It was a rainy day in mid-November, much to the dismay of the students currently having Care of Magical Creatures with professor Kettleburn. The weather, however, was not an issue for the three boys currently residing in the Gryffindor common room. Two of the boys, one of them with glasses and the other with shoulder-length dark hair, were playing chess while another boy, with dark blond hair and blue eyes, was reading a book. All of the boys looked up when the fourth of their group, small and with blond hair, came in through the entrance.
“Finally” Sirius exclaimed and jumped to his feet. “Peter´s here, now we can do something not as dull as this”.
“You´re just saying that because I´m winning” James Potter said with a grin, but took his eyes from the game and got up.
“C´mon Remus, drop the book and let´s get out of here” Sirius called at the fourth and last boy, who had not taken his eyes from the book.
“Huh?” he said, looking up.
“I said” Sirius repeated “this is boring and I want to do something, preferably involving Slytherins and a large barrel of dung” Remus just rolled his eyes but closed his book, which was actually really interesting, and got up as well.
“Onward, to adventure and pranking” Sirius called in a very loud voice, making Remus wince, which James noticed.
“You okay mate?” James asked worriedly. Remus just nodded, avoiding James´s doubtful eyes. It was full moon tomorrow night, and he could feel the weariness weighing him down. He knew his friends noticed it, but he didn’t say anything about it and, thankfully, they never asked.
James looked like he was going to say something (and Remus braced himself for the inevitable lie he was going to have to tell), but was interrupted by Sirius who grabbed his arm and unceremoniously dragged him to the portrait, Remus and Peter just behind them.
They had a fun afternoon, though much to Sirius´s disappointment, it did not involve pranking Slytherins. Instead they just aimlessly walked around in the corridors, laughing and joking.
Later that night, when they were getting ready for bed, Remus informed them that he was going to see his mom.
“Again?!?” Sirius exclaimed, but was quickly silenced by James.
“Of course mate, hope she´ll get better soon” he said and threw a glare at Sirius who just mumbled something and got into his bed.
After that they did the last in silence before saying good night and laying down in their respective beds. Soon after that you could hear deep breaths (and the occasional snore from Peter) from the others while Remus lay awake.
He hated lying to his friends, but if they knew they would hate him. He knew that he was lucky he even could attend Hogwarts, lucky that Dumbledore had given him a chance. But it took a lot out of him having to keep up the lie.
The next day he ate breakfast and then said goodbye to his friends, leaving for McGonagall´s office where he spent the rest of the day doing his homework.
The morning was long and dull for the three boys, classes went as usual but since Remus couldn’t be there, James took notes (which he only did so that Remus wouldn’t fall behind) which meant that Sirius only had Peter to talk to, which was fine but Peter was too scared to prank anyone with a teacher watching. This ultimately led to that Sirius was bored and when it was time for lunch he practically sprung out of his seat and rushed down to the great hall with James and Peter in a tow.
On their way there they ran into some amusement (at least according to Sirius) in the form of a redhead with bright green eyes.
“Evans!” James called out, a smile playing on his lips as he started ruffling his hair. The girl turned around, but seeing who it was she turned back around and kept on walking. James, however, did not seem to get the hint.
“C´mon Evans, don´t be rude” he teased, to which she stopped to give him an icy glare, not that it seemed to bother him.
“Hey Red” Sirius said with a smile while his best mate did his best to catch the girls attention.
“Black” she acknowledged. “Where´s Remus?” she asked after looking around, not seeing the boy.
“Gone to visit his mom, she´s sick you know” James said with a serious voice, but destroyed the impression by grinning widely.
“I heard” she said “well, give him my best when he returns”, this question seemed to be aimed mostly as Sirius and Peter, as she was doing her best to ignore James and his silly grin. Another girl called her name and she walked away, leaving a pining James and a now much more cheery Sirius in her wake.
After that, lunch was a quick affair, and then it was back to class and an afternoon of dullness. Sirius sighed.
“Aaahh!” James and Peter looked up, only to see Sirius lying on the floor beside his bed, swearing loudly. It was morning and the boys had just woken up, discovered that Remus wasn’t back yet and started preparing for an equally dull day. This, however, seemed to not be the case today, James Potter thought as he watched his best mate swear, clutching his wrist tightly.
“Jeez Siri, what did you do?” he asked, still slightly shocked.
“What does it look like” Sirius growled and started getting up, before Peter came to his senses and went to help him stand. James walked over to them, hissing as he saw Sirius´s wrist, which was already swelling.
