Chapter 1: An Invitation to Hogwarts
Chapter 1 Content Warning: Panic attack.
Ten year old Remus Lupin, sat on the bed in the far corner of his small bedroom, pulling the dark drapes slightly aside, and looking longingly out the window. Two of the neighbor boys were playing with a ball in the street. Although Remus had a collection of both muggle and wizarding toys, he often found himself wishing he had someone to share them with. He had a very loving muggle mother, Hope, and wizard father, Lynall. However, in their quest to protect him, they isolated him and allowed him to speak to no one. Lynall homeschooled him, and Remus was not allowed outside during the day, so that he would not be seen. Since he was not allowed to talk to anyone, he had no friends and was a quite lonely, yet incredibly intelligent child.
Lynall, worked for the Ministry of Magic in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Remus himself, qualified as a magical creature, since being bitten by a werewolf at the age of four. Up until then, he had lived a normal life and had many friends, but now they moved houses any time someone started asking questions about Remus. He was a small, pale, and sickly child, and his parents’ greatest fear was that someone would discover his lycanthropy.
The doorbell rang and Remus quickly dropped the drapes and took a few quick steps across his room to close the bedroom door incase someone came into the house. He heard his mother answer the door and from what Remus could hear, a man seemed to be inviting himself inside.
“You must be Hope Lupin,” he said brightly, “is Lynall about?”
Just then Remus heard his father enter the room and say in a tone of surprize, “Professor Dumbledore! What can I do for you?”
“Lynall, how are you these days?”
“I’m well, and you?”
“I am well myself. Now, I was hoping to speak to your son, Remus.”
“R-remus? Why?” asked his father quickly, “he won’t be attending Hogwarts, you know.”
“Hmm,” answered Dumbledore, and Remus heard him walk towards his closed door, “is this his room here?”
“Er, yes. But- sir-” started Lynall.
“Well, I’m sure you won’t mind if I just have a quick chat with him? Perhaps we can all have some tea together after I’ve spoken to him?” Dumbledore cut in.
Remus looked around desperately for somewhere to hide, but turned back to the door and froze when he heard it opening. A tall man with long white hair and a long white beard, wearing bright purple robes entered the room. Remus shrunk in on himself and looked down, but when he peaked up through his curly bangs, he realized the man was not staring at his pale, scarred skin at all. He seemed more interested in the decor of Remus’s bedroom. Once Remus fully lifted his head, he saw his father in the doorway, nodding his permission for Remus to talk to this man. Remus swallowed nervously and went to sit on his bed, looking at Dumbledore. The wizard pulled up Remus’s desk chair and sat across from him.
“Hello, Remus. I am Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where you no doubt know that your father went to school.”
Remus nodded, not sure what to say.
“I was wondering,” started Dumbledore, “if you might like to attend Hogwarts next fall?”
Remus’s mouth fell open.
“I-I can’t. I’m too… too ill to go,” he said, hoping Dumbledore would not push the issue.
It was the first time he had ever been thankful for his too pale skin and sickly look, thinking he could pass his illness off as any number of chronic problems.
Dumbledore frowned at that, “what I am trying to ask, my boy, is if you would like to go to Hogwarts, if special arrangements were made for you?”
“Er, well I suppose I’d like to go, but I really can’t, sir.”
“Very good!” Dumbledore exclaimed, seeming to ignore the second half of what Remus had just said.
Dumbledore then went back into the living room, with Remus following him, mouth open to set him right, but not knowing what to say.
“Now,” said Dumbledore, taking a seat in the chair across from the couch where his parents were sat, “I would love to offer Remus a place at Hogwarts School. I know all about his condition, and accomodations can easily be made for him to go to a secure location once a month.”
“Wha- what?” Remus asked, sitting quickly down on the floor as the world started to fade out of focus with panic at this man knowing what he was.
He heard movement and voices, but everything sounded so distant. When he came to, his mother’s face was inches from his and she was telling him to take deep breaths. She had grabbed a blanket off the back of the couch and was now wrapping it around his shoulders, telling him it would all be okay, and lifting up his light body and tucking him into bed.
“Just rest dear, we will get everything sorted out. There is no reason to worry,” she smiled as she closed the door, and he fell asleep almost instantly, exhausted.
He woke up about an hour later, according to the muggle clock on his bedside table. Still bringing the blanket with him, he tiptoed to his door, listening to see if Professor Dumbledore had gone. He was met by silence, so he figured it safe to open his door and walk back into the living room. His mother and father got up off the couch as soon as they heard his door open.
