This chapter is quite a bit longer than the previous one, I had more to write for each scene, I hope you enjoy it.
Remus looked up from his parchment as a ball of paper hit him on his right ear. His first reaction was to look up at McGonagall to make sure she hadn’t seen; she was still handing out needles to the class so he proceeded in opening the note. His fingers felt stiff and awkward and his mind felt heavy and scrambled as he struggled to read the sloping scrawl that was covering the page. The note had obviously been written by Sirius in a great state of excitement and he frowned as he slowly deciphered a plan to go exploring around the castle that night. Remus glanced to his right at Sirius and James who were grinning widely at him, silently willing him to agree enthusiastically.
Remus bit his lip, there was no way he would be able to go exploring; tonight was the first full moon of his time at Hogwarts. Even if he did not know the date, he would still know the full moon was upon him from the flu-like symptoms he had long associated with his lycanthropy and the nervous, jittery fear that seemed deep-rooted into his very soul.
He still hadn’t thought of an excuse for his scheduled disappearance that night and this new plan would make it very much harder for Remus to lie convincingly. He had never been a good liar, always hoping instead that the questioner would just bypass any subject that Remus could not truthfully talk about. Unfortunately, it seemed that he was going to become much more practised in the art of making stories up on the spot.
He picked up his abandoned quill and wrote out a quick response in his small, unassuming handwriting.
‘Sorry, no can do, homework then a meeting with McGonagall this evening.’ Remus looked up at the Professor, hoping that she wouldn’t see fit to give James or Sirius detentions tonight. ‘Have fun and don’t wait up for me. R.’
There, that was okay wasn’t it? They would probably be out until past midnight and by the time they returned to the dormitory they would be too exhausted to notice that he wasn’t there. Remus nudged the note back with his elbow and began writing more notes on needle transfigurations. He heard the noise of the paper being unfolded and a sigh as his friends read the bad news. Remus worried again at his lip, what if his new friends were beginning to find him too boring and they decided that they didn’t want to hang out with him anymore? Admittedly, it would solve the problem of the monthly excuses but it would leave a lot of time between the full moons where he would be lonely and friendless. Another note hit him on the ear and Remus felt a surge of panic. Was this it? Was this the fateful friendship-ending note?
‘Okay, that’s cool, McGonagall has been looking at you weirdly for the last few days and we wondered when you were going to be pulled in. Don’t study too hard and cover for us if someone notices our empty beds?
Remus scanned James’ much more legible, curving script three or four times until he was sure there was no underlying meaning. A tight knot in his chest loosened slightly and he silently thanked Professor McGonagall for ‘looking at him weirdly.’
“Mr Lupin, if that is a note I spy, please dispose of it now or I will have you read it up here in front of your classmates.” Professor McGonagall’s stern tone startled Remus who dropped the note and began apologising profusely. McGonagall gave him one of her patented ‘don’t-disobey-me’ looks and then continued seamlessly from where she’d left off by answering a question from a Slytherin. As soon as her attention was diverted, Sirius, who was sitting next to him, gave him a quick dig in the ribs and laughed silently. Remus smiled absently at him and returned to his notes.
The final two lessons of his day, Charms and Herbology seemed to speed past, the more Remus wanted time to slow, the faster it speeded up. Somehow, he was already half-way through dinner and fast approaching the time he had agreed to meet Madame Pomfrey.
Remus stared at the half-eaten chicken leg and potatoes on his plate, he didn’t have much of an appetite.
“Come on, Remus, eat something. McGonagall isn’t that scary,” laughed Sirius nudging him with his shoulder. Remus looked up at him and managed a weak smile.
“It’s got nothing to do with McGonagall,” he said truthfully, “I just don’t feel much like eating.”
“Are you feeling alright, mate?” asked James, a frown ghosting his face.
“Yeah, you’ve been looking ill for a few days now,” chimed in Peter, looking worried.
“Actually no, I think I’ve got the flu or something,” said Remus, jumping at the opportunity to leave the table. “I think I might go over to the hospital wing and see if Madame Pomfrey has any cures.”
“Okay, well we’ll see you later then,” said Sirius, “don’t forget old McGonagall’s meeting now.” he winked and turned back to the other two who smiled at Remus and nodded.
“She can be quite ferocious if you are late,” said James nodding knowingly. Remus smiled and gestured towards the doors.
“I’ll see you later, guys,” he said quietly before walking from the Hall.
