Remus standing me up apparently bothered me more than I thought. I slept a restless night, constantly tossing, turning, and waking at least once an hour. I finally woke up around six and decided to give up. I got ready as quietly as I could so as not to wake any of my dorm mates, and then I headed down to the common room.
I sat and stared into the empty fireplace, letting my mind wander where it wanted. I was in a haze of exhaustion, so it couldn’t focus on but one thing at a time. I thought about class, I wondered when the first Quidditch game would be, but I mostly thought about Remus and tried to grasp a reason why he would have left me hanging last night.
After some time I heard someone coming down the stairs. I turned my head to look.
My stomach flopped over when I saw that it was none other than Remus Lupin. Upon seeing me he stopped, and I could almost see the wheels turning in his head. After a moment, he approached me.
I involuntarily tensed.
“Lacelin?” He stood before me uncertainly.
“Good morning,” I said more formally than I intended.
He glanced behind him before he took a seat on the couch adjacent to my armchair. He leaned forward, his elbows resting on his knees, his hands clasped between them. Once he was situated he began to speak. “I’m sorry I didn’t come to the library last night.”
He paused; probably expecting me to say something. I didn’t. I wanted to hear his explanation.
He swallowed, my silence obviously unnerving him even more than he already was. “I didn’t come because I couldn’t get away from James and Sirius. I figured what you wanted to tell me was private.”
So what I had suspected was true, unless this was an excuse. It was no great secret that a lot of pranks by the four were prepared at night. I suddenly wondered if I should trust Remus with my secret.
Did his friends know he was a werewolf? They seemed like the type to ridicule someone for it. Of course, I didn’t know them very well at all.
Regardless of whether I told Remus or not, come September eighteenth he would know. So, to get it over with…
“I wasn’t going to ask you out,” I said. Was it just me or did he relax a little? “I have something else to tell you. Dumbledore suggested I talk to you.”
I saw the light click on behind his eyes. Remus was a sharp one; I wouldn’t be surprised if he already knew what I was talking about.
“This isn’t the time or place,” he said as students began to come down the stairs. I nodded to show my agreement. “Library, six o’clock?”
I nodded again and he stood to go, but not before he gave me a small smile.
I felt my cheeks tingle as I headed back upstairs to get my bag.
x x x
Lacelin stood in front of her full length mirror in nothing but her undergarments. She unwound the bandage from around her waist and slowly turned around. Once the bandage was unwrapped, she looked over her shoulder so that she could see her back in the mirror.
Level with her waist, favoring the left side, was a large bite mark. Puncture wounds made the shape of the jaws, and they were starting to scab over. The whole surrounding area was a sickly yellowish bruise. The twisting of her body so that she could see was irritating the mark, so she twisted back around and grabbed the antiseptic from her dresser. She applied it gingerly to the wound, her elbow sticking up awkwardly as she tried to reach behind her. She then reapplied the bandage and turned to get dressed for the day.
She sighed. What was the use of treating the wound? The doctor her uncle had called out from St. Mungo’s had said that it would leave a nasty scar—and that she was definitely a werewolf.
We had a writing assignment in Potions that day. When I was finished, I pulled out my textbook and went to the index. First I searched for the term “werewolf,” but all that showed up were poisons that were particularly potent to werewolves.
I blanched. That’s not what I wanted to see. I guess I was in denial; I didn’t want to face the truth of how the Wizarding population felt about…my kind. After a moment of thought, I turned back a few pages to look for “pain.” There were a few potions here that I could possibly use to lessen the pain of transformation. Would it be enough? Would it even work? What if certain pain preventing potions didn’t work on werewolves?
I figured it would be worth it to try. I couldn’t very well ask Professor Slughorn about it…or could I? How many of the staff knew? Certainly Dumbledore didn’t keep it a secret all to himself. But then there was the problem of someone overhearing me and jumping to conclusions—conclusions that, I fear, would be right.
