Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, events and/or places that are recognized as being written and created by J.K. Rowling. J.K. Rowling owns all the characters and places from the Harry Potter books including the ones used in this story.
August 1965 – Remus is 6 years old.
Remus stood in the small sitting room of his home. And stared out the window. It was August, high noon, and the sun was dazzling the world.
The grass had never looked so green. The tree tops waved at him, rocking gently in a warm summer wind. And just over the small hill, he could see the pond, glistening clear blue in the distance.
Remus was sad. His favorite part of summer was playing in the pond, with the ducklings and the dragonflies and the fishies. He could almost see them all from his window, going on without him.
Normally, in the summer, his mother would sit up on the hill with her sewing, letting Remus run around barefoot at the edge of the pond. Then she'd call him back up for lunch and they would eat outside. Sandwiches always tasted better outside. And if it was raining, his mum would set up an oversized umbrella, and they'd eat with droplets of rain hitting their man-made roof and hitting the ground around them and splashing the surface of the water.
Sometimes, if Remus was extra special good, (and Remus was always extra special good), his mum would let him go outside at night. And if his father was home from one of his business trips, Remus would sit on his lap and his father would tell him the names of the stars and constellations. He'd tell him about magic.
Remus couldn't wait to do magic.
Remus sighed, the tiny defeated sigh of the young, and squashed his nose against the window pane. He didn't understand what happened. Why his mum wouldn't let him play outside anymore.
He tried to remember if he did something bad. The first thing he did when school was finally over, was go to the library. He took out a handful of books that were so heavy his mum had to carry them home. But, she didn't seem mad. She even stopped to buy Remus an ice lolly and it was really good and made his mouth really red.
Then when they got home, after he washed his face, his mum allowed him to sit outside and read.
That was the last time.
When he came in, three books finished and night draped around the world, his mum grabbed him. She hugged him, and Remus didn't know if anything was wrong but nothing was right. And his mother was crying. He asked her what was the matter, but it only made her cry more.
And his father was at the table, looking into his cup of tea. Remus called out to him, asked him why mum was crying. His father told him not to worry. And not to ever go outside again.
It was like he was slapped. He started crying too. Asking what he did. Asking why. But his father just shook his head, and his mother wrapped her arms around him so tight he thought he was going to stop breathing.
It was August now. And Remus hadn't been to the pond or the hill once. When his mum had to go to town, he would beg and beg, and she let him come with but they didn't wander like they used to, and they didn't stay out for long.
Remus was the sweetest, most polite boy for miles. Everyone in town thought so. The old woman who owned the grocery store always told him how quiet and charming he was, and gave him free candy because he didn't cause trouble like those other boys.
After he was banned from going outside, he tried to be even more good. He was an angel. Never talked unless spoken to, and always mindful of his manners. Sometimes it hurt to be that good, even for him. But he did it. Everyday. And it never made a difference.
Remus did his chores and did extra chores and made up chores to do. Last night, his mother found him alphabetizing the bookshelf. She patted his head and told him that she couldn't believe how smart he was. She said that one day he was going to do great things with that brain. Remus remembered smiling like the sun. Him mum kissed him and said that she would make him something special for supper. And Remus said he didn't want anything special, he just wanted to go play outside, couldn't he go play outside?
He watched his mother's mouth sink to a frown. Without moving her lips she told him no. She shook her head and said no.
Remus ran up to his room, and crawled under his bed, and cried because he didn't know what else to do.
It was getting dark out now. Remus refused to move away from the window. He didn't like being punished. He at least wanted to know what he was being punished for.
He didn't like that summer at all. His mother wasn't playful anymore. She seemed scared and jumpy. His father, when he was home, didn't ever talk. When his parents did talk, it was never talking. It was low murmured arguing and it always left one of them crying.
For the first time in Remus's short life, he wanted to run away from home. Go somewhere else, find a friend. A friend that would let him play outside.
The sky got real dark. Remus strained his eyes to catch a star. He found the brightest one and wished on it. Wished for it to bring him a true friend. He didn't know what to do.
Remus didn't move from the window.
"Baby. It's time for bed."
Remus looked over his shoulder at his mother. "I'm not tired," he said.
She sighed, wiped her hands on her apron. "Well I am, Remus. And your father is already sleeping. You can't stay up all night."
"I'm not tired." He looked away from his mother and back out the window. He felt his mother's warm hand touch the top of his head.
"Remus." She sighed again. "Don't stay up too late, OK? You can stay here, but I don't want to find you sleeping on the floor in the morning."
His mother bent down, kissed the top of his head, and reluctantly left.
Remus was all alone.
Remus was a good boy. But he was frustrated. And he was sad. The scene he'd been staring at for hours was now colored in dark shades, and twinkled with low stars, and a bright full moon.
He listened. His parents bed, up above his head, creaked and groaned and then settled into silence.
This wasn't easy for Remus. He didn't do bad things. He didn't like getting in trouble. He stood at the window for minutes. It wouldn't hurt to go out for just a little bit, he thought. And not far, he thought. I won't go past the front tree, he thought.
But mum said no. And no means no, she says.
Remus stepped away from the window. He slowly walked to his front door. And when he opened the door a crack, just to peek, the smells of outside filled him up. Fresh grass, and pine, and mud.
Opening the door just a little bit more, Remus felt braver. A dragonfly flew past him, its wings beating heavily. Remus lunged for the bug, but it zoomed in a circle and then they were off. Remus, feeling better than he has felt all summer, chased the dragonfly all around the front yard, and up the hill, and down the hill, and to the edge of the pond.
Stopping to catch his breath, Remus looked over to his house. It was still there, he didn't go far. See mum, he thought. See I didn't go far!
Remus dabbed the edge of the pond with his toe. Tiny little fish, and bigger fish, and bottom feeder fish swam under the surface, darting around the place where his toe disrupted the surface.
Remus Lupin never disobeyed his parents. He bent down, sticking his hands into the warm water, trying to grab a guppy or a sturgeon or a catfish or a shark. He knew that he shouldn't have been out there, breaking rules.
But he loved being outside. He loved all the animals.
Remus stood up. He heard a sound like leaves being rustled. Next to him, the bushes parted and a large creature sulked out. It looked like a dog, covered in dark gray fur.
Remus didn't like this animal. He started backing up, slowly making his way up the hill.
The dog hummed, eyes locked on Remus. It was smiling.
Remus's sweet, six year old mind, scared like never before, promised to never break rules again.
John Lupin turned around in bed, facing his wife. There was distance between them ever since he told her about Fenrir Greyback's sickening promise. "Hi love," he whispered into the darkness of the room. "Remus in bed?"
"He said he wasn't tired," she yawned. "I let him stay downstairs. I feel so bad for him, John."
"You...?" John catapulted from his bed like its springs suddenly became piercing knives. "You left him by himself? It's a full moon," he shouted, as he searched the floor for his shirt.
"He's inside. In the sitting room. He's...he wouldn't..."
They both ran down the stairs, knowing, praying that Remus was going to by the front window and that he'd look up at them with those big golden brown eyes like they've lost their minds.
But when they got to the bottom stair, they saw the front door open. And then they heard the scream.