Remus Lupin, sat on the floor of his bed room, staring at the wooden construction blocks which were lay scattered on the carpet. This was the third time he was attempting to put them together into a structure, but it wasn't with his hands. Concentrating hard, he kept all of the blocks in his field of view before narrowing his eyes on the central block, where he wanted them to go to which, without warning they started moving. The outer ones slowly began rolling together and when all of them met the middle one, they assembled themselves into a large tower that was perfectly straight. Remus grinned and gazing at them again, toppled the tower just as easy.
At eight years old, he was tall for his age and came complete with a pair of knobby knees, pale skin, cropped light brown hair and dark eyes which wrinkled at the sides when he smiled.
Being this young, he expected that he'd starting showing signs of a magical ability sooner or later. His father had done so when he was ten, but the fact that he was two years younger and could enjoy it earlier, made Remus exceptionally proud.
Keen to prove it to himself again, he tried his block construction and deconstruction twice more, before running out of his room excited.
As he coursed down the stairs, he suddenly stopped dead at the landing from where he could see his father talking to someone at the front door, which was partially open.
"I told you, I do not want to discuss business with you right here at my house, now will you please leave!" Romulus sounded aggressive, but there was also a quaver in his voice.
"Well that's too bad then," came a rasping voice and Remus felt the hairs on his neck raise, it was so chilling. It was one of those voices that seemed to be rent of any warmth or goodness and as a result was cold and brittle. "Because when you do business with me, I choose the times I want it to be conducted and that's now."
There was a scraping sound across the door and Remus saw his father looking apprehensive yet standing his ground.
"Look here, Greyback! I've heard stories about your kind and how reckless and insolent they are to wizards and I'm not going to take it. So why don't you leave as I've asked and return to your cave where you belong? Or I won't hesitate in cancelling your relocation statement with the Ministry."
Remus smiled, he admired the courage his father had for standing up to bad people and hoped that when he was older, he could do the same and work for the Ministry.
"How dare you, speak of me like that!" growled the man. "How dare you insult my kind! I ought to rip out your throat right now!"
There was a violent scrabbling as the man tried to force his way in, Romulus shouldering the door closed, whilst trying to avoid a claw like hand that was raking the space between them.
"Dad!" yelled Remus and launching himself off the stairs; he ran over and helped his father. As soon as he was pushing against the door, the intruder behind it seemed to stop his efforts, making the two of them stagger back.
Getting to his feet, Remus looked up to see a man of the most unusual appearance, staring down at him intently, his dark eyes flashing. He was tall and thick, with a strangely arched posture and rangy legs which gave the perception that he was standing on the balls of his feet. His hair fell straggly and grey across his haggard face that sprouted greyed whiskers.
He mouth curled into a twisted in a smile when his saw Remus, baring a set of jagged yellow teeth.
"This must be your boy," he said transfixed. "What's his name Romulus?"
Remus's father moved uncomfortably besides him and Remus felt him pulling him back by the robes.
"That's none of your business," said Romulus sharply. "Now will you please leave or I won't hesitate to call the Aurors."
Greyback's grin fell and he straightened up, jabbing a clawed finger at the two of them.
"I'll leave," he said darkly, drawing away slowly. "But you insulted me, Lupin and when you insult a Werewolf you won't get forgiveness. You're going to wish you didn't do it, because I'll get you back. And when I do, it'll be a stain on your integrity."
When he said the last sentence, his eyes fell onto Remus and at that point he'd never felt so scared in his life. It was a look of blood thirst, an intense greed which was aimed at him. Remus knew from that point, that he wasn't lying, something was going to happen to them.
With a pop the Werewolf Disapparated, leaving father and son in stunned silence before Romulus closed the door, his expression grave. It took him a second to realise that Remus was there.
"Dad," he breathed. "Who was that man and why did he come?"
Romulus inhaled sharply.
"No one you should worry about," he murmured. "He was just a bad client your daddy was working with Ok?"
And seeing Remus's eyes on the kitchen door nearby, he suddenly seized his shoulders.
"Don't tell your mum about this," he said, but he wasn't angry just desperate. "Please Remus; don't say anything about what happened. Can you keep it a secret?"
The boy, seeing all the courage drained from his father's face, nodded and put a finger to his lips.
"I won't tell."
"Good boy," said Romulus, squeezing his hands and then smiling. "Now…why did you call me before? Did you want to show me something?"
Remus's mind drifted off to the wooden blocks in his room which had built themselves and shook his head slowly.
"No, it's Ok," he muttered. "It was nothing."
Romulus paused for a second and searched his face, before shrugging.
"Alright then," he said. "Well if it's nothing, then dad has to go do some work now, Ok?"
And with that he rose and walked off to his study, whistling as if today's episode never happened and leaving Remus to dwell in the depths that his father was willing to go to conceal his work from his private life.
Weeks past and soon the memory of the confrontation between his father and the strange man began to fade from Remus's mind, as his ninth birthday drew closer. This year was the most significant of his past birthdays, because for once his parents both promised that they'd be home. Well, it was just his father who had to do the promising during this time, as he was always off doing errands for the Ministry.
"I promise, I'll be here Remus," he said on the very day, pulling on his long coat and snatching up his wand. "Three o'clock I'll be home and we can celebrate together huh?"
Remus's face fell, as he stood there in his Quidditch pyjamas having woken at the same time his father did, just in case Romulus decided to leave and he could persuade him to stay. However as usual, like past birthdays it'd backfired, yet again.
"Remus," he sighed, walking briskly to the living room and turning to him. "I'm sorry, but I have to go, I can't stay, the Ministry needs me. When I get back I'll bring you something nice Ok? I promise."
He put extra emphasis on the word, 'promise,' and pulling a face, waved his wand and Disapparated with a loud crack, leaving the room empty again.
"I'm sorry, darling," said a female voice and turning around, he saw his mother Elena, standing there in her apron, cake batter smothered over it. "But your dad is a very busy man. I'm sure he really wanted to stay."
She was a pretty woman, with black curly hair, blue eyes and an infectious smile that she always had, making Remus wonder if she still wore it even when she cried.
"I'm making you a chocolate cake," she said, leading him back to the kitchen. "It'll take some time to cook. But you can open your presents from me if you want."
"Alright," he said and sat up on the counter, watching her as she produced to colourfully package presents.
"Happy Birthday," she said, kissing him on the cheek and he tore into them, finding some new clothes, knitted jumps and socks. "I thought they'd be good, seeing as you're going to grow bigger."
