Chapter 35 : Chapter 35: The Morning After
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“Na-nah na-nah boo-boo! Na-nah na-nah boo-boo!”
I clutched my throbbing head. “Go away,” I groaned. I remained laying on the ground. I coughed a few times when I realized that I was breathing in dirt and dust. “I don’t care anymore.”
“Na-nah na-nah boo-boo! Remus is a werewolf! Na-nah na-nah boo-boo! Remus is a werewolf!”
I opened my eyes. Not that it did much good- I was in complete darkness. I coughed the dirt out of my mouth and sat up. Only once I was resting firmly on my bum did I realize that the ceiling in here might have been low and that if I bumped my head into that ceiling, I would have just made myself pass out again.
“What did you say?” I asked.
“Remus is a werewolf! Remus is a werewolf!” The mysterious girl sounded close. And a bit too cheerful for that bit of unfortunate news.
“So that’s what you’ve known?” I rubbed my left hand over my head. A small lump had formed just over my left ear and left eye. “Saying that is a lot more informative than taunting me about my lack of knowledge. Owe. Would have saved me from making this tunnel cave in.”
Tunnel. Running for my life. Moony coming after me. Moony- Remus- werewolf.
“Remus is a werewolf,” I moaned, now feeling a headache coming on (and I don’t think it was from the bump on my head).
“Ding ding ding, we have a winner!” the girl’s voice called. “She’s figured it out, everyone! After eight freaking months, Artemis Monroe has finally discovered that her boyfriend is a werewolf! Let’s see what she’s won now, folks!”
“Girls are so annoying,” I sighed. “Wait, where’s my wand?!” I patted the ground around me, but I did not feel the slender piece of wood that’s been constantly with me for the past six years.
The mysterious girl was silent as my hands felt over every pebble and every crack in the stone tunnel. As I kept searching, I started getting worried. What if my wand was lost? I was in a dark tunnel, collapsed around me on both sides out. I didn’t even know if the moon had set yet. If it had, then I was safe. If not, and I picked the wrong direction to dig myself out, I might as well have not collapsed the tunnel at all.
“This is ridiculous,” I said, stopping in my search. I settled back down and opened both hand, palms facing away from me. “Lumos.”
A tiny point of light shone from behind me. I reached it with my right hand and waved it around the small space. Let’s see, two smooth walls, and two walls of cracked and broken rock. I would never be able to guess which direction would bring me back to Hogsmeade and which direction lead to the school. Joy.
The space I was in was about three meters wide and five meters long. At least, five meters in either direction until one came to the mounds of rocks. I was sitting closer to one side of the collapsed tunnel. Because of so much debris, there seemed to be more shadows than objects to cause the shadows.
And predictably, the mysterious girl was mostly hidden in one of the larger shadows. Her ripped jeans were the only part of her visible to my wand light.
“How did you even get in here?” I asked, realizing that there was no way out. Ergo, no way in.
“Remus is a werewolf.”
Great, she’s back to acting like a broken record. I pushed myself off the ground and approached her.
My wand illuminated the ends of her jeans first. There was a hole in one of the trainers. Her shirt was frayed at the end. She had a slender build but looked solid. She stood at my height. Her boring brown hair, tied behind her head in a ponytail, fell just past her shoulders. Dull green eyes met mine.
“Hiya!” The ‘mysterious girl’ gave me a small wave. “You caught me.”
I just blinked. Okay, three options here. One: someone got a strand of my hair and took the Polyjuice Potion, probably as a bet, before Apparating down here. Two: I’m hallucinating and this girl doesn’t even exist. Three: I have a long-lost twin sister whose agenda is to confuse the hell out of me.
“You know Apparation is not possible within Hogwarts school grounds,” the girl said. She smiled widely, her green eyes seeming to twinkle with mischief. “And really, you think Mum would have kept it quiet that she gave birth to two witches? Honestly. You certainly were not gifted with common sense when you were born, were you?”
“Not when it applies to my own life, apparently,” I said. Strange. I’m speaking with a figment of my imagination, and yet I’m not-
“I’m not a figment of your imagination,” the girl said, sighing. “Think of me as your subconscious, your brain’s pitiful attempt to help you realize something is wrong up here.” She reached forward and tapped her finger to the side of my head. I didn’t feel a thing.
