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Do Something About It
Sirius Black ran his fingers through his long, dark hair and frowned at the calendar on the bed in front of him. He wondered why Remus happened to disappear only on full moons. Coincidence? Maybe. Or could his friend actually be...
Well, tonight was the full moon. They would see.
James entered the dormitory, and Sirius pounced on the one person on whom he could test out his theory. Remus obviously wasn't an option, and Peter probably wouldn't understand.
"Hey James? Have you noticed anything - erm - significant about the times Remus disappears?"
"Yeah, now that you mention it, I have," said James slowly. Looking up from his trunk, he shot Sirius a sideways look. "You don't think - "
"Well maybe I do," snapped Sirius.
"Well, then what are you going to do about it?" asked James, staring at him.
"Do about what?"
The boys jumped. Remus looked at them curiously from the doorway. "Well?" he demanded, looking from one to the other.
"Oh. . .um. . .I. . .um. . .forgot my Aunt Myrtle's birthday," Sirius stammered. He felt himself going red. How much had Remus heard?
Remus looked at him skeptically. "I didn't know you had an Aunt Myrtle."
"That's because he doesn't," James put in helpfully. "What he forgot was Andromeda's birthday."
Sirius's jaw dropped. "That's right! Andie's birthday!" He grabbed the calendar and started flipping pages. "It was a month ago! I totally forgot! She's going to hate me!"
James slapped his forehead. Remus looked amused. "Special friend?" he asked between snorts.
Sirius glared at him. "My cousin," he said testily. "The only decent one of the lot and now she thinks I've forgotten her."
"You did," said Peter, who had come in unnoticed behind Remus. Sirius glared at him so ferociously that he began to back away. Remus, who had stopped laughing, grabbed him by the arm and whispered in his ear, "Not nice."
"S-sorry," Peter squeaked.
"If she's really decent, then she'll forgive you, mate," said James.
"Yeah, I guess," said Sirius doubtfully.
"Anyway," Remus said,"We came up here to tell you it's time for dinner. Come on, I'm starving."
James picked at his food and tried not to stare at Remus. If Sirius thought so too, then maybe his crazy idea wasn't so crazy after all. But what could they do about it?
Another crazy idea started forming in James's mind. He pushed it away and finished his dinner. Afterwards, he shook off his friends and went to the library, where he looked up werewolves. He didn't like what he found. The few books he could find from the werewolf's point of view told of painful transformations and endless shunning. Part of James wondered why Remus hadn't told them. Another part knew. And the third part wondered how Remus could think that they would shun him. James kept reading:
A werewolf is not a danger to animals, nor to Animagi in their animal form. Many a werewolf has been known to quieten and stop attacking others or himself when an animal friend is near.
Attack himself? God, no wonder Remus looked so tired whenever he came back! And all the bandages! James knew he had to do something. And he knew what.
"Uh, Siri? You going to move anytime today?"
Sirius jumped. He had been thinking about - what else? - Remus. "Sorry, Peter." He studied the board and moved a piece. "Checkmate."
"Aww, I always lose," moaned Peter.
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Peter, why don't you go play with someone else for a while?" he suggested. "I'm - uh - going to bed."
"Okay." Peter accosted a first year girl and Sirius made his way up the spiral staircase. He did not, however, go to bed. He paced the empty dormitory and worried. He had done some reading. He knew that a werewolf's transformations were very painful. He knew that when a werewolf was separated from others to bite, he would attack himself instead. He had seen how tired and beat up Remus looked when he came back.
Sirius just wished there was something he could do to make it better. He kicked Peter's trunk out of frustration. He watched Peter's cat, who had been lying on it, streak, yowling, out of sight. And then he knew.
James and Sirius literally bumped into each other halfway down the Charms corridor.
"Where's Remus?" James asked, pulling Sirius into an empty classroom.
"Left not long after you did," Sirius said. Then he added, "Before moonrise."
James had forgotten that tonight was the full moon. He looked at Sirius, and they both started talking at the same time.
James stopped. "You first," he said.
Sirius took a deep breath. "Well," he said, "it's like this. I mean, we've seen how - how - how awful Remus looks when he comes back, right?" James nodded. Sirius continued, "Well, we've got to do something about it. And werewolves aren't a danger to animals. . . . so, maybe there's a way we could - you know - become Animagi. . . stop laughing!"
James calmed down. Sirius looked hurt. "I don't think it's funny," he said.
"Sorry. . . it's not funny, really, it's just. . . that's exactly what I was thinking!" James exclaimed, and dissolved into laughter again, joined this time by Sirius.
When they had both calmed down again, Sirius said, "So, we'll do it then?"
James nodded. "We'll have to ask Peter," he mused. "And tell Remus."
"Why didn't he tell us?" Sirius wondered out loud.
James decided not to answer. Instead, he led the way back to the common room to find Peter. Peter listened wide-eyed to the story and had one question. "But how would our becoming Animagi help him?"
"He'll probably calm down and stop attacking himself if we keep him company," James explained.
"Wow." Peter was impressed.
"And now we have to tell him that we know," Sirius sighed.
"Why didn't he tell us?" Peter wondered. Sirius shrugged. They both looked at James, who kept his theories to himself.
"Why don't we go to the library now and find out how to start?" he suggested.
