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This was the test James had told them about. They had to put on the hat, then somehow they would each be sorted into one of the houses. Remus looked up at each of the banners.
He liked the colour green, too, if it came down to picking a tie. A boy called Simon Arnold was the first to be called forward. The hat was placed on his head, covering the top half of his face.
Remus wondered if it smelled as bad as it looked. Matron was always maniacal about head lice, and he hoped none of the kids who went before him had them. Simon was promptly sorted into Hufflepuff, the badger house, to tumultuous applause. Sirius Black was the first of their group to go, and he looked positively queasy as he approached the stool. There was some catcalling from the Slytherin table — some of the older students were calling out to him.
Two young women with masses of dark curls and the same high cheekbones and full lips at Sirius, who was now trembling on the stool. Then the hat screeched. A few moments of stunned silence before the clapping came this time. He looked completely horrified, casting a desperate look at the Slytherin table, where the two girls heckling him were hissing, eyes narrowed. He got up and walked slowly over to the Gryffindors, where he was the first new student to take his place under the red and gold banners.
The sorting continued. Lily was also placed in Gryffindor, and sat grinning next to a very miserable looking Sirius. He sat on the school, McGonagall looking down her nose at him.
She reminded him a bit of Matron, and disgust rose in his throat. She lowered the hat over his eyes. Everything went dark.
It was the hat. What shall we do with you… perhaps Ravenclaw? Remus ripped the hat from his head as soon as it had sorted him, not waiting for McGonagall to remove it. He hurried over to the Gryffindor table, barely registering the cheering and clapping as he passed. He sat opposite Lily and Sirius. Lily shot him a pleased smile, but he just looked at his empty plate. He had a perpetually nervous, twitchy look that other boys always singled out. Remus was surprised that James — who was the polar opposite of Peter; relaxed and self-assured, brimming with confidence — was being so kind to someone LP obviously inferior.
The hat took a very long time over Peter. Even the teachers seemed to be getting nervous, as the minutes ticked by. Finally, he was sorted into Gryffindor, and much more quickly so was James, who strode over to the table with a huge grin on his face.
Even Sirius looked up now, curious. He knew what they were thinking — the rough kid was already in trouble. Sirius was looking at his black eye again. Fortunately, the food had appeared, distracting everyone. Golden roasted chickens, piles of crispy roast potatoes, plates of steaming carrots, peas swimming in butter, and an enormous jug of rich dark gravy.
If the food was going to be like this all the time, then Remus wondered if he could ignore talking hats and snobbish house mates. He paid very close attention as one of the Gryffindor prefects, who introduced himself as Frank Longbottom, led the first years to their common room in one of the towers. Remus hated getting lost, and tried hard to cement the journey into his mind as they went.
He made a mental note of the size and shape of every door they entered, each portrait they passed, and which staircases moved. He was so tired and full of good food that the moving portraits and staircases no longer seemed out of place. He paused outside the door and was just about to knock when James appeared. Remus pushed open the door. The office was small, with a neat little fireplace and rows of books against one wall. McGonagall sat behind an immaculately tidy desk. She smiled thinly and motioned for Remus to sit down in the chair opposite.
He did, sniffing and rubbing his nose. This applies to all of the students under my care. Arrangements have been made for the full moon — which next occurs this Sunday, I believe.
If you could report to me after dinner, I shall show you where to go. James led him to the end of the corridor, where hung a large painting of a voluptuous woman wearing pink. They entered the common room.
That room had been sparsely decorated, containing a black and white, too small TV and a few board games. The decks of cards were always incomplete, and most of the chairs were broken or damaged. The Gryffindor common room was warm, comfortable and cosy. There were huge squashy looking sofas and armchairs, a thick maroon rug in front of the blazing fire, and even more paintings adorning the walls.
At the top, there was another door which opened into a bedroom. Again, this was nothing like the facilities at St Edmunds. There were four beds, all enormous, hung with thick red velvet curtains with gold trim tassels.
There was another fireplace, and each boy had a heavy mahogany trunk and set of shelves by their beds. Remus saw his sad little suitcase propped up against one of the trunks. He moved over, assuming that was his bed. Peter was rifling through his own things, pulling out clothes and magazines and books, making a terrible mess. James and Peter, Remus had learnt since the train, had grown up as neighbours and knew each other quite well.
