Image by Hallows&Horcruxes! @ TDA
As if the weather knew that Quidditch was starting up for real again, the snow disappeared on March first. It was the same week that Gryffindor team started up with practice twice a week again. According to Hestia it was fate.
But just because the snow was gone, didn't mean the weather was any warmer. It was downright miserable outside. The wind was howling outside the stone walls, the rain was splashing on the windows, and it looked and felt more like autumn rather than spring.
One day that first week of March, Myra ran into Remus when she arrived at the Magical Living classroom early to wait for Hestia and Ashley. Remus had just finished the class and stopped to chat for a short while. His three Marauder friends didn't share this class with him, and Myra couldn't help but think it was nice without them. They also seemed so incredibly hostile towards her these days. The conversation she had overhead a while back clearly stated that they didn't trust her with Remus for some reason. She was dying to know why and what she could have done wrong, but every time she talked to Hestia about it, the other girl profoundly advised her from trying to find out. And Anna's advice about not getting on the Marauders' bad side rang loudly in her head.
A few minutes into the conversation, Myra had to ask. "How are you doing, Remus?" He was looking sick again, same symptoms as always, pale, feverish and shivering. "You don't look too good."
"I'm better than I look, thanks for asking," he reassured. "I wasn't careful enough to dress warmly during Astronomy on Monday."
Myra sighed. "You're sick like this too often. You said you had a weak immune system; aren't there any potions or something that makes it more resilient? I'm sorry if this is too private of me to ask about."
"It's okay. There are no potions or cures or help for what I have. I usually heal very quickly no matter what is wrong with me, but sometimes I'm just sick for days."
"I'm sorry," Myra muttered, as if it was her fault.
"Don't be," Remus reassured her. "I'm used to it, and what doesn't kill me, can only make me stronger, right?"
Myra smiled. "Right."
"Good thing I've got Pre-healing next, maybe I'll learn something I can use today."
People started appearing for the next class, so Remus said goodbye to Myra and left for the first floor.
Myra didn't run into Remus any more that week, until he showed up for patrol on Friday evening along with Lily Evans and Richard Mallard. He was looking even worse now.
"Are you sure you're up for this?" Myra asked. All of the dungeons and every nook and cranny on the first to fourth floor was a long walk and hard work for twice in one evening, and she didn't really want to be held responsible for the death of Remus Lupin, so she felt she had to make sure he could do it.
"Yes, yes," Remus said, his voice a bit hoarser than usual. "It has to be done, and I've been running up and down the castle before today, didn't faze me at all."
"You're tougher than you look then." Myra smiled. "Let's go."
They waved goodbye to Lily and Mallard who were doing the upper levels of the castle.
"How is your aunt doing?" Myra asked politely when they reached the dungeons. Since he was sick, she had a feeling he would disappear again, so she decided to ask about his aunt.
"She's doing okay," Remus answered, after just the right amount of thinking time. "It's looking better now. She has ups and downs, and now she has an up."
"That's good. Will you be visiting her again soon?"
He cleared his throat. "I think so. I might take a short trip this weekend. Her birthday is coming up later in March, and this weekend looks like the only weekend I'll have time to see her."
Inwardly Myra rolled her eyes and snorted. The lies went deep, clearly, with birthdays and all. She wondered if the birthday had been on the same date, or if he switched it around when it suited him.
How could someone so nice and caring like Remus be involved in such a huge web of lies? What on earth was he hiding? Did he even have an aunt, any aunt, sick or healthy, close or distant?
Myra knew that even though she'd never really known her Uncle Andreas, and therefore not loved him as much as she should, she would never
have gone around saying he was deadly ill and could die at any moment, had he been alive today. It would almost be like wishing sickness on that person, and if done for long enough and with enough conviction, it would come true. That was the way magic worked, the unconscious magic, the potentially dangerous kind of magic.
Reaching the stairs to the first floor Myra said: "Well, wish her the best and a happy birthday from me when you go."
"Thank you, I will." Remus looked strangely at her for a moment, something indefinable in his eyes. "She'll appreciate that," he eventually said and they climbed the stairs.
