Disclosure: The world of Harry Potter and the vast majority of the characters found in this story are the sole property of JK Rowling. If I held the copyright I would not currently be looking for a job.
A/N: The first few years of the Marauders' time at Hogwarts are a bit shorter than might be expected for one simple reason. Harry's life has many more adventures and excitement than the normal wizard's. While the Marauders are not normal per se, they do not live in constant danger from an evil overlord any more than the others of their time. Multiple pairings.
Summary: What shaped Remus Lupin into the man met by a thirteen year old Harry Potter? MWPP Era. Same universe as Unlocking Harry Potter.
Release the Wolves
It was a game he played, escaping from his babysitter. He knew his cousin wouldn't find him this time. He was not restless and fidgety like many others his age, but could sit still and entertain himself for hours. That day he gazed up at the sky as it darkened. The moon had been visible even before the sun began to sink. Now it was glowing brightly, a bright beautiful brilliant orb in the sky. He loved the moon and the stars. He played connect-the-dots with the stars, tracing them with his finger and naming the shapes he drew, making up stories behind them as his father often did.
Two loud cracks told him his parents had come home. He gave the stars and the moon one last longing look and headed towards the house. It was the first time he had hidden outside, but the night was so light that day. As he walked towards the back door he saw it swing open and the light glowed around his father. He grinned and waved, then froze when he heard the growl behind him. He knew he was not supposed to be outside alone at night, but not why.
"Course loin Remy! Run!" the voice of his father commanded with a hint of panic in both French and English.
His father was not the type to panic. He obeyed and ran. Jets of light shot past him as his father yelled out curses, running towards him. His mother shrieked from inside the house. He had only taken a few steps when he was pushed to the ground from behind, knocking the breath out of him. He was rolled over to face the sky and instinctually held his arms up to shield his face. A scream ripped out of his throat as teeth ripped into his arm. Green light shot out of his father's wand and a hot mass of fur fell on top of him, still holding his arm in its mouth. He saw the stars and the moon fade away.
"Your mother is not coming back," the man he looked nothing like, with the exception of the sandy color of his hair, told him. He could remember the days when they were all happy, when he got kisses and hugs before bed and when he woke and whenever they said hello or good-bye, and sometimes just because. Those hugs and kisses were only a memory now that he wrapped himself in like a blanket when he was cold and alone. "We are moving."
"Where will Maman stay?" the boy asked in his native French.
"With her family," answered the father in his native English, which the boy spoke and read just as well as French.
The boy nodded, oddly calm given the situation. The Bonacieux family did not like him now, and they blamed his father... not the girl cousin that had not found him outside and not his mother. They were blood. It was three years since the bite, three years since the hugs and kisses disappeared to be replaced by stony silence, three years since his mother's family stopped even looking his way. To them he no longer existed. He was still on the family tapestry. They did not go as far as disowning him, such an action would be beneath them, but his name was ignored. The father and son left France for the father's native Great Britain and didn't look back.
They lived a solitary life. The father had very little family left and he was not close to them as they were all muggles and did not understand the world of the father and son. It was quickly established that the boy could be trusted on his own. The father left assignments while he went to work that were always completed when he arrived back home. They did not talk much. The boy could see it when he looked at his father. When he caught him off guard the pain was there in his dark brown eyes. The boy looked just like his mother, and it was his fault she was gone. His father loved his mother still, though he would not even speak her name.
The letter came on his eleventh birthday, surprising them both. That day brought more conversation than had existed at one time in the house in the four years that the small family lived there. Though he had been taught to control his emotions at all times, as his condition enhanced his anger and made him stronger, the boy had gotten angry for the first time in many years when his father began to write out a polite refusal.
"I want to go!" he yelled. They both ignored the glass that shattered across the room.
The father stayed calm, as he had when the boy had lashed out when he was younger, "No. If you go, they will hurt you."
The anger smoldered inside the boy and his eyes flashed as he glared at his father but his voice was cold and cutting, "I'd rather they hurt me than spend the rest of my life locked up here with you!"
He had instantly regretted his bitter words, but his father had thrown the reply in the fire as the boy stormed away. The next day his father had gone to talk to the headmaster and the boy waited anxiously at home. The headmaster had somehow convinced his father and the boy didn't care how. All he cared about was that he was going to school. The argument was never revisited.
"Have you packed everything?"
"Do you remember how to catch your train?"
"Good," there was a knock at the door. "That's the taxi. Hurry now or we'll both be late."
