Author's Note: Now, this has been a long-planned story that I've been waiting to write, but never found the proper time for it. This is a Remus Lupin story, and because his past is sketchy, I had to fill in the rather large blanks.
Footsteps pounded on the soft ground, matting the grass into a makeshift trail. The trees loomed darkly all around, taller than houses and black as pitch. The only light came from the almost-full moon, which loomed in the sky like a dented crystal ball. There were no stars that offered friendly light or guidance - the sky was one midnight blue sheet.
The runner quickened his pace, not bothering to watch where he put his feet. His foot hit a rock, and he fell to the earth, before straightening and running faster still. The only thing that mattered to him was that he reach his destination.
An unfriendly tree branch caught his arm and tore the skin, causing a dark black to pool on the sleeve of his robes. Another tore at his shin, and more his face. He hardly felt the scratches; he swiped the branches out of his way like a simple nuisance. When he finally came to a staggering halt, his whole body was covered in deep cuts that oozed dark blood. He carelessly wiped his face with his dirty hand, feeling a slight sting as the dirt and muck touched raw skin and blood. He looked down at his knees, and saw that wide holes had been torn in his trousers and red scrapes marred his bare knees from his fall. He took his wand out of his pocket, thanking the stars it was still there, and tried his best to light the way up to the dark house on the hill.
As he got closer to the silent cottage he was blinded by a bright light; the porch light had been switched on. When he cleared his vision, he flicked his wand and the light was smothered by the darkness. He ran the rest of the way, fearful that the lights would come back on.
When he finally stepped on the welcoming porch, the wizard looked behind him. The forest was deeply foreboding, howls and caws chilling the blood in his veins and making the hairs on his neck stand up. He rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably before opening the door and stepping hastily inside.
"Where have you been?" A voice whispered, cutting into silence. It was a woman's voice, deeply worried and anxious. The wizard made sure the door was protected by every spell he knew before turning to face her, jaw set and eyes grim.
"It's a long story, Lucine. Let's go in the sitting room. I'll explain there." He moved through the narrow entryway, waving his wand at the placid candles as he went; they burst into life and lit the way. Lucine followed reluctantly, glancing from her husband to the now-lit candles.
The sitting room was small, but cosy. There was a fireplace, but the grate was cold and lifeless. The room was bathed in warm light when they entered, Lucine now aiding her husband in lighting the house. He sat down in an armchair facing the sofa, which is where Lucine slowly sat. There was a thick silence as they stared at each other in the dim candlelight. Lucine decided to break it.
"What is this all about, John?" In the light she could see all the cuts and bruises that blemished his skin. His clothes were in disarray and one of his eyes was bloodshot.
John sighed deeply, rubbing the back of his neck again. "Greyback's finally caught on."
Lucine's hand shot up to cover her mouth in horror. "You mean he's –"
"He's finally figured out that I was behind the anti-werewolf movement. Apparently, someone was acting as a double-agent. I think he said it was Keilver."
"Wait, he talked to you? Fenrir Greyback?" Lucine gasped.
John gave a bitter laugh. "Fenrir Greyback doesn't talk - he threatens. He cornered me as I was walking out of the office and pinned me to the wall."
"Is that where all these cuts came from? Did he hurt you?" She made to get up and walk towards him, but he waved her down.
"I got these from the woods. I ran all the way here, after what he told me."
Lucine's eyes were wide and her voice shook as she asked, "What was that?"
He looked toward the ceiling, the whites of his eyes flashing. "He said that I would regret what I'd done. Lucine," John looked down at his wife, eyes clouded with worry, "you know what Greyback is - he's a child-eater. He eats them for food, surpassing any werewolf in bloodshed."
"You don't think . . ." Lucine couldn't finish. She burst into tears and buried her head in her hands. John stood up and came to her, setting his arm over her shaking shoulders.
"Where is he?" John asked, looking around as if expecting to see someone.
"He's asleep in his room. It's almost nine o'clock." Lucine's voice was muffled by her hands, but John understood her. He removed his arm from atop her shoulders and stood up. His wife looked up, cheeks tear-stained and red.
"Where are you . . ."
"Upstairs," John said. He made his way toward the staircase, pocketing his wand as he went. As he reached the landing, he looked around the dark hall. There were two doors on the left, and one on the right. He looked between the doors on both sides, and making a split decision, chose the right. Trying to open it as quietly as possible, John nudged the door so it stood ajar.
The room within glowed a bright yellow. John knew without looking that the light radiated from the enchanted nightlight on the wall. He looked around the room and his eyes rested on the small, sleeping figure on the bed. John's face cracked into a tired smile as he looked at his seven-year-old son. His smile slid off his face as he thought about Greyback. Would the bloodthirsty werewolf come after this peacefully sleeping child for revenge?
I'll get you - you'll regret ever offending Fenrir Greyback. You will walk alone and see my eyes everywhere you look. I will find you, and then you'll be sorry.
RoW: I chose the names of Remus' parents based on: 1) Remus' middle name is John, so I assume that his father's name was John. 2) Lucine means light. It took me forever to find a mother name that had meaning behind it, and Lucine stuck in my mind.
Well, this will be a full-length story, so there will be more. But, because I have one other story that requires chapter updates, I don't know how often it will be updated. Right now my top-priority is finishing Time is of the Essence. Until the next update! -RiverofWind