"Thanks mum." He didn't need any more clothes, but still he appreciated it, seeing as being a Muggle, she spent her time at home and activities such as knitting was the only thing she did.
"Do you want some breakfast?"
"Please," he said, turning on the Wizarding Wireless, his eyes fixed on the black and white screen. "Bacon and eggs?"
As she hummed away preparing his food, a news report appeared with a small mousey man presenting it. Remus was about to change it over, when suddenly a familiar face popped up on the frame besides the reporter, it was a young boy of about his age who had scruffy blond hair and buck teeth.
'Leroy Obenfeather, of Newtcastle road in Little Figgleton, has been reported missing after disappearing from his mother's sight one night, when she was taking him back home from a friend's house. Mrs Obenfeather said she turned around pick up her younger son, Thomas, from his stroller, when suddenly Leroy was gone from sight.'
"I know he couldn't have run away that quick," said a distraught Mrs Obenfeather, infront of cameras. "So I called and called for him all night and that's when I found blood…" she gave out a wail, "b-blood one the path and I knew that something had happened! So I ran for someone to help, all the while looking for him."
'Aurors are yet to examine the case, however they believe that it is likely that little Leroy was taken a wild dog or large animal. A party has been deployed to look for him, but hopes are dwindling as he adds one more to the number of children who have gone missing over the past year. I'm your presenter Jerome Hardwick, thank you for listening.'
"How ghastly," said Elena, her face blank. "Remus, isn't that the boy you used to go to school with all those years back?"
Remus was frozen in shock. "Y-Yes…that's him, that's Leroy…I c-can't believe it."
The two of them had been friends from the age of four, when the Lupin family used to live in Little Figgleton and met when they went were at the park. Remus had thought that Leroy was amazing when had broken a twig from a tree and pretended it was wand, hexing him with made up words. Leroy on the other hand thought that Remus was fun to pick on because despite being tall even at that age, he would easily cry if someone said something hurtful or even poked him.
However, the two of them remained good friends until after a year, the Lupins decided to move away to Westbrook when Mr Lupin was offered a job at the Ministry and since then the two of them hadn't seen each other for four years.
"This is terrible," said Elena, switching off the Wireless when the news turned to finance. "All these children disappearing and in such disturbing ways."
She glanced at Remus, who was still staring at the screen.
"Should we be worried about the attacks?" he said turning to her frantically. "I mean they said they found…blood where Leroy went missing."
Elena's face was stricken for a long moment as she processed this, but then turned slowly into a smile.
"No…we shouldn't worry, you shouldn't worry. This was in Little Figgleton, we're in Westbrook they're miles apart…miles."
She said it as if reassuring herself that there was nothing to be concerned about, although deep down she truly shaken.
"We'll write a card to the Obenfeathers if it makes you happier, honey. They were good friends of ours."
"Alright," said Remus and returning to the counter, he started his breakfast that his mother serves up, finding it that little harder to stomach.
For the rest of the day, Remus stayed indoors watching wizarding cartoons on the Wireless and playing board games with his mother, as it was raining outside. If it wasn't, he'd image they'd go out to the park or something and buy an ice cream doing simple Muggle things that wouldn't have happened with his dad. He liked spending time with his mother anyway; he thought she was the most intelligent person he knew because she was always saying smart things about the environment, Muggle politics and the price of petrol, a concept which still baffled him. Sometimes when she talked about it, behind that smile, he could see that she was still struggling a little to accept the magical life she'd chosen to live, when she'd met Romulus. Remus had an inkling that it was because she missed the simplicity of it all; having mail that was delivered to a postman she could talk too, using a car instead of a broom to get around, having a little more privacy when people didn't pop up in your fire place and the convenience of having paper money to pay for things instead of having to heft galleons around. It was interesting to hear he supposed, but after a while, he started to wonder when his father was coming home.
"Look what I got you," Romulus said, placing a brown package on the table. "Happy Birthday, my boy."
"Thanks dad!" said Remus, taking the present and unwrapping it eagerly to reveal a colourful ball which was domed with glass and rattled from the smaller balls within it. "Um...what is it?"
"It's a Sneakoscope," he said, as Remus held it up and examined it. "It's meant to warn you when danger is coming or when your enemy is lurking about by lighting up and making a noise. It's handy."
Remus nodded and wondered why his father out of all things would get him something like this. He didn't have any enemies, well except for the Muggle boy up the road that gave him a hard time, but he'd sorted him out ages ago and he certainly wasn't in any danger or at least he thought he wasn't.
"What's the matter, Remus? Don't you like it?"
"Wha-? No, I think its great dad, thanks," he rolled it between his hands. "I'll use it for that Muggle boy up the road."
Just before his father could reply, his mother came in with a cake and put it down in front of him.
It was a rather tall one and Remus was glad that it blocked his view of Romulus, so that he couldn't see his disappointment.
"Nine candles," Elena exclaimed, lighting them with a match, "for every year of Remus's life. Blow them out sweetie and make a wish."
Standing up, Remus positioned himself in front of the cake and gazed down at the nine flickering flames. Drawing in a sharp intake of breathe, he glanced at his father and saw that his expression was that of sheer fear, as he stared down at the newspaper article, that bore Leroy's face on it.
"Go on, Remus! Make a wish!"
Swallowing, Remus looked back at the cake and exhaled with all the breath he could muster, until only a tower of curling smoke was left.
"Make a wish sweetie."
"Ok," he said, shifting slightly and he closed his eyes and wished for the first thing that came into his mind, 'I wish that bad man would leave my dad alone.'
Opening them again slightly, he saw both his parents smiling at him, as they cut the cake and offered him a slice, which he ate quietly bearing in mind that maybe this birthday would be different after all.
Because it was his special day, Remus's parents let him stay up extra late to play with the presents that he'd received. For hours he played with his toy broom, his experimental cauldron that he'd received from relatives and had even caught some fire flies from his window sill that he'd feed to his new pet toad. Yet when he'd grown tired of these, he found his eyes drifting to the Sneakoscope which was lying on his table, sitting in its packaging. Picking it up, he examined it for a second and rattled it, wondering how he could get it to light up for just once. He stared out of his window thinking and saw that it was pitch black now with nothing more than house lights spotting the horizon and then it came to him.
At nine years old, he was still scared of the something which he was ashamed of, but offered him the opportunity to use his new present; the night.
Pocketing the Sneakoscope, he ran down stairs and passed silently through the kitchen, glimpsing his parents who were asleep on the coach together having listened to the Wizarding radio system, which was playing Cecilia Warbeck.