Remus opened his trunk. Inside there was a large pewter cauldron — another item Dumbledore had scrounged up from the second hand bin, he imagined. There was also a long thin box at the bottom, with a note on top. He unfolded the note and stared at the elaborate swirly script for a long time, trying to make sense of it.
Opening it eagerly, he found a long, polished stick. It was a wand. It was warm to the touch, like his own flesh, and felt supple as he turned it in his hands. It felt good. Sirius had finally started to unpack, pulling book after book out of his trunk. James stared, having just finished pinning a poster next to his own bed.
It showed a lot of little people zooming about on broomsticks, throwing balls to each other. Remus thought it looked only mildly more interesting than football, which he hated. My Uncle Alphard left them to me, and Hunt You Down - Black Bottle Riot - Soul In Exile (Vinyl would set them all on fire if I left them at home. What was wrong with muggle books? Not that he had any with him.
He hated reading more than anything in the world. He went over to look straight away. Remus wiped his hands carefully on his robes before taking it from him, handling it carefully. She bought them for me.
Eventually Potter and Black started up a conversation about something called quidditchwhich soon became a very heated argument. Remus climbed onto his bed and drew back the curtains, relishing the privacy. It was dark, but Remus was used to the dark. Peter was quiet after that. Remus got through the rest of the week by ignoring the other boys as much as he could. He still got the odd dead-arm or his head shoved in the bogs, but on the whole no one ever made an effort to bother him.
Sirius and James especially seemed to come from money, he could tell from the way they talked about their homes, as well as the way they spoke — every vowel and consonant clearly pronounced.
James and Sirius spoke like characters in a novel; their language full of descriptive metaphor and scathing sarcasm. Their rapid fire wit was much more intimidating than a punch in the face, Remus thought — at least that was over quickly.
He had no idea why on earth anyone would need to get between the two, and the first time he used it he was accosted by a particularly irritating ghost who squirted him with hand soap. It would also have been helpful, Remus reasoned, to animate the map in the same way the paintings were — then at least you could keep track of the ridiculous moving staircases. He was sure one of the rooms moved as well, it never seemed to be in quite the same place.
By the Hunt You Down - Black Bottle Riot - Soul In Exile (Vinyl Sunday afternoon rolled around Remus was dreading Monday, which would not only be the first day after the full moon, but the first day of lessons.
She was a kind, pleasant sort of woman; if a little fussy. The whomping willow was a recent addition to the grounds — Dumbledore had explained in his speech at the beginning of the year that it had been donated by an ex-pupil. Remus thought that whoever had donated it must have really hated the school, because the tree was not only terrifying in aspect, but mindlessly violent. As they approached, Professor McGonagall did something so incredible that Remus almost cried out in shock.
She seemed to vanish — shrinking down suddenly, until she was no longer there at all. In her place was a sleek yellow eyed tabby cat. Madam Pomfrey gave no sign that she was surprised, as the cat ran forward towards the tree, which was flailing its branches like a child having a tantrum.
The cat was able to run right up to the trunk of the tree, escaping injury, and pressed a paw against one of the knots in the bark. The tree fell instantly still. Remus and Madam Pomfrey continued on, walking into a hollow beneath the tree which Remus had never noticed before. Inside, McGonagall was waiting for them, a witch again. The passageway was dimly lit by torches giving off a greenish glow, and at the very end was a door. This opened into a small cottage, which looked long abandoned.
The windows were boarded up and the doors bolted. It made Remus uncomfortable. But then, it was getting to that point in the evening when everything made him uncomfortable, his hair itched, his skin felt too tight, his temperature rose. There was a little cot against one wall with clean sheets.
It looked as though it had been put there for him. The two women left, locking the door heavily behind him. He heard McGonagall muttering again and wondered what sort of spells she was placing on the house. Whatever they were, it was better than that awful silver plating. He sat on the bed for a moment, then got up again, restless. He paced the room. Sometimes it felt as though the wolf crept into his mind before it got hold of his body, and as darkness fell outside his senses became sharper, the hot swell of hunger beginning in his belly.
Remus removed his clothes quickly, not wanting to rip them. A dull throb started up in his joints and he lay down on the bed. This was the worst part. His heartbeat was thudding in his ears, and he could swear he heard his tendons creaking as they stretched, his bones and teeth grinding against each other as they elongated, his skull splitting and reshaping.
