Title: Another Life

Characters: Albus Dumbledore, Remus Lupin, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew.

Notes: This is a morbid one-shot about how things might've changed if Remus was never allowed to go to Hogwarts. Review?

"Mrs Lupin, understand; I sympathize with your son's situation but-"

"It is not just a situation, Professor Dumbledore," Elaina Lupin snapped back, rising out of her chair, "he is not just an animal. He is a little boy who has endured more than any little boy should ever endure. Remus has been showing signs of magic since he was little, Professor, and without training he won't be able to control it, and my husband can't teach him because of the Ministry laws."

"Then he shall have to cope as other werewolves do," Professor Dumbledore told the infuriated woman sadly.

Elaina had demanded to see the Headmaster after her son, Remus, received no Hogwarts letter. She had been expecting not to get one, of course, and so had prepared her speech.

Professor Dumbledore had not.

"Cope? Cope, Professor? What kind of life is that? What kind of future? One where he will be dangerous to people because, and only because, his magic will be unstable? He is a wolf once a month, no more, no less. Don't treat him as though he is a pet of ours we wish to teach human tricks."

In another life, perhaps, Professor Albus Dumbledore of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry would agree to see the boy, Remus Lupin. In another life, he would see the intelligence in the boy's eyes.

In another life, he would see him as more than a werewolf, kept alive only to please those who still held a little hope in their hearts.

Albus and the boy would sit for hours, discussing Remus's lycanthropy, and he would see that Remus was more than any wizarding child, only for the look of pain constantly inhabiting his eyes.

No other reason than that.

However, in this life, Professor Albus Dumbledore had to do what he had to do to protect his students.

"I'm sorry, Mrs Lupin, but I can't accept your son and his condition into our school. For the children, Mrs Lupin; you have to understand. I know Remus would mean no harm, but what about when the wolf starts to like the look of the fresh, young meat on display each day?" The man asked, spreading his hands and trying to look as composed as ever as conflicting ideas fluttered across his mind.

"Remus is the wolf, Professor Dumbledore," Mr Lupin, suddenly stepping into the conversation, whispered. "Come along, Elaina. It seems we've wasted our time."

The taller, greying man led the weeping woman from the Headmaster's office. Just as the door was about to close, a small boy ran through the small opening.

"Remus!" Mr Lupin shouted, tugging on his son's sleeve in an effort to pull him back. Remus sprinted right to the front of Professor Dumbledore's desk, close enough for the old man to see every fleck of gold in his amber eyes.

"I want to thank you, Professor," the boy breathed. He seemed to be favouring his right leg slightly, and his left hand supported his other arm.

"For what?" Professor Dumbledore asked sharply. Usually, he would never dream of being so brash with a boy his age, but Remus was no mere boy, and Albus had to be careful. Oh, yes, he had to be careful.

"For giving me the opportunity to plead my case, sir," Remus told him passionately, reaching forward with his hand as though to shake the professor's, but the hand retreated warily before it got too close. "For giving me hope. For letting me see Hogwarts, if just once." He gave a bitter smile.

Albus, of course, was speechless as the bright young boy limped calmly from the room, cradling his right arm like a child.

In another life, perhaps, he would've said yes.

Therefore, James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew never did meet the young werewolf named Remus Lupin. Some would say they were all the better for it; most would disagree.

Without Remus, the Marauders, as they had begun to call themselves after a particularly inventive speech from Lily Evans, succumbed to the cruelty of their pranks, never knowing their limits or morals.

The Marauders fell apart, not that they had ever been whole in the first place.

Sirius never had the motivation to leave his family, James never had a reason to grow up, and Peter never had something keeping him tied to the fabled best friends; he was the third wheel hanging on the back of Sirius's motorbike.

The three friends became feared rather than revered, never knowing just how far was too far, and there was never anybody there to stop them.

Remus led a painful life, as most werewolves did, and eventually died from his injuries one eventful full moon late in what would've been his sixth year at Hogwarts. Nobody mourned him.

Peter was murdered in a Death Eater attack at Hogwarts- only after he killed two Muggleborn girls and their halfblood cousin.

Sirius was pulled over to Voldemort's side, as Peter had once been, and aided Him in the personal murder of at least 200 Muggleborns throughout the country, and over 500 Muggles. James Potter, Head of the Auror Office, was forced to kill him.

James himself never got over his prejudices, and Lily Evans never fell for him - she married a sweet Ravenclaw boy who never made her laugh. Harry Potter was never born.

James died alone during the reign of Voldemort.

Voldemort went after young Neville Longbottom - the only boy able to fulfil the prophecy - and killed his parents. Neville bore the scar and its weight for fifteen years, until Voldemort led him, alone, to the Department of Mysteries.

The Boy Who Lived, died.

"In another life," Professor Dumbledore wondered aloud in his cell in Azkaban, "perhaps we would've won."

Only when a nearby clock chimed midnight on the 2nd May, 1998 did Albus Dumbledore hold his head in his withered hands and cry, wondering where it all went wrong.