Just as Remus had said and Myra suspected, he disappeared that weekend. Usually he went away after classes, but since today was Saturday, he went right after breakfast. The strange thing this time was that Sirius, James and Peter disappeared too, but not at the same time as Remus.
After breakfast Myra had a date with her sister to study in the library, so she quickly went up to Gryffindor Tower to get her book bag before heading for the Hufflepuff common rooms. On the way there she ran into the three Marauders. At first glance nothing seemed strange about them, but the nearer they came the more she noticed that something was wrong. It seemed like they were carrying something invisible between them. Sirius and James walked next to each other with a distance of nearly four feet. Sirius' left hand and James' right were clenched tight. In the front was Peter, about two feet ahead of his friends, looking very casual with his arms behind his back.
Myra frowned suspiciously at them as they passed. They looked darkly back at her, anger almost spitting out of their eyes.
"Hello," she greeted kindly anyway. They may be angry at her, but they were fellow Gryffindors and friends of a friend. Plus, she didn't want them to be angry with her, so she tried to be civil and forthcoming.
They only grunted in reply.
When they had passed, she walked on for a few feet then turned around to look. Both of Peter's hands were also clenched tight behind his back. They really must be carrying something invisible between them!
Thinking they would take some time to reach the Entrance Hall, she ran the rest of the way to the Hufflepuff common room and knocked furiously on the door.
A seventh year prefect named Melinda Hooch opened and asked what on earth she was on about, but Marie was standing behind Hooch and said timidly that it was her sister and that they were going to the library together.
Hooch nodded and let Marie out.
"Come on, we have to hurry," Myra said, grabbing Marie's bag in one hand and her sister's hand in the other, almost dragging her through the halls.
"What's the hurry?" Marie struggled to ask.
"I have to see someone before they're gone!"
They ran up the stairs from the dungeons and, sure enough, at the top of the stairs were Sirius, James and Peter, still in the same position from earlier as they walked across the floor.
Myra and Marie's arrival was a bit noisy, so Myra took two quick seconds to draw deep breaths and look natural and casual. The boys looked around and something dangerous flashed in James' eyes, but they went on their way without doing or saying anything.
Out the door they went, letting in a rush of cold before the door slammed behind them.
"They didn't want to see you?" Marie asked.
"They didn't know I wanted to see them," Myra answered. She walked quickly towards the tall windows and looked outside. The three boys walked across the courtyard and out onto the grounds.
"Well, they're gone now. Let's go to the library," Marie complained.
With one last look outside, Myra sighed and went with her sister up to the third floor. Maybe she could see something out of the windows there, if the boys went around to that side of the castle.
But Myra didn't see Sirius, James and Peter any more that Saturday. Not when she had breakfast with Marie on Sunday, not at lunch or dinner, not in the common room, or anywhere else in the castle, until the evening. Then they came down from the boys' dorm, yawning. It was a shame that those four boys were the only ones in their year, because there was no one she could ask about what they were doing. She'd tried making Henry pretend he had walked into the wrong dorm by accident, but he just laughed at her and said that he didn't fancy getting rainbow coloured hair after his shower.
On Monday and Tuesday Myra looked for Remus, but he wasn't anywhere to be found, and she also noticed that his three friends weren't as active around the school either. But on Wednesday morning Remus came back, looking exactly the same as the last time he came back after a mysterious absence; still sick, but well.
Sometime during breakfast Myra saw that Lily Evans approached the Marauders with a stack of parchments pressed to her chest. James started talking louder and began almost obsessively running his hand through his hair, as if that would help the mess it already was. Lily elegantly ignored everything that had to do with James and she bent down to Remus, gave him the parchments and whispered something. He nodded and smiled at her. Myra thought she saw his lips move as if saying 'thank you'.
"See anything interesting?" Ashley asked teasingly. She may spend a lot of time with Lowell lately, but she always sat at the Gryffindor table during mealtimes.
Hestia and Anna looked in the direction Myra and Ashley was looking.
"Of course," Anna said when she found the object of Myra's attention. "What else, or rather, who else."
