Remus bust open the door with his feet as he watched her carefully. She had lost consciousness a few minutes before. James was behind him shouting questions at him he couldn’t quite comprehend.
“Mr. Lupin, what are-“ Madam Pomfrey’s eyes widened at the girl in his arms and she gestured him over frantically to a bed.
“Mr. Potter, is it her stomach? The cancer, has it grown? Has she said anything about pains worse than normal?”
Remus felt his stomach drop and hit the floor. It was like everything slowed down and he could only hear one word in his head. Cancer. He looked at James, who was too busy talking to Madam Pomfrey. James was clutching on to Tree’s hand like it was a lifeline and was watching her worriedly. What Madam Pomfrey has just said had no effect on him except worry. No shock.
He knew. Remus was hurt and shocked by the fact that two of his best friends knew that one was sick and he wasn’t told. This was the bad thing that was going on with Tree. She was sick. She didn’t want him to worry, so she kept it from him.
Both Madam Pomfrey and James turned to him and asked him what had happened, and he stopped his thoughts and answered.
When I woke up, the first thing I thought was that I had the most awful taste in my mouth. I turned to find that both James and Remus were sitting beside me. Then I also wondered where Sirius was, and if he was nursing a really awful hangover. And then I wondered why the hell I was in the hospital wing.
Suddenly, Madam Pomfrey was rushing to my bedside.
“Oh dear, glad to see you’re awake. Here, take a sip.” She handed me a goblet full of what was thankfully water and not some nasty potion. I took a small sip and handed it back to her and she placed it on the bedside table.
“Poppy, why am I here? What happened? Is it the, you know,” I glanced at Remus’ sleeping form in the chair, “the thing?”
She shook her head and looked quite a bit surprised. “You don’t remember what happened?”
Her expression kind of freaked me out. “No, I don’t. I’d really like to know.”
She placed the tray down slowly on the empty bed beside mine and then came closer to me. “Dear, you were slipped a Body Breakdown potion. It makes the person taking it very dizzy, very incoherent and eventually unconscious.” She wrung her hands nervously.
I scrunched my eyebrows, very confused. “Wait, how did I get the potion?”
“Maybe the boys should explain later. They know more.” She turned and walked away without another word.
Quietly stunned by her abruptness, I wondered what had happened, and if it was bad. I really didn’t want it to be bad.
It was about an hour before either James or Remus woke up. You may be surprised that they slept that long and that comfortably in chairs, but you must remember, it’s James and Remus.
James stirred first. He looked at me then scooted the chair closer to the bed. “Tree.”
“Just tell me what the hell happened.” There was no joking, no fake smiling. I was serious.
“Tom slipped you the potion. Remus found you guys upstairs in the boys’ dorm.” He paused and clenched his fist; I’d never seen him look angrier. “Tom had most of your clothes off when Remus found you.”
My stomach twisted painfully and my heart pounded. Tom. Tom. I can’t believe it. I can’t- “Did he-?” I was praying to god that he hadn’t gotten very far.
James shook his head quickly. “No. Thank god, he didn’t get very far.” He said, through clenched teeth. “And Remus knows about your cancer.”
I whip my head to look at James and then I turned to look at the sleeping Remus. Though it surprised me that he knew, in a way it didn’t as well. Remus is a smart guy. It made me sad actually, that he knew. Sad for him.
“When he wakes up, I need you to leave so I can talk to him. He needs to know everything, and I know you didn’t tell him anything. Where’s Sirius?”
“When I said I couldn’t tell him anything, I thought he was going to hit me.” James admitted, which shocked me and I could tell it freaked him out a bit too. “And Sirius doesn’t know anything yet. Last time I saw him was the party.” He paused again and took my hand. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t notice you were gone. I should’ve watched you more, especially knowing you’re sick. If Tom had-“, He cut off. James clenched his fist again. “I’m going to kill him.”
He said it so sincerely; it literally sent shivers up my spine.
“James, I don’t blame you. But, Tom didn’t get to do anything so I’m okay. Killing him would get you sent to Azkaban, and what good to me are you there?” I joked. I don’t think he thought it was funny.
Remus began to stir and as he blearily opened his eyes, James stood, said he’d bring me breakfast and left.
Remus sat up straight and then looked at me for a while. We just sat there looking at each other; it was like we were standing, looking at a line, and we were enjoying what we had before we crossed it and couldn’t turn back.
“Come here, Moony.” I gestured for him to scoot his chair closer to my bed, like James did on the other side.
