Chapter 3 : Chapter 3: Introductions
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He was a lonely child, and whilst he studied well; he took every chance he could to escape to watch the other children playing together or doing other things that young children. He was only ever allowed to watch however, under strict instruction that he must not endanger others.
Night after night he had found himself haunted in those early days by nightmares and drawings of werewolves and other night terrors; pained by a lack of understanding, and the hurtful rumours that circulated around him; like a darkened superstition.
However, one day it all changed.
He had been sat alone in his room at his desk when the owl arrived, pecking impatiently at his bedroom window, bringing with it the beautifully scripted envelope penned in an elder’s hand.
‘Mr. Remeus J. Lupin,’
As soon as the owl had been allowed to enter, Remeus had grabbed the letter and torn it open in excitement. He had been accepted to join Hogwarts. A grand school indeed, and one of which he had read of often in many of his worn, second hand, home-school textbooks and in the great tomes of his father’s library.
With great haste Remeus leapt up and headed to the living room, where he found his parents sat by the fireplace, his mother hard at work on her embroidery, and his father reading the Daily Prophet, smoking on one of his favourite musky flavoured pipes.
“What’s the hurry Remeus?” asked his mother, in a soft sympathetic tone; watching her son’s change in demeanour, and noticing the parchment in his outstretched trembling hands. His father grunted. Obediently, the younger Lupin sat down passing his mother the letter.
“It’s Hogwarts,” Remeus replied. “I’ve been enlisted.”
For a moment Hope Lupin was silent, as though considering her words or that of her husband, placing the needle down on the textured pattern within the hoop on her knees and turning to Lyall.
Lyall cleared his throat. “I don’t think that will be a good idea.” He said solemnly.
“What?!” Remeus protested, leaping to his feet. “Father, please I-“
“You could hurt other children.” His father replied sharply, “Or worse, they could hurt you. You will find yourself friendless and exposed.”
“There is nothing worse.” Lyall continued shaking his head, his voice rising over that of his son. “Than being caught out with no means of protecting oneself, you would be far safer here with your mother and I.”
This time Remeus managed to speak, his words animated. “Father, the world is slowly changing, Professor Dumbledore writes –“
“I’m sure he does,” his father grunted, “But you are still my son, and still under my care. You are not going!”
So saying he took the letter from his son’s outstretched and trembling hands and folded it quickly, before placing it into the folds of his waistcoat.
As he did, anger filled Remeus sharply, in a way he had never felt before. He had always been a patient and obedient child; and whilst curious had never once stepped out of line, valuing the scholarly wisdom and knowledge of his father. But this, he could stand no longer.
“I am not your project Father!” he spat bitterly, before fleeing from the room, his thoughts swelling with resentment, turbulence and fear.
He wasn’t sure where he ran next, though he knew it was outside the house. Further up the road he ran, still blinded by the glazed haze of pending tears. On and on, until he stopped at a small park.
It was peaceful here, and extremely quiet, one might have even mistaken it for a muggle park, had it not been for the enchanted fountain which spouted a brightly coloured stream of green and white foam from the lips of the jade and turquoise coloured fish held up in its centre.
Left alone to his thoughts, Remeus sat on a bench and finally let himself cry. When he felt a small prod in the small of his back, spinning him round in slight alarm.
In an outstretched hand, lay a single clean, white handkerchief; perched daintily on the hand of a small girl about his age, though shorter than he was.
“Please take it,” she said softly, “I didn’t mean to startle you. I just hated seeing you so sad.”
Remeus bit his tongue slightly and gingerly took it from her mumbling his “Thank you,” weakly.
The girl smiled a little, bundling herself onto the bench beside him.
“My name’s Emmalena,” she told him earnestly, again offering her hand as if to shake his. “But you can call me Emmi.”
“That’s, that’s a nice name.” Remeus replied again quietly, then in a bid to refrain from being rude he continued. “I’m Remeus.”
“Remeus,” Emmalena answered, pausing for a moment and putting her finger to her lips thoughtfully. “As in the wolf?”
“Pardon?” squeaked Remeus, visibly shaken, for he had never before told anyone of his condition.
“Yes,” Emmalena continued, as if almost not noticing him for a moment. “From Roman mythology, Remeus was one of two brothers raised by a wolf. Between them both, they forged the land of Rome.”
“Oh,” Remeus replied bashfully.
“You must not remember your basic mythology.” Emmalena answered gently, though with some surprise. “Didn’t they teach it to you in Beginners Magic 101.”
“Not really,” Remeus admitted gently. “To be honest I don’t remember school.”
