Disclaimer: I own the plot, the whole plot and nothing but the plot.
Excitement coursed through Remus’ veins as he sat with one hand pressed up against the glass of the window while the Lupin family car sped toward the abode of James Potter. At his side was a small suitcase, the interior of which was magically expanded and packed full of everything that he would need to last him until August 10th, only a day and a night before the full moon. But that was almost three weeks away, and a lot of fun could be had in in-between.
“How far to go now, dad?” Remus asked, not really minding if it took all day, because looking forward to nice things was almost as good as experiencing them.
“Almost there, Rem,” replied his father, a smile in his voice.
Sure enough it was not long before they were turning off the quiet road onto a gravelled driveway, and a good-sized pleasant-looking redbrick house was before them. A large lawn dotted with trees and bushes and flowerbeds surrounded it, somehow managing to not look posh, but merely inviting and friendly as the sun cast a golden light over it all. Remus’ heart leapt as three boys came running around the side of the house, waving madly. The car stopped in front of the house, and as his friends came racing up the young werewolf climbed slowly out, smiling. He was at once enveloped in a cloud of greetings and dragged towards the front door by Sirius and Peter, James being the only one to remember Remus’ parents.
The party of six were cheerfully greeted by Daniel and Sarah Potter, and duly led inside the house. Remus liked James’ parents. Daniel looked somewhat like his son; tall with dark messy hair, but he had no glasses and his kind eyes were blue. . Sarah had long chestnut hair, the same expressive brown eyes as James and a generous smile. They seemed to be getting on very well with Amélie and Jacques Lupin, so the boys took themselves off outside to plan the activities of the next three weeks.
The laughter of children rang in the air as Jacques and Amélie Lupin stepped out of the house hand in hand, and to their ears it was the sweetest music, like voices of silver and gold on the wind. In the soft fire of the setting sun they saw their son stretched out on the lawn with his friends, a picture of childish beauty and happiness.
“He looks like Romule…” she remarked softly, her tongue lovingly caressing the long disused name, longing to break into the language it belonged to.
“Yes,” her husband replied sadly, “just like him, before things changed.” He stood still for a moment, a strange expression on his face. Then he shook his head slightly, as if to cast off an unwelcome thought.
“I am glad to see him smile again,” he said finally, “it is long since he laughed as a boy should.”
Remus awoke and found himself staring at an unfamiliar, pale blue ceiling. He lay still, revelling in the warmth and comfort of the soft bed and pillows, reluctant to move, knowing by the sound of the regular breathing filling the room that the other boys were still asleep. He smiled contentedly and stretched luxuriously, before rolling over onto his side and reaching for the book on the table beside the bed. He turned to the page he had been reading the previous evening, marked with a golden autumn leaf that he had found in the Hogwarts grounds in October. He had seen it early one morning as he limped back from the Whomping Willow with Poppy Pomphrey, just as the sun’s first rays penetrated the trees and touched the dewy grass. It had drifted down before him, and the dawning light had glanced off it, causing it to glow gold, and its delicate veins to gleam like liquid fire. He had stepped forward and put out his hand to catch it, but he recoiled in pain at its touch, the tender flesh of his fingers scorched. He stared at it as it settled on the ground, before bending down and tentatively putting out a hand. It was cool under his fingertips, and perfectly normal, like any leaf. But Remus never forgot the magic of its beauty, nor the fire of its touch, and kept it for many years.
He shivered at the thought of the full moon, feeling suddenly sick with fear at the thought of his companions finding out his secret. He turned his head to look at them – James on his stomach, looking sombre in sleep, Sirius, one arm thrown abroad, with curly hair tousled and breathing deep, Peter, curled up in a ball snoring, and he suddenly felt like crying. Inside him rose a deep longing which he had always ignored; a wish to be normal, to fit in, and to never experience the soul-wrenching pain of another transformation. He felt viciously jealous of the boys sleeping so peacefully near him, unaware that such torment even existed, blissfully ignorant of the terror Remus lived.
But then James stirred and awoke, and the young werewolf quickly turned his face in shame, terrified that the bigger boy would look up and read the terrible thoughts in his heart.
