Remus and Lily walked in companionable silence through the quiet corridors of the first floor as they completed the final hour of their prefect patrol. Close friends and study buddies since Lily had come to Remus asking if he was a werewolf, not long after his other friends had broken the news that they knew to him, this year they had become closer, sitting together in most classes, because Remus had put up with his friends distractions for long enough, and because Lily had had a major fallout with Severus Snape, her best friend, at the end of last year. Besides their fondness for learning they had other things in common, most clearly, that they were both outsiders in the Wizarding World, although as Remus occasionally felt, a muggle-born was more part of society than a werewolf.
They understood each other, and shared their worries. Remus knew how worried Lily was about her parents, as the number of attacks on muggles, particularly those with magical children, was increasing weekly. Lily knew all about Remus' worries for his future after Hogwarts, when he would no longer be a student, but simply a werewolf, and his prospects seemed grim. Remus also knew about Lily's worries for Severus Snape, the ex-best friend, who seemed to be getting into the wrong crowd, a dark crowd that were suspected to be planning on joining the ranks of Lord Voldemort when they left school, although there was no evidence, so nothing that Professor Dumbledore could do.
So far it had been an easy patrol but as they reached the final stretch of corridor before they could head upstairs back to bed, they heard noise up ahead. Both drew their wands.
"Who's there?" Lily began, "We're prefects, so you should come out, or we'll deduct house points." The two shared a grimace as they realised how awful the line that they were told to say sounded.
Remus woke up with a throbbing head. In his routine mental check for injuries caused by the full moon, he realised he didn't have any. He was pretty sure it had only been full moon a week ago anyway, and he vaguely remembered being on prefect patrol. To try and gain more evidence to help him piece things together he opened his eyes.
He was in the hospital wing, and Lily was sat up in the bed next to him with her right shoulder in bandages.
"You're awake," she smiled as she saw his eyes open, "Madame Pomfrey was getting worried."
"What happened?" and he tried to sit up, although quickly gave that up, as his head span more.
"We were on patrol, and we heard someone up ahead, do you remember that? Well" she continued as Remus gave a slight nod of his head, "there were four of them, and they came out fighting. We duelled, but then one of them hit a suit of armour and used it to clobber you round the head with. I was hit in the shoulder, and then stunned. Someone found us both this morning, and brought us here. Madame Pomfrey hasn't healed your head yet, because you kept shaking, so she was worried it was worse than just a hit on the head."
Remus frowned, other than great pain in his head, he felt fine, and he was quite an expert at not okay. Then it hit him, though not with quite as much force as the armour.
"What did they hit your shoulder with?"
"A cutting curse of sorts, why?"
"So you were bleeding?" he clarified. At Lily's confused nod, he looked round for his wand, and after pulling himself into a sitting position to grab it, pointed it at his shoulder.
"Reviresco" he muttered, and once again writing blossomed over his shoulder, which was only partially covered by the hospital pyjamas he had been changed into. Sure enough the numbered were blood red. "Badizo", he had seen enough.
"What was that?" Lily asked.
"The ministry monitors bad werewolves by monitoring when they come into contact with human blood, and if they can't explain it, they must be dangerous."
"Does it work?"
"No, the ones who are really bad don't register, and the good ones have to go and face that humiliation for simple things like trying to help an injured friends" Remus practically spat the last bit. "Did you say you'd spoken to Dumbledore?"
Lily looked at him in shocked silence, in all her research on werewolves; she had never been able to find details on how the registry worked, and she had never imagined it would be like that. "Not yet."
"Good, he must be on his way then."
As if he had been summoned by Remus' words, at that moment the headmaster arrived. He looked at the two students and seemed to assess the situation perfectly.
"I have questions for both of you about what happened last night, but am I correct in thinking that you need to go to London Remus? In that case I will take you there now, do you need me to stay this time?"
Remus shook his head, and started to get to his feet.
"Would it help if I was to come too? It was my blood after all, so would it help your case?"
"Not sure whether it'll help, but I wouldn't mind company, if Dumbledore is will to let us both off school grounds?" With this he looked at the headmaster, who shrugged, a small smile on his face.