I dog-eared a few different potions I wanted to try as Professor Slughorn tapped his wand on the table and announced the end of the time he had allotted us to finish the assignment. I closed my book and stood to take my parchment to his desk.
x x x
“Do you want to go to the library after class to work on the essay for Defense Against the Dark Arts?” Lily asked me at lunch.
I had my current novel open next to my plate. I was about to just nod yes when I remembered that I had a previous appointment. “Er—I can’t. I have to…meet Professor McGonagall.”
Lily looked confused. “What for?”
“Um…Well…” I had to think fast. What would she want to see me for? “Transfiguration. She says she has some books that might interest me.” Liar!
“Oh…well, how about afterwards?”
I nodded without even thinking first. “Sure. I’ll meet you there?”
Lily just nodded and smiled, and we went back to our lunches.
After class I said good-bye to Jodie and Lily and I headed towards the Transfiguration classroom. Professor McGonagall was still there, speaking to a scared looking first year.
“…with some practice I think everything will be fine, Manny.”
The terrified boy nodded and then scurried from the classroom. I stepped aside to avoid being plowed through.
“Miss Crill, good timing.” Professor McGonagall was straightening up her already tidy desk. Once she was satisfied, she walked to the back of the room where I stood. “Punctuality is a good trait, whether it be for school, work, or everyday life.”
I gave a small smile at the compliment, but didn’t say anything.
“Let’s make sure you’re punctual for Dumbledore as well, shall we?”
I nodded and we left the room. Reminiscent of the first day, I followed the professor through the corridors less traveled. It wasn’t long before I was once again climbing the stairs to Headmaster Dumbledore’s office.
The door was open already so I knocked on the door frame. The Headmaster looked up from his parchment, and after adjusting his half-moon spectacles, he smiled at me. “Miss Crill, please come in and have a seat.”
I walked in and sat my bag by the armchair before sitting down.
We sat in silence for a few minutes while Dumbledore finished his work. After signing one last piece of parchment, he put everything away, and then clasped his hands on his desktop. “So, I guess we should get down to business.”
I smiled to show I was willing.
“Have you talked to Remus?”
I shook my head. “No, sir. But I’m meeting with him tonight.”
“Good, good…I have a feeling he will be distraught for your situation.” That made me feel bad. I thought that he might be happy to have someone else with the same problem. Misery loves company, right?
“But anyway, I’ll go over the regular procedures with you.” He adjusted himself in his big, comfy chair and then looked at me over his spectacles. “On the morning of the full moon, you’ll go to the Hospital Wing. You will spend the day there, so bring whatever work or books you have. Your teachers, of course, will excuse you.
“Before it gets dark, Madam Pomfrey will lead you to the Whooping Willow, where she was immobilize it. You will follow Remus through the tunnel under the tree to the Shrieking Shack.”
I froze. “The Shrieking Shack!”
Dumbledore chuckled. “I had that built for the sole purpose of giving Remus a place to go when he changes. The shrieking people hear is the wolf.”
I swallowed. Oh wow…
I thought for a moment. “Why can’t I go to class that day?”
“You’ll notice why come September eighteenth. I daresay you wouldn’t be able to concentrate anyway.”
I nodded. “I understand.” My heart was beating against my chest. This was going to be horrible, I could just tell. I was hoping Dumbledore locked us in one of the old dungeon rooms or something, but I guess that was just too close to the students. But how would that rickety old shack keep a werewolf in? Was that even the point?
I left with a heavy mind, and numbly walked towards the common room. But before I went inside, I stood on the staircase and watched the moving pictures. It was soothing, losing myself in their worlds for a few moments. After a while, I felt calm and my heart rate was back to normal. I trusted myself to enter the common room.
I found Jodie curled up on the couch, nodding off over her Charms book. When I sat down next to her she jerked awake.
“Hey!” she said enthusiastically. Then she looked confused. “I thought you were at the library with Lily?”
I slapped my palm to my forehead. “Crap!” And out the portrait hole I went like a bolt of lightning.
