Werewolves & Animagi
Nobody said anything. There was an intense silence in which all eyes in the room were fixed upon Brice and Remus. Mary swallowed audibly as she realized she had made one huge mistake by storming out of the dormitory to confront Remus about his big secret.
No doubt Brice and Lily heard every word she had been shouting at Remus - heck - perhaps she had even managed to wake up every last Gryffindor student sleeping in the tower with that childish tantrum. Mary felt ashamed. She realized her behavior did not at all add up to her promise to Sirius to keep her mouth shut about Remus's problems, but it was too late. Now Remus had no choice but to come clean to Brice after all.
The uncomfortable silence lasted far longer than Mary would have thought. In fact, this was probably the longest tense moment among the Marauders and the girls since the start of fifth year, when James had written Lily a love poem in Potions class and recited the lines right in front of Professor Slughorn (in case you were wondering: Slughorn was quite amused, Lily not so much).
In the meantime Brice and Lily had reached the rest of them. Mary did not dare to look at Brice and Remus stubbornly refused to speak at all. Instead he had adapted a stony-faced expression and was intently staring at the floor. Remarkably though, this cold attitude did not discourage Brice in the leaser. On the contrary, his silence only made her more adamant to find out the truth. "What's going on, Remus?"
When Remus finally did look up, he first shot Mary an angry look before finally turning to Brice. "Nothing, really. Mary and I were in disagreement over something."
Brice crossed her arms in front of her chest. "So I heard. But what does that have to do with me exactly?"
"Really?" Brice frowned at him. "That's hard to believe. You see, I don't recall anything being wrong with my hearing before and I clearly heard Mary warn you that I-" she was now making quotation marks in the air with her fingers "-would be finding out soon enough anyway."
Remus scratched his head. "Er well… I'm not sure…"
"Brice, you better calm down," Lily said in a soothing voice as Brice looked like she was about to lose her patience, "let's all go to our dormitories, have a glass of water, go to sleep and talk about it tomorrow."
"No Lily," Brice said before turning to Mary, her eyes blazing with fury. "I think I can see clearly now what has been going on here. It's me making me sick to my stomach, but…" she looked over at Sirius and said: "I'm sorry, but there's something going on between Remus and Mary."
The following silence to Brice's mind boggling statement was even more deafening than the last one. Mary stared at her friend in utter horror. She desperately wanted to explain Brice had this all wrong, but unfortunately her brain seemed to have been disconnected from her mouth. She just stood there, gazing at Brice with her mouth hanging wide open.
"WHAT? No, It's not… not like that at all!" Remus - looking equally as stunned – managed to splutter eventually.
Brice did not look convinced, but thankfully Sirius had not lost his tongue. "Brice love," he replied calmly, finally coming to Mary's rescue, "I can assure you that is not the case."
"How can you be so sure? D'you think I'm a retard?"
"No," he replied. "It's simply because I do know what this is about."
"What in Godric's name is going on then?" Brice asked, now looking more confused than angry.
"I would like to know that as well," Lily said as she sat down with James. He wrapped his arms around her waist and kissed her cheek before looking at Remus. "Just tell them, Moony. There is no point in postponing the big reveal any longer."
Remus nodded slowly. "Alright..." he started hesitantly. "There's a good reason for my monthly absences. And… Well, there's no easy way of saying this, so I'll just… I'm… Brice, Lily," he gulped and his eyes shot back to the floor before finally daring to finish his sentence: "I am a Werewolf."
And for the third time that night there was silence. Lily was simply looking compassionate, unwilling to say anything at the moment, and Mary instantly knew her friend was feeling as sorry as she had done when she was told the truth about Remus. When Mary looked at Brice – who was blinking feverishly in an attempt to comprehend what Remus just said – she felt Sirius's hand reaching for hers and pulling her towards him. Like Lily had done with James, she quietly crawled next to him and buried her face in his neck.
