Summary: When Remus is sixteen, he is finally allowed to go to Hogwarts. But life is not as easy as that if you don't know how to behave around other teenagers and, worse, if you are bullied by a gang led by the infamous Sirius Black.
Characters: Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, a little bit of Peter, Lily, maybe James, several teachers and occasionally OCs as fillers.
Pairing: Will be Remus/Sirius slash later. For all of you who do not know what 'slash' is: It means they have a homosexual relationship.
Length: I guess it will be about 20 chapters long. I know where I want this story to go but it is not written down yet.
Disclaimer: Of course I don't own Harry Potter. I don't own the title for this either. It's JKR's too. And I don't even own Professor Ötzli. I got the name from a book I read once...don't even remember its title, it was pretty stupid, actually, but I really liked the name 'Ötzli' ;-)
I should perhaps mention that English is not my first language, so please forgive any grammar/vocabulary mistakes - this goes only for the first three chapters. From the fourth chapter onwards, this story is betaed.
Reviews... of course I love getting reviews! Who does not? So, I'll stop here and spare you from my pleas and beggings. Enjoy the story!
The New Student
Twenty pairs of eyes curiously stared at Remus, examined him suspiciously or smiled encouragingly at him. The latter was the exception. But even if anyone had smiled at him in welcome – Remus did not perceive much of it anyway. He felt like nakedly entering a stage under the scrutinising glances of ten thousand spectators – instead of a simple school class. Obviously, he was not naked either but wore a second-hand set of the Hogwarts school uniform.
"Good morning," Professor McGonagall, who stood next to him, greeted the class. "Before we plunge into work, I'd like to present your new classmate Remus Lupin. The Hat sorted him into Gryffindor this morning. Mr Lupin has had the privilege of private tuition so far but now he wants to take his N.E.W.T.S. at Hogwarts. Speaking of N.E.W.T.S.…" After showing Remus a place next to a tall, skinny boy called Chris McKinnon, she immediately started lecturing them about their final examinations and quickly went on to start the actual lesson.
Fortunately, today's lesson was about Untransfiguration, about which Remus had just read a few chapters last evening in order to be prepared for his first school day. So he was able to answer a few questions, and Professor McGonagall gave him ten House Points.
With an unbeknown feeling of something akin to pride, Remus raised his hand once again but when he had just opened his mouth to answer yet another question (and hopefully earn more House Points!), he was interrupted by something whooshing past him right into Professor McGonagall's outstretched hand. She inspected the confiscated item, which proved to be a piece of parchment, and opened it.
"Meet me in Hogsmeade tonight?" she read the message written on the parchment aloud. A deep crease furrowed her brow and she looked up with a very reproachful expression. "Mr Black, this is the first lesson after the summer holidays. Why does it have to start already now again? Couldn't you write your love letters during breaks?"
Remus turned around to look at the person addressed: an exceptionally handsome looking boy tilting on his chair in the last row.
"But, Professor, the love letter was meant for you," Black retorted, casually ran a hand through his dark hair (which was much too long for a boy, by the way) and grinned roguishly.
Remus laughed along with the rest of the class. Even their teacher obviously was not immune to Black's charm and could not completely refrain from smiling. Quickly hiding her amusement, she shook her head in desperation, rolled her eyes and continued with the lesson.
I'd like to be friends with him, was Remus's first thought about that classmate of his. Maybe the boy was a bit too cheeky but you could certainly have lots of fun with him.
Remus's next class was Defence against the Dark Arts. As Chris McKinnon, his table neighbour from the previous class, did not continue this subject for his N.E.W.T.S., Remus sat down next to the bold boy with the long hair. He eyed Remus somewhat irritably when the latter put his textbook, parchment, quill and ink on the table.
"Hello," Remus said, smiling at the boy. He returned the greeting with a curt nod of his head. "My name is Remus Lupin. What's your name?"
