Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns all of Harry Potter's world and its wonderful characters. I own nothing but the plot I made up and a few OCs.
Summary: Lonely and outcast by his classmates, Remus wishes on a moonshadow for a friend who understands him. To his amazement his wish is answered not once, but three times by his former enemies, the Marauders.
I'm being followed by a moonshadow,
Leaping and a hopping on a moonshadow,
And if I ever lose my eyes,
If my colours all run dry,
Yes, if I ever lose my eyes,
Hey… I won't have to cry no more
Remus had always thought of memories as being like framed photographs on a shelf. Most of them were placed in the sun and faded over time. Sometimes the colour faded, leaving only a vague sense of the time; the outlines of a memory that changed a little with retelling. Sometimes it was the outlines that faded so the colour remained in bright, vivid blurs – a real sense of the time but no details.
Other memories were placed in the dark, overlaid by shadows. It was these memories – the ones you wanted to forget – that didn't lose their colour or potency over time.
For Remus, the most vivid of the shadow-memories was his memory of That Night. That Night had repercussions that sent vibrations that echoed and changed events for the rest of his life. This memory - the one he most wanted to fade and change - was the one that would always remain with him in the most vivid detail.
What Remus always remembered about his mother, long after the other memories had faded and grown dull, was her love of the moonlight. As the potions mistress for their local apothecary, her job often required for her to venture out at night to collect ingredients. On these nights, when the sky was clear and the moon hung full-bellied and saturated with light, she would creep into Remus's room without bothering to turn on the lights. Wrapping his outdoor cloak over his pyjamas and pressing his little feet into his shoes, she would take his hand and lead him out of the house, through the garden gate and into the thick woodland that backed onto their cottage.
As she worked, Serena Lupin would sing the Muggle songs of her childhood while Remus capered wildly at her side, joining in with his high childish soprano, and watching his moonshadow as it flickered and leapt among the darker shadows of the trees.
Remus knew that magic existed – he had grown up in a magical household after all – but the sight of the silver-blue moonshadows and the haunting sound of his mother's voice seemed to weave a different kind of magic in the forest. It was less certain, but more tangible. Electric and wild and at the same time safe and private.
Remus's father never joined them in their escapades. Those moonlit nights were a thing that had belonged between the two of them and no one else was allowed to intrude. Remus, being so young at the time, hadn't realised how much his father resented the fact that his wild, unpredictable wife loved her son so much more than anyone else in the world. John Lupin worshipped the ground she walked on and Serena, in turn, regarded him with affectionate tolerance.
And so he would watch darkly from the bedroom window as the two little figures danced hand in hand into the forest, snatches of Muggle songs fading in their wake.
"Memory, all alone in the moonlight, has the moon lost her memory? She is smiling alone…"
"Fly me to the moon and let me play among the stars! Let me see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars…
"What a marvelous night for a moondance, with the stars up above in your eyes…"
And most often, as they emerged from the forest again, hands clasped, eyes bright, choking on joy and wild magic as Remus's mother picked him up and whirled him above her head:
"I'm being followed by a moonshadow! Moonshadow, moonshadow! Leaping and a hopping on a moonshadow, moonshadow moonshadow!
And if I ever loose my hands, loose my plough, loose my lands. Yes, if I ever loose my hands, hey – I won't have to work no more…" (1)
It was perhaps no surprise, then, that on the night that John Lupin came home from his work at the Ministry with the news that the werewolf, Fenrir Grayback, had escaped from the secure ward for the criminally insane at St. Mungos, that Remus had turned to the moonlight for comfort.
On That Night – the night when everything changed in a rush of violence and blood and moonshadows, Remus crept out of bed on small, nightmare-trembly feet and down to hall to his parents' room in search of his mother to comfort him. He stopped when he heard the sound of arguing inside. He had never heard his parents arguing before. His father hated upsetting his mother and she was usually too lost in her own world to pay enough attention to an argument for it to become very heated.
Remus crept up to the door and pressed his ear against the wood.
"…Can't go in there now. Even for ingredients. Who knows where he is?" John was saying. "I can order them for you from work."
"But I like getting my own ingredients," Serena protested, her voice pleading, "It's the whole reason I became a potions mistress in the first place! How long until you catch him?"
"I don't know!" John snapped back. "If we knew where he bloody well was, don't you think we'd have caught him by now? He blames me for putting him in there, because I was the one who caught him. He wants revenge on me and he's insane. Do you think I could live with myself if he attacked you to get to me?"
"It's not fair!"
"I don't care! You're not going out there, Serena, and that's final!"
Remus pulled away, a strange squirmy feeling in his belly that made him want to be sick. He didn't understand what they were talking about and he didn't dare interrupt them. As he crept back down the hall towards his room, he passed the hall window. The full moon hung close and heavy in the sky, casting a brilliant square moonbeam through the glass to bleach the wooden floor.
