Disclaimer: I don't own HP or Remus Lupin, even if I dreadfully want to.

Mirror Image

Remus Lupin stared in the mirror with a sigh. His reflection was pale and sickly, exactly how he felt. He knew that many people hated their reflections because they didn't show who they really were. He hated his because it showed exactly who he was. He couldn't put up a façade to hide himself and his emotions. He was an open book. Most people just didn't know what page to turn to.

His parents had searched for a cure for years. They had every since it had happened. Now it had been three and a half years. During their search, they spent quite a bit of time away from home. While he was readjusting to his curse, they had never been there to readjust with him. As a result, they had grown scared of him. They avoided him if possible, coming up with silly excuses. Only recently had they given up the search and that only magnified their previously minute fear.

He had previously gotten along with his parents. They had been a warm, loving family. But after the attack, the family was shattered—shattered, like what he wished to do to the mirror before his eyes. And it couldn't be put back together. It could be placed together—all the pieces fitting like it should. But the reflection he would see would be broken and distorted.

The only comfort he had was his dog, Rhea. Technically, she was half German shepherd and half wolf. She was beautiful and loving and extremely protective of him. She never really liked anyone he met. However, there were few people that he did meet.

Rhea barked good-naturedly and rubbed against his legs. He knelt down and patted the top of her head.

She didn't care that he was different than he had been before. She had been frightened at first, but she grew accustomed to him. They actually connected better than they had. Both were canine, and they grew even more attached. She was the closest thing he had ever had to a friend.

Ever since the accident, Remus had never allowed himself to have friends. He was always afraid that he wouldn't be able to trust them, that he would be scared to trust them, that they would have him for being what he was.

That's what he loved about Rhea. She didn't care about the thing he changed into once a month. She stuck with him all the time. She loved him for who he was on the inside, the smart and kind boy hidden beneath the werewolf somewhere.

In a way, he disliked his image because it didn't show who he was on the inside, even though it showed the horrible outside so well. He understood why people hated their reflections for that. But at the same time, he could live without showing every emotion, as long as he didn't have to be so ugly on the outside.

"Come on, girl," said Remus, standing up and walking out of the room, quickly followed by Rhea.

In the living room, Remus's father waited for them. "You two ready?"

Remus nodded slowly, looking down to the dog. "Yeah, I guess."

The three went outside and piled into Mr. Lupin's truck. Rhea curled up on the seat and laid her head on Remus's lap. He scratched behind her ears. Mr. Lupin started the vehicle, and they drove away in silence.

Remus watched the scenery go by. The house and their property were far behind them as they entered the nearest town. "Dad, do we have to do this?"

"You can't have a dog, especially on that big, at Hogwarts."

"But Professor Dumbledore allowed me. If we could just ask—"

"You may not see it, but it's violent."

"Rhea's not violent! She's just protective."

"It's a threat to society."

"Rhea's a she, not an it," he responded quietly. "She may be just an animal, but she has emotions too!"

"Don't relate yourself to that dog. You're a human being, Remus."

"No, dad. I'm a werewolf. Haven't you realized that already?"

Rhea nuzzled her nose against his belly, sensing the anger and tension in the car.

"If we have to do this, I don't want to go to Hogwarts," Remus said.

"Nonsense. You've wanted to go since you heard about it."

"But she's my best friend. She's the only one that I can really connect with."

"You can make human friends at Hogwarts."

"I don't want human friends."

"You're going."

Not too long later they arrived at the local animal shelter.

"Are you staying here?" asked Mr. Lupin.

Remus nodded, quickly grabbing around the neck and hugging her, tears quietly forming in his eyes. He let go and gave her a quick pat on the head. "Goodbye."

His father opened the door and got out. "Come here, Rhea," he called in a hushed voice. Rhea got up curiously and followed Mr. Lupin into the kennel.

Remus shut his eyes, not wanting to see anything. Through the open truck door, he could hear Rhea's howls inside the building, and he began to cry.

The drive home was completely silent. Not a word came from either. And, when at last they arrived at the home, Remus jumped out before they had pulled all the way into their parking place and ran into his room.

From his bed, he could hear his father walking inside the house and up the staircase. Mr. Lupin tried the door, but it was locked. Instead, he decided to call through it. "It's not the end of the world! Rhea's a beautiful animal, but she wouldn't have lived through your graduation from Hogwarts."

"I don't care! I'll never see her again anyway!"

His father sighed and walked away.

Remus fell asleep that way, dried tears on his cheeks, and it wasn't until later that evening that he woke up. He sat up on the bed and moved his cheek muscles. The skin felt tight from the salty tears.

Slowly he stood up and walked over to his full-length mirror. Rhea had always watched him when he looked at his reflection. Looking at himself now, he hated his life. He had lost everything he had ever wanted and needed: loving parents, watching a full moon rise once a month, and now his best friend.

Damn. He hated himself just as much—if not more. He was no longer Remus Lupin. He had turned into a monster. Once a month, he had turned into a damn monster! Remus Lupin didn't exist anymore. That was his alias. He was a monster. And he hated himself for it. And he hated his parents for it. He hated everything, but especially his reflection.

He couldn't bear to look at himself anymore. He just wanted to strip himself of his image. To destroy the part of him everyone saw. To rid himself of all this agony.

"Damn it!" he screamed, grabbing the nearest item and flinging it at his image. The mirror shattered under the force of the blow and the weight of his school cauldron. Several pieces fell to the floor. Meanwhile, he fell down to a fetal position and leaned against the foot of his bed, crying.

"Remus, dear, what's going on?" came his mother's voice through the door.

"Go away," he choked out.

"You should really get some sleep. We're going to King's Cross in the morning."

"Mum, what time is it?"

"It's almost midnight. Good night."

Remus began to sob harder. He didn't want to go. He hated this place enough already. He would hate Hogwarts just as much. He wouldn't make any friends. He would be completely alone there. Worse than he was at home. He just knew he would hate it there.

He glanced up at the broken mirror. He could still see himself. The reflection was broken and distorted, but it was still him nonetheless. He couldn't escape himself.