"It is our joy in life to find
At every turning of the road
The strong arm of a teacher kind
To help us onward with our load"
Ian and Greta Lupin stood outside a closed hospital door. Five-year-old Greta grasped her father's hand tightly. After finally being allowed into the ward, they saw Alexandra Lupin lying in the farthest bed, holding what looked like a bundle of robes. On closer inspection, it was a baby boy.
"He's beautiful," Ian breathed. Greta nodded her agreement, wide-eyed. "Have you decided on his name?"
"I was going to let you help decide."
"I'd like something unusual, uncommon…"
"Remus!" Greta said immediately, grinning widely. Ian looked apologetically at his wife.
"I was reading her some of those books you've got on Roman myths; she seemed to like that one."
"Remus was the one that was killed, honey, remember?" Alex said to her daughter patiently. "What about Romulus?"
"I want Remus!"
"Remus Lupin," Ian said thoughtfully, "I like it. What do you want for his middle name?"
"If his first name is so uncommon, let's give him a normal middle name so he isn't completely harassed at school."
Ian smiled. "Perfect."
Greta was very proud of her little brother. She showed him off to everyone who came by the house, and always introduced him as "Remmie."
Her mother, being a Muggle, insisted that she attend a Muggle primary school before she go to Hogwarts. She had already proved herself a witch, and could not wait to turn eleven so she could go.
Her few years at Muggle school just confirmed that she was ready to go—she had somehow made a teacher lose her voice when she had been droning meaninglessly on, and had often teleported to safety whenever any of the bullies picked on her.
Many of the teachers sent home angry letters, but the Lupins were not too worried. Greta was just a natural troublemaker, and it seemed that Remus would be following in her footsteps.
As Greta progressed through primary school, Remus learned the basics from his parents at home. He was always an inquisitive child, wanting to know exactly how and why things were the way they were.
"Daddy, why is the grass green?" a three-year-old Remus asked his father while they were outside, talking about Quidditch. Ian sighed.
"Hon, you wouldn't understand it if I tried to explain it. Maybe when you're a bit older."
Remus pouted for a moment; he received that answer quite often. "I'm older!" he said brightly after a few seconds. His father chucked.
"A few years older, Remus, not a few seconds."
He pouted a few more seconds. "Has it been a few years yet?"
The small family was by no means rich, but they were comfortable and happy. Because Alex was a Muggle, they had things such as a television and microwave, but their father's spellwork cut down on most of the chores around the house—except for cleaning bedrooms.
Both children's rooms were impeccably filthy; if their mother told them to clean them, the next day they would be just as dirty as they were the day before. Remus seemed to get a bit better as he grew out of his toddler years, but Greta was the exact opposite. The year before she left for Hogwarts, her mother could not get across the floor without tripping over something.
"Greta!" she roared during the first day of summer vacation after primary school. "I'm not going to clean your room while you're at school!"
"I don't care!" she yelled back from where she was sitting on a garden bench with her brother, reading a book to him. For a six year old, he liked books quite a lot.
"You will when you get home for vacation and there's all sorts of creatures in your room!"
Grumbling, Greta carefully put the bookmark in the book and got up. "You want to help me, Remus?"
Grinning, she picked him up and stuck him on her shoulders. "Greta, I said no!" Remus squealed, pulling at her hair. She smiled and kept walking toward the house. After carefully traversing her room, only tripping over two things, she set Remus on top of her dresser. He giggled again.
"What, dearest little brother?"
"Get me down!"
Mid-July brought Greta's long-awaited Hogwarts letter. She was so excited about the prospect of going to a school with Albus Dumbledore under its roof—albeit as Deputy Headmaster—that it was all she could ever talk about. Remus was getting jealous.
"Greta, can you shut up about Hogwarts?" he snapped. She stuck her tongue out at him.
"You'll be going in five years; what, can't wait, can you?" With any luck Dumbledore will be Headmaster by the time you start. He's the most powerful wizard in the world, right dad?"
"Mmhmm," their father agreed, sipping some of his tea. "He beat Grindelwald a few decades back; if he hadn't, Grindelwald would have taken over all of Europe."
All four of the Lupins shivered. "So," Alex said, trying to change the subject, "Where are we getting your school things, Greta?"
"Diagon Alley, of course!"
Her mother sighed. "Does that mean I have to use some of that green powder?"
"'Fraid so," Greta said cheerfully. "Unless you don't want to come…"
"No, I'm coming!"
Diagon Alley was always a wonder to Remus, who took every chance he got to go. He especially loved staring at the broomsticks. While Greta was choosing with her mother which owl to get, Remus was begging his father—
"Please, daddy? Just a toy one?"
"Remus, I don't know…" he answered. "They seem kind of expensive." He gestured at the price tag, reading "10 galleons."
"Part of it'll come out of your allowance," he said after a moment of thought. "Is that all right with you?"
Remus was practically floating as he walked out of the store, his new Silver Arrow Junior clutched tightly in his hand. His father led him to the bookstore, where they found the female Lupins.
"Mommy! Greta! Look!" Remus said happily, showing them his toy broom. "Look what Daddy bought me!"
