Even though Remus Lupin
had been going to St. Mungo’s to take the wolfsbane potion before his
transformation for a week now, it still seemed so strange.
“I’m afraid you’re in
for an unusually rough transformation this time, ” the Healer said sadly to
him. “All the stress and pain you’ve been going through since Sirius
Black’s death… you’ll feel it tonight. I’m terribly sorry. Even with the
painkillers I’ve put in the potion, it’s not going to be enough.”
“I expected that would
be the case,” said Remus. No matter how much he had anticipated this, it
was still disappointing to have it confirmed. If his first transformation after
the deaths of his parents or James Potter were any indication, this one was
going to be much more dangerous than usual.
So here was Remus, back
at St. Mungo’s on a fine afternoon for the last dose of the wolfsbane potion
before the full moon rose that night. When Remus explained to Healer Monaco
that he had been extremely tired earlier than usual that day, she told him that
she was not surprised.
“Now, Remus,” the
Healer said after Remus had swallowed the last of the wolfsbane potion, “One
thing you can do to help a bit is to stretch about fifteen minutes before
moonrise. Try to stretch all the muscles in your body. Then try to
relax as much as possible. As I said, you are in for a rather rough go of
it. As I do with all of my patients, I’ll stop by tomorrow morning to
check on you to make sure you haven’t done any serious injuries to yourself.
Are we straight on this?”
“Quite,” he smiled
“Take care and good
luck then,” she said, shaking his hand. “ See you in the morning.”
“Goodbye and thank
you,” he said quietly.
straight away to his old house instead of going back to Twelve Grimmauld Place,
where he had been living. Despite the fact that Headquarters was
unplottable, he never wanted to risk transforming in such close proximity to so
many people, especially Muggles. Instead, he went to the house his
parents had left to him in the sleepy little town of Devon. This had been
his home ever since he had been a boy; he and Sirius had been coming back here
for Remus’ transformations every month for the last year.
Now, he was coming back
here to spend the night without Padfoot … all alone … or so he thought … until
he opened the front door.
“Arthur… what are you
doing here?” asked Remus in alarm before quickly adding in a gruff voice,
“You can’t stay.”
Arthur Weasley got up
from the old cherry wooden rocking chair in the lounge and approached Remus.
“You can say what you
like, Remus, but I am staying. I need to make sure my friend is all right
tonight,” Arthur said resolutely.
“I appreciate your
concern, but you can’t stay,” said Remus firmly. Although Remus and Arthur had
talked a great deal since Sirius’ death and had become good friends, it was too
great a risk for Arthur to be here. Nobody had ever seen Remus transform other
than Sirius, James, and Peter; and the only ones to even be in a separate room
but able to hear him transform were his parents. The risk was simply too great.
Remus took off his thin
robes and hung them up on the hall tree in the entryway. He could feel
his muscles tensing already as the rising of the full moon approached.
This was no time for a visitor.
“Molly said it would
help relax your muscles,” said Arthur, approaching Remus from the kitchen
with two cups of peppermint tea. He handed Remus a cup of the steaming hot
beverage. “Three teaspoons of sugar, just how you like it.”
Arthur looked up at
Remus from behind his own cup of tea, which he was sipping.
This was not going to
“Arthur, I am afraid I
“I’m not leaving,
Remus,” he interrupted. “As I said, I need to be with my friend.”
“Look,” said Remus in
exasperation, “I am not your friend… not tonight. Tonight, I am a
werewolf … a creature… a monster who wants nothing more than to kill you, all
right? You cannot stay. You are not an Animagus like Sirius
was. I appreciate what you are trying to do, but you must leave!”
“I’m afraid you’re wrong.
Tonight, of all nights, I must be your friend. You may be a werewolf,
yes, but you are not a monster.” Arthur sat back down in the rocking chair
resolutely. “Look, I won’t stay in the same room as you once the
transformation starts. But I know how difficult this month has been for
you since Sirius’ death. It’s bound to take an enormous toll on your body
tonight. You told me yourself a couple of nights ago that it would be
rough. I need to be here to make sure you are all right. I need to
make sure nothing goes wrong,” Arthur implored.
