The Blue Moon
2nd Full Moon of November
“Two full moons in one month!” exclaimed Peter, putting down the star charts he was completing for Astronomy. The second year Gryffindor boys were, as they did rarely, studying in the library. They had been given an extra essay for astronomy because of the Blue Moon. “Wow! It happens like, what, every twenty years?”
“It’s not that rare,” Remus snapped. He felt ill, really ill. He felt as if he’d had absolutely no recovery time between one transformation to the next with these two bloody full moons. On top of that, all of the teachers had decided to give them heaps of homework to finish before the holidays and he was falling behind.
Peter looked taken aback and James gave Remus a worried look. “Remus? You okay?”
“Yeah, you don’t look too good,” said Sirius.
“I…I just need some air,” Remus lied. “Too much homework.”
“But you never fall behind in schoolwork,” observed Peter, his round face creased with worry.
“I’m fine,” Remus snapped. He got up abruptly and left the room. On the other side of the bookshelf, unseen by the other three boys – who began to whisper to each other as soon as Remus got out of ear shot – a small girl with fluffy black hair put down her own books and followed Remus Lupin. He walked to nearby classroom, and pulled open a large window despite the winter chill in the air. He leaned against the window frame, gulping large lungful’s of air. The sun was setting, causing large shadows to reach out from the Forbidden Forest and encircle Hagrid’s hut like claws. Remus trembled against the window – and it wasn’t because of the cold. The moon was on the wane, and it was bright enough to make the animal within him growl and shift.
“Remus?” Maya asked softly. He jumped a bit and spun to look at her.
“Hi, Maya,” he said, giving her a weak smile. Ever since she’d helped Sirius and James, Maya had been popping up to hang with them more and more. She was quite bright for an eleven year old, they had all decided, and had knowledge about some of the passages in the castle that was quite impressive considering that she had only been at Hogwarts for a few months. They didn’t mind that she tagged along sometimes – and she had yet to betray any of their pranks to anyone.
Maya hopped onto the window-sill, perfectly at ease despite the height and offered Remus a small foil-wrapped rectangle. “Chocolate?” she asked. “It’s been proven to make people feel better when they’re sick or scared.”
Remus took the offered candy and popped some in his mouth. He did feel slightly better after eating it – it reminded him of his mother’s hugs and of the smiles of his friends.
Maya watched the stars begin to appear, knowing that the moon was illuminating the other side of the castle although this window did not have a view of it.
“It’s hard with two full moons in one month, isn’t it?” she said.
“Yeah,” said Remus. “I…” He froze, realizing what he had said and that backed away from Maya, his eyes wide. He stumbled into a desk and stuttered, “H…h…how do you…kn…know?”
Maya gave him what she hoped was a reassuring smile. “I’ve known for ages, I knew as soon as I saw you on my first night.” This didn’t seem to reassure Remus at all, on the contrary, he looked terrified. Maya decided it was time for drastic measure. “Close your eyes,” she commanded, pulling her robe over her head. Remus just stood there, trembling. “Eyes closed!” she insisted.
This is it, I’m out of Hogwarts, Remus thought. But he closed his eyes all the same.
“Eyes open,” said Maya after a moment. Remus opened them and did a double take. Maya’s pants and sweater were heaped on a desk and she had wrapped her cloak tightly around herself.
“Maya, what are you doing? Put your clothes on!” said Remus nervously. He didn’t know where this was going but he didn’t like it.
Maya rolled her eyes and then closed them. For a long moment, nothing happened but then…
Two pointed black ears appeared on Maya’s head and whiskers grew from her cheeks. Fur covered her face and the back of her hands. There was a slight crunching noise as her bones shrunk and her body contracted. She disappeared within the folds of her robes and Remus found himself gaping at a pile of robes on the ground that wriggled around as Maya tried to untangle herself from her robes. Remus lifted them up and revealed a large black kitten with the large green eyes he recognized as Maya’s.
“M…m…Maya…” he stammered. “How…are you an animagus?” Maya rolled her eyes and leapt to the windowsill. She meowed, sounding annoyed.
“But then how..? I…” Remus’ eyes opened wide and he said. “But…but you can’t be…they’re so rare…you’re a werecat?”
“Meow,” said Maya, sounding smug. She jumped to a desk by Remus and looked up at him. Hesitatingly, Remus reached out and scratched behind her ears, his own illness and fear forgotten in the face of something so amazing.