“Why?” I asked. From what I know, it’s not normal for-
“You just thought it,” she said. “You’re not normal. Normal girls don’t jump from tree to tree or hurl themselves off moving staircases. Most girls do not flat-out reject members of the opposite sex just because of a few name-calling and taunts. And most girls do not-” She stopped.
Huh?! “Wait, what were you about to say? Most girls don’t what?”
The girl smirked. “I can’t tell you, because you don’t know it yet. I’m only here to confirm what you already know. Or, as my other appearances have indicated, get you motivated enough to seek a way to stop whatever’s been affecting the conscious mind.”
“I think I’m getting a headache again.” I sat down on one of the few sturdy boulders.
“I’m just here to help you,” she said sweetly. She knelt beside me, widening the rip in the knee of her jeans.
“Great. If I’m this annoying in regular life, I certainly wouldn’t want to be friends with myself. And why couldn’t you just chant ‘Remus is a werewolf’ before?”
“I already explained that. You knew Remus was a werewolf when I said that just now. I can’t tell you what I know unless you know it too.”
“I’m getting more confused,” I moaned. I slouched forward, pressing my forehead into my knees.
“And for the next question that you’re formulating, I was only able to break into your conscious thoughts when your senses were attuned to Remus or something about his secret.”
“What-?” I opened an eye to look up at her.
The girl stood up and began to pace back and forth in front of me. “Let’s see. First off, you fell asleep with Remus laying on your chest back in November. You could smell him and you were semi-conscious, which allowed me to tap into your conscious mind. Then in December, you saw Remus playing tag with PB&J, a game that a werewolf is capable of understanding and participating in. Hm, when else did I show myself to you? Oh, there was the time after the February full moon when you had that blueberry muffin quill that Remus bought you. And when you had to make that disgusting-smelling potion, it was for Remus. You’d used it before, but never attempted to make it. Need I go on?”
“But how did I lose my memories?” I asked.
She grinned. Merlin, do I grin like that? No wonder Sirius has called me evil when I do that. She went on to say, “I can only confirm what you have figured out on your own. I’m not telling you anything. I’m just providing . . . dialogue. After all, you’re just talking to yourself here.”
“I really am mental then.” I rubbed circles into my temples, but the pressure didn’t cause my hallucination to fade at all.
“Yes, you are, but just a little bit. See, more confirmation!”
“Girls are annoying when they’re that happy.”
“You mean you’re annoying when-”
“Just shut up. Okay, so there’s something wrong with me. I’m the one that’s been driving myself nuts over the last few months. And Remus evidently knew something about it. Heh. Only a werewolf would still seek out a relationship with me.”
The girl gasped, her eyes widening with her smile. “I know something you don’t know!” She jumped up and down, clapping her hands.
“And for all I care, you can keep that to yourself,” I said. “You’re useless.”
“I know something you don’t know! I know something you don’t know!”
“I told you before- shut up!” I got to my feet, walking to stand before her.
“I know something you don’t know! I know something you don’t know! I-”
“I said SHUT UP!” I balled up my fist, pulled it behind my head, then slammed it fast towards the center of the girl’s face. Hard.
“OWE! Son of a bezoar! OWE! Whatza grapa fodu zowwie! OWE! OWE-OWE-OWE-OWE!!!” My mouth soon got lost in yelling in half-swears and half-gibberish. OWE!
My fist, instead of hitting cartilage, slammed hard into the stone wall. Bones certainly broke. My fist was drenched in crimson blood. A puddle was already forming on the floor.
“Forgot she wasn’t real,” I winced, wrapping my fist in my white blouse. I was once again alone in the collapsed tunnel. “Owe. So much for being a smart person. Owe. Good thing I’m learning to be a Healer.”
It was difficult to operate my wand left-handed, but I managed to mend the bones, repair the skin, and clean up most of the blood by wand light. It took my mind off of hating my subconscious for being incredibly annoying.
A pebble on the collapsed wall to my right fell down to the floor. That got my attention. I slowly approached, wondering what might be coming for me. It couldn’t be Moony- my watch told me it was eight thirty (and it certainly wasn’t the next full moon yet!).