“And what will you do
if something does go wrong? What good can you do then?” asked Remus
As Remus started to
object, Arthur cut him off.
“Look, I already
discussed it with her. She’s feeling better. In her cat form, you
won’t attack her. Even if you did, she said she’s too fast for you and
can always Apparate. Besides, you’ve been taking that potion all week, so
nothing should go wrong.”
“Yes, but from a new
Healer, and a potion different from the one I have always taken.”
“Even so. Healer
Monaco is a fine Healer. We’ve been keeping tabs on the werewolves she
treats and none of them have had a problem. Her potion is fine. But
I need to be here anyway, for my own sake. I promise, I will stay in a
Remus eyed him warily;
he had an uneasy feeling about this, but could sense Arthur’s determination.
“Okay, fine.” Remus
said in resignation. “But when I say to leave, you’d better clear out and
go back upstairs.”
“Agreed,” said Arthur
with relief. “So now what? Anything I can get for you?
Anything I can do?”
“No,” said Remus as he
crossed to the sofa and collapsed onto it. “Right now, I’ll rest for a
while and try to stay calm. Once the sun starts to set, then I’ll get
ready.” He rubbed his temples with his fingers, trying to calm down from
this unexpected surprise.
Arthur eyed Remus
carefully again. “So, er… tell me… anything I should know? I’m
afraid I’ve never been in close proximity to a werewolf on a full moon before.”
Despite the seriousness
of the situation, Remus couldn’t help but chuckle at the ridiculousness of this
statement. He could smell Arthur’s growing apprehension.
“No, I guess you
haven’t… fortunately for you,” said Remus. He forced himself to become
clinical as he focussed on answering Arthur’s question. “Let’s see… as I
said, for now, I rest. Then, a bowl of water and, er... some newspaper…
imagine the necessities of a dog kept in the house over night. I’ll
transform down in the basement.
“Back when I was a
child, my parents made sure it was werewolf-proof. Sirius usually set the
wards just before it was time. You’ll have to set them this time.
Obviously, I’ll be wandless,” said Remus matter-of-factly.
Arthur squirmed a
little in his chair, but continued to look at Remus with rapt attention.
“Now, for your
purposes, you should know that it is normal for me to make some noises when the
“What, you mean like a
… like a …howl?” gulped Arthur.
Remus smiled. The
man really had no idea what he was getting himself into.
“No, not like a
howl. I’ll still basically be in human form at the time. The
transformation only takes a couple of minutes, during which time, my body is in
such a state of shock that it is impossible for me to howl or scream. By
the time the shock wears off, the transformation is complete and I am no longer
paled and took on a slightly green tinge as he took a large sip of his tea.
“Right then. Continue,
transformation is complete, that’s when you will probably hear me howl.
Not continuously, just a few times… sort of a release from the pain.
After that, I’ll curl up and try to rest. Oh, if you come near the door
while I’m transforming … which I don’t suggest you do, by the way … you may
hear some strange noises like the cracking of bones and such, but that’s all to
Beads of perspiration
dotted Arthur’s ashen coloured face. Remus handed him a
handkerchief. “Here… I think I need to take care of you
just now,” he said with a smile.
Arthur took the
handkerchief gratefully and wiped his brow.
“Er… what about… in the
morning?” Arthur ventured.
“Oh, well… in the
morning, it’s sort of the reverse, isn’t it?” mused Remus lightly. “A
little howling right when it starts, then some bones cracking and muscles
pulling, then a little human moaning, and it’s over… are you sure you want to
“Quite,” said Arthur,
as he struggled to regain his composure. “When do I come to get you?”
“After the sun is
up. Not before. And if it’s raining, wait until 8:00, just to be
safe. I’ll be fine. I usually need to rest a little before I can
Arthur nodded his head
quickly. “That’s er… quite understandable.”
“You can sleep in my
room, if you’d like. There are fresh linens in the chest at the foot of
Thank you, Remus, but I
think I’ll be kipping out here tonight,” said Arthur.
