Monday, October 21, 2013

Under the Moonlight - Concluding Part

This is the Third and Concluding part of this story. If you haven't already read the first 2 parts of the story, please visit the following links:
Under the Moonlight - Part 1
Under the Moonlight - Part 2
I am a huge Harry Potter Fan. Besides reading each book over and over again, I have read a lot of fanfictions from all over the places. So, I decided to try and write one myself. I know that its going to be nothing compared to the original series, yet I would love it if you read and review it for me.
NOTE: Anything that you recognize in this story belongs to J.K.Rowling.



It was in his third year that James and Sirius started acting funny around him. He could tell that they were talking about him behind his back by the way they would whisper every so often and stop talking abruptly whenever he walked in on them. Dread filled him up again as million questions started to seep into his mind once again. Did they already know or were they just suspicious? Should he tell them or let them find out on their own? Would they understand and accept him or would they judge and abandon him. He kept on having internal fights with himself about how to handle the situation. A part of him wanted to confide in James and Sirius. After all they were his best buddies. If Lily could understand, they could too. If she could look past his monstrous side, they could too. Right? But then another part of him was still too scared to open up. Lily was exceptionally compassionate about everyone. She had a way of seeing the best even in the worst specimen of human kind. No one else could be expected to have the same level of compassion. James and Sirius were different and may not see things in the same light. He was sure that he would not be able to handle their rejection. So much so, he was sure that he would prefer the rest of the world’s disgust rather than see them turn their backs on him.


One day James asked him very casually whether he would be going home that weekend. It was going to be a full moon weekend and thus Remus’s fears were confirmed. Pretending to be absorbed in the book he was reading, Remus had to keep a check on his nerves before replying, “No idea. You know it depends upon my mother’s condition. There’s no way to predict it. Why?” James had simply shrugged and said that they were going to have their first Hogsmeade visit that weekend and wanted to make plans. When Remus missed the trip, he was sure that they would confront him on his return. But his fears were in vain because when he returned, all the duo could talk about was the village. They had even brought him some Sugarquills from Honeydukes, the sweet shop in Hogsmeade. When days turned into weeks and another full moon had come and gone, Remus finally started to relax again. James and Sirius had not confronted him and they even had stopped whispering among themselves. He kept telling himself that he had only imagined it all. They must have been planning some prank that he wouldn’t have approved.

