Chapter 1 : Loopy
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Most teenagers have issues. Remus Lupin, fifteen year old teen wolf, had issues. Real problems. And as far as he wracked his naturally irrational hormone-crazed, always a few degrees over normal body heat temperature body and mind, his problems always led back to one thing. One… being. One… Voice. And no, that was not a reference to a certain star-studded and overrated reality singing show.
In the privacy of his wretched mind, Remus referred to it as the ominous Voice. It was the bane of his existence, the residual scum underneath the toilet bowl of life, the sharp pointy rocks eagerly awaiting a daring diver that hid beneath clear, beautiful blue waters, the curse that could never be broken nor forgivable.
In fact, the Voice had taken a specific role in Remus’ life since his birth seventeen years ago. It had even chosen his name, foregoing his mother’s first choice of Eugene (for which Remus wasn’t overly bitter, but that's besides the point).
As a studious ten year old, he had demanded why his mother had chosen to name him Remus, a name with roots in the famous twins of the Roman empire Remus and Romulus, who had been raised by a she-wolf. Even his last name, associated with the Latin term for a wolf, lupus, seemed a little too convenient considering his furry monthly visitor, as his mother enjoyed euphemizing. It would even lead to irritating nicknames, such as Peeves' classic, alliterated chant of 'Loony Loopy Lupin,' the essential soundtrack to Lupin's Hogwarts years which had a reprisal when he returned to take the admittedly hazardous Defence Against the Dark Arts professorship.
Sighing, Remus’ mother had sat him down and explained about the Voice. She had been about to scribble in the birth certificate with a flourishing “E” when the Voice had boomed in her ear, from a source which was invisible, unsearchable yet unfortunately clear, commanding her to call her newborn Remus.
“Is that even a real name?” Mrs. Lupin had scoffed.
“Do not undermine my power,” the enraged Voice had screeched, though by the time it began appearing in Remus’ head, it had taken on a much more mature, wise and all-knowing tone of voice. He suspected it had modeled its tone after a certain headmaster with the trademark long, grey beard of deus ex machina and a knowing, continuous twinkle in his eye.
The first time the Voice really began to plague Remus was his first day on the Hogwarts Express. He had by pure coincidence stumbled into a compartment populated by some pureblood wizards who he found very to his liking: they were admiring, chatty and ruggedly handsome, despite having rather inbred families. There was certainly a Hapsburg chin waiting to pop out somewhere.
“So, Lupin, do you think you’ll be in Slytherin with the rest of us?” Orpheus Yaxley asked in a friendly manner, combing back his light hair with a practiced grin. He had already shared a large purchase of chocolate frogs with the rest of the compartment, and was now set on passing around a very large package of Licorice Wands. Remus had liked him on sight.
In fact, Yaxley, Rosier, and Lestrange were all perfectly well-mannered, mature boys with a taste for adventure. The only suspicious one was Lucius Malfoy, who had an intense and repulsive odor which Remus was sure only he could smell, but more about that later. In a boyish surge of excitement Remus even felt thrilled by the thought of telling them his secret: he was sure the fact he was a werewolf would only raise his cool-radar in the eyes of these dashing daredevils, his future bros.
He was about to spill his wolfy secret, probably cementing his popularity and street-cred at Hogwarts forever, when a certain ominous, demanding Voice resounded within his head, causing him to let out a little squeal of surprise.
“Lupin, you’re off track!” The Voice cried, sounding like it had just awoken from a long and possibly medicated slumber. It cleared the cobwebs from its throat then continued. “You’re supposed to be five compartments down, talking with that mangy Potter kid and his sidekicks!” With a feeling of being hurried along without any control over his body, Remus scurried out of the compartment, excusing himself to his new friends and letting himself in where two black-haired boys and a scrawny, twitchy-nosed kid were chatting. The rest, as the Voice said satisfactorily along with the suspicious sound of patting itself on the back, was history.