Remus unscrewed his bottle of ink, dipped the quill into it and wrote Defence against the Dark Arts. 1976, September 2 in the right upper corner of his parchment. "What you said to Professor McGonagall was really funny."
Sirius jumped slightly. It seemed he had thought their conversation had been finished. "Hm? What do you mean?"
"The thing about the love letter," Remus said, grinning.
"Ah," was all Sirius said.
Then their teacher, a tall man with grey, curly hair and thick glasses, entered the classroom. "Good morning everyone."
"Good morning - …." Being the only one who properly replied the greeting, Remus felt a bit self-conscious. Some of his classmates had mumbled a bored "Morning" but most of them just continued their conversations, though in slightly more hushed voices. Consequently, Remus drew the teacher's attention to him.
"Ah, you're the new student. Remus Lupin, right? I am Professor Ötzli."
"I'm pleased to meet you," Remus replied politely. He heard someone chuckle behind him.
"Most of the time in your Defence against the Dark Arts classes, you've learned how to defend yourselves against curses cast by wizards", Professor Ötzli said. "This year, you will learn how to deal with dark creatures. We will start with dementors today. As you are a N.E.W.T. class, I suppose you all know what a dementor is. Still, let's repeat a few things: Who can tell me why a dementor is so dangerous? Ah, yes, Mr Lupin."
"Dementors feed on positive human emotions. They glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope and happiness out of the air around them, thus draining wizards – or muggles likewise – of their powers."
"Correct. And what is the dementor's worst weapon? Yes, Mr Lupin please again?"
"The dementor's last and worst weapon is called the Dementor's Kiss. It sucks out the soul of its victim, leaving him an empty shell, alive but completely, irretrievably gone."
"Correct. You seem to be carefully prepared. I'm glad to see that. Fifteen points to Gryffindor."
Remus beamed. He had already earned twenty-five points for his House today. He threw Sirius a side-glance but he was busy with folding a parchment into a little dragon. He was not very good at it. A few years ago, Remus had spent weeks with folding parchment-creatures. He had gone through all sorts of dragons. He could even do hippogriffs and phoenixes. Maybe he could show Sirius later.
Professor Ötzli's next questions about dementors were quite easy, and Remus was really glad he did not seem to be far behind the other students, who had already had the chance to spend five years at Hogwarts.
"Where do you usually find dementors? Mr Black?"
Sirius did not react but touched the parchment-dragon with his wand, making it emit a little puff of steam. Remus lightly kicked Sirius's leg under the table.
"Ouch!" Sirius threw him an accusing glance. Remus tried to tell him with his eyes that Professor Ötzli had addressed him but Sirius did not seem to understand.
"Mr Black, I asked you a question. Five points from Gryffindor for occupying yourself with things which do not belong into this class," Professor Ötzli reprimanded him. Sirius gave him a hostile look. "So? Where can dementors be found?" Professor Ötzli repeated his question.
Secretly, Remus pushed a piece of parchment, on which he had hurriedly scribbled the correct answer, to Sirius.
Sirius briefly glanced at it. "Africa," he said disinterestedly.
"No!" Remus burst out uncomprehendingly. He had not written that on the parchment!
"Mr Lupin? Then what is the correct answer?"
"Dementors infest the darkest, filthiest, coldest places. They are attracted by misery and suffering."
"Correct. You should follow his example, Mr Black."
"Merlin forbid!" Sirius muttered in irritation.
"Excuse me?" Professor Ötzli said strictly. "Ten more points from Gryffindor for being impudent."
Remus was slightly taken aback by Sirius's behaviour. Just why had he ignored Remus's help and purposefully given a wrong answer? And then he had said… Merlin forbid! … What had he meant by that?
"How can you defend yourself against a dementor? Miss Davies?"
"The Patronus Charm," a girl with brown fuzzy hair who was sitting behind Remus answered.
"Correct. Yes, Mr Lupin?"
