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It should be said: there is no reason why Hogwarts must teach a derivation of Latin. Formal wizard training came to Britain with the Romans, but in Athens, wizards use a variant of that might have been intelligible to Pericles. In certain parts of Spain, formal owls are written in Arabic. A skilled wizard can work in any language he knows or, in fact, might imagine that he knows; Arthur Weasley was, for several years, infamous as the boy who presented his entire seventh-year Transfigurations project in what he thought was a passable imitation of a Muggle icon named Alfred Hitchcock.

A wizard brings will and desire. Language gives shape and form.

...

At Hogwarts, despite being a werewolf, Remus was a good student. Not quite Granger level, but he did well enough, and he was close with Potter and Black. Together, Potter and Black could set any room alight, and since Remus was actually kind, when, in his fifth year, he developed feelings for a Ravenclaw, he found things surprisingly easy. She was in his Ancient Languages class; they began to study together, and that led to them slipping away to eat together in an empty classroom once in a while. They even spent a Hogsmeade afternoon together, wandering through the village and holding hands. Sirius spent the next week and a half teasing Remus into a blush at each meal.

Two full moons later, though, it came to an end: it wasn't entirely clear why she had left school grounds, but in the course of the night, Remus somehow escaped the Shrieking Shack and headed for the Forbidden Forest. That wasn't terrible, in and of itself; Quidditch practice had been canceled that afternoon, so James had plenty of energy, and everyone knew terrible things lived in the dark trees. The moon was clear and the sky high, but a scent came on the air, and Remus lifted his head back and howled and went off on that quick, shambling walk that even James had difficulty matching. Sirius, in the end, had to throw himself between Remus and the terrified girl, who was on the ground and frozen and screaming with her wand snapped a dozen feet away.

Around the edge of Remus, who was roaring and lunging, James looked at Sirius, and Sirius looked back at him. Understanding passed through them, and James and led Remus a merry chase through the woods. Pettigrew, who had held onto Sirius's back once the chase had started, stayed behind to tend to Sirius and cast Obliviate on the girl.

...

This is not to deny the influence of language on magic: after all, Remus was named for one of the twins suckled by a she-wolf. It was also true that, in mythology, Remus was murdered by his twin brother. That is how Remus felt -- he had more in common with Sirius and his awful family history than James and his charmed life or Peter and his comfortable family. He was closer to Sirius than to any single person on Earth. Nevertheless, when it seemed that Sirius had been responsible for the events in Godric's Hollow, Remus knew that he would have killed Sirius if the Ministry hadn't found him first.

He had murdered Peter. He had betrayed James and Lily.

In the long years afterwards, there were certainly days when Remus thought he might try killing Sirius anyways, Akzaban and Dementors notwithstandaing.

...

"What can we do?" Sirius made a gesture towards Remus, who lay on the floor, sleeping. There was a smudge of dirt on his forehead, and dawn was beginning to show through the windows. "He's going to take it awfully hard. It might be better if he didn't remember."

Pettigrew frowned. "Should we Obliviate him?"

There was a moment of silence, and then, James cleared his throat. "If we let him be, you know, there's a chance he'll think it's just another of his nightmares. He never remembers very much. Sirius, you have to swear that you won't ever tease him about this. Ever."

...

After Hogwarts, Remus's poverty was a sufficient bar to romance. James and Lily had left him money, and while Remus would have preferred to leave it strictly alone in trust for Harry, circumstances were terribly difficult. He could not find employment; during a period when there were rumors that Voldemort had fled to the werewolves and was there, raising an army, the Ministry required Remus to move back into a habitated area and allow, each week, a team of inspecting Aurors to visit his home.

It was a decent amount of money, but Remus might never find employment. He needed to make it last as long as he could despite the fact it stung, more than a little, that James and Lily had thought the chances of him needing it great enough to write him into their will.

...

Remus had excellent marks; with his ability Defense against Dark Arts, he could have become an Auror if things had been a little different, and he knew, in part, why Andromeda had married a Muggle: it was the same reason why Molly Weasley had carefully made sure to marry someone well outside the usual circles. After a thousand years of inbreeding, Metamorphmagi ran in the Black family. It was why Sirius had taken to becoming an Animage so easily; it was why families ran small, and why it had taken Sirius's parents so long to produce a second child.

Having too much magic in the blood made pregnancy difficult. The mother's blood type might change in the sixth month and cause her body to attack the fetus; with the influx of direct magical current on exposure to unfiltered air, a child halfway out of its mother might swell and shift shape while still being born and, in the process, split the mother like a piece of overripe fruit.

With a werewolf as the father and the possibilities that could follow, with the social stigma that it undoubtedly carried, who knew what might happen? He should never have married Tonks.

...

A wizard brings will and desire. Love gives shape and meaning, but is it any surprise that for a man like Remus Lupin, it should also bring terrible fear?

...

It was May, and he was in the garden behind the Tonks house. Dinner was done, and Tonks was in the house with her father. He did the cooking in the household work, apparently. Remus could just hear them, clattering at the dishes and talking. It was impossible to make out the words, but Tonks sounded happy, and a bird sang, sweet and liquid-sounding, in the trees down at the back of the garden. The inside of the house was a standard magical house, but everything out here seemed to be Muggle. In fact, Remus did not recognize any of the plants. The blue flowers looked a bit like monkshood, but they neither muttered nor chanted as far as Remus could make out, and Mr. Tonks had informed him, with complete seriousness, that the chubby, jolly-looking statue underneath the elm tree was a garden gnome.