After a few seconds of watching, a rat shoved its plump little body through the opening. It made a little squeak of fear before it lost its balance and toppled head-first into this space. It hit its head, its bum, its head again, and finally landed spread-eagle on its belly. The only thing that moved was its disturbingly-long fleshy tail.
“Hello, Wormtail,” I said, kneeling next to the rat. “What brings you here?”
The rat looked up at me. In a moment, the rat was replaced by a pale Peter. “Artemis? Are you okay?” His eyes looked down to my stained blouse. “Oh no, you’re bleeding! We have to-”
“Peter, relax! I’m fine.” I lifted my shirt high enough to show him that my stomach was unscathed. “I just decided that punching a brick wall might be a good way to get myself out of here. Not one of my more brilliant plans.”
Peter was still pink from looking at my stomach, though. “Uh, er, the others told me about what happened last night. So you remember-”
“That your nicknames are more than just nonsense? Did you not just hear me call you by your Marauder name?”
“Oh, right. I don’t think about the differences anymore. But are you okay? Did Moony get you? You’re not bitten?” His eyes looked to my neck, my arms, my legs, and then up at the ceiling (probably embarrassed again).
“No, I collapsed the tunnel before that could happen,” I said. “So, you’re an animagus too? But how? I mean no offense, you’re not exactly the best at Transfiguration.”
“The others helped me out big time,” Peter said. “I can tell you about it later, but right now we want to get you out of here. I’m just supposed to see how you are, mostly to see if you’re alive, and report back to James and Sirius. They’re trying to dig you out from the Hogwarts side.”
“Gosh, and I wanted to stay in here for a bit longer. See how I could decorate it, make it homey.”
Peter tiled his head. “Really?”
My jaw nearly dropped. “Peter, I thought you knew me after all this time. I like sarcasm! But in all seriousness, GET ME OUT OF HERE!”
“Okay, okay! Sorry, I sometimes have trouble keeping up!” Peter turned to the wall of rocks again. Paused. Looked back over his shoulder sheepishly. “Uh, could you give me a boost? There’s not really a place for a rat to get a good hold, and I don’t want to risk-”
“No problem.” I waited as Peter reverted back into his rat form, then lifted him up to the hole where he came from. The last of him I saw, his long tail whipped back and forth a bit before disappearing back into the darkness.
Waiting took forever. My stomach started to growl.
I kept waiting. Good thing my ‘subconscious’ was staying quiet.
More waiting. I started work on getting the blood out of my blouse. That took all of about three seconds.
I waited some more. Not like I had much of a choice.
And for a change of pace, I waited. Poked my wand around my head, healing a scratch on my left cheek and eliminating a bump from my head. Oh, and waited.
“Artemis! You still alive in there?”
“Pads, if she’s dead, do you think she’d respond to tell us?”
“She might have become a ghost, Prongs.”
“Do you think her ghost would stay trapped inside when it could easily pass through solid objects?”
“Do you think a ghost of Artemis Monroe would realize it could do that?”
Silence. “Good point.”
“I think it’s too early to talk about my ghost,” I called. “I’m still alive. I don’t plan on dying for another hundred years or so.”
The hole that Peter disappeared through an hour ago expanded to the size of a watermelon. I could just make out two bodies on the other side.
“Good to see you’re alive and in one piece!” Sirius called. “And it’s good that you’re so skinny. We can’t make this hole any bigger without risking a complete cave-in.”
“Wormtail will help you on that end,” James said.
Wormtail reappeared, hopping through the hole and becoming human again as per Marauder plan.
“Here’s how this will go,” James said. “Peter will perform a levitation spell from your end. Sirius and I will be on this end to take over and make sure you don’t hit any rocks. We don’t want to risk a cave-in. We almost had to abandon this end of the tunnel a half hour ago because it nearly collapsed on us. So, are you ready?”
I nodded, not like I had much of a choice. It’s just a good thing I wasn’t claustrophobic. Although it was a weird sensation, floating horizontally through a small hole in the rocks. I had to keep a tight hold on my robes to make sure none of the fabric would touch anything.
Once I was through, Peter had to get himself up and out of that part of the tunnel. As his rat body plopped onto the ground on this side, the tunnel began to shake.
“Uh oh,” Peter groaned, returning to human form. “I think I stepped on the wrong rock.”
