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Title: These Four Kings (Year One 1/7)
Author: Dani ([ profile] escribo
Word Count: 3762
Rating: PG
Timeline: August 7 (Saturday) 1971
Summary: Dumbledore visits the Lupins
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended. I've made nor seek any profit.

The rain stopped just when Remus woke up, sweaty and hot where he sprawled across his twin bed. His mother had opened the window whilst he slept but no breeze came in and he could tell it was late in the afternoon as the scattered clouds reflected red in the setting sun. The air was thick, as heavy as the woolen blankets his mum had tucked around him that morning when they had brought him in from the shed. He kicked them from his thin legs, too tired to properly get up just yet. It was quiet in the little house near the river and Remus laid still for a little while longer, chasing the dreams he had just left.

Soon though, he could hear his mother’s soft footsteps mounting the stairs, pausing midway up as she stopped to listen for him. He closed his eyes tighter, pretending to still be asleep, not ready to talk yet—really he just wasn’t ready for her concern, which could be as smothering as the blankets.

It didn’t work.

He could hear her footsteps again, then the door being slowly pushed open, creaking on its hinge. Her cool hand pressed against his forehead, checking for fever, replaced by her lips. When she sat on the edge of his bed, Remus curled toward her and she pushed her fingers through his curls.

Remus opened his eyes to look up at her. She was wearing a faded blue dress printed with tiny leaves and her favorite apron, the one with the small pink roses embroidered on it that her sister had given to her years ago. It, too, was faded and washed soft and thin. Her mouth was pinched with worry and her pale eyes distant but when she saw he was awake, her lips turned up at the corners, a small, private smile just for him.

“Are you hungry?” she asked, her hands gentle as she smoothed down a rough edge of the bandage on his arm.

“Yes.” His voice was hoarse from the night before, and she pressed him back into his pillows when he tried to sit up.

“I’ll make you some toast and tea while you dress. Maybe some soup?”

She waited until he nodded before she kissed his cheek. “Do you need help getting dressed?”

This close she smelled like the honeysuckle soap she had used as long as he could remember and he wanted to press his face against her apron as he had done when he was younger but thought himself too grown now at eleven. Instead, he mustered up a smile and said, “No, I’m all right.”

As soon as she was gone, so was Remus’ smile. He lay quietly on his bed, cataloguing his hurts. The pain in his arm was the worst of it, but his knees, ankles, back, and shoulders all ached from where muscle and bone had reshaped themselves twice the previous night. He raised his hands to look at his arms, spreading his fingers wide, inspecting the web of scars that stretched silver over both palms. Some were nearly invisible, though Remus could see them all. The more recent ones were red and pink, standing out starkly vivid against his skin.

Sitting up, he braced himself with both hands flat against his mattress and closed his eyes until his head cleared and he felt less like he’d been holding his breath for too long under water. He moved slowly, testing his muscles as he eased to stand on the scrubbed wooden floor, cool beneath his bare feet, and he stood still, looking out the window.

Remus hated the day after the full moon, when he felt weak and slow. This time it wasn’t too bad, which he was grateful for, but he wished he was normal, that he could go to school and run and jump and play with the other boys he sometimes saw running through the woods and down to the river. He knew he was lucky this time because he had only spent one day in bed recovering but sometimes a whole week would go by before he was well enough to dress himself much less go back to his studies and projects.

He found his jeans and his favorite t-shirt, also faded and soft from so many washing, and dressed slowly. The stairs were harder to navigate and they creaked beneath his weight as he leaned heavily against the railing. At the bottom, he stopped to peek into the small room where his father sat at his desk to work, a pencil in his hand as he marked a passage in a thick book laid out in front of him.

In the kitchen, Remus sat at the battered old table, swinging his feet so they just barely dusted over the floor as he ate from a bowl of thick vegetable soup. His mother was moving quietly around the room, scrubbing at the counter with a wet rag as she hummed along with a Beatles song on the radio.

Remus used the crust of his bread to chase the last of the soup and and then took a long drink of milk before setting both his bowl and his glass aside. On the table in front of him were six ragged pieces of paper taped together to form the map he had been creating of the woods behind their house. Just before the full moon, he had declared the ruins he had found there to be Roman, though he knew they were not, only just a long abandoned farmer’s shed. Now, he drew more lines on the map with the stub of a pencil, moving back the border of known territory closer to the no man’s land that led to the river.

