Saint Nicolas

Despite people occasionally saying otherwise there were differences between magical and non-magical children; the most obvious being one set possesses magic, or at least an understanding that magic exists, the other set lacking in this understanding. But a more subtle difference is the age the child stops believing in Father Christmas. Muggle children seemed to throw away the belief around eight or nine, when older peers started to point out that it was impossible for a single man to fly to nearly every house in the world and deliver presents.

Wizarding children, knowing about apparation, hold the beliefs longer, at least until they read Hogwarts: A History and discovered one could not apparate inside the grounds of Hogwarts castle, a discovery which could take place when one was as young as eleven or as old as fifteen, depending on how much the witch or wizard hated reading.

Remus J. Lupin decided that Saint Nick didn't exist very early, not because he walked in on his parents wrapping his Christmas presents, nor because an older child told him that the man in red wasn't real.

Instead it was yet another thing young Remus could blame on being a werewolf; when he was seven Remus wrote a letter to Papa Noel, as his father; a Frenchman raised in England called him, asking not for a bicycle or a broom, not for a new LP or tickets to a Quidditch game; Remus had asked him for a cure for his lycanthrope; he had asked to no longer be a werewolf. After all Remus' mother said that Santa Claus was one of the most powerful wizards in the world, if there was a cure this man would have it.

Of course, when Remus woke up on Christmas morning he was still a werewolf. 'Perhaps,' he thought, the cure was in one of the many wrapped packages under the tree. He tore open each one of them, hoping one would contain a vial of potion or a spell book with a charm to cure him. Of course there was no book or jar hidden among the many presents. That day Remus decided that Father Christmas either didn't exist, or like the entire rest of the wizarding world didn't care about werewolves. He glared at the ornament on the tree with the man in red and his deer flying across the tree. It promptly burst into flames. Remus' mother quickly doused the flames while his father told him it was uncontrolled magic, a sign he was a wizard, a sign he'd go to Hogwarts.

He spent about three years not believing in the man with the reindeer; scoffing at the children in the Muggle School he attended who asked him what he was asking Santa for at Christmas, and getting more and more irritated at his mother's Christmas cheer.

At the same time he was losing what little control he had of his magic. He'd get annoyed at programme on the telly and soon the small box would explode. A girl at school asked why he was absent so often; she ended up stuck on the roof.

The worst by far had been when a neighbor had asked innocently both of Remus' parents if they had seen a wolf nearby; one had killed some of the man's sheep. Remus, thinking the three were talking about him, had stared out the window at the man's barn and pictured it on fire. Soon that was the case.

Matters only became worse when Headmaster Dippet had told Remus' parents that only over his dead body would he allow a werewolf to attend Hogwarts, no matter how talented the werewolf was. Ferdinand Lupin had nearly made that the case, drawing his wand at the man, but Josephine, Remus' mother, had stopped him, grabbing his wand arm at the last second. Dippet had ordered them out of his office and told them to come back only if they had a child who didn't turn into a monster once a month.

They had told Remus of course; the night before the full moon, a choice Ferdinand would later regret. The boy had left the house, into the December night in tears without a jacket. They found him soon enough, outside of the town library, now dry eyed.

"The ministry might as well destroy me. I can kill people on the full moon and Ican kill them on an ordinary day if I get angry enough. I can't control my magic. I'm dangerous. I'm a monster. I hurt people." He told his mother calmly. "It would be best if I were gone. You and dad could have another kid, I know I'm the reason you decided not to have more. They could go to Hogwarts and learn to put their magic to good use."

"Remus John Lupin," his mother had shouted tearfully, holding him tight. "I have lost enough people in my life. I don't want to lose my son to the same mistake my mother made. I almost made the same mistake."You aren't a monster; you simply need someone to teach you. I talked to the headmistress of the school I helped set up in Israel when I was younger. She's willing to send someone to tutor you here, so you can learn to deal with your magic. I know it isn't Hogwarts, but you never know darling what life can send your way. Maybe with a wish and a bit of fairy dust things will change. It's the holidays after all, a time for miracles." His mother helped him up and gave him a smile. She insisted on carrying him home and for the first time in a long while Remus didn't argue.

Once they got home that night, Remus thought of what his mother had said. Perhaps the cure for lycanthrope was the thing that didn't exist, not Father Christmas; perhaps Father Christmas did exist and could help him get into Hogwarts. Remus dug out some paper and a ball point pen and quickly wrote his letter. He attached it to his owl, Pollux's, leg and sent him flying into the snowy winter's night.

There were a lot of places an owl could bring a letter addressed to St. Nicolas, the home of a mall Santa Claus, a science center in the North Pole, a store on Nicolas Street, or even the home of Nicolas Flamel. But Pollux knew, with the same knowing that there was a mouse in the field below him, that none of these people were supposed to get this letter. This letter was supposed to go to the Transfiguration teacher at Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore. Scotland was far away but Pollux's love of his master kept him flying despite the snow and distance.

He flew through Albus Dumbledore's office window at about 10:00 that night. The professor looked up and smiled at the owl.

"Hello there, Little One," the man had said with a smile "Do you have a letter for me?"

Pollux ruffled his feathers, he wasn't a little owl.

