I do not own these awesome characters from Harry Potter books.
Chapter 1: Invitation
"Remus John Lupin."
Remus flinched, hearing his name read by the tall witch in a pointy hat. His dad assured him that this was the easiest part, but he trembled on the inside when taking the steps forward.
What if the Sorting Hat refused to sort him? He wasn't like the rest of these children. He was a part-beast. If the Hat could see inside his mind, then it would learn his secret!
"It's alright. Just sit," the witch said, but her tone indicated impatience.
He sat down on the stool and gripped his seat, aware that hundreds of pairs of eyes were on him right now. He saw the shadow of the old pointy hat as it was lowered onto his head and feared the worst. It was too large, and he flinched again when it covered his eyes so he could only see its dark inside.
He heard a voice inside his mind. It was the Hat! It was inside his head! He urged himself to not think about his secret. He thought of food. He was slightly hungry already. When would food be served? He was in the mood for a juicy sausage.
Not to worry, the Hat said in his head, I'm not here to spill any secrets, only to sort you. You have great compassion and kindness, but also a deep desire to protect others. It is a tricky choice.
Remus did not care what the Hat decided. He just wanted to belong somewhere, anywhere, he wanted to be one of these kids and have friends for the first time in his life.
"GRYFFINDOR!" the Hat said out loud, making him jump in his seat.
The witch took the Hat off his head, and the students at one of the tables exploded in cheers. His fingers felt stiff when he released the stool, and his legs felt heavy as he approached his new House-mates.
He sent a silent 'Thank you' to the Sorting Hat and walked up to his future friends, his nerves melting when met with their smiles and welcoming pats on the back.
He was a part of something. He was a Gryffindor.
Remus sat down next to a boy with overgrown, curly brown hair who was grinning ear to ear and practically pulled him down to his seat.
"I'm a Gryffindor!" the boy said in a hushed tone. "Can you believe it? I'll show them all that I'm not a snake. I'm a lion!"
Remus chuckled, unsure how to react. "It's nice to meet you, Lion. I'm Remus."
The boy barked out a laugh. "I'm Sirius, Sirius Black. I just meant that everyone in my family has been in Slytherin. They'll be outraged that I'm a Gryffindor. I can't wait to see their faces when I come home with a Gryffindor lion banner."
Remus happily listened to Sirius ramble on about how much he wanted to stick it to his parents but kept worrying what the boy thought about him. He wished he had long hair like him so he could pull it over his face to hide his scars but his mom insisted that he get a nice haircut. Who cared what his hair looked like when his face looked like he was mauled by a bear?
But it wasn't a bear, was it. No, an injury from a bear attack could be healed by magic. Scars like his were cursed, could never be magicked-away - just like his condition.
The sorting continued and they clapped for few more boys and girls who joined their table. Remus cheered for each one with equal enthusiasm, hoping that they all become his friends while Sirius already knew some of them.
After the sorting, Professor Dumbledore made a short speech, food appeared out of nowhere and all whispers turned into excited conversations as the evening feast started.
"And so we're both in Gryffindor," a lanky bespectacled boy called James said to Sirius while they dug in. "I'm not surprised that I'm here. Lion blood runs in my family. What about you, Remus?"
Remus' heart picked up pace as he realized that they included him in their conversation again. "My dad was Ravenclaw actually."
"You're the new and improved version then."
James clapped him on the back while scanning the faces of the adults at the staff table.
"So, these are our teachers," he said while pursing his lips. "I've heard of some of them but haven't met them yet."
Remus noticed the Headmaster at the center of the table with his long white beard, wearing flowery robes. He owed it all to him. If not for the old wizard, Remus would never have gotten a chance to attend this school like a normal kid.
"I only know Professor Dumbledore."
The Headmaster was in a conversation with the tall witch who did the sorting. He couldn't remember her name. He had never met as many people in his life as he had met today.
"How did you meet him?" James asked.
"He came over to speak with my parents and… make arrangements."
Remus was starting to worry where this conversation was going. He couldn't tell anyone why he needed special arrangements. If anyone found out about his condition, he would have to leave school.
He quickly thought of a way to cover up his blunder.
"My parents were planning to homeschool me."
"Good thing he convinced them otherwise then."
Remus couldn't agree more with that statement.
