Chapter 1 : Truth or Lies
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Truth or lies
When the truth comes to get you
pray the lies I tell will save you
Lies to protect from the dark
truth crumbles and falls apart
When the night is out to get you
my strong arms will protect you
Truth will guide and protect
lies fall apart and reject
When the truth is too drear
it is a lie you shall hear
“Baaabb-it-y raaabb-it-y.” Little Remus sat on the kitchen floor reading a story to his mum while she made lunch. “And her caaack-l-ing. Mum? What’s cack-l-ing?” Remus looked up from his tattered book to his mum.
Hope Lupin was at the stove, warming up soup for her son. “It’s a type of laugh, an evil laugh.” Hope waggled her eyebrows at her son. “You make it like this –“ she made her best cackle. As a child, Hope would have added that only evil witches cackle, but now she was a woman married to a wizard and such remarks were superfluous.
Remus imitated his mum’s cackle. “Like that, Mum?” Hope smiled at her son nodding. His attention returning to the book, Remus continued, “Cack-l-ing hum-p.” Remus continued to read while his soup heated.
When lunch was ready to eat, Hope got a bookmark for Remus. “Let’s finish reading Babbity Rabbity later, sweetheart.” Placing the book on the table, Remus climbed into his chair.
“Can I read to you after lunch?” Remus had a spoonful of broth that was about to drip onto the table.
“We’re sending Grandma Howell a card after lunch, remember?” Remus nodded and slurped his soup. “What do you want to draw for Grandma Howell?” Hope sat next to her son with her food and tea.
“The park and my new book and the stars!” Remus started to lose interest in eating and began to eye his crayons. “Mum, will you draw for Grandma Howell?”
Hope let out a light laugh. “No, dear. She wants to see your drawing.” Remus was inching off his chair in an attempt to sneak to his drawing. “Finish your soup, love. Can’t draw on an empty belly.”
Remus sighed dramatically. “Okay, Mum.”
After lunch, which took a few more reminders to finish, Remus was working on his artwork. “That looks wonderful, Remus.” Hope said glancing up from the Daily Prophet to admire her son’s drawing. “Are you going to sign it?”
With an eager nod, Remus rummaged through his crayon box for the right color. It was pink which caused his mum to grin. “R, for red cap! E, for erumpent! M, for mermaid! U, for unicorn! S, for sphinx!” Lyall had taught Remus to spell his name by teaching him about the magical creatures that shared letters with his name. At the thought of her husband, Hope glanced at the clock anxiously. The day was half over then he’d be home. “Is that good, Mum? Remus’ voice rang out.
Returning her thoughts to Remus, Hope nodded. “Very good, dear.” While Remus’ handwriting was uneven and in pink crayon, it was very nice work for a child his age. “Ready to go to the post office?” Hope looked around, Remus was already pulling on his wellies. “Socks, Remus.” Hope gently reminded him. Remus pulled off his boot and ran to his room for socks.
Remus was unusually quiet on the way to the post office. Hope wondered if he sensed the danger they were in. “Mum?” Remus had the same tone his father did when he was going to ask a difficult question. “Why don’t we use our owl to send Grandma Howell cards?” Remus’ hard questions were much less challenging than his father’s.
Truth or lies?
Truth – “Grandma Howell doesn’t use owls, love.” Remus fell into silence once again. The expression on his face was one of deep thought. On a child it was darling, if not humorous. Arriving at the post office, Hope asked Remus if he wanted to put the card in the post for her.
“Yes!” Remus took the card and stood on his tiptoes to open the mail slot. Once the card was gone, Remus looked around for more to do.
“Thank you!” Hope said encouragingly, causing her son to beam with pride.
The walk home took them by a park on the other side of the woods by their home. “Mummy, can I play?” Hope regretted walking by the park as they could not risk being out for too long.
“No, dear. We need to go home.” Remus looked at the park longingly. “We can play at the park tomorrow.”
Remus still had a slight pout on his face. “Yes, Mum.” Thankful for a compliant child, Hope led her son to their home. “What’s a full moon?” The question came out of nowhere making Hope wonder if Remus overheard the argument she and Lyall had last night.
“It’s when the moon is big and bright in the sky. All of it is showing.” Hope tried to hide the fear she felt at this full moon after Lyall warned her there could be danger.
“Can I see the moon tonight?” Remus’ eyes were wide with childlike excitement. Lyall had taken Remus out at night to show him stars and constellations the previous week, triggering an avid interest in the night sky. Hope’s description of the full moon made it sound attractive to her son instead of scary and foreboding.
“Not tonight, Remus.” Hope guided her son into the house and bolted the door behind him.
“Why not?” Remus was pulling off his boots and looking up at his mum brightly.
Truth or lies?
