Chapter 12 : What Could Be Better Than Friends?
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“Maybe I can get my mum to let all of you come over for a week this summer,” James enthused. “Wouldn’t that be great?”
“Well, I’ll already be there, but it’d be great if you two could come,” Sirius said to Remus and Peter. “There are some pretty hot muggle chicks in Godric’s Hollow. Some girls that might even like you, Peter.” Peter flushed, looking embarrassed at having his name mentioned in the same sentence as the word ‘girls.’ “Maybe we could even get you a new girlfriend, Remus.”
James elbowed Sirius in the stomach, hard, and whispered something in Sirius’ ear. Sirius looked abashed, and cast a guilty look at Remus. Remus only sighed, and turned to look out the window, feeling in the mood to wallow in self pity.
“Come on, mate,” James said encouragingly. “Don’t shut us out. We understand—or at least some of us do—how hard the breakup with Bethany was for you. But you’ve got to get back out there, find someone new who actually likes you for you.”
“Thanks, James, but I really don’t feel like it,” Remus muttered. “I don’t need another girl to call me a monster. Believe it or not, it’s not really good for self-esteem.”
“Bethany wasn’t any good,” Sirius growled. “Any girl who has the nerve to call you a monster has obviously got something wrong with her. If I were you, I’d go for a brunette this time. Blondes might have all the fun, but brunettes remember it the next day.”
“Sirius, now really isn’t the time for your jokes,” James scolded.
“It wasn’t a joke! It was very useful advice,” Sirius defended. “Just like ‘the bigger the boobs, the smaller the brain.’ And I think we all knew Bethany was pushing that mark—”
“What? I was only—”
“I said enough,” James snapped. “Insulting her isn’t going to change anything, and it sure isn’t going to make Remus feel any better.” This was true. In fact, Sirius’ ‘help’ was only making him feel crummier and crummier by the second.
“She was perfect, and I messed it up,” Remus whispered. “Why did I tell her the whole story? Maybe if I’d just come out and said it...”
“She still would have left, Moony,” James said.
“I know, I know,” Remus sighed. “I just wish there was something else I could have done. Some way that I could have made her see that, even though I’m a monster, I—”
“Damn it, Remus!” Sirius shouted, so loudly that Remus wouldn’t have been surprised if the conductor had heard. “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: You. Are. Not. A. Monster. You are a human being with a disease. And if you call yourself a monster one more time you’re going to be taking an involuntary swim with the Giant Squid.”
“All right,” Remus said, surprised at his friend’s intensity. “I won’t say it any more.”
“You won’t think it, either,” Sirius warned. “You’re going to put yourself into a depression if you keep thinking like that.”
And so Remus made it his goal to get through the summer with a positive attitude. He didn’t even let his mother’s negativity get him down. By the last week of summer, when he went to stay at James’ house, he was happier than he’d ever been.
“I see you took my advice,” Sirius said smugly as the Marauders sat at James’ kitchen table, eating breakfast. “Good for you, mate.”
“Yeah, it’s been a pretty good summer,” Remus admitted. “Besides the whole painful transformation thing.”
“But my advice got you through that, huh?” Sirius asked eagerly. “Turns out I’m good at giving advice!” And it was true. Though Sirius was the least serious person Remus knew, he was the best at giving advice.
“Maybe you could start your own radio talk show,” James snickered. “Seriously Sirius.”
“It’s got a nice ring to it,” Remus agreed with a nod. “It’s motto could be, ‘Serious advice from Sirius Black.’”
“Okay, enough,” Sirius grumbled. “We all get it, my name’s ironic. Now instead of cracking jokes we should be planning more pranks on Snivillus. After all, we’re way behind.”
“What happened to being nice to him?” Remus asked.
“We did that for a week, remember?” James said. “And on the last day he hexed me from behind and I was spotted like a cow for a month. He’s got it coming.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot about that,” Remus nodded.