“Run!” Sirius yelled. Sirius took my arm and pulled me after him. James stayed with Peter as we ran. More rocks fell from the ceiling of the cave. We only stopped running when we got to the stairs leading up to exit.
James took his wand and pointed the end into the tunnel. More rocks had fallen, completely sealing the passage. The four of us just stood there, lost for words.
Well, at least most of us. Sirius laughed, earning a stare from each of us. “I’d say Artemis just made history,” he said. “Us blokes are the Marauders, but Artemis will forever be remembered as the girl who collapsed a secret passage out of the castle that’s been in use for over 900 years! Her infamy will be the stuff of legends for those students that realize that there is one less passage out of the school!”
“Artemis is right,” James said, “you shouldn’t become an Auror. You should become an actor when we leave school.” He took the lead up the staircase.
“Where’s Remus?” I asked. Now that the danger had passed, my questions should not be deflected anymore. “Is he okay? I want to see him. Was he hurt when I collapsed the tunnel? He’d better still be alive with the way you’re carrying on. Why don’t you three seem more surprised that I’ve learned your biggest secrets? Can-?”
“Can you save those questions for later?” Sirius asked. We reached the top of the staircase. “We need to get back to our dorm. Then we can talk.”
“Is that where Remus is?” I asked.
“Walk now, talk later,” Sirius said. He checked his watch. “Well, we’d be late to Transfiguration if we planned on showing up. Sadly, Professor McGonagall will just have to suffer through another lecture without our valuable input!”
“Merlin help her cope,” I muttered.
“That’s the spirit!” Sirius pushed open the door and looked out into the hallway. “Hm, no activity. Good. Okay, I don’t think we’ll come across anyone on our way up.” He paused. Looking at something hidden from my view. “Okay, looks like Peeves is by the greenhouses, Filch is outside the Great Hall, and all the professors are teaching classes.”
“How would you even know-?” I started.
“Artemis, don’t make me silence you,” Sirius teased. He shoved the object into his robes. “Alright then, off to Gryffindor Tower!”
The four of us slid out from behind the large mirror on the fourth floor. I think that out of all the girls in this school, I was the only one to guess there might have been something behind it. All the other girls that passed just checked their reflections for the non-existential blemish on their skin.
“And this was my favorite passage too,” Sirius whined, closing the mirror over the hidden doorway behind Peter.
“We still have other passages, Pads,” James said, rolling his eyes.
“But where else can I check my perfect hair before presenting myself to the wonderful ladies populating Hogsmeade?”
I was just backing away from PB&J when James noticed. He took hold of my hand. “Oh no, you’re not going to run around the castle until we have a chance to talk.” James was not smiling.
“Fine, fine, I’ll make sure she stays with us,” Sirius said. He turned to me. “Since you might still be hurt from last night’s adventure, I’ll spare you our regular means of transportation.”
In one fluid motion, Sirius swept his right arm under my legs, literally sweeping me off my feet. His other arm supported my back as he held me bridal-style.
“I think I prefer it when I’m carried like a sack of potatoes,” I said. “Put me down, Black.”
“Honestly, you’re still calling me by my last name?! After I-”
“Uh, guys?” Peter squeaked. “We’re still in the fourth floor hallway. I don’t think we should talk here.”
“Right, right. Artemis, care to put your arms around my neck? Your wrist is pushing a little too hard into my ribs.”
“I don’t have to do what you say, Black. I want to see Remus!”
It only took a few minutes to get us up to Gryffindor Tower. Even carrying me, Sirius beat Peter up all the stairs and was certainly less winded than the smallest Marauder.
“Remus isn’t here,” I said, noticing his empty bed.
“Of course not,” Sirius said. “Okay, down you go!” Sirius dropped me over Remus’s bed. I bounced once before settling on the neatly-made sheets.
“Then where is he?” I asked, sitting myself up and looking from Marauder to Marauder.
“Hospital Wing,” James said, closing and locking the door. He then leaned against the door. “Okay, now we can talk. We’ve got so many privacy charms and anti-eavesdropping spells in place, I would be surprised if even Dumbledore could overhear us in here.”
“So you can now feel free to ask us anything you want,” Sirius said. “Just fire away!”