Lies – “Mum and Dad will be tired tonight. We can look at it tomorrow, promise.” The truth, that a ferocious beast with a reputation for killing children was angry at Lyall would have terrified Remus. It was best to save him with lies.
Remus played contentedly until his dad got home. “Dad!” Remus ran up and hugged his dad’s legs. Bits of the conversation with his mum that afternoon still nettled him. “Dad, can we look at the moon tonight? It’s big, bright, and… BIG.”
Lyall gave Hope a sharp look. Out of all the nights, Remus’ curious mind waited until tonight to want to look at the full moon. “Sorry, son. I have to go to bed early tonight and so-do-you.” Lyall tickled Remus with the last three words, causing peals of laughter from his boy.
“How was everything today, Hopey?” Lyall asked his wife with as much concern as he dared express with their child present. Remus was back to playing with his toy wizards when his mum answered.
“We had a good day, Lyall. Remus and I went to the post office. He made a lovely –“ Hope stopped at the look from her husband.
With his voice lowered to not catch Remus’ attention, Lyall leaned closer to his wife and asked, “Were you followed?”
Hope’s voice dropped to a whisper as she said tersely, “No, of course not. You didn’t expect us to stay cooped up all day, did you?”
Lyall didn’t answer her. The man he waged was a werewolf had threatened to make him pay for his anti-werewolf slur. After tonight, Lyall’s worries would be gone. He knew they’d catch the man again – hopefully before he maimed another child.
That night Remus insisted on two stories from Lyall before being tucked in. “Tell me about the wizard and the princess,” his son asked stretching out.
“Not tonight, Remus. You’ve had two stories already. I have to go tell Mum bedtime stories now.” Feeling that his son would start reading once he left the room despite the late hour, Lyall kissed Remus’ forehead. “Goodnight, my boy.”
Remus was in bed for a few minutes until he heard a noise from outside. Being above all things, curious, he went to the window and peered outside. The moon was full. The park he wanted to visit so desperately in the afternoon was just visible beyond the trees behind his house.
The playground equipment glowed in the moonlight. What was it like to see the moon from there? Why had his mum kept him from playing? There had to be something interesting to see. Remus was out in his yard slowly walking toward the playground a few moments later. The safety and comfort of home spread to anywhere their house was visible from, giving Remus the courage he needed to step into the night. Hearing his parents talking in the living room, Remus ran all the way to the carousel and jumped on, causing it to spin with a squeak.
On his back, the night sky was wonderful to look at. Remus giggled as the stars blurred together while he spun. Suddenly there was a noise that caused Remus to sit up and stop the carousel. Looking around, he didn’t see anything but felt scared. A growl came from the darkness nearby, causing Remus’ heart to race in his tiny chest.
The animal was upon Remus before he could climb from the previously fun ride. A strong stench of fur and then something less familiar – blood – filled the young child’s nostrils. “Mummy!” Remus’ voice was shrill and echoed around the neighborhood. From a distance, Remus could hear his dad’s voice and his mum’s shriek. The beast was hurting young Remus. “Daddy!” he managed as he was overwhelmed by the powerful animal.
Remus tried to kick and scream but the beast was too strong and he was a small child. The night was getting darker around him; Remus could hear shouts and screams and vaguely saw a bright red light.
His bed was warm and his body felt heavy as he looked around the blurry room. “Mummy?” Remus said meekly. “Dad?” As the room came into focus, Remus realized he was not at home and he felt fear poke him sharply in the side. “Ouch!” he said loudly. Remus never remembered fear hurting so much.
Voices carried in from the hallway. “This is your fault, Lyall. If you hadn’t angered that beast our son would be whole!”
“My fault? You paraded him through the neighborhood. Do you think he found us with divination?”
Remus’ eyes filled with tears at the angry words. He hardly heard his parent fight, let alone yell at one another. A witch came into Remus’ room, looked at him, and left. The tears started to roll down Remus’ face. “Mr. and Mrs. Lupin, your son is awake.”
Hope and Lyall walked into their son’s room at St. Mungo’s. Hope’s face was pale and her eyes red from crying. “Oh, Remus, my sweet boy.” Hope sat on her son’s bed, unable to stop herself from crying. She had a stuffed animal under her arms. “I got you this, dear.” Remus took the rabbit from his mum, noting that it reminded him of Babbity Rabbity.
Truth or Lies
Lies – “Don’t cry, Mum. I’ll be alright.”
There were two main things that inspired this story. One was the idea for the poem at the beginning. My husband and I were talking about times it’s easier to like to a child than tell the truth because the truth can be so hard to cope with. The tie in with Remus was me thinking through how he was bitten (as it comes up in How I Killed My Lover). I got this idea and had to write away. The story isn’t 100% Pottermore compliant but I wanted to try fitting it in with Remus’ self-loathing.
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