Notes: Okay… doing something a little different. I don’t have another chapter of Plugged In quite ready yet, but I was hoping not to “cop out” and just do a random post in place of a story. I was hoping to actually have something worth reading…. And that’s when I remembered this story I wrote in high school. Back then, I was a HUGE Harry Potter fan. (Still am, but now The Boy Who Lived has to compete with superheroes.) Anyways, I was nerdy enough that I dabbled in fanfiction now and again, and this was always one that I was really proud of. The concept was Remus Lupin’s father trying to come to terms with the fact that his son is now a werewolf. Obviously, this was written prior to Pottermore, so information is not canon-accurate. This was just how I’d envisioned Remus’ childhood.
Anyways, I promise this blog won’t become a fanfiction site. I’m much more interested in writing my own stories with my own characters. But I remember this being something that helped get my creative juices flowing. In many ways, it acted as a nice writing exercise.
And, plus, I thought it might be fun to do something a little bit different.
Oh… and obvious disclaimer: I don’t own Harry Potter.
Remus Lupin groaned from the nearby sofa, and his father looked up. It had been a month since he had been bitten, but he was still as weak as ever; perhaps even more so after his first transformation. Jonathan looked back at his untouched tea, having less desire than ever to actually drink it. His wife, Lucinda, was lying beside her five year old son, stroking his sandy hair. She had been doing so all day, just sitting there, watching Remus–it was all she had done since he had been attacked. All she had done while he’d been lying in St. Mungo’s, all she’d been doing since he’d been brought home.
And this is what Jonathan had been doing: sitting as far away from his son as possible. Remus had tried to catch his eye, but Jonathan couldn’t bring himself to even look at his son, lying covered in scars that were, ultimately, his fault. If only he hadn’t angered Greyback. If only he had been moments sooner and realized that Remus was not in his bed… that he was outside… if only…
Jonathan gulped his now-cold tea in an effort to stop the flow of thoughts that always seemed to cascade whenever he looked at his son. The attempt was in vain. If things would have been different, if he would have been smarter, then Remus would not be lying, scarred and weak on the couch. Remus wouldn’t have spent two weeks of his young life confined to a hospital bed; he wouldn’t be a…a…
Jonathan drank his tea again, only vaguely aware that he had reached the sodden tea leaves.
If it wasn’t for him and his idiotic mistakes, Remus would be up and about, as normal and healthy as any other young wizard. He would more than likely be outside, eagerly expecting his father to play hide-and-seek with him, or perhaps his mother would be reading him a story from the thick volume of fairytales they had bought when Remus had been born, rather than tending to the large gash, still red and fresh, that ran from his right side up to his neck.
Lucinda had refused to talk to Jonathan since the attack, she had every right to. It was he, after all, who had ruined their only son’s life. It was he who had convicted his son to the life of an outcast, a life filled with pain and heartache. Jonathan, put his cup to his lips again, gagging on the tea leaves. Lucinda glanced at him for the briefest of moments, before looking again at her son.
Jonathan rose, rinsed his cup and crossed the hall to the living room, making to sit beside his wife; she tensed instantly. He didn’t try to talk to her; the last time he had attempted a conversation it had ended with the two of them yelling, her responsible for most of it. “How could you! You know what that monster’s like!” He knew to say anything would develop into the same fight, and he didn’t want to wake Remus. He merely sat beside his wife, looking down at his boy. He had always been small and thin for his age, but more so now than ever. Now, he looked sickly: his features were pale, almost blending into the pillow he lay upon; his light brown hair was matted to his thin face; dark circles hid beneath his eyes; and there was a slash, still bleeding, from the wolf that had disappeared back into the boy’s body mere minutes ago.
“How’s he doing, then?” Jonathan asked, reaching to pat his son’s hand. Lucinda reached forward protectively, stopping her husband from coming any nearer to their son. He paused immediately; Lucinda and his eyes meeting briefly. Her eyes were the sharpest blue, penetrating; Remus, however, had inherited his father’s own brown eyes. Yet, there wasn’t any love or understanding in Lucinda’s eyes this morning; there hadn’t been for a month. The only emotions he ever saw reflecting in those clear orbs were anger if she was looking at him, or sorrow if she was with Remus.
“I’ll leave you with him, then?” he asked tentatively.
“Go off then, leave him when he’s like this!”
“You won’t let me anywhere near him!” he spat in a harsh whisper.
“Well of course not! If you would have just–you know what that… that maniac’s like!”
