Chapter 8 : Recovery
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Remus remained in the hospital wing for most of the weekend. Madam Pomfrey had kept him in a magically induced sleep for all of Saturday day and night hoping that this would prevent the boy from suffering any further. Thankfully it worked. When Remus came round on Sunday morning he remembered nothing of the previous 24 hours spent in the compassionate care of the school healer, or even that he had been in the hospital wing for so long. He was unaware of being woken every four hours to take various potions and have lotions applied to his wounds. And he had no recollection of feeling any pain since he had passed out in the shrieking shack. For this he was grateful. The pain he had felt when he’d transformed back into himself the previous morning had been excruciating – he had not felt pain like it since his first few transformations.
Remus shuddered at the thought of the pain and forcefully brought his mind back to the here and now. Although he felt weak, drained and exhausted, he felt no pain. Cautiously he lifted his limbs one at a time testing for pain. There was none, but his limbs felt heavy and oddly disconnected to his body. He lifted his head off the pillow to look at his surroundings but he felt dizzy and light headed so let it fall heavily back onto the pillow and closed his eyes again, almost instantly falling back to sleep.
He was woken a short while later by Madam Pomfrey’s gentle voice. ‘Good morning, Mr Lupin.’ Remus attempted to orientate himself and sit up but Madam Pomfrey prevented him by placing her hand on his shoulder. ‘I wouldn’t endeavour to get up just yet, Mr Lupin; the side effects of the potions I gave you can be quite severe and will take a few hours to wear off. You stay where you are.’
Remus gave a slight nod of his head, and as this small movement made his head spin he decided to do as he was told and remain perfectly still. Madam Pomfrey carried out a brief examination of Remus and was happy that he was healing well and would be able to leave the hospital wing later that day.
After drifting in and out of sleep for the next couple of hours, Remus was once again woken by Madam Pomfrey who gave him a rejuvenation potion and ordered him to eat some lunch as she would not discharge him until he had. Remus was shocked to discover it was lunchtime on Sunday; it had never taken him two days to recover before. He began to think he would be better off going home for his transformations, then he wouldn’t be on his own, his recovery wouldn’t take so long and he wouldn’t miss as much school. He thought he had been lucky that his first transformation had been on a weekend, but they wouldn’t always fall on a weekend, and then what? He would fall behind in classes and being missing from class would be far more noticeable to far more people.
This thought panicked Remus and the little appetite he’d had evaporated. He picked at the plate of food Madam Pomfrey had forced upon him as he racked his brain for a good excuse to explain his two day absence. By the time Madam Pomfrey returned to his bedside, only just satisfied with the amount of food he had eaten and informed him he was good enough to leave, his mind was still blank.
He thanked Madam Pomfrey for her care and slowly walked out of the hospital wing, his pockets full of small potion vials that had been foisted on him by the worried nurse. Deciding that he couldn’t face anyone just yet he absent-mindedly made his way to the library, assuming that it would be empty on a sunny Sunday afternoon. He assumed right. The only person there was Madam Pince who seemed shocked to see a student there on the first weekend of term. Remus sat at a table at the back of the library with a random book he had grabbed from the shelf without looking.
He was in two minds about going to the Great Hall for dinner. On one hand he didn’t want to make his reappearance in front of the whole school, thinking this would bring more attention to himself. On the other hand, if he didn’t go it would make his absence longer. And would missing another meal with his peers make his absence more or less suspicious? After much deliberation, and a few curious glares from Madam Pince, Remus decided he would go to dinner – he couldn’t hide in the library forever.
Remus replaced the musty book to its rightful shelf and began the walk to the Great Hall. He found himself walking a lot slower than usual, really taking in his surroundings for once. The corridors were becoming gloomy as the light outside was dimming, but not enough for the lanterns to have flickered into life. Remus’s eyes roved from painting to painting as he walked, hoping pointlessly that one or other of the paintings would inspire an alibi. No such luck, and all too soon Remus was at his destination.
