August 10th, 1975
I sit outside, watching my son and his friends. They are playing in the sandbox with my five year old daughter, Artemis; I tried telling her that Remus and his friends wanted to be alone for a little bit, but Sirius Black replied, “Mrs. Lupin, thou shalt not separatest me fromth mine dearest Princess Midget.” He never ceases to make me laugh, that one. I worry about his family sometimes – when Sirius stayed at our house last Christmas, he never gave a very clear answer as to why. But I know that is not proof of anything. For all I know, it was simply one of those adolescent issues; God knows how many I had back when I was growing up.
Oh, how cute – Artemis just started singing Happy Birthday to “Pita,” who is actually a boy named Peter Pettigrew. He is quieter than the rest, even Remus, but he is so polite and sweet.
I smile, but feel a pang of sadness as Artemis gives Pita his “Sand-flavud buthday cake.” Remus sees me, and smiles, almost as if he knew what I was thinking. Sometimes, I swear that boy is a self-trained Legilimens.
It is he who I cringe for. I wish, at times, that Remus had had an older sibling. Then maybe we wouldn’t have that barn in the middle of the garden. We’d probably live in our old neighborhood, back in Wales. But then, maybe fate is just fate, no matter what the circumstances are. I just regret that Remus’s childhood was not as easy as Artemis’s. And I know it is all my fault.
That night, years ago. I shudder to think of it. Remus was five, like Artemis is now, and I was entertaining some friends from Hogwarts. I had asked him to stay nearby… but while Remus is clever, and usually behaves, he was never one to stay put. He was as curious then as he is now. I suppose that he sneaked out of the house when we thought he was sleeping.
I was just saying goodbye to Bonnie McGee when I heard it. The growling of a wolf, and the blood-curdling scream of a little boy. My boy.
“Remus,” I gasped. Bonnie, Jason and I rushed out; the Wolf had advanced on my son, and Remus was grasping his arm in pain. The Wolf looked at me, and I realized that was is no Wolf. Wolves don’t have manic gleams in their eyes. And they don’t come above my hip in size.
“Stupefy!” both Bonnie and I yelled, holding out our wands. The Werewolf fell down, and we rushed to Remus.
Remus was panting, whimpering. “M-Mummy,” his soft little voice said tearfully.
“Shh, baby, it’s okay,” I whispered. “Jason, Bonnie, g-get… get help. A Ministry Car, a Healer, anything… damn it, you two, MOVE!”
Jason and Bonnie rushed off, and I looked at my son once more. He was grabbing onto his arm, which was bleeding.
“Remus, honey,” I began, “Can...can I move your hand?”
“It bit me,” Remus sobbed. “The Wolfie, it bit me.”
Those words would haunt me for the rest of my life. “No,” I said, shivering. “I’m sure it’s just a bad scratch, dear.” I moved his hand gently… and nearly lost my dinner. Teeth marks as vivid as fire were imprinted on his arm.
Jason came back into the garden. “The Knight Bus is here,” he said. “We’re going to go.”
Bonnie was putting a disillusionment charm on the Werewolf. “We need to bring him, too,” she explained, when I looked at her.
I was not happy, but I realized we had no choice. So I hastily carried Remus to the Knight Bus, asking for a clean towel. The driver gave me one. “St. Mungo’s?”
I nodded. “Now.”
We sat, Remus still trembling, Bonnie helping me wrap the towel around his arm. Jason put his arm around me, and looked at Remus worriedly. “Are you okay, son?”
Remus shook his head. “Make the pain go away, Daddy.”
No parent should ever have to hear that, and no child should have to utter it. Jason closed his eyes, and I held my son closer. “The Healers will make it all better, honey.”
Jason, Bonnie, and I rushed Remus into St. Mungo’s when the bus stopped; there was a line to the desk, but we cut to the front anyway.
The lady looked at us sternly. “To the back.”
“This is an emergency!” I screeched. “Bites!”
“Floor one, you want the Dai Llweyn ward,” the lady said. Then she looked at Bonnie and Jason suspiciously. “What are you two carrying?”
“Never mind,” Jason snapped, as I lead them to the Ward.
I ran inside, and was met by a Healer. “Ma’am?” she asked. Her badge said “Healer Gadiner.”
“I need to see a Healer,” I gasped.
Healer Gadiner led us into the office. “What happened?” she asked, putting Remus on one of those rubber benches, with paper on top of it. She took the towel from Remus’s arm, and her eyes widened. “Looks bad…”
“That’s not all,” I said. Jason and Bonnie put the Werewolf on the table, and took off the charm.
Healer Gadiner muffled a scream; Remus saw it, and didn’t bother to muffle his scream.
“Mummy!” he cried. “It’s back!”
“It’s asleep,” I said quickly. I looked at Gadiner, and told her, “s-t-u-n-n-e-d. We… we fear it’s a W-e-r-e-w-o-l-f.”
Healer Gardiner grabbed onto her desk for support. “Oh, dear,” she said. “Well… what’s your name, dear?” she asked Remus.
Remus trembled. “R-Remus Lupin.”
Healer Gadiner managed a small smile. “Well, Remus, I’m Healer Gadiner. I’m going to try and make your arm better, okay?”
Remus hesitated. “W-will I need a charm?”
Healer Gadiner felt the arm gently. “Well, since your bones are fine…” she got a huge bandage roll, and put it on Remus’s arm. “For now, we don’t need a charm. I just need you to not touch the bandage – do you understand me?”
Remus nodded, and Healer Gadiner said, “Okay… Mrs. Lupin, when was Remus bitten?”
“About a half an hour ago,” I replied nervously.