The back door was open to let in the air and the trees and plants glistened from the storm that had just passed. In the late summer, the garden was a riot of vines and weeds and heavy, ripe fruits and vegetables. A dirt path led to the woods beyond and down to the river. Maybe tomorrow, he thought, he could go outside, though he didn’t want to ask just yet. It would take a few days before his mum would let Remus out of her sight and he wasn’t ready to begin cajoling her.

“Have you finished, Remus? Would you like some more milk?”

Remus shook his head ‘no’ and swung down from the chair to take his glass and bowl to the sink. His mum nudged him gently out of the way when he reached for the faucet and trailed her soapy, wet hand over his head before running more hot water into the sink.

“I’ll wash them, mum.”

“No. Sit and rest. Once I’m done, we can listen to the radio for a bit before you go back up to bed.”

A knock at the front door ended any protest Remus wanted to make about going to bed so early when he had only just come down stairs. They rarely had visitors, living far enough from the small village where his father worked as a teacher to deter all but the most determined. Sometimes the parents of one of Mr. Lupin’s students would make the long drive out but it was rare, especially with the start of term still weeks away, and usually spelled trouble of one sort or another.

Worse was the thought of who else could come to visit but never had so far—people from his father’s past that his parents never spoke about when Remus was in the room but who he still learned to be afraid of like other children feared bogeymen. The monsters in the Lupins’ past were all too real.

Mrs. Lupin put her still damp hands on Remus’ shoulders and pulled him tight against her, her arm curving around his chest. They could hear his father open the door and usher someone into the front room where they spoke quietly for a long time. His mother switched off the radio though neither of them could make out more than the rumble of voices as they strained to listen.

When his father called Remus’ name, his mother’s arms tightened around him, but Remus patted her hand before pulling away. He was afraid, too, but he knew his father would never let anybody hurt him.

The man who had come to visit them was tall with a long, grey beard and long, grey hair. He was dressed in a dark blue robe covered with silver moons and stars and he wore an odd, pointed hat that crooked at the very tip. Remus paused at the door to the sitting room and stared, his eyes wide. The man smiled at him, a twinkle in his blue eyes, and Remus knew he didn’t have to be afraid.

“Here he is, my son: Remus. This is Albus Dumbledore,” his father said as he stood to encourage Remus to come further in the room. “Professor Dumbledore is the headmaster of a school in Scotland.”

“Hello, sir,” Remus greeted the man shyly.

“Your father told me you’re studying advanced maths,” Dumbledore said, and Remus nodded. “And that you can read Latin and Greek.”

“My father taught me,” Remus said as Mr. Lupin and Professor Dumbledore sat down across from one another on the worn couch and chair.

“He also told me that sometimes you make things happen without meaning to. That you can make things fly to you when you’re sick in bed and sometimes make your toys come alive to play with you.”

Remus didn’t answer at first. There were many things that he and his family never talked about with strangers, a long list of secrets to be kept, and Remus had become very good at keeping secrets.

Instead, he worried a loose thread on the unraveling hem of his shirt and looked down at the his father’s hand, now holding his own. He rubbed his thumb over the raised scar on the back of his father’s hand and waited until his father squeezed his hand back before Remus nodded again. He didn’t dare to meet the stranger’s eyes though he found he wanted to. He found that he liked the way those eyes seemed to be laughing—not at him, not at Remus—but at some secret of his own that Remus desperately wanted to be let in on.

“Come here, Remus,” Dumbledore said, encouraging Remus to come closer.

Remus looked to his father first and was reassured by what he saw in his father’s deep brown eyes that were so much like his own. He took a step closer to the stranger, raising his hands to let Albus Dumbledore take them between his own.

Dumbledore turned Remus’ hands over to look at the scars, his hands gentle as he inspected the bandage on Remus’ arm, and then smiled gently.

“Would you like to come to my school, Remus?”

“I don’t know, sir.”

“Hogwarts is a very special school. It’s not like the village school where your father teaches. It’s for children like you.”

“Werewolves?” Remus breathed out, afraid to say it out loud, terrified that he had said too much when he heard his father take a deep breath behind him. Dumbledore didn’t flinch at the word, though. The thought that maybe the school was for werewolves and that there might be more children like him didn’t comfort Remus. He looked over his should to his father, his face pinched with worry before he turned back to Dumbledore. “Is it a place for another cure?”

