Hephaeta Stewart is coming to Hogwarts. But she is no ordinary student. Born with Cerebral Palsy which necessitates the use of a wheelchair, she is still quite powerful in magic. Remus Lupin is designated as her guide to Hogwarts. Sirius Black is given a unique opportunity to be her guardian and helper so he doesn’t have to spend his time locked up at Grimmauld Place. Alternate POV and AU of Harry’s fifth year.

Disclaimer: The world of Harry Potter is not mine, I just play in it.

Dumbledore as portrayed by the late Richard Ha...
Dumbledore as portrayed by the late Richard Harris in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chapter 1: A Very Different Staff Meeting

Walk the Blades of Truth with care, for the slightest missed step can bring peril. The lucky few escape unscathed, but none who Walk remain unchanged.

Dumbledore poured three cups of tea as he waited for Professor McGonagall and Remus Lupin to arrive. Albus twirled his fingers in thought. These past few years seemed to have brought more twists and turns than all his years of teaching and the service as Headmaster combined. He smiled wryly at the sudden thought that the years when James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew were in school ran a close second. It seemed, yet again, that they would have a most unusual student in their midst. At that moment the door of his office opened.

A man who appeared to be both young and old at once came through and held the door for the woman who came in after him.

“Thank you very much, Remus,” said Minerva McGonagall as she sat down in a squashy armchair. Remus inclined his head to her and sat on her other side.

“Ah, just in time,” said Dumbledore as he handed them cups. At their looks of polite question he continued, “It has come to my attention that we will very shortly have another student who requires special accommodations.” Dumbledore caught the fleeting look of pain, sadness, and questioning on the younger man’s face and smiled reassuringly at him. “No, Remus, she is not another werewolf.” Remus relaxed visibly in his chair.

“She is, however, very different from any student we have ever had,” he said. “Hephaeta Stuart is a Muggle-born child with Cerebral Palsy, a condition caused by lack of oxygen to the brain which makes it hard for the person to control their body.”

Remus winced; he knew how frustrating it was not to be able to control your own body. “The extent to which a person is effected and the areas afflicted are different for each person; in Miss Stuart’s case she cannot walk and must push herself in a wheelchair, in all other respects I understand she is perfectly normal.”

As he paused for breath Minerva asked, “Albus, how do you expect her to get around the castle? Surely with all the stairs…” she began.

“I have already obtained permission from the Ministry to have a Self Activating Levitation Charm put on her chair which will allow her to navigate quite easily. Remus, I have another favor to ask of you I’m afraid.” Remus raised an eyebrow questioningly. “Since the parents are Muggles, they will need this all explained in a way that they will understand. You possess an aptitude for diplomacy I have rarely seen in any, Muggle or Wizard. Due to your own difference and the difficulties you have faced you are by far the most qualified person to assuage any fears or concerns that Miss Stuart or her parents might have concerning her attendance.”

Remus nodded. Different. That was a very diplomatic way of putting things. Freakish is what he would have said when he was younger; pathetic is what he thought now. He understood why Dumbledore had asked him– an adult who had  been in a similar situation often understood the fears of a child, having experienced them first hand. But what was he going to tell them? I couldn’t very well tell the girl and her parents I’m a werewolf. That wouldn’t go over very well at all.

Professor McGonagall (he would never get used to calling her Minerva) saw his perplexed look. “Tell them that you are epileptic,” she said, it is a Muggle disorder which can cause a person to lose bodily control at random moments.”

“Ah.” He remembered now.When he was about eight his family’s closest neighbor, a man who lived about a mile away had had to take  pills for epilepsy These had reduced the attacks to about one or two every month. The Muggles would understand that. The meeting continued for another thirty minutes longer and when Remus left the office he had the distinct impression that the upcoming school year was going to very interesting indeed.
Author’s note: as per Harry Potter canon Remus is half blood, the fact that his mother is a Muggle makes it probable that he would have a better understanding of the non-magic world than most wizards. Just for fun, in place of the chapter illustrations which were present in the American editions of the series I’m going to use stills of the principal characters of the chapter found using the WordPress.com free image search.

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