Remus stayed in this depressed and irate mood for the rest of the week, his face a permanent scowl. Adie had not approached any of the Marauders since the revelation; when they glanced her way during lessons and mealtimes she looked solemn and pensive.
During Transfiguration, she barely spoke a word to James either. He too was fretting with Remus. Both of them were very worried they may have lost a very good friend.
Sirius, however, was on edge for a different reason. He was not watching Adrianna but keeping his eye close on Narcissa and Regulus instead. He was more worried that Adie, in her shock and confusion may have divulged Lupin’s secret to the pair; he tried to read their every glance and every movement.
“Do you think Narcissa knows?” Sirius demanded of his friends. Remus sighed heavily and rolled his eyes.
“No, they don’t,” he said. “Adie won’t tell them. It’s just a matter of whether or not she feels she can ever look me in the eye again.”
Sirius paced restlessly. The full moon was five hours away. He had a bad feeling about tonight.
His nerves were, however, unnecessary. Adie had kept her promise and had not breathed a word of her new-found knowledge to anyone. Narcissa and Regulus had both spotted her melancholy and enquired after her with concern but she said nothing.
She just kept turning the idea over and over in her head; things had not gotten easier with time as she had initially hoped. Adrianna was not prejudiced against werewolves, she really wasn’t. She was just finding the idea of Remus Lupin being a werewolf very hard to comprehend.
“We should have seen her reaction coming,” Sirius muttered, finally ceasing his pacing and slumping on to the sofa next to James. “Remember how shocked we were when we found out? But we had each other to turn to; we had all received this inconceivable news together. That was how we got through.”
The full moon was just an hour away when Adie made up her mind. She slipped out of the Slytherin Common Room silently, her fellow housemates distracted by Lucius recounting some sort of grand tale.
She crept down to the Lake in the dusky evening light, sitting down by the water’s edge. Adie was careful to put the thick trunk of the tree she sheltered by in between her and the Castle. Anyone leaving the building now would not see the girl.
The Marauders were more cautious that evening, fearing that their secret may no longer be confined solely to their little group. They made their way to the Whomping Willow packed as tightly as they could manage under the Cloak. It was only when they were as close to the tree as safety would permit that they shucked the Cloak off to let Peter out.
Adie, who had been watching the tree closely, saw the silhouette of the five boys appear briefly. She darted forward, silently and stealthily, and watching in amazement as Peter transformed into his Animagus form.
She carefully noted how they froze the flailing limbs of the tree, a problem she’d been pondering as she’d formulated this plan. The rat had nudged a knot close to the base of the tree. Adrianna waited until the branches of the Willow began to swing again before creeping out of her hiding place.
No accusatory Marauder appeared and so they must all be their way to the Shrieking Shack, Adie thought. She waved her wand deftly “Wingardium Leviosa.” She directed the broken branch to the secret knot, pressing gently. The tree was still.
As she got nearer, the girl realised there was an opening hidden amongst the twisted roots of the plant, leading into a dark tunnel. Adie paused for a moment – was she really going to do this? Well, none of them had strictly forbidden her to follow them; in fact they’d given her all the information necessary for her to accompany them.
She bit her lip, realising her cunning Slytherin side showing through once more. However, the time to think was over! A thick branch whistled through the air, missing Adie’s head by millimetres. She’d used up all her time.
Without pausing to think, she dived into the tunnel entrance as more angry branches flew her way. Adrianna landed with a thud into the earthy passage; she judged that there was enough room for her to stand, so she clambered up from her place, sprawled on the floor. Pulling her wand out from underneath her cloak, she muttered “Lumos.” A muted glow lit her way.
The tunnel was fairly straight, bar a few twists and turns. Adie held her breath every time she turned a corner, terrified of running straight into the Marauders. The floor was smooth, compacted soil and the walls were fairly similar apart from the roots that bulged out every couple of metres or so.
Eventually Adie realised that she had reached her destination. Suddenly the floor beneath her feet was no longer earth but scuffed wooden planks, the walls were covered in tattered and faded floral wallpaper. She was in the Shrieking Shack.
Her heart was truly pounding now, careening against her chest. They could be behind any of the doors, lining the corridor she now stood in, waiting and ready to send her on her way. They’d never want to see her again, let alone continue to be her friend. But she still wanted to be with them; she’d worked so hard to get this friendship, she hadn’t bargained on how hard it would be to maintain it.
There was only one way, she knew, to get over her shock, to reconcile the two Remuses.
