Disclaimer: It's still not mine
Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed 'Where Dwell the Brave at Heart'. For those of you who wonder, Chapter 4 of 'Where Dwell…' leads on from this. A few people have asked for this and I so wanted to write it so here it is…
The pretty red-head slammed the door of the compartment behind her, dragging the lanky, greasy haired boy with her and walking straight into a tall and thin young man with cropped auburn hair and wide, apologetic black eyes. His scarf was pulled past his chin and rested just beneath his mouth and he pulled a large coat around him.
"Sorry," said Lily, smiling at him.
He shook his head in response and blinked rapidly. "It's um…it's okay."
"It's his fault anyway," snapped the shorter boy. "He should have been looking where he was going."
"Sev!" Lily reprimanded. She smiled warmly at the painfully shy boy who still had not moved for her to pass. "I wouldn't go in there if I were you," she advised, indicating the compartment she and 'Sev' had recently vacated. "There are some really horrible boys in there."
"Arrogant little tossers," agreed Snape.
The other boy, as did Lily, raised his eyebrows. He, unlike Severus Snape, had been fortunate enough to have had a very sheltered upbringing. He, very much like Severus Snape, also had very little people skills, having never had friends due to his shyness and the other children thinking him a freak because he could make strange things happen. He had also been told that his jet black eyes were 'freaky', 'scary' and that as a result he was a monster, which he was.
He stepped aside so the girl and her companion could pass. He paid heed to her words and paused before opening the compartment. Well, there was nowhere else to sit and horrible boys who were 'arrogant little tossers' or no, he would have to sit somewhere. He hurriedly opened the door before he could convince himself not to.
The arrogant little tossers stared up at him. The bespectacled boy with the untidy black hair seemed normal. He even smiled at him. So far; so good.
"Can we help you or are you just going to stand there all day?" asked the other boy, a tall and extremely handsome child with strikingly bright silver eyes, in a lazy drawl.
He bit down on his lip and took a deep breath. "C-can I s-sit here?"
"Sure," said the boy with the messy hair. "I'm James Potter."
The other boy smirked and said, "Sirius."
"R-Remus Lupin," replied Lupin, wondering if there was a particular reason why the other boy had not offered a surname, probably because they thought he was a freak.
Sirius rolled his eyes and shared an exasperated glance with James. This kid was already getting on his nerves. He was so wet and weedy.
"Do you have a stutter?" asked James, smiling and trying to coax the boy out of his shell. Sirius was being enough of a git without Lupin thinking the entire train was out to get him. In fairness, he did look like he was paranoid. His scarf wouldn't have looked out of place in the Crimean War.
Lupin nodded. "O-only when I'm n-nervous."
Sirius snorted. "You're nervous? What the hell of?"
"I don't blame him," laughed James. "When you're getting all up in his face. Sit the hell down."
Sirius did no such thing and continued to lean casually against the window. "So where are you from then?"
This did little to reassure Lupin. "Um…Hope C-cove."
Sirius raised his eyebrows and continued to stare down at Lupin. "You don't sound like you come from Devon. You even look a bit normal even if you don't sound it."
Lupin pressed his lips together and blushed. "I used to live in B-Bristol until I was six."
"Why'd you move?"
Lupin tried to remember the practised excuse for if this topic came up. "My m-m-mum had to move for her job."
Sirius smirked. "Oh yeah? What does your mother do then?"
Lupin wasn't sure that he liked the boy's tone. Still, at least it hadn't progressed to bullying. He'd had more than his fair share of that. This wasn't so bad in comparison. He could relax a little, he supposed.
"She's a teacher."
James grinned. "Hey! You lost your stutter."
Lupin beamed back, until Sirius decided to probe further.
"What does she teach then?"
He raised his eyebrows. It was obvious that he was surprised by the other boy's upfront attitude to his blood status. Around the Blacks, very few people would admit to it. He then remembered that he had not given his name. He sat beside James and ran his gaze over Lupin. He looked a little shabby but not extraordinarily poor and he seemed to be well loved. The only flaw on his alabaster skin came in the shape of two, long and thin scars on his left cheek. They appeared to be fairly new.
"What happened to your face?"
James glared at his new found friend. It just wasn't the sort of question that one asked upon a first meeting, especially because he could see nothing wrong with the boy's face.
Whatever it was clearly made him nervous and James hurriedly changed the subject.
