Throughout the past month a strange truce had existed; Adie had begun to hang around with the Marauders a lot. She would relax with them by the Lake, in the weak rays of Scottish sunshine, and she was even made privy to a few of their pranks. They showed her the kitchens and she was delighted to find that some of the House-Elves there knew Gillie.
But Adrianna never, ever shared any direct interaction with Sirius since their uncomfortable apologies. Of course, they were around each other a lot in the sense that Sirius no longer avoided his friends when they went to meet up with Adie but joined them, staying silent and mostly spending his time observing the girl. For her part, Adie never tried to engage him in any sort of conversation and resolutely ignored him.
However, this particular lunchtime Adrianna was not with the boys as they lounged in the Kitchens. Three of the lads were laughing and scrounging food from the platters that surrounded them; one was staring intently at the floor and picking at the frayed cuff of his jumper.
“Oi, Moony,” Sirius leant across the work top to poke his friend’s face. “What you sulking about?”
Remus huffed to himself, looking up from the floor. “Well, you know it’s that… time of the month. Stop laughing James!”
Peter however shook his head. “Nope, Remus, you’re wrong. The full moon’s not for another week.” The boy grinned quite triumphantly; Astrology was his best subject.
The others quickly realised that Peter was right and gave Remus a sharp look. He had relaxed a lot about the whole ‘werewolf’ thing since the other Marauders had become Animagi; he felt much less alone and scared. It was unusual for him to be stressing a whole week before his transformation.
“Yes, but I’ve been thinking. I want to tell Adie.” Remus’s voice was quiet as he confessed this and it took the others a second to process his words.
Remus looked up at them and began to speak quickly. “I’ve been friends with her for a while now and I really believe I can trust her. I trusted you guys and your reaction to the revelation was incredible, I think Adie will give me the same support. I really do.”
James nodded slowly. “It’s up to you, mate. I think you’re right, though, Adrianna’s a trustworthy girl. She’s never told anyone about our masterful pranking plans after all!”
Peter laughed with James while Sirius huffed impatiently.
“But this is more serious than pranks.” His voice was unusually solemn. “I’m not exactly… against Remus telling her but I think we’re a bit too comfortable with the idea. We should remember what a shock the news is.
“Especially considering we all know already, she’ll be learning this all on her own. I just wouldn’t want her to turn to Narcissa or… my brother in her surprise. She’s still pretty close to those guys remember.”
He turned back to the muffins on the countertop, apparently unconcerned by the fact that he’d just made an oddly perceptive comment.
“But other than that, you have no objections to me telling Adrianna Greengrass that I’m a werewolf?” Remus spoke very slowly, his voice thick with confusion.
The dark-haired boy shrugged. “She’s an odd one. Maybe not as bad as I first thought but it’s still inevitable that she’ll end up like the rest of them. And don’t call me stubborn, Moons.”
Remus had opened his mouth to speak but at Sirius’s admonishment he fell silent.
“Well, she’s meeting us by the Lake in an hour…” James glanced at his watch as he spoke.
“I- I’ll tell her then.”
Adrianna was already sitting by the edge of the Lake when the boys made their way out of the Castle. She was perched as close to the water as possible, tossing pebbles into the placid water, her vibrant hair tied messily away from her face.
“ADIE,” James yelled as they approached, his arms waving like windmills. “HEY, GREENGRASS!”
She looked up, snapping out of her reverie, before smiling widely and returning James’s enthusiastic wave, shielding her eyes with the other.
“Hey guys,” she sighed happily as they sat down beside her; she grinned at them, even offering Sirius a tentative smile which provoked a sort of lip-twitch, if not a return smile.
James and Adie chatted idly for a while, discussing the highlights of a recent match. Peter looked around the group nervously and continuously while Remus resumed his staring match with the ground. Sirius was just looking directly at Adrianna, as if making his final judgement on her reliability.
“Guys, you all seem a bit… quiet today?” Adie sounded wary as she asked the question, her eyes flicked quickly to Remus. “Um, Remus, if you aren’t feeling well then you don’t have to hang out here. I don’t mind.”
Of course, Adie had realised that Remus was ill and quite severely so, but her sense of etiquette and politeness did not allow her to inquire after specific details. He shifted uncomfortably under her question, the others stared at him expectantly. His head whipped round once, ensuring that no one was anywhere near hearing distance.
“I’m not feeling great but I’m fine for now. It’ll be worse in a week or so.” Remus began cautiously, Adie smiled sympathetically. “Ah, um. Next week, Thursday to be precise, is the full moon.”
Adrianna smiled blandly on; she couldn’t understand why he was telling her that. It seemed a completely random fact.
“Adrianna,” Remus’s voice was a haggard whisper now. “Adie, what I’m trying to tell you is that I am a werewolf.”
Adie’s mouth fell open into a perfect o-shape, her eyes wide. She looked quite comical; Sirius had to stifle a small laugh.
“I was bitten as a small child. My father insulted a werewolf with an even worse temper than most; I’ve been like this ever since. I transform every month – all the teachers know. I make my transformation in the Shrieking Shack. There’s a passageway to it hidden under the Whomping Willow so no one else can get there.” His words were coming tumbling out of his mouth so fast in his attempt to explain and fill the silence.
Adrianna had managed to shut her mouth and was trying so hard to absorb all this insane information. “But the Whomping Willow is… Whomping – how can you get into the tunnel?” At this statement Sirius had to laugh and Adie cursed her brain for only being able to process that stupid sentence. She turned to hiss a vitriolic comment at Sirius but remembered herself just in time.
James shot Sirius a silencing look before explaining the rest of the tale. “Well, there’s a knot at the base of the tree that freezes it branches. Peter presses it.”
She’d already gathered that the others knew.
“We go with his you see – oh no, it’s not dangerous for us… We found out in Third Year and at the beginning of this year we finally became… Animagi.”
Shit. Her mouth fell open once more.
“So Remus isn’t so lonely.” Peter added.
“James is a stag, Pete’s a rat and I’m a dog.” Sirius felt he should speak up too and so addressed Adrianna for the first time in over a month.
“Yes. That makes sense,” Adie spoke robotically. “Sirius, the dog star.” She couldn’t understand why her brain was working so slowly and idiotically.
Remus was still rather pale but he risked shuffling closer to his friend. “Adie, could you say something sensible please?”
She shook her head slowly as if to clear it. When she spoke it was in a hesitant but clear voice. “I’m not scared, Remus, I know that you would never willingly hurt a soul. You’re the most gentle person I know, and so kind always. Which is why I’m having real trouble with this.”
The Marauder’s exchanged a worried look.
“It’s just very, very hard to process and reconcile these two so incredibly different sides of you; kind, caring Remus and werewolf Remus. I don’t understand how you can be the same person.”
Adie stood up abruptly. James made a funny jerking movement as if to get up too.
“I have to go, I’m sorry. I swear on my life though, Remus, I will not tell anyone. I just really need to try and think about this long and hard, think about you.”
With that, Adie turned tail and practically fled from the group before any of them had a chance to say anything.
Remus put his head in his hands. “It could have gone a lot worse.” Peter said.
“Could have gone a lot fucking better too.”