“Why is Remus in the Hospital Wing?! Is he okay? How do you three know what’s going on and I don’t? Why didn’t you tell me anything before? What’s been going on? Why-?”
“If you slow down, we might be able to answer a few,” Sirius said. He hopped onto his bed next to Remus’s. “First of all, Remus always goes to the Hospital Wing after the full moon. Transforming twice in the span of twelve hours can take its toll on the human body. Not to mention all the idiotic things a werewolf does.” Sirius smiled. “One time Moony flung himself off a flight of stairs. I think he thought he could fly. It was-”
“Completely off topic, Pads,” James said. “Besides, if memory serves me correctly, you actually provoked him.”
“Whoa whoa whoa! Hold on!” I got all the blokes’ attention back on me. “Remus is in the Hospital Wing! I’m going to be a Healer! I need to see him! He needs-!”
“Hold your hippogriffs, you’re not going anywhere,” Sirius said calmly. “We said we’ll answer your questions. But you are not going anywhere. You’ll see Remus when he’s ready to see you.”
“How can you three be so calm with the fact that Remus is a werewolf!” Whoa, I just heard my subconscious echo that part in my head.
“We’ve known for years,” Sirius said. He looked over to Peter (on his own bed) and James (leaning against the door). He then looked back to me. “Let’s take it slowly this time. One question at a time. Alright?”
“Fine. Since when was Remus a werewolf? I mean, how could that happen?”
Sirius sighed. “How about a different question? I mean, here’s how we see it: Remus’s girlfriend, Remus’s secret, Remus’s call. Believe me, Remus hates it too, but we’re not going to muck up something as big as this.”
“Fine.” I thought back to last night. After I saw Moony, I was protected by- “You three are animagi. How?”
James’s eyes seemed to light up. “Now that was fun! You know that werewolves don’t attack other animals, right?”
“I’ve heard that,” I said. “But McGonagall said once that becoming an animagi is-”
“Extremely difficult?” James supplied. “Dangerous? Illegal if not registered? Yeah. We learned how to do it early on in fifth year. Werewolves attack people, not fellow animals. You really think we’d leave Moony to be alone every month if we could do something about it?”
“And as you figured out, our nicknames are more than just nonsense as most people think,” Sirius said. “And of course, who could ever say ‘no’ to a dog as lovable and adorable as this?”
In an instant, Sirius changed forms to become the black dog that I saw last night. The dog leapt from his bed onto Remus’s, poking his nose into my face. Padfoot then commenced trying to give me doggie kisses.
“Ewe! Padfoot, down!” I yelled. In trying to get his tongue away from me, my hand ended up scratching him behind the ears.
The effect was instantaneous. Padfoot’s eyes rolled back into his head. His tongue lopped out of his mouth. Oh, and his tail became a blur as it wagged back and forth.
“I like him a lot better this way,” I said.
James laughed. “See Pads? Artemis is with me on this. Just stay a dog and everyone will be happier.”
I don’t think Padfoot heard James, though. He just rolled onto his back, where I started rubbing his belly. I think Padfoot was approaching doggie heaven.
“So,” I said, turning my attention back to James. “You become a stag? Did you two do that on purpose? I mean, you turn into my namesake’s sacred animals.”
James shrugged, still grinning at Padfoot. “We had no control in what animals we became. And we did it before we became friends with you. Remus said something about the animals we change into matching our personalities, but they’re usually good for keeping Moony under control.”
“Or getting the Whomping Willow to stop whomping,” Peter said. “There’s a secret passage that goes from that tree to-”
“To the Shrieking Shack,” I realized, nodding. “Yeah, I’ve been in there. There’s a way to stop the tree from bashing in brains?”
Peter nodded, puffing out his chest. “There’s a special knot at the base of the tree that stops it. I’m too small for the branches to get.”
“Proving that bigger is not always better,” James said, nodding encouragingly at Peter.
My arm was getting tired of rubbing Padfoot’s belly, so I returned to just scratching him behind the ears. Padfoot didn’t seem to mind. He was out of breath but still apparently in ecstasy.
Okay, so they know Remus is a werewolf. And they’re animagi. But that still doesn’t explain-
“Mates, I’m probably going to throw you for a loop right now,” I said, “but you’ve already opened up for me a whole lot. Ever since the morning you attacked me way back in September, I’ve kind of been missing-”
“Your memories,” James said. He nodded solemnly. “Yeah, we know.”
