A/N- This is the first of six very loosely related
short stories taking a close look at the Marauders. The next four parts
have original plots, and will relate more to the title. I just think this
event, Remus' unveiling, is so important to character and motivation that
it should be used as an introduction. I love feedback, either here or
in my email. Many thanks to my wonderful and timely beta-er, Zsenya. Any
remaining mistakes are all mine.
Oh, and by the way, none of these characters are
mine, and I'm not making a profit off of anything.
After an hour of restless tossing and turning, James
Potter finally crawled out of his bed and
crept silently down to the Gryffindor common room, whose
solitude and familiarity was receptive to a good case of brooding. James
was not really accustomed to brooding; he would be the first to admit
he didn't usually have a reason. He did, after all, have a very satisfying
life. Great, supportive parents, as proud of him as anything- too proud
and doting, if that could be a problem, (which he sometimes, at 12 years
old) thought it was. Great marks in school, without the bother of studying-
well, not too much. A spot on the Quidditch team in just his second year-
that, he valued over almost anything else. Flying had come naturally to
him since he was a young child, and had never lost its wonder. And he
was good at Quidditch too, good enough to womp Slytherin last October
(he had scored 80 points!) And to massacre Hufflepuff last week (he had
scored... well, let's just say "lots" and spare the poor Hufflepuff Keeper
James bit back a smile remembering that game and
tried to find his train of thought again.
Right, his life. His friends. Great friends, friends
that beat out even Quidditch in importance and entertainment value.
He was rather popular in his year, despite the fact that most of the teachers
favored him. The only people he didn't get along with- and sometimes
warred with- were the Slytherins, and that was OK, because they were...
well, Slytherins. He didn't really care what they thought of him.
As Sirius would say, "If the opposing fans are cheering for you, then
you're doing something wrong. Better that they be throwing things at
you. Like those hard little model Bludgers. Why do they sell those things
at games anyway?" Ah yes, Sirius. Fellow Gryffindor, fellow irreverent
scholar, fellow mischief maker. His best friend. James didn't bother biting
back a smile this time, but a couple quickly-wiped-away tears followed
too, and James turned his attention to his other two roommates. Peter.
Well, Peter was OK. He kind of hero worshiped James, but that didn't annoy
James so much. It meant he never ratted them out to the teachers, and
covered up for them occasionally, when they needed it. All in all, an
And then there was Remus. The reason he was down
here so late on a rather chilly school-night.
Remus was... well, Remus was a lot of things. Nicer than anyone. Quiet,
but with as good a sense of humor as the best
of them. Good at school, but one of those studiers. A very good friend,
or so he thought. No, he was a good friend. James and Sirius had become
very close with him. But he was the reason James was down here so
late this night. Because Remus was, as he and Sirius were forced to face,
a liar. Ever since they had come to Hogwarts as first years, he had
been disappearing. Repeatedly. For a day or two at a time. He would
claim that he wasn't feeling well, or that his mother was ill, or he
would just sneak out refusing explanations. They believed him for a long
time (he did look sick, after all) but they eventually had to face the
fact that he was lying. His mother wasn't sick. And if he was really
ill himself- well, something was *wrong.* Why was he lying? Was he
contagious? No, Madam Pomfrey would know. The teachers wouldn't put them
in danger. Was it... Was he... James couldn't figure it out, and that
bothered him. It wasn't good for roommate relations, either. Sirius was
taking all this as a personal affront, and the friendship that lay between
the four of them, which seemed so special all last year, was strained.
Remus refused to talk about it, refused to share, just set himself quietly
apart, as if he didn't even care. Though James knew that wasn't true every
time he looked Remus in the eye.
It was reaching the breaking point. Something had
to be done, and James had to do it, if he
was to make sure everything turned out right. Now
he just had to figure out what it was that had to be done. Maybe if
he figured out Remus' secret? But he and Sirius had been discussing that
for a while, and they really didn't have a clue. What was it he felt
he needed to keep from them? From them, of all people! He sighed again
and dragged himself up off the couch, brain racing. He paced for a
while, but couldn't think of anything. Finally he threw himself down again,
on the ground this time, next to the small window, and looked up into
the starry night outside. It was bright out, for night. The sky was
nearly cloudless, and the nearly full moon... The nearly...full moon...
the moon... Once a month, the full moon... Oh
James was almost late for class the next morning;
he finally fell asleep around the time dawn was breaking, and was woken
up when Sirius threw a swiped scone at him after he got back from breakfast.