“How are you feeling, dear?” his mother asked.
“Better,” Remus answered quietly, “what’s going to happen?”
“Nothing bad, and nothing at all if you don’t want it to,” said his father.
“What do you mean?” asked Remus nervously.
“Well, your mother and I had a long conversation with Professor Dumbledore, and it sounds like he really could keep you safe up at the school. All you would have to do is keep your condition a secret , and you could attend Hogwarts if you wanted to.”
“I- I could?”
Remus had never even considered that going to school would be something he could ever do, and he was not sure what to do, now that he had the option. He had always loved learning, and it would be amazing to go to Hogwarts, but he still would not be able to make any friends there, incase they were to find out about him. Would it be better to be lonely at a school, learning about magic? Or to continue being lonely at home with his family where it felt safer? The more he thought about Hogwarts, however, the more he realized it was an opportunity he could not pass up. He had the chance to become a fully certified wizard, and he wanted that more than anything.
“I want to go,” he said aloud, making up his mind.
Chapter 2: The Hogwarts Express
Chapter 2 Content Warning: Internalized phobia, anxiety, self-loathing.
As September drew nearer, Remus grew more and more anxious that he had made the wrong decision. He wanted to go to Hogwarts more than anything, but so many things could go wrong. He had no idea what would happen to him if anyone at school found out about his lycanthropy, and that was quickly becoming his biggest fear. What was more, September 1st would be only a few days before the full moon, so he would already be feeling weak as he tried to settle into his new dormitory. Then on his first day of classes on September 2nd, he would be feeling even worse, and by Friday the 3rd he would no doubt be looking and feeling awful. Hopefully he would still be able to attend his Friday classes, even though the next day would be the full moon. Then, with any luck, he would be back to classes on Monday or Tuesday, but he was really not looking forward to drawing attention to himself by being absent right at the start of term.
By the time September 1st came around, he was certainly feeling weak, but not too ill yet, which was lucky. Perhaps he would even be able to properly enjoy the start of term feast his father had told him about. He was nervous as he said goodbye to his parents on Platform 9 ¾ and pulled his trunk behind him onto the train. He found an empty compartment and stored his trunk above his seat. Then, he closed his eyes and hoped that nobody would come to sit with him. Unfortunately, the compartment door slid open a few minutes later and a dark skinned boy with messy black hair and glasses walked in.
“Hello! The name’s James Potter. Mind if I sit with you?” he asked loudly.
Remus just shrugged and looked down at the floor. He had absolutely no experience talking to people his own age and was not quite sure how to interact. Plus, he reminded himself, he was actively trying not to make friends. Friends would only make everything more complicated.
“So,” said the boy, he was clearly the talkative type, “what’s your name then?”
“Er, Remus,” he mumbled, “Remus Lupin.”
“Remus Lupin, it’s good to meet you,” said the boy stretching out his hand.
Remus’s eyes went wide. The boy would not be willing to touch him if he knew what he was, and it seemed an awful trick to let the boy touch him, thinking he was harmless. He nodded again, hunched his shoulders and drew his hands back tight against his body, looking down at his lap. After a moment, the boy dropped his hand and seemed like he was about to say something further, but just then the compartment door slid open once more. This time, a tall, thin boy with long black hair entered.
“Mind if I join you?” he asked politely.
“Go ahead. I’m James Potter by the way. What’s your name?”
“Sirius,” said the boy, as if he was afraid to say more.
“Sirius. That’s an interesting name. You got a surname to go with that?” James asked.
“Unfortunately, I do,” the other boy said, sounding a bit anxious, “it’s er, Black. Sirius Black.”
“Black? Really?” asked James, “you seem alright though.”
The name Black clearly meant something to James, but Remus was confused.
“Thanks,” said Sirius as he sat down.
“So, what house do you reckon you’ll be in, Sirius?” James asked as though it were a test.
“Well,” Sirius said nervously, “my whole family’s been in Slytherin, but I want to be in Gryffindor.”
“Good answer! I’m definitely going to be a Gryffindor,” James said proudly, “where dwell the brave at heart!”
Sirius turned to face Remus and Remus quickly looked back at the floor, realizing he had been watching Sirius.
“What house do you want to be in?” he asked, then added, “and I didn’t catch your name.”