Lily was the first one to break this silence. "Remus, this doesn't change anything between us as far as I'm concerned and truthfully, I'm not all that surprised. In fact, I think I subconsciously knew already. I've always thought there was something special about you. This sure explains a lot. And if you add Mary's ridiculous full moon comments in the last few days…"
"How can you be stupid about something like that?" Peter asked curiosuly.
"Oh, like her statement that some people turn out to be vampires-in-reverse; creatures who are allergic to full moonlight. Apparently they should avoid going out at nighttime at all times," Lily said as she winked at Peter.
James and Peter burst out laughing and Sirius grinned at her. "You actually said that?" he snorted.
"I panicked, okay!" Mary groaned, blushing as she clapped her hands to her burning cheeks. Sirius continued to chuckle appreciatively as he leaned his chin on her shoulder.
In the meantime Remus, who was obviously relieved by Lily's sensible reaction, turned to Brice. She had not yet responded to his confession, but was sitting down on an arm chair and staring out of the window.
"Brice, how..." he started hesitantly.
She looked at him with an unreadable expression in her eyes. "Oh," she said slowly. "Right. Well… I don't really mind, at least I think I don't. Of course I'll have to make sure not to mention any of this to my mum or she'll be alerting the school board faster than you could say non-explodable luminous balloons."
Sirius was already opening his mouth to come to Remus's defense once again, but this time it was James who beat him to it. "Right. So your mother is one of those prejudiced Purebloods with a ridiculous fear of Werewolves?" he snapped.
Lily exchanged a concerned glance with Mary before trying to soothe the start of yet another heated discussion. "James, please, you don't know the whole story..."
James calmed down almost instantly, proving Lily had an influence on him no one else came even close to (except perhaps Sirius), but he continued to have a look of disbelief on his face while muttering: "Well it's just, because… ridiculous fear…"
Brice shrugged. "It's not like I'm judging Werewolves in general, am I? Least of all Remus. But my aunt - my mum's big sister - was attacked by a particularly nasty Werewolf called Fenrir Greyback five years ago and she died. So please don't be too quick on judging my mother for feeling the way she does."
"I'm sorry to hear that happened to your family," Remus said genuinely.
Brice gave him a wry smile. "Look Remus, I'm not going to avoid you now that I know about your… monthly alternative form… thing... er-"
"-Furry little problem," James finished for her in a dry voice, which made them all laugh.
"Exactly," Brice grinned. "Your 'furry little problem'. Anyway, we're cool, you and me. Just so you know."
"Thank you, Brice. You have no idea how much it means to hear you say that."
"Well! I don't know about you guys, but I'm heading to bed," Lily said as she stifled a yawn and got up.
"Hang on," Mary said, looking at Sirius. "Aren't you forgetting something here? And also tell them about… That other thing you guys have been up to all those years?"
Sirius exchanged a look with James before nodding slowly. "Brice, Lily, you might want to sit back down for another moment. We've known about Moony's alternate form since second year and we wanted to do something about his monthly loneliness. So in our fifth year we er…" he shot another doubtful look at Remus and Peter, who both nodded in encouragement. "-Well, I guess you could say we taught ourselves to become Animagi."
This time it was Lily and Brice's turn to stare at the Marauders with their mouths hanging wide open. The guys looked at them, anxiously awaiting their response, but apparently this shocking news flash was even harder to sink in.
Mary was amused by the dumbstruck expression on their faces. It almost made her laugh aloud. "You should see the looks on your faces! If only I had a camera…"
Lily blinked and looked at her. "You knew? How long have you known about this?"
"Sirius told me at the Winter Wonderland party."
"Right," Lily nodded while running a hand through her long hair. She looked at James. "You do realize this Animagi stuff is totally illegal?"
"Naturally," James said, grinning proudly, but his smile faded when he saw the disapproving look on his girlfriend's face. "Lil come on," he said while reaching for her hand. "We're not hurting anyone. All we did was accompanying a rather hairy friend on his nightly adventures."
