Reader note:  This may end up as nothing more than white noise in the whole Harry Potter FanFiction genera, but R.J. Lupin is one of my favorite characters in the HP world, the know-it-all bookish mega-witch Hermione being my absolute favorite character.  While I was waiting impatiently for book four (The Goblet of Fire) his character was one whose story I expanded in my imagination, and while I didn’t get it all right some of my ideas were seen in latter books.  So though we all know how his story line ends I want to visit a part of his life that always piqued my interest, his first years at Hogwarts.  In particular how he and Lily Evans became such good friends.  I have read no FanFiction directly related to Remus so please let me know if I’ve unknowingly stepped on your toes.  I have no rights to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, I am just a fan writing about the characters I learned to love so I might visit with them again for a short time. Thanks for reading!

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andrew-garfield-as-young-remus-lupin

Remus sat in an empty compartment staring out the window as the last of the latecomers hurried to board the scarlet steam engine. As the whistle blew he looked around and hung his head, it hadn’t worked. He and his dad had come hours early so that no one would immediately make the connection between them, as it was becoming more well known that Tyrell Lupin was in deep with Greyback and therefore the wearwolves. As such Remus was already fully dressed in his robes by the time other students started boarding the train, not wanting anyone to get a good look at his more hand-me-down items. However, his middle of the train compartment was passed over by each and every student.

In an attempt to both hide his disappointment and cure his boredom Remus gently unpacked his wand and Witch Wood: Wandlore for the ages by Aloyisus Laurel. Flipping to the back of the book Remus sat his wand down in the unoccupied seat next to him looking for the section he had found in the store.

“That wouldn’t happen to be a Willow wand, would it?”

Startled the book fell into his lap and hung awkwardly from his right knee as Remus turned quickly to see who had spoken. Standing in the doorway was a witch who was, at the moment, covering her mouth as if trying to keep her giggles from escaping.

“Uh, yeah. It is. How did you know?”

“I have one too,” she said with a shrug, “10 and a quarter inches.” Her smile was open and genuine and when it reached her bright green eyes they sparkled.

“Mines11 and a half.”

She pushed her dark red hair off her shoulder and squinted her eyes at the lonely boy by the window. “And unyielding with troll whiskers I bet,” she said as she took two steps into the compartment and sat down across from him.

He gasped when she sat down so loudly that Remus saw her reconsider. “No,” he said quickly holding up his hand as Witch Wood slid to the ground. “Dragon heartstring and resilient, what about you?”

“Swishy with a phoenix feather.”

“Nicely done, that’s a rare combination…” for a second the conversation dragged and Remus feared she might leave. “I had a go with a nine inch Ash and Thestral hair, but it didn’t choose me.”

She bent down and picked up the sad boy’s book smiling at the title. “Reading up on Willow wands? They are supposed to have healing powers, according to Mr. Ollivander anyway”

“If only,” Remus said with a little to much vehemence causing the girl to cock her head to the side.

“Well tell me what it says,” the girl said handing Remus the book, “As owners of rare wands I suppose it is our responsibility…I don’t even know your name.”

“I’m Remus,” he said extending his hand after a moment of hesitation.

“Lily Evans, muggle-born,” she said as they shook hands.

He opened the book and she leaned in to watch the moving pictures. No matter what the book said Remus thought to himself Willow wands must be lucky as he finally managed to smile at Lily, hopefully his first friend.

*******

Though Lily had left, meaning that Remus had to eat lunch alone, nothing could shake his smile. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had chosen to sit near him or even talk with him, other than his mum. As he looked out the train window watching the green pastures darken into dense forests he cast his mind forward wondering which house would claim him. In the short conversations he had with his father on the subject they all seemed to have some merit.

As it turned out Lupin’s family had populated three of the four houses regularly. Tyrell had been in Hufflepuff, his father’s sister had made Ravenclaw, but perhaps most impressive were the wizards in the small oval frames that hung over the fireplace back home. Those pictures which had faded from black and white to grey and ivory were the most prized portraits in his house; because Giaus and Garret Lupin had been the last family members to carry Gryffindor badges. Remus recalled how his father’s eyes had shone with pride over his brave, twice removed, great uncles. So, while he wanted nothing more than to follow in his father’s footsteps, secretly he wished for Gryffindor.

*******

Remus could hardly believe it, he had traveled by steam engine and magical boat, events that had surpassed his wildest dreams by a far margin, and finally gained access to Hogwarts. However, doubt still plagued him so as if to remind himself that he truly did belong Remus kept touching his acceptance letter, which he had neatly folded to one-eighteenth its original size and hidden in his pocket. He tried his best not to gawk, but like all first years standing below the bewitched ceiling of the great hall facing the famous Headmaster, Albums Dumbledore, for the first time was quite overwhelming. In the time it took for his mouth to dry and his eyes to burn Remus was finally able to focus his attention on the sad old hat perched upon a three-legged stool. And not a second too soon as it immediately burst into life.