Myra ignored the comment just as elegantly as Lily ignored James.
"He's been gone for a few days, hasn't he?" Ashley asked again.
"Yeah, he has," Myra muttered, still trying to see in direction of the Marauders, Lily was still whispering with Remus.
"Not this time," Myra answered distractedly. She meant that he hadn't missed patrol this time, and didn't think about how her friends took that comment.
Lily straightened up and put a hand on Remus' shoulder. Myra's eyes narrowed. Then she heard Lily say in a bright voice: "See you later, Remus."
Remus answered. "Thanks again, Lily."
"Well, isn't that nice
," Myra mumbled with venom.
"Where did that
come from?" Hestia asked, looking at her best friend with raised eyebrows.
"What?" Myra asked.
"Were you jealous of Lily just now?"
Myra frowned in confusion. "No?"
"The tone you just said that in, 'Well, isn't that nice
', was dripping with malice."
"No, it wasn't. Was it?"
"It was," all three girls said in unison.
"It wasn't supposed to."
"Right," Anna said in disbelief.
"Why would I be jealous of Lily?"
"Because it looked like she was right chummy with Remus right now," Hestia explained.
"It did look like that."
The three girls looked expectantly at Myra. But she had no idea what they were waiting for. "Good for them, if they are," she said, not realising that once again her voice was dripping with venom. "Too bad for James, though."
Several times during the rest of the day Myra got a slightly nauseating burn in her stomach and throat. She almost went to see Madam Pomfrey to see if something was wrong, if she was brewing on something, but decided against it when it didn't seem to be getting any worse. An evening with just resting and postponing homework for once would do her good.
"Why aren't you working?" Hestia asked when she came back from the library and found Myra laying sprawled over a couch, gazing lazily at the various students in the common room.
"I haven't been feeling good today, so I decided to take things slow, let my body do the work instead of my head," Myra answered lazily.
Truth be told, she hadn't felt any bad feelings since dinner, and was probably perfectly healthy, but the idea of an evening off was too tempting.
"What's wrong?" Hestia lifted Myra's legs and sat down with them in her lap.
"I don't know," Myra answered honestly. "I've just had this burning sensation in my stomach today, on and off since breakfast. It's been bordering on nausea."
"Have you seen Madam Pomfrey?"
"I thought about it, but it hasn't gotten any worse. It's actually been gone since I came back from dinner."
"Then why can't you do homework?"
Myra shrugged. "Just in case."
Hestia shook her head in exasperation and with grand gestures began pulling out several library books from her bag and reading importantly. If she thought it would tempt Myra to do the same, she was very much mistaken.
A half hour must have gone by when Remus, Sirius, James and Peter entered the common room, all looking awfully smug about something. James spotted Lily and guided the boys to a detour towards her side of the common room. Instead of giving into James' antics when she looked up, she instead smiled kindly to Remus, and he smiled back.
Myra put her hand on her stomach, the burning back again. She sighed.
"What's wrong? Are you sick again?" Hestia looked abruptly up from her books when she heard Myra's sigh.
Hestia gently put her own hand on Myra's stomach. "You're not pregnant, are you?" Hestia asked jokingly.
"Don't be silly." Myra almost laughed. She looked back over to Lily. The boys weren't there. She quickly twisted her head in direction of the boys' dorms, and they just went up the stairs.
Hestia followed Myra's gaze when she twisted her head. "Was that the Marauders?"
"Myra, have you ever considered that certain feelings you get can be very similar to other feelings?"
Myra turned back to Hestia again, as confused as can be. "What?"
"Some feelings can resemble other feelings or situations. Have you ever thought about that?"
"Like you can feel like sicking up when you're taking a test, but it's just nerves?"
"I guess you can say that. Have you ever been jealous?"
Myra frowned and thought back on her fifteen years long life. "Envious sometimes maybe, but not jealous. I think."
Hestia glanced quickly in direction of the stairs. "Does your stomach still hurt?"
"We'll talk about this later, okay? Somewhere more private."
Myra was even more confused than ever.
