Title: Wolf's Tale
Fandom: Harry Potter
Genre/Rating: General, Family/K+
Word Count: 1010
Summary: The days before Remus arrives at Hogwarts. Just how I think it could have been.
Warnings: There's a teensy suggestion of child abuse. Which I guess you'd expect in a Remus-centric story set before his Hogwarts days.
Notes: I was just practising a bit of descriptive writing and stuff and this is what happened. I actually wrote it almost six months ago and was intending to turn it into a long winded life story type thing but now, being more realistic about the likelihood of my actually writing any more (let alone completing it), I'm posting it as a one-shot. I think I started it on a full moon – which was probably why I started it.
Deep within the recesses of Remus Lupin's mind, there was a memory, a recurring nightmare that, before he felt too old for it, sent him scurrying to his parents' bedroom, filled with the loud trepidation of youth.
His mother and father would whisper in his ear, as he snuggled closer to them and told them the dream, that "it wasn't real", that "it was just a dream". But it wasn't. Remus knew it wasn't because that monster from his dream returned every month.
Come clear starlight skies or clouded grey nights, as the full moon rose, the monster returned – in him.
These transformations, Remus knew too, were not normal. Children were not meant to be turning into raging, beastly wolves once a month. Children were not meant to be a danger to others – not to their parents, not the other boys and girls in the playground, nor even to those adults parents always warn of; that kind man offering a lift home, the pretty lady offering sweets.
Children were meant to be these charming beings, full of innocence. Remus' parents believed that he no longer held the latter, that it had been forcefully stripped from him the night he was, so brutally, attacked.
Remus had gained, though, something he preferred to innocence. He had the quiet air of it, while instead he used the excellent hearing brought about by said tragedy to listen in on furious conversations. Through this, Remus had discovered much and come to understand even more.
Remus understood that when the subject was raised of his lycath – his lycth … that word he could never quite get his tongue around, John Lupin would often rant and rave of a 'Fenrir Greyback' upon whom he would get revenge. Remus understood that, if he remained quite silent during this time, he could procure small titbits of information that his father would never, under any other circumstances, divulge.
He knew now that this Greyback was another werewolf (for this was what Remus was) – but a bad one. Very bad. He preyed on small children, as Remus had been at the time, liking to touch them and – John always stopped at this point. He'd cut himself off as if sickened by what further things Greyback did. There would be an awkward silence, then Remus would be remembered and sent to his room where he was far enough to hear only snatches of mumbled arguing.
It was on one of these nights, as he lay sleepless on his bed, straining to comprehend the muted words, when he heard something that really meant something. 'Hogwarts' in connection with his own name.
He had moved closer, listened in, and silently cheered as his father managed a convincing win on the topic in question; Remus was to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The school, once his father's, that he had heard so much about, that he feared he would never see, was finally his own.
But it was after this that Remus finally, truly, realised the significance and impact that what he was would have on his life. That most wizards saw and cared more about what he was, than who he was. They would always fear wolf, before esteeming man.
Delilah and John, Remus found, had discussed the matter further after he had fallen asleep, leaning against the wall around a corner from the kitchen. They sat him between them on the lounge a few days after the letter was received and replied, both wearing forced, false smiles, and proceeded to explain things more clearly.
It seemed the sole reason for Remus' happy position in life was another man. This one an Albus Dumbledore, of whom John Lupin spoke favourably. A run-down building in an abandoned part of a small settlement within walking distance of the school was in the process of being boarded up. A tree – a whomping willow, John said, a rare tree in itself – was to be placed over a tunnel linking the house to the school grounds. From this, Remus knew Albus Dumbledore was good, and John's opinion of him proved so – but Delilah seemed less certain.
Remus' father spoke repeatedly of how he would love Hogwarts and Delilah, silently, contradicted. She did not approve. When the topic was exhausted and John retreated to the backyard shed, Remus watched his mother and asked her why she didn't want him to leave.
She smiled sadly and her eyes filled. "I don't want to lose you, Remus. I've lost you once already and I promised myself it would never happen again. But now the wizarding world has you – like it has your father. I never wanted to share."
That was, Remus reflected as he sat alone in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express, the first time he'd ever seen what had happened to him from his mother's perspective. His father's was common enough – his anger, sadness, regret, guilt; it was all loud and open – but his mother had been a mystery. She had stood tall, comforting the men of her family and never revealing the weakness John had no fear in broadcasting.
Then Remus thought of that terrible, life-changing night and saw it through her eyes. She'd sat by the phone for hours on end, waiting in hope of a call to say her only child had been found. She'd stayed home while John had actively searched.
No wonder. No wonder she didn't want him to go, to see him only during holidays, to have only written words as communication.
Remus felt bad for her, but, watching the robed adults flooding Platform 9 and ¾, and the students running between greeting friends and farewelling family, he found he could not regret that he was leaving home. And, waving off his father as the train picked up speed, he barely thought twice of the warning he'd received in his mother's tight embrace before they left because, in all his ignorance of the curiosity his disappearing once a month would produce, Remus Lupin honestly did not think it would be an issue.