“Shit shit shit shit-”
“LEAVE US ALONE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES!”
“Don’t be mean!”
“They’re trying to attack us! I’m not exactly going to tell them how sweet and lovely they’re being and invite them over for a tea party later!”
Most Hogwarts students out on their first Hogsmeade trip of the year were enjoying the time free from classes, merrily drinking butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks, or gorging on sweets from Honeydukes, or joyfully playing in the snow.
The same certainly could not be said about the third year students - two Gryffindors, two Ravenclaws, one Slytherin and one Hufflepuff - barrelling through the small town, pursued by a group of older students.
“Why did you have to get the metamorphmagus genes from mum?” Roman Grimm, one of the Gryffindors, growled at the other Gryffindor. “I wouldn’t abuse the power like you do and get us all into trouble!”
“They deserved to have tentacles pull their trousers down!” Remus Grimm replied, ducking as a hex fired over his head. “They were shit-talking Janus for being a Slytherin and for his snake face! Kept saying he’s ‘definitely the heir of Slytherin and will open the Chamber of Secrets again and kill us all’! They’re trash!”
“Roman’s right,” Janus Ceitful, the Slytherin, said. “You acted too impulsively! It would have been far better to just leave them be and ignore them… until we have the chance to push them down a staircase.”
Logan Berry, one of the Ravenclaws, raised an eyebrow. “The staircases that move, meaning that if your timing is slightly off, they will fall hundreds of feet and get seriously injured?”
“Sounds great!” Remus giggled.
Patton Foster, the Hufflepuff, pouted. “You’re joking, right? You won’t actually hurt anyone, will you?”
“Oh, of course not.” Janus’ voice dripped with sarcasm. “I would never .”
Patton was about to respond when the other Ravenclaw, Virgil Storm, spoke up. “Um, guys? We’re reaching a dead end…”
The group slowed to a stop as they came up to a fence - a particular one no one ever dared go past. When they turned around, they found the group of older students all surrounding them, wands drawn and pointing directly at them.
“We’re fucked…” Virgil mumbled.
“It’ll be okay,” Patton reassured, more to himself than the others. “I mean, I’m sure someone would have seen them chasing us and gone to get help? Right?”
“I doubt it,” Janus said. “People don’t really like to get involved in our-” He ducked, a spell being fired his way. “-hijinks...”
Remus yelped, diving out of the way of a different spell which narrowly missed him. “So, what do we do? Fight back?!” He pulled his wand out from his pocket, put Patton pushed his arm down.
“We won’t stoop to their level! We’ll be the better peop- AH!” He quickly ducked, dodging yet another hex.
When he did, Logan, who had started to seem distracted and distant since they were cornered, sighed before mumbling, “Fuck it.” He clambered over the fence. “Follow me!”
The others turned around, watching him run, and Patton gasped. “Lo, we can’t go in there!”
“Pat’s right, are you insane?!” Virgil cried. “Do you want to fucking die?!”
Logan rolled his eyes, skidding to a stop. “Trust me, it’s safer than staying here and risking being hexed all day! Speaking of, Roman, duck.”
Roman did so, missing a hex hitting him by a millimetre. Right after, he started climbing over the fence as well. “You know what? I’m with Logan! I’d take demons over this shit any day!”
Remus did the same. “I’m gonna ask them what evil spirit sex is like!!!”
Janus sighed. “Well, if you can’t beat ‘em…” He hopped over the fence.
As they watched the others leave, Patton and Virgil shared a glance, the same looks of uncertainty on their faces. However, that uncertainty disappeared when they both had to dodge another hex being sent their way. After that, they didn’t hesitate climbing over the fence and ran over the rest of their friends.
Logan led the way, knowing full well they wouldn’t be followed. It was the Shrieking Shack, after all. As far as any students at the school, bar one, knew, it was haunted by evil spirits.
When they reached the house, Logan and Remus went straight inside, but everyone else paused. Logan huffed, turning to them. “It’s not actually haunted, come on!” He practically dragged them all in.
“Um… you sure it isn’t, Logan?” Roman asked, looking around the corridor they had just stepped into. Claw marks covered the walls and floor, as did splatterings of dried blood.
“We need to get out of here…” Virgil mumbled, breathing rate increasing.
“We will.” Logan started walking down the corridor.
“But we can’t. If we go back outside, we’ll be hexed to death,” Janus said.