Unlocking the back door, he opened it quietly and slipped out, a waved of excitement rising up inside as he closed it behind him and turned to face the wall of black before him. Squinting, he could see the faint outline of the path that led to his swing set and followed it, his heart racing.
But as he walking further, he was surprised that his Sneakoscope wasn't going off and when he finally reached the swing, he sat down and examined it in the gaudy light of the moon.
He waited a moment and then shook it, hoping that it would register that he was sitting out in pitch black, his greatest enemy, yet it remained still.
"Stupid thing," he muttered grudgingly, pocketing it again. "Why did dad have to get me something that's broken?"
Sighing, he pushed back and began to swing, looking up into the sky and watching as the moon expanded than shrunk as he gained height then lost it. When he reached the highest he could, he launched himself off and sailed through the air, hoping to land on the grass before him. Yet this time not being able to see, he over shot it and hit the path painfully instead, tripping over. As this happened, his Sneakoscope fell out and he watched it roll off into the bushes in the distance. Wincing, he got up and putting weight on his leg acknowledged the fact that he had twisted his ankle badly. Hobbling now, he set about looking for his Sneakoscope, but he didn't have to search far because at that moment, it lit up and let out a high-pitched whistle, the balls within it spinning erratically.
"Finally," laughed Remus, stooping down to pick it up, "you start now and at a good time too."
But it wasn't the darkness that it was alerting him too.
There was suddenly a low guttural growling from behind him and whipping around Remus saw two yellow eyes glistening at him. His brain turning numb, Remus began to pace back slowly and then turning on his heel, tore towards the house. But forgetting his injured ankle, all he managed were a few steps before the sound of galloping paws caught up behind him.
There was a scuff and then something heavy struck him hard and he was slammed onto his back.
A twisted snarl filled the air as razor sharp teeth sunk into his shoulder and began to thrash his violently. Remus let out a strangled scream which made the animal reel back with a roar and then aim for his throat as if to silence him. Feeling its hot breathe on his neck, Remus fought back and threw a punch with his right hand which connected with something which felt like a long hairy snout.
The beast let out a yelp and he continued pounding it; left, right, left, right. As he did this, he stared into its glowing eyes and watched as one of them faltered, he was injuring it, but not enough.
In response, he saw the flashing of sharp teeth as the animal bit into his left arm and like his shoulder shook it violently. Remus heard the popping as his arm was dislocated, but was too paralysed in fear to acknowledge the pain which had doubled as the beast began dragging him away.
"Remus!" he heard a shout from the door as his parents burst outside and ran towards him, his father's wand brandished.
The beast haltered and dropped him, letting out a violent roar in their direction as it reared up.
"Stupefy!" his father bellowed and a red jet of light flew over Remus's head, striking the beast in the face.
Howling terribly, the creature turned to retreat, but before it did, it arched over Remus who lay motionless in the grass and almost out of spite, slashed him across the face with its long claws, before vanishing into the darkness.
"Remus!" his mother cried this time, dropping to her knees at his side as Romulus ran past in pursuit of his son's attacker."Remus, darling, speak to me!"
He felt her hands searching his form blindly and when they came to rest on the gashes on his face, she let out a gasp.
At this point, the pain of his injuries had started to set in and Remus could feel an intense searing seizing every inch of his body. Elena got to her feet and quickly picked him up from under the arms and pulled him towards the house, her breathe laboured as she talked to Romulus, who had taken hold of his legs.
"We have to get him to St. Mungo's quickly," she said on the brink of tears. "He's lost so much blood, he's dying."
Shouldering open the door, they placed him onto the couch, his father locking it behind them.
"Oh my boy," his father whispered as he saw the full extent of his son's injuries now. "How could he do this to you?"
"Who?" his mother enquired sharply. "Who did this to him? You know Romulus don't you?"
His father fell silent.
"Romulus, answer me! What was that thing? And why did it attack Remus?"
"Quiet!" he shouted, suddenly aggressive. "I don't have time to explain Elena, we have to get him to St. Mungo's! We'll have to Apparate there."
Remus tried to open his eyes but couldn't, instead all he could do was listen as he slowly fell out and in of consciousness. He felt his father pick him up and sling him over his shoulder and then there was a loud crack as they Disapparated.
"Please, Healer!" Elena screamed. "Please help us! Our little boy…it's an emergency!"
"Goodness," said a male wizard sprinting over to them. "Warden get a bed! We have an emergency."
"Yes Healer Wormwood."
"What happened to the child? I need to know everything."
Wormwood, an elderly man with a hooked nose, gazed down in astonishment at the mangled body of this boy; this was the most savage condition of a child he'd witnessed in years.
"H-He was attacked," Elena sobbed.
"By what, may I ask?"
"By a Werewolf," Romulus interjected and some people in the nearby waiting room stared at him. "That's what…it was."
Wormwood, stared at him his eyes filled with disbelief.
"A Werewolf? And, he got away?"
"Yes," said Romulus. "He was outside…god knows why and suddenly we heard him screaming," he swallowed, trying to stomach that sound of his son's torture, "we ran out and the monster was standing over him. I shot a curse at it and then it clawed his face, so I chased it, but it got away."
He couldn't look at Remus as he said this, just because he was so ashamed to see what was undoubtedly his fault. Greyback had told him he'd get him back but he hadn't listened, especially when the monster's expertise were in children. So he was glad when the Warden's pulled a bed up to his side, and stabilizing his son, whisked him away for immediate treatment.
Wormwood, surprisingly stayed behind, his face grave as he watched Remus disappear behind the doors.
"Your son," he said, taking off his glasses and rubbing his eyes, "has been bitten by a Werewolf. You are aware that if we are able to save him and he recovers from this, that he'll never be the same…and I'm not talking about mental or physical scaring from the attack. He himself will be a Werewolf."
Romulus felt his body go cold and he nodded, although really his mind wasn't enabling him to accept that fact that his son would be the shadow of his own attacker. Elena had started to cry again and he so did Romulus too, pulling her into his arms so that they could salvage the little comfort they had. They weren't crying for the sake of their son's mortality anymore, they were crying for his childhood which on that very day they'd celebrated and now had lost forever.
Healer Wormwood threaded his fingers together and looked up at the distraught couple whose eyes were raw red from crying. In such an ordeal where a child had been attacked by an animal that resumed the form of a man later, he was now dealing in a criminal case. Most wizards and witches today, argued that there was no point making a Werewolf accountable for its actions when it wasn't in its right state of mind. But the fact that it'd happened in such a residential area or a child's backyard made him think that it had been a planned attack, yet that was for the Ministry to decide.