"Because it's eight-thirty, that's why." Peter pointed to his watch. "We're not allowed." Sirius checked his own watch.
"Your watch is wrong," he said. "It's nearly midnight."
"You're both wrong," said James. "It's ten o'clock."
"We'll see about that!" said Peter indignantly. "Oy," he called to a sixth year by the fire. "What time is it?"
"Quarter to twelve," she replied.
"Ha!" said Sirius.
"You two better reset your watches," said the older girl, having overheard their conversation. "And go to bed."
Noticing the prefect's badge on her chest, they did not argue.
Remus came back two days later, looking tired and wan and bearing several new bandages. He said he had fallen down the stairs and gone to see Madam Pomfrey, but even Peter knew better now.
Neither he nor Sirius nor James knew how they were going to confront their friend, or when. They had begun to look up the Animagus transformation, but knew they could not keep at it for long without Remus noticing.
"We'll do it soon," they promised each other , but none broached the subject until one night two weeks later, when all four were sitting in the common room.
"Hey, Remus," Sirius said suddenly, "how's your grandma?"
Remus looked up from his Potions essay, puzzled. "My grandma?"
"Yeah, we forgot to ask you after you got back."
Remus frowned. "Back from where?"
Peter jumped in. "Remember when you went to visit her a couple weeks ago?"
Realization dawned on Remus's face. He bent his head over his essay, muttering, "She's fine."
"He still won't tell us himself," James said to the other two in a stage whisper.
Remus's head jerked upright, and there was real fear in his eyes. And James knew, once and for all, why Remus hadn't told them. He was scared, scared that they would desert him when they found out what he was. The thought gave James a lump in his throat. He wanted to erase that fear, he wanted to tell Remus that they would never desert him, never, but before he could, Peter spoke up.
"Remus," he said quietly, "we know you're a werewolf." Peter liked things done in a straightforward way.
Remus didn't look at any of them. Slowly, without a word, he began to gather up his things.
"What're you doing?" Sirius asked.
"Going to sit somewhere else," Remus replied evenly. "I mean, everyone always deserts me when they find out what I am. Why should you guys be any different?"
Sirius's jaw dropped. The thought had never occured to him. 'That's why he didn't tell us,' he thought.
James, who seemed to have been expecting this, reached out and closed Sirius's mouth for him. Sirius promptly opened it again but couldn't think of anything to say. He settled for stepping forward and hugging Remus, who was turning away, looking as though he might cry.
Peter's awed voice said, "He's gone mad."
"Remus," James said softly, "you do know we'd never do that in a million years, don't you?"
Remus turned to look at him, which was made difficult by the fact that Sirius had not yet let go of him. "Everyone else did."
"We're not everyone else!" said Peter indignantly.
Sirius found his voice again. "That's right," he agreed, drawing away. He wagged a finger at Remus. "I thought we'd been friends long enough for you to know that."
Remus smiled. "You really mean it?" he asked.
"Of course we do," said James impatiently. "That's what we said, isn't it? Now, d'you think you could help us figure this out?" He shoved a book about animal transformations at him.
Remus looked at it. "What's this for?"
"Drumroll, please," Sirius announced. Peter complied, banging on the table. "We," Sirius said dramatically, "are going to become Animagi."
Remus gaped at him.
"So we can keep you company on full moons," James added.
Remus continued to gape at them.
After a minute, Peter hopped out of his seat to wave his hand in Remus's face. "Hello-o."
"Oh!" Remus jerked back to life. "Sorry," he said.
"So, what d'you think?" asked Sirius.
Remus grinned. "I think it's a great idea!"
"Really?" James asked.
"Well, that's good," said Sirius. "Because you're - "
" - the sensible one," finished James.
Remus ran his hands nervously over the cover of the book. "It'll be a lot of work," he said softly.
"Yeah," said James cheerfully, "but it's worth it."
"Now," said Sirius, leaning over, "here's the part we don't get . . ."
~Three years later~
A large black-haired dog leapt joyfully into the air in the middle of an empty classroom on the first floor. A handsome stag was prancing around the room, and a small gray rat was squeaking happily on the windowsill. It was dawn, and the three friends had been working all night. Finally, finally, they had done it.
There was a small 'pop', and Peter tumbled head over heels off the windowsill. "He's coming!"
Two more 'pops', and Sirius and James rushed to the window in time to see a tired and battered figure emerging from the Whomping Willow. James watched Remus walk up to the castle.
"If only we could have done it just three days earlier!" he said in frustration. "Just three days!"
Sirius and Peter were silent. They knew what he meant. If only they could have helped their friend through this time.
Finally, Sirius broke the silence. "Let's go meet him."
Remus was halfway up the great stone steps when he was nearly bowled over by a big black dog. Wondering tiredly where it had come from, he simply ignored it until it bounded in front of him, blocking his way. Then with a small 'pop', it turned into Sirius.
"We did it!" James beamed at Remus.
"Yeah!" added Peter as they hurried down the steps.
A smile spread across Remus's face. James noted the torn bandage wrapped around his wrist and thought, 'He'll never have to go through that again.'
For the first time in years, the foursome really relaxed. Remus was sure that his friends were the best friends anyone could ever have. After all, they had figured out his problem, and they hadn't deserted him. They had cared enough to do this for him. They were the ones who had done something about it.