Something brought me outside tonight. What it is, I do not know. Whether it was the bedsprings creaking underneath me while I tossed and turned, unable to sleep; whether it was the orange night filtering through Gryffindor's tower window; whether it was the smell of snowflakes as they came chasing to the ground with their sweet, chilled breath; whether it was the lack of moon this night. None am I sure of, and none do I care about.
All I see at this moment is how one would picture me if they rode a Thestral to the East Astronomy tower, an image magnified in the back of my mind: languid and peaceful I'd appear, stretched out on the sill with a distressing drop at one side and a stone floor on the other. Remus John Lupin, for one of the few times in his life, would appear at peace.
And I am.
The smooth rock is cool against my skin and the snowflakes bite gently when I extend a hand to try and catch them in their fall. They do not melt, they do not die; they do not wither when I touch them. Unlike many and most things I know, they come toward me instead of sway away. I extend my arm as far as possible without succumbing to the steep downfall—my robes roll up to reveal a thin and bony reach—and catch the ivory stars plummeting downward from the orange sky.
I always find it funny how much more the sky glows when a winter storm is coming down. For many years now, I haven't been one to be quite fond of night; night always means her glowing presence is shining over me in all of her forms. But now… now she cannot be seen. Her crescent self is cloaked behind big cloud disks shedding ice tears. It is a nighttime battle between day and night, and it seems as though the moon is having a difficult time in defending herself from the sun. The mighty, mighty sun must be the one sending the sky alight. Everything is tinted gold in warmth.
It is one of the beauties of winter. I can sit alone and in peace, for though the moon is always there her appearances are often hindered by the snow-filled mists sagging close to the ground.
I can think much clearer without her looming presence, without the feeling that she's watching over my shoulder. Indeed, she is the cause of all that went wrong and all that has gone well. She's the muse egging on my anger and soothing a lost soul's pain; she's a twisted friend, because though I see her beauty for what it is, what she makes me leaves her to be nothing but vicious. She's the beginning and the end of all of me; I live my life around her and nothing else. The days don't cycle between sunrise and sunset, but by absence of moon and back through her company.
Few others know what I mean by this. He who made me knows what I mean. He knows what it's like. He looked for a companion in a small boy, trapped in a moment of prowling….
We were in our backyard. The sun had just been eclipsed by the horizon and little bugs had set to flying around our heads. Large and expansive flowers bloomed, of both magical and Muggle kind. They appeared on the outskirts of the forest, and circled around the sides of our home to give us some pleasurable resemblance of privacy in the Muggle community just outside of London.
Father had his broom out, twirling it between his hands and sometimes even letting it hold still in the air as if he were about to mount it. Every time he came close to mounting the broom, his right leg held up in the air over the shaft of the Nimbus 1000, I'd squeal in delight and run toward him screaming, "No, Father! Don't fly away!" and every time he'd laugh, relax, and come bolting toward me to lift me up on his shoulders to glide me through the twilight, the Nimbus 1000 falling, forgotten and abandoned, onto the ground. I'd hold tightly onto his neck, especially when waiting for the landings. He never was very good at landing. Or perhaps it was me. But then he would suddenly bend and drop down to his knees, and my four-year-old frame would go rocketing into the plush grass.
I loved those moments.
Benedict Lupin was a happy man in those days; busy, but happy. His name held weight in the Ministry and though we never lived a life bathed in money, he worked night and day for the petty indulgences Mother always wanted. Such moments like these were rare then, and would never come again afterward.
My mind was still reeling from my last fall and I was smiling up at Father when I saw it. Darting around the corner of our shed—which was overwhelmed with items found and purchased from the ancient shops of small magic communities, as well as knick-knacks picked up from various Muggle stores that Mother liked to frequent—was a large, shaggy figure. The tales told to me each night, before my eyes were pulled closed and my breathing fell deep, were always about creatures of the night. Plotting, they'd wander just beyond sight, waiting for the moment to strike. But I wasn't ever scared of these tales; I wasn't ever frightened enough to believe that Vampires and Werewolves would come looking for me.
No, I was a brave boy. Quiet, but brave. The night held no haunts save the ghoul that roamed around our home each day and night. The moon held nothing eerie then, it was just a lit wand with the beam aimed toward me.
With all this in mind, I slid down on the grass. Belly pressed down to the earth and rear to the sky, I moved snake-like forward. Quietly, oh so quietly, I moved, not wanting to scare whatever it was off. I could feel the slick grass clinging to my elbows and the dirt catching a ride on my clothes, but I still inched forward. I was smiling when I was almost two feet away from whatever it was. Five seconds later, I was screaming for Father while the creature held me in his grasp….