A majority of the students were already in the Great Hall when Remus arrived, including his dorm mates. With trepidation he slowly made his way over to the Gryffindor table, his head down not looking at anyone, and sat down next to Peter.
‘Remus!’ Peter exclaimed happily, grinning warmly at Remus. ‘We were wondering where you’d been.’
At Peter’s words Remus’s heart sank. The breath caught in his throat and he could feel his cheeks rouging as the panic set in. As he had known they would, they had noticed he had been gone, and thanks to their astronomy class they would realise that he had been missing during the full moon. They would relate this to his poor state of health before and after his absence and figure out his secret. He was going to be made to leave Hogwarts, just a week after he had started. His heart sank a little bit further. He had no idea what to say in reply to Peter, who was smiling at him with an expectant look on his face. Remus wondered why Peter was smiling at him and couldn’t help thinking that he wouldn’t be smiling soon when he worked out what he had been sharing a room with for the past week.
Before Remus could think of a reply though, Sirius greeted him too but with less enthusiasm. ‘Yeah, where did you get to last night? We thought you’d fallen asleep in the library or something since you were up ridiculously early yesterday!’
It took a moment for Sirius’s words to sink into Remus’s brain. Last night? What about Friday night? Up ridiculously early yesterday? Had they not noticed he had been missing Friday night as well? Even in his panicked state Remus acknowledged that they had not noticed he was missing on the night of the full moon. They can’t have. This would explain why they hadn’t run away in horror when he had approached them, and why Peter still appeared to be pleased to see him return. Excellent, he thought. His plan was working. His secret seemed to be safe for at least another month.
With this thought the panic started to subside. Remus felt his breath come back to him, his lungs filling with air again, the red hot feeling in his cheeks relenting. Only now that he was starting to relax did he notice how tense his body had become. He let out a sigh of relief, but still he did not say anything for his mind was not yet functioning properly and he had still not worked out how to explain his absence. All three boys were looking at him though, obviously waiting for an answer.
‘Are you alright, Remus, you look a bit pale?’ James asked through a mouthful of roast potato.
James’s observation sparked something in Remus’s mind and he finally spoke, answering the three boys with a variation of the truth. ‘I wasn’t feeling very well yesterday so I went up to the hospital wing. Madam Pomfrey kept me there overnight; she only let me leave this afternoon.’
‘Oh. Are you ok now, Remus?’ Peter asked, concerned. ‘James is right, you do look quite pale. What was it?’
‘It was a muggle virus apparently. I’m fine now though thank you, Peter, I’m just a bit tired.’
Remus was pleased that this vague explanation seemed to have been sufficient. The boys didn’t question him any further and did not appear to be suspicious or disbelieving. With his earlier worries gone and the side effects of the potions almost gone, Remus’s appetite started to return. Usually after his transformations he was famished due to the exhaustive efforts his body went through during the night, and the energy it expended during healing. Remus felt that the return of his appetite was an indication of the return to normality. Well, his normality anyway - if you could call it normal.
‘Well, it’s good to have you back Remus.’ Peter stated genuinely. ‘You missed a good weekend though.’
‘I did?’ Remus asked, more to keep the attention off him and his weekend than genuine interest. Though he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear about the fun other people had had while he had been suffering, he didn’t really want to hear about what he’d been missing out on.
‘Yeah, we’ve been exploring the castle,’ Peter explained excitedly while James and Sirius seemed more engrossed with their food than the conversation. ‘We only found one secret passageway, but we think there must be more so we’re going to search for them next weekend.’
‘Sounds great,’ Remus replied, faltering slightly. He’d had his own experience with secret passageways this weekend but his had not been that much fun to discover. And he certainly wasn’t about to tell Peter about them.
‘It was!’ Peter grinned. ‘You have to join us next weekend.’
‘Mmm, maybe,’ Remus nodded non-committally, popping a roast potato in his mouth, more for an excuse not to say anymore than anything else, and looking down at his plate.