For the next six years, the Voice continued to dictate and command Remus’ actions, chastising him when he was acting a little too Ooc (whatever that meant). He even suspected it had bribed the Sorting Hat to put him in Gryffindor, though he never had proof. When examined subjectively, he was more Hufflepuff material.
“What do you think you’re doing?” The Voice had demanded when Remus was considering going out for the Gryffindor Quidditch team. “You’re supposed to be the geeky one, remember?”
The Voice had intervened again when Remus had considered asking out the pretty, smart, kind and just edgy enough Lily Evans, jumping in with a crass shout of confusion just as Remus was about to ask the crucial question. He had steered clear of her after that. The Voice was constantly urging Remus to hook up with Lily’s second hottest friend, the most attractive one having been nabbed into a love-hate relationship by the dashing, rugged, talented, promiscuous and snarky Sirius Black.
“Not that he’s going to be around for that much longer,” Remus had heard the Voice muttering to itself in his fifth year, right after he had walked in on Sirius and Lily’s hottest friend, who will conveniently disappear from everyone’s memories after this story is over and never be mentioned again. “But this will give the ship-writers their fun. Keep the masses happy and all.”
So Remus led a rather passive, lonely existence, occupying himself by restraining his more rebellious and much cooler friends, doing whatever one does on Prefect duties (patrolling the corridors in search of...something and attending hormone-fuelled meetings where the Head Boy and Girl frothed at the mouth with sexual tension), enjoying moderate popularity by association with his messy-haired comrades and turning into a bloodthirsty, drooling, slobbering beast every full moon. It was a comfortable, if rather unexciting existence.
Until she entered the picture.
There were always rumours about why she had entered Hogwarts so late: after all, both her elder sisters had attended since the age of eleven. She was from a great, though notoriously dark and foreboding, pureblood family, which was enough to inspire instant interest regardless of the fact of her scandalous contested paternity. She wasn't quite angsty enough to be Voldemort's daughter (not to mention the fact that Voldemort was undeniably asexual... come on people. Gross.), but was certainly descended from some dark, dramatic baby daddy. Her skin was like flawed alabaster, her hair the color of a waterfall of ice. Her pale cheeks were tinted by a frequent blush, making her all the more endearing. She was frightfully clumsy, always stumbling over the cobbled stones into the castle, even finding a way to trip over the Sorting Hat’s stool. She uttered an apology in her usual mumbled, awkward tones.
Her name was Narcissa Black.
Remus, along with half the male population of Hogwarts, was instantly smitten. Lily’s second-hottest friend, along with the rest of the females who were mature enough to realize what was going on, bristled like three hundred angry porcupines in heat as new girl Narcissa Black stumbled over to the blaring Slytherin table. Remus’ one-time mate Yaxley started a conga line in celebration of having gained this stunning and socially-awkward creature as one of their own. Beside Remus, James, who was too unnaturally obsessed with Lily Evans to care about Narcissa, and Sirius, who was her estranged cousin, elbowed each other then began fighting over a dinner roll as the wholesome feast generations of Hogwarts students never tired of magically appeared on the platters.
Buffoons, Remus thought of James and Sirius as he sadly eyed the Slytherin conga line, which resembled a synchronized green-and-silver snake. They had such grace, such skill, that the blundering Gryffindors he had been urged to befriend could only dream of. He glanced over at the Head Boy and Girl, James and Lily, to see if they would put a stop to the tomfoolery, but Lily already had her head bent in a book as Professor Slughorn observed approvingly from the teachers’ table. Lily was Slughorn's favourite student of all time, in case anyone hasn't heard. James, who had mysteriously been chosen as Head Boy despite not only being not a Prefect, but also a Prefect’s worst nightmare to stumble upon while patrolling after hours, was beginning a food fight with some rowdy third years. It took less than thirty seconds for Lily to notice and begin screaming at James with all the loathing of a raging praying mantis, hurling her book and dinner utensils and even an exceptionally small first year across the table. Remus sighed, watching Sirius Black scratch his head against the table to ease an itch behind his ear. No doubt the appointment of that idiot Potter to the most prestigious and powerful position in the school was the work of the Voice, interfering yet again. How the Voice ever expected Lily and James to end up together was beyond him, but it seemed determined to accomplish the impossible task for reasons beyond Remus.