"Now Mr and Mrs Lupin as your son is being hospitalised at St. Mungo's, its policy that we record details on any cases involving humans and magical creatures which can be given as information to the Ministry, in particular the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. I hope you understand."
"Of course," said Elena, holding back tears. "Completely. If it's going to stop things like this happening again."
Wormwood smiled reassuringly, then turned serious again. "However because we're dealing with a Werewolf who attacked your son in a residential area we are going to have to take down extra information; such as why he was outside, what time and if the attack was premeditated."
"Premeditated?" asked Elena, staring at him. "Why would it be that? Honestly, this is just a savage attack by a monster. If the Department want's information on Werewolves, I'll happily speak my mind!"
"No, Romulus! I don't want the Ministry looking into our private business! Taking down details as to why our son was outside and why! Are you a Ministry official?" she looked pointedly at the Healer, "Ha, no! Can you believe this Rom? It's like they're blaming us for the attack."
Wormwood could clearly see that her erratic behaviour was caused by a lack of sleep; she had dark rings under her eyes, she kept blinking rapidly to stay awake, her reactions were slow and she had no idea that what she was saying made no sense.
"Mr Lupin, if I might ask you for the information instead? I don't think your wife is fit for the questioning."
"Ah yes," said Romulus, patting Elena on the shoulder. "I'd be happy to do it."
He seemed reluctant and Wormwood didn't know if it was because of the inquisition or the fact that he had to leave his wife alone in the office as the two of them went to another room.
"Alright," said Wormwood when they were in the vacant cafeteria one floor up. "Let's begin because I know you're anxious to get out of here."
It was meant to be a joke, but Romulus just shrugged and stared at the paperwork in the Healer's hands.
"Alright," said Wormwood, taking out his portable quill. "The attack was on Remus's birthday? Correct? And at what time was the attack?"
"Um," Romulus murmured and he scratched his chin which was covered in stubble, "yes it was on his birthday and after dinner and cake we let him stay up for the night. My wife and I were in the lounge room sleeping when we heard him scream…that was at about nine fifteen I think."
"Perfect," said Woodwork and scrawled it down. "Do you know why he was outside?"
"Yes I think so. See for his birthday, I bought a Sneakoscope and I told him how it worked y'know and I think he wanted to try it out. He's scared of the dark, so I guess he went outside, we didn't see him though."
"Right. And what happened when you went outside? Did you see the Werewolf?"
Romulus pinched the bridge of his nose. "I ran out and saw the monster over my son who he'd just bitten. I shot a curse at him; like I told you and it hit it in the face. All I remember after the spell, was that instead of running away it turned around to my son as if to get revenge on me one last time and cut his face. I charged after it and followed it to the hedges and it just looked at me and growled…like a laugh," his face was frozen in shock, "and then it jumped over the hedge, out of sight."
Wormwood, equally surprised scrawled down the details quickly and then looked up at the broken man. "'As if to get revenge?' Mr Lupin…are you saying that you might know the man behind this?"
Romulus put his hands to his face and breathed in sharply. "Yes. I think I know."
Wormwood was on a break through here; if he could find a relationship between Werewolves and their victims, then maybe the Ministry could create a solution to the rise in attacks.
"I think the Werewolf who attacked my son, was a man called Fenrir Greyback," he swallowed back tears. "He has a reputation for attacking children, but I never thought he'd hurt my little boy, not on his birthday."
"Do you know why he attacked Remus?"
Romulus nodded and sniffed. "I work at the Ministry for the Department of Magical housing and planning commission. It's a fairly new Department, deals with both wizards and magical creatures. We try to provide shelter or relocation for everyone but sometimes you get the odd client who doesn't want to comply with what we offer…and Greyback was one of them.
"I was dealing with his case, trying to get him and some of his Werewolf companions out of these caves that they were living in and into better conditions. He refused to live in anything we offered him; flats in the country side, lofts…places away from towns and cities of course, but not too inconvenient to live by. Greyback wanted to move into the city right next to a Muggle school, can you believe that? But I said no."
"Then what happened?"
"He came to my house, nearly bashed down my door and demanded we talk and reconsider. I said no, the Ministry had already put the plans through and if he wasn't going to accept it we would happily cancel it," he sighed and rubbed his eyes. "I might have said a few nasty things about his kind and that's when he saw Remus, who was helping me close the door on him. He looked at him with this sick smile on his face, so I asked him to leave and he threatened me and said he'd get me back…but I didn't think this way."
Wormwood, was astounded that a Werewolf attack could come from such a deep source like this: revenge. This Greyback fellow would definitely be of great interest to the Ministry, although from the sounds of Romulus, he was well known. Shuffling the sheets together, Wormwood stood up and straightening his robes, he thanked Romulus.
"This in invaluable, Mr Lupin, thank you kindly for your time," he claimed shaking the man's hand.
"It isn't a problem," he murmured, but then yanked Wormwood down towards him so that they were face to face.
"Don't tell my son any of this, please," his breathe smelt like sour Fire Whisky and Wormwood could see from his blood shot eyes that he'd been doing more than crying these past days.
"I promise," said the Healer and pulling himself out of the man's grasp, he saw that his expression was that of utmost desperation and nodding he turned and quickly dashed out of the room.
Remus's eyes snapped open and he blinked back his blurred vision so that a pale white room came to view; evidently he wasn't at home. There was a noise from somewhere near him and shifting his head, which felt strangely heavy to the side, he saw a brown curtain being drawn away and a plump lady came into view.
"Oh you're awake my dear," she chirped, leaning down beside him. "Finally after three days! That Blood-Replenishing Potion must be working."
Remus, opened his mouth and tried to speak, the words coming out in a dry rasp.
"Where am I?"
The lady laughed and began checking his medical notes at the foot of his bed.
"St. Mungo's, my dear. You were in a nasty accident, but it's Ok, your safe now."
"Where are my parents? I want them."
"They're come soon. Here, I'll tell you what, I'll go get Healer Wormwood and he can explain what's going on, Ok sweetie? I'm just here filling in for Warden Root."
Remus nodded and then sunk back into his pillows trying to rack his brains as to why he was here, but it wasn't until he caught sight of himself in his bedside mirror that the memory came rushing back to him.
