A/N: This is chapter one, and I know it's a bit boring, but I felt it necessary. It seemed a necessary introduction to the story of Remus' life.
Next chapter: Remus is eleven. The debate of whether or not he can go to school.
Mother and father were always cautious when it came to my life. They were scared to let me be social. I was always a fairly quiet little boy, but when I was about five, this… this thing happened to me, and my parents never let me forget it, making me even shier and more withdrawn than ever. If I wanted to go out and play with the other boys my age, they would exchange terrified glances and whisper in worried tones to one another, before consulting me, and telling me that it would be safer if I didn't. I would whine, as any normal child would, and ask why, but their response was always the same: "Remus, we're only trying to protect you. We're saving you from too much of a let down." But still, as a child, I didn't understand.
My parents contemplated not even letting me go to school when I got old enough. I was only six, and they had already decided that I couldn't go. I was a very studious child, however, and wanted an education terribly so. I dreamt of one. I dreamt of school, and friends, and love from other people that were not my parents. I think I wanted it because I could not have it. I was sure I could never have a normal life because of my terrible condition, and so I yearned to have one. My happy place when I got angry was myself in school… any school… surrounded by loyal friends.
At last, after many years of life like this, my mother let me actually go to the playground. It was really the source of my realization that my parents are right. I finally understood it all, after this incident, not that I ever gave up my dream of being normal and going to school.
My mother took me to the playground as a treat the day before the full moon, to cheer me up, as I was feeling particularly terrible. She actually sympathized for once, and did something kind.
I skipped several feet in front of her, so proud of my first time with other children. I was beaming, despite how sickly and weak I was feeling. My insides were churning, my face was pale, and my eyes sunken, but my heart was full and excited. It was a huge moment for me, as my first time socializing.
Looking around, it was absolutely mind-blowing. Several other kids just like me—who looked like me, and talked like me, and moved like me—were all playing and laughing normally, happily, joyously climbing on monkey bars, and some playing with some miniature broomsticks that flew in set patterns about the playground. I stepped up to a boy who looked about my age, and with a burst of nervousness, but full of confidence, I said "Hi!" It was nothing but a word, but it was everything to me. To speak to people… to interact with them like I was… like I was normal… it was unbelievable to me, being raised like I was abnormal, and should be ostracized. But I wasn't.
He grinned at me, and said "Hello! What's your name?" I was so happy I could have cried. I had never realized how not different I was from everyone. I had eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth, and a body like theirs… They looked at me with smiles on their faces, or looked over me completely. They could see nothing different about me, which deeply surprised me, as I had been sure, from the way my parents acted, that I was so different that everyone would immediately run away from me, and hate me because I was so different. I thought that must mean it was obvious, what I was, even on my physical appearance. It was good to know I looked human.
"I'm Remus," I said, the way children do when they're excited to make a new friend. "Who're you?"
"I'm Thomas," he said. "Do you like Quidditch?"
All thoughts of possibly being different were then wiped from my head, as I then acted my age. "Oh yeah!" I told Thomas with excitement, "I love it! My mummy and daddy like it lots, so I hear about games from them!"
We talked on, and several other boys joined in our conversation about games they'd seen. I was in awe of the rest, who had all seen at least one live Quidditch match in their lifetimes. I had only heard of outcomes of matches through my parents, who were fans.
A boy who was rather short asked me, "Why haven't you ever been to any Quidditch games? They're so cool!" I shrugged, unsure whether or not to tell them.
"Yeah, and I've never seen you here before either," said another. "How come you've never been here before?"
I shrugged again. I really didn't seem any harm in me telling them, because they seemed like they could be friends. They were really nice, and I liked them very much, and as I had never had friends before in my life, I was eager to make some. But then, if I told them, my mother would certainly be very angry. She, for some reason, took my condition a lot more seriously than I did. It wasn't such a big deal. It just made me sick once a month. I didn't understand what it was, really.
"Well," I said, deciding on just telling a small bit of the truth, "my parents don't like me to go out very much."
"How come?" asked Thomas, the first boy of the group that I had met.
I really wanted to tell them… I wanted a reaction… I wanted to see what the fuss was all about… wanted to prove my mummy wrong, make her see that no one really cares…
"Well," I said again, finding it a useful way to begin sentences that I was unsure about saying, "she thinks it's dangerous because I'm a werewolf."
Silence flooded the group. A few other little boys around us looked over to where I stood, and shuffled quickly away.
"Ew!" One boy shouted. "You're a werewolf? That's nasty! Ew, get away from me, freak!"
"Mummy, there's a werewolf talking to me!" screamed another in fright.
I didn't understand it. Within moments the park was in chaos. Parents were running about, scooping up their children into their arms, giving me dirty looks, and hurrying out of the playground. Thomas said nothing but gave me a look of pure disgust, as though he'd just been enjoying playing with a little stone, and then discovered it was covered in maggots. His expression bore into me, for the few seconds that he stared, and then he ran, at breakneck speed to his father, who grabbed his hand and pulled him away.
The looks, the stares, the insults… they cut into me like a terrible blade of realization. It was my first glimpse at how my life was going to be.
The last mother out of the park was holding her child very tightly to her, and shouted at my mother for a long while, words that I didn't hear, for my head was spinning too fast for me to comprehend anything. I took a breath, however, and caught the last few words she said furiously, before storming off: "Why don't you just take that beast you call a son away from here, and don't bring it near our children again!"
I began to cry in the ringing silence of the playground. Only six, my limbs were very delicate, and I fell to my knees, scraping and bruising them quite badly. Chalk smeared my skin and pants, but I didn't care. I was hurt, and alone. It was my first experience of true loneliness, and true hurt. I finally understood the let down that my parents were trying to protect me from, but this experience, if anything, as well as finally understanding my situation, made me even more determined to go to school when I was eleven. I needed something to prove my normality. With the many people that there were at Hogwarts, I wanted to go, so that I might meet at least a single person who could accept me. As impossible as it seemed, it was all I wanted. It was all I dreamed of, it was all that kept me going for the next five years, and it was all I thought about in the days of sickness that lead to the full moon, and my change.