Remus returned his attention to the blushing beauty, Narcissa Black. She appeared to be mumbling a response, eyes downcast at her very small portion of food. Remus let a little sigh of admiration escape his pouting lips. She was splendid, even as she awkwardly dropped her fork onto the table and three male companions scrambled to pick it up and place it in her tiny, china hand. Snivellus was actually drooling into his broth, a drop of grease travelling the length of his hair and landing with a resounding clonk onto the table.
Yet somebody else had their eye on the new girl, and he was sitting right beside her. Each time Narcissa moved, Lucius Malfoy seemed to stiffen, a pained expression crossing his face as if he were holding his breath. Remus had not taken the time to examine Malfoy since abandoning the Slytherins on the Hogwarts Express, so he took the time to do so now.
The boy, who had always looked mature for his age, barely seemed to feel the effects of time. His eyes were a deep amber, though something instinctual in Remus’ mind told him that they had once been another, more sinister color. His skin was very cold, which Remus could tell by the chattering teeth of the unfortunate first year seated next to him, and the little icicle that may or may not have been rapidly forming at the end of his nose. There was something eternally beautiful and porcelain about him, the alabaster slant of his perfect nose, the luscious flood of his silver hair which kept growing like a weed and thus shut down any vampire-conspiracy theories, since something dead couldn't possibly still grow hair.
But as the autumn months wore on, Remus became closer and closer to the seductively clumsy Narcissa Black. Remus found he could talk to her, about the irritating and irresponsible capers of his self-labelled friends the 'Marauders' (a term which somehow the entire school had taken to calling them, despite no other clique having a title) , and about important facts of life, like the benefits of eating raw meat and how menstrual cycles were affected by the moon. Soon, though she barely said a legible word and was constantly tripping over her own robes, Remus found himself falling inexplicably and deeply in love with the pale, sickly Narcissa. The Voice was strangely silent on this matter, which Remus took to mean that either the Voice was preoccupied with interfering in somebody else's affairs, or that for once, Remus Lupin was doing something right.
However, this bliss did not last long. Narcissa had another suitor: a pale, damaged and self-conscious boy who drove his broom at record speeds yet still managed to dodge all the trees, who had no blood relatives yet lived with two pairs of adopted sisters and brothers, all of whom appeared to be dating each other. The Forbidden Forest's woodland deer population had dwindled significantly since his arrival. Naturally, this individual was Lucius Malfoy.
Remus stumbled upon them on one of the last sunny days of the year, in a clearing behind the black lake which was not as secretive as it appeared. The two blondes were locked together in a very static kiss, like two statues in the grass. Narcissa appeared to be pawing at Lucius, while the latter looked like he was about to be sick all over her perfect, pale face. But the most disturbing fact was the fact that Lucius' skin was sparkling in the sunlight, like a thousand light bulbs being illuminated behind a crystal ball, like a jeweller's shop being lit on fire and exploding like a bunch of... uh, shining glittery things.
Remus was shocked, his rage boiling inside him and turning his skin temperature to many degrees above lava. He stormed throughout the castle, listening as Narcissa ran after him, her mumbled cries pierced by screams as she clumsily ran into and sent sprawling to the floor three suits of armour and the ancient History of Magic Professor. She nearly slipped on the oozing trail of slime left by Snivellus as he had squelched around the corner to the dungeons minutes earlier.
It was not until that night, which was conveniently the full moon, that she caught up with him. Remus, in a typical spree of teenage rage, had screamed at his friends to leave him alone and headed out to the Shrieking Shack alone to suffer through his transformation into a werewolf. Grumbling to himself, he stripped down to his underpants and stood panting in what had once been the principal bedroom of the Shack. There were much more romantic places in Hogwarts for a shirtless rendezvous between illicit lovers, like the astronomy tower and a spree of broom cuboards, but Remus would never experience any of them.