In his reflection, he could see that the whole of his side was bandaged up heavily from where the animal had bitten him several times. But it was his face that made his stomach churn as it was covered in long gashes stretching from his chin to his forehead. All of the cuts were red and inflamed and one of his eyes was totally consumed by the swollenness of the injury. He panicked as he touched his face with his right arm and felt how raised they were; they were going to be scars, he was now a freak.
"Ahh Remus," said a male voice and turning around, he saw an old Healer with greyed hair and round glasses, smiling down at him. "How are you today?"
"Why is my face like this!" cried Remus, pointing at the mirror. "W-Why do I look like this! I-I look ugly!"
"Calm down Remus and let me explain, please."
"No!" he shouted, unsure of why he was losing control like this. "I want my mum and dad! Where are they?"
"Remus," said Wormwood calmly and pulling out his wand he muttered something which made the boy strangely quiet.
"Good," he said, stowing it away. "Now…these past few days have been hard for both you and your parents and now I'm here to explain why you're here and what's going to happen from now on, do you follow?"
"My boy, you were attacked and I'm sure you can remember that, but as to what attacked you…that's something I'm here to discuss with you."
He took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes, coming to sit on the visitor's chair.
"Now, what you were hurt by wasn't a dog as you might think," he breathed in shiftily and gripped Remus's hand tightly. "This might be hard to take in…but you were bitten by a Werewolf."
Remus felt his heart stop…a Werewolf? That word sent one thing that he knew as true racing through his mind; if you are bitten by one, it's likely that you'd end up as one too.
Wormwood, reading the shock on his face, stood back up just as another fit of unfamiliar anger surged through Remus's body and he thrashed around in his bed, absolutely enraged.
"I don't want to be a Werewolf!" he shouted at the Healer. "I don't want to be one! They're evil and horrible! One of my friends was killed by one! And now you're saying I'm going to a W-Werewolf? Well I won't! I won't let myself be!"
"It's out of your control Remus," said Wormwood. "You can't stop it. Every full moon, you will transform," he paused and pushed his glasses up his nose, "and sadly it will be like that for the rest of your life."
Remus was crying now. "But it's unfair! I don't want to be like this! No one will want to talk to me! I won't have any friends!"
"I know it's unfair," said the Healer softly, "but we're going to make your life as comfortable as possible Ok? I promise you."
He touched Remus's arm reassuring, but the boy eyed it warily.
"My dad promises me things a lot too," he said flatly, glaring at Wormwood, "and to be honest, I'm getting tired of it. So why should I believe you?"
Wormwood kept a straight face and Remus could see he was sizing him up.
"We'll see how it goes," he finally said, walking to the curtains and gripping them. "I'll do my best to help you. You have my word…is that better?"
"I guess," muttered Remus and watching the Healer leave, he turned to his broken body and wondered what turning into a Werewolf would be like.
Today was the day that Remus had been regretting during the whole of his monthly stay at St. Mungo's, because as Wormwood predicted, tonight he would be transforming into a 'Lycan'.
He preferred to use this term, because it sounded similar to the word, 'like,' as if there was something nice about turning into a great hulking furry beast. Werewolf, the term he'd grown accustomed to hearing as a child, was a thing of the past now, a name which he associated with being monstrous and evil and since he was one, he certainly wasn't calling himself that anymore.
After accepting the fact that he was one, which took a few days to sink in, Remus immersed himself in researching everything there was on being a Werewolf.
First he talked to Wormwood, who explained the basics of the condition, saying how most affected people lead normal lives except for one night every month where they transform. The transformation, he said was very painful but over in a matter of minutes, which still rendered Remus, terrified.
But the thing that surprised him the most was that when a person was in wolf form, they didn't have any self-control and that attacking others was not their fault as they could not think for themselves. This made Remus more open minded about his own attack and less accusing of his Werewolf who he was sure couldn't help it and would've stopped if they could. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, even if it was his own backyard.
His parents helped in his research too, getting through some of the harder medical books, whilst forming their own understanding of the condition as well. Remus was glad in a way that it'd bought them together just the way he liked it, although he wished his father didn't have to quit his job just to be at his side.
When the time came to transform, Remus got dressed into a medical gown and followed Wormwood to some elevators which took them down to an underground storey, which the Healer described as the boy's, 'safe house.' If anything, it was nothing like that and Remus couldn't help but feel more nervous as he walked into what looked like a prison cell. At the front of the room, there were several seats lining the walls, with a table where a Warden was sitting, waiting patiently. She stood up, when they entered and walked silently over to Wormwood.
"The enclosure is ready, Healer," she said, glancing at Remus nervously. "I took all the charms procedures to make it safe."
"Very good," he replied and then guided the boy over to a large metal cage, which was backed against the adjacent way and spanned a size of twelve by six metres, rising up at about three.
Wormwood came to a door way into the pen and opened it with his wand, before looking over at the boy.
"In you go Remus," he said his face curtained by shadow. "This is where you'll stay during the transformation."
Remus stared at him in confusion; they were seriously going to put him in this fortified box here? Was he really that dangerous? He knew all Werewolves were, but him being nine years old; couldn't they control him with some magic?
"Ok," he replied and stepping in, Wormwood closed the door heavily behind him. "While I'm in here, where are you going to be?"
Wormwood gestured to the row of seats opposite the cell.
"I'm going to be sitting here and watching you transform. I'll be taking some notes on how you do it and how you transform back, which will aid our research in helping you control it for the future."
"I thought you said there was no way of controlling transformations."
The Healer laughed. "That's right Remus, but from this exercise, we're going to determine what the best way of handing your transformations is. So then, we can safely establish you at home."
Remus smiled, there was only thing he wanted to hear at that moment; that he could be with his parents at home together, and still not hurt them. It would be the cherry on the top, for having a normal life and he was sure for them as well.
Walking around, he examined the pen and saw that there were blood stains splattered over the wall, fragments of what looked like bone lay scattered across the ground and there was also a clump of mattered grey brown fur caught in the drain grating. He stared horrified at them, wondering if it was pieces of a person who had transformed and endured a blood spilling, bone splitting and fur ripping experience. Swallowing, he looked up and saw that there was a small cell window up metres above. This is where he guessed the moon light would stream in for him to change; right now it was an auburn colour meaning it was already sunset.
Looking back, Remus saw that some Healers and Wardens were now entering the cell and shaking Wormwood's hand as they took a seat and gazed at the caged boy, intrigued.
