AU, When Remus Lupin investigates a rumor on Halloween, 1981, his actions change the story that we know.
Author's Note: I own nothing. If I did, all of the Marauders, except for Peter, would have survived.
Of all the things that Remus Lupin could be doing on Halloween, sitting on a log in front of a campfire in the middle of a forest was quite possibly the last he wanted to be doing. In years past, he had spent Halloween planning a massive prank with the Marauders. Even after graduating from Hogwarts, the Marauders still spent Halloween together, playing pranks on each other. Last year had included a fierce war between James and Sirius, ending only when a stray spell had hit Lily, turning her entire body bright orange.
Remus smirked at the thought of James and Sirius cowering in front of an enraged Lily, but his face soon fell. This year, he wouldn't be spending Halloween with his friends. Instead, he was on a mission for the Dumbledore.
When his former headmaster had first approached him about spying on a werewolf pack, Remus had been hesitant to agree. For so many years of his life, he had fought against the side of him that turned into a raving, ferocious beast under the full moon. He had fought, really, for his humanity. So to join a pack seemed almost like he was surrendering all he had worked for.
But he had agreed to do it. He was a werewolf, after all. He was the perfect person to monitor the werewolf activity. And Dumbledore had asked him to do it. Remus owed so much to the headmaster that he didn't dare refuse.
"Hey Lupin." A rough voice said as a lanky body sat down next to Remus.
Seth O'Connor was little more than a boy. 16, perhaps. Older than Remus had been when bitten, but still too young to be cursed like he was. The boy had the misfortune of belonging to parents who did not want to deal with a son who was a werewolf. As soon as he had been released from St. Mungo's, Seth had been abandoned to the packs. Being only five years older than the boy, Remus had felt drawn to befriend him. Remus remembered well the horrors that came with those early transformations, and he had had his parents to love and comfort him. Remus was not sure how he would have survived if it hadn't been for his parents.
Any influence you can have on them, Remus, any person you can convince to stand on our side is vital. Dumbledore's words echoed through Remus' mind. He couldn't say that he had been very successful in his mission. Those in the pack who knew something did not confide in him. But Remus had been able to befriend some of the younger werewolves, like Seth. It wasn't much, but Remus hoped that one day these friendships would be useful.
"I've heard somethin'…odd," Seth stated in a low voice. Remus looked at the younger boy with a raised eyebrow and motioned for him to continue. "Greyback is talkin', just came back from a meetin' somewhere. Looks pretty excited."
Remus' chest had tightened at the mention of Greyback. It hurt to be so close to the man who had caused him so much pain. But the werewolf who had bitten him was in charge of the largest pack in Britain. It was the ideal group to spy on.
"What was Greyback saying?" Remus asked softly. It was always a delicate position, this spying business. He needed to get the information, but he didn't want to seem too interested.
"Well… He was sayin' somethin' 'bout the Dark Lord." Seth paused for a second. "Sayin' somethin' like the Dark Lord was gonna 'triumph' tonight." The younger boy looked troubled at that thought. "What do ya make of it?"
Remus was quiet a moment, unsure of what to say. He didn't know what side Seth was taking in this war. So, he decided on something that he thought was safe. "I'm not a Seer, Seth, so I couldn't say, really, what will happen in the future. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see."
Seth nodded, looking a bit less uneasy. He mumbled something about getting dinner before getting up, leaving Remus alone in his thoughts.
Of all the things that Seth could have told him, his statement about the Dark Lord was the worst. Of course, the werewolves had been predicting the triumph of the Dark Lord for a while now, and every time before, Remus had been able to dismiss those claims without much thought. But this time seemed different.
Perhaps it was because of the state of the Order these days. They had lost so many already. Marlene. Dorcas. The Prewitt twins. The stress had taken its toll on the surviving members, also. Remus knew that he looked like crap at the moment. He hadn't had a proper meal or a bath in a month. Hadn't seen his friends in that amount of time either. And the last time he had seen the Marauders, something had felt off. Peter had become more withdrawn. He had lost quite a bit of weight. Sirius had become paranoid. His eyes had darted everywhere, and it was obvious from the dark shadows under his eyes that he was not sleeping well. And James, Lily, and Harry… well, James had never been the sort of person to take being cooped up well.
Remus had received a letter from Lily a few days ago. He hadn't had much contact lately. It was too dangerous, but Dumbledore had managed to get him the letter. It was short, which was surprising since he was used to getting ten-page letters from Lily. But he could tell that she was stressed.
We've had to go into hiding, it said. Dumbledore advised us to use the Fidelius charm. I'm sure you, oh great intelligent one, know what that is so I won't go into the long explanation that Dumbledore gave us. But we chose Sirius to be our Secret Keeper. We both trust him with our lives. We trust you with our lives too, but we wanted to perform the charm as soon as possible, and we didn't want to pull you away from whatever mission you are on. I've enclosed a note from Sirius, so that you can find us if you need to. Please burn this note and Sirius' as soon as you read them. Take care of yourself. We miss you terribly.
Remus had stared at the two notes for several minutes before burning them. He felt like he was missing out on so much of his friends' lives because of this mission. But he was glad for Lily. If not for her, Remus doubted that he would have been told about the Fidelius charm until he got back. Not because James didn't care about him, but because James absolutely loathed writing letters.
As Remus sat there thinking about his friends, a thought struck him, causing his breath to leave his lungs. For some reason unknown to him, Voldemort had targeted the Potters. He seemed quite offended that the Potters had faced and escaped him three times. But Seth had said that Voldemort would triumph that night. What sort of triumph did that mean? Did it mean he would triumph against the Ministry or against Dumbledore? Or did it mean that tonight, Voldemort had some hope of destroying the Potters?
Impossible, Remus told himself. James, Lily, and Harry were all sequestered in their house at Godric's Hollow. Sirius was their Secret Keeper. And he would never betray his best friend… Would he?
Remus took several breaths to try to control his thoughts and heartbeat. He tried to reason with himself.
Dumbledore wants me here. With the pack. He would be disappointed if I were to leave. This is my mission. This is where I need to be.
But another voice, one that was becoming increasingly loud, countered.
But what if there is some truth to the rumor that Seth has passed on? What if James and Lily and Harry are in danger?
Remus thought through all of his options. He could go to see the Potters. If something were to happen, he would be on hand. He had scored top marks in Defence Against the Dark Arts and was a decent dueler. And if he went and nothing happened, well, it would be nice to see his friends again. It might look suspicious to some in the pack, him leaving. But he could think of some excuse.
Or he could stay here. Nothing could happen, and he would avoid disappointing Dumbledore. But if he stayed here and something did happen…
It was that thought that made Remus stand and grab his bag.