A hand cuffed him on the back of his head then gripped the back of his shirt and started to drag him inside. His oldest cousin had been babysitting him and his baby brother, and his two other cousins, both girls. This could only mean that his parents were home and not happy.
"Owww, quit it you harpy!" he demanded. "Banshee breath."
That only earned him another smack, "Your mother is furious. Just wait until she hears you were playing with muggles!"
The girl that had him by the collar of his shirt, the middle child of his three cousins cackled at the promise of a loud lecture. She was the sadistic one and always loved to see him get in trouble. Though he didn't intend to – really, he swore he didn't – he provided her with plenty of entertainment that way. The door slammed behind them and he was dragged towards the parlor where he would not doubt face his mother's formidable wrath. She could make a nundu or a dragon shrink back in fear when she got going.
"I don't see what's wrong with muggles!" he might as well bring the whole world down with him if he was in trouble.
"Muggles are filthy animals! They are beneath you. If I catch you associating with them one more time you will not be able to sit or lie down for a week," the boy winced. She flicked her wand and it felt like something very rough rubbed all his skin hard. "Kreacher!"
A small creature, a young house elf, popped into the room and squeaked a reply, "Yes Mistress?"
"Draw a bath at once for the young Master. Make certain he washes the filthy stink of the muggles off and burn the clothing he is wearing. He is to be locked in his room tonight with no dinner and take away his toys," the Mistress of the house commanded.
The boy looked over to his father, who just reclined in the background with the Daily Prophet and mostly ignored the proceedings. Raising the children and directing the management of the house was his wife's job. When he concerned himself with the children, which was rarely, it was to correct a fault or give instruction. He never interfered with punishments.
"And you," the boy's mother spun and glared at his oldest cousin. The boy instantly felt incredibly guilty for getting her in trouble. He liked her much more than her sisters. "You were trusted to keep him out of trouble! Your parents will be hearing about this you irresponsible, worthless chit! Both of you get out of my sight this instant!"
The boy gulped and ran upstairs. He knew that being sent to his room without any dinner that night was only the beginning of his punishment.
Five years later he was sure his parents had forgotten that incident, but he hadn't. He knew now exactly why he wasn't supposed to be around muggles, but he didn't entirely agree. It had become almost painfully easy to lie and to laugh at the stories his parents and their friends would tell when they had a dinner party. At night though, he often sat at his window and gazed out at the children playing in the streets, wishing he could join them.
The day after he had been caught playing with the muggle children from the neighborhood the boy's mother had dragged him into the room that held the pensieve with his ancestors' memories, the room he was not allowed to enter on his own. She had thrust a wand in his hand and forced him to watch the memories of the burnings and the hunts.
Somehow he had accessed other memories, memories he was sure he wasn't supposed to see. He saw muggles being tortured and murdered. He saw muggle-born witches and wizards suffering at the hands of pureblooded witches and wizards like him and his family, some of them he recognized from portraits of his family. He had emerged from the pensieve sufficiently shaken and been sent back to his room to think about what he had seen, again with no food.
He had thought about it. Five years later he was still thinking about it. The conclusion he came to was that wizards and muggles alike were violent. He was just as likely to suffer at the hands of one as the other. He never told his mother what he had decided, as he knew even then what her response would be. Instead he hid his beliefs and tried to ignore the stories. He would think of a prank he could play and laugh at that.
"We won't wait all day for you brat!" the shrill voice of his cousin called. "The train leaves at eleven and you will not make us late!"
He rolled his eyes and picked up his trunk, his owl resting on top of it in his cage. He made his way down the stairs to where his two cousins were waiting for him, his little brother tagging behind.
"I'll write you as soon as I can, Reg," he gave his brother a quick hug.
His brother sniffed and hugged him back and was pulled away roughly by their mother, "What are you thinking? Put on robes this instant. You will not leave this house dressed like that! Regulus stopped sniffling like that!"
He looked at her in confusion. The train station was so close to the house, "But... I thought..."
The older of the two girls in the front hall snorted, "We're taking the Floo to the station, idiot. We do not travel like muggles," she spat the last word as though it left a dirty taste in her mouth.
The boy flinched but thought rebelliously, Walking is beneath us? The train station wasn't far. He had walked there before. He opened his trunk to fish out a set of robes that he assumed would soon bear the Slytherin crest like those of his cousin.
"Finally," the younger cousin tossed her hair in irritation.
Three boys ran crashing through the underbrush. They were laughing so hard they almost couldn't hear the yells of their tutor. She was demanding they return to the manor that instant. It was the first warm day of the spring, though, and they had been saving that particular distraction for the perfect day. They reached the pond that could just barely be seen from the highest windows of the manor. One by one they stripped off their shirts, swung out over the water on a long piece of rope, and let go to fall into the pond with a great splash.
