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    DISCLAIMER: The Harry Potter books, characters, and other trademarks are © by Ms. Joanne Kathleen Rowling, Little Literacy Agency, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Arthur A. Levine, & Warner Brothers. All rights reserved. ‘Rosie! Rosie! Who’s that boy down there?’ The cloth of her robes held firmly in my hands. ‘He’s... well...’ Something flickers across her striking blue eyes . ‘He’s one of the boys from the manor.’ ‘Manor?’ The way she says it sounds foreboding... Dark even. ‘Yes, from Malfoy Manor -don’t look at him, Remus’ But it’s too late. So many questions erupt in my mind, I just have to know... What’s it like to live up there? Does he have a lot of toys? How come he can walk around all alone when he isn’t much older than me? Where is his Rosie? And what on earth is that funny looking creature trailing behind him? ‘Hey! Hey you!’ I hear myself say. The boy keeps walking, acting as if my voice is just a strange effect of the wind. ‘I want to ask you something - wait, where are you going?’ He had sauntered off the road and into a field, heading towards the Great Forest. The creature looks at me and then at the boy, appearing as though he’s making a very painful decision. ‘Master,’ it squeaks - I’m taken aback, this thing can talk? ‘Master, Dobby thinks this boy wants your attention, sir.’ ‘What?’ the boy shoots back, obviously perturbed that this... Dobby has interrupted his stroll. ‘The boy,’ says the creature, now shaking slightly, ‘he is wanting to talk to you, sir.’ As if just seeing me for the first time, the older boy sneers. ‘What do you want?’ he says, without the slightest hint of anything friendly in his voice. ‘I...I...’ I stuttered, suddenly unaware of why I’m standing in the middle of a field, talking to a boy I’ve never even seen before. ’D-do you w-want to p-play with m-m-me?’ The boy from the manor lets out a mocking laugh ’Play with you? You’re asking me if I want to play with you? Of course I...’ He thinks for a fraction of a second and then something changes in his face; he wears a sinister smile now. …Do.A feeling of joy fills my chest - maybe he isn’t so mean after all! ‘What do you want to play?’ I hear myself ask him. ‘My Rosie has some gobstones if you want to..’ ‘How about Dare?’ says the boy, sinister smile still lingering on his face. ‘I don’t know that game,’ a disappointed note to my voice. ‘Oh that’s quite alright - it’s a simple game really... I tell you to do something, something daring - and you do it because I’ll give you these.’ He holds out three shining galleons. My mouth drops in awe - I’ve only seen a galleon once before in my six years and this boy is offering to give me three of them... I’ll do anything he wants! My Rosie will be so proud of me when I show them to her! Taking my awed stupor as an indication I want to play, the boy bends down to my level and says, ‘See those lights over there, in the Forest?’ Sure enough, there are many bright red lights moving about in the thick of the trees. ‘That means there’s been a breakout at the Facility.’ The way he says Facility is not unlike the way my Rosie had said ‘manor’ a few minutes before... I haven’t the slightest clue what he’s talking about, but I don’t say anything.’ ‘Your Dare is to go into the Forest and fetch me this.’ He gives me an old piece of parchment with a drawing of an odd looking plant on it. I don’t know why this was such a ‘daring‘ thing to do. I’ve been in the Forest a million times before with my Rosie, and it’s nothing to be afraid of! ‘Ok’ I say, hoping that if I run his errand for him, he’ll tell me about living in the manor. ‘I’ll do it!’ “Moony! Wake up! Moony!” Remus Lupin awoke with a start... The dream he had been having - how could he - he hadn’t thought of that in years. “Get your lazy arse out of bed, we’re going to be late for breakfast!” said a hurried looking Sirius. “Right, right, I’ll be there in a minute,” replied Remus sleepily, his mind still on his dream. “No, get up now,and suddenly, Remus’s face was very cold and very, very wet. “Sirius! Why the-” and he inserted a very colorful string of expletives “did you do that?!” But then Remus glanced at the clock on his bedside table and he saw Sirius’s reasoning. They had less than 15 minutes until class started and he wasn’t even dressed yet “Why didn’t you wake me up earlier, Padfoot?!” A suddenly alert Remus said as he pulled on his socks. “Don’t think I didn’t try, Moony! Has anyone ever told you that you snore like a troll?” “As a matter of fact-” but he was cut off by a certain Mr. James Potter bursting into the room. “Moony! Padfoot! Come on, we need to get down there before all the food is gone!” They grabbed their things and set off for the Great Hall, James and Sirius talking animatedly about the train ride of the day before. “Did you see the look on his face when he realized that we had done it?” asked James, chuckling. “I honestly thought he was going to hex you right then and there... Not that it would have done much damage, with his tongue swollen and all!” replied Sirius, letting out a bark-like laugh. They took their usual seats at the Gryffindor table, Remus next to James who sat across from Sirius. Peter soon caught up to them and took his seat next to Sirius. “Hey guys, that was some trick yesterday on the train, wasn’t it? I thought I was about to wet myself with laughter!” said Peter. The others looked at him and half