Remus felt a surge of hate rise up within him; there was no mention that his transformation was going to be made a public event. It was only going to be Wormwood, Warden Root and his parents whose support he wanted the most. And now, there were no seats left for them because of the chatty and excited Healer's, who'd come for an entertainment value as well as for Magical research.
"Wormwood," whispered Remus, putting his face to the bars. "When are my parents coming?"
The Healer, who was conversing with another elderly one, excused himself and then turned to the boy, slightly annoyed.
"Yes? What do you want?"
"I want to know when my parents are coming," he repeated. "You said they'd come and instead all these…other people have and I don't want that."
"They'll be on their way soon," said Wormwood and he smiled turning back.
His smile quavered. "I don't know, but I'll keep you posted. Alright?"
Shrinking back into his cell, he sat down on the ground and waited patiently even though he wanted to tear down the enclosure and go looking for them himself.
Soon minutes turned into an hour and Remus watched more Healers' pile in, so that the mouth of the entrance was blocked with spectators. However, just when he'd given up hope, he saw his father's distinctive brown flossy hair bob over the top of the medical team and he rushed over to the front bars.
"Dad!" he shouted, hugging his father through the metal slots. "You're here! I thought you wouldn't come! Where's mum?"
Romulus pulled away and shook his head. "She's sick at the moment Remus, she wanted to come, really she did, but she couldn't get out of bed she's been worrying so much about you."
"It's nothing to worry about, just some shock which Wormwood said she'll get over. She wanted me to wish you good luck and says she'll be here in spirit," he paused and looked around at the swelling crowd. "Hey, why are there so many people?"
"Wormwood said they're here for the research, I wish there was a little more privacy though."
"Of course you do," said Romulus, smoothing his son's hair back. "Transforming is a very private thing…you're not yourself and people see that and make judgements. But remember, I'll be here for you."
"No worries," he said and glancing over Remus's shoulder, he saw that sky had had grown darker and any minute now the silver of the moon would reveal itself.
"Everyone take your seats please!" cried Wormwood and Romulus drew away from the cage, giving his son the thumbs up.
"Dad," Remus said, trying to reach after him. "Please stay."
But Romulus, was already being buffered back into the crowd, as the Healers and Wardens took up their sheets and quills to record what was about to happen.
Remus hated them watching him like that; it humiliated him, being contained like this so they could goggle at him. Ashamed, he backed away into the spot of moonlight which was streaming in from hole and when he was in it, things went from bad to worse.
Something within his core started to changed, a kind of burning heat which began in the pit of his stomach and crept up his spine and his limbs, becoming more intense. Remus's legs all of a sudden started to shake and he screamed out in pain as they grew, the bones in his feet snapping as they buckled, becoming great paws. A fire was licking up his spine, elongating it and making him taller before arching over. His gown split apart as his chest and shoulders excruciatingly expanded and his forearms became long and wiry.
Remus watched terrified, as coarse brown hair sprouted from his skin, making him scrabble back into the shadows. But the worse pain was at that moment when his head felt like it was splitting in two, his nose swelling and pushing forward into a long hairy snout. His mouth followed and elongated making his teeth separate just as new sharper ones shot through. In absolute agony, Remus let out a shout to the air, but instead it was caught half way and turned into a twisted howl.
There were gasps from outside of the enclosure as Healers and Wardens stared in amazement, their quills moving feverishly as they took down his transformation. Then someone decided to take a photo.
Remus's head snapped towards the spectators, his chest heaving as he locked eyes on the photographer, a balding man, snapping eagerly with his flash. Unable to see, he let out a manic roar and charged towards the crowd, his claws splayed out at the ready as he crashed into the cell bars. Biting at them, he tried to shoulder his way through, scratching the air between him and the people.
Wormwood, stood amazed at this creature who only minutes before had been a small boy and now was taller than six foot and wanted their blood. He looked over to Romulus who was staring at his son, his expression not of fear or awe, but of vacancy, as if he wasn't able to feel anything because he no longer recognised his son.
"Healer Wormwood," said the operating Warden in his ear. "We have to get the creature under control; he's breaking down the barriers."
"What?" exclaimed the Healer and the Warden pointed to the hinges of the cell door that were being pull out of their sockets as Remus continued to ram it.
"What should I do?"
"Control him," said Wormwood. "Use the Cruciatus curse."
The Warden did a double take. "The C-Cruciatus? But Healer…t-that's illegal."
"Just do it," said Wormwood and he threw the Warden his own wand showing that
he was serious. "It'll register to me, Ok? So you won't have to worry about getting your hands dirty."
And with that the Healer went off to talk to Romulus who'd disappeared from the frantic crowd now.
Remus woke with the sun shining in his face and sitting up, he found that he was still lying in the cell where Wormwood and all of the Healers had put him the night before. Rubbing his head, he tried to massage out the splitting headache he had and found he had some bald spots from where he must have torn out his hair in pain. Looking down at his body he saw that he was completely naked except for a dirty sheet which someone had placed hurriedly over him with a charm. Trying it around his waist, he staggered to his feet, his whole body aching as he paced around the cell to stretch his muscles to which he discovered more gruesome things; blood splattered on the floor, what looked like bird feathers and some crumpled bones. He shook his head trying to remember, but he couldn't recall anything besides the pain of transforming, because after that all of his memories were cloudy.
"Sleep well?" said a voice and he turned to see Wormwood walking down the stairs, his hands behind his back as he came to stop at the pen door.
"No," said Remus, rubbing his head again. "I've got a bad head ache and I hurt all over…but that's normal right, after a transformation?"
"Why yes," said the Healer, opening it and letting him through. "The migraine would come from the development of the head into a snout and the full body ache would come from," he paused for a second and rubbed his chin, "that would come from you changing into a beast I'd assume."
There was something he wasn't telling him, something that he was holding back, but Remus unnerved, continued.
"How did I go? Was I alright? I mean, there were chicken feathers and-"
"You were perfect," said Woodworm, as they reached the elevator. "From watching your transformation, the Medical Healers and I are working on a way to manage your condition so that you can stay home with your parents when it happens. Oh and the chicken feathers," he gave a small laugh, "well during the time you were a Werewolf, you became quite aggressive so we calmed you down through….reasonable methods…but first we lured you in with a dead chicken from the kitchen which you seemed to enjoy, most other Werewolves go for raw stake or something."
"Oh," said Remus, "sorry about the aggressive part then..."
"Not to worry my boy," said Wormwood, as they rode up to the fourth floor. "It was worth it, because in two weeks we'll discharge you."
Remus smiled, already things were looking better.
