He had always been different from the other children. When he was little, he could never understand why he couldn't play with the others, or why he would get sick so often, or why sometimes friends and family members would look at his with fear and distrust, including his own father. Now that he was older, he understood a little better, but that didn't mean that he liked it.
His earliest memory was when he had just turned four. It was late at night, and he was just getting into bed, his mother tucking him in after reading him a story. He had always liked books, would beg his mother to read to him all the time. She had then kissed him goodnight and left the room, turning off the light and pulling the door closed behind her. The only light source was that of the full moon streaming in through his bedroom window, left open in order to allow more air in.
He had been quick to fall asleep. He didn't remember what he was dreaming about, but it had been a peaceful night. He never had any reason to be afraid within his own home, always comforted by the thought that his parents were just in the next room and that no one wanted to hurt him.
A sudden crash woke him in the middle of the night. He was startled awake and sat up quickly in his bed, rubbing sleep from his eyes. Turning to face the source of the sound, he was greeted by the sight of a monster. Huge and hairy, narrowed golden eyes glaring and lips pulled back to reveal long sharp teeth, it had knocked over the side lamp when it had began to force its way in through the window.
He remembered screaming. He remembered running for the door, pulling it open and fleeing down the hall to his parents bedroom. He remembered the monster running after him, howling and snarling as it did so. He remembered his parents bedroom flying open and his father running out in his pajamas, wand drawn. He remembered his mother standing behind him, her own screams filled the hall as the monster made a grab for him. He remembered being pulled back before he could reach them, before either of them could react. He remembered the feeling of the monsters teeth sinking into his flesh, his parents yelling and his father pulling the monster away from him. He remembered the pain - oh, the pain - and his mother trying the stop the bleeding, and his father fighting off the monster and the sounds of crying before everything turned black…
He didn't know then that from that point onwards, he would never be granted the normal life that so many took for granted. That he would be cursed to suffer every month, to become the very monster that took his normal life away from him. And that resulting from his curse, he would gain three of the greatest friends he could have ever asked for.
It was impossible. He had always been told that. His father had said it. His mother had said it. The many healers that he had seen over the years had said it. It would never happen. Yet here he was sitting in the living room, the older wizard with a long silver beard sat opposite him, drinking tea from his mother's special china, and his parents sitting either side of him, staring dumbly at the unopened letter clutched in his hand.
"But… I don't think you understand. I can't go, I'm too dangerous to be around. What if I hurt someone?"
Dumbledore chuckled, "I assure you young Remus, there are plenty of precautions being made. There is a shack being built on the outskirts of Hogsmeade, quiet a cosy one I might add, that should be perfectly comfortable for you for that one night. It is connected to the school grounds by a tunnel, easy enough to get through while human, but impossible as a wolf. And the tunnel is guarded by what has been christened by the staff as the Whomping Willow, which will ensure that no one and nothing will be able to get in, unless they know how."
"But what if someone finds out?" Remus couldn't help but feel uncomfortable at the thought. He wished his brain would shut up and stop thinking of all the reasons why he shouldn't go. This was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Hogwarts. To go was a dream come true, to get the best education that a young wizard could get, maybe make some friends among his classmates.
"As long as we all follow a procedure, there should be no reason that any of your classmates to suspect anything. All of the professors know, and will help cover for you when you disappear during the one night. And if anyone does findout, we will ensure that they don't tell anyone else."
Remus glanced at each of his parents, neither having said a word since they had sat down. His mother looked worried, yet excited. He knew that it was her dream also, for him to go to Hogwarts. She had always hates how isolated he was from the rest of the wizarding world. His father looked concerned. Out of everyone who knew, he was the one who had both sheltered and feared Remus the most, and he didn't know what he was thinking.
"Can I… can I think on it? I just.. I just need to think," he finally stuttered out.
Dumbledore bowed his head, "of course. Take your time. I hope to hear from you sometime soon." He stood, thanked his mother for the tea and saw himself out, the three of them still sat on the couch.
There was silence between them, until his father suddenly stood and gestured to his mother towards the kitchen, "Hope, can I have a word?" He then walked out of the room without another word.
Hope rubbed his shoulder, "this is a good thing, Remus. This is what we've always wanted for you." She then got up and followed his father into the kitchen, pulling the door closed behind her.
Remus stayed where he was, still staring as the unopened letter. He wanted to go. He really, really wanted to go. It was Hogwarts. Every young witch or wizard longed for the day they got to go there. It was the best wizarding school in the world and they would only get the one chance to go there. It was an experience that everyone went through. Even on the off chance that he could get a job and a life when he was older, he would still be an outsider without the same experiences as those around him. And it was the best education he could possibly get, so even with his condition he could at least have a better chance to get a decent job.
And he really wanted some friends. His parents were brilliant. His mother was nothing but supportive and despite the fear, he knew that his father did love him. But he wanted more than them. Friends his own age, who didn't know about his condition, and would shy away from him every time he got sick or lost his temper. To at least have a chance to pretend to be normal.
But that would only work out if they never found out about what he was. Werewolves were not accepted by the wider wizarding society. They were looked upon as savage, feral creatures who revelled in violence and had no sense of morality. If his classmates found out, they would avoid him, fear him and even possibly attack him. It wasn't unheard of for his kind. He wouldn't be able to stay if that happened. Students would tell their parents, who would complain and get him expelled.
But Dumbledore had promised that it was safe. No one would find out. And everyone knew that Dumbledore was the greatest wizard to have ever lived. He had never met the man before that morning, but he knew his reputation as kind, fair and accepting to all, no matter blood status, 'medical' conditions or school house. And if he couldn't trust Dumbledore, who could he trust?
His mind was made up. He ripped open the letter and scanned it, taking in the information written on the yellowed parchment. He would go. It had to be worth the risk, hadn't it?
Standing, he moved towards the kitchen with the intent to tell his parents about his decision, only to stop at the sound of a whispered argument.
"...this could be his only chance to get into a school. Surely you want him to go, like any normal kid should?"
"He's not normal."
"I know it sounds cruel, but he's not. And unless a cure is miraculously discovered in his lifetime, he never will be." Remus heard Lyall pause, before continuing, "I just want to protect him. There is a great risk that he could be found out, and then he could be in danger. You've been his age once, you know that kids can be nasty little buggers when they want to be. And he'll be at risk of bullying with or without his condition. He's a half blood. That means nothing to you and me, but there are plenty of pure blooded families that do and there children will jump at the chance to go for him. He'll be protected by other students and teachers, but if they find out, they will be less willing to protect him. Some will even turn on him."
"How do we know that? Hmm? They might accept him anyway!" Hope sounded close to tears.
"One or two might, but that's not guaranteed. People are prejudice. That's a common fact of life."
"And if no one finds out?"
"Do we want to risk it?"
"I want to." Both of them stopped their conversation as they turned and saw Remus standing in the doorway. "I want to at least try."
"Remus, I don't think you understand…"
"I understand, Dad. I've been treated differently for as long as I can remember. But I want to try to pretend to be normal for as long as I can," Remus stared defiantly at his father, who looked conflicted for several moments before huffing and looking away.
Remus would take that as a win.
He was going to Hogwarts!