Sirius snickered. “All of the Slytherins followed you around in the corridors mooing.”
“Yes, yes, I think we all remember,” James snapped.
“But we’ve pulled plenty of pranks on him since then,” Remus reminded his friends. “Why are we still trying to get even?”
“No amount of revenge will be enough. That was a month of utter humiliation for me!” James cried.
Sirius burst into a fit of laughter, and the others stared at him, confused. “Utter humiliation!” Sirius gasped. “Get it? Utter?” He then broke down again as James glared daggers at him.
“Did you get enough sleep last night, Padfoot?” Remus asked uncertainly.
“Does two hours count as a good amount?” Sirius asked innocently, and Remus rolled his eyes.
“How on earth did you only get two hours of sleep?” Peter asked. “I slept like a baby.”
“Yeah, I know. It was your snoring that kept me awake,” Sirius sighed.
“Oh...” Peter said guiltily. “Sorry.”
“...overflowing with extra work! I swear, if somebody doesn’t sort out this murder business, it’ll be the death of me!” James’ father’s voice grew louder as he entered the kitchen, followed by James’ mother.
“Harold, maybe you shouldn’t get involved with this case,” Mrs. Potter fretted. “Even pure-bloods are showing up dead now. This is serious.”
“Carol, I can’t just sit around in the office while my whole department is out trying to find a mass murderer!” Mr. Potter exclaimed.
“What’s happened now, dad?” James asked eagerly.
“Another two half-bloods and one muggle were found dead with that confounded symbol over the house. The Ministry’s frantic, trying to figure this whole thing out before the Prophet gets the public in a frenzy.”
“Well, they’ve already got my mum in a frenzy,” Remus sighed. “It took forever for me to get her to let me come over here.”
“Well, let her know that she’s got nothing to worry about, and that everything will be sorted out soon enough,” Mr. Potter assured him.
“My dad’s going to have this thing figured out in no time, right dad?” James asked proudly, and Mr. Potter smiled at his son.
“I hope so.”
“Now, enough of this talk,” Mrs. Potter interrupted. “It’s not proper for the ears of guests. So, what are you boys planning on doing this week?”
“Probably going to play a few pranks on the muggles, and I was thinking of showing them around all of the stores,” James said eagerly.
“No pranks on muggles,” his mother said strictly. “They’re not toys put on this earth for your amusement, James. And I’m sure they don’t want to see muggle stores.”
“Actually, I think it would be fascinating,” Remus piped up.
“But, dear, don’t you live in a muggle community?” Mrs. Potter asked.
“Yes, but my mother doesn’t really allow me to mingle with them,” Remus said evasively. In truth, ever since the ‘incident’ his mother never let him out of the house, save for shopping in Diagon Alley and going to Hogwarts.
“Well, if you’re sure you want to go...” Mrs. Potter said.
“I think it would be interesting, too,” Peter added. “I live in a wizarding community.”
“That settles it, then!” James said joyfully. “Come on, guys, lets go! Padfoot, we have to show Moony and Wormtail the muggle joke shop—”
“Padfoot? Moony and Wormtail? What’s that?” Mr. Potter asked curiously.
“Our nicknames,” James boasted. “I’m Prongs, Sirius is Padfoot, Remus is Moony, and Peter is Wormtail.”
“Where on earth did you come up with those names?” Mrs. Potter inquired.
James bit his lip nervously, looking unsure of what to say. Luckily, Remus was quick to say, “History book I was reading. I thought the names were interesting, but James and Sirius decided they’d make good nicknames.”
“Well, they sure do have a nice ring to them,” Mr. Potter said, nodding in approval.
“Thanks, dad. Okay, let’s go,” James said hurriedly, ushering the Marauders out the door.
“Way to almost get us caught, James,” Sirius snapped once the door closed behind them. “Look at me, I’m James Potter, daddy’s boy! I’m going to tell him everything about everything!”
“It was lucky Remus was so quick,” Peter said.