Healer Gadiner sighed. “Okay… well…” She suddenly grabbed a small wand-over-bone figurine, pressed it with her wand, and called, “Healer Meeks, please come to floor three, office five, immediately. Healer Meeks, floor one, office five.”
Within seconds, a tall man ran in. “Yes?”
He looked at Remus’s bandaged arm, and the Werewolf. “Oh boy.”
“Is it bad?” Remus asked.
“Meeks… this boy was bitten,” Healer Gadiner informed him softly. “Half an hour ago. Is… is it a…”
Healer Meeks went over, and examined the Werewolf. He turned to us gravely.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
I grabbed Jason’s arm.
“Was… was the bite…”
“Let me see it,” Healer Meeks said. Healer Gadiner opened up the bandage, and showed Healer Meeks, who sighed.
“It’s too deep to be helped,” He said. “Again, I’m sorry.”
“What do you mean?” Remus asks.
“It’s okay, Remus,” I said, holding his hand.
Jason held the other hand, and nodded. “It… it’s going to be okay.”
But I knew that we were both yelling inside. It couldn’t be. Not our son. Things like this don’t happen to small children.
Healer Meeks walked out, without even acknowledging us. Healer Gadiner was getting a Potion out of her closet.
“No,” Jason was whispering, staring at Remus. “No.”
Healer Gadiner said gently, “Listen… this is a small, mild form of the dreamless sleep potion, meant for younger children. It will make Remus feel better, but I want your consent in giving it to him.
I grabbed the bottle, making sure there was nothing toxic in it. But as Healer Gadiner promised, it is a simple, small bottle, saying “Happy Nights” on it. I gave it to her, and nodded my approval.
Healer Gadiner handed it to Remus. “Here, Remus,” she said. “It will make you fall asleep, okay?”
“I’m scared to,” Remus whispered. “I’ll have bad dreams.” I cringed.
“No, you won’t,” Healer Gadiner assured him, her voice so gentle and kind that I wanted to hug her. “This simply makes you feel better. You will have nice dreams.”
Remus reluctantly drank it, and rested his head. His eyes closed, and soon, my baby was sound asleep.
“Is there anything I can do?” Gadiner asked quietly.
Jason shook his head. “No.”
Bonnie looked at the Wolf. “W-will it wake up?”
Gadiner shook her head. “Biting usually exhausts them.”
I took a deep breath. “Healer Gadiner… are you sure that…?”
Gadiner squeezed my hand, and nodded. “I’m really sorry,” she said sadly, and I could tell that, unlike Healer Meeks, she meant it.
Jason hugged me, and I started sobbing.
To this day, I still cannot figure out how I went to sleep. All I know is, a few hours later, I woke up on a chair in the office to a moan.
A man was on the table where the Werewolf was, crying in his sleep. Healer Gadiner was shaking him.
“What’s going on?” Remus asked.
Bonnie ran her fingers through Remus’s hair, and said in a soft voice, “he’s not had an easy night.”
“Why is there a man there?” Remus asked. “It was a Wolf before.”
The man was now awake; he sat up, robes torn.
“Mr. Sheldon,” Healer Gadiner said. Her voice was strained.
Mr. Sheldon looked around the room, his eyes falling on Remus’s bandaged arm.
“Oh, God,” he cried, jumping off of the table. “Oh, God, no!”
Healer Gadiner put her hand on his. “Mr. Sheldon…”
Remus was frowning slightly, and I could tell that he was putting the pieces together. I wanted to distract him, but he was too fast.
“You… you were the Wolf?” It was a statement disguised as a question.
Mr. Sheldon gaped at Remus. “You’re just a little boy,” he said, his voice breaking.
Part of me wanted to scream at Mr. Sheldon, tell him he had so much nerve speaking to my child. But I realized that it wasn’t his fault… and that if what the Healers said was true, my son was just as vulnerable. It could happen to him.
Damn it! I didn’t know what to say. Mr. Sheldon’s eyes met mine, and Jason’s.
Jason… oh, I wished I could be more like him. He walked over to Mr. Sheldon, who was now crying. He patted his back. “You didn’t mean to,” he said. My husband was always forgiving, even then. He made me feel so selfish – it wouldn’t be until a few years later that I realized similar thoughts were running through his mind.
Mr. Sheldon slumped down, and I realized he’d fainted. Healer Gadiner rushed over.
Remus was now crying again. “Mummy, was it a… a Werewolf? Like you always warn me about?”
I looked at Jason helplessly. Jason sat next to his son, and rubbed his back.
“I’m afraid so,” he replied quietly.
Healer Gadiner had called for another Healer; the Healer had rushed in, and was taking Mr. Sheldon out.
Remus’s eyes widened into little circles. “But… does that make me one?”
Healer Gadiner turned to the window, and I realized that she was crying now, too. Bonnie was watching, her face pale, as Jason replied solemnly, “I’m afraid it may be.”
Remus started crying harder, Bonnie, Jason and I crying with him.
I shake myself out of memory lane, and look at my little Artemis. She is standing in front of me, holding flattened sand on a small plastic “dish.”
“A piece of cake,” she explains happily.
I take it, smiling. “Thank you, Artemis.”
Artemis looks at me closely. “You have tee-uhs in your eyes. Wuh you cwying?”
“No, dear,” I lie.
Artemis runs back to the sandbox, and immediately starts talking to her brother and his friends.
I watch her, noting her youthful innocence, and it makes my heart lighter. At that moment, I wish my son had been allowed to maintain the same innocence.
But just as I get ready to go inside, James Potter takes a bucket of sand, and dumps it over Remus’s head. Artemis claps in glee, and Remus, in turn, does the same to James.
Maybe, I muse, his innocence really isn’t gone forever.
Still, I will always regret the night where I didn’t take enough notice of it to begin with.