“Not necessarily…” Logan crouched down at the other end of the corridor, grabbing at panels on the floor, mumbling quietly to himself as he tried to lift them. “Not this one… not this one… I need to focus more on which panels Pomfrey lifts next time…”
All the others shared glances, before Patton spoke up. “Y-you know… this place is freaking me out too much… I mean, there’s blood everywhere! We need to go right now…”
“Not to mention, Verge isn’t looking too good…” Roman added. It was true, Virgil was trembling, practically hyperventilating. Every now and then, when he did have the breath to, he’d mutter “We’re going to die here…”
Logan sighed, resting his hand against the wall and standing up. “Look, I mean it, this place isn’t haunted. It’s perfectly safe. Much safer than going out there, and inevitably ending up in the hospital wing, suffering with the affects of fifty different hexes. And if you hold on for just a minute, I can get us out of here to safety.” He paused, noticing none of them were actually paying attention to what he was saying, all looking at something just to Logan’s right. “What?” He followed their gazes, which were focused on his hand. Where his hand was resting on the wall, it was on top of a bloody handprint.
They lined up perfectly.
Logan pulled his hand away, swallowing the lump that had appeared in his throat. He hesitated, avoiding the gazes of his friends, before turning around and crouching again, busying himself with continuing to try to lift the floorboards.
“Logan, why is your bloody handprint on the wall? … Lo?” Janus didn’t get a response. “Logan?”
Logan still didn’t respond.
“Are you a ghost? Are you one of the evil spirits?!” Remus went to excitedly step forward, only for his brother to grab his arm. Roman pulled him back.
“This isn’t a joke, Rem! That’s fucking blood! Logan, what the fuck is going on right now?!”
Logan still didn’t say anything, but if you looked closely, you'd see he was trembling ever so slightly. Before anyone could say anything more, Logan finally found the loose floorboards, lifting them up. He swung his legs over the hole he’d uncovered, before dropping down. Then, he took off running.
He ran through the long passage, scarf flapping behind him as he went. He heard thuds echoing behind him, signalling his friends dropping into the passage, followed by them repeatedly calling his name. He didn’t wait for them, though, continuing to run. He had this passage down in his memory, having travelled through it twice a month for the past three years. Due to this, he effortlessly skipped over every tree root that could trip him up, something that he knew the others wouldn't know to do, slowing them down. Eventually, he reached the end of the passage. He clambered out at the base of the Whomping Willow, pressing the knot on the trunk that froze the branches. Then, he started running to the castle. Only to pause.
His friends didn’t know how to freeze the willow. They’d get hurt when they reached the end of the passage. Sure, he wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be able to catch up with them, but he didn’t want them to end up in the hospital wing!
He stopped running, scanning the ground for a rock. When he found one, he picked it up and turned back to the large tree. He waited, until he saw Remus appear in the mouth of the passage, and then threw the rock, hitting the knot on the trunk perfectly. Once the tree froze, he turned and continued to run.
When he finally got inside the castle, he ran in the direction of the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom. Well, at this point, he wasn’t really running anymore. He was getting pretty tired out, and so was more so walking quickly.
When he reached the classroom, he took a few deep breaths, getting his energy back. Once he felt a bit better, enough so that he could talk without gasping, he knocked on the door.
Logan opened the door, looking around to make sure no one else was in there. Nope. It was just him and Professor Lupin.
Lupin smiled as he looked up from marking essays and saw the Ravenclaw coming in. “Hello, Logan. I thought you’d be out enjoying Hogsmeade. It’s your first trip down there, isn’t it?” He paused, frowning when he saw Logan fidgeting with his scarf. “Are you oka-”
“I gave myself away! Some older kids, they were chasing us, we got backed into a corner, and- and I made the stupid decision to lead my friends to the Shrieking Shack to get away through the secret passage! I thought I could just pass it off as a passage I discovered a few days ago and nothing more! But they saw my bloody handprint on the wall, and now they’re going to ask questions, they’re going to know I’m a monster, and I’m going to have to leave school, and-”
“Logan. Do me a favour and name five things you can see.”
Logan took a deep breath, eyes drifting around the room. “I, uh… the desks. The chalkboard. Windows. Textbooks. Quills.”
“Good. Now name four things you can feel.”