“He’s not really a talker,” said James, and Remus kept his head down, not sure what to say after James’s declaration.
“Hmm,” said Sirius as the door opened one last time.
“Er, hello. Er, everywhere else is full. Do you mind if I come in?” asked a short round boy with short blond hair.
“I suppose so,” said James and as he introduced himself, Sirius scooted closer to Remus.
“Hey,” Sirius said to him quietly.
Remus lifted his head up a fraction and quietly said, “Hello.”
“I’m Sirius. What’s your name?”
“R-Remus Lupin,” he answered anxiously.
“Hmm,” Sirius said again, “that’s an interesting name. Do you-“
He was cut off when James said Sirius’s name loudly to get his attention.
“This is Peter Pettigrew,” James said, motioning to the boy next to him. “Peter, this is Sirius Black, and that’s Remus Lupin.”
Sirius was drawn back into conversation with James, and Remus noticed that Peter kept trying to join in, but often ended up left out. Remus himself, of course, was not in the conversation at all, but he figured that was for the better.
When they had been on the train for quite some time, an older student came to their door to tell them to change into their robes. Remus’s eyes went wide. He was going to be expected to change in front of these strangers in the small train compartment? Then surely they would see all the scars stretched across his pale body. He started shaking and Sirius turned to him, asking if he was alright. Remus nodded shakely, not sure what else he could do. Then he looked over at James who was putting on his school robes over his clothes and sighed a breath of relief. He could feel Sirius still looking at him and tried to give him a reassuring smile before pulling his robes out of his trunk. He put them on over his clothes and sat back down with the other boys, wondering how much longer it would be before they arrived at the school.
The train slowed to a stop about thirty minutes later, and Remus was about to try and get his trunk down, when a voice rang through the train telling them to leave their trunks and exit the train. Thankful that he would not have to struggle with his trunk in front of three boys he had just met, Remus left the compartment with the others. He soon heard a loud voice calling for first years and walked towards it. The voice turned out to be coming from the largest person Remus had ever seen.
“Hello!” The giant man yelled, “my name’s Hagrid. I’ll be takin’ ya to the castle, so come with me!”
Hagrid led them to a group of small boats, and Remus was a bit dizzy by the time he climbed out of his boat after crossing the lake. He stumbled and a hand steadied him. His head whipped up and he realized the hand belonged to Sirius.
“Are you alright?” Sirius asked with a look of concern on his face.
“Er, yeah. I’m fine, thanks,” Remus said, taking a step back from Sirius.
Nobody except his parents had ever touched him before and he felt awful, as if he had tricked Sirius into touching something tainted.
Remus kept his head down as he followed the crowd into the castle, and soon he was standing in the front of the Great Hall with all the other first years, waiting to be sorted into one of the four Hogwarts houses. Remus smiled when Sirius was sorted into Gryffindor, remembering that was where he had said he hoped to end up. Sooner than he would have liked, the woman who had said her name was Professor McGonagall, called Remus up to the stool. He had been scared that the hat would say there had been a mistake and that he should not be at Hogwarts after all, or even worse, that it would yell out ‘werewolf’ instead of one of the house names. However, it simply debated between putting him in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, before yelling out
“GRYFFINDOR!” for the whole school to hear.
Remus hurried over to the Gryffindor table where Sirius offered the seat next to him. Soon Peter joined them in Gryffindor, followed immediately by James.
The feast was somehow even more amazing than his father had made it out to be. He had never before had so many options and did not know where to start. Reaching for a baked potato, his wrist brushed the silver platter it was on and it burned his skin. He flinched, but tried to hide what had happened. He would need to be more careful. After putting the potato on his plate, he tentatively touched his silverware, glad to find that it was not made of real silver. His plate was also fake silver, so it was only the serving dishes he would have to worry about. He made his way through dinner, speaking only when spoken to, and saying as little as possible. He figured that a few days of acting distant like this, and people would give up on trying to talk to him.
After the feast, they were instructed to follow a prefect to the Gryffindor common room. He was pleased to be in the same house his father had been in, and could easily imagine Lyall sitting by the cozy fire in the corner of the room. He, Sirius, James, Peter, and a boy named Frank were all led up a spiral staircase and told they would be sharing a dorm for the next seven years. Remus looked at the four other boys and wondered if he could really manage to keep his secret from them for seven whole years. Somehow, he doubted it. He made sure to change into his pajamas in the bathroom, even though it made the other boys look at him oddly. He knew they had seen the few scars on his face and hands, but that was nothing compared to the ones over the rest of his body, and he would rather they not see that. He crawled under the covers and pulled the hangings on his four-poster bed closed, before closing his eyes and drifting into an uneasy sleep.