“You talk as though I wanted this to happen to Remus! Cindi, you know that I would never–that if I could take it for him I would–don’t say this is my fault!” he finished in a defeated breath, knowing that to not blame himself was a lie, but he couldn’t stand to hear the accusation coming from Lucinda or, even worse, from Remus.
“Not your fault!”She was whispering too, though it didn’t appear that any amount of noise would wake Remus; he was sleeping soundly, his features expressionless. “If you would have just–if you could have–you should have…”
“Don’t you dare say what I should have done, Cindi!” Jonathan said gravely, rising from his seat. “You have no idea…what would you have done? Cindi, I–”
“Look at him!” Cindi yelled suddenly, standing, pointing at their son, who still hadn’t stirred.
Jonathan stared for a moment, before quickly looking away, as though suddenly finding the beige carpet immensely interesting. “I can’t.”
He turned toward the door, repeating weakly, “I’ll leave you to him, then.” The door shut quietly behind him, and he set off down the path that led to the nearby Muggle village. The morning air was stiff around him, and stung his eyes, which had become suddenly moist. He couldn’t stand to be in that house any longer–couldn’t stand to see Remus lying there, completely helpless, completely unknowing…
He turned the corner more sharply than he had intended, wondering again whether it was wise to not have told Remus the truth about the attack. The Healers at St. Mungo’s had said he was too young to understand–let him go on believing it was a wild dog he’d run into, continue to come up with excuses to explain what happened to him once a month until he was old enough to understand.
But when exactly is “old enough”?
Lucinda had agreed, eager to shelter her baby boy from the horrible truth of what he was and how the rest of the world would see him for as long as she possibly could. Jonathan had wondered, had felt that if, perhaps, Remus was capable of being a werewolf, wasn’t he capable of understanding what was happening to him?
But the Healers had said….Yes, yes, the Healers had said and he would do whatever the Healers thought was best; after all, they knew more about this kind of thing than he did.
He arrived in the Muggle village and set off toward the nearest pub. It didn’t occur to him until he was standing outside of its darkened windows that there wasn’t any way the pub would be open; it wasn’t even seven o’ clock yet.
But he needed something… something more than tea to calm his nerves. He set off toward the nearest store, and bought the hardest liquor he could find. Then, sitting outside on the sidewalk’s curb, he began to drink.
Jonathan had never been a drinker…the last time he’d had a drink was his and Lucinda’s honeymoon, nearly eight years ago. He grunted, taking another sip from the bottle. This was much more effective than tea, he could already begin to feel his troubles disappearing with the amber liquid.
Once again his memories seemed to return to Remus. Lucinda and himself had tried for three years to have child…three long years with absolutely nothing more than sadness and disappointment.
After five miscarriages, they had resigned to giving up, admitting that they just weren’t meant to have children…
And then Remus had come. Quite out of nowhere, Remus had come…and he had been fairly healthy. Premature, though he was, after a few extra weeks in the hospital he was able to return home, and happy and fit as any other baby.
He smiled into his alcohol, the effects already beginning to make life seem much less serious. Remus had been a bright baby, and had grown into an equally intelligent little boy, always asking questions about the world around him.
Jonathan sighed; the liquor beginning to take a new effect; suddenly the reality of the situation seemed much sadder, and the inhibitions that had quelled his sadness, stopped him from breaking down completely, were now gone. He heaved a dry sob, thinking dully that none of it mattered–
Remus could be one of the brightest boys of his age, and it wouldn’t matter. All that anyone would ever see was the wolf, that beast he became once a month. The thing he hadn’t asked for, nor wanted–the mere fate he had been dealt. No one would ever see the kind, caring person that was beneath the scars or the shy boy beneath the howls of the werewolf–a dangerous half-breed, that’s all he would ever be viewed as.
Jonathan took another gulp of his drink, grimacing slightly at the bitter taste. In the back of his mind he knew it was best to stop thinking about his son and the problems they would, inevitably, have to face. The right thing to do now was sit and drink. Just drink, drink, drink…
“Bit early to be hitting that stuff already, don’t you think?”
Jonathan turned around, an elderly man with frazzled grey hair had approached him, his hands shoved deeply within his pockets. It took a moment for Jonathan to realize who he was; he had been so keen to get the liquor and begin drinking that he hadn’t noticed much else. At last, he recognized the man as the clerk he had bought the alcohol from, and now the man was sitting beside him, taking out a cigarette.
“You strike me as someone who isn’t normally a heavy drinker,” the man began thoughtfully.