“Yeah, who knew our little goody-two-shoes was so good at lying?” Sirius joked, ruffling Remus’ hair.
“Well, I’ve had years of practice,” Remus said with a shrug. And with that the Marauders headed out into Godric’s Hollow to wreak a week of chaos on the poor, unsuspecting muggles.
Fourth year was going by pretty quickly, and Remus was surprised one morning when he woke up to see snow, at least five feet deep, on the lawn. James and Sirius were already running about the dormitory like madmen, grabbing cloaks and scarves and mittens; all of the necessities for what was sure to be an excellent snowball fight.
“Oi!” Remus shouted as a hat flew from James’ flailing hand and hit him in the face.
“Oh, Remus, you’re up,” James said happily, retrieving the hat from Remus’ bed without even uttering an apology. “Get ready! We’re planning a war!”
“Oh, goody,” Remus said sarcastically, lying back down and pulling the sheets over his head. Maybe a few more hours of sleep would be a good thing.
“Its Christmas break, mate!” Sirius exclaimed. “You can’t waste your time lying around in bed!”
“Sure I can. That’s the point of vacations,” Remus grumbled, his voice muffled by the pillow that he’d now placed over his face.
“Whatsgoingon?” Peter slurred, sitting up in his bed.
“Snowball fight of the century, Peter! You in?” James asked.
“Sure...” Peter sighed, and Remus heard the bed groan as Peter slowly crawled out of it.
“You’re all mental,” Remus stated, throwing the pillow and sheets off his face so that he could look his friends in the eye. “Absolutely mental.”
“So you in?” Sirius asked.
“Ugh... Why not?” Remus grumbled, rolling his eyes as a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “But just so you know, werewolves tend to be exceptionally good at snowball fights.”
“Really?” James asked, sounding uncertain.
“We’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?” Remus laughed, grabbing the hat off of James’ head and running out the door, scooping his cloak off of his trunk as he passed.
“Hey!” James shouted, racing after him with Sirius and Peter close behind.
The snowball fight left the four friends soaking wet and shivering, but it was extraordinarily fun. Lilly Evans, as she’d been walking past with Severus, had scolded them for acting immaturely and breaking school rules, but even James didn’t let her harsh words ruin their fun.
As they entered the warmth of the Great Hall for dinner, the Marauders were laughing with delight at today’s activities, not a care in the world. That is, until Remus remembered that the full moon was tonight. Suddenly, his excitement faded, instead turning to dread.
“What’s the matter, Moony?” Sirius asked as he shoved as much turkey as possible into his mouth, making him look like a chipmunk.
“Full moon tonight,” Remus whispered sadly, and Peter gave him a sympathetic look.
“Have you still been hurting yourself?” James asked hesitantly, and Remus nodded.
“It’s usually only a few scratches here and there that Madam Pomfrey can fix up, but sometimes they’re really deep, and she can’t do much with them...”
“But she can re-grow bones! How come she can’t fix the scratches?” Sirius questioned.
“Because they’re from a werewolf,” Remus sighed. “And those aren’t really meant to fully heal. Like the bite Fenrir gave me. See?” He offered out his arm, where his friends observed the scar outline of Greyback’s sharp teeth.
“Gross,” Peter whispered, and James gave him a pointed look.
“No, it’s fine. I know it’s not very pretty,” Remus chuckled. “I’m used to it.”
“Don’t worry, Moony,” Sirius assured his friend. “Soon we’ll be animagi, and we’ll help you through this whole thing.”
“Oh yeah? Last I heard, you guys haven’t made much headway,” Remus challenged. “Just give up. You’re great friends for doing this, but truly, I’m not worth it.”
“Yes, Remus, you are,” James argued. “You shouldn’t have to go through this alone.”
“Especially when you have such charming friends who could easily help you through it,” Sirius said with a smirk. “I mean, I don’t even know how you get through a whole night without seeing my astoundingly good looks.”