“Sorry, Lily!” I hissed as I slid into a seat across from her. She only waved her hand at me, too busy writing. She was apparently on a roll, because she was scribbling away as fast as she possibly could; only stopping to dip her quill in the ink sitting open in front of her.
While she got her ideas out, I pulled my book from my bag along with my quill, ink, and some unused parchment. I was just getting to the chapter that supposedly had information I needed when Lily finally stopped writing. She sat back with a huff, breathing as though she just ran a marathon.
I stared at her. “Are you okay?”
“I had an epiphany!” She laughed. “Everything just suddenly clicked and I had to get it down before I forgot.”
I shook my head at her, but I was smiling nonetheless. After a few questions, we settled into a comfortable silence and I began working on my paper.
It wasn’t until Remus Lupin walked in that I remembered our meeting. I panicked, and I could tell Lily was worried about something. I must have been sitting there with a shocked expression on my face, staring straight at Remus who looked confused. He was probably wondering why on earth Lily was with me.
I had totally forgotten! Now what did I do?
“Um…I’ll be right back, Lily,” I said shakily, closing up my stuff but standing and leaving it there. “I need to talk to Remus about something…” I trailed off and hurried through the bookshelves, waving my hand in a gesture for him to follow.
He must have hesitated, but he joined me deep within the library soon. Lily didn’t follow me, but I would have to think of something to tell her when I got back.
“Okay, I have to be quick. Lily is suspicious.”
Remus looked surprised. “She doesn’t know?”
Now I was surprised. “No…why would she?”
Remus shrugged. “I thought you two were best friends. I thought you would have told her before just about anybody.”
I chewed on my lip. Yes, that’s normally what would have happened. But this just seemed so big…Then it occurred to me. “Wait, you know what I’m talking about, right?”
“I believe so,” Remus said slowly and I could tell he didn’t want to be the one to say it.
“I’m a werewolf,” I said with certainty, the first time I was actually confident about that statement. I knew for a fact that Remus was a werewolf. He couldn’t judge me, and he couldn’t try to lie to me.
He lost a lot of color all of a sudden. I could see the small white scars all over his face much more easily, and I wondered why I had never noticed them before. I guess I just never got close enough. Would I have scars like that too?
I swallowed. “I haven’t changed yet.”
Now he looked sympathetic. “I’m so sorry.” He sounded so sincere, and so…sad. It kind of broke my heart.
I shrugged to brush it off. It definitely wasn’t what I wanted, but there was no changing it now. I needed to get this out and get back to Lily.
“Dumbledore suggested that I maybe talk to you about it…He’s already briefed me on what to do when a full moon comes.”
The words “full moon” obviously caused him psychological pain. I had never noticed how frail Remus seemed. Not as in he looks like I could break him in half, just beaten. Tired, worn out.
I suddenly felt a lot closer to him. I still barely knew him, other than the obvious things: being smart, always being with Sirius, James, and Peter, that he’s pretty cute…
Okay, stop that, Lacelin. “I have questions.” I had a lot, but I didn’t have time to ask them. “But, I need to get back to Lily…”
Remus nodded, and gave me a small smile. “We can meet up again some other time.”
“Tomorrow night? Maybe at the Pitch?” The library didn’t seem safe anymore.
Remus nodded in agreement. I smiled. “Okay, good. Thank you so much, Remus. I really appreciate this.”
He gave me a genuine, if not sad, smile. “You’re welcome, but I honestly wish I wasn’t having to.”
And I understood what he meant, and the sentiment struck home. I felt the lump form in my throat, so I could only croak a farewell before I hurried back to join Lily at our table.
“What was that all about?” Lily asked. She was wearing her “I’m suspicious” face.
“Don’t worry about it. Just needed to ask him something about Potions.” I gave her a big, cheesy grin and then immediately went back to work. She stared at me for a moment, and then watched Remus as he left the library. I noticed he quickened his stride to get past our table. I got an image of Lily jumping out of her chair and tackling him, demanding answers.
I started giggling and Lily stared at me. “You are so strange…”
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