Chapter 3: First Full Moon at Hogwarts
Chapter 3 Content Warning: Description of injuries.
Remus’s first day of classes went by alright. He was getting really sore as the full moon approached, but it could have been worse. Besides, his subjects were interesting and he made sure to put all of his focus on his classes and to try and stay separate from the other students.
On Friday morning, Remus woke to a wave of pain going through him. Tomorrow was the full moon and he knew it was not going to be a good day. His left leg felt stiff and he limped to the bathroom with his school robes in hand, thankful that he was the first one awake in his dorm. He splashed some cool water on his face to try and wake up properly, and did a few stretches to try and get more mobility back in his leg. Then he got dressed and looked at himself in the mirror. He was more pale than usual and definitely looked ill. He just hoped he would not give himself away right from the start of his first term. He took a deep breath, attempted to put on a small smile, and walked out of the bathroom, hardly limping at all.
He was not sure how well a full school day on his feet would work so close to the moon. Back at home, he would normally just do a bit of schoolwork in bed around this time, and then the day of the moon, he would lie in bed all day doing nothing at all, exhausted and in pain. However, that was still his plan for tomorrow in the hospital wing. He just had to make it through today.
He had only a piece of toast for breakfast, and he could feel Sirius’s eyes on him, but refused to meet his gaze.
By the time lunch came around, Remus was absolutely exhausted and not quite sure how he was going to make it through the rest of the day. He plopped down onto the bench at the Gryffindor table weakly and put his head down in his arms, resting. Feeling someone sit down next to him, he turned his head and looked up to see Sirius looking concerned.
“What’s wrong?” Sirius asked him.
“Nothing.” Remus said flatly, “I’m fine.”
“Well, don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t look fine.”
Remus couldn’t help but laugh at that. “No, I suppose I don’t,” he said smiling.
Then, thinking he might as well set up the lie for where he would be for the next few days, he continued, “it’s just that, my mum is ill and I’m really worried about her. I’m leaving tonight to go and see her and I’m not sure when I’ll be back. Probably Monday or Tuesday. I guess I’m just making myself sick with worry.”
“You know,” said Sirius, “I reckon that’s the most you’ve ever said to me. I’m real sorry about your mum. I hope she feels better soon, but you really need to take better care of yourself. You look about ready to drop dead.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Remus laughed again.
He was not sure what it was about Sirius, but for some reason, things seemed easier and lighter when he was around. It was only September 3rd, and he had already found someone he wouldn’t mind befriending, this was not good. Especially since he found that he really did not want to distance himself from Sirius. After his last two classes of the day, he limped into the hospital wing, thankful that it was empty, as he practically collapsed when he got there. Madame Pomfrey caught him and helped him across the hall into a private room with a chair, a nightstand, and a bed, where he fell asleep instantly.
Saturday morning and afternoon was a blur of pain, being sick, and sleeping. That evening, he was taken through a passageway under a tree and into a small shack off the Hogwarts grounds. Madame Pomfrey promised to come back for him first thing Sunday morning with bandages and a fresh pair of clothes. After she left, he lay terrified and shaking on the floor, feeling the transformation coming. He screamed in pain as his limbs lengthened, and then he blacked out.
When Remus came to, he was already in his private room in the Hospital wing. He must have slept right through Madame Pomfrey collecting him from the shack.
His vision was blurry, and he rubbed his eyes with his hands, then noticed the long white bandages covering both of his arms. He let them drop back to the bed, annoyed with himself for adding so much to his collection of scars the night before.
Just then, Madame Pomfrey came bustling in with a tray of food, water, and potions.
“Oh good,” she said, “your awake!”
“Yeah,” he said, his voice rough.
“How are you feeling?” she asked him kindly, “how’s the pain.”
“The pain’s surprisingly manageable. What did you give me?”
“Well, we have much stronger potions here than you are likely to have at home,” she said cheerfully as she set the tray on his nightstand.
“So…” he said quietly, “what’d I do last night? What’s the damage? I saw the bandages on my wrists, and my ribs hurt…”
“Ah,” she said, clearly not looking forward to this conversation. “Well, your parents have informed me about your normal amount of injuries on a full moon, and I think the wolf rather disliked the change of scenery.” She said softly.