“Suit yourself,” said
Remus with a shrug of his shoulders. Then a thought occurred to
him. “What about Molly? I can’t imagine her letting you do this
foolhardy stunt of yours.”
Arthur smiled uneasily.
“No, she doesn’t
know. I told her I was going to be out all night on Order business …
which is really the truth,” he added.
Remus raised an eyebrow
at Arthur and laughed softly. “I see where Fred and George get it
from. You would’ve fit right in with us. Pity you weren’t in our
year at Hogwarts.”
He laid back and closed
his eyes. The nap he had taken earlier in the afternoon seemed a long
“Were you really that
bad, Remus? Certainly, I’ve heard a couple of stories about you lot, but were
you really that much of a … challenge?” Arthur asked curiously.
“Yes, we were,”
chuckled Remus. “And then some. We were incorrigible until sometime
in our sixth year… after Christmas… then we started behaving better. I’ll
never understand how I made Prefect. I must have been the worst Prefect
ever. At least James was better and more responsible by the time he made
Head Boy in seventh year.”
“What happened in sixth
year to make you lot change?” asked Arthur apprehensively.
Remus’ face fell and
“We grew up. One
of Sirius’ pranks backfired and I … I almost got to Snape on a full moon.”
Arthur’s face paled.
“No, you don’t see,” Remus
replied quickly. “Snape was baiting Sirius with his brother,
Regulus. I’m neither condoning what Sirius did nor even making excuses
for him. What he did was inexcusable and almost cost all of us
dearly. It’s no wonder Snape feels the way he does about us.
“But Sirius learnt from
his mistake. I was angry and disappointed in him for a long time
afterward. He needed to regain my trust, which he did, but it came at a
cost. Later on, when members of the Order were being picked off one by
one, old wounds festered doubt about whom the traitor was. So in a way,
we continued to pay for the prank. And now the full price has been
“I’m sorry, Remus.”
Arthur looked down at the cup in his hands. “I didn’t mean to bring that
“No, it’s all right.
I don’t mind telling you.” Remus turned onto his side on the sofa so he
could face Arthur better.
“I’m trying to accept
what’s happened. I do miss him tonight, though. No offence, but…”
Arthur cut him off with
a wave of his hand.
“No offence taken. I might be a friend, but not a life-long
friend like Sirius. I’m sure he knew how to read your thoughts and
feelings without your even telling him, especially when he was in dog form.”
Remus. “They all did. Even Peter.”
“Let’s not bring him up
tonight, shall we?” Arthur said grimly. “You’re supposed to be relaxing.”
“Right. I just
wish I knew what changed him,” Remus said with a yawn. “If you had known
him back when we were in school… well… last person I would have
suspected. Last person I did suspect. If only we had… then Sirius
would still be here… But you’re right… enough about Peter. ”
Remus drifted off to
sleep for a little while. Soon, however, he felt someone gently shaking
him awake for the second time that day.
“The sun’s going
down. I’m afraid it’s time, mate,” said Arthur ruefully.
Remus opened his eyes
and looked around. The room was indeed starting to get darker.
Slowly, he raised his aching body into a sitting position and rubbed his eyes
as he yawned.
“You know, it’s not too
late. You don’t have to do this. I’ll understand.”
“Not a chance,” said
Arthur, helping Remus to stand up.
Remus soon had the
large bowl of water ready, which Arthur carried down into the basement for him
while Remus changed into what could barely be described as clothing; it was so
tattered and shredded. Once he had changed, Remus did the stretching
exercises that Healer Monaco had suggested. When Remus at last went into the
cool, dark basement, he found that Arthur had already spread the newspaper for
“I didn’t know exactly
where you wanted it, but I found some old papers here, so I…” Arthur began, his
ears turning bright red. “Look you just tell me where to put them.”
“No, that’s fine,” said
Remus. Despite the increasing stiffness he felt in his limbs, he also
felt a little flush of heat rising in his own neck and ears. “You figured
correctly. That’s where they belong.”
“It’s been a while
since we had to house-train a puppy at Th…” Poor Arthur looked mortified at
what he had started saying. “I’m sorry, Remus!”