"So where are you headed then?"
Lupin blinked and raised his eyebrows. "I'm sorry?"
"You know; which house?"
"Oh…um, Ravenclaw; like my dad."
"Nice," said James. "Better than being a Slytherin. Oops! Sorry."
Sirius gave him a sarcastic smile. "Not if I can help it anyway. I suppose I haven't got the brains to be a Ravenclaw and who wants to be a walking encyclopaedia anyway? If I was a Hufflepuff I think I'd go home and there is no way in hell I am letting them put me with the rest of my psycho family. I'd like to be a Gryffindor." He impersonated James. "Where dwell the brave at heart."
James looked unimpressed but Lupin could see the humour in his eyes as he said, "When you get sorted into Hufflepuff, I will piss myself."
"Same," said Sirius, smirking, "When you get shoved in Slytherin." He turned to their companion. "So you want to be a smart-arse then?"
Lupin, who had quite enough of being relentlessly picked-on, stared him out and replied, "So you want to be an unrealistic hero then?"
They fell into an awkward silence that was only broken by the sounds of the trolley squeaking down the hall and the door opening.
"Anything from the trolley my dears?"
"Every flavour beans!" cried both Lupin and Sirius at the same time.
Noting the last packet, Lupin sighed. "Just take them."
Sirius did so and watched, his mouth dropping, as Lupin proceeded to buy five Chocolate Frogs, four Liquorice Wands and two Cauldron Cakes. He sat down, a fortress of sugary goods surrounding him.
"I like sugar," he said simply, sucking on the end of a Liquorice Wand.
"I guessed," snapped Sirius, angered by his vomit flavoured bean which he spat out of the window. "Merlin, that was foul!"
"You should have let me have them," said Lupin, smiling faintly.
Sirius offered him the box, not expecting him to take one and shocked when he did. He waited eagerly for news of which disgusting flavour he hoped Lupin had taken.
"Toffee," said Lupin. "If you want something, just take it."
Sirius reached across for a wand. He snapped it in two, offering half to James who declined. "Suit yourself," he muttered, watching Lupin suck the sweet. "Do you always do that?"
Lupin looked up. "Do what?"
"Give your sweets a blowjob."
"Give my sweets a what?"
Sirius smirked. "A blowjob."
The smirk became outright laughter and Lupin retreated further into the shell he had painstakingly crafted over the years. What did it matter if they laughed at him? He didn't need to be with people all the time. He had become used to his own company.
"How long do we have left?" he asked, wondering when he would be able to escape.
James looked at his watch. "Three hours, I think."
Lupin took a deep breath. It would soon be over. Three hours would pass in no time.
Remus Lupin had never been so desperate for fresh air. He was relieved when the train finally stopped and he was able to get away from the absolute nutters he had been sharing a carriage with.
Wasting no time, he threw a hurried goodbye behind him and ran for his luggage. No way in hell would he ever speak to them again. He need never even see them again. They wanted to be in a different house. He breathed a sigh of relief and tried to smile.
The red-head he had met earlier smiled at him and waved him over.
"It looks like we have to get four of us in a boat. Do you want to come over with me and Sev?"
Lupin nodded. She seemed nice enough even if Sev continued to shoot murderous glares in his direction.
"I'm Lily," she told him, beaming. "I'm terribly excited, aren't you?"
Lupin opened his mouth to speak. He must not stutter. He repeated a mantra in his head, 'I am just as good as you. I am just as good as you.'
"Sort of," he managed to reply.
"Do you think you'll miss your friends?" she asked, biting her lip. Obviously she missed hers.
Lupin shook his head. He had no friends to miss. He supposed that was a positive aspect. He would miss his parents. He would miss home. He thought life had been bad when he was bullied daily in St. John's. At least in primary school he had been able to go home and hide from his life, immersing himself in Tolkien and on many occasions, Dahl. Here, he would have no-where to go whilst he pretended that he was not Remus Lupin.
He was almost tempted to board the train and hope it took him back to London. No, his father would be disappointed. That was the worst word in the English language. He could handle anger. He could handle upset. He could not handle 'I am disappointed in you'.
The remainder of the journey was spent in silence whilst he contemplated his situation and hoped that people were friendly.
He was brought out of this reverie by the sharp voice of a witch dressed in emerald who peered down at the first years, reading from a long list. He had daydreamed his way through most of the speech but from what he gathered, they were about to be sorted.