After he was done, I held out my hand and he took it in both of his.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I know how much you worry sometimes, and I couldn’t stand it. I was also worried that you would look at or treat me differently if you found out. Like I was fragile or broken or different. And I think that would’ve hurt me so much.”
“I understand why you didn’t tell me, but I think your worries were unnecessary. You being sick, we can get through that fine. Now I can be by your side until you get better and to make sure you get better and have the support you need. I mean, we should think, it’s just cancer right? Muggles beat it all the time.” He smiled hopefully and squeezed my hand.
And I felt my heart break a little more because Remus had it in his mind that I was just sick. That I could beat this and it would be fine. He didn’t think that I was dying, and I had to tell him different, because I was sick of lying to him. Sick of filling him with false hope when there wasn’t any.
“No, Remus it doesn’t work that way with me.” I said softly. I clenched onto his hand tight and then released my hand so it lay in his, limp. He looked confused. “I’m going to tell you the truth because I’m so sick of lying to you. I’m tired and worn out and pretending isn’t helping anything. One less person to lie to is a relief. You’re one of my best friends.” I sighed and then began.
I started with telling him when I first started feeling sick, how I had kept it secret, not knowing what it was and disregarding it as something serious. Then how James had made me go to Poppy and how Poppy urged us to go to St. Mungo’s. My hair falling out and everyone staring. Finally, I got to the end.
“Remus, I’m not going to get better. When I was diagnosed in September, the Healer gave me 5 months to live.”
There was a moment’s pause and then Remus took his hands from around mine. He had this look on his face, I would never forget it. It was like he had just seen a disaster in front of him. That silent shock that froze on your face, disbelief mixed in there too. He stood up, so quick and unlike that slow, frozen moment that it startled me slightly. He turned, and he walked out of the Hospital Wing.
Half an hour later, Sirius bust through the doors, looking haggard, which surprised me and probably everyone who had seen him because Sirius never looked out of place.
“Sirius, what are y-“
“That bastard Tom did WHAT now?!”
He was shaking, literally shaking, with anger. It frightened me and all my anger towards him about Rebecca dissipated because he was the same old Sirius, who would do anything for me. Unfortunately for Tom, right now Sirius and James were basically setting up his murder.
“Will you come here please?” I said softly.
The sounds of his heavy breathing were the only thing making noise for a second and then he slowly made his way over to me and sat down in the chair Remus had hastily vacated.
“I was really upset with you about Rebecca.” I admitted, which was kind of a breakthrough for me alone because I didn’t like to confess my emotions very often. He must have realized this because he took my hand in one of his.
“I know, it was really stupid and childish of me to do. I just was so put out because of-“ He flushed slightly in embarrassment. “I saw you and Remus that morning and thought, well, something was happening there.”
The surprised look must’ve really shown on my face because he blushed. He seemed really put out and embarrassed when I started giggling.
“Sorry, but that’s just so absurd! I wondered why you were being that way this morning, and then with Rebecca and all, but I had no idea it was because of that!”
”Yeah, well, you missy are a hypocrite! Inviting the two guys that bug me most!” He teased, poking me in the side lightly. I giggled.
“Okay, you were fighting dirty so I decided to. I was going to invite Jack anyways, but I figured Tom would do the most damage.” I paused. “Guess I was right, in a way.”
Instantly at the mention of Tom’s name, Sirius bristled. “That low life little bastard better watch out, because when I get a hold of him-“
“We’ll deal with that later. Right now, I want you to hop on up here.” I shifted slightly in my bed and patted the spot I made beside me. He hopped up, put his arm around me and I placed my head on his chest.
“You’re the only person who can do that to me you know.” He said. I looked up at him with a questioning look on my face and he continued. “Calm me down like that.”
I smiled, “Yeah well, you’re the only person who can get me riled up as fast as you do.”
“It’s a gift.” He chuckled.
“You drive me bloody insane sometimes Sirius Black.” I said it like I meant it, but I could tell he felt what I felt in my words; they weren’t negative, they were loving.
He looked down at me and gave me a kiss on the forehead and pulled me closer.
“You are one of the best things that ever happened to me.” Sirius said quietly. My eyes welled up with tears and I quickly blinked them away.
Madam Pomfrey burst through the door a few moments later and ruined our connection. (She wasn’t very happy about us being in the same bed honestly.) Sirius knew it was best he be off, so with another quick kiss to my forehead, he departed.
After a while, I begged Poppy to let me leave. I was so bored out of my mind that I couldn’t face those four stone walls any longer or I would lose it. Eventually, she relented and as I got up excitedly she said that she was surprised Tom hadn’t been brought in here with some injury and told me she hoped he’d be in here soon. I couldn’t believe it but I couldn’t keep the massive grin off my face either. She said she’d deny it straight up if I told anyone, but honestly, I don’t think anyone would believe me.
