Chapter 10, The Werewolf's Problem
‘Look, James, we just don’t know enough about it; and look what Flitwick said, “it takes years to recover from such a venture.” I don’t know about you James, but it sounds dangerous.’
‘Dangerous?’ Sirius scoffed at Remus’ expression, ‘When has danger ever been an obstacle for us? Moony, you’re talking to three guys who run around with a werewolf once a month.’
Remus sighed, knowing he would end up giving in eventually, but this sounded worse than any Animagus transformation. Giving up your magic and life source; he didn’t even want to know how it could go wrong, ‘Look, it just sounds like it could go badly wrong.’
James looked at his worried friend; Remus was always the one who saw the risks, knew the dangers and felt responsible for them not getting hurt. He smiled, reached into his pocket and pulled out a scrap of paper.
‘What’s that?’ Remus asked, frowning at him.
‘A note from Flitwick, saying that we go into the Restricted Section of the library for research on Pensieves; I told him we were interested in them and he practically wrote this for me before I had finished asking.’
‘Great work, Prongs!’ Peter cried.
Of course, Flitwick hadn’t just given him unlimited access to the Restricted Section, James had had to do a lot of persuading, but finally the tiny man had been won over by James’ sudden and genuine enthusiasm. Now they were in their dorm and trying to persuade Remus that putting their own memories into a map they had drawn of the school was a good idea, that it wouldn’t go horribly wrong and that it would actually work as way of stopping others reading it.
‘Think about it, Moony, the benefits are incredible; it would be able to recognise us from other people, it couldn’t be fooled and well… just think about the possibilities!’
Remus looked sceptical, ‘I’m not saying I’m agreeing or anything, but yes, it could work, but it could go wrong. Before we start anything to do with it, I want to know everything there is to know about Pensieves and memories! Now though, I’ve got a Prefect’s meeting and I said I’d meet Lily in the Common Room.’
He stood up from where they were sprawled across his and James’ beds and made for the door, ‘Remus, wait,’ James said, following him, ‘I wanted to ask you about Lily.’
Remus sighed and looked at his friend; James was watching him earnestly, ‘Prongs, I’ve told you hundreds of times, no matter what I say to her on your behalf, you know she won’t accept anything until she sees you change. Even then, she might not want to go out with you.’
James was shaking his head though, ‘Remus, I don’t want you to say anything to her, just… after you’re done with the Meeting, can we talk about what you said on the train? About me being ‘Prongs’ and not ‘Potter’, cause I’m not really sure who I am anymore.’
Remus saw the concern on James’ face and knew something was changing between them all. Something inside Remus suddenly clenched and he began to feel nervous for no good reason, but he grinned and said, ‘Sure, Prongs.’
James watched him disappear down the stairs and turned to the other two; Sirius was still lounging across James’ bed, fiddling with his wand and shooting multi-coloured stars across the room, Peter was searching in his trunk, presumably for the Map.
Sirius raised his head off the bed and looked at James, ‘Yeah?’
‘Do you think I’m being an idiot?’
Sirius searched him with fathomless eyes for a moment before he smiled lazily and said ‘Nah, mate. She already likes you, she just hasn’t realised it yet.’
‘Padfoot?’ James asked again, sitting on the edge of Remus’ bed.
James swallowed, ‘If… If I did ever manage to get Evans to like me, would you mind if I told her about…’ he tailed off, knowing he was crossing boundaries that were never, ever meant to be crossed.
Sirius sat up, smile falling away, ‘Prongs, mate. If you love the girl, and she loves you and you trust her, then I trust you to tell her whatever you like about yourself, about me, about us. Hell, Prongs; I’m not going to disown you just because you told someone I can turn into a dog, I’m still bloody surprised no one else has ever worked it out for themselves! Sometimes I reckon we’re surrounded by morons.’
James grinned and felt a wave of gratitude flow through him; Sirius was truly the best of friends.
