These chains won't hold him.
Remus glared at the heavy metal links in his hands and didn’t know if he should laugh, cry, or just pretend that it’s no big deal. He should’ve checked them earlier.
But maybe he was wrong and it wasn’t so bad. Maybe the enchantments still held.
He wrapped the chain around a metal pole and pulled hard. After only some effort - human effort - one of the links broke, unravelling it all.
He let it fall to the ground through his numb fingers. This wasn’t happening. He had only a few hours left until the full moon. He could already feel its effect - it made his skin crawl from the inside, calling to him, enticing him with promises of reckless power.
He put his face in his hands and lamented. Only few hours. What was he going to do?
“I need a new chain. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Diagon Alley was quiet this evening. The shops were closing down, most shoppers had already gone home. Good. He shouldn’t be around humans today.
Remus bent down to pretend to tie his shoe but really to check if he was being followed. No one paid him any attention so he quietly slipped into the Knockturn Alley, throwing a hood over his head, feeling like a criminal. He was a beast today - that was close enough comparison.
A foul smell of the street vendor’s cart wafted in his direction and it reminded him of rotten food. He passed it in a rush, careful to not let his hood slip.
Some of the shops only now opened up for business, just in time for the nighttime patrons who started to apparate onto the cobblestone street.
Remus quietly snuck into Mort’s Hard-Were Shop, closed the door after himself and reluctantly lowered his hood, not wanting to be impolite.
The only person in the small cluttered shop was a teenage girl, who was looking at the few wolf T-Shirts on sale.
He tried to not stare at her, though it was difficult to not notice her shaved head and multiple ear piercings glinting in the candlelight.
He walked up to the counter and searched for the shopkeeper. He wanted to get this over with.
The girl put the hanger back on the rod, walked up to him and craned her neck.
Remus smiled politely but didn’t know what to say. He had never seen her at Hogwarts. Maybe she was homeschooled.
She put a hand on her hip and chewed her gum loudly while looking up at him. “What are you buying?”
“I like to keep my purchases private,” he murmured, unsure of how he could get rid of her. He did not want witnesses. Where was the shopkeeper?
She picked up one of the mugs on the counter. “My pack has my back mugs are so cheap now, it’s like a steal. They’re on sale for only six sickles.”
She blew a large bubble with her gum and waited until it exploded with a pop, then pulled the gum back in with her tongue while still staring at him. He wished she would stop.
“Then what do you want?”
Remus didn’t know what to do. This girl made him want to leave the store right now but where else would he get what he needed?
“I’ll just wait for the shopkeeper. He should be back soon,” he said and looked away from her to lean over the counter, trying to see behind the shop divider.
Why didn’t this store have one of those bells you could ring to let the shopkeeper know that you’re waiting?
She turned on her heel, marched away from him, and to his surprise, she stood behind the counter, opposite of him, and looked at him with a tilted head.
“You could wait for him until next week or deal with his daughter. Now, what do you want?”
He blinked at her in surprise and watched her blow another giant bubble. She held his gaze defiantly as the bubble popped.
She gestured at the store while chewing her gum loudly and raised her eyebrows as if she was asking him a question.
So he had no choice. It had to be her. Remus took a long breath, reminding himself that he had no other options and was running out of time.
“I need a chain with strong-enough enchantments to trap an adult werewolf.”
She furrowed her brows and crossed her arms. “Who are you planning to trap with that chain?”
He really didn’t like admitting this out loud. The usual shopkeeper was more discreet than this girl.
“Myself,” he said quietly.
She looked him up and down and lingered on his face. He tried to not let it bother him though he hated when people stared. He really preferred it when people believed the cursed scars on his face came from a childhood encounter with an enchanted rose bush, but once they knew he was a werewolf, they quickly made the connection.
She sighed heavily and leaned one hand on the counter. “We’re all out of chains. You should’ve done that shopping earlier in the moon.”
A heavy weight settled itself in his stomach. What was he going to do?
“Thank you,” he mumbled and walked out of the shop.
He threw his hood back on and checked a few other shops, careful to not show his face. They all directed him to Mort’s Hard-Were. There was no luck for him today.
He ran out of places to visit and sat down on stone steps overlooking the dodgy Knockturn Alley. There were even more people milling around now. He should get out of there. He was a danger to them all but where would he go?
He put his face in his hands and took a moment, trying to not think about anything, hoping the ringing in his ears would go away. He hated his cursed condition. He hated his life.
Someone grabbed his shoulder and he startled, making his hood fall off. But it was only the bald girl from the shop.
“You’re still here? It’s getting awfully close to the full moon, isn’t it?”
“I should go,” he whispered and looked around himself, unsure of what to do now, “somewhere…”
She chewed her gum loudly and snapped.
“Fine. I can help you.”
He blinked at her and stuttered, “You… you can? How?”
She smirked at him. “I have a plan. Wait here.”
She patted his arm and ran back to the shop without any further explanations.
He stood there, stumped and unsure of his next step. Trusting her could be disastrous, he should really try to get as far as he could from everyone, but some innate instinct was telling him that she was sincere, that she really could help him.
And so he stood there, avoided eye contact with any of the Alley visitors and waited.
He waited until his feet hurt and the crawling under his skin increased to alarming intensity. He waited until a sad thought hit him: what if she set him up? What if she wanted him to turn into a werewolf right here on the street?
“She’s not coming,” he said and hung his head in shame.
He fell for a trick.
He was going to die today. The only question was if he could die before he killed someone.