Chapter 20 : Werewolves of London
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“Aaahoo! Werewolves of London!” Warren Zevon, 1978
“There are several color classifications within the Dwarf Star category …”
Aeryn Miller bit her lip as she wrote down her thoughts on the parchment in front of her.
“Red Dwarfs are high-mass main sequence stars – oh shoot, no! Low mass!”
The Gryffindor grunted softly as she reached out and grabbed her magic eraser. After correcting her mistake, she continued her Astronomy essay and copied the different classifications from her notes. When she reached the end of the page, Aeryn hummed to herself quietly as she dipped her feather quill into her inkpot.
Although Astronomy wasn’t her strongest subject, she enjoyed the work. It also gave her something to do while Peter spent the night with the rest of the Marauders; he had told her they were planning a prank but Aeryn couldn’t remember who they were targeting. In her opinion, all of the Marauder pranks tended to blend together overtime. However, she allowed herself to be distracted when she saw a group of Ravenclaw Quidditch players enter the Library. Aeryn realized that they were all in her NEWT class and discreetly inspected them as they began to settle a couple of tables away from her.
“Astronomy is bloody useless,” Walter Davies groaned as he shoved open his textbook. “I’m going to be an athlete, not an astronaut.”
“Well you could have dropped it after your OWLs if you didn’t fail your other subjects,” Jonathan Boot jeered as he playfully shoved the Captain.
“How are you in Ravenclaw again?” Timothy McLaughlin teased from across the table.
“Up yours,” Walter growled.
As the boys began to chuckle and get down to their work, Aeryn found herself staring at the only girl in the group. The Ravenclaw Seeker meekly pulled out her parchment and quill before she caught the Gryffindor’s gaze. Aeryn couldn’t help but give her a small smile and then averted her eyes back to her notes. The brown haired Scot paused slightly and then shoved her supplies back into her bag. Aeryn’s eyebrows scrunched in confusion when the girl gave her teammates an empty excuse and headed towards her.
“I’m sorry for barging in on your study session,” she apologized after she plopped into the chair next to her, “but I have to get away from those berks. They wanted to use my notes but I’ve had it with them. I’ll be quiet, I swear. Pretend I’m not even here.” The small Seeker’s tenacity flabbergasted Aeryn and she couldn’t help but fall silent as she watched her new tablemate sort her things. The blonde, however, shrugged her shoulders and went back to her work.
“I’m Cora McKnight, by the way,” the Ravenclaw interrupted again. Aeryn looked up from her parchment and saw her extending her hand towards her. “You’re Peter Pettigrew’s girlfriend, right?”
“Yes, I am. And I know who you are! You had an amazing grab against Hufflepuff last week,” she answered merrily as she shook her hand. She gave her another soft smile before averting her eyes back to her homework. Aeryn expected her new companion to remain silent, but Cora continued the conversation, despite her earlier promise.
“Well the game was a wee bit longer than Walter would have liked, but thank you,” she blushed as she dipped her quill in her inkpot. “He’s been ramping up our practices – all thanks to your Captain – so I spend all my time with a group of bowfing boys. It’s driving me up a bloody wall!” The Scot threw her hands up in the air with disgust but hesitated when she realized she was doing the exact opposite of her pledge. “Sorry. I said I would be quiet. I’ll shut up now.”
Silence finally enveloped them, but as Aeryn pressed her quill against her parchment, she realized she actually liked Cora’s noisy interruptions. They were entertaining and refreshing in comparison to Peter and the rest of the Marauders’ mature sense of humor.
As the Seeker began to shuffle her class notes into a neat stack, Aeryn suddenly felt the need to connect with her fellow female. As she continued compare Cora to Peter and his band of merry pranksters, the Gryffindor recognized that she was curious about her new tablemate. She was very thankful for her new friendship with Lily Evans and Gemma Rawnsley but deep down, Aeryn craved something more fulfilling and Cora seemed to fit the description she was looking for.
“You know,” she said after coughing lightly, “please feel free to tell me anything. I know what it’s like to always be surrounded by males.”
“Aye, I suppose you do,” Cora chuckled after looking up from her essay. “I thought Walter Davies was bad, but it must be extremely tiring being around your goons.”
“They aren’t that bad,” Aeryn said as she playfully rolled her eyes. “Sirius is a bit much sometimes, but I know he’s just in love. James has calmed down, thank Merlin. And Remus is moody, but Peter makes up for all of it. He’s just …” The girl quickly looked down at her promise ring on her left hand. “… Well, he’s just amazing. The best boyfriend a girl could ask for.”