On their second outing Remus was able to accompany them to Hogsmeade. James and Sirius took their responsibility to show Remus around very ‘sirus-ly’. They guided him to every store in Hogsmeade that they thought he would enjoy. Even the bookstore! Then they dragged him to the Shrieking Shack which to their disappointment was quiet. They kept on swearing that the last time they had visited on their way back to Hogwarts, they had heard a lot of noises coming from there. Finally, they settled down at ‘The Three Broomsticks’ with mugs of Butterbeer. After a couple of mugs each, when they were feeling all warm and fuzzy, Sirius turned to Remus, “Don’t you have something to tell us?”
“What? When did I say that?”
“It isn’t what you have said, but it is what you haven’t said yet. That’s some big secret that you are hiding from us Remus. But people are talking. You know the Hogwarts grapevine. How could you do this to me, Remus? I thought we were friends,” said James.
“What’s going on? What did I do?” Any other time, Remus’s insecurities would have kicked in, but at this point he was too relaxed and fuzzy.
“Shame on you, Remus. How long were you planning to keep this from us?” Sirius asked.
“Yeah, did you think that we would not even notice?” continued James. He and Sirius had taken to continuing each other’s sentences recently. “That you can do anything behind our back and get away with it?”
Once again Sirius picked up from James, “It is really stupid of you think that, that James would not notice especially when Evans is involved.”
Remus had been staring between the two of them, “I don’t understand. What are you guys trying to say? Did Lily say something?”
James was staring at him dangerously. “Oh! So its Lily now, is it? How long have you two been going around? Does she even know about your ‘furry little problem’?!” He asked, his voice raising with every word that he grinded out. Remus spluttered his butterbeer.
“Calm down James! People are starting to look around at you. Besides, give the man a chance to explain.”
“You… you think that I am going out with Lily? No way James, she is just a friend. We just study together when… Wait! What do you mean by my furry little problem?”
James and Sirius spoke up at the same time. “Just a friend?” asked James.
“You thought that your affair with the full moon would escape our notice?” said Sirius. Remus, overwhelmed, continued to look at his two friends numbly. Sirius leaned forward and continued in a muted voice. “Look, we have known about your situation for a couple of months now. We were not going to say anything about it.” He gave James a pointed look. “This is something that you had to be comfortable about and so we wanted you to tell us when you were ready for us to know. But James here tends to get hot headed regarding Evans. But that’s beside the point now. We just want you to know that we are not freaked out about being friends with you. We have to do something about it though, but still have no idea what at this point though we are working on some ideas.”
“You are not going to Dumbledore about a new dormitory?”
“No you prat! We are not going to run off to Dumbledore for new sleeping or class arrangements and we are not going to tell everyone about how dangerous you are. That’s a shame though! Imagine the looks on those slimy Slytherins’ faces if we told them that you are going to eat them up next full moon! I can almost see it! Precious!”
“So you are okay about my transformation?”
“Okay?! I personally think its cool! Only wish, you would have told us before instead of us wasting three years to find it out!”
Remus couldn’t help but crack a smile. Only Sirius could think of it as cool. But James’s silence bothered him. So he turned towards him and ventured tentatively, “James, I swear there is nothing between me and Lily. We are just friends. We just study together and that’s it. She has been really good about my condition and has been helping me with the school work whenever I miss classes.”
“So, you told her. But you couldn’t tell us?” James looked a bit cheered up but not completely.
“I did not tell anyone. She worked it out by herself last year and has been helping me ever since. Haven’t you noticed how I don’t ask for the class notes anymore? Trust me. I did not tell her. My parents told me that I could not tell anyone. Ever.”
“She worked it out last year? She is brilliant!”
“Yeah, that she is. So am I forgiven?”
“Sure. So, does she ever ask about me?”

Rest of the evening passed by with James grilling him about Lily Evans. Apparently, everything was forgiven and forgotten. It took the three of them and Peter almost three years to work out how one could become an Animagus. Three years of planning, hard work and excitement. Soon Moony, Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail were found to be running around the Hogwarts ground and the Forbidden Forest every full moon. It was exhilarating and liberating. Remus had to spend his transformations locked up in the Shrieking Shack cooped up, scratching and hurting himself. But it was a thing of the past once they all mastered their Animagus forms. In their animal forms, they could communicate with each other. So instead of being lonely and hurting himself, Remus now explored in the company of his best friends. Even after leaving Hogwarts, they continued the tradition. They would go somewhere away from human habitation, and spend the full moons playfully. When Voldemort’s rule became more and more dangerous, at least one of them, mostly Sirius would stay with him till he had to go underground on Dumbledore’s request. What he had always considered as his curse, his friends turned it to a ‘cool gift’. Where he had been terrified of his transformations before, he started to look forward to them now. His friends kept him company, made sure he did not hurt himself or anyone else while transformed and even managed to turn it to fun! Later he could not even think about why he had been so apprehensive about telling his friends… It only seemed natural that his friends would accept him and his ‘Furry little problem’ and make it their own problem.


Changes in his body brought Remus back to present. He could feel the transformation starting. He desperately wished his friends could be with him once again. Tell him that is was okay to feel and that they would always be together. That they would make sure he was safe. That he had nothing to worry about. His curse turned gift had turned into a curse once again. Padfoot and Prongs would never run with him again. It was just him and his affair with the moon. He thought about Tonks once. What would his friends say about her? Sirius had accepted him without any reservations but would he feel differently about him and Tonks being together? Was it even possible to begin with? Would it be fair to impose his curse on some one else? What would James have to say? Would he be angry with him for not trusting Harry enough? He had failed his friends in so many ways… His last conscious thought before the transformation completed was that his true curse was to be left behind alone. The fully transformed wolf let out howl, into the dark starless sky with only the moon shining through.