“The breeze from the window. The tingly sensation all over my skin of the charm hiding my scars. The water in my shoes from the snow. Burning on my tongue from the Dragon Drops I bought at Honeydukes.”
“Three things you can hear.”
“Birds outside. The first and second years out in the grounds. Uh, and my own voice, I guess?”
“Two things you can smell.”
“The chocolate bars you have stashed in your desk. And Crofters?”
Lupin smiled, reaching into his desk drawer and pulling out a jar of Crofters and a spoon and sliding it over his desk to the student. “One thing you can taste.”
Logan pulled over a chair, sitting down in front of the teacher’s desk. He picked up the jar, opening it and eating a spoonful. “Delicious blackberry and pomegranate goodness…” He paused. “Why do you have these?”
“Overheard Roman saying you were ‘obsessed with Crofters’ a few days ago. I figured you’d enjoy having some after a full moon, so I got them so I could bring them to you in the hospital wing while you’re recovering.” Lupin sighed. “I still think it’s unfair that you aren’t allowed Wolfsbane but I am.”
Logan shrugged. “There hasn’t been an openly trans werewolf before. Or at least one who has trusted non-werewolves and uses wizard methods to transition. No one has any idea how the potions that flatten my chest could react with Wolfsbane when they’re both in my system. Mixing potions can be dangerous. It’s for my own safety. And between dysphoria and a painful transformation, I choose the transformation.”
“Then they should test it on someone for you.” Lupin folded his arms, before pausing. “You really think your friends won’t accept you?”
Logan shrugged. “I’m a monster. Why would they? I may as well go and start packing my bags…”
Lupin paused once again. “Have I ever told you about my friends finding out that I was a werewolf?” Logan shook his head. “It was in my second year. I wasn’t the best liar, my monthly disappearances made them suspicious. And, unlike you, I never thought to use a charm to hide my scars - I was lucky my bite scar was on my shoulder and not anywhere noticeable. Anyway, my friends followed me one night and saw me transform. After recovering in the hospital wing, I returned to my dorm, and they told me they knew. And then guess what happened?”
Logan raised an eyebrow. “They left you for good because they hated and feared you?”
“Nope. They said I was the same Remus I’d always been, and didn’t care what I was. They even went so far as to become illegal animagi to accompany me on full moons and make sure I didn’t hurt myself - but don’t tell anyone that part. They stayed as my best friends. And things haven’t changed since. Well, it changed for one of them, but that was for non-werewolf related reasons. As for the other two, well, one’s still my best friend, and the other became my husband.”
Logan couldn’t believe what he was hearing. The idea that he could be accepted for what he was had never seemed realistic to him. It was hard to even consider, given his own mother had jumped ship after he was bitten.
“And, Logan, you and your friends seem just as close as me and my friends were, if not more. I’m sure that, if you just explain, they won’t care at all. They’ll understand that you are still, well… you. They’ll understand that the wolf doesn’t define you. Not to mention, you already have a metamorphmagus and the son of a maledictus in your friend group, correct? So they seem pretty tolerable of magical creatures.”
Logan shrugged. “I’m quite a lot more dangerous than metamorphmaguses and maledictuses.”
“Look, how about this: I’ll go with you and wait outside the room while you tell them. If they don’t mind, I’ll leave. If things don’t go well, I’ll come in and try and talk them down. If that doesn’t work, I’ll obliviate their memories of the Shack and of you telling them. Then everything can go back to how it was before.”
“You’d really do that for me?”
“It’s my job to look out for the wellbeing of my students.”
Logan gave a thankful smile, finishing the last bite of Crofters in the jar. “Thank you… I think I know where they’d be right now.”
Lupin stood up. “Then let’s get going, shall we?”
Logan stood as well, putting the jar down on the desk before leading the way from the room. They travelled through different corridors and hallways, until they reached one that was seemingly empty of doors. Lupin smiled as they entered it. “You all discovered the Room of Requirement, then?”
Logan froze. “Wait, you know about it?”
Lupin nodded. “My friends and I were quite the explorers. If there’s a secret passage, or secret room, we know about it.”
Logan nodded. “Oh… Well, we use it as a place to hang out, given as we’re all from different houses and so we’re not really allowed in each other’s common rooms. I can only assume they came here after they lost track of me.”