"Hey, I'm not that hairy!" Remus said indignantly as he faked a wounded look on his face. At least Mary thought he was faking it, because - now that the secret was out - he actually looked like a heavy burden had been lifted from his shoulders.
Brice smiled. "So Peter, what type of animal can you turn into?"
It was obvious that Brice did not exactly know how to respond to this. "That's eh… Not a very large animal."
Peter shrugged. "I know my Animagus form isn't as impressive as James or Sirius's, but being small has its advantages."
"I'm sure it does," Lily said kindly. "How about you, James?"
"What do you think?" he asked, giving her a teasing wink.
She arched an eyebrow. "How the hell should I know?"
She sighed. "Fine. An elephant?"
"A bull? Snake? Hippo? Donkey?"
"A donkey?" James snorted. "Nice try, but unfortunately none of them are correct. I'm a stag, Lil."
She stared at him. "Seriously?"
"Antlers and all."
After a moment of contemplating the image of her boyfriend turning into a stag, Lily smiled with twinkling eyes and shot him an admiring look. "Wow… You must show me that some time." She looked at Sirius. "And you are...?"
"A dog," Sirius said.
"Of course…" Brice said thoughtfully. "That actually makes sense. You were named after the dog star after all."
He looked astonished. "You know which star is the dog star?"
"It's near Orion's Belt. I wrote an Astronomy essay on it last month."
"That's fantastic. You know, I've never known which star it is, so can you show me some time?"
"Of course," Brice said. "But that's only possible on a clear night and right now my head is positively swirling because of all these astonishing confessions, so I really need to get some sleep."
Lily and Mary agreed and, after kissing their boyfriends goodnight, they ascended the stairs to the dormitory together. They didn't talk much and brushed their teeth in silence, each of them drowned in their own thoughts.
The last days before the holidays flew by and before Mary knew, Saturday morning had arrived. Time to go home. She, Sirius, Remus, Brice and Peter would be taking the Hogwarts Express to King's Cross Station in a few hours and spend Christmas with their respective families.
James and Lily were staying behind, but they didn't mind that much, considering they were busy making the final arrangements for the party. Brice and Mary had gathered their trunks and dragged them down the stairs and along the corridors. They were just putting them up against the wall near the Entrance Door and were considering what to have for breakfast when Mary noticed someone was standing behind her. "Well good morning Cassidy," she said, recognizing the girl.
Cassidy did not return Mary's smile. Instead, she was pursing her lips. "You think you've got it all now, don't you?"
"Sirius of course! Honestly, you're obviously just his flavour of the month, so you'd better enjoy it while it lasts."
"Right… Because that's what you did, isn't it?"
Cassidy placed both her hands on her hips. "Dear Godric... You actually believe he's in love with you?"
"I'm not sure what your exact intentions are, but if you're interested in finding out if we're happy together, then yeah, I can affirm that we are."
Cassidy made a derisive sound. "Oh my Godric," she sneered. "I cannot believe how naïve you are."
Mary rolled her eyes in annoyance. "And I cannot believe how dense you are, Cassidy. He doesn't want you anymore, he's with me now. Accept that, get over it and move on. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a breakfast to attend. Merry Christmas," she finished coolly before walking off to the Great Hall with Brice.
She refused to look back, not even when the girl yelled: "If I cannot be with him, then no one will!"
When Brice heard this, she shook her head laughing. "Honestly… Can you believe that silly tart? Really, if there's one I thing I'm sure of, it's that you have nothing to fear from Cassidy Donaldson."
Mary nodded in agreement and continued to walk with her head held up high, but truthfully, she was not feeling quite as confident as she was pretending. Although she really wanted to believe Brice, she could not deny having a sudden nasty sense of foreboding about Cassidy. Something was telling her this girl may not be as harmless as she seemed.
~*~ End of Chapter ~*~