He groaned and hissed until the pain grew too much, then he screamed. He could only hope that he was far enough from the school that no one could hear him. That first night at Hogwarts was a blur, and he woke up with less injuries than usual. He suspected that he had sniffed around the unfamiliar territory, testing its boundaries. He must have tried to throw himself at the doors or windows at some point, because he had a patchwork of bruises down his left side for days afterwards.
Transforming back was just as unpleasant — a crushing, tightening feeling all over which left him breathless and aching. He wiped the tears from his eyes and crawled into the cot, grateful for a quiet hour of sleep before the sun rose completely.
Madam Pomfrey returned, as promised. Speaking in soothing tones, she lay her cool hands on his fevered brow. No one had ever expressed such concern for him before, and it struck him uneasily. He pushed her away, pulling on his clothes. She made him drink something before letting him get up — it tasted cold and metallic, but he did feel better afterwards.
The three of them stared at Remus, who was about to remove his t-shirt when he remembered his bruises. You posh boys are all a bunch of poofs. After a few moments he heard Peter whining that he was hungry and they all left. By the end of his first week of lessons, Remus had lost ten house Album), learnt one spell, and gained another bruise; this time on his chin. The first few lessons were ok — they were introductory, and while Lily Evans spent each class furiously scribbling down pages and pages of notes, nobody else seemed too bothered.
After a few goes at the spell themselves, Lily had levitated her pinecone at least three feet in the air, and Sirius got his to spin like a top — until it got out of control and smashed a window. James, Peter and Remus had less luck, but Remus was sure his had jumped once or twice.
Transfiguration was just as interesting, but much more serious, as it was led by Professor McGonagall. There would be no practical work at all during the first week, she explained, but she would be setting lots of homework in order to gauge their ability levels. History of magic was absolutely dire, and the less said about it the better.
Remus struggled not to fall asleep as the ghostly Professor Binns floated up and down the aisles, reeling off dates and names of battles. He too set homework — two chapters of reading from the set text. Sirius rolled his eyes at this and muttered to James. Remus felt sick. But that turned out to involve a huge amount of reading too, and even worse, they had to share the class with the Slytherin first years.
The Professor leading Potions was annoyingly cheerful and took almost half an hour just to read the register. Quite surprised at the sorting my boy, quite surprised! Well, well, along with Mr Black here this class has quite the pedigree, eh?
Let me see… Lupin! I knew your father; not one of mine, but a damn good dualist. Remus blinked. He wondered if Slughorn knew he was a werewolf. There seemed to be another rumour going around that he was violent and possibly in a gang. Everyone clamoured to pair up — James, Sirius and Peter immediately claimed the cauldron at the very back of the room, and were joined by Nathaniel Quince, a Slytherin boy who knew Potter and Pettigrew from home.
Remus decided he would just wait until everyone had grouped off then see if he could get away with just hovering at the back for the rest of the lesson. You can join us! Lily was already chattering away, laying out all of the ingredients and heating up the cauldron carefully.
Lily measured them out anyway and tipped them into the bubbling brew. Mulcibur then took the book and stirred for five minutes, taking instruction from Severus on how fast to go and in which direction. Lily gave him the book. He stared at the page. He could see that they were instructions, he could make out maybe half of the words.
But every time he thought he had a grasp on it, the letters seemed to shift on the page and he was lost all over again. His cheeks grew hot and he felt slightly sick. He shrugged, looking away. But it was no good. Remus shrugged. I mean, even muggle schools teach that, surely? He only had the element of surprise going for him — Mulciber grabbed his collar and yanked him back, punching him square in the face in three seconds flat.
Everyone froze. Snape and Remus climbed to their feet, chests heaving. Snape looked worse off by far, his hair ruffled and blood oozing from his nose. Remus had a rather sore chin where Mulciber had hit him, but other than a rumpled uniform he was fine. They both looked at their feet. Mulciber was grinning. Lily was crying. Ten points from Gryffindor and ten from Slytherin.
Miss Evans, please take Mr Snape to the hospital wing. Unfortunately, it being so soon after a full moon, the rich, iron smell of it made his stomach growl. James, Sirius and Peter were waiting for Remus outside after the lesson was finished.
They were in the Gryffindor common room, trying to do their homework for McGonagall. Fourteen inches on the basic laws of transfiguration. Remus pushed it back, gritting his teeth. Sirius was looking at him, though. Remus wanted to hit him, but he was trying not to lash out so much — James and Sirius sometimes play wrestled, but they never actually tried to hurt each other, like he had with Snape. Forcing himself to swallow his temper, Remus opted instead to change the subject. Someone had done that to him once.
