Remus sat in a chair, staring out the window. It wasn't quite dawn yet, but there was
enough light to see that it was raining heavily outside. Clouds covered the dark sky,
and the world was quiet except for the steady, lulling, patter of rain on the roof of the
cottage.
Remus sighed, closing his eyes. He was exhausted and really should still be in bed –
the full moon had only been a few days ago, and it had left its toll on the young boy.
But something nagged at him, a splinter in his mind that wouldn't leave him any rest.
It was already August, and his Hogwarts letter still hadn't come. /I knew it was foolish
to expect one,/ Remus told himself silently. /They wouldn't want a monster like me
around. But I had hoped that this new Headmaster, whatever his name is, could
help…/
The boy sighed again. Foolish, to hope. He'd thought his past experiences would have
taught him better. Nobody wanted a werewolf, least of all the oh-so-good-and-
righteous Gryffindors. He angrily blinked away tears that had been gathering at the
corners of his eyes, brushing his light brown hair out of his face. Anybody watching
would never have guessed that he belonged to one of the most feared types of
monster, Remus thought bitterly. If anything, they would've remarked that he was too
small, too thin, that he looked pale and drawn, as if recovering from an illness.
Perhaps the more perceptive would have noticed the sad look in his strange green-
gold eyes or the scars on his hands and face – most were covered in bandages at the
moment. His last transformation had not been pleasant, he'd been too worried about
Hogwarts.
Remus felt the tears he'd been fighting against leak out and trace their way down his
cheeks as he remembered a time when he hadn't dreaded the full moon, a time when
he'd happily played with his family. And then, everything changed…
******
(Five years earlier)
Remus ran through the forest, panting slightly. He'd been over at his friend John's
house, and had stayed longer than he'd meant to. The sun had already gone down, and
the moon hung in the sky like a large silver pearl. /I hope Mum and Dad aren't
angry,/ he thought frantically. He'd really meant to go home before dusk, but he'd
hadn't been paying attention. Anyway, what did it matter? This little stretch of woods
wasn't dangerous. He and his twin brother had almost completely explored it, they
knew every nook and cranny. Over there was the large oak that had been split by
lightning last year, next to it the small birch sapling that was hardly taller than Remus.
During the day, it would have been familiar, even boring. Yet somehow the moonlight
cast strange shadows, making the well-known surroundings seem strange and alien.
Hostile. Remus ran faster, he knew home was just around the next bend.
Suddenly he froze. Was that just his imagination, or had he heard something from
behind that tree? Hardly daring to breathe, he concentrated on his ears until he
thought he could hear his heartbeat thrum. There. Something had snapped. Remus
didn't wait a moment longer and dashed down the path, eyes wide open in terror as he
heard a long, drawn-out howl behind him. He couldn't stop himself from looking
behind him – what was that thing? The full moon illuminated the scene and Remus
felt his breath catch in his lungs.
A large wolf was running after him, fur gleaming silvery in the starlight, golden eyes
glowing with hatred and bloodlust. Its mouth was wide open showing inch-long white
fangs. Remus tried to scream, but something seemed to be clutching his throat,
preventing him from making a sound. All he could do was keep his feet moving as
quickly as he could. He knew he must be nearly home.
There. The dirt under his feet was smoother, firmer, packed to the ground as the path
widened. He must be nearly in the garden now, only a short distance and his mother
would get him. She would drive the wolf away, she would make everything all right.
Remus had nearly reached his home when he tripped.
Later he would curse himself, he knew this place like the back of his hand, after all!
He /knew/ that there was a root right there! But now Remus could only sob in terror as
he sprawled onto the ground. He squeezed his eyes shut… /Make it go away. Make it
go away, please, someone!/ For a moment nothing happened, and the young boy felt a
brief glimmer of hope – had someone answered his desperate plea?
Then he heard a snarling sound, and a terrible pain erupted in his shoulder. The
choking feeling that had prevented him from shouting out earlier was gone, he let out
a high, petrified scream.
Remus was dimly aware of shouting, his father waving a stick around, a bright red
light, something heavy falling onto his back, his mother turning him over. "Oh,
Remus…" she whispered. That was the last thing he heard before losing
consciousness.

When he came to again, he was aware of lying on a bed. The pain in his shoulder had
gotten worse and he felt as if he was burning up. He could hear voices somewhere
above him…
/"I'm sorry, Mrs. Lupin. There's nothing we can do."/
/"No, no. There must be something, some cure…"/
/"I'm afraid we've tried everything. He's been infected with lycanthropy."/
/"You mean he's a werewolf?"/
/"Yes…"/
/"No, not Remus, please not Remus…"/
The voices faded into blackness again.