Unseen by the others at the table, Sirius rolled his eyes and muttered something about killjoy and there being no passageways to the library. It appeared that, whilst stuffing food into his mouth, he had in fact been listening to the conversation around him.
Being the only one to have heard Sirius’s remarks James kicked Sirius under the table before addressing Remus himself. ‘You should come and watch the Quidditch trials too, Remus, I’m going to try out.’ James smiled proudly.
‘You are? I didn’t think first yea...’ Remus began but was interrupted mid-sentence.
‘Don’t say it, Remus! James might explode if you do.’ Sirius exclaimed, smirking at the sour look that had flittered across James’s face.
‘Let’s pretend you didn’t say that,’ James said to Remus, not unkindly. ‘Do you play Quidditch, Remus?’
‘Er, did you see me in flying lesson on Friday?’ Remus asked in reply, as if the answer would be obvious.
‘Good point, yes I did,’ James laughed. ‘I guess you won’t be trying out for the team then?’
‘Definitely not,’ Remus laughed.
‘You enjoy watching it though, right?’ James questioned as if it was a crime to not enjoy Quidditch at all.
‘It’s alright. I don’t follow a team or anything though.
James shook his head in mock despair. ‘We’ll soon change that, Remus!’
‘Now you’ve done it, Remus, he won’t shut up about Quidditch for the rest of dinner now,’ Sirius said with a smirk, earning himself another kick from James. ‘I’ve never known anyone quite so obsessed.’
Sirius was quite right, James spent most of dinner preaching to Remus about the joys of Quidditch, about his favourite team, the best matches he had been to and his hopes for the coming Quidditch season. It was obvious to Remus that Sirius, who was now heartily tucking into his second portion of desert, had heard this all before. Peter however seemed to be listening eagerly, hanging on to James’s every word - It seemed that he was clearly a Quidditch fan too. Personally, Remus was indifferent to the sport; he could take it or leave it. He was glad of the topic of conversation though. There was no way he could let anything slip out in a conversation about Quidditch, it was safe ground. Plus, James’s blatant enthusiasm was quite amusing to watch.
James seemed to dominate the conversation throughout the rest of dinner. In fact he only stopped talking when a small but handsome, brown tawny owl landed in front of him just as he was finishing his apple crumble.
‘Screech!’ James exclaimed excitedly, looking to Sirius with a grin as he detached the parchment envelope from the owl’s leg. ‘At last!’
‘I don’t think he’s bringing the news you were hoping for, James, I don’t see a broomstick attached to that letter.’ Sirius stated.
‘No, but it doesn’t mean it’s not coming,’ James replied optimistically, tearing open the letter and scanning it.
Remus, who had no idea what was going on or what the letter was about, looked from James to Sirius to the letter bewildered. Peter, who was also watching James expectantly, explained the importance of the letter in a whisper to Remus. All three boys watched as James’s face fell as he let the letter fall to the table.
‘What did he say?’ Sirius asked.
‘Dad didn’t say anything; it was from my mum. She’s not very happy! Let’s just say I won’t be getting my broom.’ James shooed Screech away from his pumpkin juice. ‘Stupid owl, you were supposed to deliver it to my dad!’
Screech hooted at James indignantly before taking flight, whipping James in the face with his wing as he did so. The young bird obviously didn’t appreciate being called stupid.
‘Oh well, I’ll just have to make do with the school broom,’ James said without conviction, rubbing his cheek before going back to eating his desert, more quietly this time.
After dinner Remus walked up to the Gryffindor tower with the other three boys, finding he had quite enjoyed their company during dinner. But when Peter invited him to join them in a game of exploding snap he declined, stating that he still felt very tired and wanted an early night. In reality, Remus would have loved to join in, but he couldn’t let his guard down now. Not when his plan had worked so well.
AN: So, this chapter is a bit shorter than usual. It was the start of the Quidditch trials chapter but I have had to break it into two chapters as this section became rather longer than I had planned. This means that the Quidditch trials will be coming up in the next chapter instead:) I would love to know what you think, leave a little review and let me know your thoughts :D Thanks for reading!
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