He had a rash for a full week, and on the night of the full moon had torn at his skin more than usual. This had been a matter of great concern to Remus — their dirty laundry appeared to just vanish and then resurface, cleaned and folded in their trunks. You know, strike while the iron is hot.
Getting the rose hips was easy. Peter was small and good at going unseen; he crept into the green house unnoticed during morning break and returned red faced and gleeful, with a jar full of rose hips under his cloak. He was a little bit jealous of their friendship. They had so much in common — being raised into magic, both growing up wealthy, both completely mad about quidditch.
In addition, it was clear that after only three weeks James and Sirius had managed to secure a reputation as joint kings of the first years. Everyone listened to them when they spoke. Everyone laughed when they were funny. No one even got annoyed if they lost house points. The seeds and hairs were then decanted into another jar, while the boys ended up eating the leftover rosehips over the course of the week.
It was Tuesday evening when they finally had their chance. James decided that they would have to do it before everyone went to bed. He also decided that they ought to go to the Slytherin dorms separately, to avoid being seen together and discovered.
They ate dinner much more quickly than usual that evening, before getting up from the table one at a time and leaving the hall. Peter looked so nervous Remus thought he might panic at the last minute and give them all away.
He made sure to stay close to the smaller boy, just in case he had to cover his mouth or pull him back at some point. After all, how often would he want to get to the dungeons? The ghost who lived in the toilets was fortunately in a quiet mood, though Remus could hear her sobbing softly in the last stall.
Sirius grabbed his arm. He produced a very long, voluminous cloak, woven from the strangest looking fabric Remus had ever seen — silvery grey and shimmery.
James was grinning so broadly now that Remus thought his face might split in two. The gangly boy winked at them all, then, with a flourish, swept the cloak over his head, so that it covered him top to toe. He vanished. James pulled the hood of the cloak down, so that his head appeared to float in mid-air.
It made Remus feel a bit queasy. They all shuffled underneath the cloak, then tried waddling up and down the room a few times until they were able to walk comfortably together.
Finally, trying not to giggle or whisper too much, the four invisible boys made their way to the dungeons. Remus showed them which tiles to tap in order for the floor to open up in the third stall from the left. They waited quietly on their side of the tapestry, listening for footsteps in the corridor outside. Once James was satisfied that it was quiet, they all clambered out of the passage. The dungeons were cool, dimly lit and cavernous. There was a strange dripping sound coming from somewhere — perhaps the pipes.
It was a plain brick wall. So they did, rather uncomfortably. Though the corridor was dank, it was unnecessarily warm underneath the cloak, especially with all four of them so close together. Fortunately, two seventh years came hurrying through in the next few minutes. Unfortunately, Sirius knew them. Remus felt Sirius stiffen, pressing himself backwards into the wall. Bellatrix preened, extending a long, ivory arm. Everyone in the school knew that she would be marrying Rodolphus Lestrange, some wizard politician, as soon as she completed her NEWTs.
Sirius had to go to the wedding. The two young women were standing before the brick wall now. Bellatrix was the taller of the two, but they looked very alike. They had long, black curly hair — much like Sirius himself, and that same perfect Black family bone structure.
The wall slid aside to let them in, and the four boys hurried after, as fast as possible before it closed. For the first time since he had been at Hogwarts, Remus was truly glad he had been placed in Gryffindor. It was built like an enormous banquet hall, rather than a LP room. The walls were richly decorated with yet more elegant tapestries, the fireplace was huge and ornately carved, and a ghoulish green pallor hung over everything.
More than that, the place felt somehow wicked. Remus tried not to shudder. On their way they passed Severus, sitting alone in a corner, hunched over his potions textbook. At the top of the stairs, they entered the first open door which was, thankfully, a bedroom.
Remus and Sirius pulled on a dragon hide glove each, grabbed a handful of seeds and began scattering them underneath the bedclothes. Top Global Apple Music. Top UK Apple Music. Radio Episodes See All. Just Updated See All. Weekend Warriors Hard-rock ragers that span generations. Up Next New and emerging artists handpicked by our editors—featuring Tems. Piano Chill Discover the liberating power of the piano with pieces chosen by Dirk Maassen.
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