“Two weres at Hogwarts at the same time,” Remus said wonderingly. “Wow…Dumbledore must really trust us.”
Maya purred harder, rubbing against Remus’ hand. He smiled – Remus had always loved animals. He understood them in a way he felt few could (except for animagus of course.)
“Wait,” Remus mused, “You don’t go to the shrieking shack with me every month…does your bite not affect humans?”
Maya shook her head and looked at him. “Go on,” she seemed to say.
“I don’t know much about werecats,” Remus admitted. “Um…is it genetic?”
“Amazing,” said Remus. “And…and you can change into a cat whenever you want?”
Maya shook her head.
“When the moon is out?” Remus guessed again.
“Wow,” he said again. Maya purred and rubbed against his arm. Soothed by the sound of the purring, Remus stroked her rhythmically.
“Why did you tell me?” Remus asked her. Maya simply purred even harder, which Remus took as a statement of trust. “Thank you,” he whispered.
He sat there in the darkened classroom for a long time, stroking the kitten beside him. He leaned back against the wall and, to Maya’s surprise, a tear slowly fell down his cheek.
“Meow?” She asked, nudging his hand with her head.
“I’m terrified of losing them Maya,” he whispered. “Of losing this place...what will I do if they find out?” Maya looked at him with big eyes and suddenly hopped off his lap. The black kitten grabbed onto Maya’s cloak with her teeth and ran to the other side of the classroom. Remus dutifully closed his eyes until he heard the soft padding of bare feet on the ground.
Maya sat down next to him and told Remus honestly, “I don’t think you’ll lose them, Remus.”
Remus shook his head. “Have you told anyone Maya?”
“You,” she said matter-of-factly. “And I plan to tell people - when I’ve met the right people that is.” Remus didn’t look hopeful. Maya gave him a tight hug. After a moment, Remus returned it.
“Optimism,” Maya said brightly. Remus smiled. It was a small smile, but it was there.
One Full Moon Later
James almost flew down the stairs leading up to the Gryffindor 2nd Year Boy’s room and was panting as he skidded to a halt in front of Lily Evans.
“Have you...seen...Maya Night...?” He panted.
Lily raised an eyebrow. “I think she’s going to Hagrid’s...?”
Peter and Sirius came clambering down the stairs and Remus shouted after them to wait. James ran out of the dormitory with his friends behind him.
“Wait! Why do you want to see her? Potter?!” Lily gave up and gave Mary an exasperated look. Mary laughed.
“That little first year is tough, Lily. She’ll be okay.” Mary assured her friend.
James caught up to Maya just as she was leaving the castle, shouting, “Maya! Wait!” Maya turned and raised an eyebrow. The full moon had passed only two days ago and she was still feeling a bit bold. James grabbed her hand and dragged her to the shadows of the huge stones outside the castle.
“How long have you known about Remus?” James demanded in an excited whisper. Maya’s eyes widened and she took a step back. “What are you talking about?” She asked.
“It’s okay, Maya,” panted Remus. He’d just caught up to James with the other two boys. “They figured it out.” He didn’t look upset about this however, he was almost beaming. Maya knew exactly what that meant.
“Told you they wouldn’t mind,” Maya said.
Remus laughed. “Thank God.”
“How did you figure it out so fast?” Peter asked.
“Well...?” Maya barred her teeth, revealing her still pointed canines. Several minutes later, Sirius was moaning about how Maya came from a family that was a thousand times cooler than his and Peter was asking question after question about what it felt like to be a cat.
As James and Sirius got into a debate about which teachers were in on the secret, Remus whispered in Maya’s ear, “What happened to waiting for the right people?”
“Figured if they knew about you, what was the point in keeping me a secret,” she whispered back. “Besides...it’s nice for someone to know.”
“Yeah,” said Remus. He carefully readjusted the bandage on his hand – a souvenir from his transformation two days ago and the clue that had convinced his friends to confront him. “Yeah...you were right about them, Maya. Thank you.”
“Oy! Is someone there?” Hagrid’s friendly voice boomed from behind the boulders. “What’re you lot doing ‘ere? It’s nearly dark.”
“Just heading back now, Hagrid,” said Sirius smoothly. The group began their walk to Gryffindor tower and Hagrid looked after them curiously. There was something in Remus’ smile and the happy skip to Maya’s step that gave him the feeling that a few more people knew about the werewolf and werecat at living at Hogwarts.