The walk from the Great Hall to the Hospital Wing was usually quite a long one but today Remus couldn’t make it last long enough. He could already feel the exhaustion settling into his bones and the weakness spreading through his limbs and he hoped Madame Pomfrey would help him move quickly towards the Whomping Willow before his strength gave out completely. Suddenly, he was at the big oak doors of the Hospital Wing.
Remus took a deep breath before knocking quietly on the doors. They opened instantly and Remus wondered whether Madame Pomfrey had been waiting just behind the doors for his knock.
“Mr Lupin,” smiled Madame Pomfrey. “Shall we go, are you ready?” she saw the fear on Remus’ face and frowned. “No, of course not, how could you ever be ready?” Remus gave her a weak smile and she stepped around the doors and put her arm around his shoulders.
“We should probably go,” said Remus, hating how weak and frightened his voice sounded.
“Of course, of course,” bustled Madame Pomfrey. She began walking towards the staircases and Remus sighed and walked after her.
The tunnel under the Whomping Willow opened out into a dark, wooden house that creaked and groaned in the wind. Remus shivered and wrapped his arms around himself, trying to fight of the cold air that enveloped him. He leaned on Madame Pomfrey for support, he was now so weak it was difficult to keep walking. Madame Pomfrey put an arm around him and helped him into a bedroom in the top of the house, all of the windows were boarded up and not a single crack of light was visible. She muttered a spell and a bright light shone from the end of her wand. The room was furnished with a table, some chairs, an old sofa and a big double bed. It was here that the nurse deposited Remus and he sank into the deep mattress.
“I’ll be back at dawn to get you, don’t try and walk back by yourself,” she said, taking a step backwards. Remus nodded, he felt sorry for her, she must’ve been terrified, stuck in a room with a werewolf about to change.
“You should go,” he managed and gestured to himself. Madame Pomfrey nodded, she looked close to tears.
“Good luck,” she murmured before turning and walking from the room. Remus watched her go and soon after felt the first of the violent shakes that always preceded the shifting. He clenched his hands as the moon began its agonising duty and he felt his mind beginning to slip, his human memories leaving him and the wolf instincts taking hold.
Remus awoke to the smell of disinfecting alcohol and blood, he opened his eyes slowly and was met by the white surroundings of the Hospital Wing. He frowned slightly and tried to work out why he was in the hospital wing. Suddenly, it hit him and he remembered that last night had been the full moon.
As he did every time he woke up from the full moon he tried to assess the damage to his body before moving too energetically, he stretched both arms, no damage there, and wiggled his fingers which were all accounted for. Next, he tried to move his legs which were fine apart from the usual aches of stretched muscles and bruises but when he tried to feel his chest he could feel bandages wrapped around him.
He sat up straighter and ran his hands up his chest blindly, trying to work out the injury. His head span and he began to panic, his breathing far too shallow and fast. Suddenly, Madame Pomfrey appeared next to him carrying a blue bottle and some new bandages.
“Ah good, you’re awake. I need to change your bandages, Lupin dear,” she said, indicating to his chest. He stared up at her with wide eyes.
“What happened, why am I in bandages?” he asked, his voice still sounding weak and panicked.
“Well,” said Madame Pomfrey, “you had a few rather deep cuts on your chest when I arrived so I put some disinfecting potion on them and bandaged them up, I’m not sure whether they will scar, I’ve never treated someone with your condition before.” She looked rather annoyed at her apparent lack of knowledge. She sat on the side of his bed and pulled down the bed covers.
“I’ll just change the bandages and then leave you for a bit,” she said, pulling out her wand and muttering a severing charm to cut the fabric. The bandages fell from Remus’ chest and he shut his eyes, scared of seeing the damage but opened them when he realised that he couldn’t feel any pain.
“Well,” said Madame Pomfrey, sounding rather startled, “I suppose you can go then.” Remus looked at her in confusion but she just indicated at his chest. All there was to see were three pink lines running from below his left shoulder across to just below his right nipple. He raised his eyebrows as he took in the healed wounds. He knew that werewolves always healed remarkably fast but he had never witnessed it before, at home he would be restrained during the full moon so that he couldn’t damage himself or anything else.
Madame Pomfrey stood up from his bed and let Remus hold on to her as he rose unsteadily from the bed.
“On second thoughts, I think you should stay here for a few hours while you get your strength back,” she said.