“Now I many not be the typical topper,

Your commonplace cap, Or a pompadour proper,

But with a swish and a flick, My fine Warty friends, I learned quite a trick.

See the founding four, witty witches and wizards all,

Saw fit to make this loquacious lid

Much more than my appearance may suggest.

So set me upon the large and the small

And let me to do what the four did bid

And place the children where I deem best.

For Ravenclaw I claim the cunning and quick,

To Slytherin I commit the resourceful and slick,

Hard workers with high morals to Hufflepuff I send,

And I give to those with daring and nerve the name of Gryffindor to tend.

So give me a try,

We can have a little chat,

For there is only one way into Hogwarts,

And it’s through me, the Sorting Hat.”

Everyone broke into a well deserved round of applause as the Sorting Hat resumed its normal hat-like state. Remus who was watching the hat very closely, lest it should spark back to life, missed the instructions Professor McGonagall gave to the first years, and therefore waited anxiously as she gently lifted the hat and magicked an unrolled parchment, which hovered at eye level.

The name, “Patricia Abner,” rang through the hall and a very worried looking girl with blonde pigtails stepped forward and sat on the stool. Then Professor McGonagall lowered the hat on to her head, not even two seconds later the hat announced “Hufflepuff” with a dramatic flare, and the girl bounded off to the table clapping and celebrating the most. Relieved that sorting would occur alphabetically Remus relaxed and let his attention drift. He clapped when everyone clapped, but he was much more interested in the witches and wizards who populated the faculty table. In particular there was quite a round little man to Professor Dumbledore’s left who was watching the sorting with such a hungry expression that Remus found himself following the gaze of the walrus whiskered wizard to the boy currently on the stool.

Even without the large hat upon his head the boy would have stood out, with his dark wavy hair and deep grey eyes. However, much more interesting to Remus, and the unknown wizard, was the fact that he appeared to be having a conversation with the hat. Remus based this on the fact that the boy’s eyes screwed up and to the side every time the hat twitched and wrinkled its patched brow as if they were arguing with one another. Finally, after at least two minutes of intense discussion, the hat must have relented, as the boy broke into a smile just before he was allowed into Gryffindor. The only other person Remus actually watched was Lily Evans, who was quickly sorted into the house of brave Godric Gryffindor. Her smile was sad though as she looked back at a small boy with a long nose and lank black hair on her way to the table beneath the scarlet and gold banners.

Remus took a deep breath and opened his eyes when Professor McGonagall read his name. As he walked up to the stool he couldn’t help but notice the whispers which moved up and down the head table. They must all know he thought to himself as he sat down too nervous to meet the Headmaster’s steady look. He felt a slight pressure as the too large hat slumped over his eyes. Unbidden, memories of his father rose to the top of Remus’ mind. Me, I was in Hufflepuff. The house of the hard working, but I’m sure you’ll be in Sytherin. How could you not be with what you are now, even though your not pure-blood, what other house would have you? It was all Remus could do to hold back his tears.

Then out of nowhere a voice drifted through his mind

He thought so, huh, if only he knew you like I do. How about..
. “Gryffindor!”

Professor McGonagall removed the Sorting Hat and Remus finally met the Headmaster’s smiling eyes. Perhaps, a very small part of himself thought, this is where I’ll truly belong.

*******

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Remus had never been so lost in his entire life. He had lost count sometime after the third right turn, the second moving staircase, and the seventh or eighth trick stair. Without the beacon of red curly hair that floated out behind Alyssa, one of the Gryffindor prefects, as if bewitched Remus was sure he would have fallen through the last staircase. Which had been more a sloped game of hopscotch than a flight of stairs. It was worth it though to find himself at the secret entrance to the tower, even if he was sure he could never repeat the trek.

The staircase, which was currently stationary, ended at a short landing. The landing was flanked by two suits of armor, each carrying a sword and shield, a trio of narrow arrow slit windows high on the right side, and a number of paintings which ranged in size from an antique locket portrait to a mural which was larger than any wall in the Lupin family home. Remus eyed each painting suspiciously trying to determine which might hold the secret. Just as he had decided that it must be the one containing three men at a table rolling dice and holding daggers, he heard Alyssa say, “Veni, vidi, vici.” Just then a portrait of a very dour and doughy woman raised her hand slightly, as if in welcome, then her painting swung forward on its hinges revealing a gaping hole. “We are home Gryffindors,” Alyssa said as the first years made their way into the common room, “consider your selves welcomed.”