Instead of being upset,
however, Remus laughed out loud. “It’s all right, Arthur. Actually,
when Sirius used to transform and stay with me on full moons, we both used the
newspaper, if necessary. So, you see, it’s exactly as it is with a
Arthur nodded, smiled
nervously, and then looked around.
“Is that where you …
er…” he asked, pointing to some crumpled rounded blankets on the floor.
“Yes. That’s where I
curl up and spend the night. On the tartan one over there. A gift
from Minerva when I joined the staff at Hogwarts a couple of years ago.”
A small smile creased Remus’ face at the memory. “The poor thing had
heard that I intended to curl up in my study to spend the night and couldn’t
stand the thought of me sleeping on the cold floor. One day, she knocked
on my door after classes and presented me with an old blanket of hers.”
“And the other one?”
asked Arthur, motioning with his finger.
“The other blanket I
also received that year. A going away gift from Madam Pomfrey that she
used to cover a hamper of foods and tonics.” An odd expression crossed
Remus’ face. “That’s the one Sirius used to sleep on.”
A deafening silence
filled the room. All of a sudden, Remus’ body stiffened and he began to
“Leave… now,” Remus
barely managed to say between gritted teeth. “And… thanks.”
Arthur’s horrified gaze
was fixed on Remus for a moment before he nodded. Turning quickly, he
sprinted up the steps before turning around to take one last look at Remus
before leaving and closing the door tightly behind him.
With an effort, Remus
lifted his head slightly off the warm blanket and squinted through the early
morning light at the black shape of the man before him.
“Sorry to disturb … I mean … look … are you all right?”
Arthur Weasley asked hesitantly.
Remus tried to nod his head, but the movement was too much
for him just now. Instead, he managed to crack his dry lips open and
whisper, his voice raspy, “I’m fine. Thank you,” before the world went
The first thing he noticed … peppermint tea… gradually
growing stronger, more definite. Then something…. muffled footfalls.
He huddled back into his blankets, the calm, comfortable blackness gave way to
the ache and weariness of another day. Perhaps he could avoid this day,
if he pulled the blanket over his face.
His fingertips purposefully reached for the blanket, but instead
grasped something much softer. Something much softer … his grandmother’s
quilt that his father had given him all those years ago when he was a little
Remus opened his eyes to the familiar sight of his old
bedroom. The same moving photographs of the four of them at Hogwarts
laughing at some long forgotten joke, his old broom leaning in the corner. The
same dresser he’d had since he was a boy.
Arthur must have brought me up here from the basement.
“Ah, you’re awake I see,” said Arthur cheerily. Remus
winced; Arthur’s usual quiet voice seemed far too hearty … and loud.
“Good, good.” Arthur said as he placed the heavy tea service he had been
carrying on the dresser and reached to help Remus sit up.
Every single one of Remus’ muscles was screaming in pain
and each slight movement seemed to take an eternity. His entire body felt
like lead. His very skin ached with a prickly feeling as his body rubbed
against the bed when he changed positions. Soft as he knew the bed was,
today it felt like stone. Even Arthur’s gentle fingers on his shoulders
helping him into a sitting position felt like fire.
At last Remus was sitting upright, leaning his head back
against a set of fluffy pillows. He forced himself to raise his hands and
accept the warm cup of tea Arthur held before him.
“Thanks,” he managed. The warm tea soothed his dry,
“Anything I can get you?” Arthur asked. “Should you
eat something? Perhaps that would help give you your strength back,” he
“Just some toast, please,” Remus whispered in a raspy
Soon, Remus was carefully chewing a bit of toast with
orange marmalade. It did feel better to have something in his
stomach. Sirius always used to make …
“Arthur, I appreciate all that you’ve done for me.
Not many would have done what you did. It couldn’t have been very
pleasant for you last night. I … thank you.”
The familiar Weasley blush stained Arthur’s face red as he
fidgeted with the tea tray. He looked at Remus and opened his mouth as if
to speak, but apparently thought better of it and closed his mouth.
Instead, he busied himself with adjusting the angle of the teapot.