Remus hesitated at the edge of the lake, enjoying the warmth of the sun on his shoulders, unwilling to part with his clothing, now seriously regretting agreeing to James proposition at the breakfast table of going for a swim. The other boys had already thrown of their t-shirts and shinnied out of their shorts, and now they were happily splashing about in the sun-dappled water, droplets flying around them like golden rain.
“Come on Rem!” called Sirius, “what’s taking you so long?”
“I can’t swim!” Remus finally blurted out unhappily, feeling his cheeks go hot with embarrassment.
“You can’t swim?” yelped the other boy, startled into an incredulous exclamation.
The young wizard shook his head miserably.
“Well never mind,” said James quickly, “we’ll teach you!”
“Of course,” added Sirius, “have you ever been swimming at all?”
Before long the three boys had Remus in the water, teaching him to float on his back.
The afternoon slipped away in this fashion, and Remus’ initial fear and embarrassment disappeared completely. By the time the shadows began to fall long between the trees, he could even swim a few yards on his own.
“We really should get a name for ourselves,” said Sirius that night, as he lay on his back with his hands behind his head, “something that suits us, and what we do.”
“Yes,” agreed James, looking thoughtful, “I’ll put my mind to it.”
Remus just smiled into his pillow, wonderfully happy just because he had someone to have a name with. He slipped contentedly into sleep, and dreamt of exploring the Hogwarts grounds with his friends, showing them the shack on the hill, and then running free with them, below the full moon.
The next few days followed a similar pattern; the boys would get up at nine or ten, eat a hurried breakfast, and run off to play. After a large lunch provided by Sarah they would make their way to the lake, and pass the afternoon in cheerful activity. Often James, Sirius and Peter would swim out to a small, stony island roughly in the middle of the lake, about 400 meters from the shore. It could not have been more than five meters wide, rocky, but a perfect place for sunbathing. Remus didn’t think he could make it, and so he would stay under the trees by the lake, immersed in a book.
Evenings would be spent languidly; full and content from delicious suppers they would perhaps lounge around the fire, watching muggle television, or lie outside in the evening light, or be taken to the muggle cinema in the town. One Saturday, Daniel and Sarah took them to a huge muggle theme park called Alton Towers. Remus had never been anywhere like it, and revelled in all the new experiences. He went on all the brain-curdling rides with the other boys, enjoying them mainly because they were different to anything else he’d ever felt, and because Sirius and James loved them so much. He ate the expected amounts of pizza, fries and doughnuts, and was consequentially sick after riding the spinning teacups. As the roller coasters rolled and the passengers screamed, Remus clung to Sirius’ hand, purely for the reasons a small child will hold onto his or her companion, because it is something to anchor them to reality, uniting them against the world. The day passed in a happy daze, and not once did Remus have to remember that he was different, that there was an eternal barrier between him and the other children.
“Gentlemen, I have just had a brainwave!” exclaimed James, sitting bolt upright, as the boys lay awake in bed that night, content and exhausted.
“Oh no,” Sirius groaned sleepily, covering his head with his pillow, “I *hate* it when you get these ideas!”
“Do you want to hear it or not?” Said James, looking somewhat disgruntled.
“No, go ahead James,” Soothed Remus quickly.
“Go on James!” Pete chimed, his pale blue eyes glinting in the dark.
“The Marauders!” he fairly sang, with a flourish.
“What? Who?” said a now wide-awake Sirius, looking interested despite himself.
“Us! The Marauders! We maraud, don’t we? We’re always exploring and stuff! You said we needed a name.”
“James,” said Sirius in awe, “You are brilliant. I take everything back, you are the master!”
“Cool,” squeaked Peter, “the Marauders. Us! That’s great!”
Eyes sparkling with triumph, James turned to Remus. “Well, what do you think Rem?” he demanded, “do you like it?”
The young werewolf surprised them all by grinning widely. He had never produced anything other than a strange, rusty smile before. He drew a deep breath. “Its perfect.”
Well dears, I hope you liked it! Sorry if there isn’t much that happened. I wanted to make the next part one whole chapter with this, but it started to get too long, so look out for the next instalment, entitled ‘Revelations.’ Bit of a clue, huh? Do let me know if you like it, please! Even if you have reviewed before. by the way, excuse any mistakes i make, because i dont have a beta yet. anyone care to volunteer? and in my reviews someone begged me not to do slash. could you define slash for me please? i really dont know what it entails.