‘Before any of that, though mate, we’ve got a fake crystal ball to place, a Bloatfish to get rid of, and a ton of over crap to muck about with. So I reckon you can appear to be a good citizen for Evans tomorrow.’
James grinned, ‘Sound alright to you, Wormy?’
Peter looked up, he’d heard everything, and he knew that if James trusted someone, and Sirius trusted them, then he could. Both of his friends were much better judges of character than he ever would be, ‘Yeah,’ he called, ‘You get her, Prongs.’
He was rewarded with one of James’ truly affectionate smiles, and he couldn’t help but grin back; James’ moods were always infectious, ‘Cheers, Wormy! You’re a true mate.’
Peter grinned all the harder and James turned back to Sirius, ‘So, crystal ball is easy, but about this Bloatfish?’
Lily was looking at Transfiguration notes from her last lesson of the day; McGonagall had wasted no time in telling them that a lot more was expected of them now they were at N.E.W.T level. She had already asked for a foot on the limitations of Conjuration; N.E.W.T Transfiguration looked like it was going to be a lot harder than Lily had expected.
Thankfully Flitwick had only set them questions, and their new Defence teacher hadn’t given them anything. Though she had to look up Flesh-eating Shrub toxins for Herbology on Friday. She sighed and looked up to see Remus coming down the stairs; he looked a bit annoyed.
She put her notes back in her bag and stood up, it was ten to eight; the Prefect’s Meeting would start soon.
‘Hi, Remus, you ready?’ she asked brightly as he reached her.
‘Hi. Yeah,’ came his quiet reply.
He gave her an unreadable look, ‘Yeah, fine.’
She frowned at him, ‘Alright then,’ apparently something wasn’t wrong with Remus. They climbed out through the Portrait Hole, Remus swinging his longs legs through easily and waiting for Lily who was considerably shorter.
Lily didn’t want to say anything, but Remus was being downright odd; normally he was the first person to help girls through the Portrait Hole. Still, she managed on her own and made it a few steps into the corridor on the other side when Severus Snape stepped out of the shadows, ‘Lily!’ he hissed urgently.
Lily didn’t know what to do; she’d been ignoring Sev for months, all through the holidays and it hadn’t changed when they got back to school. But she sighed and said, ‘Go on, Remus, I’ll catch up.’
Remus disappeared around the corner on long legs and Lily turned to Severus, ‘What do you want, Sev?’ she asked tiredly.
‘Why won’t you talk to me anymore? I apologised and you still ignored me all summer…’ he said sullenly.
‘Look, Sev, it’s… it’s… You can’t go around calling people things like that and expect no one to notice. Especially when you call your best friend that… Though I notice you’ve got better friends these days.’
‘Well, you won’t talk to me and they’re not that bad.’
‘Sev; Mulciber’s just creepy, Wilkes is a complete idiot and Avery is a chauvinistic pig!’ Lily said, ‘I’m not trying to be rude, but they’re awful, Sev.
‘They’re-’ But Lily had an idea.
‘Why don’t you hang with Rosier and his friends? They’re a lot nicer and they don’t curse people!’
‘Says the girl who hangs out with the Marauders!’ Sev snapped.
‘What?’ Lily asked, confused.
‘I saw you at breakfast, sitting next to them, then I find you wandering down the corridors with Lupin; you’re such a hypocrite, Lily!’ Sev replied, looking let down and disgusted.
‘You know what, Lily? Don’t bother; it’s obvious you hate me.’ Severus said inconsolably and he turned away, marching down the corridor, leaving Lily feeling shocked and guilty.
Remus got back to the dorm after an hour of dull, tedious and incredibly useless discussions of rotas and duties; he never understood why one person didn’t just sort it out, then if people need to change they could swap. If he was ever Head Boy, he’d definitely do it that way; much easier and less time consuming for everyone.
Lily hadn’t look too happy when she arrived; obviously Snape was being irritating, Remus never understood what she saw in him. The only thing the two had in common was their extraordinary ability in Potions; other than that, they were about as opposite as you could get. He gave the Fat Lady the password to the tower, ‘Dragon Claws,’ and went inside; he thought he’d make a start on his Transfiguration essay tonight.
