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Chapter 3 : A Name
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A few days later, Remus was on edge. It was his first full moon here at Hogwarts, and along with his usual anxiety that came with changing, he was now even more worried, because if something went wrong, that was it. He’d be on the next train home.
James, Sirius and Peter all could tell something was wrong, but no matter how many times they tried to find out what was bothering him, they couldn’t get him to tell. Remus had strict instructions not to tell anybody about his lycanthropy, and even though these were his best friends, even he didn’t want to tell them. Aside from the obvious reasons why he couldn’t tell them, he was afraid that if they knew, they wouldn’t want to hang out with him any more.
So he stayed silent, and when nighttime was almost upon them, he made up a lie to get away.
“Why are you going to the library? It’s almost curfew!” Sirius asked, astounded.
“Last minute research,” Remus replied. “It won’t take too long. Don’t wait up for me.”
“Do you want us to come with you?” James asked, and Remus shook his head furiously.
“No, no, it’s fine. I won’t get into trouble,” he assured them.
“Remus, you’ve been acting weird all day. What’s up?” Sirius asked, leading forward in his chair. “You can tell us, okay? We’re your mates.”
“Nothing’s wrong. I just have to go and do a little research.” And with that, he turned and walked through the portrait hole and made his way to the Entrance Hall, where Madam Pomfrey was waiting for him. She was a middle aged woman, kind but sort of strict, and she hustled him down to the Whomping Willow as quickly as she could.
The willow was thrashing madly, trying to hit them, but they were too far out of reach. Madam Pomfrey grabbed a long stick and prodded at a knot at the base of the tree, and it froze, though Remus didn’t know how long it would stay like that.
“In you go,” Madam Pomfrey instructed, showing him the entrance to a tunnel that was hidden at the base of the tree. He climbed through as Madam Pomfrey stepped back, and the tree began to wail at the earth once more. Remus took a deep breath and headed off down the passageway. He’d luckily gotten James to teach him the spell to illuminate his wand, so he didn’t have to blindly feel his way through the dark tunnel. When he reached the end, he found himself facing a bare wall. For a moment, he feared that he would be spending his night in this damp tunnel, but then he looked up and saw a wooden trap door. He pushed up on it, and it opened. He heaved himself through the opening and found himself in an old, dusty house, with long abandoned furniture covered with sheets of white cloth.
His mother had told him that Dumbledore planned to cover up the sounds of his change with stories of spirits haunting the house, and suddenly he became afraid of real specters. He’d seen ghosts at Hogwarts, but he figured that ghosts haunting an old house would be much more terrifying and evil.
“Calm down, Remus,” he scolded himself. There was no sign of any ghosts, and so he let the fear slip his mind. He had enough to worry about already. Slowly, he made his way to one of the boarded up windows and peered through a crack between two of the planks of wood. He watched as the full moon rose, and as soon as the last bit of it came out from behind the horizon...
“Ahh!” he cried, doubling over in pain, grasping at his stomach as if to rip all of his inner organs out. His knees began to shake, and he felt his spine shifting, and his body changing, all in a very painful manner. He felt all human instincts leaving him, and he cried out in pain again, grabbing at a piece of furniture for support. He felt his face changing, his nose elongating into a snout. He felt fur growing all over his body, and his limbs turning more wolf-like by the second.
Finally, he let out a long howl, releasing all of the pain and anger and confusion that he felt... and finally, every part of his human reasoning was gone. He was a werewolf.
The night was lonely, and Remus spent most of it pacing in circles and destroying furniture, wishing for it to be over. At one point, he heard voices outside of the window as he was pacing past it, and he lunged at the window, attempting and failing to tear the boards from it. The owners of the voices ran away when they heard him, and he angrily began pacing once again.
This was how most of his nights went as a werewolf, and every morning, when he changed back into a human, he was always thankful that he had friends to return to, because he realized that if his human life was as lonely as his werewolf life, he wouldn’t have lived very long.
Towards the end of their first year, Remus, James, Sirius, and Peter had been declared the troublemakers of the century. They’d snuck into the forbidden forest hundreds of times, made multiple polyjuice potions, which they used to make themselves into exact copies of the professors and deduct hundreds of points from the Slytherin house, and they’d found hundreds of secret passageways in the school, which they used to hide in and hex students as they walked by.
“Next year we need to do something even more over the top,” Sirius plotted at dinner one evening. “What do you think, Remus?”
“I’m sure you’ll think of something,” he assured his friend. “You always do.”