“No,” Dumbledore said and Remus thought he sounded sad. “Hogwarts is a school witchcraft and wizardry. For young witches and wizards, like yourself.”



“You teach magic?”

“Yes. Would you like to learn how to control your magic?”

The house was quiet as they waited for Remus’ answer. From somewhere in the depths of Dumbledore’s cloak, Remus thought he heard the skittering of mice or maybe the slight beating of tiny wings. His eyes opened wider as he considered the strange man in front of him. There were things Dumbledore wasn’t saying, Remus was sure, but that he could still hear, like when his dad would tell him the stories of the stars and Remus would begin to think that maybe it was the stars themselves that were telling the stories.

“You would teach it to me?” Remus whispered, not quite believing that such a place existed or that he would be allowed to attend.

“Yes, if you would like to come and learn.”

“What about the other students? Would they hate me?” Remus glanced back at his father again as his voice caught in his throat.

“Do the children here hate you?” Dumbledore asked, his voice soft as if he could spare Remus any more pain. It made Remus’ eyes prickle and the bridge of his nose itch.

“I don’t know any other kids here but when we lived in Surrey, they said—they used to say…” Remus stopped and bit his lip, not wanting to admit how the other children made fun of his scars or ran from him, called him diseased when he turned up wrapped in bandages or when strange things happened around him. How they called him stupid when he didn’t know any of their games but wouldn’t stop to explain the rules.

“The country has been better for Remus,” his father said, his words weaving around his heavy accent to sound like a plea to Remus’ ears. “He can play in the woods here and there is no one to bother him. No one to…”

“Yes, of course, but it would be different at Hogwarts,” Dumbledore said, still looking only at Remus, and now Remus found himself unable to look away. “You’ll have the chance to make friends with witches and wizards of your own age. You’ll be able to learn with other children. Would you like that Remus?”

“Yes, but—“

“And we’ll take precautions and make allowances. None of the other students ever need know about your lycanthropy unless you choose to tell them.”

Remus was so stunned by the idea of purposefully telling someone else that he was a werewolf that the rest of the visit was a blur. He stood by his father’s chair and tried not to stare as Dumbledore finished his tea then disappeared from the house with a loud pop.

Later, Remus pushed the door to his room shut tight to block out the sound of his mum and dad fighting, his mum’s voice going high and thin, wavering with tears as she railed against his dad who pleaded with her to understand in return. His window was still opened wide and he could hear that it had begun to rain again. He liked to listen to the sound of it against the roof, and he screwed his eyes shut so that he could concentrate on that rather than his parents.

He thought again of his map and the shed, of the little copse of trees just behind it and the strange mound of dirt that he had saved to explore until after this full moon. He thought of anything and everything except the strange man who had visited them and the offer he had made until the burning in his chest stopped and he felt as though he could breath again.

Remus moved quietly around his room, changing into his pajamas, fixing his bed. He straightened the stack of library books and notebooks piled high on his desk, collected all his pens and pencils back into their cup. When there was nothing left to do, he sat by the window and curled his hand around a toy dragon to march it along the sill. His thoughts finally returned to their visitor—Albus Dumbledore, Remus whispered—and the options that had been presented to him: the school, Hogwarts, the idea of friends. Magic.

Try as he might, he couldn’t imagine any situation that could arise when he would want to tell people that he was a werewolf, especially to anyone who would bother to be his friend. It seemed impossible at best, like a puzzle that he’d lost the picture to, try as he might to figure it out. It was only when he realized the house had gone silent, echoing only with the sound of his father’s footsteps on the stairs, that he sighed and straightened in his chair as his door was pushed open.

“Remus? Are you ready for bed?”

“Almost. Dad?”

“If you don’t want to go, you do not have to.” His dad stood in the doorway, his hand on the knob. There was something in the way he looked down at the old braided throw rug beneath his feet, unable to meet Remus’ eyes, that made Remus think it was the compromise from the fight. Remus knew he was being forced to navigate between the opposite poles of what his mother and father wanted for him, and of what he wanted for himself.