My hand finally stopped giving Padfoot attention. “You know? About my missing memories?”
“Yeah,” James repeated.
My hand felt fur get replaced by silky hair. Looking down, Sirius had reverted back to human form. He sat up, but was a little too close for my comfort.
So I pushed Sirius off the bed. It sounded like he landed on his right elbow. I continued to look at James, waiting for him to answer.
“You want to know more about your missing memories,” James sighed.
“Of course,” I said. “I mean, do I actually have a chronic disease that coincides with the full moon? Have you three still been attacking me every month? Do I smack myself in the head every month trying to solve my problem and actually make it worse? Is someone using a Time Turner and attacking me every month so I don’t mess up the time-space continuum?! Are the house elves-?!”
“Slow down!” Sirius yelled. He crawled his way back up to the side of Remus’s bed. “You’re theories are getting crazier by the second.”
“I think Sirius is trying to say that you’re off the mark,” James supplied. He laughed a little. “Do you really think that dating Remus would jeopardize the future?”
“Sorry, I was looking up Time Turners yesterday,” I said. I turned to Sirius. And pushed him off the bed again.
“Before you yell at us again for getting off-topic,” James sighed, his smile fading, “I don’t think we can answer that question for you either. It relates to Remus’s secret.”
Sirius crawled up onto the bed again. “And we don’t want to spoil Remus’s fun now, do we?”
I pushed Sirius off the bed again before he could get a stable position. James chucked.
“Wait, I saw you getting attacked by Moony last night!” I yelled at James. “How can you still be standing?”
“Like this!” Peter said. He jumped off his bed, turned into Wormtail, and scurried under his bed.
“Uh . . .” I looked to James for an explanation. And pushed Sirius off the bed.
“Just wait,” James said.
In a few seconds, Peter was shoving a jar out from under his bed. Inside was a potion. I recognized it as one of the healing potions Pomfrey has taught me how to make.
Wormtail became Peter again. He was smiling like mad. “You’re not the only one here who knows how to treat wounds. We knick these from the Hospital Wing from time to time when my stash gets low. We’re also really good with basic Healing spells.”
“So that’s why I was missing six doses a few weeks ago,” I mused. I shoved Sirius off the bed.
“Bloody hell! Artemis, stop that!”
“It’s not my fault that you keep coming back for more. I’m not going to share a bed with you, even if it’s simply platonic!”
“Fine,” Sirius grumbled. He picked himself off the floor but didn’t move to sit back down again. “I get it. You win.” He went to stretch out his arms, but he winced before he could fully raise his right arm over his head. “Bugger! Owe, that’s sore.”
“Want me to make it better?” I asked, batting my eyes at him. I straightened up, placed my hands in my lap, and smiled ‘nicely’ at him.
Sirius took a step back. “Artemis, you look scary. Like I would trust you right now!” He turned his attention to James. “I’m having Pomfrey look at me. She shouldn’t hate me as much anymore.”
“Why would Pomfrey hate you?” I asked.
Sirius ignored me. “I can also tell Remus what’s been going on when he wakes up. He probably doesn’t even know that Artemis was out there last night.”
“Wait, you’re going to see Remus?” I stood up. “I’m coming with you. I want to see him! You can’t keep-”
I had planned to force myself through the door. I mean, if I could survive a werewolf attack, certainly two Marauders would be a cinch.
Sirius stopped moving for the door as soon as I stood up. He backed away quickly.
James took a step away from the door. Leaned forward. And became Prongs.
The stag took up all the space in front of the door. Its antlers scraped the ceiling of the dorm. Its hazel eyes were level with my greens.
“Try moving that out of your way,” Sirius said, crossing his arms and smirking. “No one is getting out of this room without Prongs’s approval.”
Prongs nodded, which brought my attention back to his antlers. Those were the same antlers that held up against a werewolf.
“Heh, nice Prongs,” I said, slowly backing away from the large animal. I may take some chances, but I know when I would lose. James was my friend, but I knew for certain that he was more loyal to Remus than to me. “Uh, I’ll just sit over here.” I sat down at the foot of Remus’s bed. “See? Right here.”