"Maybe there is something I can do for your head Remus" he waved his hand over Remus' head. "I think I've got rid of the concussion, but you'll still have a bit of a headache, and when you return, you should probably oblige Madame Pomfrey by letting her fuss over you."
Once they were out of the school grounds Dumbledore side-along apparated the two students, appearing in what looked to most people like a perfectly normal street in London. Lily looked rather green, but considering she had told them it was her first time apparating, both Remus and the headmaster were quite impressed.
"I must say I rather fancy visiting that tea-shop, which is where you'll find me when your business is finished." And with that Dumbledore turned round and disappeared into the café.
Remus led Lily to the door of the 'wild dog containment company' offices.
"Is this the entrance to the Ministry of Magic?" Lily asked, sounding a little let down.
"Oh no, this is just the entrance to the Registry, nice and anonymous, but that isn't why they do it; it's a segregation technique. The main entrances are through the telephone box round the corner, and the public toilets down the street. Now when we get in there, don't use names. It's another way of keeping things anonymous."
"Won't you need to tell them your name though?"
"My name is on a list in the Beasts and Beings department somewhere in the ministry proper. Beyond that, my records are here." He gestured to his shoulder. He took a deep breath, and walked in the door.
Inside was dark and uninviting, and Lily gripped hold of the hand Remus had offered her. Remus walked over to a door labelled 'red zone' and pushed through. It seemed to be a waiting room, but there was no-one else in there.
"Good" Remus said as he went to one of the hard seats by the wall. "When there's more than one person it's a bit of a free for all, they don't seem to bother with appointments or anything."
Despite not having seen another soul since they arrived, the pair was sat there for at least thirty minutes, before a tall man with a weasel face stuck his head in and shouted "Next."
The room they entered, Lily could only describe as an interrogation room.
"Records" the man said looking faintly disgusted at the hands that were still entwined. Remus took his top off and pointed to his shoulder.
"Reviresco. Veritaserum" the man held out a small bottle, as Lily gasped. The man sneered. "Didn't tell your girlfriend about that did you."
Remus turned his head slightly and shook it at Lily, before releasing his left hand from hers, to take a drop of the potion handed to him. It made his already sore head spin like mad.
"When did you come in contact with human blood?"
"The two of us were out for a walk last night and were attacked. I can't actually remember, as I suffered quite a blow to the head, but we both ended up unconscious, and she was bleeding. We stayed that way until we were found this morning."
Lily was gazing at him with mild dismay.
"May I see the wound?" the man asked, no more polite to her than he was to Remus.
She unwound the bandages, to show five deep gashes on her shoulder.
"Those look suspiciously like claw marks to me."
"It is nowhere near the full moon, so how on earth could I have done that." Remus' voice was almost level, but Lily was looking at him strangely again. Normally people on Veritaserum spoke in completely monotonous voices.
Again the man looked at Lily, leering this time. "Shouldn't you be at school young lady?"
"She should" Remus began, but catching the pleading look in his eye Lily jumped in.
"I should be, but I wanted to see Re... him, and he's home schooled. Sometimes I run away from school just to spend time with him. Please don't tell my parents, they don't know"
Remus agreed "Her parents have no idea".
"Remus Lupin, since when were you able to lie through Veritaserum?" Lily announced once they were out in the fresh air.
Remus took a deep breath of the fresh air, it was good for clearing away the last effects of the potion, and made the spinning of his head slow considerably.
"I never actually lied, just chose how much of the truth I wanted to tell-"
"You got angry at that man, and you should really have been aware what you were saying anyway."
"I really don't know, I discussed this with Dumbledore last time, and we concluded either I have a natural talent for lying, or it's to do with being a werewolf, and not a single one of us has ever seen fit to tell the Ministry that it doesn't work on us."
Lily bit her lip in thought, "I would go for the second one; it's not as if the Ministry deserve to know after how they treat you. You don't seem to be a natural born liar anyway. Well this certainly has been an experience."
And with that they turned to find Dumbledore.