“But you are a wizard right?” Emmalena pressed again keenly. “I mean, I think you are right?” Now it was her turn to be embarrassed. Remeus smiled.
“Yeah, I got invited to join Hogwarts today.”
“That’s great!” Emmalena said earnestly, in such a way that Remeus couldn’t help but like her already. “I got my letter through today, I can’t wait to be sorted, and try all those lovely foods in the Great Hall and –“
Remeus sighed and shook his head a little. “It’s a bit more complicated than that, my parents want me to remain home-schooled.”
“But why?!” Emmalena asked shocked. “It’s a real honour to get sent to Hogwarts, I’ve heard their selection process is really selective. To get in at all, it’s a privilege… you must have done something really bad.”
“Something like that,” Remeus answered again with a sigh. “But once my father gets an idea stuck, it takes a miracle to change his mind.”
Emmalena pouted slightly, her lips pursed as she propelled herself onto her elbows, supporting her head deep in thought. Remeus watched her briefly, before turning away as quickly as he could, remembering the words his mother had once told him. It’s never polite to stare. Finally Emmalena replied again, her braided hair swinging slightly as she bolted upright.
“You must go to Hogwarts, you just must, and otherwise I’ll be sad and stuff and I won’t go either!”
Remeus smiled a little, despite the situation he couldn’t help but find her words very touching. Prior to their meeting Remeus had made few friends, although here was a girl, his age he’d just met that day, and already felt content in her company, temporarily forgetting his predicament.
He was just about to tell her that it was alright, and that he would find a way to win his father round when a voice cut through the air.
“Emm!” Both children jumped and then Emmalena turned and waved frantically, to the caller.
Remeus could now see another girl, from her height, even at a distance, his wolverine instincts helped him determine she was the same age. He wasn’t sure whether to speak.
Emmalena smiled broadly, at her friend, and jumped off the bench, about to leave. Supressing an inner sigh, Remeus closed his eyes, wondering how he might proceed next. He was socially awkward and inexperienced at the best of times of talking to one girl, but two? Thankfully, Emmalena took action.
“I’m sorry Remeus.” She said gently, and apologetically. “I have to go now, my friend Kay and I having a sleepover, and we want to bake some cookies, and write poems and –“
“That’s ok,” Remeus replied with a blush, this time raking a hand nervously through his hair. “You go, I shouldn’t keep you, I hope you have a lovely night and good luck in Hogwarts.”
“You too.” She answered smiling, then pressed her handkerchief back into his hands, watching the confusion in his eyes.
“But this is yours…” he murmured.
She smiled again warmly, and ran off towards her friend, her long braided hair swaying in the breeze, then when she was almost there she turned again and called to him in an affection grin:
“Give it to me again when we are at Hogwarts.”
And then she was gone. Remeus watched them for a moment, clutching the handkerchief, as he ran home in turn. The sweet smell of roses still hung in the air as he cradled it gently as a mother might a young baby whispering softly to himself: “I will.”
Remeus was not sure when he had fallen in love with her. Though he was certain that the young girl who had gently pressed her handkerchief to him all those years ago had stirred love within his heart. A number of times he had been told it was a childhood crush, a passing fancy of adolescence and that it would pass. Yet whenever he caught sight of her he knew it was her instantly. The rest of the world became almost cold and grey in comparison, and had he held his breath in those few minutes he would have decided that she was his eternity and his fate.
Naturally he had insisted on a slow romance, knowing that he was not the rash lust filled chaser of his peers. James had only recently encouraged Lily to accept him to the dance but even then had almost blown it mid-sentence - as he showed off his latest conquest - brandishing a book he had "borrowed" from Severus Snape.
Although it had taken more persuading, and the good words of Albus Dumbledore, Remeus had managed to enrol at Hogwarts. Though he had few possessions, he made sure to pack the handkerchief in his trunk, protecting it as best he could in a small wooden box, lined with tissue paper.
He had known her instantly when he had seen her on the platform, her hair was still braided although she had gained a little height from her school shoes. The uniform suited her perfectly, and looked to be brand new – quite unlike his own hastily bought second hand robes. But as soon as she saw him she smiled wide, and embraced him with a gentle hug, calling in that familiar singsong voice.
Natural instinct had suggested he give her the handkerchief there and then, but he noted that they were not alone, for the slight cough coming from their side. Springing apart Remeus blushed as he noticed the other girl beside her, holding to her side a pet carrier.
“Oh, umm,” Emmalena blushed a little in turn. “This is Kayleigh, Kayleigh, this is Remeus we’re all first years together.”
