"Daddy!" Remus cried, charging into his father's legs. When Daddy came home from work it was Remus' favourite time of day. He thought it was Mummy's too because she always got a big smile on her face and gave him a kiss.
Daddy laughed and scooped Remus off the ground. Remus squealed and flapped his arms about. When Mummy came in from her bedroom she laughed at them both and gave Daddy his kiss. Daddy shrugged his robes off and hung them on the coat rack - Mummy would tell him off otherwise - and then turned back to Remus.
"How was your day, love?" Mummy asked Daddy. Remus listened in. He found Mummy and Daddy's talking boring but Ravenclaws were smart and so he had to find it interesting because he'd found out today that he was going to be a Ravenclaw.
"Greyback stopped by again," Daddy said. Mummy gasped. "He wanted me to introduce a new law."
"Oh, John, you didn't!" Mummy said, holding her hands to her mouth.
"Of course not," Daddy said tiredly.
"What did he want?"
"All underage werewolves to be transferred by law to his care," Daddy said angrily. "It's utter rubbish." Remus nodded but he didn't really understand.
"Was he angry?" Mummy asked, looking scared.
"No more than usual, I don't think," Daddy said. He didn't look scared. "He said the normal threats and then he left."
"Why can't he just leave you alone?" Mummy asked, upset.
"Elaine, it's fine," Daddy said, patting her hand. "If he visits again, I'll have the Aurors deal with him."
"Good. I don't want him anywhere near you."
"Me either," Daddy said, smiling. "How was your day, kiddo?"
"Good," Remus said, just about bursting with excitement; he'd been waiting for Daddy to ask. "I'm- I'm going to be in- in Ravenclaw," Remus told him happily.
"Why's that, Rem?" Mummy asked. She didn't know why either because he hadn't told her yet.
"Books!" Remus exclaimed. "Everyone knows that Ravenclaw people like books!"
"I like books," Mummy said. "And I was a Hufflepuff."
"Well I like books more," Remus said. And that settled it; Mummy smiled and Daddy laughed. And because Remus had won the argument he knew even more that he would go into Ravenclaw. "Oh! And, Daddy, I read - I read - The Bard and the Beedle-"
"The Tales of Beedle the Bard," Mummy corrected.
Remus nodded firmly. "The Tales of-of Beedle the Bard..." He glanced at Mummy who nodded. "All by myself!"
"All by yourself?" Daddy asked.
"Yes!" Remus shrieked. "Come look! Come look!" He grabbed Daddy's hand and pulled him over to the armchair by the window but the book wasn't there. Then he remembered he'd been reading under the tree at the bottom of the garden so he towed Daddy toward the front door.
"Where are we going?" Daddy asked as Remus fiddled with the door and finally pushed it open.
"To the - to the tree- the reading tree!" Remus told him, pulling him out into the dark night.
"But I have to get changed," Daddy said, gently loosening Remus' grip. "Why don't you get the book and bring it in and show me."
"It's dark outside," Remus whined. "I can't go alone!"
Daddy smiled and pulled out his wand. "Lumos," he said. His wand lit up. "Now, this isn't a toy."
"I know," Remus said solemnly. Mummy and Daddy had told him that about a year ago when he tried to make their owl talk and accidentally set the kitchen on fire.
"I want you to be careful with it, all right?" Daddy said. "No casting any spells, but you can use it for light." He passed it to Remus who held it gently, with both hands. Remus stared at it and then made a blasting noise and pointed the wand at the couch. A buzzing noise followed and Remus waved the wand in a circle.
"Remus," Mummy said warningly.
Remus clutched the wand to his chest, scared they might take it away. "Sorry, Mummy."
"Go get that book," Daddy said, giving him a little nudge. "Otherwise I won't believe you read it all by yourself..." Remus gasped, outraged, and charged out the door with Daddy's wand aloft.
It was dark outside but Daddy's wand was bright enough that Remus could see where he was going, and the moon was out, big and round in the sky, so that helped too. Remus followed the stone path down to the bottom of the garden, right by the fence and scooped up his book. The cover was a bit wet from the dew. Mummy had always told him to look after books, but it had been an accident that he left it outside so he didn't think she'd be too angry.
The wind blew gently, ruffling Remus' hair like Daddy did sometimes and the leaves on the tree whispered. The gate creaked too. Remus tucked the book under his arm and lifted Daddy's wand again so that he could see where he was going. The gate creaked again but this time, the wind hadn't blown. Remus frowned and looked over. Something big was moving.
At first he thought it was a dog. A big, grey dog that was smiling at him. Then he knew he hadn't seen a dog that big before and decided it must be a wolf; he and Mummy and Daddy lived right next to Hurtwood forest and wild animals wandered into their garden all the time; a family of deer had come to eat their grass while Remus had been reading that afternoon.
"Shoo," he told it, waving Daddy's wand. The light made its eyes glow. "Go on, shoo!" The wolf took a step forward. Remus thought it looked different to other wolves he'd seen. It was bigger, but he was only four so maybe everything looked big, and its tail was different and so was its nose. It growled at him. "I said shoo," he told it, planting his hands on his hips like Mummy did when she was cross. It made a funny sound, like it was laughing at him. He smiled. "You're funny," he told it. "But you still have to go." It made the laughing noise again, and then, before Remus could do or say anything else, it lunged.
He screamed and fell and the wolf went flying over him. The book fell out of his hands and he dropped Daddy's wand too. The light went out and Remus couldn't see anything at all but he could hear it growling. He hadn't been scared before but he was now. Stay away, he willed it, please! There was a flash and a yelp, like the wolf had been hurt. He wondered if it had been him.
A moment later, he didn't care because he was the one hurting. He'd gotten a splinter that morning and it felt like that but worse because it was everywhere in his leg, not just in one place. It was hot and sticky too and wet, like the book. It hurt more than anything he'd ever felt before but Remus couldn't even cry.
Then there was light, more light than just the moon was giving and it was coming from the house. "Remus!" Mummy screamed. "No!"
"Elaine!" Daddy shouted.
The wolf made the laughing noise again - Remus didn't think it sounded so funny anymore - and then it wasn't standing over him anymore and he couldn't smell its rotten breath.
"Remus!?" That was Daddy but Remus couldn't see him. "Remus, can you hear me?"
"Tired," Remus told him weakly. "Am I dying?"
Mummy burst into tears. He couldn't see her either. "No," Daddy said. "No, no, no. You're just in shock. You'll be fine, you-"
He felt Daddy's hands on his shoulders, lifting him and then he whimpered because his leg hurt. He tried to open his eyes to see where they were taking him but when they opened, he couldn't see Mummy or Daddy.
All he could see was the moon.