Remus Lupin lay in the hospital wing staring tiredly at the ceiling. Last nights transformation had been particularly brutal and Madame Pomfrey had decided he would not be attending any classes that day.
He didn’t mind, he was tired and in pain and perfectly happy to avoid his friends who had a tendency to be quite rowdy at times.
Remus frowned, his friends had been on his mind a lot lately. James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, the first people he could claim to be friends with since he had been bitten.
He knew they were curious as to where he disappeared to each month, his excuses having become more and more feeble as first year had past, and now, four months in to second year the excuses were getting laughable. His friends weren’t stupid, he had seen the glances they had shot at each other every time he muttered another excuse. He had seen them whispering together at times, stopping abruptly when he had approached. The last couple of days they had been particularly quiet, then again, that could have been his imagination. After all, he had thought the same thing on the last full moon.
Remus sighed and turned on to his side, wincing slightly as his aching body protested. He was so afraid they would figure it out, yet, these past couple of months he had been tempted to just tell them. To get it over and done with. To watch their eyes as they realised their friend was a monster… he shuddered.
Would he be able to handle it? To watch them go from friendship to fear and hatred? Leaving Hogwarts? After all, that would be the most likely outcome. Who wants to go to school with a monster? The last year and a half had been some of the best times of his life but the weight of his secrets, his lies were wearing down on him.
He was tired of hiding, tired of lying. He sighed again and closed his eyes. Maybe… maybe he would just go for it, just tell them, just leave. At least he would be free from the lies.
It had been almost a month since Remus had made the tentative decision to tell his friends what he was. He sat in the common room gazing blankly at the fire wondering if he would ever actually have the courage to do so. He had tried to, once or twice he had opened his mouth, just to end up saying something different, or to say nothing at all. He was counting down the days to the full moon. Three more days then he would be in hell once again. He sighed and resigned himself to the fact that he was too scared to say anything. But he dreaded the day they actually worked it out.
He was disturbed from his musings as his three friends tumbled noisily through the portrait hole.
“That was brilliant James!” Sirius was almost doubled up with laughter, and the other two didn’t look much better “That idiot Carter won’t know what hit him!”
As they headed towards him, Remus couldn’t help but smile at their amusement “What have you got against Professor Carter at the moment?” He asked as they collapsed in to seats around him “That’s got to be the, what? Seventh? Eighth? time you have pranked him this month!”
“Ninth.” James said cheerfully before looking slightly more serious “and other than he’s a lousy DADA professor? He just said some stuff we didn’t like, that’s all.”
“What stuff?” Remus raised an eyebrow but James didn’t elaborate, instead he stretched and said instead
“I’m heading upstairs, you lot coming?” Sirius and Peter nodded but Remus hesitated
“I’ll be up in a minute.” He said. The others grinned at him before darting off laughing and joking. Remus shook his head fondly as he started to gather up his books. He paused as he sensed a presence behind him
“Are you all right Remus?” Lily Evans was looking at him with concern in her bright green eyes “You’ve been rather quiet tonight.”
Remus smiled at his friend “I’m fine thanks Lily. Just tired, that’s all.”
She smiled then glanced towards the boys staircase and scowled “The way that lot tumbled in here I guess the Marauders pulled off another prank?”
Remus laughed “It would seem so.”
“Whose the victim this time?”
“Carter I think.”
“Again?” Lily scowled “Ever since that lesson last month they seem to have had it in for Professor Carter.”
“What lesson?” Lily looked at him in surprise
“You know, Potter and Black had that massive argument with Professor Carter which resulted in them getting detention for a week.”
Remus looked at her blankly “I must have missed that lesson.”
“Oh! Of course, I think that was when you went to visit your mum.” Lily dropped in to the chair opposite “Didn’t they tell you about it?”
“No… they said they had the detentions for a prank they pulled whilst I was away.”
“Oh.” Lily bit her lip “I wonder why they didn’t say anything?”
Remus shrugged, “I don’t like to think to deeply on how their minds work. What did Carter say that got them so wound up?”
“He was talking about werewolves.” Lily didn’t seem to notice Remus stiffen in his seat “I can’t remember how the topic came up but Professor Carter said that Werewolves were dark evil creatures who lived to hurt others and Potter and Black took offence.” Lily shrugged “Don’t ever tell them this but I agreed with the points they made, about them being human all but one night a month and it’s only because of a select few that they have such bad reputations. Most just try to live their lives the best they can. But like I said, tell Potter or Black that I agreed with them and I’ll hex you in to next week.” Lily peered at Remus closely “Are you sure you’re ok? You look rather pale.”
Remus managed a weak smile “I’m… I’m fine, like I said, tired… If you excuse me Lily, I think I’m going to go to bed…” With that he was up and heading to the stairs.
Lily watched him go, a small smile on her face, before she got up to rejoin her friends.