Narcissa burst into the room.
"Rem...er...look...Binns..." Her tell-tale blush spread across her cheeks. Narcissa was always blushing, a giveaway sign she was human. "What... pants... you..."
"I'm a werewolf," Remus said grumpily, deciding to cut to the chase. Besides, being a werewolf he had tanned skin all over his body and a natural ten-pack.
"Shirt... no... books..."
"I can't go ruining every good pair of robes I have each month, can I?"
Overcome with pathos and lust, Narcissa was about to speak when the resounding tones of the Voice sounded in Remus' ear.
"What do you think you're doing?" The Voice bellowed, the force of its might throwing Remus and Narcissa apart. "You... back to that florescent boyfriend of yours!" Terrified, Narcissa scuttled out of the room and out of Remus' life ("sunglasses...tree...no!"). "And you! Don't you have an enormous, bloodthirsty wolf to be turning into?"
Angrily, feeling the change spread over him like a vat of warm butter, Remus had roared out in rage at the invisible, untouchable Voice.
"Don't worry, you're going to end up marrying her niece," the Voice said in an attempt to be conversational. "She's just a kid now, but never fear, she can change her appearance at will so attraction shouldn't be a problem. Not that it will last lo- er, nevermind. But before I forget, starting in the morning I've arranged for a Dementor to haunt you until you learn to cast a perfect Patronus Charm. Don't ask me why, but it's important." The Voice, to Remus' practiced opinion, sounded a little too merry considering the circumstances. Perhaps it had broken into the sherry again.
Time went on. Remus lived a reasonably contented, relatively shabby life of self-imposed pity and loathing, yet stayed loyal and true to the end. The Voice made occasional appearances to urge him on. He found out that Narcissa and Lucius had gotten married and had a child. Ever since it's birth, Narcissa didn't stutter or mumble anymore. She was hardly ever clumsy, and paler, colder and more beautiful than ever before. She stopped smiling. She stopped stuttering. She smelled quite as bad as Lucius.
Meanwhile, the Voice was very excited about the birth of another child in the same year, a bushy-haired babe blessed with superior intelligence and rather prominent front teeth. "She's going to help save the wizarding world. Don't you think she'd look cute with that blond Malfoy boy once they're both teens?" The Voice cooed once to Remus. Years later, Remus would remember that statement with a weary sigh and know exactly who to blame for a certain fanfiction craze of the future.
Lily and James Potter got married, spawned and subsequently murdered. Sirius Black was condemned for the crime and Peter Pettigrew (if anyone remembered him) was blown up. Remus was very saddened, especially by the fact that the Voice warned him that he couldn't visit the Potters son until he was thirteen, a judgement which Remus found quite illogical and unjust. Yet he never thought of oppose the Voice.
After twelve long years of doing nothing and biding his time, Remus was unlucky enough to stumble upon the Voice having an alcohol-fuelled pity party in his head.
“And you know the worst part,” the Voice sniffed, pausing to take what sounded like an enormous, sloshing sip of tequila and subsequently spluttering and hacking rather unattractively. “You'd never be vain enough to import peacocks to decorate your manor home. You’ll never be dumb enough to answer the door without your wand if the Dark Lord himself came a’knocking. You would never conveniently forget how to Apparate in the minutes you had before being Avada Kedavra’d. You would never be so idiotic as to seek out and duel your deranged cousin who’s out for your head in a place swarming with people who want to arrest you. You’d never be pathetic enough to carry a torch and change your entire life for a girl who privately thought you resembled an oversized eel in unwashed robes. No, you got on with your life. You're miraculously well-adjusted. You’re my greatest accomplishment, my pride and joy. My little Loopy.” The Voice sniffed loudly.
“There will be an Albus Severus, and a Lily Luna, and a James Sirius, and they'll make several mistakes of their own. But... nobody will even remember your son's middle name in the Next Generation.”
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