I sat there on a couch in the common room, watching the portrait hole she had just walked out of. Why did she have to go home for Christmas? I sighed deeply and looked away.
"Sad, huh?" Sirius asked casually, flipping the page of his magazine.
"About…?" I asked, although I already knew the answer.
"Tonks leaving," James said, looking up at me from his book, Quidditch Though the Ages.
"I mean, yeah I'm disappointed, aren't you?" I said, hoping the conversation wouldn't turn in the direction it was destined to.
"I mean yeah, of course. But you're sad aren't you?" Sirius said, chuckling. "You wanted to spend Christmas with her, didn't you?"
"She's my friend, of course I did," I said, looking down into my lap.
"Remus, Remus, Remus…" James said, getting up and sitting on the arm of my chair, patting my back. "We all know about your little crush. You don't need to hide."
"You guys squeezed it out of me!" I said, standing up and walking over to the window.
"Yeah… We did," Sirius admitted, still casual.
"So you don't deny it?" James asked.
"Of course I don't," I said, watching the carriages pull away from the castle and drive off in the direction of Hogsmede. "I already told you guys all of this, we don't need to go over it again."
"Fine… We'll let you off the hook," James said, chuckling. "For now."
I sighed, my eyes still on the carriages. The snow was falling heavily now and I could feel the intense cold through the window. I wondered if she was warm enough.
"So, how ya feeling Remus?" James asked.
"Uhhh… Well, a bit under the weather actually," I said, and it was true. The full moon had been only a few days ago.
"You're always under the weather," Sirius blurted out.
"I won't deny, I'm sick quite a bit," I said, wanting this conversation to end so badly.
"It's just a bit odd, don't you think?" Sirius said. I looked down at my scarred hands and felt a surge of shame. These hands would never be worthy enough to hold hers.
"A bit odd, yes," I admitted.
"Not to pry or anything," James asked. "But, is there something actually wrong with you?"
I froze. The moment had arrived. They were asking questions. And soon, I would be giving answers. Then they would leave me. That's how it goes when you're a werewolf. I suddenly thought of the possibility of them telling her my secret. They couldn't. I wouldn't be left with no one. My family had already deserted me, but God please, not my friends. Not her.
"Uhm, well…" I started. "Yeah. There's something wrong with me."
"What is it?" Sirius asked, and I heard the rustle of paper and guessed he had set his magazine down. I took a deep breath and turned around to face them.
"Um… I… I would prefer not to… not to talk about it…" I said, looking down at my feet.
"Oh," I heard James say. "Sorry about that."
"Yeah," Sirius chimed in. "Sorry Remus."
"It's fine guys," I said, looking up at them. "Don't worry about it."
There was an awkward silence that filled the room. In that silence, I turned back around and saw the Hogwarts Express pulling out of the station. I sighed. There was no turning back now.
"I'm bored," Sirius said loudly, breaking the silence.
"Me too," James agreed.
"Let's pull a prank," Sirius suggested.
"Yeah! Let's do that!" James exclaimed, and of course Peter agreed. I was a bit wary of this new idea personally. I didn't want to get into trouble.
"What are we gonna do?" James asked.
"Hmmm…" Sirius said. The Hogwarts Express was no longer in view, so I turned around and watched them thinking.
"I got it!" James exclaimed. "Why don't we steal old Sluggy's tarts?"
"Yeah! Man, he's gonna be so pissed!" Sirius exclaimed.
"And how do you think you're going to go about doing this?" I asked incredulously.
"Well… Why don't we sneak down there, open the door, take the tarts then leave?" Sirius said, obviously proud with his idea.
"Well don't you think Professor Slughorn would notice four teenage boys sneaking into his office and taking his tarts?" I said, pointing out the obvious.
"Well duh, that's why we're going to sneak into his office," James said.
"It doesn't work that way," I said, slapping my palm to my forehead. How could they be this stupid?
"Why not?" Sirius asked.
"Okay, here we go," I said, a sudden idea coming to mind. "Why don't I go down and ask him about an assignment in the hall while you guys sneak in and take the tart? Sound good?" I said.
"Yeah, excellent, beautiful. Now let's go before I blow my brains out," Sirius said sarcastically.
So we crept down into the dungeons and James, Sirius, and Peter positioned themselves behind a wall, where they could listen but not be seen. As soon as I got Slughorn out of his office, they would sneak in. I couldn't believe I was about to do this. I took a deep breath and knocked.
"Who's there?" I heard him call from inside.
"It's Remus Lupin, sir," I called back. "I have a question about the paper you assigned over break."
I heard him rumble and suddenly, the door flung open and there he stood, decked out in his silky emerald green pajamas.
"What is it?" he asked, obviously upset he was being visited this late at night.
"Well…" I said, stepping out into the hall and pulling my essay from my pocket. "I was wondering if I was on the right track here."
He stepped out into the hallway after me and over his shoulder, I saw the other boys run into his office. I figured I had to keep him stalled for another minute or so. I wasn't really listening to what he had to say. My essay was almost done anyway. All I could think about was how guilty I felt. Professor Slughorn was a nice guy and a good teacher.
Suddenly, the other boys ran out of the office with the tarts and I knew I was good. I heard him come to an end in his explanation.
"Thank you very much sir," I said. "Goodnight, sir."
"Goodnight Richard," I heard him mumble.
"Remus, sir," I corrected him.
"Oh I'm so sorry Roger," he said, walking back into his office. I just let it go.
I walked back up to Gryffindor tower where the other boys had retreated to. I pushed open the portrait hole and heard sounds of roaring laughter.
"Remus! We got it!" I heard Sirius exclaim.
"Nice one mate!" James said, clapping me on the back as I walked over. I looked down onto a coffee table and saw the box tarts.
"Let's try one!" Sirius said, ripping open the box and taking a tart from within. James and Peter grabbed one as well.
"On the count of three," Sirius said, holding his tart in front of his mouth. "One… Two… Three!' he exclaimed and they all bit down.
It was quite funny to see their expressions as they chewed. They looked like they had downed an entire bottle of Skele-Grow, which doesn't taste good at all.
"Oh… my… God," James choked, spitting his out.
"Gross!" Sirius exclaimed, spitting his out as well. I chuckled. So the prank had been for nothing. I didn't mind though. I got to laugh at their faces as they tried to wash the taste out of their mouths.
I sat down on a couch and watched them run around like chickens with their heads cut off. I smiled to myself. Then, out of nowhere, I remembered her, and felt a pang of sadness knowing she was missing out on all the good memories. I reached down into my pocket and pulled out a small silver box with a white bow on top. I examined how precisely I had wrapped it and how neatly I had written her name on the tag. Nymphadora Tonks. I opened it and looked down at the earrings that lay inside. I sighed. I had been very excited about giving this to her, but I had never gotten the chance… she had left. I closed the box with a snap and placed it in my pocket again. I looked back out the window. She was out there somewhere. So close, but so far away.
Another Remus POV! Watcha think?