Sirius cut his pork chop into small pieces, elegantly eating with knife and fork. "Did you hear that there are werewolves at Hogwarts?"
Remus spat out his pumpkin juice and stared at him in shock.
"That's just a rumor," James said while spinning his fork between his fingers.
"I heard it's more than that."
Remus looked between them, trying to gauge if they were talking about him.
"What do you think, Remus?"
He swallowed and tried to sound casual. "What would you do if it were true?"
"I'd take a trip to the Forbidden Forest to meet them. I wonder how many there are. Do you think they walk on four legs or two?"
Remus sighed in relief. They didn't know.
He took a slow drink of his juice to calm his nerves before answering. "I bet they'd love to meet you as well and have you over for supper."
James chuckled at his joke while Sirius pursed his lips like he was going to argue but in the end, smiled as well. "I like your spunk, Remus."
Remus was delighted to find that he shared a dorm with Sirius and James whom he liked instantly, but was bummed that they appeared to be good friends already. Could he be their friend as well or would he be the third wheel?
They had another roommate, Peter, a short, stocky boy with thin mousy-brown hair. It was the same boy who caused a massive slowdown during sorting.
"I was a Hatstall, can you believe it?" Peter said while holding his hands up by his chin and drumming his fingers against each other. "The last one was like fifty years ago."
"I was next in line, yeah, I noticed," James said and stretched on his bed, his legs crossed at the ankles. "I can't wait until they let us play Quidditch. This year is going to be great."
"Yes, it is!" said Sirius while admiring the new Gryffindor emblem on his school robes.
Remus hoped for the same, but his eyes were involuntarily drawn to the window, where a new moon just came out of the clouds. The coming year would give him an opportunity to make friends for the first time in his life but only if he could keep his condition a secret. Was it possible?
The next few days were far surpassing his expectations. No one noticed that there was something different about him. So far only a couple of Slytherin kids made a comment on his scarred face, everyone else politely stayed clear off the topic.
Until one day, Peter got curious and finally asked while the four of them walked to class. "So, what happened to your face?"
Remus was expecting this question and already rehearsed it with his parents. "I fell into an enchanted rose garden when I was small and it put up a fight."
Peter winced but seemed satisfied with the answer.
"That's just bad luck," said Sirius and clapped Remus on the back.
"I don't remember it much but I'm pretty sure I showed that rose who's the boss."
The boys chuckled and pushed him into their classroom. He laughed with them but deep inside he wished he didn't have to lie.
Well, he had to get used to it. Lying was going to be necessary. They would never want to be friends with a werewolf. In fact, even though he pretended to be normal, would they want to be his friends at all?
Both James and Sirius came from well-known Pure-Blood families and everyone looked up to them. James had the ambition to become a Quidditch star and Peter already swore to do everything to help him make that happen. Sirius had a refined rebel vibe about him and natural charisma that drew people in.
What did Remus have to offer? Aside from his cursed condition, he was absolutely ordinary. He had no hidden talents, nothing that would make anyone want to be his friend. What could he do?
The answer to that question came to him in the most unexpected way.
Friday afternoon, Remus was unpacking his bookbag and noticed a fat envelope inside which held a note and a shiny gold badge.
He inspected the badge first. Letters HPC were written on it in bold letters and under them was a plain red circle.
Then he read the note.
Congratulations. You're a part of a carefully selected group of Hogwarts residents who were chosen to take part in Hogwarts Prank Club.
Rule #1. Don't talk about the Hogwarts Prank Club.
You cannot opt out. You can only lose.
Your badge is enchanted to automatically increment when you successfully execute a prank. It will turn black when you lose.
You lose if:
- You get caught by a teacher.
- You get successfully pranked by another HPC member.
- You break Rule #1.
You have two months to execute as many pranks as you can. The winner with the most pranks will be announced Prank King or Queen.
Let the best prankster win!
Remus examined the badge again. Was this a real competition or a joke? How would whoever planned this know how many pranks he executed? What counted as a prank? Was there a reward? He had a lot of questions, but alongside them, ideas started to form in his head.
Someone chose him to be a part of this secret club and he wanted to prove that he belonged in it. Maybe pranking was the hidden talent he needed to make friends?
A/N: Do you think a shy kid like Remus would make a good prankster?