“You strike me as someone who should mind their own business,” Jonathan spat, surprised at the hold the alcohol had already begun to take upon him, or perhaps he was just using that as an excuse. That may well be it. He’d been angry for a while: angry at Greyback for having bitten his son, angry at Remus for having been out of bed, angry at the Healers who had told him with so little empathy that there wasn’t a cure, angry at Lucinda and her bitterness, angry at himself and what he had done. And now, he was angry at this old fool. This old fool who was sticking that large, bulbous nose into his business.
“I suppose I am being a bit nosey–”
“Good, now if you don’t mind, ” Jonathan took another gulp of the liquor, eager to do the one thing he could do to calm himself and the rage that had been churning within him for a month. No matter how much he wanted to, he couldn’t release any of this anger, he could only drown it in this blessed liquid. Jonathan couldn’t go after at Greyback without losing his own life, and for no reason would he punish Remus, the rest of his life would be consequence enough; he couldn’t bring himself to hurt that poor boy any more. And the Healers? It wasn’t their fault there wasn’t a cure, nor could he blame Lucinda, and if he beat himself any longer there wouldn’t be much of Jonathan Lupin left. But he could yell at this old man.
“What you still doing here?” He drained the last of his first bottle, and eagerly opened another.
“Taking a break,” the man said, lifting his cigarette to his lips to explain. “Good time of the day to think.”
“That’s just about what I want to stop doing,” Jonathan muttered, swallowing half of the bottle at once. “And the quicker, the better.”
The old man looked at him for a moment. “Family problems?”
“What’s it to you?” Jonathan snapped, taking another sip.
“You’re too old to be worrying about some quick girlfriend, looks like you’ve settled down, or at least tried to. What’s it, a divorce?”
“No, not yet, at least…” Jonathan didn’t know what else to say. Lucinda couldn’t divorce him; she cared too much for Remus and there was no way she could be able handle his monthly transformations alone. But then again, she hated him so much these days.
“Who’s fault is it?”
“Whatever you and the missus is on about, it’s her fault, right?”
“No, I–” he stopped. Why was he blaming himself? It was Lucinda who had put Remus to bed? She should have made sure he was asleep! This wasn’t his fault, not at all. “It’s her’s, all her’s” he reasoned, reaching for his third bottle.
“Not your’s at all?”
“Nah,” he said, raising the rim of the bottle to his lips. Remus’ lycanthropy wasn’t his fault. Not at all–Greyback was a monster; Lucinda should have watched Remus more carefully; Healers weren’t smart enough to find a cure; Remus… Remus misbehaved… should have been in bed…
Funny how alcohol puts everything in perspective.
The old man was silent for a long time, long enough for Jonathan to reach his fourth drink.
“Whoa, go easy there–”
“Don’t tell me what to do!” Jonathan spat. “I’m tired of people telling me what to do! Telling me how to raise my son! Well, he’s my son, you hear! My son, and I don’t need any bloody Healers to tell me how to raise him! He’s not changed any, not really…” He fell into himself, slumping over his stomach.
“Shouldn’t you start backing off?” the man reached for the final bottles, still in the bag beside Jonathan, who harshly batted the man’s hand away.
“And I don’t need some old fool telling me what to do either!”
“Of course,” the man held his hands up in surrender. “Just thought you might want to talk; ‘might be able to help–”
“You can’t, you old fool! No one can help him! It’s useless! I’m useless!” he finished dejectedly, “I’m useless. Can’t help anyone. Can’t do anything.”
“I’m sure there’s something–”
“There’s nothing!” Jonathan spat.
“I have trouble believing that,” the man said, thumbing his cigarette into the gutter. “There has to be something that can be done.”
“THERE ISN’T!” Jonathan stood, smashing his bottle into the street, the amber liquid dripping off the sidewalk onto the pavement. “You brainless git, it’s pointless. It would have been better if…if…” he collapsed on the sidewalk again.
The man looked into him, clear blue eyes piercing into Jonathan’s now watery-brown.
“My son is…” Jonathan stopped. He wasn’t intoxicated enough to forget that he was talking to a Muggle. “Sick,” he finished lamely, his blurred vision staring unseeingly ahead of him, determined to look anywhere except at the old man.
“Is it fatal?” the man asked, and Jonathan was surprised to find that his voice was filled with real concern.
Jonathan shook his head. “Not in so many words…” It could be, though. Remus’ transformations will only get worse the older he becomes. If the wolf attacks itself this much when the boy’s only five… Jonathan shuddered to imagine Remus’ injuries while he was a teenager or an adult.
“Must be hard for your son.” the man replied thoughtfully.
“He doesn’t know–too young–wouldn’t understand…” Jonathan slurred, still refusing to meet the old man’s eyes.