“That’s sweet,” Cora smiled as she flipped over her parchment to continue writing. “Well good for you. Hopefully I can find a love like yours someday. Until then, I’ll be stuck with them.” The Seeker nodded over to the rest of the team behind her and then laughed. Aeryn couldn’t but let out a slight giggle herself as the two girls went back to their work.
Another stretch of silence fell over them. Aeryn tried to concentrate on the conclusion of her Astronomy homework but felt compelled to check if Cora was still next to her. The Ravenclaw didn’t notice her stare and continued to let her quill fly over her parchment.
As Cora sighed deeply, Aeryn suddenly felt the need to bond with her again. She couldn’t explain it but there was something about the girl that made her feel at complete ease. Maybe it was because she had a quirky sense of humor … but when Aeryn truly thought about it, she realized that they were both girls who were lost in a sea of boys. They had complete empathy for each other even though they had just met, which explained Cora’s many attempts to engage her in conversation - she was so eager to open up because she knew she could be completely honest and understood.
The unexpected revelation caused a smile to tug at Aeryn’s lips. She coughed discretely again to get her new friend’s attention.
“Have you done your star chart yet?”
“No, I’ve been putting it off,” Cora chortled. She welcomed the distraction wholeheartedly. “Have you?”
“Nope,” Aeryn replied with a small laugh, “I completely procrastinated. Tonight is a perfect night to draw it all out, because of the Full Moon, but it’s so cloudy that I know I won’t be able to see anything. So I have to do it the long way and calculate everything by hand. I know it’s due tomorrow but I have the time – Peter and his mates are busy doing Merlin knows what. Ugh, I’m so bad at Maths though! This is going to be torture!”
“Well you’re in luck,” Cora said with a slight smirk. “You happen to be sitting next to a Maths genius. I have no problem crunching numbers, I just can’t remember the names of all the damn planets. It’s like they go in one ear and go right back out the other.” A slow grin spread across her face after she threw a glance back at her rowdy teammates. “Bloody idiots. Well, it seems like we’re going to have to work together to get this thing done on time. I’m certainly not sitting with them anymore.”
“Seems you’re right,” Aeryn said gleefully. “I’m almost done with my essay, are you close to finishing?”
“On my last sentence …,” Cora said determinately as her hand flew across the page. “Done! Ok, let’s make this star chart our bitch.” Aeryn couldn’t help but let her mouth flop open in surprise and Cora let out an embarrassed laugh. “I can’t believe I just said that! Oh, this is bad. Very bad.”
“What’s so horrible?” Aeryn giggled.
“Walter Davies has finally rubbed off on me!”
The two girls fell into a fit of laughter and tried to stifle their fun after the draconian librarian shushed them from across the room. Aeryn’s giggle finally settled into a light pant and she threw Cora one last glance before settling down to her homework. The girls continued to playfully work on their star charts until early hours of the morning. They could have accomplished their task with ease but instead, the two teenagers chattered away after every problem set and merrily mismanaged their time.
“How many bells was that?” Cora questioned after they finally plotted the last star on their charts.
“2? 3?” Aeryn said with a slight laugh as she rubbed her eyes. “Merlin, is it really 3 o’clock in the morning? I never stay up this late!”
“Neither do I,” Cora snorted as she rolled up her parchment and shoved it into her bag. Before she packed away the rest of her belongings, she shot Aeryn a satisfied look over her left shoulder. “You know, this was fun.”
“It was!” Aeryn grinned as she put her quill back into its case. She held Cora’s smile for a moment longer and then stood up from her seat and packed away her things. She mirrored the Seeker as she put on her thick winter cloak over her dense wool sweater.
“I don’t understand how you can wear that many layers inside the castle,” Cora teased. “They’ve installed permanent Heating Charms in here, you know.”
“It’s the end of January! It’s cold!” Aeryn protested good-humoredly. “And you have thick skin since you practice outside all the time. You’re used to shivering.”
“Aye,” Cora agreed, “but you’re still bonkers for wearing three sweaters and a cloak.” The girls fell into another fit of laughter and scurried out of the Library after the librarian finally kicked them out. After they rounded several corners, Aeryn felt out of breath and stopped abruptly. Cora kept sprinting until she finally realized her new friend had stopped.
“I’m so sorry,” she said jovially as she ran a circle around Aeryn, “but Davies has trained me to never stop running!”
“Remind me to kick him then,” Aeryn panted with a snort as she finally caught her breath. She shifted her bag to her other shoulder and then held out her hand. “It’s been a pleasure, Cora. I do hope we can do this again sometime.”
