Mr. Lupin, please contact me at your earliest convenience. I have a personal matter to discuss with you.
Remus stared at the letter in his hand, not knowing exactly how much his life was going to change in the next twenty-four hours.
December 11, 1992
The Laboratory Notes of Damocles Belby
I have spent the last five years working towards a single goal, and finally I have achieved it. I have created and perfected a potion to help reduce the dangers of lycanthropy. I have named it the Wolfsbane potion, hoping that I can use it to help those unfortunate souls who have had the misfortune of being bitten by werewolves.
What started as an attempt to cure my son of his lycanthropy has turned into a much longer process then I had originally planned. Over the past five years there have been several failed attempts, which subjected him to more pain then the transformation itself. Finally, about six months ago, we made a breakthrough.
A combination of a hundred Wolfsbane blossoms, ten drops of venom from a Billywig, the egg of a Diricawl, a scale from a Hippocampus, five grams of Tourmaline, five Chamomile blossoms, and twenty Four Leaf Clovers. I had the combination of ingredients down for several months before perfecting the brewing time. This became a trial and error process more than anything else. I had to use a gold cauldron and spoon for the brewing process, as obviously the use of silver would have been deadly. I discovered that the potion had to be brewed for a total of twenty three days, starting on the day of a full Wolf moon. It then has to sit and age for at least eight days for it to have the most effectiveness. The last full moon was two days ago, and finally for the first time in ten years my son made it through the transformation with no pain, and no hunger for the hunt.
"Dad, the full moon is tonight; do you think the potion will work this time?" My son looked at me with desperation crossing his face. He looks so old to me now, even more with the full moon upon us once again.
"I hope so, son. I hope so." I wanted so much for this to work: the past five months have been easier then any other time since he had been bitten ten years ago, but it’s still not good enough. He still is suffering through the change. If my attempt this month is right, then he should be able to go through the night with no discomfort whatsoever, able to maintain control over his thoughts and suppress the animal instincts inside him.
The sun was starting to set, and I filled a goblet with the potion. I took it to the room where Conan stayed on the nights he was going through the change. I handed him the goblet and said, "I will be right outside all night." I gave him a hug and then turned to walk out the door.
I turned back to him, and he said, "I just know it will be right this time." He then proceeded to drink down the goblet’s contents.
I closed the heavy iron door and locked it with several spells. Now all we could do was wait and see how the night progressed. I sat down on the floor opposite the door where I had put together a makeshift bed and settled in for the night.
I awake with a start and pull my pocket watch out to see what time it is. Three AM. The room is eerily quiet, which is very unusual. I look towards the door and it's still intact. I get up from the floor and silently cross the room, trying to be as quiet as I can be. I put my ear to the door and hear the sounds of crying coming from the other side. I recoiled in shock for a moment before saying "Conan?" aloud. On any other night of the Wolf Moon, any attempt to speak to him would have him slamming into the door, trying to get to the person outside. I move back from the door anticipating this reaction from him. Instead, after a few seconds I hear the scratching coming from inside the room. He is whimpering out of frustration, and scratching at the door in an attempt to communicate. It has worked. After five long years, and many sleepless nights, it has finally worked. The Wolfsbane Potion is a success.
I go back to where my bed is and sit there, waiting patiently for morning to come.
I have finally achieved what we for years thought to be impossible. I have made a potion that helps to control the effects of lycanthropy. I know that you have told me in the past that you would like to be made aware of any success I had in this endeavor.
Dear Mr. Belby,
I would like to thank you for informing me about your success. I remember how you excelled at potions while you were a student here. I am delighted that your talents haven’t been for naught. I sincerely hope there were fewer explosions than you had during Professor Slughorn’s class your first year. Argus still complains about the Armadillo bile he had to clean from the dungeon ceiling, but I digress. I would like to extend an invitation for you to visit Hogwarts to teach our potions master, Severus Snape on the proper technique in brewing this potion. It is of the utmost importance, however, that the Ministry of Magic does not learn of my request. They would be most disapproving of my reasons for it, and at this time it is in the best interest of myself and others involved that they do not learn of it.
I shall be expecting your response shortly.
Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Dear Professor Dumbledore,
I will be arriving at Hogwarts on February 6th, 1993, at approximately ten in the morning. I will be ready to show your Potions Master the correct way to brew the potion. It is rather complex, and requires almost a month to get to completion. I will bring all of the potion ingredients with me, so let Professor Snape know that he doesn't need to worry about having them. I will however need to be supplied with a gold cauldron, as that is too heavy for me to transport all the way there.
February 6, 1993
I Apparated to Hogsmeade around half past nine this morning in order to have time to walk to Hogwarts and still have a few minutes to spare before I had to meet with Severus Snape. I remembered him from school: he was a few years behind me and had a horrible attitude; I wondered if it has improved at all over the years. I would know soon enough.
As I arrived at the school, I realized that the gates were locked tight, and there didn't appear to be anyone waiting for me. I remembered from my days at school that Dumbledore kept several locking charms on the gates that only he could remove. I didn't know how I was supposed to get past the gates, when they suddenly swung open as I got closer. I walked through the opening and as soon as I had got through them they closed behind me. I continued walking towards the castle, a sense of familiarity washing over me. When I reached the steps, Professor Dumbledore was waiting.