Finally, he said softly, “I did what I had to do, Remus.” Still looking
at the tea service, Arthur continued. “I am … ashamed to admit that up
until now, I have been one of those foolish wizards who thought werewolves were
… lesser beings… something to be feared and to avoid ... and not just on full
“But you’ve never
treated me that way,” Remus said incredulously despite his exhaustion. “I
would never have thought … Arthur, you’re too hard on yourself.”
“No, no,” continued
Arthur, shaking his head slightly. “I always told myself you were
different, that you didn’t really turn into a … creature. Even after Ron
told me … I … that is, after I met you at the Order’s meetings, you seemed
normal, not at all like I had pictured a werewolf. So I convinced myself that
you were not… that you did not … that you were different, and that that is why
you were so intelligent and kind.”
Remus grimaced as he
straightened himself up and picked up the cup of tea.
“And now?” he asked,
eyeing Arthur as he sipped the warm liquid.
Arthur fidgeted a bit
more before finally dropping his hand and looking squarely at Remus. “Now I
have seen what you are …and … I know … well, as much as I can ever know… what
you … and others like you … really are.” A pause as Arthur took a gulp of air.
“You are not human.”
“No.” Remus put his cup
down firmly, wiping his lips with a napkin, his eyes never leaving Arthur. “I’m
“Do you really go
through that much pain and torment every month? The only time I’ve ever
heard someone in pain like that was just after the first war against
You-Know-Who when I saw Frank and Alice … and that was just once.” Arthur
screwed his face up in emphasis. “You have to go through that twelve
times a year. Last night, I watched as my friend, someone I feel I’ve got
much closer to lately, literally changed into a monster before my eyes.
No, not the whole thing, but I saw enough,” Arthur added hastily.
uncomfortable, Remus averted looking at Arthur any longer by fidgeting with his
teacup. This was not the state anyone would ever wish a friend to see one
in. It must have been quite a traumatic evening for Arthur.
“Sorry you had to see
resolutely at Remus.
“I’m not. Had I
not seen that, I never would have learnt to accept you for who you really
are. You are a werewolf. I know, it sounds foolish to say, but the
full import of that has finally hit me. There you are sitting before me
now, as I’ve always known you. I said earlier that you are not human, yet
to me, you will always be one of the most human people I know. You are not a
creature but one night in twenty-eight. I will always consider you my
“Just a friend to avoid
once a month,” quipped Remus.
“Oh, not at all,” said
Arthur, folding his arms determinedly. “Without fail, that is the one
time a month you can depend upon seeing me from now on.”
It was a good thing
Remus had already put his teacup down. How could Arthur feel that way
after last night?
“Are you mad?” cried
Remus. “You want to see that again? Madness, sheer madness, that’s
what it is. What would Molly say?”
“Molly be hanged!
It’s not that I want to see it. I’d rather not, but not because it’s too
gruesome, but because I don’t want you to have to go through that horrible
ordeal ever again. But you will … Now I know you will,” Arthur swallowed
hard. “And you need… I will be there for you … like they were.”
Arthur nodded to a
picture of James, Sirius, and Peter laughing and howling by turns. It was
taken shortly after their first excursion into Hogsmeade as animagi with Remus
on a full moon. How foolish they had all been.
“I know I can’t
transform like they did, but … I saw you earlier this morning. You need
help; you shouldn’t be alone. Not then.”
“Yes, I remember that,”
said Remus tersely. “I distinctly recall telling you not to get me until
8:00 if it were still dark outside.”
“I knew the danger had
passed,” Arthur replied simply.
“You knew… Arthur, this
was the first time you were near a transformed werewolf; I must insist you
abide by my rules. No taking of unnecessary risks. The
Arthur interrupted him
with a wave of his hand. “… could be quite detrimental to my health; yes
I know. Very well, fair enough. Next time, I will wait.”
There was a
pause. Remus sighed and scrutinised Arthur’s face. Arthur was
looking resolutely back at him, determined to continue this madness.
There was nothing for it.
“Shouldn’t you be at
work?” Remus suggested.
“I took the morning off
to be with a sick friend …as I will be doing every month from now on.”
“Great … another
watchdog,” Remus replied.