Greta was all smiles for her little brother, saying that she was sure that he would be an excellent flier. She then showed him her new tawny owl, which she had christened "Hazelnut." Remus loved her, and only stopped poking the poor bird when she nipped his finger in annoyance.
He then wandered off, looking for picture books to occupy his time while Greta and his parents looked for her schoolbooks. He finally found a book on unicorns, and was just about to sit down to read it when a tornado of black robes come hurtling into him, knocking him over. Remus blinked in surprise and looked up at the bundle of energy, and saw that it was a boy about his age. The boy grinned and offered Remus his hand.
"Sorry," he apologized, though his eyes glinted with mischief behind his glasses. "I was trying—"
"James!" came a loud voice from behind a bookshelf. The boy winced.
"Hide me!" he said desperately. Without further ado, he dove behind a baffled Remus, still clearly visible to all passers-by.
"Excuse me, have you seen—" a woman with red hair approached Remus, then stopped as she spotted the boy—presumably her son, James—crouched behind him.
"James Isaac!" she exploded, dragging him out from behind Remus. "Dear, I'm so sorry. Did he hurt you at all?"
"No, missus…" he realized that he did not know her surname.
"Potter," she supplied kindly. "Do you have parents here? You're too young to be here all by yourself!"
"My parents are here, and my big sister. They're looking for her schoolbooks."
"Oh, so she's going to Hogwarts?" Mrs Potter nodded approvingly. "James is so excited about it even though he's far—" but her son had just gasped in admiration.
"Is that a broomstick?"
"Yeah," Remus said proudly, picking up his new toy broom and showing it to him. "It's just a toy one, though."
"Mum!" the boy turned to his mother, an exasperated look on his face. "He's got one, why I can't I have one too?"
"Because you want a real one. Those are a lot of money, and you wouldn't be able to fly it for a few years anyway."
Remus watched interestedly as the two Potters argued until he saw his father appear from around a bookshelf.
"Emily! How are you?" he hailed the red-haired woman, who turned around and smiled.
"Ian! I haven't seen you around…did you get transferred to a different ward?"
"Yeah, they've been bumping me around the first floor for a while now. Creature attacks seem to be on the rise…" he trailed off.
"So this is your son, Remus?" Emily Potter said, breaking the silence. "James knocked him over just then, I swear he gets hyper on absolutely nothing at all…" she shook her head. "And when he said 'hello' to the Blacks and tried to be polite for once, they just sniffed and walked away."
Ian shook his head disapprovingly. "That family's too proud for its own good."
Meanwhile, Remus and James were having their own small conversation. "So, when do you get to go to Hogwarts?" James asked excitedly.
"In five years. I can't wait! Greta's going this year."
"Is Greta your sister?" James asked. He nodded. "That's a really cool name. She is lucky—I have to wait five years too."
"Then we'll be in the same year!" Remus exclaimed, his eyes widening in revelation. "That's so cool!"
James's grin was larger than Remus thought was possible. "That's awesome!" They shared a high five, and before their parents yanked them away, James yelled, "See you in five years!"
Remus snorted, but waved good-bye all the same.
August 31st was a very sad day for the Lupin family. Even though Ian had told Greta everything about Hogwarts—excluding the Sorting, which he said she would just have to learn for herself—she was still a nervous wreck.
"What if I don't have any friends? What if I fail all my classes? What if I get into Slytherin?" she said the last with a small shudder.
"Greta, you'll be fine," he mother assured her. "I'm sure of it." Not having gone through the school herself, however, she knew only what her husband had told her.
"No I won't! I'm going to be a Squib!" Greta wailed.
"Greta, if you don't shut up I'm going to steal Hazelnut," Remus said, quite serious. She was so shocked that she stopped crying.
"Yeah I would."
The next morning brought a mixture of pride, sadness, and jealousy. Greta and her mother had to say their good-byes outside of Platform 9 ¾, as Muggles could not get onto the Hogwarts Express platform.
"Write the moment you get to your common room," her father told her. "Tell us which house you're in, how you like the castle, who your friends are…I'm sure Remus is dying to know everything about Hogwarts." He winked at his son.
"I'll write every week as long as you promise to write back," Greta said tearfully, "I'm going to miss you all so much," she picked Remus up and hugged him. "I'm going to be so lonely…"
"No you won't!" Alex reassured her daughter. "You'll be fine!"
"The only person you have to watch out for is Lucius Malfoy," her father warned. "He's in his second year now, and he can be a real pain in the—"
"Er…right," he watched a group go through the barrier with a look of intense dislike. "Bellatrix Black is starting this year as well, I forgot. She's just as bad as the rest of them."
With a few more tearful hugs and kisses, Greta walked with her father and brother through the portal to the Hogwarts Express.
Remus gasped—he had never seen a place full of so many people. There had to be at least a few hundred students, all of who had their families and trunks along with them. Noticing that the clock read 10:55, Ian helped Greta load her trunk into a train compartment, and they talked with her through the open window until the train started moving.
Realizing that he would not see Greta for months, Remus began to cry and tried to run after the train and jump on; however, it was too fast. Remus felt a sense of aloneness as he watched the train turn around a bend—and it was gone.