Sirius was grinning from ear-to-ear as he watched me back down. “Now where was that common sense last night when you were on the grounds during the full moon?”
Prongs snorted, pawing at the floor impatiently.
“I’m going, I’m going!” Sirius slipped out of the door and disappeared.
Once the door was firmly closed again, Prongs reverted back to James. He smiled at me.
“Quick question: when you’re Prongs, how well can you see? You obviously can’t wear glasses as a stag.”
James just blinked. Stood there for a minute. Finally, “You know, I’ve never thought of that before.”
Well, that launched us into a non-relevant conversation on how clothes and stuff just ‘disappear’ when a wizard changes into his animal form. Peter confessed that he didn’t know much on how he was able to change, so it was mostly James and me talking about magic theory.
“Knock knock, everyone’s favorite Marauder has returned!” Sirius’s voice announced from the other side of the door.
“No!” Sirius yelled.
James opened the door to let Sirius in, then closed it again quickly.
“It’s me, Sirius Black!” Sirius announced. His arms were bulging with food, which he dumped onto Remus’s bed. Although seeing that none of the other beds were made, it made sense to me (besides, I wouldn’t eat anything off of Sirius’s bed).
“You’re not everyone’s favorite Marauder,” James sighed.
“Thank you for agreeing with me,” I said. I took a sandwich and began eating. I pulled the apple close to me.
“Everyone knows I’m the favorite Marauder,” James boasted loudly. “I’m the most lovable of the lot of us!”
“Oh Merlin,” I sighed, rolling my eyes. They landed on Sirius, who was just peeling a banana. “So where is Remus?”
“Hospital Wing,” he said. He took a large chunk off of the banana. Then, when he finally was able to chew it down into small enough pieces to swallow without choking (I would have just watched him choke anyway), he said, “He’s going to come up when Pomfrey says he’s strong enough.”
“But I want to see him now!”
And so then our conversation started sounding like a tennis match for a bit. I would demand to see Remus. James would assure me that Remus would come here. Sirius would make a lame joke. Peter would ask for a cheese sandwich. And I would then again demand to see Remus.
So of course the two hours passed quickly with the same conversation being repeated with different words (warning: sarcasm alert!).
I actually didn’t hear a thing, but Sirius stopped mid-sentence on what he would do with a castle the size of Hogwarts made out of solid chocolate.
Don’t ask me how we got started with that discussion.
Sirius looked to the door, up to a clock hanging on the wall, and back to the door. “Finally,” Sirius mumbled. He got up and headed for the door.
Remus is here! Finally! But wait. Why is my stomach suddenly turning knots? Oh no. What if Remus now hates me? I haven’t seen him since yesterday in the library. Maybe I should have thought of this before Remus came up here.
The door opened. And there stood Remus. He was much paler than usual. There were slight bags under his eyes. His breathing seemed a bit too ragged, as if walking through the castle had been a chore. And his amber eyes were still rimmed with a pale gold.
Remus stepped into the dorm but kept his eyes focused on the floor in front of his bed. He closed the door behind him and leaned against the wall, his eyes still downcast.
The knotted feeling in my stomach did not fade in the slightest.
“Hi,” he mumbled.
Sirius, who still stood on the other side of the door, turned to James and Peter. “I think it would be best if we make ourselves scarce now, don’t you?”
James nodded. “That would probably be fitting.” As he walked to the door, he placed a hand on Remus’s shoulder. “It’ll be okay,” he whispered.
Remus didn’t acknowledge the words of encouragement. He remained motionless as PB&J left.
I swallowed a lump that had formed in my throat. My heart was racing like mad. What was I supposed to do now? What could I do? How could I let Remus know I was fine with his condition while discovering how he came to be this way and how my memories became involved?
Remus took a deep breath. Let it out slowly. The last bits of gold to his eyes finally faded away so that his eyes looked like his normal amber again.
“So,” he said.
“So,” I repeated.
I blinked. Certainly not what I had expected. “Sorry about what?” I asked.
“Everything. Being a werewolf. Attacking you. Your memories. Getting involved with you when there’s someone-” He clamped his mouth closed. Didn’t say anymore.
“Remus, that didn’t make any sense,” I said. “I get it that you’re a werewolf. When did it happen?”