The inhabitants of Godric’s Hollow heard a wolf howl into the night sky. They had heard legends about how people had heard a wolf whining throughout the night after the Potters were attacked. But that was fifteen years back and no one had heard anything since then. Tonight, after so many years, everyone heard the howls and the whining. It scared them. Only a little girl looked up at her mother reading her a bed time story and said, “It sounds so sad and lonely.”


Thursday, October 3, 2013

"A Different Life"


When I was young and hated to go to school, my mother would always tell me that one day I would find ‘education’ was the only thing that could liberate me in life. Whenever she made me sit and do my homework or study for my exams, she would keep chanting, ‘This is going to be your ticket to a different life. You don’t want one like mine. You’ll see… you will be free and then you will thank me for putting you through this.’ At first I was too young to understand what she meant. Then I was a rebelling teenager to whom her mother was the ‘bad guy’ in real life and I did not have a moment to understand her motivations. Soon I was too wrapped up in my own life to give a second thought to what she meant and what she wanted for me.

Today, I am turning 40. I have already lived through a big part of my life – I would like to think more than half. I have seen see a lot of places and people. I have had my share of ups and downs of life and I have gathered a lot of experience. Experience of learning from my mistakes and triumphs and also from the mistakes of those around me. Today, I am turning 40. I am married to a ‘very successful’ man; I am a mother of two most beautiful children and an efficient home maker.

I had met my husband in college and have been together ever since. We had even done our Masters in Business Administration together, with same majors. We had the same ambition and the same drive. ‘We both want the same things from life,’ he had said. ‘Nobody else can understand this need better. Why wait? Let’s get married and be together to support each other.’ We had eloped and gotten married straight out of the University. I remember our initial struggle. For the first five years we had worked hard to make the ends meet and build some sort of life for ourselves. We had finally reached a stage of stability in life, but our long hours had taken us away from each other. We hardly knew the person we had become and knew even less about the other.

Things changed again when I got pregnant and found out that we were going to have twins. We started working harder and even longer hours. In the fifth month of my pregnancy, he said, “Why don’t you take a break from your job? The job, home and now the twins. It is too much stress. I am going to call your mother to come stay with us and you quit your job. Just sit back and relax. You need to think about your health and you have to think about the health of the babies as well. All this stress cannot be good for them. You can always get back to work later.” So I quit my job. Since then my life has changed completely.

Every mother likes to think that their child is the best and most beautiful thing on this earth.  I do so too. But I do not mean their physical appearance; they have the best from both of us and while we are both average looking, our children are beautiful. But I actually meant about their personality, their nature and their temperament. They hardly ever fuss or fight. They are very adaptable and most sensitive about their surroundings… They know the importance of a good education and excel in their classes. My son enjoys playing the guitar while my daughter loves to sing. I revel in their talents.

Personally my life has become very monotonous and predictable.  My mornings start with the rush of school & office. The day passes on with washing & cleaning. Evenings are busy with homework and preparation of dinner. My husband usually arrives at the nick of time for dinner. After a family dinner and discussion of each person’s highlight of the day, the kitchen beckons me for one last clean down. By the time I am done cleaning, checking on the kids and a shower to wash off the day’s exhaustion, I find my husband snoring slightly on his side of the bed.

Today as I turn 40, I look back over my shoulders to the days that have gone by. I see all the forks in my life where my decisions took me towards one and away from the other. I can see all the failures and I can see all my triumphs. I can see how, when and where the priorities in my life had changed. I can see what I had wanted to be and what I had become.  I finally realized what I always wanted to be like – everything that my mother was not; a practical career woman who was totally independent. I can see what I had become – everything that she was; a sentimental and emotional housewife whose whole world revolved around her husband and children.

Today as I turn 40, I find myself looking back at the little girl whose mother kept telling her that education would bring her freedom. I finally have the time and maturity to understand her motivations. So I ask myself, am I anymore free than she was? Do I have a ‘different life’?