“I’m trying out for the Quidditch team next year,” James announced. “I want to be a seeker. I think it was stupid that I wasn’t allowed to try out this year. We might have actually won the Quidditch Cup if I’d been allowed to be on the team.”
“I doubt it,” Sirius snickered, just as Lilly walked past with Severus by her side.
“Hey, Evans,” James called, jumping up from his seat. Over the past year James had made a show of flirting with her, and though Remus could see she liked the attention, he could also tell that she thought he was annoying and cocky... which, he kind of was.
“What, James?” Lilly asked, exasperated, turning to face him. Severus turned as well, sneering at James.
“Just wondering if you’re ready for exams. I know I’m not,” he gave her a flirtatious smile.
“Yeah, I’m ready,” she replied.
“She’s been studying for weeks,” Severus said.
“I didn’t ask you, Snivillus. Anyway, Evans, I was wondering if you wanted to help me study a little,” James offered, and Lilly seemed flustered for a moment.
“I... Sure, I guess,” she finally managed to say. “When were you thinking?” Severus looked outraged, but James ignored him.
“How about tomorrow, after dinner?” he asked her, and she nodded. “Great,” he said, giving her an award-winning smile, and as she walked away, he sat back down, and his smile changed to his usual cocky one. “What can I say, when you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”
“Yeah, and you don’t got it,” Sirius laughed, earning himself a rude hand gesture from James. Remus just rolled his eyes, turning back to his dinner.
“I-I thought it was impressive,” Peter complimented.
“Thanks mate,” James chuckled.
“So, eh, Remus,” Sirius said, leaning in toward him. “Are you free tonight? James and I were planning on sneaking into Professor Slughorn’s stash again and making some more polyjuice potion.”
“What were you planning on doing with it?” Remus asked. He always got nervous when Sirius mentioned polyjuice potion.
“I was thinking we all four change into each other for the day. You know, to mess with the teacher’s heads,” Sirius said proudly, leaning back. Imagine you suddenly acting like me, and James acting like you! It’d be brilliant!” James gave a whoop of joy and high-fived Sirius.
“I can’t,” Remus said automatically. His stomach was churning.
“Well, why not? Do you want to do it some other night?” James asked.
“No. Never.” Remus stared down at his dinner, not making eye contact with anyone. His secret would be blown if they tried to use polyjuice potion to look like him, since polyjuice potion only worked with humans... and, well, he wasn’t human.
“Why not, mate? You scared?” Sirius prodded.
“No, I just don’t want to do it.”
“Fine,” Sirius huffed, looking upset.
“I-I’ll do it with you,” Peter offered, and Sirius brightened considerably.
“Alright, then! Me, you and James, then!” He glared at Remus for a second. “Nobody needs a goody-two-shoes.”
“I’m not a goody-two-shoes!” Remus argued. “I just don’t want to do it, okay?”
“Yeah, Remus, it’s fine,” James soothed, shooting a glare at Sirius.
Remus nodded, but he’d lost his appetite. He stood and walked back to the common room, passing Nearly-Headless Nick.
“Young Master Lupin. How are you?” Nick asked.
“Fine, I guess,” Remus said with a shrug.
“Did you have a fight with your friends?” Nick observed.
“Kind of. It’s complicated.” Remus just wanted to be alone, but he didn’t know how to nicely get away from Nick.
“Well, I’m sure that you’ll get along again in no time. After all, you’re a team. Such Marauders.” Nick chuckled and went on his way.
“Marauders?” Remus muttered to himself. He changed his course, instead heading to the library, which was close to closing. Luckily, the librarian liked Remus, so she allowed him to quickly run in and look up a word in the dictionary. “Maraud: to roam or go around in quest of plunder...” He read aloud.
“Remus!” Sirius said happily, coming up from behind him, making him jump. “We thought you’d be in here. What are you doing?”
“Just looking up a word,” Remus said, closing the dictionary.
“What word?” James asked, joining them. Peter was close behind.
“Just something that Sir Nicolas called us,” Remus said.
“Well, what was that?” Sirius asked.
“Marauders,” Remus said. He told them the definition, at which Sirius and James laughed.
“We are marauders, aren’t we?” Sirius asked joyfully.
“That’s what we should call ourselves from now on,” James declared. Remus nodded in agreement, more than happy that he’d run into Nick tonight.
“The Marauders,” James said, holding up his wand in a salute. Remus, Sirius, and Peter followed closely behind.
“The Marauders,” they chanted.
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