When she was younger, Adrianna had been deathly scared of birds. In the Wizarding World this isn’t a great fear to have, as they are such commonly used animals. Her parents decided enough was enough when Adie was seven; it was time to get over her ridiculous fear. So they took her to a Muggle entertainment place (which was a huge sacrifice for their daughter, in Mr and Mrs Greengrass’ eyes), a birds of prey park.
Adie saw all the different birds there and realised that perhaps they weren’t so bad after all. She told her parents this but they weren’t convinced. The only way to get over a fear is to face it, they had said. They volunteered her for the bird show. She’d never been so scared in her life as when that falcon had sat on her arm – its talons and her arm separated only by a leather glove.
But it had sat there quite placidly, flying away and returning when its keeper called it. After that, Adie’s fear of flapping birds had quite disappeared.
Now she knew there was only one way to get over this - by seeing it for herself, by seeing Remus as a werewolf, a nightmare. It would work, she was sure of that.
Adrianna leant against the rough walls for a moment, gathering her scattered thoughts and attempting to breathe properly. A couple of minutes had passed when a yell of pure agony ricocheted through the building.
The girl leapt up immediately; the awful, heart-breaking sound had come from the door at the end of the corridor. He was in there, it was happening now. She crept tentatively to the door, seriously considering just running and leaving right now.
Remus’s yell had died down into moans of pain; Adie could hear the other boys making comforting sounds. She was suddenly overwhelmed by the strength of their friendship. She had to leave, she’d made a huge mistake coming here. She realised that now.
The yelling began again, the sound piercing Adie’s heart. This time there was an edge to the sound as they faded into growls. The sound was becoming less human. Adrianna had heard enough now to know she could support Remus fully. She had betrayed her friends and a sense of nausea was beginning to envelope her. But she couldn’t move, she had become paralysed with horror.
The building was full of snarls and growls, echoed through the hallway and reverberating through the whole house. Adrianna could take no more.
She wrenched herself away from the door, stumbling backwards and tripping over the hem of her cloak. As she tried to get away, her wand fell from her hand with a clatter, her circle of light extinguishing itself. Adrianna grabbed it, trying desperately to get up and force her legs to run.
She was up and ready to get out, cursing herself for ever coming, hating herself for betraying Remus like this when she noticed the door had opened. Adrianna was staring into the eyes of Remus Lupin, halfway through his transformation.
His body was hunched and contorted, his hands twisted into claws. His mouth hung open and she could see where fangs had pushed their way up. His feet were long and animalistic, his eyes bright with curiosity as he stared back at Adie.
She was frozen under his searching gaze. Finally, the remaining human part of Remus recognised the girl. The previously monstrous face became, suddenly, all too human. Pain, hurt, betrayal all washed over Remus’s features as he understood what his friend had done.
Adrianna had followed him, even though she knew he would never have wanted that. She had seen him at his most vulnerable without his permission. She had been selfish and tactless, thinking only of herself and her shock instead of Remus who had to live his life with this disease, outcast and discriminated against, consumed with self-loathing, scared of the hurt he could cause other people.
She’d abused his trust so deeply.
A howl, blistering with agony ripped out of his body, shaking everyone to their very core. Adrianna realised, as the sound of her friend’s pain surrounded her, that she was sobbing. She felt her knees give way, sinking slowly to the ground. But his transformation was not over yet.
Remus was getting less human with every second. The plus side was that the pain of Adie’s betrayal was getting less and less. The negative side was that he was beginning to forget that he probably shouldn’t kill her. His wolfish head twisted towards her, his body tensed ready to spring.
The next thing Adrianna knew a great weight had slammed into her hunched body, throwing her all the way back down the corridor and practically into the tunnel. She felt at her ribs, her body aching from the impact already. However, before she had time to assess the damage, her attacker had returned.
The great stag heaved her upright, no care for whether or not she was hurt. James shoved her down the tunnel, his eyes communicating only one message – “Run”.
She did as she was told. As she turned tail, Adie spared just one glance back into the Shack. James was still watching her run, his stag body tense. Behind him she could see Remus twisting and struggling on the floor of the room, pinned underneath the heavy paws of a giant black dog.
Adrianna did not look back again and she did not stop running until she reached her dorm. She lay under her emerald duvet, shuddering and sobbing.
She’d lost them, in her stupid attempt to soothe her own idiotic fears, she had lost some of the best friends she’d ever had.
She’d lost them.