Delilah walked into Remus’ room, inquisitive face on.
“Sirius, why do you go everywhere with my brother?”
“‘Cause he’s my boyfriend.”
“Oh. Are there anymore biscoitos?”
The Marauders had been sitting on the floor talking when Delilah had entered the room. She began walking around them in a circle, tapping them on the head as she did so.
She tapped Peter’s head. “Duck.”
Sirius instantaneously got up and chased Delilah around Remus’ room.
The Lupin family had just sat down for dinner. Delilah was pestering John with every question she could think of about the Ministry of Magic, which he answered to the best of his ability, while Remus and Olivia were talking about a distant family member that had just gotten married.
In other words, everything was normal.
Seemingly out of nowhere, there was a loud crack, and Remus felt the weight of someone on his chest as he fell backward in his chair. Sirius was sitting on top of him, grinning from ear to ear.
“Moony! I passed my Apparition test!”
“It’s strange, being in a city after Hogwarts,” Remus commented, looking up at the night sky. “For one thing, you can barely see the stars.”
“There’s one that’s pretty visible at least,” Sirius pointed upward in the direction of the star. “It’s all alone.”
“The one lonely star,” Remus mused. “Sounds like the name of a children’s book.”
“Oh yes. ‘Once upon a time there was this one lonely star, and he sat there all alone for hundreds of thousands of years because no one wanted to be his friend. Then he became a black hole and sucked everything up. The end.’” Sirius laughed. “Wonderful story, we should tell it to Delilah.”
Delilah had come to the conclusion she could persuade the Marauders to do just about anything. The night before the Quidditch World Cup, she had asked them to make sock puppets with her. Peter had been the first to give in, and the rest followed suit.
Delilah was too amused with their creations to make her own.
Much to Delilah’s excitement, the Marauders had reluctantly agreed to sit and watch Grease with her. “I honestly don’t know how one little girl can boss us around,” James muttered affectionately. He was clearly bored with the movie thus far.
“Story of my life,” Sirius laughed. Delilah was sitting on Remus’ lap; her brother had spent a good portion of the movie covering her ears.
As the scene changed and the song ‘Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee’ started, James scoffed jokingly. “Sounds like our Moony.” Remus blushed and pretended he hadn’t heard James’ comment.
“Nah,” Sirius argued. “He’s not lousy with virginity, that’s for sure.”
“We didn’t need to know that,” Peter objected.
“And he wouldn’t discourage anything to do with Elvis’ pelvis, either,” Sirius added, mainly to irk Peter, but to embarrass Remus as well. Both goals were achieved.
“Remus,” began Delilah, “why is being a werewolf bad?”
Remus hadn’t expected her to understand; she was only five. Every way he worded it in his mind would probably scare her out of her wits. Remus looked at his shoes and sighed.
“Once upon a time, there was a little girl whose nickname was Little Red Riding Hood. Her mother send her off to her grandmother’s house, but when she got there she found her grandmother to be acting very strange. But it wasn’t really her, because the Big Bad Wolf had broken into her home and he ate her, then disguised himself as her to get Little Red Riding Hood, too.” Remus had found himself speaking rather softly, almost as if he was telling the story to himself.
He cleared his throat. He stopped speaking the the story at that point, but his mind involuntarily continued. And then she found out killed him. Because he was a danger to everyone. Because he only hurt people. Because he was cruel. Because everyone would be so much better off without him.
Delilah blinked. “But you’re different,” she stated simply. “That’s all that matters, right?”
Remus looked at her for a moment before laughing at her innocence. He knelt down and hugged her. “If only it were that simple, Delilah.”
There were a lot of things Delilah didn’t know. She didn’t know why her brother was sad all of a sudden; she didn’t know what the point of that story was; she still didn’t know why it was a bad thing that Remus was a werewolf, or why she couldn’t tell anyone.
What she did know, however, was that Little Red Riding Hood was the perhaps worst story of all time.
Sirius sat up in his bed, checking the clock. It was just past one in the morning. Despite the late time, he was quite hungry. He entertained the idea of stealing a bit of chocolate from Remus’ stash, but quickly thought better of it; he wouldn’t live to see another day if Remus found out. Deciding he’d much rather risk the wrath of John and Olivia rather than Remus, he quietly made his way into the kitchen.
Recognizing the small figure of Delilah Lupin on her tip-toes in front of the open refrigerator Sirius realized he wasn’t the only one looking for a midnight snack.
He stood behind her and twisted his face into a ridiculously animated disapproving frown. “What the devil is going on here, Delilah?”
“I’m hungry,” she complained, but giggled at his silly facial expression nonetheless.
“That makes two of us, twerp,” Sirius admitted, abandoning his facade.
“There’s ice cream up at the top, but I can’t reach it,” she explained, reaching her hand up to point at it. “It’s sherbert.”
Half an hour later, Remus woke up in the middle of the night to find Sirius and Delilah sitting cross-legged on the floor of his bedroom, eating ice cream from the carton and conversing about Muggle music artists.
“This is blasphemy!” James exclaimed, motioning with his hands to the deer exhibit at the zoo, clearly outraged. “They need more room!”
It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and what had started as Remus bringing Delilah to the zoo had ended up as Remus going to the zoo with Delilah, the Marauders, and Lily. Lily absolutely adored Delilah from the moment they met, and the two spent the day talking about which animals were their favorites and comparing stories of how they dealt with the boys.
Their last visit within the zoo was, ironically, the wolf exhibit. There were two wolves, one tawny grey and the other black, laying side by side.
“Remind you of anything?” Sirius murmured as he reached out to hold Remus’ hand. James made a gagging motion and was hit upside the head by Lily shortly afterward.
For Delilah’s eighth birthday, she had invited a handful of friends to the house. Her party was located in the basement, and she had insisted on playing all the records she had deemed worthy. Sirius had somehow (though not unsurprisingly) found himself dancing with Delilah, twirling her around in circles until she got so dizzy she collapsed in a fit of giggles.
Remus muttered something under his breath that sounded remarkably like ‘blackmail, blackmail, so much blackmail,’ as the Van Morrison record finished playing. He picked up the pile of records on the table. The only one that hadn’t been played yet belonged to Elton John, so Remus switched the records out.
As the first song began to play, a small girl with short blonde hair looked slightly disgusted. “This is Elton John,” she murmured. “My mum says he’s gay.”
Sirius opened his mouth to speak, but Delilah was quicker, shooting the girl a look of severe disapproval before speaking. “Why is that a bad thing?”
“No it’s not. A person is a person, and that stuff doesn’t make a difference!”
Remus had never been more proud.