He crossed the Common Room and headed up the stairs.
‘Moony, you’re back! What took you so long?’ Sirius asked as Remus appeared in the doorway. They too had just got back from the North Tower, and the Divination classroom; someone was going to get a hell of a surprise next time they looked in a certain crystal ball.
Remus looked up and almost groaned, he had forgotten he was going to talk to James after the meeting; he had been looking forward to getting his essay out of the way, he sighed and said, ‘Alright, Prongs, what did you want?’
He sat on his bed and listened to what James had to say.
James began to explain that if he was ever going to get Lily to even see him in a different light, then the Marauders were going to have loosen up a bit; stop being quite so active and immature, or at least seen to be less active. They could stop getting caught, have perfect alibis and maybe get to know some other people a bit better, well, let people get to know them.
Remus’ brow furrowed as James talked, and he watched Sirius who seemed to be quite happy with this revelation. He had the feeling James had already talked to Sirius about this, and he felt as though they had gone behind his back a bit. He had always been different; the werewolf, the responsible one, the Prefect.
Eventually James came to the hardest bit, ‘Look, Moony, I know we’ve always been this tight little group, but we need to branch out, we need to let people know us.’
Remus sighed, he had to say something, ‘James, we talked about this; people could find out about us, about everything.’
What he mean to say though, was: ‘They could find out about me!’
Sirius interrupted though, ‘Moony, we can’t go on living in a little bubble for the rest of our lives. And we had that talk years ago; things have changed a bit since we were twelve.’
Remus was worried though, he was always worried, that someone had somehow found out, that everything he had was about to come crashing down around him, ‘You can’t let people know, James,’ he pleaded.
‘Moony, we’re not about to go shouting about it from the top of the towers! Prongs just wants his girl to know who he really is, let her in and she might let him in…’ Sirius grinned and his own wit.
‘Padfoot, seriously, enough Evans jokes, they’re not funny!’ James retorted, annoyed.
Something in Remus snapped; they were taking this far too lightly, they never took anything seriously and this was his life they were talking about, ‘No!’ he suddenly snapped, ‘I’m not going to let you two ruin my life just because James thinks he might like some stupid girl who hates his guts anyway!’
James and Sirius looked shocked, and Peter looked up from where he was searching under his bed for his Transfiguration book.
‘Remus, we just told you, we’re not going to-’
‘I don’t care; someone will find out, they’ll know and I won’t have anything. Again!’ Remus suddenly shouted, getting to his feet and pacing across the room.
It was Sirius’ turn to get angry, ‘Stop being to so bloody selfish, Moony!’ he yelled, ‘This whole situation started because we wanted to help you! Now look around yourself! Look how much we’ve achieved, look what we’ve done; it all started because of you! And the minute James asks for something back, you turn on him as though he’s never given you a damn thing!’
‘Stop acting like his god damn pet for a moment, Padfoot! Look at the wider picture; as soon as I leave here, my life will be over. After Hogwarts there is nothing for me; you guys will have the whole bloody world at your feet and I won’t even be able to get a FUCKING JOB! SO HAVE SOME BLOODY CONSIDERATION! YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT MY LIFE WAS LIKE BEFORE I STARTED HOGWARTS!’
‘WELL MINE WASN’T SO BLOODY FANTASTIC EITHER! AND YOU KNOW WHAT? IT WAS YOUR SODDING IDEA IN THE FIRST PLACE!’ Sirius roared back.
Remus stopped pacing, gave Sirius a look of complete and utter contempt, grabbed his book bag and left the room, slamming the door behind him.
James stared at the door, ‘I didn’t expect that to happen,’ he said quietly. He looked up at where Sirius was standing, fists clenched and breathing heavily. Terrible anger shone from his eyes; there were insults in Remus’ words that couldn’t be forgiven easily.