Hope everything’s going ok with you this summer.
Things are weird here – my parents aren’t even that interested in disciplining me anymore, they just keep attending all these meetings. Sometimes they’re at ours, sometimes they go out – I think they go to Bellatrix’s place, maybe. Or the Malfoy’s. Regulus won’t tell me what goes on – I think they’ve probably put a lips locked spell on him or something, because normally he couldn’t resist lording something like that over me.
I feel like something bad is going to happen. I know that sounds stupid, but something’s definitely not right in this house. Sometimes I’m glad you and James and Peter are all such a long way away.
I’m going to try and ask to stay with James again. I know it’s mental, but honestly, if they’re just going to ignore me anyway, what’s the point? I haven’t even been asked to be an usher at Cissy’s wedding (all the better, to be honest) so there’s always the possibility that they’ve disinherited me and just forgotten to mention it.
I can’t wait until we’re all seventeen, then we can just live together all the time, like at Hogwarts. I want to live on Carnaby Street, like in Melody Maker. You’ll have to show me around – I know how the money works now, thanks to Muggle Studies.
Sirius O. Black.
* * *
Everything’s ok here, don’t worry about me.
I don’t really know what you mean by ‘something bad’. Do you think they’re going to try to hurt you again? If you do, then definitely try and go to the Potters. Maybe they can tell Dumbledore or someone.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I’ve never been to Carnaby Street. St Edmund’s is in Essex, and we only go into London once a year, usually to the museums. You’d probably like the Science Museum, full of muggle inventions.
Be careful, ok?
* * *
Just so you know, Sirius is coming to stay with us this summer. He should be arriving this afternoon, so send his post here. Hope your summer is going well? You seemed a bit off at the end of term.
I know you’re going to say no, but Mum and Dad still say you’re invited to stay whenever you like. And we could always come to you, just to visit. Don’t want you to be alone out there, mate, especially these days.
* * *
What do you mean ‘these days’? Is this what Sirius was on about with his family meetings? You know what the Blacks are like, they just love secrets. It’s probably nothing. They’re probably planning Regulus’s betrothal or something like that and want Sirius out of the way.
Anyway, like I told Sirius, don’t worry about me. Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey reckon this is where I’m safest, and they’re the ones in charge of me, right? Obviously I would rather spend the summer at yours, but it’s not happening, so can you please drop it?
Don’t come here, either, just trust me.
* * *
Sorry if I upset you, mate, I didn’t mean to. I’ll stop asking about it, if you want me to.
Hope you’re having a good summer anyway, we all wish you were here. You’re right, if Dumbledore says you’re safe there, you’re safe there. Dad says Dumbledore might be the only one we can trust, soon enough.
Take care of yourself,
* * *
Four marauders are definitely better than three. It’s great having Sirius here and all, but it’s like we always have to do whatever he wants.
I’m mostly just lucky that mum lets me see them at all, after Phil left home. I got a post card from her the other day, she’s in America, can you believe that? She said to say hello to you, so ‘hello’ from Phil.
* * *
Why did you have a go at James? He thinks you didn’t mean to come off like that, but I know what you’re like, you moody git. What’s up?
Sirius O. Black
P.S. How come Philomena said ‘hello’ to you, and not to any of us? You’re such a bloody ladies man.
* * *
I know you got my last letter, the owl came back, and the Potter’s owls are even more reliable than my family’s.
Why aren’t you replying?
Sirius O. Black
* * *
Remus? Please let us know you’re ok?
* * *
* * *
Craig had been nicked at some point over the school year, and Remus returned to find that Craig’s mate, Ste, was now in charge of the criminal element at St Edmund’s. He was a good deal uglier and stupider than Craig.
“Bit tall for robbin’ now, in’t cha?” Ste squinted at Remus.
“Still skinny.” Remus replied, holding his nerve.
“’ow’d you get all them scars?”
Ste laughed meanly.
“Yeah, right. Weedy little toff like you.”
“Fuck off,” Remus took a step closer, “I ain’t no toff.” He was as tall as the sixteen-year-old – maybe even a few inches taller. Yes, he was weedy, but he was holding his ground, and Ste was starting to look a lot less sure of himself.
“Alright.” The bigger boy said, tilting his head back, away from Remus. “Calm down mate. You’re in.”
Remus sneered at him, turned and walked away, satisfied.
Not much had given him satisfaction so far that summer. He felt more isolated than ever before – and angrier than he had been in a long time.
Remus almost hated Ferox for giving him the information he had on the last day of term – so that he could not make sense of it, or do anything about it. There was no one to tell; he was forbidden from mentioning Hogwarts to anyone at St Edmund’s, and he didn’t even know where to begin with the other marauders.