When Remus arrived home, Elena was the first to greet him with a big hug which he returned just as enthusiastically. It was good to see her up and out of bed and the fact that she missed him that much, made him forget about the cuts on his face, the scars on his body and that every month he turned into a vicious beast; something he knew his mother once detested.
"She's seen a new light," Romulus said quietly, as he embraced his son after Elena had gone to the kitchen. "How have you been since the transformation?"
"Good," he said, feeling that the muscles on his back still ached. "I'm still getting over the pain."
Romulus nodded and then sighed. "Well you'll have as long as you want to get rid of it, because I was contacted by the Young Dragons School and they said-I'm so sorry- that they won't be having you as a student there anymore."
Remus stared at him. "I won't be going to school? Well that's great then," but then it occurred to him and he frowned. "It's because I'm a Werewolf isn't it?"
"I tried to explain, son-"
"I know dad," Remus grumbled, throwing down his bag. "But why would they expel me just for that? I'm only dangerous during the night and once a month! Not everyday! I'll loose my friends."
Romulus ran a hand through his hair. "It's not just once a month though."
"I was talking to Wormwood and he said that a Werewolf who's in human form can still affect another human if they scratch or bite them. It doesn't mean the victim turns into a Werewolf, but apparently they display wolf like characteristics such as getting irritated easily, eating meat uncooked, a temperament for biting others and occasionally…unexpected howling."
Remus spluttered; that sounded like the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard but from the expression on his father's face he knew it must be true.
"Look Remus, forget I told you about it Ok? Just be happy you're home, you'll make your mother upset."
"I thought she was already, because I'm a Werewolf," he muttered and walking away, he tramped upstairs to his room.
For the next week and a half, Remus kept his window shut and the curtains over it, as looking outside proved too much of a painful memory of his attack. On one occasion, when he was going through the lounge room, he had over his parents talking about the redesigning of the backyard as a result of it.
"I think we should keep the grass and forget the paving," said Elena confidently. As a Muggle she'd been a landscaper before she'd met Romulus and now that she had the opportunity to try out her skills, she wasn't going to pass on it.
"I like paving though," said Romulus. "Can't we just have a bare garden for once? Remus doesn't need it; he's not a kid anymore. I don't see what your fascination with it is."
Elena bristled. "Grass is lovely and natural. It'll give this house a new air to it, understand?"
"Of course I do!" replied Romulus and there was a bang as he slammed the cupboard doors. "I think of all that loveliness every time I see the marks that are carved into it from where that monster dragged my son away! Yes, I agree with you! The grass gives the house a new air, a very new air!"
There was another noise but this time it wasn't a bang but instead a smacking, as Elena slapped her husband across the face and then burst into tears. Romulus went silent for a second and then must have gone over to her and pulled her into a hug.
"I'm sorry Elena," he said quietly. "I shouldn't have been sarcastic like that. It's just…I want to get rid of everything in that yard that reminds me of what happened to Remus and the grass is one of them. I just want to strip it back and put something better, something that will last."
"Ok," she mumbled. "Paving it is."
Remus for most of the time, stayed holed up in his room, reading his father's old text books, assuming that they'd make up for what he was not learning at Young Dragons. As he educated himself, his parents were preparing for his next transformation which was to take place in a couple of days.
"Remus," said Romulus, coming up the stairs and peering into his darkened room. "We've…got a surprise for you."
He stared around colossal mess he had accumulated over the past week and screwed up his nose when he saw the book that his son was reading. Sometimes, Remus was glad his father could turn a blind eye to his untidiness.
"'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'?" Romulus said, bending over to read the title of the book, he was reading. "Isn't that one of mine?"
"Why are you reading it? That books way above your level."
Remus shrugged, "I'm reading about Werewolves and how wizards can control them…but really there's little you can do," he paused and turned a page, adding darkly. "Apparently us Werewolves, actively seek out humans."
Romulus stared at his son warily and tried to laugh, hoping it was a joke despite the fact that Remus was becoming more morbid these days.
"And why are you telling me this?"
The boy sniffed. "Just giving you a heads up, I am after all one."
"Well, luckily we got you something that'll stop you from doing it," he said, reaching over and snapping the book shut. "Come on downstairs."
Remus glanced at the book his father had put to the side and got up hesitantly, following Romulus down to the kitchen where Elena was waiting.
"Remus!" she said smiling widely. "Romulus finally got you down from your room! Perfect, because your father and I have a surprise for you."
"What is it?" he said as Romulus covered his eyes with his hands. "Just tell me…I hate surprises."
But his parents ignored him and pushed him forward; walking him through what he knew was the lounge room as he bumped his leg on the coffee table and out of where the French doors would be. Suddenly he panicked, they were taking him outside.
"Please stop! I don't want to go outside! You're taking me outside aren't you?"
But they continued leading him on and instead of grass that he was walking on, he stepped onto a hard surface.
"Here we are!" said Romulus and taking away his hands, a totally new yard came into view; it was a concrete jungle.
Every inch of it was either made from concrete or stone; all of the vegetation, the trees, the grass and the bushes had been stripped clean. But the thing that struck him the most was the thing that was placed right in the middle of the courtyard.
It was a giant metal cage, slightly smaller than the one at St. Mungo's, however stretching up higher to the height of perhaps four metres.
"Great, you guys are going to get me a pet Phoenix? You shouldn't have-"
"Remus," hissed Romulus, his eyes shooting him daggers. "Don't make a joke about this. We bought you this so that you could live at home with us; it was Healer Wormwood's idea."
"Of course it was," he replied dryly, "how good of him."
"Remus," said Elena still rapt at the ingenuity of their present. "We custom seized it as well to match your potential height that you'll transform too. Wormwood said that if you grow to be your dad's height you'll be a big Werewolf maybe three metres. We're planning for the future, for the rest of your life."
Remus's smile fell. There was no way he was going to be stuck here for the rest of his existence, over his dead body.
"Do you want to try it?"
Romulus gave him a 'do-as-she-says,' look, making Remus nod.
"Perfect," said Elena and she opened it, letting her son step into it.
"Yeah its real great mum," he said unenthusiastically, tracing the bars with his finger.
She smiled and shed a tear of joy, unaware of his sarcasm and when she turned away, Romulus ran forward and quickly slammed the door shut.
"Hey! What are you doing?" shouted Remus, throttling the bars. "Why have you locked me in now? I still have three hours to go!"
Romulus glared at his and then jabbed his finger at his son.