Remus had waited for the time somebody addressed the topic of the Patronus Charm. He had read so much about it but had no idea how it worked. Needless to say, he was thrilled that he would hopefully finally learn that Charm. "I have a question concerning the Patronus Charm, Professor Ötzli. I have read that you can also use the Patronus Charm as a defence against other menaces, like for example against a lethifold. Am I correct with my assumption that the Patronus's defence mechanism does not operate specifically with a dementor but has a universal function? So then what exactly makes a Patronus work?"
Sirius rolled his eyes in irritation and Davies asked loudly, "What is a lethifold?"
"A lethifold?" Remus turned around to look at her. "In the vernacular it is also called the 'living shroud'," he explained.
"Merlin's beard," Sirius groaned.
"And what exactly is a 'living shroud'?" Davies asked, frowning.
"It resembles a dark cloak which attacks sleeping humans, smothers them and then digests them, leaving no trace at all."
"How sweet," Davies commented and pulled a face.
"May I interrupt the discussion?" Professor Ötzli interrupted the discussion. "To get back to your question, Mr Lupin: A Patronus is the embodiment of the positive thoughts of the caster. It stands between victim and attacker as a protection, and a very powerful Patronus will even put the attacker to flight. So, practically, you could use a Patronus against any creature that's attacking you. But that's highly advanced magic which is not taught at school. It's something Aurors learn in their training."
"Oh," Remus said, slightly disappointed.
Then the bell chimed to signal the end of the lesson. Remus hurried to catch up with Sirius, who had been the first one to storm out of the classroom.
"Hey, Sirius," he said, while struggling to keep up with the taller boy's long strides. "You see, I didn't want to show you up when you didn't know the answer to Professor Ötzli's question. I'm really sorry for the way it happened but, to be honest, I don't quite understand why you didn't –"
"Lupin, don't drive me bonkers," Sirius snarled, coming abruptly to a halt. "Just leave me alone, okay? We don't need such a smart-ass here who has had private tuition and shows of with quoting all the books of the world. And, by the way, I prefer it if people ask me before they sit down next to me." With that, Sirius whirled around and left a shocked Remus behind.
Swallowing hard, Remus stared dumbfounded at Sirius's retreating back and the black, billowing cloak. His words had hit Remus hard. He had never meant to behave like a…a…smart-ass. He had even tried to help Sirius and all the same, Sirius did not want to have to do anything with him.
Remus staggered into the opposite direction than all the other students, who were heading for lunch in the Great Hall. He wanted to go outside and be alone. He trotted down the slope in the grounds towards the Forbidden Forest. Reaching the first trees, he flung his bag to the ground, angrily bit back his tears and sat down, leaning his back against the trunk of a big tree.
He had imagined everything to be so different. He had been so happy… When his most fervent wish had finally come true and he was accepted in Hogwarts after waiting in vain for so many years, the future had seemed to be bright for once in his life…
Secluded and without any friends, he had grown up with no one else but his parents around. And, naturally, he had never had private tuition but had read book after book, desperate to learn everything the other students would learn at school. He had read all the required textbooks, most of them several times, and also additional literature in order to maintain the remote possibility that someday he would be permitted in Hogwarts. He had to be ready. So he had read until his eyes would burn because he just could not give up hope.
And then the miracle had come true. Albus Dumbledore had allowed him to come here. Remus had dreamed of the magnificent castle, of roaming its many secret passageways with his friends at night, of finally using magic properly, of getting all the answers to his many questions. He had pictured how much fun it would be to brew potions or work in the greenhouses together with the whole class. But now… Now he felt insecure and completely out of place.
In the afternoon, Remus had Potions taught by Professor Slughorn. This time, he sat down at an empty table (which remained empty) and tried not to behave like a nerd. They were to brew potions in teams of two. Remus was left without a partner.
"You don't have a partner? Well, that's not a problem. Like that, I can personally care for you," Professor Slughorn said amicably. "And I can see what your present state of knowledge in potions is."