Remus felt a sudden rush of desire for Muggle songs and the moonshadows. He needed to feel that cold silver light on his head to help him forget the sounds of his parents' anger and the wriggling in his belly.
He crept downstairs and stood on tiptoe to draw the bolt on the back door. He opened it as quietly as he could and padded out into the back garden. He wasn't stupid, and knew he shouldn't go into the forest on his own, so he settled for shuffling through the thick cool grass of their lawn, murmuring softly to himself; "I'm being followed by a moonshadow, moonshadow moonshadow. And if I ever loose my legs, I won't moan and I won't beg. Yes if I ever loose my legs. Hey – I won't have to walk no more…"
He lay back in the thick grass and stared up at the full moon. Apart from his mother the full moon was the prettiest thing he had ever seen. It looked so solid – as though there was no way it should have been able to stay up in the sky without a string, and its pale glow seemed to come from another world. Under its round-bellied gaze, Remus felt the last shreds of his fear dissolve and disappear.
The silence was broken by a rustling in the hedgerow at the edge of the garden. Remus sat up and turned to stare at it, his heart beating wildly. All of a sudden he wasn't so sure he should be out here on his own. Who knew what kind of horrible creatures came out at night when his mother wasn't there to keep them away?
Frozen with fear, he stared hard at the bush that had rustled, and jumped when it moved again. Suddenly, two twin orbs of glimmering yellow-gold appeared in the shadows beside the bush. It was a moment before Remus realised they were eyes.
Spurred into action by his terror, Remus leaped to his feet and turned to run back towards the cottage as fast as his short legs could carry him. He wished more than anything that he had not come so far down their long garden. There was a soft thud behind him as the creature leapt from the cover of the bush and took off after him. He could hear the rhythmic thump at the footsteps grew closer to him and he glanced over his shoulder.
The sight made him stumble, trip, crash to the ground. The creature was huge – a wolf, his mind screamed, throwing up images of the monsters in the fairytales his mother read to him at night. He screamed as it leaped at him, landing on his chest and knocking the air out of him. Tears of pain blurred the image of the wolf as it lunged at him with open jaws. Remus managed to scream a second time as he felt teeth sink into his shoulder and chest. The pain ripped white-hot and jagged through his whole body.
He felt the weight lifted as the wolf was flung off his chest. It flew through the air to land a few feet away. Panting and sobbing, Remus turned his head to see a figure with flyaway tawny hair place herself between him and the wolf. His mother raised her wand again, but she wasn't quick enough. The wolf rolled and leapt again, this time landing on Serena and bearing her to the ground.
"Mum…" Remus had meant to scream the word, but he could barely breathe from the pain, let alone talk. He watched paralyzed and horror stricken as those bloody white teeth lunged at her neck and ripped again and again.
"Oh God! SERENA!"
For the second time that night, the wolf was flung into the air. This time Remus saw his father standing there in his pajama bottoms. Even with his vision blurred with pain and blood loss, he noticed that John Lupin stood between his wife and the wolf, leaving his son open to another attack.
A beam of green light shot from John's wand towards the wolf who managed to leap out of the way in time. It hesitated for a moment, then as John raised his wand again, turned to lope back into the forest. John took off after him, his body crackling with magic and rage.
Remus turned again to look towards his mother. She was covered in blood. He had never seen so much blood. It looked thick and black in the moonlight. He rolled onto his stomach and the pain lanced through him. He whimpered quietly.
Her voice was so weak. He had never heard her sound weak before.
"Rem…mus, my …baby?"
Her words were broken with shudders. Remus used all his strength to pull himself towards her. The pain was so terrible it seemed like a whole separate part of him now. After what seemed like a century, he reached her and peered down. To his horror he could see bone, tendon and muscle, torn and bloody at her throat.
"Live R…Remus." Serena managed. "Promise me? Don't…let them t-turn you into a m-monster like him. The w-wolf hasn't changed you. Say it Remus!"
"W-wolf hasn't ch-changed me," Remus repeated tearfully, unable to look at her eyes, only at the gash in her neck.
"G-good boy. R-rememb-b-ber that."
She was getting fuzzy round the edges. Remus thought she might be saying something else, but he couldn't hear anymore. His head was filled with a fizzing sound that made it too heavy for his neck. It flopped forward into the blood-soaked grass by his mother's shoulder and he felt himself sucked backwards into unconsciousness.
The songs quoted (In order) and their artists:
Moonshadow – Cat Stevens, Memory – Andrew Lloyd Webber, Fly Me To The Moon - Written by Bart Howard in 1954 and originally sung by Kaye Ballard, Moondance – Van Morrison,