Kayleigh regarded him with some suspicion and then smiled in term offering her hand. “Kayleigh Phillips, a pleasure to meet you Remeus –“
“Lupin,” he supplied in turn. “So we’re all going to be first years together.”
“That’s right,” Emmalena beamed, “Gosh, I hope we all get placed in the same house together.”
“House?” Remeus stammered slightly.
The two girls giggled a little and so Emmalena lead him on with them as they walked talking about classes and the history of the school and so on. The girls were incredibly animated, and for a while Remeus was subdued as he attempted to take on as much information as he could. Thankfully, Emmalena seemed to understand, making sure to introduce him to each of the individuals they met.
He had become good friends with Sirius and James quickly too, each eager to break the ice with minor jokes and card games in the dormitory. Emmalena had insisted they met, having noted that Sirius and Remeus both had names to do with animals, “Specifically,” as she had stressed herself canines.
And so the friendship had begun to blossom.
And friendship had got them together.
One day in third year, Kayleigh had insisted that Remeus accompany Emmalena to the store cupboard for Professor Binns, the History of Magic teacher. It had been a simple task, though the professor often sought out multiple items as and when he required them, inkwells and cauldrons, vials and quills – sometimes all together sometimes one at a time, but always in vast quantities, as if they were an appropriate test of some sorts for student’s on their keenness to succeed and flourish. That and being a ghost it made it rather taxing for him to try and gather items, since they had a habit of going through him.
Remeus had of course obliged, due to a slight kick to the shin. He had been meaning to ask Emmalena out before then, though he had always found himself incredibly nervous and would forever spend the time trying to adjust his tie and murmur something about returning a library book.
When asked why he had put things off, by the gang he had always insisted that she was out of his league, and far, far too intelligent to want to date someone like him, the boys would snort and roll their eyes and James would insist that Lily was more intelligent, only for his own interest to storm off in a huff at him. That said, the real reason, deep down that Remeus kept hidden was that he was scared of losing her friendship, and kept like a promise from the handkerchief she had given him, three and a half years or so years before.
So he had gone to the cupboard, following after her. She was close enough now that he could see each individual wave of her hair as it fanned over her shoulders. He remembered still the day it had begun to grow, and how she had begun to loosen it from her braids and plaits. That said her hair had a natural curl at the front, he had always admired. He walked on, his footsteps mirroring the thud, thud, thudding of his heartbeat.
Emmalena had acknowledged him when they had stood up from their stools, and given him that soft smile he treasured. Offering him the long scroll of parchment that detailed their teacher’s requests as she bustled forward. He scanned it now, aware of Emmalena as she stood herself up on a stool, leaning to the top shelf humming slightly as she spoke.
“So what do we need Reme?”
“Ummm,” clearing his throat Remeus scanned the list once more looking blankly at the first item. “Five copies of An Appraisal of Magical Education in Europe.”
Emmalena nodded, reaching her pale white arms to the shelf.
It would be no surprise to say that Remeus was flushing red, grateful that the scroll covered his face. For being a young teen, had he followed in his peers’ stead would have been gazing up at the slender formed girl in the short burgundy and gold tartan skirt.
“Next?” Emmalena’s cheerful tone continued, above him.
“Sixteen Basic Hexes for the Busy and Vexed…”
“What?” Emmalena asked slightly, twisting her position a little so she could peer down at the list as well. “Are you sure it’s not six?”
Remeus was about to look again, when he noticed that Emmalena’s stance was not safe, the heel of her left foot was precariously close to the edge of the stool, at a height that would no doubt injure her if she was not careful; and she had always been a little clumsy.
Still, he was quicker, with wolf like agility, he swept her off the stool, just as it fell to the floor with a loud clatter. Time seemed to stand still as she pressed slightly into his arms, like a small china doll, her deep cornflower blue eyes staring into his rich hazel, first with surprise then with the twinkle he had grown so fond. She was by no means dainty, but he did not seem to notice, although he could not keep at this forever, for even thirteen year old boys have their limits. As if on cue his knees began to buckle and he fell against her, bringing them both to the ground.
“Are you hurt?” Remeus asked as he opened his eyes, scratching his head slightly as he caught her. Emmalena nodded numbly, her words tumbling out of her with a slight rosy tint on her cheeks.
“Umm no, I don’t think so, thank you.” She murmured.
“I’m so glad,” he whispered, “Do you want to stand?”
She nodded, hoping he could not notice the growing blush she tried to cover with her hair and made to rise, only to crumple slightly.
“What’s wrong?!” Remeus asked sharply, “Emmi what did you do?”
Emmalena shook her head again, “Nothing, nothing, I’m fine.”