“And?” Remus prompted her, “there’s no need to worry about me. I’m used to this. I’ve been through it 70+ times.”
Rather than comforting her, that seemed to make her even more worried, her face was practically yelling ‘oh you poor dear,’ but Remus just wanted a damage update so he knew what he was dealing with.
Madame Pomfrey cleared her throat and said, “well, you broke three ribs, lost a chunk of skin just above your left knee, and have about 5 deep cuts along with some minor scratches and bruises. There are two deep cuts across the length of your right arm, one across your left arm, and two across your chest.”
Remus grimaced when she mentioned the bite he had taken out of his leg, but smiled when she got to the end, “no more cuts on my hands or face then?” he asked brightly.
Her eyebrows knitted together, clearly surprised by his tone.
“Er, yes, no major cuts on your hands or face,” she said, “just a few small scrapes.”
“Well,” he said, “the rest of that can be hidden then.”
Her smile faded just slightly and he asked, “what?”
“The chunk of your leg missing may give you a bit of trouble. You tore out a bit of the muscle. I’ve been applying a salve to it every hour, but even with our advanced potions, it could take up to two weeks to heal.”
“Two weeks?” Remus asked faintly, “er, how long will I have to stay in here?”
“Only today and Monday if you’re lucky. I’ll want you to try walking around tomorrow and see how it feels, but you are not to get out of bed today,” she said sternly.
Remus took his potions, loving how it brought his pain down to a bearable level, and forty-five minutes later, he watched as Pomfrey peeled back the bandages on his leg to add more of the salve. It was a horrible sight and he found himself wanting to look away. However, he would need to learn to apply the salve himself, if he would have to be doing it for up to two weeks. So, he bit his lip and watched.
He was extremely sore on Monday morning, as Madame Pomfrey was weaning him off the pain potions. Although she had mended his broken ribs at once, he could still feel the intense bruising around them, and his deeper cuts itched and stung as they were slowly healing. However, he was excited to get back up and about. Around mid-day, she handed him a cane and helped him out of bed. He was to try walking. Leaning on the cane, he tentatively put some of his weight on his injured leg. He gasped in pain, but clenched his jaw and took a step. He had to lean heavily on the cane, but he was mobile.
Part of Remus wanted to hide away in his hospital room until he could walk without the cane, but he had come here to get an education, and that was what he was going to do. He just hoped he could pass it off as having fallen down the stairs and hurt his leg or something.
Chapter 4: Sirius Curiosity
Chapter 4 Content Warning: Bullying, self-loathing, internalized phobia.
On Tuesday morning, Remus limped back to his dorm with the wooden cane, to get his books and change into a fresh pair of robes. Someone was already in the bathroom when he entered the dorm. The other three were still sleeping. Remus collected his clothes and sat on his bed to wait for the bathroom. The door opened and Sirius walked out, freezing mid-yawn when he saw Remus sitting there.
Suddenly, Sirius rushed over to him and quietly asked, “how’s your mum?” then, spotting the cane Remus was gripping tightly, he asked, “what happened?” face lined with worry.
“Oh! She, er, she’s feeling better, but when I was there I fell down the stairs,” he explained.
“Hm,” Sirius said, not seeming to believe his story.
Remus looked down at his hands, not sure how to convince Sirius.
“You know...” Sirius said, but seemed scared to continue.
Remus turned his head to the side in question.
Sirius looked around to make sure everyone else was still asleep and whispered, “it’s just… if things aren’t okay at home… you can tell me. I-” he stopped again as if afraid he was saying too much.
“No!” Remus said quickly, “no, it’s nothing like that. I swear! I just- I’m really clumsy,” he sputtered.
He was not sure if Sirius believed him, but he said, “well, if you do ever need to talk about anything. I’m here.”
“Er, Sirius?” Remus asked, “is everything alright at your home?”
Sirius’s eyes dropped down to his lap and he swallowed quickly before his smile was back and he said, “of course. Nothing to worry about!” then he got up and walked over to his trunk to get ready for the day.
Remus was sure that Sirius was not being truthful and now he was worried for someone other than himself and his parents for the first time ever. He seemed to have a lot of ‘firsts’ with Sirius.
Remus crossed to the bathroom leaning heavily on his cane once more, and changed into his school robes. In the mirror he noticed bags under his eyes, but was once again thankful that the collection of scars on his face had not been added to. This was not because he cared particularly for his appearance, but the more scars he had visible, the greater the chances were of someone discovering his secret.
