

“Okay.” Remus said. He stripped to his briefs and sat down on the examining table. As
Daniel checked nearly every inch of his body, he continued to question Remus.
He weighed and measured him first.

“Six foot two, a hundred sixty pounds. A bit thin for your height, but not unhealthy.” Daniel said.

“Do you remember when you hit your first growth spurt?”

“I was about twelve…when summer vacation was over, mom had to alter my uniforms to fit for the next school year.”

“Okay, that’s about normal. When did your voice change?”

“It started when I a few months after I turned fourteen, and it leveled out not long after my fifteenth birthday.”

“That seems about right too.”
Daniel finished examining Remus, then told him he could get dressed. Once Remus was finished, he told Daniel he wanted Professor Dumbledore to hear whatever he planned to say. Daniel summoned Professor Dumbledore into the room, then began to explain his conclusions.

“Remus, from my examination and your answers to my questions, you are a completely normal teenage boy, except for your lycanthropy. You seem to have grown and progressed through puberty at a normal rate, and you seem healthy. Though you are thin, you are not underweight. I’m pleased to see that the predictions made by the healers who treated you at first were incorrect- your condition has not affected your growth significantly.”

“What about the questions he had for you? Were you able to answer it for him?” asked Professor Dumbledore.

“Yes sir, he was. Unfortunately, the answer was no, but at least I have the information now.” said Remus.

“I wish it were different for you, but you understand my reasoning. However, I want to make sure you are both aware of some research that is being done. Several different healers and potioneers are working on various potions and other preparations that may help with your condition. At the moment, they’re still working and testing, but some seem promising.”

“You mean there could be a cure for this sometime soon?” asked Remus.

“I don’t know about a cure, but at least something that will help the symptoms. It’s still early to say, but I wanted you to know there are people who are trying. Your information will contribute to their efforts.” explained Daniel.

“So when does he need to come back?” asked Professor Dumbledore.

“Since he seems to be finished growing, I’d say every couple of years would be enough for us to gather information, unless he has a problem or question. If he wants to come in every year, that’s fine, but it’s not necessary.”

“Then we’ll probably come back next year before school starts. Hopefully after that, he’ll be able to come in every two years.” replied Professor Dumbledore.

“Remus, did you have any other questions?” asked Daniel.

“Just one- is there anything I can put on my wounds that might heal them faster? What I’m using works, but I just thought I’d ask.”

“No, the one we recommended to your mom is the best there is. As you know, werewolf cuts are cursed, so they just don’t heal very well. The cream, pain potion and tonic that you told me you use are the best available.”

“Okay- I just wanted to be sure. Thank you for your time, Daniel.”

“You’re welcome. Come back if you need anything else.”

Professor Dumbledore and Remus left the room, then stopped at a clerk’s window and paid for the visit. After they left the hospital, Professor Dumbledore asked

“Since we still have some time left before I promised to have you home, would you like to get your school supplies?”

“Honestly sir, I’d rather wait and do my shopping with James and Sirius. But if you really feel it’s best we go now, that’s okay with me.”

“I understand- I used to enjoy shopping with my friends too. Instead, we’ll go to Gringott’s and I’ll take some money out of the school fund for you. That way you can pay for your supplies instead of signing for them. If you have a little left over, buy something fun with it. I’ll let the shopkeepers know I’ve made different arrangements for this year.”

“That sounds good to me. Are you sure about me spending school money on something for fun?”

“Of course. There probably won’t be a lot left, and it will do you good to pick out something you’ll enjoy.”

“Thank you sir.” said Remus.

After a quick stop at Gringott’s, Professor Dumbledore gave Remus a bag of coins for his supplies, and they apparated back to the Potters’ home.

Professor Dumbledore explained to the Potters’ that Remus was okay, that the healer had given him a clean bill of health, and if he had any problems later, all he need do was contact the hospital.

After a few minutes of small talk with the Potters, the headmaster left, then Remus, James and Sirius went to the den to talk and play chess. Remus filled them in on all the details of the visit, including the healer’s confirmation of his own hunches. But at least he had some hope in the research that was being done.

The remaining few weeks of summer vacation passed quickly, with the guys spending a little time finishing up at Sirius’ house, and the rest of their time having fun. When they did their shopping for supplies, Remus found he did have a little money left, and he purchased a leather bound journal for himself, as he had discovered he really enjoyed writing.

 

 
 


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