I made my way down to the Great Hall to find Sirius, James and Peter (I noted Remus’ absence) eating breakfast. I made my way over to them with a big smile on my face, trying to ignore the whispers that began when I entered.
“Hey!” I took the seat beside James. I looked around the Great Hall quickly and noticed that Tom wasn’t there. “Anybody see Tom this morning?”
“Nope, his roommate said that he was still in his Dorm room when he left, hiding under the covers. Bloody coward, he’s scared to get the pulp beaten out of him.” James spat.
“Yeah, I’d like to add onto what Remus gave him last night.” Sirius said angrily.
“What do you mean what Remus gave him?” I asked, confused.
“When Remus pulled that slime bag off you, he kicked his ass around and Tom ran out the door. Remus was more worried about you than anything.” James told her.
I was really surprised. Really, really, surprised. “Remus hit him? Like, Moony Remus? Like, the guy who doesn’t hurt a fly Remus?” I said, making sure we had the same people in mind.
They chuckled. “Remus is a loyal guy, Tree. Tom messed with the wrong girl.”
“Where is Remus?” I asked, wondering if they had seen him since the Hospital Wing incident.
“He passed me about an hour ago, but he didn’t say anything, even after I called his name. He seemed really pissed about whatever happened in the hospital wing.” Sirius said.
James shot him a look. A ‘shut-up-it’s-none-of-your-business-you-nosy-asshole look’.
“I hope he didn’t go looking for Tom.” I said. I didn’t think Remus would go looking for Tom because he was shocked but if Sirius said he was pissed I was kind of worried how angry Remus actually was.
Remus didn’t show up until later, when James and I were in the boy’s dorm room together. Sirius and Peter were in detention because Sirius had gotten Peter put slime spells on all the bathrooms near the Slytherin common room. They were caught leaving the bathroom by a Slytherin prefect, of all people.
I was helping James with his Charms homework in their Dorm because the Common Room was so noisy. We were in the middle of a nonverbal spell James was having particular trouble with when we heard loud footsteps coming up the stairs, and then Remus barreled through the door, slamming it shut behind him.
Both me and James were startled at Remus making this much noise. James leapt of the bed and moved towards him.
“You knew. You knew. What, were you just going act all SURPRISED when she died?!” Remus looked furious. It scared me, and Remus was the last person to be scared of usually. He laughed spitefully. “Pretend you had no idea and that you were just as hurt as us that she didn’t tell you.”
James looked calm, but he had a hard look on his face. He knew Remus was just grieving, and he needed to take his hurt out on someone else.
“I would’ve told you I knew after she had passed. I would’ve told you that she made me promise that I wouldn’t tell anyone. I was just following what she wanted me to.”
Remus laughed harshly again. “Well thank you so much for your bloody honesty. Thanks to both of you for your honesty. You two are really great friends.” Remus shook his head.
“Moony, I-“ James began.
“Shut up, you should have nothing to say to me at the moment.”
James backed down, looking hurt.
I jumped off the bed, hating to see James being hurt by one of his best friends because of me. “Remus, it was my fault. I told him to-“
“You. I thought we were closer than this, but you know, I guess I was wrong. Remus is the stupid idiot in this situation. Oh, and Peter and Sirius. Sirius! You’re going to kill him. And you won’t even be here to see and deal with the consequences. That’ll be on you, you coward.” Remus spat, so quickly James didn’t have time to react before Remus was finished.
I flinched back, as if slapped. It felt like I was slapped. It felt like my insides were twisting. My eyes welled up with tears.
James anger took over and got in Remus’ face. “Now listen here Remus. You’re one of my best mates but if you ever talk to Tree like that again, we’re through. She’s doing this to save everyone from unnecessary pain. She’s the most selfless person I know, and if she thinks this is the right thing to do, even if it’s not, she thought it was.”
Remus visibly deflated and looked stricken. “Tree, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean any of that. I was just so angry at you. And Prongs, you too. I’m sorry, I never lose it like that, I don’t know what-“ He threw his hand through his hair.
“It’s fine.” I said. A tear streaked down my face and landed on my shirt. Remus looked up at me and he looked pained. Remus quickly made his way over to me and wrapped me in his arms.
“I’m so so sorry. Please, forgive me. I didn’t mean any of it.”
I wrapped my arms around him and I let a few more tears fall. “Don’t worry, I’ve already forgiven you.”