Since Remus was one of the first people in the great Hall that morning, very few people saw him enter with his cane. Once he sat down, he leaned it against the inside of the bench so it would likely not be noticed until he used it to leave for class. However, when James came to sit next to him, he bumped it and it clattered to the ground.
“Sorry!” James exclaimed, leaning down to pick it up.
Once it was in his hand, he just stared at it, confused, “what’s this?”
“My cane,” Remus said nervously.
“And why do you have a cane?” James asked.
“He fell,” Sirius said matter of factly, “our Remus is a right little clutz. Aren’t you?”
“That I am,” he agreed, thankful Sirius had come to his rescue and drawn James’s attention back to himself.
James handed Remus his cane back as Sirius and James jumped into a conversation about Quidditch.
Charms class went smoothly that morning, and after that, the first year Gryffindors were off to Potions class with Slytherin. Remus was slow getting there, so by the time he arrived the only seat left was next to a pale, greasy-haired Slytherin boy. Remus took the seat and the boy looked very displeased about it. He had clearly been hoping to work alone. Remus had never actually made a potion before, but he had read about them when he was homeschooled. As the class went on, he realized the boy next to him seemed to be a bit of an expert and that he looked worried that Remus would mess it up for him.
Unfortunately, the boy turned out to be right. Remus did mess up the potion, and they received a C for the day.
“Sorry,” said Remus, gesturing towards their cauldron.
The Slytherin just glared at him.
Remus had hardly taken ten steps out of the classroom when someone kicked his cane out from under him. He was thrown off balance and ended up putting all his weight on his bad leg and crying out in pain. He crashed to the floor loudly.
Then the Slytherin boy sneered at him as he spat the word, “sorry.”
Remus heard someone running behind him and turned just in time to see Sirius as he quickly knelt down next to Remus.
“Are you okay? What happened?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. I just tripped is all,” said Remus as he grabbed his cane.
“He didn’t trip,” came Peter’s small voice, “that Slytherin with the greasy, black hair kicked his cane out from under him.”
Remus sighed and hung his head.
“Remus?” Sirius asked sounding hurt, “why wouldn’t you tell me that?”
“Because it doesn’t matter. I’m fine,” he said stubbornly as he scooted towards the wall and leaned on it and his cane to get off the floor.
“Of course it matters,” said Sirius desperately, “you matter,” he said as he offered his hand to help Remus who was still struggling to get upright.
Remus finished straightening up on his own, not wanting Sirius to have to touch him again. Then Remus looked down at the floor.
“You do know that, don’t you?” Sirius asked quietly as most of the class continued on to the next lesson.
Remus shrugged his shoulders, still looking at the floor, and repeated “I’m fine.”
Sirius reached out and touched his arm and he hissed in pain and pulled away, looking up at Sirius who looked shocked.
Remus quickly dodged him and limped away at top speed, hearing Sirius call after him. He turned into the first bathroom he saw and ran into a stall, crying silently. He was giving everything away. At this rate, Sirius would know his secret before first term was over and Remus would not even be able to finish his first year of schooling. He was foolish to think he could do this. Werewolves simply didn’t get educations. Who was he to think he was above the rest of them, worthy of living and learning among regular people in secret. It would be best if he just left now. Better for everyone that way. He dried his face and made his way slowly to the hospital wing. Once there, he asked Madame Pomfrey to take him to Professor Dumbledore’s office, and soon he was sitting in a chair in front of the Headmaster’s desk.
“How can I help you, my boy?” asked Professor Dumbledore.
“I need to go home,” he said simply.
“Is something wrong?”
“I made a mistake, in coming here. I don’t belong here and it’d be best if I just went home now,” Remus said, showing no emotion.
“Is someone making you feel unwelcome here?”
“No. Yes. No. I don’t know!” he practically yelled, “I-I don’t know what to do! I just- I’m going to be found out, and then I’ll have to go home anyway, so I might as well just go now.”
“Remus,” the Headmaster said softly, “why don’t you start at the beginning and tell me what’s all going on? Then, if we can’t think of a better option, and you still want to go home, you can. Okay?”
“S-sure” Remus said, and wiping tears from his eyes, he told Dumbledore all about how nice Sirius was, but how he didn’t believe Remus’s stories and how close he was to figuring out the truth. He told him about trying not to make friends and finding it surprisingly difficult, and about the Slytherin boy tripping him in the hall.