“I want to go,” Remus whispered nervously. “It’s just…”

Remus stopped, afraid of speaking his fears out loud—they seemed too many to name. Instead, he turned his attention back to the tiny army of tin knights and horses lined up on the window sill, some broken from years of play. He held up the dragon to inspect its ruby scales before he put it down in front of a knight, touching its back to watch it flutter its wings weakly and take a step before falling on its side.

“Come here, Remus.”

Remus left his toys to sit next to his father on the edge of the bed, the mattress sagging beneath their weight. His father rubbed Remus’ back and they were both silent as his father patiently gathered his words like the errant children in his class.

Remus was lost in his own thoughts, afraid of what his mum might say, worried that both his parents would be disappointed in him. Terrified but excited at the thought of going to school. It occurred to him that if he did go away to school, it would be his dad that he missed most, and that made guilt curl up tight and hard in his gut.

“I was afraid when I went away to school,” Mr. Lupin finally said as he tipped Remus’ chin up with a gentle finger and smiled gently.

“Was it a wizarding school, too?”

“Yes. Your Aunt Wendy went as well.”

“To Hogwarts?”

“No, it was another school far from here. It was hard but we liked it very much.”

“Mum didn’t go to wizarding school because she doesn’t have magic inside her,” Remus said slowly.

“No, she didn’t, though when you get older, you’ll understand that there are many different kinds of magic.” Mr. Lupin grinned at Remus, laughing when Remus’ cheeks turned pink as they always did at any mention of love and romance. “It’s hard for your mother to understand. She hasn’t met too many good wizards and witches. She never got to see the possibilities. She can’t imagine the world that will open up to you. All the things you’ll be able to do.”

“She doesn’t want me to go.”

“No, but only because she loves you very much and she’s afraid for you. We’ve been able to protect you, Remus, but she’s afraid—we’re afraid that when you leave, we won’t be able to do that anymore. Do you understand?”

“I think so.” Remus traced the outline of an airplane on his pajama bottoms, his mind racing ahead. He wanted to know the things his father knew. He wanted to know magic. He wanted to know if he could have friends, if there could be something more than full moons, pain, and loneliness. “You want me to go.”

“I do.”

“But you don’t use magic anymore, right?”

“No, I don’t.” Mr. Lupin sighed, his mouth working around words that Remus wasn’t sure he would actually speak. They were quiet for a long time, the silence disturbed only by the far away song of crickets and frogs before his father spoke again. “Like the people you’ve known, Remus, there are bad and good wizards, too.”

“But people aren’t all bad or all good. You told me that.” Remus looked up at his father, his mouth settling into a hard line and his stomach twisting a little as he tried to understand. His father put his arm around his shoulders and pulled him close to kiss the top of his head.

“I mean only that having magic inside doesn’t make a person better. Sometimes it’s easy to believe that when you see all the things that you’ll be able to do. Sometimes that can make you feel invincible, but wizards and witches can still make mistakes. They can still be careless.”

“Did you make a mistake? Is that why you don’t use magic anymore?”

“I made a terrible mistake, Remus, and I’ve paid for it a million times over. I was not so young, you see, and I should have known better but…” Mr. Lupin stopped and breathed out a sigh. He slipped his finger through Remus’ curly hair, leaning to press his cheek to Remus’ head.

“I promised your mother that I wouldn’t use magic anymore after that. That we would live simply. There was a chance that you would take after your mum and be a muggle and so would never need to know any more than you already do.”

“What’s a muggle?”


“But I’m like you.”


“Mum doesn’t want me to go.”

“She wants you to be safe, as do I but still I want you to go.” Mr. Lupin’s voice broke a little and Remus looked up, biting his lip. His father forced a smile and pulled Remus into his arms to hold him tight. “I want you to have the best chance for a good life. I want you to grow up to be a better man than I have ever been.”

Later, after Remus’ parents had gone to bed and the only sound was the soft patter of rain on the roof, Remus thought again about Hogwarts but didn’t feel afraid anymore. He was going to go, he was sure, even though he knew his mum didn’t want him to. He would be brave and go. He would learn everything he could. Even if he never made a single friend, he thought as he drifted off to sleep, he would still do his best to make his dad proud.

