Author's note: If there is anything you need warned about just let me know. If you need warnings at the start of the chapters in which it happens I'll be glad to do that too. I want my readers to be comfortable. Thank you and I hope you enjoy the story!
Other warnings for this story include emetophobia: Remus gets sick a lot but I tag chapters where that happens. In addition, this story is the Marauders growing up. There's pre-teen drama, kissing, developing relationships, etc. Also in Shifting Lines the full moon lasts multiple nights. As little as two to up to four. I do use a guide for this to determine the nights.
One more thing: this is a long haul. And I mean a long haul. Books one and two combined are about a million words. Sometimes it takes a couple of chapters to get through one day. This is a Remus Lupin chronicles, and it will be long, so if you don't like long hauls then this is not for you.
Also content warning here for implied child abuse.
"Are you sure this is it? I don't see anything."
"This is it."
Remus pressed his face against the car window, looking at the buildings. His father was pointing towards a spot that didn't seem to exist.
"That's the Leaky Cauldron."
Hope pulled over, gripping the steering wheel so tightly her knuckles were white. "What time shall I pick you up?"
"Three," Lyall said, sliding out of the car. "Come along, Remus."
Remus hopped eagerly out of the car, grabbing for his father's hand. As they approached the shops, suddenly he saw there was another shop there, right between a Muggle record shop and a Muggle bookshop (which he glanced into, wanting to go in).
The Leaky Cauldron.
Inside there were loads of people, more people that Remus was used to seeing in one place. Lots of people outside was one thing, but in a pub was something else. He crowded close to his father, feeling rather nauseated. There were even two children who looked to be around his age.
"Was hoping coming on Sunday would mean it wasn't as crowded," Lyall muttered as he pulled Remus through the pub. "Of course the later in the month it is, the more likely families will be here buying school supplies."
Remus swallowed, knowing the reason they couldn't come sooner was because he had a moon the previous weekend. Though he didn't really understand why one week made much of a difference.
In the back, Lyall tapped a brick wall with his wand and a doorway opened up. Remus was relieved to be pulled into Diagon Alley. People were much easier to deal with and accept if they were outside like this.
"Are we going to Flourish and Blotts?" Remus asked.
"Yes," Lyall said. "Since I hadn't been able to find a used copy of your Transfiguration book."
"I'm sorry." Remus's head swiveled back and forth as they went down the street. There were so many shops! "Are we going to Gringotts?"
"No, I have the money already," Lyall said, sounding tired. "First place we're going is to get a wand, since… that didn't work out so well."
Remus ducked his head, shuffling along, feeling guilty. He could still feel the burns on his hand even though it had been nearly a month since he tried using his father's old wand.
"Then we'll need to get you a cauldron and other potion things you'll need, uniforms, and we'll go to Flourish and Blotts last. What's wrong?"
Remus had stopped in his tracks, staring up at one of the shops. "Look at all the ice cream!"
Lyall pulled at Remus's hand. "We can't afford Florean Fortescue. No ice cream. Come along, Remus! We haven't all day." They continued down the street, Remus trying to look into every shop as they went. His dad did stop and linger slightly outside the Quidditch shop, though Remus couldn't see much past the back of some Indian boy's head who was bouncing up and down, talking a mile a minute about brooms. Lyall stared at whatever was in the window for a few seconds then resumed walking. "Now, when we get to Ollivander's I want you to tell Mr. Ollivander that you need a wand."
Remus froze again. "Me?" he squeaked out.
"Yes. You need to get used to talking to people."
"None of that," Lyall hissed in his ear. "You need to blend in and that means communicating like a normal human!"
"But Dad, I'm not one at all."
Remus gave a slight yelp as Lyall jerked him violently down an alley. "Remus!" He gripped Remus's wrist so tightly it hurt. "What the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"
"You cannot say things like that out loud!" Lyall gripped his shoulders, shaking him.
"But it's what you tell me all the time," Remus whimpered. "And nobody was around." Lyall looked like he might hit Remus any second, and he knew he had crossed a line. "Sorry!" he said quickly, trying not to squirm too much. "I'm sorry. I wasn't thinking—"
"No, you weren't, and you need to! This was a mistake." Lyall pinched the bridge of his nose. "This was a fucking mistake."
"NO!" Remus reached up desperately. "No, I'm sorry! I'll do better. I promise. I'm sorry. Please—please—I want to go to Hogwarts! Please! I swear to you I will be very careful."
Lyall gave him a reproachful look then sighed. "Very well. Come on, then. Let's get your wand."
Ollivander's shop was rather dim, though within seconds Remus could see perfectly well. Not that there was much to see beyond a desk, a chair, and thousands and thousands of boxes. A white-haired man with silvery eyes emerged from between some of the stacks of boxes.
"Hello," he said, giving Lyall a strange look before shifting his gaze to Remus. "First year, eh?"
Remus stared up at this man he had never met before. A stranger. Talking to him. And he was supposed to talk back. Except he forgot how to. He tried to dredge up something—anything—from his vocabulary until finally he managed to force out, "Ydw."
Welsh, for yes.
Technically a proper response.
"Eh? What was that?" Mr. Ollivander asked.
