James and Sirius seemed to think that pranking everyone in the whole castle was a life or death situation. Over the course of the week before Christmas, they had pranked everyone in our year, a few older students, and a few more teachers. Since I was their friend, I felt obligated to help with the pranks. I didn't want them to go get detention, which they would've without me helping, of course.
I had been laying on the couch in the Gryffindor common room, gazing lazily into the fire on a snowy white Christmas Eve. We had just returned from the feast before James and Sirius had decided to go the Owlery. I was too tired to go along with them, so I just hung back and asked them to get my mail, if I had any. I didn't expect any presents from my family this year.
All of a sudden, the portrait hole burst open and James and Sirius rushed inside.
"Remus! Remus! Remus! It's Tonks!" I heard James shout.
"What?" I exclaimed, standing up. "What about her?"
"She's sick!" Sirius said, waving a letter in front of his face. "Sick with spattergroit!"
"What?" I asked again, grabbing the letter from Sirius and scanning it quickly. It was a letter from her, explaining how she had contracted spattergroit and wouldn't be able to return to school for a few months. "How the hell did she contract spattergroit?"
"We have no idea," James said. "It wasn't in the letter."
I looked down at the letter once more and examined how messy her handwriting was. You could tell she had written it in a hurry because some of her e's and a's weren't closed off. I thought it was a bit cute. But then my eyes then drifted to who the letter had been addressed to.
"You guys opened my mail?" I asked, turning around to face the others.
"Well…" James started.
"Yeah, we did," Sirius said with not event the slightest bit of remorse.
"Guys!" I said, shaking the letter for emphasis.
"Hey! Don't be mad at us! You gotta concentrate on your girl!" James said, slapping my arm as he walked by to sit down. I guess he was right. I wished more than anything that I could've been there with her. I wondered how she was dealing with it. Was she in much pain? Was she suffering? Was she warm enough, fed enough, loved enough? I couldn't answer any of those questions and it frustrated me. I folded the letter and put it carefully into the breast pocket on my white button-up.
Christmas at the castle wasn't as merry this year. Of course I still had a lot of fun with the guys, but my thoughts never drifted far from her, sick somewhere far away. At night, after everyone else went to sleep, I would take her letter out and reread it. After so many nights, I had memorized it but kept reading it anyway. She had told me not to worry and I'll be fine, but I was worried and I wasn't sure if she was fine. I almost considered writing back but I didn't know if she would be able to write.
One night, we were sitting around the fire in the common room, James and Sirius plotting their newest prank with Peter looking over their shoulders, and me pouring over the spattergroit section in a huge book full of wizarding ailments.
"You know, spattergroit is fatal?" I said after I had finished reading the article.
"It is?" James said, not looking up. He seemed to have no interest in what I was saying. "Didn't know that."
"But there are cures," I said, looking back down into the book. "And it says if they catch it early on and if they treat it well, you can be fully recovered in around… three months."
"Three months, huh?" Sirius said, acting exactly like James, like he didn't care.
"Are you guys even listening?" I asked, a bit angered. "You know, your best friend just isn't home sick with spattergroit at all, and everything is fine and dandy!"
"Remus… we were listening," James said, finally looking up at me.
"Then what did I say?" I asked, sure that I was going to catch them off guard.
"Um… Well…" James said, looking at Sirius for inspiration.
"You have no clue, do you?" I said.
"Yeah…" James said, running his fingers through his hair. "Sorry mate."
"Never mind…" I said, looking out the window at the snowy grounds. "I'll be worried about Tonks all by myself."
"Remus, were worried about her too!" Sirius said, standing up. "I can barely sleep at night I'm so worried about her!"
"Doesn't show…" I muttered, looking back down to reread the article. I heard Sirius sigh and throw himself back on the couch. I knew they wanted to say something, but I was still in the room.
"You know what," I said, standing up. "I'll just go to bed."
"G'night Remus," James and Sirius said in unison.
"Goodnight guys," I said, picking up the book and taking it with me. It took me a while to climb the stairs to my dorm. The full moon was only a few days ago and I was terribly fatigued and achy.
Once I got into my dorm, I set the book down on my nightstand with the other dozen books on it, then laid down on my bed, fully dressed. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down. I shouldn't have gotten so angry at them. I guess werewolves just were hot heads.
To be honest, I had never been "trained", for lack of a better word, to be a werewolf. My parents never told me what was normal or what exactly I would be going through. I had to do a lot of guessing when I was young. Even now that I'm almost 13, I still have to do a lot of guessing. I guessed that being a bit of a hot head was a symptom of lycanthropy.
I remembered when I had blown up at Tonks last year after she had helped me out with Marcus before Quidditch. I shouldn't have done that. I had no idea what had taken over me, but when I was ranting, the words weren't my own. They were thoughts I had been having for a long time, but had never voiced.
I took the letter out of my pocket and read it again. I wondered when she would be back. According to the article I had just read, it sounded like three months. Three months from now would be the end of March. Three months. Three months without her.
I heard the door open and before I could hide the letter, James and Sirius had entered.
"Remus?" James asked, coming over to my bed. "I'm sorry about what happened downstairs."
"Me too," I muttered, picking at a loose thread in my comforter. "Don't… don't worry about it." There was an awkward silence.
"What were you reading, mate?" Sirius asked, trying to lighten the conversation. It took me a few seconds to answer. Should I lie?
"Tonks's letter," I admitted, pulling it out from under my pillow again.
James and Sirius just stared at me for a second.
"You really miss her, don't you?" James said. His eyes were serious and sympathetic. Not mischievous and laughing like they usually were.
"I do," I said, and my voice broke.
"But, isn't it like summer?" Sirius said, sitting on the edge of my bed. "I mean, during the summer, she's gone for two months."
"Yeah but I know she's well then," I said, sitting up. "She could be dying for all we know."
"She's not dying," James said.
"How do you know?" I asked incredulously as a single tear fell onto my cheek.
"Because we just got a letter from her," James said, holding up an envelope that had been opened. "And this time, it was addressed to My boys, so technically, we didn't read your mail," James said, handing the letter over to me. I took it and scanned it quickly. This wasn't written in her handwriting.
"The letter says," Sirius butted in. "That her mother had to write it because she lost control of her right arm."
I finished reading it and another tear fell out of my eye and onto the paper.
"You can keep it, mate," James said, slapping my arm and walking over to his bed to change into his pajamas.
The letter said that she was slowly improving. She was slowly gaining back the movement in her toes, fingers, and wrists. But she was still pretty bad. They had caught it early enough that she was able to get treatment fairly quickly. It also said she had been transferred to St. Mungo's for a few weeks. And at the end of the letter, there was a P.S.
P.S. This is Nymphadora's mother. If you boys could come and visit her sometime soon, she would greatly appreciate that. I know she is still contagious, but St. Mungo's has been kind enough to brew a potion for me and my husband so we won't be infected as well. I'm sure they would brew a few for you boys. She has been asking about you constantly.
Sorry! I was too tired to finish it last night! Hope you enjoyed!