Remus had slowly circled the large round room trying to get a feel for the place, but his head was still spinning. He, Remus John Lupin, was in Gryffindor tower. He caught a glimpse of himself in the window glass, as he started up the stairs to the boy’s dormitories, and wondered in what hidden recesses the sorting hat might have seen actual courage in him.

At the top of the stairs four boys sat around the fire place talking, but they all went quiet and watched Remus as he walked over to his trunk. For a moment he just stood there not sure if he should just go to bed or try to join them.

“What was your name,” the boy with the grey eyes asked.

“Oh, I’m Remus,” he said still not committing himself in either direction.

“This is James,” he pointed to a boy with messy hair and glasses who waved, “Martin,” a freckled boy that constantly blinked, “Peter,” a roundish boy who nodded but not towards Remus, “and I’m Sirius.”

“Pleasure,” Remus said shyly as he moved half a step closer to the group.

“Hey, Remus,” James said in false casual tones, “why did the professors act so strange when McGonagall called your name?” He paused and looked over at Sirius. “It was like they had heard of you before.”

“I didn’t…”

“Are you famous,” Peter asked leaning forward so that the firelight played across his face giving him a sinister look.

Remus tried again, “No, I’m…it must be about my mum. She’s real, um, sick…uh…so sick I almost didn’t get to come this year.” The lie fell flat from his unpracticed lips.

He watched as James and Sirius’ eyes slid to the side and met, but James just smiled. “So cool that they just planted that Whomping Willow over the summer, huh…”

*******

The woods ahead of him were throwing long shadows across the small field which separated his house from the trees. To him the shadows moved with sinister intent as the wind through the branches caused them to sway forward as if reaching for him. However, with a single burst of moonlight from behind a cloud the shadows disappeared causing Remus to laugh in the face of his enemy’s defeat. A branch snapped just at the edge of the tree line to his left.

“Archimedes is that you,” Remus asked the laugh still in his voice as he moved closer to the sound. “You should have been home hours ago mum made the most delicious treacle tart for dessert…”

A much louder tree shaking sound cut Remus off mid-sentence. “Archimedes did, did you find a, a friend?”

The winds picked up stirring the nearly silent woods into a symphony and causing the flickering lights in the sky to cease as the full moon could finally shine unobstructed upon the clearing. A mind piercing howl rent the night freezing Remus in place mere inches from the leading edge of the forest.

“Remus,” the panicked voice of his father sounded so small in darkness. Remus wanted very much to call out to his father, but for fear of what had made the unthinkable noise in the trees he didn’t dare. “Are you sure he’s out there? Remus!”

Remus turned his head slightly needing to see if his dad was coming any closer, but unable to lose sight completely of the woods. Without warning or reason Remus was sprinting as fast as his legs could carry him thrashing through the tall grass. Making it just five rapid steps before…

Burning erupted across his back as he was pitched forward. Remus writhed in pain, as the nightmare above him slashed and bit every square inch of skin it could reach, trying to get enough of his breath back to scream.

“H…H…HELP! Noooooo!” A loud crack followed by a flash of blue light startled Remus awake. He was twisted in sweat soaked sheets, heart racing, and breath ragged. Sitting up in bed and dashing the unshed tears from his eyes Remus realized that he had woken everyone up. More than that a dazed James was sprawled against the far wall glasses and hair more askew than usual and everything near his bead looked as if it had been blow back by a strong wind. Remus jumped out of bed and ran for the boy planning to apologize, but Sirius’ hand in the middle of his chest stopped him immediately.

“Why would you go and do that,” James asked rubbing the back of his head.

Peter still in bed with the sheets up to his chin shook his head turning his eyes from James’s prone body to Remus, “How did you do that?”

Sirius helped James up and walked him over to his bed before facing Remus again, “Yeah how did you do that?”

“I did, didn’t do anything,” Remus pleaded.

“You were asleep,” Sirius said angrily, “how did you do magic in your sleep?” With those words everyone turned to look at Remus with wide eyes waiting for an explanation.

“What were you dreaming about,” James asked with an intense look in his eyes, “I mean you woke me up. You were muttering in your sleep and clawing at your bed so I went to wake you up and then…bam. I was all buggered up against the wall like a blue tornado hit me.”

Remus turned away from their questioning looks and started to straighten all his personal items. “I don’t remember,” he lied righting his upturned chair which was holding his house robes, “just that I was running from something.” He re-stacked his school books refusing to look over his shoulder.

“Running from something, I would have guessed someone was killing you the way you were carrying on,” James said matter of factly.

The words caused Remus’ eyes to sting. He needed the safety of his blankets to hide his emanate tears, but his curtain remained helter skelter. Grabbing the corner of the curtain brought him right up to the window pane, and there in the sky, hanging low over the Black Lake waxing toward full, was the moon. “Almost,” he said to himself.