“That looks sprained mate, we should get you to Madame Pomfrey”
“I´m fine” Sirius insisted, although neither James nor Peter seemed to care, because they hurriedly grabbed their bags (James got Sirius´s, much to the boy´s dismay) and proceeded to drag him towards the hospital wing.
When they got there, Madame Pomfrey took a brisk look at his wrist before walking away, grumbling about careless idiots. Sirius sat in one of the beds while the other two took places in the chair right beside him.
The hospital wing was empty, sans one other bed in the corner. Unfortunately the drapes were drawn, so they couldn’t see who was in there which, of course, only made them more curious about it. But since neither of them wanted to face the wrath of Madame Pomfrey (“Honestly, that woman in terrifying” James said after a short discussion about it) they decided to leave it be.
When I woke up I heard voices, which was odd considering that no one knew that I was here. Slowly I opened my eyes, before remembering that the drapes were drawn and relaxing. The voices were not there for me then, there was probably another student who had managed to get injured.
But seriously, who manages to end up in the hospital wing before breakfast?
“Please James, I just need to know. They are probably sleeping anyway!” Oh no, he panicked. He knew that voice, of course it was them. Who else would manage something so stupid? He looked down on himself and almost groaned out loud. It must have been a bad night, the wounds were worse than normal. He couldn’t feel anything of course, thanks to Madame Pomfrey, but should his friends see him now he wouldn’t be able to just wave it off with a lie.
“Remus wouldn’t like it” the voice was James and to his horror, Remus realized what they were talking about. No! Remus wouldn’t like that at all!
“But Remus isn’t here” Sirius again, Peter squeaked his approval.
“I don’t know” James said hesitantly.
“C´mon mate, for me? I can´t get out, Pomfrey would kill me”
“Alright” his heart seemed to stop as James gave in. He heard the squeaking noise of someone getting out of one of the chair and steps walking towards him. Remus froze, there was nothing he could do, he knew that.
“I bet there not even anyone…” James voice said and the drapes were opened, revealing the room.
“..Here” James´s voice was weak. He looked down, he couldn’t face them. He felt their stares, roaming over his bloody bandages and half healed arms.
“Remus” James sounded like he was choking on something and Remus braced himself.
“What are you boys doing!” a voice screeched, Madame Pomfrey had returned and was walking furiously towards the three frozen boys.
“Out! Out!” she yelled and closed the drapes again. Remus leaned back towards the pillows, listening to their protests and then the sounds of the door slamming in their faces. Tears started running down his face, and he did nothing to stop them.
“What. Was. That.” Sirius´s voice was weak, his eyes looked haunted. His mind could hardly believe what he had just seen, the image just seemed too unreal. James just shook his head, the image of his friends, cut and bruised, was imprinted in his brain. Peter said nothing, just stared at the door.
“McGonagall” James said, now determined. He started walking, the other two close at his heels. Almost running they passed Lily in the hallway, she shouted after them, but for once James did not hear her. They stopped outside of McGonagall study and banged frantically on the door. She opened it with an annoyed expression.
“What do you want Mr. Potter?” the boys did not answer her, instead they walked into the room, Sirius closing the door firmly behind them. She just looked at them.
“Never in my life…” she begun, but was interrupted by James.
“What is happening with Remus?” she went quiet, the anger disappearing from her eyes only to be replaced by sadness and chock.
“What do you mean Mr. Potter?” she asked carefully.
“We just saw him in the hospital wing” Sirius said “he looked… he looked…”
“Horrible” Peter ended. McGonagall sighed.
“I cannot tell you, but I suggest that you speak to Mr. Lupin about this matter” she then shooed them out of her office, before walking away to the teachers’ lounge to inform her colleagues that Mr.´s Black, Potter and Pettigrew would not be attending their classes that day.
They were sitting on their beds, classes forgotten, talking.
“What did he do?” Sirius said, pulling his hand through his hair.
“You mean what have he been doing” James said as a thought struck him. “I mean, he´s gone so often, and then he always looks terrible a couple of days after”.
“But he´s gone like once a month, what is he doing?” Peter said, and Sirius looked up.
“Damn” he muttered and went to his trunk where he started digging for something. With a victorious yell he pulled out what looked like a small book, but what was, on closer inspection, a calendar. He quickly pulled a quill out of his bag and wrote something in it.
“What day was it the last time Remus went away” he asked the others.