******
His next few memories were confused, Lupin guessed that the werewolf bite had
made him become very ill. He could remember his parents crying, his twin brother
sitting next to his bed. He remembered trying to grasp Romulus' hand – he'd never
been seperated from his twin before. Whatever they did, they did together, whatever
happened to one of them, happened to the other. Until now. Romulus pulled his hand
away. A few images were still very clear in his mind…
******
His father stood next to a strange woman, his mother hovered in the background.
"Yes, that's perfectly all right," he said. "We'll donate… just take him…" Remus
couldn't understand the rest. "Dad?" he asked weakly.
Mr. Lupin stared at him. "Don't call me that."
"But Dad-"
"Stop it. You're not my son, my son is dead. You're a monster. Be thankful that we're
even letting you live, it's more than you deserve." Mr. Lupin turned away from
Remus. His mother gave her son a look full of disgust and did the same.
"Mum! Dad!" Remus' parents didn't let their son's shouts stop them. Tears welling in
his eyes, he stared as Mr. and Mrs. Lupin left through a door in the back. Sniffing,
Remus realized his twin was in the room. "Romulus?"
Romulus walked up to the bed, an expression of hatred on his face. "You heard what
Dad said. You're not my brother. Leave me alone, /werewolf./" He walked away after
his father, not heeding his identical twin's anguished outcry.
The woman Mr. Lupin had been speaking to walked forward nervously. "I'm sorry,
my name is Katherine Anderson. I'm from the Werewolf Support Services… it looks
like you need a new home."
******
Home. Remus curled his lip at the thought. Sure, home. Someone – he couldn't
remember who – had once said "home is where the heart is", and Remus' heart had
shattered after hearing what his family said.
Remus had been taken to a home for abandoned magical creatures. He'd been one of
the only intelligent creatures there – as far as he knew, there might have been no
others – as he was obviously too dangerous to be put into a normal orphanage. The
owner of the establishment hadn't known what to do with a werewolf, and had let
Remus mainly do what he pleased. The young boy – only six years old at the time –
had tried to forget his anguish and sense of betrayal, burying himself in books. The
old man – Remus couldn't even remember his name – still had quite a library, mostly
about magical creatures, of course. The abandoned child had devoured tales of
vampires, phoenixes, dragons, hippogriffs, basilisks… werewolves. There were other
books, of course, but these didn't interest him nearly as much. Who cared which
wizard had done what a hundred years ago? Yet, lacking other things to do, Remus
had read those as well.
Of course, there were the transformations. Remus remembered those all too well. The
old caretaker had had a small cellar. The door had been reinforced, a Silencing charm
cast on the room, and come full moon Remus had been locked inside.
******
Remus looked around the small room. There was nothing inside, not even a chair or a
table. Just blank stone. Light filtered in from a small barred window, the sun had just
set.
The young werewolf whimpered. Nobody had bothered to explain what was going to
happen to him, he'd had to browse through his books to figure out what was going on.
The sections on werewolves had been… enlightening, but none of them had anything
from the werewolf's point of view. /When I'm grown up, I'm going to change that,/
Remus vowed silently. He had so many questions – did changing hurt? What would
he do? There were so many stories of werewolves hurting people, killing them, what
would happen if he broke out of the cellar? Maybe this was all a mistake, Remus
thought wildly. Maybe nothing was going to happen. Maybe he wasn't a werewolf at
all. Maybe…
Remus suddenly realized that he was shaking, convulsing slightly. Then not so
slightly. He collapsed to the ground, whimpering, then…
PAIN!
He let out a scream as every cell in his body seemed to shriek in agony. His bones
elongated, hair sprouted, his teeth grew, his clothes disappeared,…
The wolf cub snarled, looking around with bright gold eyes. Human! Everything
smelled of human! It lunged at the door, trying to escape, trying to hunt down the
human. It had to attack the human! Realizing it was trapped, it let out a loud howl.
The smell of human only added to its bloodlust. It had to rip, tear, kill… the cub
howled again and slashed at its leg. It hurt, but the craving for blood overrode the
pain. The cub bit and scratched at itself, revelling in the pain, the blood…
When the moon set, the old man quietly opened the door, wincing at the sight that
awaited him – a young boy covered in bruises, bites and scratches, lying in a pool of
his own blood. Mumbling about the strangeness of magical creatures, he gently
dressed the lad's wounds, picked him up and brought him to his bed.