As Remus spoke, Dumbledore nodded to show he was listening and searching for a solution.
“Hm,” Dumbledore said quietly when Remus had finished, “do you think Sirius is a trustworthy person?”
“Well, yeah. But, nobody can be expected to keep my secret.”
“I keep your secret. As do the rest of your professors, Madame Pomfrey, and your parents.”
“Right, but Sirius is 11.”
“As are you and, if I’m not mistaken, you have been keeping your secret since you were four.”
“I mean, yeah, but-”
“I am not saying you need to tell Sirius, but if he finds out, send him to me. Even if he ends up not being worthy of your trust, I will make sure he does not tell anyone about you. Remus, I think you really could use a friend.”
Remus sat in silence. He had never before considered having a friend.
“What do you think?” prompted the Headmaster.
“I’m not sure. I mean, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try and stay a bit longer…”
“Wonderful!” exclaimed Dumbledore cheerfully, looking at his watch, he added, “well, I’d say you’ve just about missed your last class of the day. Why don’t you go ahead and start back to your common room?”
“Yeah, alright,” said Remus with a small smile, he realized then how much he really did want to stay in school, and he was glad that Dumbledore had stopped him from going home.
Remus was sitting on his bed when Sirius burst into the room at a run.
“Remus! I was so worried when you didn’t show up to class!”
“Sorry,” said Remus quietly.
Sirius sat down on the edge of Remus’s bed and said, “Remus, I know we haven’t known each other long, but I’m really worried about you and I want to help. Please, tell me what’s going on so I can help you.”
Remus shook his head sadly, “I-I can’t tell you everything. But I can tell you a little bit if you promise to keep it a secret.”
“Of course! I won’t tell a soul!” Sirius smiled.
“My mum isn’t sick,” said Remus and Sirius’s smile faded, “I am,” Remus swallowed, “I didn’t go home, I went to the hospital wing. I have a private room there. I’ll be there sometimes. That’s all I can say.”
Sirius looked confused, “are you okay? Is it… is it terminal?”
Remus opened his mouth to say no, but that wasn’t totally true. He had no idea how long he would live, and any full moon had the possibility of being fatal.
Sirius put his head in his hands at Remus’s silence, clearly taking it as a yes.
“I’m not really sure how long I’ll live,” Remus said truthfully, “but with any luck, I’ll make it to adulthood and hopefully beyond. Who knows, I could even live to be 50. I guess it all depends.”
“Not getting too sick and dying before then, I suppose,” said Remus thoughtfully.
“How are you so calm about all of this?” Sirius demanded.
“Well, this has been my life since I was four years old. I never thought I’d even get to come to Hogwarts, so things are already working out better than I had planned.”
“Can I hug you?” Sirius asked quietly.
Remus froze. On one hand, he was touch starved and dying for affection, but on the other, he doubted Sirius would want to be that close to him if he knew the whole truth.
“Is that a no?” Sirius asked.
Remus bit his lip. It wasn’t like lycanthropy could be spread through hugs.
“Yes, you can hug me, just be careful, I’m sore.”
Sirius scooted towards him and very gently wrapped his arms around him, running a hand through his hair. Remus closed his eyes, this was another first for him and it felt amazing.
“So,” Sirius said as he let go, “I’m assuming you neither fell down the stairs nor were hurt by your parents, then.”
“Correct,” said Remus.
“I’ll keep your secret, and I’ll back you up.”
“Sirius, I know you might not want to share, since I can’t tell you everything, but if you want to talk about what’s going on at home, I’m here.”
Sirius licked his lips and nodded, “yeah,” he said, “I don’t really want to talk about it, but you’re right. Things aren’t good for me at home. But I’m here now, and they can’t get to me here. So, I’m safe until the Winter holidays at least.”
Remus nodded and tentatively reached out and touched Sirius’s hand to try and comfort him. Sirius smiled, their eyes met, and Remus felt something stir in the bottom of his stomach like butterflies. Was this what it felt like to have a friend?
Chapter 5: Friends
Chapter 5 Content Warning: Fainting.
Remus and Sirius grew closer after that. Sirius still spent a lot of time joking around with James, but when he was with Remus, he was different. More open.
A week after the full moon, Remus only had to apply the healing salve to his leg once each night. His muscles were growing back together and getting strong enough that he could walk around his dorm without the cane, and only needed it during the day for the long walks between classes.