“No!” said Remus quickly, “I’m fine really, I just need something to eat and I’ll be great.” He let go of her arm and began to walk slowly towards the doors. As he walked, he could feel the strength begin to return to his aching muscles and he turned around smiling. “See, I’m fine,” he said, “thank you very much for helping me Madame Pomfrey.” She narrowed her eyes, as if trying to discern whether he really was alright. Apparently, she decided that he was fine because she sighed and waved him off. He grinned and began walking out of the Hospital Wing.
The corridors were quiet and the light shining through the windows had the almost unnoticeable silvery glow that indicated an early morning. Remus assumed that he was up in time for breakfast and began walking towards the Great Hall, his stomach rumbling. His muscles ached and his head still felt rather stuffy but he was happy, it was a whole month until his next transformation. As he rounded a corner he heard a familiar voice.
“But Mr Filch, it wasn’t us, why on earth would we cover the floor of the 5th floor corridor in goats cheese? Come to think of it, where would we even get goats cheese?” Remus laughed as he spotted James arguing with Mr Filch, flanked by Sirius and Peter. Sirius smiled when he saw Remus and nudged James, nodding in his direction.
“Look Sir,” said Sirius, stepping forward, “Remus here is in our dormitory and he’ll tell you that we were there all night, won’t you Remus?” Mr Filch turned around and stared at him.
“Uh, yeah, yeah they were there all night because we had a long conversation about our... our Potions lesson!” finished Remus, triumphant at his newest lie. Mr Filch shook his head and turned back to the three boys.
“I know it was you, just wait until I tell the Headmaster. A week you’ve been here and already marauding around, causing more trouble than I can clean up,” he declared before walking off in the direction of the 5th floor still grumbling angrily to himself.
“Remus!” exclaimed James as soon as Filch was out of earshot, “are you okay? You didn’t come back to the dormitory after dinner and we were worried about you.”
“Yeah, you didn’t get lost did you?” asked Sirius eyeing his clothes, he was wearing the same shirt as yesterday, the one he had splattered with ink during Charms.
“Uh no I, I went up to the Hospital Wing and I guess I collapsed because I woke up there this morning,” Remus said quickly, this could strictly be classed as true apart from the missing information about turning into a werewolf.
“Oh,” said Sirius taking a step backwards, “you aren’t contagious are you?”
“Of course he isn’t,” James said poking Sirius, “Madame Pomfrey would’ve fixed him up right away just like when Peter swallowed some of that crushed scarab beetle that you were trying to feed the Slytherins, isn’t that right Remus?” Remus nodded and laughed at the disgusted expression on Peter’s face that always formed when someone reminded him of the scarab beetle.
“Come on, let’s go to breakfast,” said Peter, “I need something to take my mind off insects right now.” Everyone laughed and they walked towards the Great Hall, telling Remus about their explorations the night before.
“You didn’t really cover the 5th floor corridor in goats cheese did you?” asked Remus suspiciously.
“Of course we did,” said Sirius, “we’ve got to make a name for ourselves now haven’t we?”
“Where in Hogwarts did you find that amount of cheese?” asked Remus, dumbfounded.
“Well, we were wondering around in the basement which, incidentally, is the location of the Hufflepuff common room when James fell over against a painting of some fruit..”
“I didn’t fall over,” interjected James angrily, “you tripped me.”
“Anyway,” said Sirius waving off James’ accusation, “he fell against the painting and the pear in it laughed and the painting swung forwards to reveal a hole through which are the kitchens. Apparently, you have to tickle the pear although it seems face planting onto it works too!” The boys laughed, Remus was still amazed at the quantity of cheese needed to cover a floor. He opened his mouth to ask but Peter beat him to it.
“House elves work in the kitchens and they were all too happy to get us whatever we wanted. After eating, Sirius had the idea with the goats cheese. The house elves got us all they had then did their weird elf magic to make more and more. We used the levitation charm we learnt on like our second day and took it all up there and then had fun throwing it around,” he shrugged, “it was good until the paintings started shouting at us.” Remus laughed, amazed at the chaos they had managed to cause in just one night.
“About that name,” said James, pulling a piece of cheese out of his hair, “Filch just gave me an idea, I think we should be called,” he paused for effect, “the Marauders.”
Everything recognisable belongs to JK Rowling. Please, please review, it really helps me to know what you liked and disliked. Thank you!