Everything else that happened that night has been hid behind a shade in my mind. He had grabbed a hold of me while Father was still pretending to mount his broom. He had bitten me by the time Father understood that I wasn't screaming out of glee. The full moon was changing me when Father had come near enough to watch. When I was finished, Father was already inside the house, gathering a few things before he Apparated out.
I hadn't yet been fully turned. Twelve years later, I now know that there had been a window of opportunity for me to keep from turning half-breed. My father had fled from me before it could have been taken advantage of. I was meant to be a beast for the rest of my years.
These years following that night of both soaring happiness and fateful downfall held no hope for home life….
"No. Not Remus. Remus is too—"
"Too what, Loni? I saw it with my own eyes. Can you not believe what your husband sees?"
"But he's—He's my little boy. My little boy, Benedict! A werewolf!"
"Just try and stay calm when he comes down the… Oh, hello, son. Come say hello to Mummy."
I had heard much more of the conversation than just that, but it was only then that I had decided to let my presence be known. I cowered slightly while I inched slowly into the room. I could see the fear and resentment on both of their faces; I could tell how much it took for my father to even try an even tone toward me. But I came forward anyway. Mother flinched at the sight of me, at a flitting thought of what I was.
I didn't very well understand the bleeding scratches all over my body or the one, throbbing bite that oozed on my left shoulder. I knew they hurt, and I knew they caused pain. But that was all. Nothing more.
My feet shuffled beneath me, drawing me forward, and my arms lifted themselves up toward my mother. I took a few more steps to get closer to her, wanting her to embrace me and tell me it was okay; lie to me and let me know it'd all be fine even if it wouldn't.
All I got was a fleeting, comforting touch on my face. When her hand drew away there was blood, and she turned violently from me and up into the air. The chair she had been sitting in toppled over. Her gaze was tortured toward me. I didn't understand it; I didn't know what I had done wrong. I had simply been bitten by something the night before and woke up on the forest's edge. I didn't know….
"That forest is dangerous."
"We can't stay here any longer."
"Where else can we go?"
"No, tell me, Loni. Where can we go? Where—anywhere—can we go that will let us house a werewolf boy?"
"I can't look at him."
She had righted her chair and was sitting in it once more. I shuffled my feet and looked down at the floor before my head turned up to watch them again.
Father reached out and put one hand on Mother's chin. His wrist twisted, skin spirals bunched at the corners of his arm, and he made Mother look at me. Made her face look at me, though her eyes danced everywhere else.
"You're going to have to." His hand dropped to his side. I stood forgotten as he walked closer to her, one arm draped comfortingly on one of her shoulders. "He's our son, no matter what has happened."
They must not have realized I was in the room, I thought. They didn't see me. True, I was small and my hair light. It would have been easy for me to have gone overlooked. Perhaps they thought I had slipped out long before.
Father's head turned to look where Mother was looking—looking at me. No, they could see me all right. "Mungo's?" His head shook side to side. I noticed his clothes were the same as they had been the night prior, and his face was stubbly. I lifted a hand to graze across my own cheek; smooth, but not as smooth as it should have been. "Mungo's is too much for the boy." Mother sighed, and my hand reached up to slip through my hair; much longer than it had been yesterday. "I suppose we're going to raise him on our own."
"Just until he can hold his own."
The talking went on some minutes more. Why didn't they realize I was in the room? Why didn't they pay attention when I tugged on the leg of Father's slacks or the hem of Mother's dress? Why did they look like they couldn't love me anymore…?
The stories continued their path, the pain increased and then it turned to a sort of mellow happiness when I found friends. I found people who enjoyed my company despite my monthly self. There were always other moments and other days, of course; more dreams and more disappointments, taken as they came.
All because of the moon.
The moon made him who made me.
I look out from the Tower window, and over the silent grounds. The snow is still falling, and the Forbidden Forest still sits in a captured moment, a breath breathed in but not yet let out into freedom.
I swing my legs off the ledge and onto solid ground. I give a start when I hear rustling in the corner. I almost raise my wand in defense, but instead let my arms swing at my sides. A small smile breaks across my face.
"How long have you three been there?"
"Long enough to see that you put too much thought into the weather," a voice answers from the corner, a lopsided grin splayed across his face. The three of them—for, in fact, there are three of them; the boy speaking to me, his best mate pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, and a small rat pacing around on the ground—had let the cloak (magical illusion at its best; invisibility beneath liquid cloth) bunch around their feet. Or, more justly, feet and paws in the rat's case.
I walk toward them as the two boys cluster together and vanish, the Animagus form of one of my mates skidding up another's trouser leg. "Mind to share a spot?"
A rustle of a cloak; smiling faces hidden in the shadows. I step forward and vanish.