“You may not be able to get rid of me,” she replied with a smile as she shook her hand firmly. “Finally, I’ve met someone who understands my pains!”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Aeryn tittered softly. Cora gave her one last wave and then sprinted towards the Ravenclaw common room, leaving Aeryn alone in the hall. The Gryffindor slowly made her way back to her dorm room, humming joyfully to herself as she climbed up the Tower. Her new friendship with Cora McKnight pushed all thoughts of Peter out of her head as she got ready to go to sleep.
She couldn't believe her luck. What a magical night!
The next morning, Aeryn continued to obsess over her study session with the Ravenclaw Seeker as she showered and put on her uniform. Once she checked her reflection in the mirror and shook out her wet curls, the Gryffindor made her way down to the Great Hall for breakfast. It wasn’t until Aeryn sat down at the long banquet table that she finally realized that Peter was not next to her.
The feeling was foreign and truth be told, daunting. The Gryffindor immediately felt off-put and her eyes scoured her house table but failed to find her romantic counterpart. Aeryn checked her wristwatch and then frowned. It was half past 7 – the normal time they reconvened in the morning – so where the hell was he? Had their prank preparation backfired?
A small pang of panic gathered in the bottom of Aeryn’s stomach and grew bigger and bigger as her eyes zipped back and forth across the rest of the Great Hall … but Peter Pettigrew and the rest of the Marauders remained out of sight. However, Aeryn’s gaze finally locked on the Hufflepuff table, and more specifically, Gemma Rawnsley.
“Gemma, hi!” Aeryn greeted. Her voice with filled over abundant confidence to try and hide her anxiety. “Do you happen to know where Sirius is? I can’t find Peter but I figure he’s probably with his mates -“
“They’re in the Hospital Wing,” Gemma muttered as she bit into a piece of toast and read the latest Daily Prophet headline. She pinched the bridge of her nose to try and wake herself up and then took a large gulp of coffee.
“WHAT?!” Aeryn screamed, causing several people around them to fall silent in hopes of eavesdropping on their conversation. Gemma looked up from her breakfast in horror when she realized her mistake.
“Shit,” the blonde swore. “Shit, shit, shit.”
Aeryn didn’t wait for an explanation and sprinted out of the Great Hall without delay - she even lost Gemma as she hiked up the stairs. By the time she made it to the Hospital Wing, Aeryn was out of breath but she burst into the room regardless. She put her hands on her knees and heaved deeply as spots slowly faded out of her field of vision. When she finally looked up, she saw Peter standing in the opposite corner of the Wing, his face white with terror.
“Peter!” the girl called desperately as she ran over to her boyfriend. “Merlin, what happened to you? Why is your arm in a sling? And why when were you going to tell me you were injured, hmm? Why did I have to find out from Gemma?”
“Gemma?” a raspy voice croaked behind her.
“Yes, Gemma,” Aeryn answered snidely as she whipped around … but the venom in her voice instantly vanished when she realized she had lashed out at a heavily injured Remus Lupin. The Marauder’s left leg was completely covered in bandages and he wore two fresh gashes on his forehead; next to him, Sirius was passed out in a chair and Lily and James continued to cuddle as they yawned and woke up. Aeryn couldn’t help but gasp in shock as she hid behind her hands but her thoughts quickly turned angry again.
“What the hell did you lot do last night? And no lies! I don’t care if you have a sacred oath that says you can’t divulge a prank’s secrets but it’s gone too far now!”
“Wait!” Gemma said breathlessly as she skidded to a stop and caused Sirius’ eyes to lazily open. The Seer deflated as she suddenly caught Aeryn’s confused stare and hung her head in shame. “Fucking shit, I’ve done it again.”
“Done what?” Aeryn probed, her nostrils flaring.
“I’ve run my gob,” the Hufflepuff groaned as she crossed her hands over her chest and dug her fingers into her arms. “I was just so tired and you caught me off guard and -”
“It’s not your fault,” Remus croaked, cutting the girl off. “I knew this was going to happen sooner or later.”
“What was going to happen?” Aeryn screeched, her patience finally breaking.
“Prongs, would you kindly give up your seat to Aeryn? I have a bit of explaining to do and I’d rather not tell the entire Hospital Wing,” Remus said softly. He gave her a soft smile before slowly sitting upwards and grimacing sharply. Apprehension crept her spine but Aeryn cautiously sat down and scooted herself directly to Remus’ side. However, before she looked him in the eyes, she threw a glance at her boyfriend.