“Children understand more than we give them credit for,” the man replied. “Especially if it’s happening to them.” He pulled out another cigarette, “They have questions, they want answers, plain and simple–just like adults do. How would you like to be kept in the dark about something like…er…what is it you said your son had?”
Jonathan looked ahead. To be honest, he had no idea what sort of pain Remus had gone through last night, but if he could imagine, just have the faintest idea what his boy could have suffered–if it was him who was being forced to become a monster once a month…
He’d want answers. He’d want to know what was happening to him–within him. He’d want to understand.
And before Remus had been bitten…before everything had gone so horribly wrong, Lucinda had always cooed to Remus how much like his father he was. How similar the two of them were…
Remus would want to understand.
And…Jonathan realized, standing up and turning in the direction of his home, Remus is capable of understanding.
“Thank you,” he said to the man, and began to go home, where everything was falling apart and where he was going to repair what he had begun over a month ago… Lucinda and Remus were exactly as Jonathan had left them: Remus, still asleep, Lucinda still watching over him. Lucinda jumped immediately toward him, looking Jonathan up and down. “You’ve been drinking,”
she said after a few moments.
“I needed to…” What was he going to say exactly–get his mind off of things? “I’m going to bed.” he mumbled. Nothing good could come from a drunken conversation…he could literally feel his reason slipping away as he looked over at his son. It would be best to wait.
“So you go off and get yourself drunk!”Lucinda was saying. “After everything that Remus has been through, everything you did–”
“DON’T BLAME THIS ON ME, LUCINDA! YOU HAVE NO IDEA…DON’T KNOW… I’M NOT AT FAULT HERE!”
Jonathan wilted. He had been ready to fight, ready to set Lucinda straight and make her see how much this was hurting him, to force her to understand that she wasn’t the only parent that loved Remus, that his heart was breaking too. He had been ready to scream and yell at her, at long last, but he was also ready to set things straight with Remus. And now seemed like a good time to do so.
Remus had lifted his head, the scar on his neck more prominent then ever. Jonathan approached, taking a seat beside his son on the couch. Lucinda had followed, lips pursed, and stood behind Jonathan, her eyes relaying a message that Jonathan had seen all too often lately: Don’t talk to Remus.
Jonathan reached forward and patted the top of his son’s head. “How’re you feeling, Remus?”
“Awful,” was his son’s response, barely more than a whisper. Jonathan smiled sympathetically; Remus had always been so quiet, but now more than ever.
“Daddy?” Remus asked, his bright brown eyes seemed to almost protrude from his weak face.
“Are you mad at me?”
“Mad at you?” Jonathan looked at his son. This was the last thing he had expected; why would Remus think that he was angry?
“I said I was sorry for being out of bed, but you haven’t talked to me at all. I’m sorry, Dad, please, I’m sorry!”
Jonathan stared at his son, hurt to see the tears that had welled in his eyes so suddenly. He glanced at his wife, and she too seemed to understand. Now was the time to stop feeling guilty, to stop pointing fingers. Now was the time to act, and to accept the cards they had been dealt. Now was the time to live with what they had been given–it was time for Lucinda to let Jonathan back into their son’s life, and it had been foolish of her to have denied the two of them, and equally as foolish of Jonathan to have separated himself. It was time for him to be a father, because now Remus needed him–he needed him more than he ever had before.
Jonathan looked again at his son, and smiled weakly, “I’m not mad, Remus and I forgive you.” He looked again at the marks that spread across his son’s frail frame, and sighed. This was more than a skinned knee that he could fix with a kiss; Remus’ entire young life had fallen apart and now lay broken around him. This was something that Remus needed to fix himself.And it could take years…it could take a lifetime… Remus would need guidance and help to put those pieces back together–a father and mother both to be beside him with all the kisses and bandages needed.
“Remus,”Jonathan began, with a glance at his wife; the trust was restored in her eyes as she looked from father to son. She knew that she had pampered Remus as much as she could, and now he needed the firm, sturdy hand of a father. “Remus,” he said, looking into his son’s large, brown eyes, “Do you remember what happened to you last night?”
Remus shook his head.
“Jonathan, the Healers said–”
“Lucinda, it’s my turn to be with Remus. It’s my turn to help him.” He looked at his son again, and said seriously, “Do you want to know?”
Jonathan sighed and with a sideways look at his wife, motioned for her to sit down. It would take the both of them to raise Remus, to help him over the obstacles life had given him. Now, at the young age of five, it was time for Remus to do quite a bit of growing up and he and Lucinda would do it with him.