Lyall nudged Remus but he couldn't remember how to speak. His nose began itching, and he felt like he might cry.
"Yes, we're here for his wand," Lyall said, forcing himself to sound pleasant but Remus could tell there was anger underneath. Could feel it coming off his body. "We tried to use my old wand but… it didn't go so well."
Mr. Ollivander practically winced before asking about the wand. He didn't recognize Lyall, and Lyall explained he had gone to Beauxbatons since his mother was French, and had gotten his wand in France. Mr. Ollivander tried to get Lyall to tell him about the wand but Lyall didn't seem keen on doing so, avoiding the question and pointing out that Remus needed his wand.
Then Mr. Ollivander was measuring Remus which made him extremely uncomfortable, having someone so close. He began trembling, terrified that somehow Mr. Ollivander would figure out he was a werewolf by measuring him. Then he was gone as the tape continued measuring Remus, and so began the long task of trying to find a wand that worked. They went through dozens of wands and as the pile stacked up next to him, Remus was terrified that no wand would work.
Maybe wands didn't like werewolves.
Remus soon lost count, but he knew they had to be approaching triple digits. Lyall was shifting from foot to foot while Mr. Ollivander seemed pleased by all this difficulty. Then a wand was put in his hand and a comforting feeling went through him. When he jerked his hand, a breeze filled the room and a book on Mr. Ollivander's desk began floating.
"Very good!" Mr. Ollivander said. "Ten and a quarter inches. Very pliable." He studied Remus closely. "Cypress wands tend to go to those who will do great and selfless things, Mr. Lupin. And unicorn hair to those who will wield their wands for good. This is a very favourable, promising combination.; one I haven't sold in a very long time."
Remus bit his bottom lip, feeling a brief surge of joy which immediately dissipated. Wands may match to the soul, but they didn't see the future. The woods and the cores… they didn't always mean anything. Any kind of wand could go to any kind of person.
For instance, a wand supposedly meaning selfless and good just went to a werewolf, and that was a laugh and a half.
"Say thank you," Lyall whispered.
"Th… tha… tha… th—th—thank—tha—" Remus choked on the words, clutching his wand. "Tha-thank!"
Lyall paid for the wand and they left the shop. "That was hardly communication."
"S—sorry, Dad." Remus looked guiltily down at his shoes. He couldn't explain why it felt so difficult and wrong to speak to a stranger like that. He couldn't explain how panicked and frightened he felt trying to get the words out.
The next place they went was a secondhand potions shop, where Lyall made Remus ask for what was needed. He was almost in tears as he tried to talk to the shopkeeper, the words twisting on his tongue. Finally the shopkeeper turned to Lyall for a translation, and Lyall was livid when they left.
"Sorry!" Remus cried out, a few tears slipping down his cheeks. "I t-tried!"
"Not. Hard. Enough." Lyall looked around then crouched down to look Remus in the eye. "If you can't talk to people, you're not going to be able to go to Hogwarts. You're going to have to talk to teachers, staff, and other students."
Remus felt dizzy, not able to imagine interacting with so many people!
"You'll be in a dorm with other boys. At least two!" Lyall stood up, pulling Remus down the street. "While you won't be friends with them, you have to at least talk. If you can't talk properly, or somewhat properly, they'll be suspicious. Understand? Now come on."
Next was a secondhand clothes shop. This was even more of a disaster than the previous attempt, and Remus did end up crying. Lyall made up some excuse about a recently departed family member then took Remus to the ice cream parlor. Not for ice cream, of course, but to take him into the lavatory. Lyall made him sit down and then stood over him, arms folded.
"For Merlin's sake, you're eleven, not three. Stop crying!"
"Sorry!" Remus sniffled, for the millionth time in the past hour.
"If you can't do this, you can't go to Hogwarts."
Remus tried his best to stop crying. "I can. I can talk to people. I can, Dad, I can!"
"I don't think you can. I don't think this is going to work out."
Remus stood up. "NO! Please! Dad, please—I can do it, I can, I can!"
Lyall looked down at him. "Prove it."
Remus stared up at his father, cold sweat breaking out. His stomach churned and he thought he might get sick into the toilet but he had to prove it; had to do something to show he could manage at Hogwarts! He left the bathroom, going to the counter instead of the door.
"I'd l-like a ch—a sm—small cho—chocolate c-cone, p-please," he said in a small voice to the elderly witch behind the counter.
It was one of the hardest things he had ever done.
The witch smiled at him and flicked her wand. A tiny scoop of chocolate ice cream pushed down into a floating cone and then a lovely large scoop settled on top. It floated over the counter, a napkin wrapping around the cone before it reached him.
"That will be 5 knuts," she said, looking up at Lyall who had followed Remus out.
Remus could feel the anger radiating from his father's body as he reached into his pocket, pulling a handful of knuts out. He then walked out of the parlor, Remus following as he ate his ice cream. Once they were sufficiently away, Lyall whirled around, one finger pointed up, quivering slightly as he tried to hold in his anger.
"See?" Remus asked, licking the chocolate. "I can talk to people."
Lyall took in a long, deep breath then turned, storming down the street with Remus following, knowing perfectly well he was going to be in for it when he got home. But it was worth it.