The evening went by too slow for Myra, she was curious about what Hestia wanted to talk about. So to make things more entertaining, she gathered her thoughts on all strange things concerning Remus and his friends, so she and Hestia could talk about that too. Myra hadn't updated her best friend on the last developments.
When bedtime finally came, Myra and Hestia went up to the dorms, chatted a bit with Anna and Ashley, and then Myra cast the Imperturbable Charm around her bed to give her and Hestia some privacy.
Myra then told her best friend about the conversation she'd had with Remus during their last patrol before he went missing for a few days, and about the strange behaviour of Sirius, James and Peter. And all about the thoughts and idea she'd made, or had trouble making, about Remus' behaviour.
"I don't know what to think," Myra finished her retellings, feeling incredibly frustrated.
"I'm starting to see why you're so determined to find out about this." Hestia looked thoughtful. "But I don't really have any answers for you. The only thing I can think of is what I already told you a while back and what he has confirmed; he has a weak immune system and he is for some reason embarrassed about it."
"Sure, he may have a weak immune system. But he also said that it's only sometimes it's weak, really. He usually heals fast, but some things leave him sick for days. That's not a weak immune system, that's allergies or something chronic."
"So he's just lying about his immune system?"
"Seems like it." Myra threw her hands up. "Merlin's great purple beard! What is wrong with him? Does he have a second personality or something?"
Hestia laughed a bit at that, but shook her head, she was just as clueless.
"I think I'm going to try and follow Sirius, James and Peter if I see them in a similar situation like on Saturday."
"No, you are not
," Hestia said sternly. "That has trouble written all over it."
"But I need to find out about Remus. I can hardly take it anymore."
"You're just going to have to, Myra. Or find out in some
other way. But please, promise me you won't follow them. Promise on your sister's life." Hestia looked pleadingly at Myra, projecting how seriously she meant what she said.
"I can't do that, you know I can't do that," Myra said. "Not on my sister's life. You know me; I will do it if I find myself in that situation again."
"Unfortunately, yes, I know you will do that, but I have to try to steer you right. Someone
has to, when you can't."
"Thank you for that, but no thanks right now." Myra smiled with mischief, in spite of the apparent seriousness of the situation.
Hestia shook her head in exasperation. Then the two girls fell into thought, both trying to figure Remus out.
"Have you noticed anything that ties together all the times he's sick and disappears?" Hestia asked after a while.
Myra thought back. "Nothing, except that it happens when he lies about going to his aunt. So the two is connected somehow."
"That's really nothing new." Hestia sighed. "I'm at a complete loss."
"I have to find this out," Myra muttered.
"Which reminds me," Hestia began. "I was supposed to tell you something."
"Yes, you were," Myra remembered, completely refocused.
"I think I know what caused your stomach ache; jealousy."
"Jealousy? Of what?"
"Of whom. Of Lily and Remus, and the way you saw them behaving this morning."
"I'm sorry for bringing this up once again, but I think you're interested in Remus. And seeing him being so friendly with Lily this morning made you jealous."
Myra hesitated for a moment. "And I'm sorry, because I can't see what you see. I promised Anna I'd give it some thought if I saw any signs that Remus might be interested in me like you all said, but I checked and didn't see it."
Hestia opened her mouth to argue back, but Myra raised her hand to stop her.
"For argument's sake, let's say I do fancy Remus, and his interactions with Lily made me feel jealous. Why would I feel sick to my stomach?"
As Hestia answered, Myra spaced out. She'd just had a flashback to breakfast when she had first had that nauseated feeling. Lily had been talking to Remus then. It also happened at lunch. And she had been looking at Remus then too. And the same between Divination and Magical Living when she crossed Remus in the hall, he had walked with Lily then. And once again at dinner, the moment she spotted him. And lastly this evening when the Marauders came into the common room.
"Oh my Merlin," Myra muttered, her eyes the size of Bludgers, and her heart pounding loudly in her ears.
"Did you hear what I just said, Myra?" Hestia asked.
Myra didn't quite register what her friend said. She was still going over the day in her head, double and triple checking. "Well, that was news to me," she mumbled when she couldn't explain it away in her head.