Remus looked towards the window. “I don’t like to talk about it. I was bitten when I was a small boy. It’s not like it happened recently.”
So Remus has been a werewolf since before I met him. He’s been dealing with this thing for years. He probably hates what it’s done to his life, with all the anti-werewolf prejudices.
“Remus, I’m fine with you being a werewolf. I just wish you would have told me sooner or something. And you couldn’t do anything to control yourself last night. I don’t blame you for anything. But why are you sorry about my missing memories?”
Remus shook his head. “Because I knew I could have stopped them from happening. You should come with me.” Remus opened the door and waited.
I got off his bed and went to his side. Remus left the room before I could take his hand. I followed him down the stairs, through the empty common room, and into the silent halls. I checked my watch. We were currently missing Defense class.
Well, look at the bright side, I thought. At least now I’m finally catching up on werewolf education.
We eventually stopped in front of a large stone gargoyle. I recognized it, of course, but I’d never gotten past the statue before. Remus stopped before it, waiting for me to catch up. I stayed two steps away from him, unsure how far away he wanted me to be. I wasn’t sure of anything anymore.
“So where does this-?”
“Chocolate frogs,” Remus announced clearly to the gargoyle.
I jumped back when the gargoyle moved, allowing access to a hidden spiral staircase leading up. Certainly never seen that before.
“Follow me,” Remus directed, then started heading up.
Once at the top of the stairs, Remus knocked twice on the door. “Sir, it’s me,” he called.
When the door opened, I nearly fell back down the stairs. Instead, I just held onto the wall and let my heart beat rapidly in my chest. I’m being expelled. I knew it.
Professor Dumbledore was taller than I expected when up close (though it might have to do with how I was standing two steps below Remus). He looked over the rims of his famous half-moon spectacles and peered from Remus to me and back several times.
“Well, a pleasure to see you on your feet, Mr. Lupin,” Dumbledore smiled. Wow, his eyes really do twinkle in real life, just like in my Chocolate Frog cards. “And Ms. Monroe, I hope you are feeling well.”
OH NO, THE HEADMASTER KNOWS MY NAME!
“Uh, I believe I am, sir,” I said softly. I didn’t want to be in trouble. Please don’t let me be in trouble. I didn’t think I was in-
“Very good,” Dumbledore said. “Well, Mr. Lupin, I was just about to step out of my office for a moment. Come in, come in.” Once Remus and I were standing inside the Headmaster’s Office, Dumbledore continued, “I just have a sudden urge to get myself some butterbeer, and I do not want Madam Rosmerta to think I am neglecting her. I expect I will be out for approximately an hour. Would that be long enough?”
Remus nodded calmly. “Thank you, Professor.”
Dumbledore simply smiled before he left his office. The door closed softly behind him.
“Am I getting expelled?” I asked, afraid for the answer.
“What? No!” Remus moved towards a closet on the other side of the office. “I ask Professor Dumbledore if I could use something of his to help you understand what’s been happening.”
I stood behind Remus as he opened the closet. Inside was a large stone basin, filled with some sort of substance. It was indescribable, even when I was looking straight at it. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before.
“This is a Pensieve,” Remus said. “It’s a way for someone to review memories.” He then took a vial from his robes. Inside the tiny glass tube were silvery-white threads. Hair, maybe? “These are people’s memories.”
“Memories? My memories?” Was that it? Were my memories extracted and then stored until I was ready to see them?
Remus shook his head. “No, they belong to various people: Madam Pomfrey, Sirius, James, and myself. Your memories of these events are gone.”
Remus opened the vial and tipped the silvery threads inside. Images swirled around the surface of the substance before it went back to its previous appearance.
“Are you ready?” he asked. He put the glass vial back into his robes.
“How does it work?” I asked.
“Just put your head in. I can control what memories we see in what order.”
I took a deep breath. I wanted to get to the bottom of this. I leaned forward.
I stopped when Remus placed a hand on my shoulder. I looked back up at him, confused.
“I’m sorry,” he said, “for what you’re about to see. I wish things had turned out differently, but you deserve to know the truth. Everything.” He removed his hand.
I took another breath. Held it this time. I placed my head into the basin. Then felt myself get sucked into the memories I used to have.
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