******
Remus winced slightly at the memory. He never escaped a full moon completely
unscathed, but some were worse than others – generally depending on Remus'
emotional state before transforming. That first one had been one of the worst.
He'd lived with the old man for a while, surrounded by all kinds of strange creatures.
Then, one day, shortly after his seventh transformation…
******
Remus looked up from his book listlessly as a woman entered the house. Visitors
weren't exactly common, but every now and then a person came along, generally
wanting to buy a magic creature. The old man didn't part with them easily, though –
he seemed very attached to most of his pets. True, he didn't exactly know what to do
with Remus, but that was hardly his fault. A magical zoo was hardly the place for a
child to grow up, and Remus had been dumped on him without any warning.
The woman now standing inside was like no one the young werewolf had ever seen,
though. She was in her late twenties or early thirties, Remus guessed, and quite
beautiful, with a long mane of silky black hair. More, there was a set to her jaw and a
glint in her gray eyes that spoke of pride and independence. She seemed strangely
defiant, standing there with her arms crossed in front of her chest.
"… so you do not have any…"
"very sorry, Miss…"
Remus strained to hear snatches of the conversation, to no avail. He was just too far
away. Sighing, he got up, cursing his curiosity. He'd gotten a bad bite on his left leg
during the last full moon, and still walked with a limp – he should probably not be
standing, but somehow this woman intrigued him. Luckily werewolves healed fast
and their wounds didn't often scar, Remus thought. Otherwise his life would be really
painful.
The woman broke off the conversation when she heard Remus' approach. She raised
an eyebrow at the old man. "I thought you didn't have a family?" she asked sweetly.
He grunted. "So I don't, Miss. He's not family, he belongs here."
The woman looked Remus over. "Magic creature, eh? Werewolf?" She smiled at his
surprised expression. "Not much else you could be. And the bandages, ill look and
golden tint to the eyes give it away – only if you know what to look for, of course."
The man nodded. "Yep, werewolf. Parents abandoned him after he got bitten,
Werewolf Support Services put him here. Couldn't go to an orphanage, apparently,
and them at the WSS were too soft-hearted to put him out of his misery." He snorted.
"So was I – don't see the problems everyone has with werewolves nowadays. Sure,
they're not human, but they should at least have some rights."
"I agree completely, it's simply disgraceful, the treatment some creatures have in
today's society. What's your name, boy?"
Remus felt somewhat annoyed at them for discussing him as if he wasn't there, but he
answered softly. "Remus Lupin."
The woman choked. "Not… Aeneas Lupin's son?" Seeing Remus' nod, she went on.
"Poor child… bitten by a werewolf, and his father is the Head of the Committee for
the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures. I'm surprised he let you live."
"He didn't want to. The lady from the WSS convinced him, I think." Remus' voice
was hoarse. The betrayal still hurt.
"Damned snobs. Wouldn't have expected anything else from a Gryffindor." The
woman frowned in contempt. "So… what do you do here? It must get awfully
boring."
Remus grinned at the chance to talk about the things he'd read with someone else, the
first time he'd smiled in weeks. The old man could never be bothered to talk with the
young werewolf. "Well, there are quite a few old books here…"
The boy chatted excitedly, glad to have found an appreciative audience. He was
interrupted only when the old man scowled and said that speaking with "the lady" was
all very well, but the full moon had only been a few days ago and he should /really/
go to bed now. Remus nodded, quiet again, and said goodbye to the nice woman,
trudging to his tiny room – the bed took up most of the space, and books the rest. A
werewolf's hearing was good, and he managed to overhear some of what she was
saying before falling asleep – "Would it be possible to adopt young Remus?"
******
The woman's name turned out to be Ziana Syrent. The Syrents were a very old
wizarding family, distant relations of the Malfoys, and they were as tied to the
Slytherin House as their cousins. However, Ziana sneered upon these connections.
The Malfoys were weak, she said, preferring to serve another rather than live on their
own. A true Slytherin should not wait on some master, a true Slytherin should use
their talents to achieve their ends. Independence and pride ruled Ziana's life. She was
contemptuous of most of the other Slytherins – weak, she said. However, she despised
Gryffindor House almost as much as the Malfoys – "Righteous fools, thinking that the
whole world can be divided into black and white. They are the good ones, we are the
evil ones – they're blind to the shades of gray in the world. You saw what that attitude
leads to in your family. Arrogant idiots." She frowned on Hufflepuffs, sharing the
commonly held view that they were bumbling fools. "Everyone who isn't cunning
enough for Slytherin, idiotically brave and self-righteous enough for Gryffindor or
intelligent enough for Ravenclaw gets put into Hufflepuff – the dregs of the Sorting."
