The Sugar Quill
Author: Soupytwist (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Not So Secret After All  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Disclaimer: Unfortunately for me, I am not JKR and don’t have even the smallest scintilla of an iota of a claim to Lupin. Meh.

Thanks go to Lallybroch, for beta-reading again, all the wolves at the Registry (especially Thing1 and Alphie) for influencing my view of Remus so much, and Kate, for pretending she isn’t becoming a Potterholic.

“So how did you two manage that, anyway?” asked Peter, leaning forward.

Sirius attempted to look modest.

“Well, then we saved the lives of everyone in the room from a rampaging hippogriff, so they couldn’t really make us do detention.”

James raised an eyebrow.

“If by that you mean ‘whined and wheedled our way out of it’, then yes, that’s exactly what happened.”

Remus, who had been quietly listening to this, snorted. “Let me guess - you being a prodigy at Quidditch and the match being tomorrow had nothing to do with it?”

James grinned broadly.

“Of course not.”

The class went suddenly quiet, as the door to the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom opened and Professor Simmons came in.

The position of DADA teacher tended to attract unsavoury types and Professor Simmons was no exception. (In fact, Remus thought, Professor Figg was the only exception he knew of – she had been good, if a bit odd, but then she’d gone off to be an Auror or something.) There was something about him that Remus just didn’t like, although Remus wasn’t sure if this was his tendency to wear white robes that didn’t suit him, his overly neat hair or the fact he seemed to smile a bit too much.

“Now then, class, while I know that werewolves aren’t usually studied until third year, I thought it was… appropriate that we start learning about these monsters a year early. If you would all turn to page 78 in your textbooks…”

Remus felt sure he’d gone white. He knew perfectly well why learning about these monsters was appropriate and it made him feel sick.

“…make notes and then answer the questions at the end of the chapter. Right. Any questions?”

Professor Simmons looked meaningfully at Remus as he said this, and Remus suppressed a strong impulse to just run straight out of the classroom door. He risked a quick glance around to see if anyone had noticed anything. James and Lily were both looking at him anxiously. He wished they wouldn’t.

As soon as Professor Simmons had turned around to write on the board, James leaned over and hissed;

“Are you all right? You look kind of ill.”

“I don’t feel very well,” Remus hissed back, with perfect truth. He wished he could ask for a sick note, but unfortunately that was out of the question.

Remus spent the rest of the lesson silently writing about werewolves. He didn’t even need to look up, since he already knew perfectly well about the effects of Wolfsbane and the potential cures that had all tuned out not to work. It was lucky, he thought, that he’d always been good at DADA, so his profusion of knowledge on werewolves shouldn’t stand out that much. For the first time Remus wondered whether Professor Simmons appreciated the irony in the fact that a werewolf was top of the year at DADA, and decided he probably did.

Lunch was also very quiet. Remus spoke only to comment on the truly terrible nature of Sirius’ jokes. Usually he supposed he might have laughed, but he was having a hard time finding anything funny. He was putting people’s lives at risk simply by existing.

The thought of eating the sticky toffee pudding in front of him was suddenly more than he could bear. Muttering a quiet “see you later”, he pushed his plate away and got up, headed for the library.

The library was one of his favourite places at Hogwarts. It was a great place to go just to get away - the quiet was calming and the books provided an easily available form of escapism that also helped keep his marks up. He loved its mustiness and its towering shelves of books waiting to be read. Just walking in the door made him feel better.

He’d thought that he might try and finish the Potions essay that was due in on Thursday, but even in the quiet of the library he found he couldn’t concentrate. With a sigh, he gave up on the essay and settled himself in a chair near the back of the room with a Daily Prophet someone had left lying around.

The news wasn’t good. There had been another attack, and a young mother and her six-year-old twin sons had been killed. The Prophet even featured a picture of the house with the Dark Mark floating above it, with an inset photograph of the family ‘in happier times’.

The father had apparently been away at his office when the attack took place, and had blamed himself so much when he found out what happened that he’d tried to kill himself. The Prophet took a dim view of this, but privately Remus rather sympathised.

“What? Of course we’ve got to tell him!”

Remus looked up, startled. That had been Sirius’ voice.

“It should be up to him! He can tell us, if he wants to.”

Remus swallowed hard. James’ voice was coming from behind the nearest set of bookshelves, and it sounded like he…knew. But they couldn’t, could they? No, of course not - they could be talking about anyone.

Please, please let it be something else. Anything else.