By the 15th of September, he was walking everywhere without the cane, with only a limp. He was thankful that there were still over two weeks before he would start getting weak again from the moon.
Remus had caught up with his schoolwork from the classes he had missed fairly quickly, and was now ahead of schedule. It was for that reason that he found himself sitting in the common room one night, helping Sirius with a paper for History of Magic. Sirius had just opened his mouth to ask Remus another question about the assignment, when James burst through the portrait whole, seething with anger.
“Meet me in the dorm,” he muttered as he stomped past them, and exchanging a look, they grabbed their books and followed him.
When they entered their dorm, James was pacing.
“Something must be done about Snivellus,” James demanded, his eyes burning with righteous indignation.
“Who now?” Remus asked.
“He means Snape,” said Sirius.
“Who?” Remus repeated.
“That low-life who tripped you last week,” Sirius clarified.
“He tripped Remus!?” James yelled, then mumbled, “oh he’s gonna get it,” as he cracked his fingers.
“What’d he do to you?” Remus asked.
James’s face turned a bit pink and he scratched the back of his neck as he said, “well, there’s this girl, you see? Lily Evans. And well, I was just talking to her. But then Snivellus showed up out of nowhere and punched me in the face. Seemed to think he was protecting her or something, but then she yelled at him and told him to get lost.”
“He hit you? Is your face alright?” Remus asked.
James just waved a hand dismissively and said, “my face is fine. But that’s not the point. He hurt my pride! He knocked me to the ground right in front of Evans and then she stood up for me and got rid of him. I didn’t even get a chance to fight back, and now everyone’s going to think I can’t stand up for myself! I’ve got to get back at him!”
Sirius ran to his trunk and pulled a small sack out of it, saying with a grin, “I’ve got some dung bombs we could use on him.”
“Dung bombs! Perfect!” James exclaimed.
Remus looked between the two of them and said, “I assume there’s no way to talk the two of you out of this?”
“Nope!” said James and Sirius together.
“Alright then, I guess I’m in, but just to make sure the plan is good enough that you won’t get caught.”
“Good on you,” said James cheerfully.
They spent the rest of that night coming up with the perfect plan to get Snape with the dung bomb with maximum witnesses to his stench.
The next morning, before breakfast, they got into position. James was sitting at the Gryffindor table so that he could not be blamed for the attack, and Sirius and Remus stood on the balcony above the hallway leading into the Great Hall. As Snape walked by, Sirius carefully dropped a dung bomb into the cauldron Snape was carrying at his side. Remus had studied a charm to make it wait ten seconds before going off, so Snape was already in the Great Hall when the stench began to spread. Soon, Remus watched as Snape ran back out of the Great Hall at top speed.
When Sirius and Remus entered for breakfast a few minutes later, the place still smelled somewhat of dung, but surely not as much as Snape did.
The following week was the most fun Remus could remember having in his entire life. He had friends, and he was being carefree for the first time ever. But of course, just as everything in his life was, this was soon tainted by the pull of the moon. On Wednesday, he woke up feeling weak again. That feeling continued to increase until Saturday, October 2nd, when he awoke in a great deal of pain. Sirius must have heard him groan, because the next thing he knew, he was standing next to Remus’s bed, quietly asking if he could open the hangings and sit with him. Remus sighed and made sure his sleeves were pulled down and his scars were covered as much as possible before whispering,
Sirius climbed onto Remus’s bed and closed the hangings behind him.
“What’s up?” Remus asked.
“Remus, you’ve been getting more pale by the day, and when I was on my way to the bathroom just now, it sounded like you were in pain. Is there anything I can do to help?”
Remus sighed again, “I’m having a flare-up. Hopefully it will only last a few more days, but it always gets worse before it gets better. There isn’t really much that can be done though,” said Remus sofly.
Sirius had frowned at that, but it seemed that nothing would stand in the way of him trying to help.
James had wanted to enjoy the warm weather out on the grounds, but Sirius stayed inside with Remus having a calm day of card games and wizard’s chess.
On Sunday, the day before the full moon, Remus had been shakely walking back from the Great Hall with James, Sirius, and Peter, when an intense wave of dizziness hit him. He tried to walk to the wall for support, but darkness was closing in around the edges of his vision, and the last thing he was fully conscious of was Sirius calling his name, and the sensation of falling into someone’s arms.