Supporting her as best he could against the stool, Remeus bent down and removed her shoe, gently touching her foot, confusion swiftly changed to pain as she whimpered when he touched the ankle.
“This looks broken!” he said sharply, cursing inwardly that he had not been quick enough. “We should get you to the infirmary!”
“Nonsense,” Emmalena replied brushing it off dismissively, “I’m fine, besides we have a job to do.”
“A job that can wait.” Remeus replied briskly, now lifting her again. “I’m taking you to the hospital wing.”
Emmalena sighed, she had never liked hospitals, but she could see the fear within his eyes and slowly nodded.
His eyes softened, “Right, let’s go,”
So it was that he took her to the hospital wing, cradling her gently against him, whilst she nuzzled into his embrace slightly, insisting on him remaining all the while until the matron told them otherwise, and the sheets of pale white curtains surrounded the bed, whilst the Skele-gro was applied.
It wasn’t long of course with such news that their friends rushed into the ward, crowding round with wide eyes and questions. Kayleigh in particular was concerned that she had indirectly caused the accident and had to be calmed by Lilly. The boys in contrast were making a few jokes here and there, all except Peter who had sat there trembling.
Visitors were finally allowed. Although her condition was not too serious, they were admitted one at a time. Kayleigh naturally insisting on going first. Then Lilly, Ashli, Peter, Sirius and James.
Finally, Remeus was allowed to go and see her, she was propped up on the bed with three white pillows, still in her school uniform, since the matron asked the girls to go and fetch her some over-night clothes. She looked like an angel. Her eyes were closed and for a moment Remeus thought she was asleep until she gently reached and caught his hand whispering his name.
Voice catching in his throat, Remeus replied: “Yes?” relief filling him as he noticed she was just a little worn out as a side effect from the foul smelling antidote.
Emmalena smiled, and lent forward stiffening a little in pain as she kissed his cheek and murmured: “Thank you,”
Remeus blushed again and smiled in turn. “It was the least I could do,” he shrugged, trying to sound nonchalant, certain that at any moment the boys would pull open the curtain and begin to tease them about how close they were.
Emmalena shook her head and whispered, “I mean it, thank you Reme,”
“You must rest, or that ankle will take ages to fix.” He said, gently helping her ease onto the pillows again.
Emmalena nodded. “Your girlfriend is a lucky girl,” she murmured.
“Girlfriend?” Remeus asked incredulously, “I don’t have a girlfriend, I mean there’s a girl I like but umm.”
“Oh?” she asked, “Do I know her?”
Smiling inwardly, Remeus thought to himself how very like her it was, ever keen to learn about the wellbeing of others. Then he nodded, Kayleigh’s voice as she left the bedside:
It’s now or never Lupin!
So he continued. “It’s you.”
Emmalena gasped, weariness temporarily escaping her as she lifted off the bed. For a moment, Remeus felt like he couldn’t move, closing his eyes he recited a few words to himself, as though the mantra would somehow calm him, only to find Emmalena staring up at him for the second time that day. Nervously he met her gaze.
“Are you sure?” she mouthed slightly. Remeus nodded.
“I’m so glad,” she breathed outwardly, as though she had been prolonging her thoughts. “I love you Remeus!”
Fear was replaced with joy as he pulled her closer to him, forgetting for a moment that she needed to rest as he held her close, bending down to kiss her as he whispered: “I love you too.”
Their first kiss was short and sweet, as he held her face in his hands kissing her softly and gingerly, each of them having never kissed another person before. It felt like a dream, at least it was until the matron returned and had prised them apart reprovingly, reiterating the importance of her patient’s rest.
Blushes and silence returned them Emmalena smiled, trying to stifle a yawn. For all his gentlemanly acts, she had never seen Remeus so ruffled before, a thought that made her giggle a little. His hair was muddled over his hazel chocolate eyes, as he returned her gaze.
“Time to rest Emmi,” he murmured, reaching to pull the blanket close to her, so she wouldn’t catch cold.
Emmalena pouted, she had never liked hospitals and had often made a point of telling people so. Well that was not true, she loved seeing people cured and happy, but being in one often made her nervous, as it had done since she was a child. In a small, childish voice she whispered: “Stay with me,”
Remeus didn’t need a second thought, with a slight look for approval from the matron who gave a stiff, and resigned nod he kissed Emmalena on the nose and replied. “I will.”
“I’m so glad,” Emmalena replied gently, her eyes drifting closed as the Skele-gro began to take effect once more. “I hope you will be here when I wake.”
Remeus nodded and grinned wide, watching her with compassion as he whispered his first promise to her.
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