"Good morning, Damocles. It's a beautiful day, don't you agree?" Dumbledore was his usually cheery self, with his usual smile playing on his lips and a twinkle in his eyes.
"Hello, Professor. Yes, I do have to agree with you."
"If you would follow me, I will take you to Severus' classroom. He is awaiting your arrival."
Dumbledore turned and walked into the castle. I caught up with him, and we walked in silence the rest of the way to the dungeon where I knew the Potions class was taught. It was exactly the same room where Potions been taught when I was a student at Hogwarts so many years ago.
We walked into the room, and it had the same dank, dark feeling to it that I remembered. I saw Severus sitting at his desk waiting for us. Dumbledore said, "Severus, Mr. Belby is here to begin your instruction on the proper way to make the Wolfsbane Potion."
Severus looked at me with a cold sneer crossing his face. He hadn't changed at all: his attitude was just as cold and unwelcoming as it had been when we were students. He just sniffed, and said, "Very well, let us begin, shall we?"
I started to unpack the bag that I had the potion ingredients in, and Snape got up from his seat behind his desk and came over to where I was standing. I turned to him and asked if he had obtained the gold cauldron that we needed for the potion.
He looked at me with that usual blank expression that I remembered, and just turned and walked into his storage cupboard. He came back a minute later with the cauldron and set it down on the floor in front of me.
I started to cut up the flower blossoms and the clovers as he loomed over me like the giant bat he so closely resembled. I could feel his breath on the back of my neck. I looked up at him and said, "If you don't mind, could you please sit down. You are distracting me." He glared at me and proceeded to sit down across from me. I could feel him staring the entire time. Once I was done with the cutting, I picked up the shredded flowers and threw them into the cauldron.
I proceeded to add the rest of the ingredients into the cauldron, explaining the steps to Severus as I carried them out. He sat at the table, not saying a word or moving at all. He had a look of disdain on his face.
When all the potion ingredients had been added and it was bubbling nicely, I turned to him and asked if he had any questions for me. He stood up without a word and walked out of the room, his black robes billowing around him. I shook my head and looked after him in dismay.
"I will take that as a ‘No’."
June 2, 1993
At noon today Professor Dumbledore and I have an appointment to meet Remus Lupin in Hogsmeade. I vaguely remember him from school, and was never aware that he was stricken with lycanthropy. Dumbledore has told me that he is offering Remus the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor for the next school year, and that the Wolfsbane Potion is for him, so he will be able to control his condition while in the company of students.
Just a little before noon Dumbledore and I made our way to a table in the darkest corner of the Hogshead Tavern. After a few minutes, a somewhat bedraggled man in a patched cloak approached us and greeted Dumbledore.
"Sir, it is so good to see you again. I am rather curious as to why you asked to see me?"
"I have some rather good news for you Remus. You may want to sit down first, however. This is Damocles Belby. I believe you knew each other while students at Hogwarts. He has invented what he calls the Wolfsbane Potion. Its purpose is to lessen the effects of lycanthropy at the height of the full moon."
Remus' mouth dropped open in disbelief and after a few moments of looking back and forth between Professor Dumbledore and myself, he said, "Are you sure of this, without a doubt?"
I said, "We are quite sure. We have both been witness to the use of it by my son on three occasions now, and he slept through almost the entire transformation during all three tests. I have taught Professor Snape to make the potion and once a month, on the eve of the Wolf Moon, he will have a batch of it ready for you to use."
"Why is Severus willing to do this for me?" Remus asked in stunned disbelief. "We aren't exactly on the best of terms, to put it lightly."
"I am offering you a job Remus. I would like for you to be the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor come next term. As a precaution, you will need to take the potion every month when the Wolf Moon comes. The safeguards that we had in place while you were a student are still available, and the pathway to the Shrieking Shack has yet to be used by any of the present student body, as they don't know how to get past the Whomping Willow. Severus is aware that I am offering you this position, and while he was displeased, to put it mildly, that I am yet again not offering him the job he does understand that it is necessary for him to abide by my wishes."
"A job? Working with students? Professor, I am honored that you would think of me, but what about the reactions of the parents? I am sure that none of them would be happy with a werewolf teaching their children."
"I don't plan to announce your condition to the masses, Remus. Once a month you will miss classes; we will just say that you are ill, and on those days we will arrange for someone to cover for you."
We sat there in silence for a time, and I could tell that Remus was deep in thought. I am sure his thoughts were some of the same ones my son went through once we finally had the potion perfected - the thoughts of being able to retain his awareness of his surroundings, to know that he wouldn’t hurt anyone anymore. Now the pain he had endured for years would no longer haunt him every month.
He looked at Professor Dumbledore with a broad grin and said, "I gladly accept your offer, and will be there on the first day of term."
I originally wrote this for a contest over at harrypotterfanfiction.com, and won eighth place with it. Thanks again to my original muse for this piece, without whom I would have never chosen the ingredients for the potion. A big thank you to Dara, who had the courtesy to beta this for me, and fix my glaring punctuation errors, and make my British shortcomings a little less obvious.
I hope you enjoyed it!
[B/N: It’s always nice to be given lots of credit for minimal work! Thanks Nymphadora, it’s been a pleasure.]