Remus stood outside the dormitory door trying to calm his breathing. His mind was racing. He didn’t understand why his friends had failed to mention their argument, lied about it even. Did they know? But they hadn’t said anything. So why were they defending werewolves? Was it just a whim? After all, most people don’t expect to come face to face with one, either as a human or when they were transformed. And James and Sirius did love a good argument. But then why hadn’t they told him?
Remus closed his eyes and took a deep breath. His mind was going in circles and it was doing him no good. He knew he would have to confront his friends. That was another point, they were still his friends and surely, if they had discovered his secret they wouldn’t be, would they?
With one final deep breath and the feeling that he no longer looked so panicked, Remus pushed open the door and walked in to the room he shared with his three friends, just to get hit in the face with a pillow.
“Oops! Sorry Remmie!” Sirius sniggered. A glance at the feathers scattered around the room told Remus he had walked in to the middle of a pillow fight.
James whacked Sirius with a pillow sending more feathers flying before plonking down on the bed and peering closely at Remus “You alright? You look really pale.”
Remus nodded, nerves on edge. He walked over to his own bed and with a wave of his wand removed the feathers that had settled there. He couldn’t quite bring himself to meet his friends eyes.
“You sure Remus?” Peter asked, hugging his beaten pillow to his chest and frowning at him.
Remus swallowed nervously, turning round and facing his friends.
“So, this latest prank you played on Carter… Why was that again?”
He saw James and Sirius exchange glances before James said “We told you, he said some things we didn’t like.”
“What kind of things?” Despite his best attempts, Remus was sure that his friends had picked up on the slight quaver in his voice.
“Just things.” Sirius waved his hand round airily, accidently knocking James’s glasses. James scowled at him.
Remus swallowed nervously, suddenly finding his hands very interesting.
“I was talking to Lily…”
“Well no wonder you’re so pale!” Sirius yelped, just to be shoved off the bed by an irate James as Peter sniggered.
“Leave Lily out of it!” Sirius poked his tongue out at James before clambering back on to the bed.
“Guys” Remus said quietly bringing their attention back to him. He started picking at an invisible thread on his bedsheet “She said you argued with him, about…” He swallowed “About werewolves.” He said the words so quietly that the other three had to strain to hear. “Why?”
The atmosphere of the room was suddenly tense. Remus heart was hammering as he glanced at his friends.
“Well he was wrong, wasn’t he?” James said, looking at Remus intently “I mean, it’s like all that pureblood rubbish. Pureblood doesn’t make you better than everyone else and Werewolves aren’t all evil. They just have a furry little problem, that’s all.”
Remus couldn’t help but stare at James “A furry little problem! They turn in to raving monsters once a month.”
“Doesn’t mean they’re monsters the rest of the month.” Sirius said firmly.
“Yeah, they can be really nice the rest of the time. It’s just that one night a month they can’t control.” Peter added
Remus could feel hope building in his chest, even as he tried to convince the others that werewolves, that he, was no good.
“They would turn on a friend as quick as an enemy and kill you without a thought.” He started.
“And most lock themselves up to make sure no-one else gets hurt, instead hurting themselves. Everybody has a choice to be good or bad. It’s the bad ones who go round and attack others.”
“Remus, it sounds very much like you are trying to talk us out of being friends with you.” James said.
Remus froze, staring wide eyed at the three boys in front of him as colour drained from his face once more.
“I think you broke him James.” Sirius laughed after they had sat in silence for over a minute.
James moved to sit beside Remus on his bed, making him jump
“Remus…” James slung an arm about the shaking boys shoulder as the other two boys also moved closer.
“How long?” Remus croaked
“How long have we known?” Peter asked “We figured it out a couple of months before the end of last year.”
“You never said…”
Sirius snorted “Yeah. Hey Remus mate, we know you’re a werewolf. You would have took that well, look how you’re reacting now, and you’re the one who brought it up.
“But, you… you didn’t act different…”
“Why would we act different?” James said frowning
“Everyone always does. My parents are just sad, family avoids me and friends… friends leave.”
James tightened his grip around his friends shoulders “Remus, it doesn’t change anything. You’re still our best friend, you’re still a marauder.”
“Did you ask to be bitten?” Sirius interrupted
“Do you have any control about changing every full moon?” Peter asked
“Do you still want to be friends with us?” James said softly.
Remus looked at the three boys surrounding him “You really still want to be friends with me, despite what I am?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s what we’ve been saying.” James grinned
“Thank you.” Remus whispered warmth flooding his chest as he finally allowed himself to accept that he had friends. Proper friends who knew his secret yet still liked him.
The other three boys grinned at him.
“Well, now we’ve got the mushy stuff out the way…” Sirius suddenly swung a pillow that seemed to have come from nowhere, catching Peter with it and knocking him off the bed.
He squealed as he hit the floor in a cloud of feathers as the pillow he had been clutching finally burst open, causing all four boys to burst in to fits of laughter.
As the room once more descended in to chaos, Remus smiled to himself, the acceptance of his friends meaning more to him than he thought they would ever understand.