“The fifth of October” James said with certainty, the others looked at him “I remember because I needed help with the potions homework and he wasn’t there. Wrote that date on the top of the paper, it was also the only part of it that was correct according to Slughorn”. Sirius nodded and drew a circle in the book, much to the confusion of his friends.
“And before that?”
“He disappeared the second day of school” Peter supplied.
“Yeah, I remember thinking that was weird” Sirius just drew another circle, before looking down.
“My uncle told me about them, but I just can´t believe…”
“What are you up to mate” James asked softly. Sirius just held out the book so the two of them could look. The dates Remus had been gone were all circled, as were the tiny symbol of the side of the day. The symbol that indicated on a…
“Full moon” James said “You don´t think…?” Sirius just nodded.
There was a short silence, the two just looking at each other, but soon it was interrupted by Peter´s questioning squeak.
“Don’t think what?”
It was just an hour after lunch when Remus was let out of the hospital wing. He walked with heavy steps towards the common room, knowing who he would find there. He knew that he couldn’t lie to them anymore, he would have to tell them, and then… well he had had a couple of good years. Probably the best he was ever going to have.
As he walked up the doors to the boy´s dormitory, his legs felt like lead. His breath hitched and he had to stop on the way up, before continuing upwards.
He opened the door slowly, seeing them all sit on their respective beds, looking at him.
“Guys I…” he started, but was interrupted by James.
“Don’t talk” he said, and the pointed to the bed that belonged to Remus. Remus walked up to it, seeing a small calendar lying opened on his pillow. He bent down to look at it, freezing when he saw it. Tiny circles around the latest full moons. He turned around to see the others standing in the middle of the room.
“Mate” Sirius started “We know you´re a werewolf”. Remus nodded, feeling his eyes tear up, turned around and started collecting his books, which he then dumped in his trunk.
“Eh” He looked up. “What are you doing?”
“I´m packing” he said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. The others just looked at him.
“And why are you packing?” James asked.
“Because…” his voice hitched “Because you are kicking me out right?”
“Of course we aren´t! Why on earth would we do that!?”
“Because I´m dangerous, a monster” he said quietly.
“Mate” James said incredulously “You´re being dramatic. You iron you shirts, forgive me if I´m not trembling at the sight of you”. The werewolf just looked at them.
“You aren’t kicking me out?”
“No, never” Peter said. The others nodded.
“But… But I´m dangerous, people hate me! You can´t still want to be friends with me?” he had dreamed of course, that they would accept him. But he never thought that it could actually happen. This has to be a joke he thought, they are playing a prank on me.
“Are you trying to convince us to kick you out” Sirius asked, laughter in his voice. Remus just sat down on his bed, what they said… what he heard… it went against everything he thought he knew about the world. The others sat down around him.
“Mate” James voice was soft “We are your friends, and we don´t bloody care that you´re a werewolf, you are still the same guy we knew a couple of hours ago”.
Remus looked up at them, looking them in the eye for the first time since they saw him in the hospital wing, maybe the first time ever, and started crying.
It took one hour and their collective stash of chocolate to calm Remus down and convince of that they were truly and honestly serious.
“Well” Sirius said after a while of chatting.
“Well what?” Remus said. He had started to go back to his normal self, even laughing a little at his friend´s jokes.
“How is it?”
“Painful” Remus responded “You saw me, well… So you know. But that was an uncommonly bad night” he hurriedly said at his friends horrified looks.
“How?” Peter asked, his voice trembling.
“When a werewolf doesn’t have someone to harm, he does it to himself” Remus said emotionlessly.
“You do that to yourself?” Remus just nodded. There was a short paus.
“Is there anything we can do to help” James asked after a while “maybe we can come with you and try to…”
“NO” Remus yelled. The others looked taken back.
“I´m sorry, but you can never EVER go after me when I´m transforming. I would bite all of you in seconds, if I don´t kill you that is! Don´t you understand? I can´t control myself during the full moon, I won´t know you are my friends”.
“We understand” Sirius said “we won´t do that, but is there anything else that helps, something we can get for you?”
Remus paused for a second, thinking.
“Chocolate” he said at last “Chocolate helps”.
So when Madame Pomfrey was carrying Remus up to the hospital wing after the next full moon, James, Sirius and Peter were already standing outside, their arms full of chocolate.
(Disclaimer: The picture on the cover is not made by me, but by tumblr user viria. As an artist myself I think its important to always credit the creator)