"Myra? What are you talking about?"
"I didn't hear what you said," she apologised. "I was thinking, and I-" No, she did not want to admit this yet. "I was going through my day today and I don't see what you're implying." She tried hard to keep her face straight, and after a few seconds it seemed like Hestia believed her.
Even though Myra and Hestia talked for another hour or so that night, neither could come up with anything that explained Remus' strange behaviour other than what Hestia kept saying time and time again; he had a weak immune system and was embarrassed about it.
Myra went on patrols with him on Friday nights, not seeing anything strange, and nothing that meant he fancied her. Not giving him the benefit of the doubt was never an option, even though there was something wrong with him and he lied through his teeth about it, it was never an option to distrust him. It hadn't even occurred to Myra that he maybe shouldn't be trusted. Neither did it occur to Hestia, who ended up spending lots of time with him as well, since he often searched out Myra in the common room or the library.
The weeks went, Gryffindor beat Hufflepuff in Quidditch, and April arrived. On Friday April 1st there was an end-of-term prefect meeting. The patrol schedule was once again being switched around; teaming Myra with Miranda McKinnon  this time, meaning it was Myra and Remus' last day of patrolling together. The Hogwarts Express would take the trip to London the next day with the students wanting to go home for Easter, and the prefects remaining would set up their own schedule for the holiday.
Myra would not be going home, she usually never did. But now she would try to spend the time by starting some serious revising for the O.W.L.s, instead of having the week off. Marie decided to stay too, since her sister was. Of Myra's friends only Henry would be going home. Remus would be staying too, though he would probably have benefited from a week at home since he was starting to look ill again. Though if Myra's guess was correct, he would go to 'visit his aunt' any day anyway. So only a couple of handful students were left, like usual.
During the first weekend of the holiday Myra kept looking for strange behaviour from Sirius, James and Peter. Not from Remus, because she had a pretty good idea about what he would be doing. He would look worse and worse, and eventually disappear.
While nothing out of the too ordinary happened with three quarters of the Marauders, Remus did disappear on Monday afternoon.
"He's gone again," Hestia whispered in Myra's ear at dinner.
"I know, I think I saw him leave a couple of hours ago," Myra whispered back.
When dinner vanished from the house tables, Myra stayed. Ashley and Anna went on their way, leaving Myra to her odd interest in staying in the Great Hall, and Hestia's even stranger wish of staying with her.
Sirius, James and Peter had left a few short moments earlier, and since the door in the Great Hall were open, Myra had a clear view of the Entrance Hall, and would see it if the boys left again.
"I can't help but be a bit curious myself," Hestia admitted as they casually gazed into the Entrance Hall.
Myra smiled. Hestia never disappointed.
About ten minutes later, the three Marauders appeared, in pretty much the same procession as last time.
"What on earth?" Hestia blurted out.
"That was my reaction too." Myra was amused, but then she turned serious. "I'm following." She looked expectantly at Hestia.
But the other girl shook her head. "Sorry, but you're on your own with this one."
"Fine by me." Myra reached into her pocket, where she had kept her hat, scarf and mittens shrunken for the last few days, in case she came across just this opportunity. "Engorgio
," she muttered and the garments went back to their regular size and she put them on. "See you later."
"Be careful," Hestia pressed.
Myra nodded and walked over to the doors. She peeked into the Entrance Hall. The boys were already out. So she went to the great doors, opened one so it was just ajar, and saw them on the other side of the courtyard. She waited until they were on the bridge leading to the road and the Forbidden Forest before she slipped out and closed the doors quietly behind her. Quickly she tiptoed to the awning circling the courtyard and followed it around to the bridge.
The boys had now reached the grounds and were heading quickly, as far as Myra could see from her vantage point, towards the Forbidden Forest.
Myra entered the covered bridge, crouched low and hurried towards the end, just in time to see them walk behind a large boulder. Not daring to move any further, in case they were hiding behind it to catch her following them, she stayed put.
