Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters belong to J K Rowling and Bloomsbury Books and various other publishers who I don't know. Oh, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is mentioned briefly. It is, I'm told, in the public domain.
A/N: This is a pretty silly first-person Remus fic. I came up with the idea at about midnight and finished it about two and a half hours later. That said, if it sounds to you like this fic was written by a girl in a half-zombie state who had stopped blinking at about one in the morning while the White Album (Disc One, of course,) played in continuous loop on her headphones, well, you'd be right! Enjoy:
The Great Social Equalizer
As a werewolf, you get a lot of bad press, and while some of it is understandable, because murderous beasts can only be expected to attract their share of animosity, the fact that this distrust and downright hatred towards those of us with lycanthropy is wont to spread to when we're in our usually more-docile-than-average human form gets a bit tiresome after sixteen years of it. I can personally attest to this, of course.
If I was to evaluate myself fairly and honestly, I'd say I'm your fairly average teenage wizard, a nice enough person, a decent chess player, and if you want an Arithmancy tutor, well, you could do a lot worse, or so my good friend Peter Pettigrew tells me.
My friends are another reassurance of my fairly genial personality, I think. They apparently were able stifle the urge to back cautiously away from the bloodthirsty werewolf to realize that I'm the sort of fellow who finds a very complex moral dilemma in the fact that his family's cat enjoys hunting birds and bringing them back to the house just clinging life by a hair. (Peter told me that his cat does that too. His solution is to christen them all "Morty" and throw them in the bin. I tried to do this as well, but obviously it did little to solve my complex moral dilemma.)
Despite his rather heartless treatment of the fowl his cat drags in, Peter is all right with the whole werewolf issue, as are James and Sirius.
James comes from a fairly progressive pureblood family, so his accepting nature makes sense. (Actually, it's probably one of the few things about him that does make sense.) You might say that Sirius' attitude doesn't because his family is the polar opposite of James', but you'd be wrong. Sirius' mother is a shrill banshee-like creature (this is just what he tells us, I've never had the, er, pleasure of meeting the woman) and his father has a parenting style similar to that of Huck Finn's father, only without the tenderness. (That comparison is one of my own. Another one of the side effects of lycanthropy is that your mother makes you spend an inordinate amount of time before and after the full moon in bed, which leaves you a lot of reading time, which consequently leaves you with a lot of romantic visions of poling down the Mississippi in a raft in the event that the whole werewolf/wizard thing doesn't work out.) Sirius' parents' whole "spare the wand, spoil the child" attitude has, therefore, driven him to the other end of the spectrum when it comes to how he regards Muggles, Muggle-borns, and even people like me. (I mean werewolves. Not docile, rather witty, chess-playing Arithmancy tutors. I imagine the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black is indifferent to those type of people.)
One of the things Sirius seems to find the most interesting (and the most helpful to his cause of sorts) about my condition is that it's completely undiscriminating.
This was discovered during a now infamous conversation during our third year in the common room one evening. Oftentimes back then Sirius would start grumbling about his family whenever he got an owl from home, saw his younger brother Regulus in the corridors, or simply was a tad bored and needed something to grumble about.
"If you want someone completely unprejudiced," James pointed out when Sirius' grumbling had reached a pitch that's a bit grating on the eardrums, "you should look at Moony here."
I looked up from the other side of the table. While I don't think of myself as having a particularly medieval views, I also wouldn't call myself a real Martin Luther King, Jr. or Nelson Mandela either. (Another one of the books I read while recovering from a full moon was about the black power movement, I think, so these sort of contrasts leap readily to mind.)
"How's that?" asked Sirius grumpily.
"Allow me to explain," said James in an explanatory tone, setting down Intermediate Transfiguration. "Let's pretend that it's a full moon and that Remus here has turned into a werewolf--"
"Do we have to?" I interjected from across the table.
"It's just for explanatory purposes," said James placatingly. "You can change back as soon as I finish."
"Wish it was always that simple," I mumbled, but James pressed on.
"And let's say, to their extreme misfortune, Remus comes across two people while in his transformed and bloodthirsty state. One is some pureblooded old bird--"
"My mum," said Sirius instantly.
"Er, right...and the other is, say, the milkman from Dufftown."
"Well, what do you think Remus would do in this situation?"
Sirius and Peter both thought about this while I frowned. When your best friends are plotting murder on your behalf it can be a little worrisome.
"I don't think he'd make a distinction," said Peter finally. "He'd attack whoever was closer, wouldntcha Remus?"
"Yeah, sure," I snapped. I really didn't know where James was going with this but knew enough that I didn't like it much. "I just love attacking people. It's how I get my kicks."
James shook his head. "No, no Remus, you don't get it. See, Peter's right. You wouldn't make a distinction. There's no wizard or Muggle to a werewolf. They're just people."
I stopped being so cross when I realized the meaning of James' words. Perhaps I was wrong, but he had almost stumbled on something profound. For him, at least.
"Say...there's a thought," said Sirius, who looked pensive now.
"Imagine if everyone was more like that," Peter pointed out.
"So you're saying that the world would be better place if we all thought like werewolves?" asked Sirius skeptically.
I was past anger by that point. I somehow couldn't help smirking. "Of course, they'd all have the slight handicap of wanting to tear one another's throats out..."
"Oh, pshaw," said Peter, waving aside my concern. "I don't think it would change human nature that significantly. Better men than us have remarked on the hostile habits of man." Now Peter was smirking too.
So my three friends came to a bit of a consensus that day that to be a werewolf is to be totally unprejudiced. Though, for what it's worth, I'd rather just be a plain old docile, chess-playing, Arithmancy-tutoring teenage boy who has romantic visions of poling down the Mississippi in a raft. I think things would be less complicated that way.