smiled, nodding . “Moony, what’s up? You haven’t said a word all morning,” James said, a bit quieter so Peter couldn’t butt in. “Oh, it’s nothing... I just...” He looked around. “I had a dream last night.” “Oh no, don’t start in with some Muggle Civil Rights speech now!” said Peter loudly, and the others just stared. Turning red, he muttered something about needing to finish his Muggle Studies essay and hurried off towards the library. “Strange, that one,” said Sirius, but James still appeared interested in Remus’s dream “What was it about?” he asked, but before Remus could reply, Professor McGonagall handed them all their timetables. “Lupin, I’d like to have a word with you,” she said, clearly implying that his conversation could wait. Confused, he followed her to the unoccupied end of the Gryffindor table. “I have been asked to inform you that, due to his increasing age, Professor Coborn will no longer be accompaning you on your monthly... expeditions.” Remus frowned; he had always enjoyed Coborn’s company in the days preceding his transformations. He understood why he would be moved to leave the group however, after last year and all. “Well, that’s alright I guess,” Remus said bleakly. “And also, I am to inform you that you are to perform the same,” she cleared her throat, “duties as you did last year” “Yes, Professor,” replied Remus; he had been expecting this. “Good” She seemed to relax a little. “I’m pleased that you are still willing to cooperate.” “As always, Professor,” and he gave a small, slightly forced smile. He really didn’t want to repeat last year, and was determined to have more fun during this one. If only... His thoughts were interrupted as the bell rang and he returned to the Gryffindor table. “Moony,” said James quietly. “Mirrors, tonight, midnight.” Remus gave a slight nod and collected his things, heading off for his first lesson, which, he noticed with some distaste, was Potions. * * * Remus walked slowly to the dungeons, his mind still thoroughly stuck on the previous night’s dream. James and Sirius had dashed back to the dormitories to retrieve Sirius’s forgotten cauldron. Remus figured that wasn’t all they had forgotten - knowing them they were up to their usual mischief. He had been invited to come with them, but was hardly in the mood to do anything but brood over his dream. Why now? he thought angrily to himself. It’s been half a decade, why has my mind suddenly decided to remember now? It’s not as though I can change anything, it’s not like it’ll do anything but haunt me for the rest of my existence... How could I have been so foolhardy?! He had reached the dungeon and taken his normal seat near the back. To his surprise, he noticed that there were students from all four houses sitting around him. There, he recognized Hopkins and Goldstein from the Hufflepuff Quidditch team sitting across the aisle from him. And at the table to his right sat Rodger Boot and his girlfriend, deep in conversation. Rodger had been mysteriously attacked in their third year and Remus had met the Ravenclaw during his monthly visit to the hospital wing. As he searched for other familiar faces, Remus felt the distinct prickle on the back of his neck that one feels when they’re being watched. He looked around for the culprit and soon met the striking blue gaze of none other than Leivieta Ulvia, the Ravenclaw with the filthiest past. Before he had time to register his surprise, he felt a burning sensation near his navel and immediately reached for the small circular mirror in his pocket. Making sure to conceal it underneath his desk, he looked into it and saw none other than Hogwarts’s most infamous trouble makers. “Moony! We’ve still got two minutes before class starts, be a pal and come out here and give us a hand with this charm! We’re just across the hall behind the statue of Herpo the Foul... Quickly!”, and at that, their faces blurred and the mirror once again showed Remus’s own face. He quickly pocketed the enchanted glass and nearly ran across the hall. They wouldn’t want to find themselves late for Tannington’s first lesson of the year. “We’re trying to rustle up a bit of start of term cheer for the Slytherins,” explained James briskly, the second Remus’s head poked around the base of the statue, “but we couldn’t remember that time release charm you put on Snivellus’s boxers last year.” All three grinned at the memory. Snape had been forced to wear the same pair of electric pink boxers (they had also run across a color changing charm) for three whole weeks. And of course at the end of the three weeks, the rancid garments were so eager to get off that they exploded - right in the middle of a crowded exam. Brushing the memory aside, Remus applied the same charm to the cart of snake embroidered quilts that had been cleverly intercepted on their way to the Slytherin dormitories. Only this time the charm was set to explode at precisely 3:30 the next morning. They were certain that the Slytherins would be only too glad to wake up that early on their second day of term. As soon as the charm was performed, Sirius awoke the house-elf that had been resting unconscious behind him. “Now that wasn’t very nice,” said Remus. He had always been fond of Hogwarts’s house-elves. “Oh, shut it, it’s not like she’ll remember any of this in a minute.” And with that, James muttered Obliviate and the house-elf stood up, blinked a few times, and then continued pushing the cart towards the Slytherin common room. “Right