"Thank you very much for the dinner. It was delicious," Remus said. He ought to say something, he knew. He was about to marry the woman's only daughter.

"Not my doing. I can't cook at all. Did you know that I never saw a dirty dish before I was eleven?" Remus knew, actually. Tonks had told him a little about what her mother said about being raised in the Black family with its house elves, and it had come up at dinner. Twice. They liked to joke about it, apparently.

"Ted says that I still don't see them. This is his garden, actually. He likes the plants that he grew up with; I used to put away with a few flitterblooms and honking daffodils under the hydrangeas. I stopped, though, after Nymphadora was born."

Remus blinked.

Andromeda smiled, and Remus knew, then, that it had been horrifyingly difficult birth. There had been a reason she and her husband only had the one child. There were Muggle photographs, in the house, of Mr. Tonks and his five thoroughly non-magical siblings and their parents and innumerable grandchildren.

Time passed, and Remus did not know what to say: Andromeda was the one who knew, with clarity, exactly what Tonks was throwing away by insisting on marrying a werewolf. He should never have proposed. He should never have even considered taking up with her. In the house, Mr. Tonks seemed to have forbidden Tonks from helping him with the dishes, so she had taken to singing at him in two voices at the same time. It was a Metamorphmagus trick, and Remus could see traces of Tonks's face in her mother.

Her nose was distinctly her father's, but from her mother, she had gotten those high Black cheekbones and proud mouth. Her family had disowned her; despite having gone to Hogwarts and marrying a witch, Ted seemed to be more comfortable with his Muggle neighbors and family. Exploding Snap and the wizarding wireless did not figure into his stories of garden parties and Christmas holidays; Andromeda did not talk about any wizards that she knew.

She stood. "Come on, Remus," she said. It was getting dark quickly. "We're going to go de-gnoming -- it's a difficult thing to do alone in this kind of garden, and Dora always gets terribly bitten."

Remus nodded and stood, and as they went down the garden path to the thick vegetation where the gnomes liked it best, Andromeda added, with only a little humor in her voice, "And after all these years, Ted still thinks garden gnomes are charming. He didn't do very well in Magical Creatures, and I like to keep him from the reality as much as I can."

...

It should be said: even if he had done nothing with his life but finish Hogwarts, Remus would already have done more for the cause of sentient non-human creatures than any other student at Hogwarts in a hundred years. It was not generally known that he was a werewolf, but Ministry knew it quite clearly. There had been doubt whether he could even learn enough of a language, any language, by the time that he was eleven so as to be instructable. Nevertheless, he had been a success, and if it had not been for the second rise of Voldemort, with Remus's success, Dumbledore might have been able to rescue a few more werewolves. A quarter-mermaid whose grandmother had married into a family in Hogsmeade.

...

A wizard brings will and desire. Language gives shape and form, but it is experience that gives the words their meaning: Remus had been awake when Sirius and James and Peter were discussing whether to use Obliviate.

...

" -- it's a boy. He must be their son and must have hid when the screaming started. It's all right, dear. Do you want some water? I have my canteen."

"Careful, Davison. We don't know if any of that blood is his, and he's not talking."

...


At Hogwarts, despite being a werewolf, Remus was a good student. Not quite enough Albus Dumbledore or Hermione Granger level, but he did well enough, and he was close with Potter and Black. Pettigrew was there, too, but there was no lying about it. Potter and Black were the ones who could set any room alight, and there was joy while that lasted, but misery followed. Potter died, and some time later, Black did, too.

The fact that there was any happiness at all was unexpected; the fact that there was so much was utterly surprising. There were portions of the Black family tapestry that had been entirely struck, and Remus had seen, too, the wizard photograph of Andromeda in the hospital with Nymphadora, squalling and changing her hair, her face, her eyes, the size of her hands; her father was beaming, and Andromeda's face was white and drawn.

Hogsmeade, the Shrieking Shack. Harry. Wireless reports all year long. Leading a group into the night at Kingsley's orders. Strange that he should be trusted to do this. There was a photograph of Tonks, though she was out of the hospital. An easy chair with the background blurred, Tonks too tired even to change the color of her hair, with the child in her arms. Remus had taken the photo, so he did not appear; he had put it in the crib, leaned down to kiss his son, leaned over to kiss his wife. Having responsibility of this sort made him feel younger, in a way.

The inside of Hogwarts again. A stone corridor, crowded with jinxes. How strange that he should when reading out the lists as Remus become Romulus. How strange that he should be happy when there were so many dead, when he read the casualty lists.

Even stranger that he he should have a family. The Transfiguration classroom with its familiar models and glass cases blown to pieces and crackling underfoot. Lupin had ambitions of seeing his son as a student in this classroom.

Dolohov.

...

In matters of life, as in magic, a wizard brings will and desire. Language gives shape and form.

There is some credit given for endurance and virtue and rediscovering the capacity for happiness, but even for a werewolf capable of speech and magic, there is, in the end, no standing against fate.
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December 2010

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