Their letters infuriated him, and he balled every one of them up in his fist then threw them away. He couldn’t bring himself to read, or watch TV, or even touch his homework. He felt as though he had boundless pent up energy, like an animal stalking the length of its cage. It built inside him, heating up until he was blazing with the desire to lash out and beat the shit out of the next person who crossed him.
Fortunately, most of the St Edmund’s boys seemed to sense this. Though Remus barely spoke a word to anyone, the other kids avoided him like the plague.
So, he sought out Ste.
Their first job was an easy one; he didn’t even need to be small for it. They stole a car, and all he had to do was climb in with the rest of them. They drove around for most of the night, smoking and drinking from a bottle of vodka they’d pinched from the off-licence some weeks prior.
Remus decided that he liked smoking. It made him look tougher, and kept his hands busy; he liked rolling cigarettes, and he liked the way they burned, inches from his lips. He liked breathing plumes of smoke and thought of Ferox chasing dragons in Romania.
The other boys warmed to him, after they got used to his quietness, and his general odd manner. He was still the youngest in the group, and they began to treat him like a little brother, plying him with fags and booze. Remus got properly drunk for the first time that summer, and they all laughed as he stumbled about in the park, and sympathised when he puked his guts out the next morning.
When they got drunk they liked to fight, too, which suited Remus. In the dark up on the common they threw themselves around, belting out Who songs, or The Jam, or even football chants if they were feeling particularly mindless. None of them seemed to care if Remus was too young or too skinny, and none of them treated him like he was an invalid because of his scars. Sometimes you just needed to get bashed about a bit, and at the end of the night they all staggered home friends.
The hot summer weeks passed in a chaotic blur – Remus spent most of his nights out with Ste and his gang, and his days sleeping off hangovers, trying to keep out of Matron’s way. He didn’t think about Hogwarts. He did very little thinking at all.
“Gotta get you some proper togs, Lupin,” Ste slurred, one night, “Can’t have you looking like a ponce all summer.”
Remus looked down at his standard issue St Edmund’s jeans and grey t-shirt. There was sick on his plimsoles. Had he done that? He couldn’t remember,
“Ain’t got the cash, ‘ave I?” He responded, searching for the cigarette he’d tucked behind his ear only a few minutes ago – or at least he thought he had.
“So?” Aggie, a short and chubby boy who reminded Remus of Peter shrugged, “My mate works in a warehouse down Southend, we’ll get you some proper gear.”
And they really did. For once, Remus looked like all the other boys his age – not in second hand clothes, but brand new. Bright blue drainpipe jeans, a button-down shirt (knock-off Ben Sherman, but as good as the real thing), white braces and black bovver boots. They shaved his hair right down, even shorter than Matron did it.
“You look the business.” Ste caught him under his arm, rubbing his head with rough knuckles.
When the moon came, and Madam Pomfrey saw him, she pursed her lips.
“I’ll say nothing about the outfit,” she said, primly, “But I don’t like the look of all these bruises – you must tell me if the other boys are hurting you.”
He just shook his head and waited for her to lock the door – he could already feel his blood boiling as the change began.
The next day, he was too weak to move. Madam Pomfrey insisted on staying the whole day to watch him, even arranging for a bed to be brought down to his little cell. Hangovers had nothing on transformations, Remus thought to himself. He’d have killed for a fag, though.
Bored, and too tired to be angry, he finally reached for a book. The three slips of newspaper fell out again and he quickly slammed the cover shut before Madam Pomfrey could see.
That was why he was so angry, he realised, in the first moment of clarity he’d had all summer. In fact, Greyback was pretty much the reason behind everything that had ever gone wrong in Remus’s life. Where could he be? How could you hunt a werewolf? There were plenty of books on that in the Hogwarts library, but Remus had always avoided them before, frightened of what they might say.
Well, tough. He’d have to stop being squeamish about stuff like that. He had to stop hiding from himself; stop letting everyone walk all over him, if he was ever going to… yes.
He was going to kill Greyback. To hunt him down, and then put him down, just like his father had wanted. Lyall Lupin would not have died in vain. A bolt of adrenalin shot through Remus as he thought about it. It was much better than rage.
It might take years before he was ready, he knew that. And he’d need money. As soon as Remus was fit, he approached Ste once more.
“Alright Lupin, me old pal?” The older boy smirked with yellow teeth through a haze of sweet, green smelling smoke. “Bloody hell, what happened to you?” He frowned at Remus’s fresh cuts.
“Never mind that.” Remus growled, no longer stressing his old accent, “Last summer Craig did over so many off-licences and pubs I had a trunk full of fag packets. This year I’ve got bugger all. You not as hard as Craig, or something?”
“Oi,” Ste sat up, hooking his thumbs behind his braces, “Watch it.”
“No, you watch it.” Remus snarled, showing teeth, “I’ve got two weeks left, and I need to stock up. Are you in, or not?”