Ziana didn't have that much against the Ravenclaws. "I suppose there are quite a few
nice ones, but there are more than enough know-it-alls who show off their
overwhelming intelligence and brilliant mind. Brains isn't all, you know. And it's
possible to be /wrong/ even if you are a Ravenclaw." Strangely enough, she hardly
minded Muggle-borns – "They're ignorant and will never be up to normal wizard
standard, but they learn quickly. If we didn't recruit Muggles, we'd die out. After a
few generations, you hardly notice the difference anyway." This was a typical Syrent
viewpoint, a reason why the family had an ongoing feud with almost every other
wizarding family in existence – and why they were nearly extinct.
Ziana Syrent was relatively poor, and lived in a cottage near a wizarding village. Most
of the people there avoided the "crazy lady Syrent", but once news had gotten around
that she'd adopted a child the inhabitants showed more interest. Actually, Remus
hadn't been adopted – werewolves apparently counted as beasts and not people.
However, the others didn't need to know that, and after a few months, Remus –
although he was quite shy – had made several good friends, and more than a few
acquaintances of his age. He was very happy, now no longer studying nearly as much
and spending far more time outside playing. A smile came easily to his face
nowadays, and he'd even laugh sometimes. Until…
******
Remus ran down the street, back to the cottage where he and Miss Ziana lived. He
gasped for breath between sobs, tears running down his face.
"Monster! Freak!" Remus didn't know how they'd learned about his secret, where he
went every month. Maybe someone had noticed when he'd been over to Felix's house
a few days ago and had burnt himself on the silverware. Or maybe one of the boys
had followed him when he'd gone to that shack on full moon, it hardly mattered now.
His friends – ex-friends, Remus reminded himself – followed him, yelling names.
"Werewolf! Dark creature! Evil monster!" Remus ducked as a stone sailed over his
head, then winced as one struck him in the arm. The mob was picking up everything
they could, hurling it at him. /Nearly there…/ Remus dashed up the cottage steps,
sobbing. He ran inside and slammed the door shut after him, but the yells of the mob
were still quite audible.
"Get your things together. We're leaving." Ziana was standing in a corner of the
hallway, face unreadable. Remus sniffed, the hurt obvious on his face.
"Arrogant Gryffindors. That's all they were. Arrogant Gryffindors, stupid Hufflepuffs
and know-it-all Ravenclaws. Don't let them bother you." /Miss Ziana sure has a
strange way of comforting people,/ Remus thought bitterly, but he nodded and went to
get his things. That evening, they'd left the village far behind – travelling by Floo in
order to avoid the mob.
******
"The story of my life," Remus whispered softly. Wherever they were, soon, someone
would find out about his secret, and they'd have to leave. In the end, Remus simply
stopped making friends. He'd discovered that it hurt far too much to have them turn
against you in the end. Ziana gave up shortly afterwards, as well. Their new home was
deep in the forest, far away from anyone else, with plenty of privacy for Remus'
transformations. They'd spent more time here already than they had anywhere else.
Remus spent most of his time reading, as hungry for books now as before. Ziana was
a very distant person, and although Remus was sure she cared for him in some way,
she wasn't one for shows of affection, or even spending much time with him. They
hardly spoke more than a few words to each other every day. She spent most of her
time outside, growing magical herbs and selling them for a bit of money.
Life had become quiet and monotonous, with only the agony of his transformations to
mark the passage of time. However, somehow Remus had nurtured the small hope of
going to Hogwarts. He knew it was impossible, that he was a monster – after all the
Magical Creature books he'd read, after all the people who'd told him the same, the
words no longer sounded strange. He knew that it was too dangerous, that he might
hurt someone. But somehow, he'd hoped. He'd spent hours reading Hogwarts, A
History, he'd thought about what House he'd like to be in. Not Gryffindor, not
Hufflepuff. He wasn't sure if Slytherin was right for him, probably not. Ravenclaw
didn't seem too bad though. All that hoping, thinking, reading… for nothing.
Remus sighed and turned away from the window. He should really get back to bed.
Or, maybe, go downstairs and make breakfast since he couldn't sleep. Yes, that was a
good idea.
As Remus walked downstairs, he missed the flash of white outside.