"My parents are accountants," said Lily, her bright green eyes wide with fear. "I don't know any spells."
Lupin was about to reassure her when the boy from the train turned to her and said, "I think we have to fight a Norwegian Ridgeback. They would have told Snivellus to go home before he crossed the lake but apparently, the dragon hasn't eaten in ages."
The boy with the messy hair laughed and pulled his friend round to face the front.
Lily narrowed her eyes behind his back and turned away from him.
"Oh, this is Severus, by the way," she said, indicating her greasy haired companion who nodded a greeting.
"Oh, right…I'm Remus."
"What do you think we have to do?" asked Lily. "Sev says his mother wouldn't talk about it."
Severus frowned, stared at the floor and wished she would keep her mouth shut. Lupin's eyebrows rose. He turned to Lily and said, "Oh, my dad said they just put the sorting hat on you and it decides which house you're in."
"Oh…" said Lily, a smile gracing her face. "I thought it would be something really confusing and difficult. I thought they would ask us questions and stuff."
"I think the hat does," replied Lupin. "Or it reads your mind or something."
"Yeah," chipped in the dark haired boy that Lupin recognised as Sirius Black. "In front of the whole school."
"You seem to know an awful lot about it," snapped Lily. "For the boy who not five minutes ago, claimed we would be fighting dragons."
"Ooooo," laughed James and Sirius, turning to face the front as McGonagall closed the door behind her.
"You will now enter the Great Hall in single file. Follow me."
She flung the doors open, her emerald robes sweeping across the floor, trailing behind her as she led them to the front of the hall. On a slight platform, sat a stool and atop that, a battered hat.
This was it then. This was the moment that he would be thrown out because no-one wanted him. There was a house for the hard workers, there was a house for the 'walking encyclopaedias', there was a house for the 'brave at heart' and there was a house for the junior Death Eaters. He wasn't sure where werewolf fit into any of those.
He watched as Black, Sirius got his wish and Evans, Lily joined him and then before he knew it McGonagall was shouting Lupin. He jumped and a few first years behind him laughed. Okay, well laughter was nothing new.
He could make out the forms of an entire row of teachers, even Dumbledore, watching him, leaning forward in their seats and wondering where he would be placed. As if this wasn't awkward enough.
How long had it been now? It must have been at least five minutes. McGonagall was staring at him in almost wonder. It had clearly rarely taken this long. Okay, well at least the hat was talking, at least it wasn't faulty.
McGonagall removed the hat and appeared to be as shocked by its decision as Lupin himself was.
Taking the spare seat, between Lily and Black, he watched as McCormack, William was sorted into Slytherin, evidently a younger sibling of the boy who sat opposite them. They were almost exactly alike in appearance.
Beside Lupin, Sirius muttered, "That's Colin McCormack. He's apparently the best Chaser on the Quidditch Team. Isn't that what you want to play, Jam-?"
Lupin raised his eyebrows. "Potter is still at the front; shows how much attention you pay."
"Almost as much attention as you," said Sirius, smirking in an unfriendly manner. He gasped and imitated Lupin's start almost perfectly. "Now shut up; I'm concentrating."
Lupin fell into silence, refusing to retaliate for fear of stuttering. He hated Sirius Black. He hated him so much that it almost hurt.
The silence lasted until they had made their way, along with a small and podgy boy that no-one had paid much attention to, into their dormitory.
"Do you mind if I have the bed next to the wall?"
Both James and Sirius were so shocked by the sudden acknowledgement of their presence, that they merely shook their heads and took the two beds beside Lupin's, leaving the bed across the room and beside the bathroom, for Peter.
James, who had taken the bed between Lupin and Sirius in an attempt to somewhat relieve the tension between them, watched as his neighbour unpacked and stuck up photographs of a large, sandy beach on the wall beside his bed and filed his books in alphabetical order along the windowsill, which he had turned into a make-shift bookshelf.
"What's this one?" asked James, holding up a slim and well thumbed book.
"It's marauder history from Hope Cove, that beach on the cover is where I live. I got to be quite interested in it," answered Lupin, taking the book back from James who smiled at him, having realised that this was the most Lupin had said to him since their meeting.
"What's a 'Marauder'?"
Lupin returned the smile. "It's basically a smuggler, although that's a pretty dated term these days. Now, it means a rebellious vagabond."
James grinned. "Sirius! I've found us a name!"