After five minutes she began to doubt herself. Had she even seen them walking behind that boulder? To be on the safe side, she waited a little bit longer, but as the seconds ticked by she got more and more impatient.
It must have gone another five minutes when Myra stepped out of her poor hiding place. She didn't dare to say anything, or call out to them. What would she say if they answered?
Hi, I just followed you because I'm stupid like that.
No, instead Myra walked slowly and as silently as she could, not easy in wet slurps of mud and dead grass, towards the boulder she had seen them disappear behind. She made it there, but no one was behind it, or around it, or anywhere near it, except for her.
"What in Merlin's..." she muttered as she stepped around, back and forth, looking around and up, not understanding anything, but when she looked down she saw tracks. On the side of the boulder that they had supposedly been there was a myriad of shoeprints in three different patterns and sizes around a big square print.
"So they were
carrying an invisible box," she said to herself. Looking onwards, she saw the track continue in the triangle shape of two boys behind and one in front, still in direction of the Forbidden Forest, not the rest of the school grounds.
"But..." Myra scrunched up her face, thinking back to the view she'd had from the bridge. "I didn't look away for one second, so if they walked there," she pointed to the footprints, "I would have seen them."
Myra knew there existed spells and charms to render one nearly invisible, like the Disillusionment Charm. She hadn't learnt it yet, but knew she would next year, which meant that the boys had probably learnt it. There were also charms and spells to render one completely invisible, but that was far, far beyond the Hogwarts curriculum. There were Invisibility Cloaks, but they weren't big enough to cover three teenage boys and a huge crate. Of course, the boys could have ordered one especially for their pranking needs, and Merlin knew that Sirius and James as rich pure-bloods had the funds to special order such an Invisibility Cloak.
Shaking her head at all the confusing thoughts, Myra decided instead to follow the tracks and see where they led.
On she walked, down the hill, seeing the gamekeeper's hut come closer on her right side. But then the tracks suddenly vanished. Myra blinked several times, cast a Lumos
even though it was broad daylight.
," she whispered upon realising her own stupidity. Feeling frustrated with dissatisfied curiosity, Myra called out. "Hello? I know you're out there!"
She went completely quiet, hardly daring to breathe, while trying to listen for any sounds that could be the boys.
"Where is Remus?" she asked loudly.
There was a whisper of something a few feet ahead of her. She turned her ear towards the sound, but then she saw a flash of a light in the corner of her eye. Snapping her head around, she saw nothing.
"I know you're there!" she called out again. "I can hear you!"
No answer, no sound other than the natural sounds of the forest.
"Wizards," Myra hissed. "Stupid wizards." She turned and headed towards the castle again. But she had walked about fifty feet when she heard hurried shuffling and desperate whispers of what sounded like spells.
They were covering their shoeprints magically!
Myra sped back and a little further when suddenly a giant rat came running towards her. She squealed loudly and jumped to the side. The rat ran around and seemed to be herding her towards the Forbidden Forest. Myra jumped and hopped on one leg and both legs and one leg again, trying to get away from the rat that obviously had it in for her.
Suddenly she heard heavy footfalls from something with more than two legs, the thing was breathing heavily and loudly. Turning around she looked up into the eyes of something huge, and the foul rat was completely forgotten.
 I've given Marlene McKinnon a younger sister, a Ravenclaw in the Marauders' year.
A little bit later than I had planned, but my beta had some real life stuff coming in the way, and I was dreading the day she would send the chapter back to me, because I wanted to finish writing chapter 20 before I posted this chapter. Thankfully our minds was subconsciously linked, and it all worked out perfectly! But then some real life stuff got in the way for me, and so the chapter was another few days late...
But now I'm going to attempt to get a second beta, to relieve Orion Knight of some work, and to have a third pair of eyes helping out!
Please review if you have any thoughts on the chapter! And feel free to ask me anything in my Meet the Author, link in my profile!
Coming: Chapter 11 – Forty Points and Detention
Sirius and Myra were now so close the spit from their screaming was spattering the other's face. Hestia had stood up at one point, she was now looking wide eyed at the show. James and Peter stood firmly behind Sirius, nodding at everything he said.