(revised June 4, 2017)
Date: 2010-04-26 04:17 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
Aw, little remus is adoreable ^o^. I can really feel the tension between his father and mother over the hogwarts issue.Great start, I can't wait to read more.
Date: 2010-04-30 07:28 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
Thank you for the compliment. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Date: 2010-04-26 08:52 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
Wish I had time to leave a longer comment, but oh, that last line of Mr. Lupin's got me right here *hand over heart*
The tension and tenderness, the pain and the hope--it's beautifully done!
Date: 2010-04-30 07:29 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much for letting me know you read and enjoy. I really liked writing Mr. Lupin so I'm glad he came across well.
Date: 2010-04-26 11:15 pm (UTC)

msilverstar: (billy playing BW)
From: [personal profile] msilverstar
It's lovely, Remus is a very believable (and quite lovable) eleven-year-old boy. And how rare loving parents are in any kind of fiction. There's no doubt in my mind how they feel about Remus, and each other. I am looking forward to more.
Date: 2010-04-30 07:32 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
<3 Thank you (again! since I know you left a comment in the other community). I'm so glad that you liked the Remus character. I adore him a bit and am glad you think I got him right.

And it's so true about loving parents in fiction. I always wonder about that. I think it's the fault of fairy tales in which the parents are always dead and the stepparents are always evil. Not true! Not always true, at least. Remus is such a good person in the books, I figured he must have been raised well and been loved.
Date: 2012-01-03 07:09 pm (UTC)

From: (Anonymous)
"Remus is such a good person in the books, I figured he must have been raised well and been loved."
Hey now. People can have shitty parents and still be really fantastic people. Sorry if it sounds like I'm preaching, don't mean to. Love this story! I really appreciate a nice long well-written fic. :)
Date: 2012-01-04 12:57 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
You are very right, anonymouse! I'm mushing together different thoughts in my statement. Good parents are something of a rarity in fiction, and if they are good, then they die young. I've given Remus a good father and then killed him off :( But a person being essentially good doesn't automatically mean it was the result of good parenting--Sirius is good (in my story) despite rotten parents, so I rather did write it without thinking. I think what I meant more is that I wanted to give my Remus good parents because I think he suffers enough (and it doesn't have anything to do with his being a good person or not, though in my interpretation of the character, Remus' father is a huge influence on how Remus thinks and feels).

Thank you for the comment
Date: 2010-04-27 05:56 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
Hm. I am intrigued by how your narrative will play this all out. I like seeing people's different interpretations of the Lupin parents, and so far yours seems very sweet and cozy. In any case, I look forward to reading more. :)
Date: 2010-04-30 07:37 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
I came late to the HP fandom and have seriously overdosed on remus/sirius fic since December. You are right about the different interpretations of Lupin's parents. Canon seems to determine James and Sirius' parents but I was quite surprised that there is no fanon consensus about Remus' (or Peter's!) parents, as sometimes happens (and has happened for other aspects, such as Remus' love of chocolate or Sirius dating a lot of girls).
Date: 2011-01-19 02:49 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
Great portrait of a child and his parents and the trouble and and protectiveness and fear that comes with Remus being a werewolf. Well written with believable actions, dialogue and feelings. Well done!
Date: 2011-06-29 04:33 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
I love your interpretation of Remus's parents, they're really well done and the sense of family is so strong. It had never crossed my mind that his father would stop using magic, but it makes so much sense! I'm really enjoying this so far, and Remus is adorable :3
Date: 2011-07-13 08:30 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it and hope you enjoy the rest!
Date: 2011-08-12 08:07 am (UTC)


From: [identity profile]
Very well written!!! I actually got tears in my eyes at this : "He wanted to know the things his father knew. He wanted to know magic. He wanted to know if he could have friends. He wanted to know that there could be something more than full moons, pain and loneliness. "

Dear,Dear Remus :)
Date: 2011-09-01 05:08 pm (UTC)

Re: amazing

From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much. I really appreciate your comment (and so sorry to be so late in responding!)
Date: 2011-09-01 07:44 pm (UTC)

Re: amazing

From: [identity profile]
No problem...I luurvve your story!
Date: 2011-09-01 02:21 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
great so far! I can't wait to keep reading
Date: 2011-09-01 05:07 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
I'm so glad you found it! I hope you enjoy the rest :D
Date: 2012-02-01 03:37 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile]
this is so cute so far! *heads onto next chapter*


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