A loud snort made them jump. Remus and Peter looked up, and James and Sirius turned around and scowled.
“What do you want, Regulus?” he growled.
“I just wanted to let you know that mother is thinking of disowning you,” his brother said with a smirk. Flanking him were a few Slytherins, looking menacing and, as was per usual of burly Slytherins, a little stupid.
“Good to know,” Sirius snapped. “Saw you and the other Slytherins get your asses kicked on the Quidditch Pitch the other day by Hufflepuff.”
“We let them win,” Regulus defended. “You know, holiday spirit and all that.”
“Sure you did,” Sirius said with a smirk. Regulus was Slytherins’ new seeker as of last year, and though he was good, everyone knew he wasn’t the best like he pretended to be. “I can’t wait to see you match wits next to my friend James, here,” he said, patting James on the back.
“He won’t stand a chance against me,” Regulus huffed, and the Slytherins behind him nodded. To Remus they all looked like overgrown monkeys, and he wouldn’t have been surprised if they started scratching their heads like monkeys do... Oops, there goes one now. And Remus wasn’t surprised.
“Gryffindor is the best team around,” James said boldly. “We’re winning the Quidditch Cup for sure this year.”
“Only if the Slytherins forfeit,” Regulus said snidely.
“In your dreams!” James said, standing up. It was an impressive comparison, tall James Potter in front of tiny Regulus Black, who was at least a foot shorter than James. Regulus seemed to recognize this difference and took a step back, brining himself closer to the other Slytherins.
“We’ll have to see,” Regulus smirked, and he and his bodyguards walked away to the Slytherin table.
“Sirius, mate, your family’s a bunch of lunatics,” James said sadly, sitting back down.
“I know,” Sirius sighed. He then perked up considerably as he remembered, “But my cousin Andromeda had a baby a while ago, so there’s one more normal person in the family...”
“Andromeda’s the nice cousin, right?” Remus asked, trying to recall what Sirius had said about her in the past.
“Yeah, she’s definitely nice, especially when being compared to Narcissa and Bellatrix. They’re two nutters, they are.”
“Yeah, we know,” James said, nose flaring in disgust.
“What’s the baby’s name?” Peter inquired.
“Nymphadora or some nutty name like that. Don’t know what Andromeda was thinking, honestly! Poor kid’s never gonna live that name down,” Sirius chuckled.
“I like that name,” Remus disagreed thoughtfully. “It’s unique.”
“Well, she’s a unique baby. Metamorphmagus, she is,” Sirius said proudly, as if he had something to do with her special abilities.
“That’s a rare gift,” Remus agreed.
“Imagine if we were Metamorphmagi,” James said wistfully. “Then we wouldn’t have to go through this whole Animagi business.”
“I’ve told you guys you can just leave it. Really, you don’t have to—”
“Shut up!” James and Sirius interrupted Remus at the exact same time. A few of the people around them turned their heads to see what all the shouting was about.
“Seriously, mate, when are you going to learn that we’re not giving up?” James asked, exasperated.
“Just get over it and let us do what we’ve got to do,” Sirius instructed. “Besides, I think we’ve almost got this Animagi thing figured out, anyway. Soon we’ll be roaming the castle grounds with you at night, getting into all sorts of new mischief!”
Remus nearly spat out the pumpkin juice he was drinking. Instead, he choked on it and had a coughing fit before gasping, “Roaming the castle grounds? Are you mental?”
“You all right, mate?” Sirius asked worriedly.
“No one ever said anything about leaving the Shrieking Shack! No, no, no! That’s not happening, I’m too dangerous!”
“But we’ll be with you the whole time, Moony! We’ll keep you from hurting anyone!” James insisted.
“No way. We’re not going anywhere but the Shack, and that’s final.”
“Fine, party pooper,” Sirius huffed. “Suck all the fun out of this, why don’t you?”
Remus rolled his eyes and felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as he scooped a spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth. He knew Sirius would get over it. He always did.