"I apologize, friend, I don't know your name, but I am sorry I called you little one. May I take the letter off your leg?"

He had hooted affirmatively and gave Dumbledore his leg.

"If you would like, you could spend the night at the Owlery," the man had gestured in the general direction of the building.

Pollux hooted angrily. He would not go to the Owlery. He couldn't see if Dumbledore opened the letter in the Owlery.

"Loyal to your owner are you? Did he ask you to make sure I read it?"

The owl hooted and moved his wings in a way that seemed to indicate that it didn't matter if his owner had told him to make sure, but that it was his job.

"Alright, I will read the letter, but only if you sit by the fire and warm up. Fawkes will share his perch and food for the night, won't you Fawkes?"

The phoenix cooed. That was a yes.

Professor Dumbledore looked at the letter curiously. It was addressed to St. Nicolas; it wasn't a rare thing for Dumbledore to get letters children had written to Santa Claus. It was easy for an owl that had seen a picture of both St. Nick and Dumbledore to confuse the two. But this was different; in those cases the owl would usually realize its error and return the letter home to the child's parents. This owl however was sure this was where the letter belonged and wouldn't leave until he opened it and read it.

"Dear friend, are you sure this is a letter for me and not the child's parents?"

The owl stared at Dumbledore indicating he thought this was a stupid question. Fawkes, not wanting a guest of his perch being rude to his owner nipped at him.

"Fawkes, he is simply doing his job." Dumbledore then looked at the little owl "If you're sure it's for me I'll read it."

The letter was from Ferdinand and Josephine's child, Remus; Dumbledore could tell that before reading the child's name on the envelope. The boy wrote in a handwriting very similar to his mother's, but with larger spaces like his father. After seven years of grading papers by both of them, Dumbledore knew the way they wrote well.

Opening the letter the professor saw Remus' actual style of writing was like his fathers, descriptive, possessing too many commas, and often using larger words than needed.

St. Nicolas,

The North Pole,

Probably preparing for Christmas

Dear St. Nicolas, 22nd, December 1969

I know it has been a long time since I wrote to you, I gave it up when I was seven and I didn't get the present I wanted. For most children I agree that would be a very juvenile reason to no longer take up a quill, though if you recall the present I asked you for I think you will agree that it wasn't the case with me. I have thought about it, perhaps you didn't bring me the gift I wanted because it doesn't exist. After all Mum and Dad have spent years looking for a cure for lycanthrope and came up empty handed.

I feel bad that I am asking you this but my mother says you are one of the most powerful wizards in the world; after all even the statute of secrecy doesn't apply to you. I need for you to do something for me sir; the Headmaster of Hogwarts told my parent's I can't attend school there because I am a werewolf. I understand if there is nothing you can do of course, but perhaps if you spoke with the Headmaster, he would listen to you. I appreciate the fact that I may have written you on this matter too late but please sir, if there is anything you can do I would be grateful for it.

I also need to express my regret for being so belligerent toward the holiday you love so dearly simply because you couldn't help me. I need to tell you I feel a lot of remorse for destroying the ornament of you mother hung on the tree. If I could get more than one present this year could you maybe make a new one for her? Father gave it to her on their first Christmas out of Hogwarts and I know she misses it. But if you can only do one of the two please make it the ornament. I'm sure the professor from the school in Israel will be fine I guess, though I'd like to say I attended the same school as my parents.

Thank you for anything you could do sir,

Sincerely yours,

RJ Lupin

Probably in the bomb shelter in the yard by now,

Turning into a wolf

Jackson Bridge,

West Yorkshire,


Seeing that Dumbledore had finished the letter the little grey owl landed on his desk and nipped him affectionately on the finger then flew off into the cold Scottish night. A young witch or wizard who wasn't taught to control their magic was a danger to the magical community as a whole, even more than a werewolf was. His own sister had proved that. He didn't want the same thing to happen to this boy. He'd find a way to get him into Hogwarts, come hell or high water, even if it meant murder...

The next day the papers reported that the Headmaster of Hogwarts had died in his sleep and that the transfiguration teacher Professor Dumbledore would take his place. Two days after Christmas Professor Dumbledore appeared on the doorstep of Remus Lupin's home wearing a Father Christmas hat and holding a letter and a small box. He rapped at the door and a small boy opened it, his mother and father standing behind him.

"Professor, come in," greeted Josephine Drake grinning as she used a cloth to dry out a bowl.

"I'm afraid both of these showed up in my office a few days ago, I'm sorry it took me a while to get them to you, I hope late is better than never." Dumbledore said, smiling. He handed the small package to Josephine and the letter to Remus.

Josephine opened the box and found the ornament that her son had burned three years before. She looked at the professor dumbly. Apparently the rumors that Dumbledore knew everything were true.

Remus tore open the letter as quickly as he could. It was a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts. Both of his parents started to cry, but he simply stared at it as though it was the Holy Grail. Then he looked at the older man who had delivered it like he was G-d himself.

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled "I hope it made a good Christmas gift even though it was late."

Remus Lupin had to harness every ounce of control in his eleven year old body to not kiss the man.

"Professor? Could you stay for supper? I'm making brisket and Josie made apple pie." said Ferdinand trying to regain his composure.

"I would love to. The house elves never quite get brisket right."