“Please, Madame Pomfrey,” Remus begged. “You said yourself they saved my life. It’s been almost two days. They’ve got to be worried about me.”
“They have been annoyingly underfoot,” the nurse admitted.
“Please,” said Remus. “Just for a little while?”
Madame Pomfrey sighed. “All right.” She left and came back with James, Sirius, Peter, and Maya in tow.
Remus smiled. The bruise on his face had healed nicely and Madame Pomfrey had sealed the deep cut on his side. There would be scars however. Magical cuts and bites, like those from a werewolf, could not be healed perfectly.
“Hey, mates,” said Remus.
“Remus!” Sirius jumped onto the end of his bed and grinned widely. “How are you feeling?”
“Better,” said Remus. Maya got onto the side of his bed and the other two pulled up chairs.
Peter put down a heavy bag and began listing the books they’d brought him. Sirius and James talked about teachers and classes and future plans – all manner of normal and somewhat mischievous things. Only Maya was silent, watching Remus with her big, green, cat-like eyes.
“What’s wrong, Maya?” Remus finally asked after several minutes of this.
“You could have died,” said Maya. “I should have gone straight down the tunnel. I...”
“You had no way of knowing how badly I was hurt and for all you knew I was still a werewolf,” Remus interrupted. “Really, Maya, all I am is grateful...Madame Pomfrey said you’re the one who found me.”
“Well...” Maya lowered her voice. “Kinda. We just didn’t want them to get in trouble.”
“I remember that you all came down, don’t worry,” Remus laughed, and then winced. “I don’t lose my memory every day.”
“That must be tough,” said Sirius. “Forgetting everything when you transform.” His voice was much more serious than normal.
Remus swallows hard. “It’s...well...it would be better if I didn’t attack myself when I did.”
“Why do you bite yourself?” Peter asked.
Remus shook his head. “It’s the only thing the werewolf knows how to do. It’s crazy...insane in the bite-my-own-leg in order to escape kind of way.”
“How about you?” Peter asked her.
“The cat doesn’t want to bite,” Maya said. “I just don’t remember being human. But only on the full moon. Otherwise I’m basically an animagus...”
“Animagus,” said James suddenly. Everyone looked at him.
“Remus,” asked James, his voice odd, “I remember reading something about how the werewolf bite is only dangerous to humans. Is this true?”
“I’ve never tested it but yeah,” said Remus.
“What about an animagus in animal form?” James asked. Remus looked at him blankly.
“Oh!” Said Sirius, understanding a light in his eyes. “Brilliant James!”
“I would have to check,” said Remus slowly. “What are you two going on about?”
“Remus,” said James.
“And Maya,” added Sirius.
“And Maya,” agreed James. “You’re not going to be on your own anymore.”
Maya and Peter looked at them blankly, but Remus’ eyes got huge; “Absolutely not!”
“Come on, Remus,” Sirius said.
“No!” Said Remus.
“Shhhhh!” Said Peter, flapping his hand at them and looking worriedly in the direction of Madame Pomfrey’s office.
Remus lowered his voice and continued. “It’s too dangerous! It takes years for a wizard or witch to become an animagus. And there’s absolutely no guarantee that you’d be safe. A werewolf can still kill an animal, even if they don’t become another werewolf. And...”
“Calm down,” said James.
“We could probably figure out the animagus thing,” said Sirius breezily.
“What’s going on?” Said Peter to Maya.
Maya, with a frown, ignored Peter and told James, “But Remus won’t recognize you. How would you becoming an animal be helpful?”
“Keep him from biting himself,” said James as if it were obvious.
“Yeah,” said Sirius. “He can just chase us.”
“Were you even listening?” Remus demanded. “I don’t want to hurt anyone!” He looked close to tears.
“We’ll become something big enough to keep you in check,” James assured him.
“Come on, Moony,” said Sirius, his handsome face lit by his wide smile, “It would be brilliant if we could pull it off. And if the magic is too advanced, we can wait.”
“But we swear we will do it,” said James. “Someday, we’re going to keep you company on the full moon. We’re not going to let you attack yourself until you kill yourself. It’s not fair.”
There was silence for a long moment. Peter, finally understanding that James and Sirius seemed to want to become animagus, looked at each of his friends. Sirius excited; James earnest; Remus worried; Maya thoughtful.
“If you can prove to me that I will recognize you,” said Remus. “Then...I...” He stopped.
“Not being alone would be amazing,” finished Maya.
Remus gave her a grateful look. “Yeah,” he said.
“We should do a blood oath,” said Sirius.
“Ewww!” said Maya.
“That’s not necessary,” Remus laughed.
“I promise all the same,” said Sirius. “We will become animagus.”
“We’re not going to abandon you, Remus,” added James.
“Agreed!” Said Peter. Maya nodded happily.
Remus looked at them and smiled. “You’re the best mates anyone could ever have.”
Everyone smiled at each other for a moment, then Maya turned to Sirius. “Moony?” She asked him.
“Yeah, what was that?” Remus asked.
“Moony?” Sirius smiled. “Well...the full moon, you know...” Everyone groaned.
But the name stuck.