He stepped over to the wall where the door to the room would appear. And it did a moment later, sensing what he required. He took a deep breath, raising a hand to push the door open. He hesitated, glancing over to Lupin, who was giving him a reassuring smile. He looked back to the door, pushing it open.
As he stepped inside, he found all his friends there, as he had expected, sat on couches, talking. Well, they were talking until Logan came in, at which point they fell silent, staring at him. Logan left the door ajar so Lupin could hear the conversation, before walking towards his friends, pulling his wand from his pocket. He came to a stop in front of them, pointing his wand at himself.
When the incantation left his mouth, the ever present tingly sensation all over his skin began to disappear, his many scars revealing themselves - including a very large and prominent bite scar on his neck. He lowered his wand, slipping it back into a pocket.
“... I’m a werewolf. I was bitten when I was seven. The Shrieking Shack is where I transform every month. The rumours that it’s haunted by dark spirits are kept circulating to discourage people going near it, so I’m not outed and so I don’t hurt anyone. The blood in the Shack is my own; the wolf is so desperate for flesh and blood, it attacks itself, leaving me badly injured when I transform back. That’s why my bloody handprint was on the wall. I never told you because I was afraid… I told you my mum left because she was transphobic and didn’t want a transgender child. That was a lie. She left because she didn’t want a werewolf son. That left me with the idea no one except my dad could ever accept me for what I am. I’m just a monster to everyone but him. I thought you’d think the same.” He paused. “I hope you don’t.”
There was a very long pause. Logan was scared to look up at his friends’ faces, fearing the disgust, horror and hatred he’d likely see...
Or not. After a moment, there was a sigh.
“Oh thank god, I was afraid you were secretly a murderer or something,” Janus breathed in relief.
“This is awesome!” Remus was grinning from ear to ear. “I mean, I was hoping you’d be an evil spirit, but werewolves are cool too!”
Logan looked up, eyes wide. All of them looked relieved, or in Remus' case, excited, not scared. “You… you don’t hate me?”
“I’m just glad you’re not planning to kill us,” Roman replied. “I was beginning to think you were a vampire!”
“Same here,” Virgil added. “I mean, vampires are deadly 24/7. Werewolves? Only deadly once a month for. Well, assuming you’re not one of those werewolves who embraces their lycanthropy at all times and goes on killing rampages no matter the phase of the moon… Which you can’t be, right? I mean… you spend your nights eating jam straight from the jar while reading and wearing a unicorn onesie. Not exactly threatening.”
Patton smiled. “I think it’s cute! You transform into an adorable little pupper!”
“That is… not at all what I’m like on a full moon,” Logan said. “I did mention the part where I tear myself to pieces, didn’t I?”
“Not to mention, I doubt the ‘little’ descriptor would work for him,” Roman turned to Patton. “I mean, he may be the shortest of us now, but I assume the wolf is much bigger. Not to mention, the wolf probably has all the chub Logan has, meaning it’s not little in the height nor weight se- OW!” The cry was due to his Janus hitting him around the back of the head. “What was that for?!”
“Making fun of his weight after his most vulnerable moment? Not a good idea.”
“I wasn’t making fun of him, I was just pointing it out…”
“Still an asshole thing to do.”
“Don’t worry about it, Janus,” Logan reassured. “I’m used to his teasing comments by now.” He paused. “You really are all okay with this? You’re really okay with me being a monster?”
Patton shook his head. “No, Logan, you’re not a mon-”
“Heck yeah, of course we are! Monsters are fucking cool!” Remus yelled, reaching over and grabbing Logan’s wrist, pulling him over to sit beside him on the couch.
“And just because you transform once a month doesn’t change the fact you’re the same old Logan the rest of the time,” Virgil said.
“Yeah, we still love you, Wolfy,” Roman nodded.
“Please don’t make that nickname stick…”
“Sorry, Wolfy.” Remus ruffled Logan’s hair, much to the annoyance of the Ravenclaw. “It’s sticking.”
“Just think of it as an endearing nickname that shows we accept you for who you are,” Janus shrugged. “We’re your… pack, in a way.”
“Exactly! And I think the nickname’s cute,” Patton said. “I wish there was some way we could help you on full moons, though. It sounds so horrible...”
“I don’t think you can do anything. It’s too dangerous,” Logan replied. “I attack all humans.” He paused, before his eyes widened, remembering something he was told earlier. “But I don’t attack animals…” He sat up properly. “Do you all know what animagi are?"