then,” said Sirius, “we’ve got roughly ten seconds to get to our seats and make like we don’t expect a cheery surprise come tomorrow morning.” They sat down just as the bell rang. Professor Tannington gave them a suspicious stare, but said nothing. The well-trained class knew much better than to continue their conversations after the first chime - they all remembered the horrible descriptions of Tannington’s detentions. “As you are all aware,” the Professor said in his quiet yet commanding voice, “this is a NEWT level course. Each and every one of you received at least an E on your Potions OWL.” A few Slytherins exchanged boastful smiles. “But this is absolutely no reason for pride - Ms. Black.” Bellatrix Black, who had plastered a particularly smug grin on her face now glared up at the Professor. “Five points from Slytherin.” All the Slytherins now wore scowls, but none were senseless enough to express their distaste. All the other students, however, tried hard to fight back smiles. Most succeeded, but it appeared Sirius was unable to keep the gigantic grin off his face. Unfortunately, Tannington happened to be looking directly at him as he sniggered into his cauldron. “Mr. Black, do you find it amusing that your fellow classmate has lost her House points? Does her loss bring you joy? I would have expected more from a Gryffindor! I think it only fair for me to take five points from your House as well.” Sirius fought the urge to grab his wand and hex their Professor. Remus could tell that it was going to be a very long year. * * * They managed to make it through the class period without losing Gryffindor any more points. Unluckily for them, however, they had forgotten that all NEWT level classes were double periods. Also, because NEWT courses were intended for specific career paths, all classes were made up of students from all four houses. For Sirius, this meant potentially spending quality time with his darling cousin, Bellatrix. “I can’t believe that son of a bludger took points away from Gryffindor just because I laughed at my snake of a cousin,” muttered Sirius angrily as soon as they were out of earshot of the dungeons. “He would be laughing too if he had to grow up with her constantly rubbing his nose in all of her achievements - I swear, my mother pays her to do it!” Remus and James looked at each other. It wasn’t often that Sirius mentioned his family. There was an awkward moment of silence and then happy distraction in the female form crossed their path. “Hey guys, wait up!” came the voice of Lily Evans from the emptying Transfiguration classroom. The three stopped and turned around to see Lily and her best friend Stef trotting down the corridor to catch up with them. “What are you lot up to during the break?” asked Stef, eyeing the boys suspiciously. “Break?” they asked in unison. “Well yeah, the teachers can’t expect us to keep up with all advanced level classes and not have a break every now and then...” Lily said innocently. “We get an hour break between each class,” said Stef, smiling. “Wicked!” exclaimed Sirius and he whispered something in James’s ear. In a second they were running off in the direction of Gryffindor Tower, undoubtedly up to something against the rules. “See you!” James yelled from the foot of the stairs. “Honestly,” said Lily in a mock insulted voice. “So how was your summer, Remus?” Stef asked. Remus, who had begun to drift off into his thoughts was jolted back to reality. It wasn’t every day that Stefanie Whitter asked him how he was, he decided to put his dream on hold and have a little fun. “Oh, it was great, and you?” “Marvelous,” she said, with her perfect grin in place. “Fancy a game of Exploding Snap?” They found a table in the courtyard and set to work, every now and then getting singed by the pile of exploding cards. After what seemed like no time at all, class was about to begin and Remus still had to fetch his Transfiguration things from his dormitory. “Well, I really must be going ladies.” He kissed each of their hands in mock courtesy. “Until we meet again,” and he gave an over exaggerated bow to them both, “adieu.” He pulled his cloak around him dramatically and walked briskly in the direction of the common room. He distinctly heard the girls giggling and chatting about him after he left. Again, he made it to his seat just as the bell had finished ringing. However James and Sirius weren’t nearly as lucky. They tried to sneak into the room ten minutes later, but it was no use. McGonagall, strict as ever, gave them each a detention to be served Thursday after class. After McGonagall had given them time to work on the reading she had just assigned (“A start of term gift”), she began to tidy her room, allowing Remus to scribble a note, asking the duo about their next plot of mischief. To his surprise, they refused to tell him. I’ll explain to you at midnight, James wrote, after Sirius had looked away. This puzzled Remus, but he didn’t have any time to think about it, as the lunch bell had just rung. “Finish reading chapter twelve and write a sixteen inch summary discussing the main topics to be turned in on Thursday.” McGonagall called as they left the classroom. “Potter, Black, I need a word with you - run along Lupin, I’ve already spoken with you.” And so Remus left, more puzzled than ever. He couldn’t believe that he already had so much to think about - the first day wasn’t even over yet...

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