"You'll stay in here as a punishment for your horrid attitude. Your mother and I have done everything for you and all you give back to us is a mouthful."
"Dad please don't lock me in here now," implored Remus. "I'm sorry I said all of that, but honesty this isn't what I expected…if anything it makes my transformation worse! I feel humiliated! Too constrained! I'm a prisoner in my own home!"
Romulus shook his head and swallowed back regret. "Well consider it, house arrest then."
And with that, he shot his son one last glare and then turned and marched off, oblivious to the fact that a bitter seed was swelling within Remus as he watched him leave.
The inky sky was scudded in greyed clouds which hid the moon that Remus watched carefully, as he sat slumped in the darkest corner of the cage. He was still infuriated by what his father had done, locking him up in this cage when he could've been enjoying his last three hours of freedom. The second thing that bothered him was that Wormwood, had convinced him parents that this was the most ethical way of disposing of his problem. By keeping him imprisoned out in an open place, he felt isolated, humiliated and alone.
There was no privacy for him, just a big bare space, where the cold wind whipped his skin harshly. He knew that there was probably no other way of containing him, but if they could at least stay out here with him and support him then maybe it would make the transformation that little more comfortable. They hadn't even put any food out for him so now the only thing on his mind was that he was starving.
Looking back at the house, he saw that the kitchen light was still on and knew that his parents were probably having desert right now and watching the Wizarding Wireless. He found it hard to understand how his mother had forgotten about him during these past few hours, perhaps she knew he was out here but was thrilled that at least he was using this horrible cage.
Suddenly, one of the clouds thinned and there before him was the moon shining like a white orb, its silvery light bathing the enclosure. Clambering to his feet, Remus began to cry as he felt the hot prickling heat and the excruciating pain of his body as it snapped back and forth changing into a vicious monster. He pushed himself into the corner of the cell as the clothes on his back ripped open, his shoes splitting apart to accommodate his long hind legs. His winces which were high and human, soon deepened into loud whines, as he curled up into a ball trying to fend the pain away.
At this point he was still thinking like a human, his hate of being here and the fear of what was happening, still coursing through his mind. But soon things started to cloud over like a shroud and there was no thought, just a violent urge that rose up within him.
Scrabbling onto his hint legs, he let out a rippling snarl and began skirting the perimeter of the pen trying to find a way out. Overcome by this emotion, he felt enclosed, like he needed to get out, this prison an obstacle he had to fight to get past.
After ramming the bars proved unsuccessful, he went to the base of the fence and began to tear up the paving, scratching away until he produced a big enough hole to escape. Getting under, he heard voices from the kitchen as the door opened just in time for his father to glimpse him jumping the fence.
"Remus!" he heard him cry, but when he'd landed over the other side on all fours, he saw the open country field and forest before him and began galloping towards it, the moon light on his back.
He crashed through the trees, an overpowering urge pulling him forward as he fought deeper and deeper into it. Soon he came to a grassy knoll where he stopped and cocking his head back smelt the air to which a familiar scent came to him and he followed it, scampering as fast as he could. He ran for hours through the country side, the moon his guiding light through the consuming darkness.
Soon the scent grew stronger and he gave out a grunt seeing that it was coming from a farm in the distance. He galloped towards it eagerly and slowed when he came within a few metres of it, sniffing the air for reassurance as he approached the chicken coop.
Looking in through the barbed wire, he saw ten chickens roosting which started an ache in his empty belly. Panting heavily, he didn't hesitate in ripping down the tin walls and jumping in to get his dinner. There were hens fluttering and screeching everywhere and irritated by the noise, he snatched them up and gorged on them all, before turning to their eggs which he snacked on just as happily. When he was full, he settled down within the mess of hay and feathers and fell asleep, not knowing that in two hours he'd be human again.
"What did you do to my chickens you thieving boy!" he heard a shout and woke to find himself staring down the barrel of a funny looking Muggle contraption, to which he remained still.
"Answer me!" the person shouted again and looking up, he saw a weather beaten face, glaring squinty eyed at him.
"I-I," Remus stuttered and he peered around to find that he was in a chicken coop or what remained of one with feathers, blood and egg shells stuck over his body and his shock, he was nude again.
"Speak up!" the old man, a farmer no doubt, said poking him in the chest with the object. "You killed my chickens didn't you? You little rascal!"
"I'm sorry, I can explain," his voice quavering as he covered himself up. "Please."
Or could he really? Was he able to tell this distraught Muggle, who at the moment was murderous, that the reason that his chickens were dead and his coop was broken into was because he'd been a blood thirsty monster, the night before?
"Ok," said Remus, rising to his feet. "Please, I didn't mean to do any of this."
"Explain that to the police," the farmer hissed and as he aimed the gun true to the boy's chest, there was suddenly shouted from behind them and the two of them turned to see three people, two men and a woman running towards them.
"Remus," the tallest man yelled. "Remus! Is that you?"
"Elena, I found Remus! He's in the chicken coop and he I think he's Ok, let me go check."
There was a warping and screeching of metal as Romulus, peeled back the bend form of the shed's wall and stepped in, a smile erupting over him face. But this immediately evaporated when he saw the old Muggle holding his gun before the two of them.
"Sir," he said his eyes wide as he stared at it. "Could you please put that down?"
"He killed my chickens!"
Romulus nodded. "Yes, I can see that and I apologise for what happened. I'm offering to pay for animals and the expenses of your pen."
Remus felt guilt start to weigh down on him as he listened to his father defending him and making amends to what he'd done as a result of his problem and his determination now, hinted a willingness to do it in the future too.
The farmer squinted at Romulus for a second as if he were mad.
"Pay for all of this? All the chickens…and the pen?"
Remus's father nodded. "Every single one," he glanced over at the partially destroyed roosting boxes, "ten right?"
The farmer shifted uncomfortably on his feet.
"Yes, there were ten," he muttered, "and I want every single one you hear? And they have to be…quality foul, you understand?"
The old man looked taken aback and then turned to Remus, his eyebrows knitting together.
"You must be a right nutter, paying for what this little rascal did to my property. What if he does it again?"
"He won't," said Romulus, patting Remus on the head. "He's my son, so I'll always be happy to do it."
Remus, felt his heart swell and at that moment he never knew his father had cared that much.
"Well," said the farmer spitefully. "You better watch out for him, because I expect you'll be going out of pocket by the time he's grown if he keeps carrying on like this. You've got a little monster, right there."
There was silence and when Romulus replied, Remus swore he could hear him smiling.
"I know I do."