It was not a very pleasant lesson. Under Professor Slughorn's scrutinising eye, Remus did not bring off a good potion and to crown it all, Remus's stomach started rumbling.
"Someone's hungry?" Professor Slughorn asked, winking, after an almost wolfish growl of Remus's stomach. "Ah, I should be able to solve that problem. Accio chocolate frog!" Out of Professor Slughorn's briefcase, a chocolate frog zoomed into his hand. He passed it to Remus. "Here, eat it, my boy. I've got loads of them. You must know, I'm really close friends with Ambrosius Flume, the owner of Honeydukes."
Terribly ashamed, Remus grabbed the sweets, murmured a "Thank you" and gulped down the chocolate. He quickly looked around if anyone had noticed, which Sirius, of course, had.
"Is anyone else willing to make a generous donation for the new student? Maybe, if you're lucky, he's nice enough to explain to you what a lethifold is called in the vernacular," Sirius taunted. His remark caused laughter among the other students. Remus felt the heat rising in his cheeks.
"Sirius, Sirius, every time again I hope you will return as a decent boy from the holidays," Professor Slughorn said, half desperate, half amused. Sirius did not say anything in return but just gave his teacher a hard look.
Finally, the bell rang and the lesson was over. Despite the chocolate frog, Remus was terribly hungry but Professor Slughorn stopped him from leaving the classroom.
"Remus, Sirius, Lily, a word please."
With a very bad feeling, Remus stood next to Sirius and Lily, a very handsome girl with long, red hair, in front of Professor Slughorn's desk.
"I wanted to celebrate a little start-of-term party," Professor Slughorn explained. "You are invited to come to my office on Friday at eight pm."
"I don't know yet if I have time for it," Lily said apologetically. "You can certainly imagine that, as a prefect, I'm really busy now with helping all the new students."
"Of course. I'd be all the more happy to see you at my party. Well then, a good evening to all of you."
"Thank you, a good evening to you too," Remus replied.
"Yes, thank you, the same to you," Lily said as well.
There was a little awkward pause during which everyone stared expectantly at Sirius until he muttered a reluctant "Thanks, same to you," and then quickly dashed off.
Remus and Lily walked back together. As soon as they were out of earshot, Lily said, "If I were you, I wouldn't go to the party. Most of the people there are idiots. A few are invited because they're exceptionally intelligent or have some special talents but the majority of them are just there because Slughorn hopes to establish good relations with their parents, who are either rich or have a good name. Like Sirius."
Suddenly, Remus understood. "You mean – Sirius is a Black? Like 'Black' in the pureblood family Black?"
"Yes," Lily said simply but her expression made it very obvious that she had the same opinion on that family as Remus did.
"I see…," Remus said mostly to himself. Now everything made sense. Now he understood why Sirius behaved in such a mean way towards him. Of course… Remus's parents had warned him of such people. The old wizard families despised children from muggles or wizard-muggle-intermarriage. They despised werewolves even more. One of the most prominent old wizard families were the Blacks.
"Don't worry about the things Sirius says," Lily encouraged him. "He's just a little, spoiled, arrogant brat with a big mouth. Unfortunately, he has crowds of admirers. The little boys think he is sooo cool and the little girls think he's sooo cute." She rolled her eyes and muttered, "It's really pathetic… all the people who mindlessly follow him around and cheer for him… Yeah, that's how things work at this school. Hey, I guess I should show you around. After all, I'm a prefect, so it's my job to help new students get to know Hogwarts. And trust me, that's not an easy thing. On my first day here, I kept getting lost the whole day."
"It would be really nice of you to help me. It's just… I'm a bit hungry and I'd like to eat something first. I didn't have anything for lunch."
"Didn't find the Great Hall? Got lost?" She grinned at him and then grabbed hold of him when he almost tripped into a vanishing step.
"Thanks," Remus said, glad that the little incident had saved him from explaining why he had not had lunch.