But then there’d been that awful Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson… and how long could you reasonably hope to hide the fact you weren’t human? He’d been an idiot to come here in the first place.

“Oh, come off it, James. Remus ought to be told that we know exactly why he keeps going off the whole time!”

So they did know. The knowledge was somehow better than the suspicion – he felt less likely to lose the contents of his stomach, and more like he didn’t have a stomach at all. Feeling oddly calm, he got up and started walking towards the door. He wasn’t sure exactly what would happen to him now, but he could at least make sure he didn’t listen in on what he knew from experience would be coming next.

“But – oh, bloody hell! Remus!”

They’d noticed him. Remus speeded up. Madam Pince, who usually seemed to quite like him, glared as he went past.

Remus!

He had nearly made it out of the door when they caught him up. Seized very firmly by both arms, Remus found himself quick-marched along the corridor and into an empty Charms classroom.

Once the door had been clicked shut, James cast a Secrecy Spell on it. Remus realised with a sinking heart that this meant they weren’t going to tell him what they thought of him and then let him go, a full-blown Talk was in order. Remus hated Talks at the best of times – his parents were always having them, usually about him, and they made him nervy and on edge.

Now that they were alone, none of them seemed to know how exactly you were meant to start a conversation like this. Peter was staring at him, looking slightly shellshocked. Remus started to fidget, the fact that the full moon was only six days away now itching uncomfortably on the edge of his consciousness. He wished they would get on with it.

James ran a hand through his hair, making it stick up even more.

“Remus, look, we figured it out.”

“Why didn’t you tell us?” broke in Sirius. “It’s not like we’d hate you or anything.”

What?

“Really, Sirius, that’s pretty obvious,” said James, rolling his eyes. “You know what they used to do to people who were even suspected of being a werewolf. It was horrible. And it’s hardly changed much - even pretty normal people get all hysterical when the word werewolf’s mentioned.”

Sirius made a sound that conveyed his disgust much better than any words could.

Maybe they didn’t hate him.

“It really doesn’t bother you?” said Remus, slowly.

“As though we’d stop being your friend over something you can’t even help!” Sirius looked extremely affronted at the very idea. “Honestly, you’re meant to be the smart one!”

“And Professor Simmons calling you a monster like that – it was awful! You’re not like that at all!” said Peter earnestly.

The three of them were all looking at him, and Remus found he couldn’t quite bring himself to admit to them that actually, Professor Simmons was right. He suppressed a shudder at the memory of his last transformation. The bit he could remember made him very glad he couldn’t recall any more. Did he really have to tell them? The idea of anyone knowing everything made him squirm. Some details just shouldn’t be shared.

“Well, whatever you’re like once a month, the rest of the time that bigot Simmons is much more of a monster than you,” said James.

“And he’d probably be a better liar,” said Sirius. “Those excuses were pathetic- nowhere near Marauder quality.”

“Is that how you figured it out?” asked Remus, hoping it wasn’t. If James, Sirius and Peter had figured it out that easily, then anyone else could too.

“Well partly,” said James, “but that’s because we’re your friends. I don’t think anyone else would have noticed anything weird. They’d just think you were sick a lot.” He grinned. “You can’t fool us.”

It suddenly occurred to Remus that he wouldn’t have to lie to them about why he wasn’t in lessons ever again. He’d be spending his time with people who actually knew. It was a weird thought.

“We checked the times you were away on a lunar chart and everything,” said Peter, sounding quite proud. “We spent ages on it.”

“And then DADA just clinched it,” said Sirius. “You looked like a ghost. It was scary.”

James nodded fervently.

“We wondered whether we ought to set off some dungbombs or something to get us out of the classroom. You really did look awful.”

The air was suddenly split by the ringing of a bell, signalling that lunch was over.

“We’d better go to lessons,” said Remus reluctantly.

“Are you all right though?” asked Sirius. “I mean…are you sure you want to go to lessons this afternoon?”

They were all staring at him again, this time as though they were afraid he might burst into tears. Remus wanted to laugh. He was better than all right. He had friends! However, he just smiled and insisted he was fine. James smiled back and went to take the charm off the door.

“Come on then. We’ve been late twice already this week.”

“And whose fault was that?” enquired Sirius, looking at James meaningfully.

“Yours, of course,” said James, turning to face them and grinning.

“Oh, shut up.” Sirius mock glared in James’ direction. “Come on Remus, let’s go.”

The door swung shut behind them, and Remus hurried down the corridor to Transfiguration, feeling lighter than air.

//
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