"That was brilliant!" the smallest of the three exclaimed.
"Of course it was. It was my idea," proclaimed the boy who lived in the manor.
The third shook his head, "Your mum's not going to be happy."
The dark haired boy just laughed, "If I didn't make her mad at least once a week she'd think I was sick or something. It's my duty to cause chaos. I'm just fulfilling my role in life. Anyway my father and uncle will love it."
"I just hope she doesn't tell my mum," the smallest boy lamented.
"It's too late for cold feet now!" the dark haired boy dove under the water.
The small boy pouted, "Rachel will make us work extra hard now."
The blond haired boy shrugged, "It's all stuff we need to learn anyhow." He dove below as well and the dark haired boy popped up across the lake.
"That's easy for you to say," the small boy spluttered as a wave of water hit him in the face and then forgot his complaints as he retaliated.
The dark haired boy laughed as he remembered that day. They had all been punished and given extra work by their tutor, but it hadn't stopped them from skiving off on their lessons again or pranking their tutor. As his father would always comment, boys will be boys. His room looked as though a whirlwind had attacked it as he threw belongings into his trunk, took some out, then put some back in. He had packed and unpacked, then packed again so many times he had lost count.
"Look at this mess!" his mother exclaimed as she burst into the room. She brandished her wand and started summoning items from his trunk. "Dungbombs, stink pellets, Ice Mice, where did you get Blood Pops young man and what in Merlin's name do you intend to do with them?"
"Mum!" the boy exclaimed in indignation. His Uncle Clive had bought them at his request, laughing the whole time. Uncle Clive was just as bad as his father, and sometimes worse as he didn't have any children of his own.
"I don't want to hear it!" she stopped his protests. "If you want to go to Hogwarts tomorrow morning you will clean up your room this instant and have your trunk ready for inspection within an hour!"
He pouted, but knew it wouldn't make a difference. She began to stalk out of his room but stopped and summoned his brand new wand, eleven inches, mahogany, pliable. Mr. Ollivander said it would be excellent for transfiguration. He just couldn't wait.
"You know you're not allowed to perform any magic outside of Hogwarts!"
He scuffed his toe on the carpet, "Yes, Mum."
The boy was like a whirlwind himself as he shoved the clothes he wasn't taking into his wardrobe. He wouldn't need dress robes, or dress shoes until third year at least. With a sigh his broom was set to rest on its wall mount. He knew he wouldn't be able to sneak it in, not after his mum had had lunch with Professor McGonagall just a few days before and most likely thoroughly warned his future Head of House. The inspection came and went and his mother magically locked his trunk, with a promise to unlock it in the train station the next morning.
"Has she inspected it yet?" a voice whispered from the other side of a door.
The boy giggled as his father snuck into his room in a crouch, "Yes Dad."
"Good," the father unlocked the trunk and pulled a bundle out of his robes. "Now, your great-grandfather gave this cloak to your grandfather for his first year at Hogwarts, and your grandfather gave it to me. Just don't let your Mum know I'm passing it to you." The boy eyed the shimmering cloak in awe as his father tucked it under the robes his mother had neatly folder with a single flick of her wand. The stories he heard about that cloak were enough to fuel the wildest imagination. He then pulled out a paper bag, "Your Uncle Clive and I thought you should have some supplies with you. Engorgio!"
The contents of the bag expanded and several books and a few boxes were revealed. The boy's eyes lit up at the title he saw on the top, Potions for Pranksters, "Thanks Dad." He hugged his father fiercely before the bundle was shrunk once again and hidden in the trunk.
The father ruffled the always messy hair of his son, "Just remember to send a note to your uncle, and let both of us know when you put these to good use... and remember that enlarging charm."
Matching mischievous grins lit up the faces of both father and son, "Oh I will."
"Carry on the family tradition, son," the father locked the trunk again and snuck out of his son's room.
The next morning was only one of a few days in the year where the son was the first one out of bed, the mother having learned early on that the longer he was awake without supervision the worse shape the house would be in when she woke. He wolfed down a large breakfast and stood in the entrance hall impatiently waiting for his mother.
"Mum," he whined, drawing out her name, "we're gonna be late!"
"We have over an hour before we have to leave," she called from the dining room. "If you bother me again before then you won't go to school at all!"
The boy knew it was empty threat. His mother had been counting the days until September first the same as he, only she was looking for some peace and quiet.