*******

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Lily Evans fan art http://www.fanpop.com

After pretending to be asleep for the next four hours Remus gave up, threw on his rumpled robes which had remained in a heap on the floor, and hurried out of the tower.  It was so early in the morning that the paintings refused to help with directions sleepily waving Remus away with one or two harsh words peppered in for good measure.  This, of course, meant that by the time Remus actually reached the Great Hall most of the grey predawn light had shifted to the pale yellow of sunrise.  Still with it being a Sunday the tables were mostly empty.

Remus walked towards the empty middle section of the massive Gryffindor table his stomach trembling at the sight of the bubble and squeak filling a large pewter platter.  Sitting down heavily Remus immediately tucked into a very large portion, and lost in the rhythm of eating neglected to notice when he had company.

“I hope your not attempting to eat it all, because I heard a rumor these dishes are bottomless.”

Remus startled so badly that potato and roast from his fork landed at the far end of the table.

Lilly’s smile faltered as she noticed the bruised look around his eyes, “I didn’t mean to frighten you,” she apologised.

“Lilly, its just…I just didn’t sleep well,” Remus stammered as way of explanation looking at the floor shaking his head.

“Well do you mind shoving over a bit?  Every where else is full.”  Her serious face cracked into a huge grin as Remus looked around confused.  “Remus,” she laughed while swatting at him, “you must stop being so serious, it is the weekend you know?”

“You remembered,” Remus said true surprise coloring his words.

“Well yeah,” Lilly said slightly hurt, “I wouldn’t forget you.”

The words transformed the sad lonely boy’s face which now smiled a genuine smile. 

While the two ate in amicable silence only interrupted by the occasional off hand question or comment Remus felt himself relaxing. By the time he had eaten his way through two full plates, a slice of toast and jam, and a glass and a half of pumpkin juice Remus was almost happy, the nightmare nearly forgotten. Then Lily’s green eyes went wide in silent O’s of surprise. An itchy sensation between his shoulder blades told Remus that someone was standing right behind him, staring.

“Can I help you…,” Remus started obvious annoyance lacing his words as he turned to face the interloper, “ma’am” he finished lamely.

“Oh I’m sorry, are you busy Mr. Lupin,” the toe tapping visage of Professor McGonagall asked, ” have I interrupted, perhaps, your third plate of bubble and squeak?”

Remus could feel Lily pulling back and sitting up straighter in her desperate need to escape the tricky situation without notice, not that he could blame her. Watching a friend get punished for cheek was not high up on his list of fun things to do.

“I…um,” Remus stammered.

“A word please,” Professor McGonagall said while motioning towards the door, “in my office Mr. Lupin. Good day Miss Evans.”

Remus was able to shoot off one shrug in answer to Lily’s quizzical expression before he was steered out the door and around the corner.

*******

Professor McGonagall’s office was in a word meticulous. The spines of the books on her many bookshelves were perfectly inline, the tasteful furnishings, while sparse, were arranged in such a way that Remus had a hunch rulers had been involved, and there was not a speck of dust to be found. However, with the tapestries hanging on the wall and a fire happily crackling upon the hearth the room had a certain hominess to it as well.

“Sit Lupin this will only take a moment, I should think”

The look in Professor McGonagall’s eyes was not unkind Remus thought to himself as he sat down it was more calculating than anything he determined, as if she was making her mind up about him. “Yes Professor,” he asked as calmly as he could, “is there a problem?”

“Only time will tell Mr. Lupin,” McGonagall said while looking over her wire rimed spectacles at Remus. “Until then we shall have to place our trust in Albus that no there are no problems nor will there be. I have my concerns, but we will see.”

Her honesty hit Remus like cold water, and as such he sucked in his breath and braced himself for what would come next.

“You were up quite early this morning and from what I could see quite distraught, are you alright?” She paused looking at him intent worry wrinkling her brow. Unsure how to react Remus met her with a wall of silence. “Let me try again,” she said this time looking at Remus through her glasses, “you may or may not be a threat to others, but you most certainly are a danger to yourself. So…you can take my help or not Remus, my offer stands regardless.” Professor McGonagall then sat back and pulled a parchment from her long emerald sleeve tapping it against her empty hand waiting.

“I have dreams,” he admitted to one of her bookcases, “nightmares really. About the night it happened, and always right before the moon.”

“I see. The next time this happens please go directly to the hospital wing Miss Pomfrey will be able to alert me right away,” McGonagall said in her most matter of fact tone. She stood indicating that the conversation was over and handed Remus the roll of parchment. “Professor Dumbledore wishes to speak with you.”

*******

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