“Peter, please tell me what’s going on,” she pleaded desperately.
“I think Remus needs to do the talking, dear,” he mumbled. Aeryn scrunched her eyebrows with confusion as she averted her attention back to the injured Marauder. He started to shake under her gaze as the color slowly drained from his face. The girl immediately felt a swell on concern override her skepticism when she saw the fear in his eyes.
Whatever secret he was about to reveal was physically making him sick.
“Remus,” Aeryn said soflty and urgently, “what is it?”
“I don’t know how to say this,” Remus rasped, “so I guess I’m just going to have to spit it out.” He ran a shaking hand through his greasy hair and briefly looked up at the ceiling before continuing. The rest of the group dimly hung their heads, shame tugging at their frowns. “Aeryn, Peter didn’t break his arm setting up a prank – he broke it while we were out on the grounds. He was helping me transform.”
“Transform?” Aeryn gasped. “Transform into what?” She let her mouth flop open with surprise as the Marauder tried to answer but physically was unable to. His lips refused to cooperate.
“Aeryn,” Peter said quietly as he placed a hand on her shoulder, “Remus is a lycan. Every Full Moon, he turns into a werewolf and we help him - it took us awhile but we’re all illegal animagi. We each have our part to play.”
“WHAT?” Lily exclaimed before Aeryn could fully react as she hit James on the arm. “You never told me that!”
“I’m sorry Lily, but after Gemma found out -”
“Don’t bring me into this,” Gemma growled from the other side of the room, “I’ve already fucked up enough relationships this year.”
“- we couldn’t risk anyone else knowing about our alter egos.”
As the argument fizzled into a steady silence, Aeryn’s brain finally started to process Remus’ confession. Although the thought of a werewolf at Hogwarts sent terrifying shivers down her spine, Aeryn knew that Remus Lupin was a good man and didn’t deserve her prejudice. She’d known him for years and never had he bitten her or caused her any pain. He was a good soul - she couldn’t see the monster he claimed to be.
And besides, if Peter and the rest of the Marauders were helping him, then she supposed he was in good hands when he actually was dangerous.
However, another unexpected revelation surfaced when she finally accepted his secret. Weren’t these people supposed to be her friends? She spent all her time with them … so why was she the last person to hear the news? Why did they feel the need to tiptoe area her feelings? Didn’t they have any compassion?
And that’s when Aeryn finally grasped that the people standing around her were never actually her friends. They were Peter’s friends. They had no idea where she was coming from because they didn’t actually know her. As Aeryn uncomfortably looked down at the floor, she realized that the only person who really understood her was Cora McKnight … but she was just some girl Aeryn had met in the Library the night before.
Melancholy crept into her thoughts.
“You knew,” Aeryn muttered softly. “You all knew. And you kept it from me.”
Her statement was met with the same silence as the others wordlessly showed their guilt; Gemma turned into Sirius’ chest to hide her face as James discreetly reached out and grabbed Lily’s hand. Aeryn turned to Peter as her expression turned uncharacteristically serious. Although she understood why he wanted to protect his friend, she instantly needed to confirm his allegiance to her.
“Is this it? Is this the only thing you’ve been keeping from me?” she demanded.
“… Yes,” Peter anxiously gulped as the sides of his mouth turned into a twisted frown. He then rushed over and gathered he wrapped his free arm around her waist. “Oh Aeryn, I wanted to tell you for so long, but it wasn’t my secret to tell! I’m so sorry, I promise I’ll make it up to you this Valentine’s Day!”
Aeryn sighed heavily and cocked her head to the side as satisfied smile spread across her face. Although she still felt emotionally stung, the Gryffindor realized that Peter and his friends were only trying to protect her, nothing more. She could feel their extreme remorse, which in her eyes meant that they actually did cared about her. Aeryn sighed again and slowly slipped out of Peter’s embrace and made her way towards the werewolf next to her.
“I’ll keep your secret, Remus,” she said as she gave his shoulder a light pat. “My lips are sealed.”
Author’s note: UGHHHHH, I hate this chapter. But I have to post it or else I will sit here and nitpick the fuck out of it.
So yeah, Aeryn knows about Remus and now she has a new little friend to plot with :D The next chapter will be a group chapter (!!!) at Hogsmeade and SHIT GOES DOWN. It’s definitely going to take me 2 weeks to write it because it’s going to be epic.
And thank you so much for all the support, MY READERS ARE THE FRICKIN’ SHIT :D :D :D
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