He hadn't yet told Sirius what he figured out. He was excited, but decided
not to wake anyone up so late, though he knew, wryly, that Sirius wouldn't
have had any qualms if the position were reversed.
He suffered through two excruciatingly long and
boring periods (History of Magic was particularly
torturous that day) and a very strained lunch where
no one seemed to be meeting anyone else's eyes, James least of all.
After the last period, James manhandled Sirius up to their dorm room
with Peter, sensing something was up, followed hesitantly on their heels.
Remus disappeared, to the library probably. "What?
What is it?"
"Tonight. Remus is going to disappear again, tonight"
James wasn't going to hold back. He figured Peter
had as much a right to know. We had to get
this all in the open, now.
"A werewolf. Don't you see? It's the full moon tonight,
and if I'm right, he'll disappear. A werewolf,
Remus had a quiet walk, so there was very little
warning when he was approaching the dorm. Peter had time enough to throw
his Magical Monsters textbook under his bed, when the door creaked softly
open. There he was, behind it. Pale as a ghost and looking warily at his
friends. He knew something was up. How could he not? How could he think
they wouldn't figure it out?
"I... I... what is it? I can't. I have to go."
Shock. Betrayal. An undercurrent of anger.
He closed the door behind himself, and leaned back
against it for
"I, I'm sorry. I have to go."
"We know, Remus. We know what you are." Sirius.
"It's a full moon tonight." James spoke up, his
voice steady, and not so emotional as Sirius'.
Remus looked back, his calm slipping. He opened
his mouth as though to deny it, but no sound came out. Instead, he started
to tremble. Sirius stepped forward, and started to speak again.
"Why didn't you tell us?"
Angrily, not gently.
"Remus, why didn't you tell us you're a... a werewolf?"
At that, he turned and bolted, slamming the door
behind him. Sirius
started to swear, but James grabbed his arm.
"Follow him," he said. "We have to follow him."
Things weren't supposed to be going this way!
They weren't supposed to be fighting! Remus wasn't
supposed to be running! The truth could only bring them closer together,
stop the fighting... right?
"The invisibility cloak... hurry." To his surprise,
Peter grasped the edge of the cloak, and hauled
himself under it along with the two of them.
This was crazy anyway, he thought. They wouldn't be able to find him.
But there he was, standing next to the entrance
of the hospital wing, where James knew he would be. They waited silently
in the corner. Madam Pomfrey came out in a few minutes.
They saw her smile kindly at Remus for a second,
then notice his expression. She leaned down to talk to him, but they didn't
hear what wassaid. They just saw Remus shake
his head and look down, apparently unwilling
to talk. So, she walked with him down the halls, and they followed
at a safe distance behind. She led them outside, and across thegrounds.
Then she stopped... right in front of the Whomping Willow, just out
of the way of it's wildly swinging branches. James, Sirius, and Peter
crept closer. She pulled a short rod out of her robes, and said a few
words. The rod lengthened, and she used it to prod at one of the roots
of the Willow... they crept closer, one of the knots on the root...and
the Whomping Willow stopped moving. Madam Pomfrey and Remus proceeded
into the darkness around the tree. Sirius made a move to follow, but James
pulled him back roughly. He pulled off the invisibility cloak, traded
a significant glance with Sirius, and turned to head back to the castle.
They followed silently behind him, and no one said
a word until they were five minutes back in
"We shouldn't have jumped on him like that," mummered
James. He thinks we think..."
Peter spoke for the first time. "What do we think?"
Sirius spoke up. "He shouldn't have lied to us like
that. He's been lying for nearly two years!"
"Yes, but... I mean, aren't you supposed to keep
something like that a secret? He had to know
how we'd react." Peter, hesitant, but stating his
Sirius stayed silent for a moment, a pensive look
on his face. James spoke up again, a very
determined set to his voice. "Look guys- he's
our friend. That's why we cared that he was lying to us in the first
place, that's why we're going to support him now in spite of it. I mean,
it's a shock that he's a werewolf and all, but the teachers must know,
we can't be in any danger. And this, it doesn't change who he is.
He's still our friend.
"And he looked very upset. I don't want to fight
like this anymore. Sirius, I know you're mad,
but this is more important than that. And Peter,
I know you're scared, but he, he can't hurt us. You know what the book
said. Only when the moon's out. And he must be safe... under the Willow."
Silence was the rule for most of the rest of that
night, but James knew he had gotten through
to Sirius and Peter. He knew Sirius cared about Remus
anyway, he was just overcome with emotions that night, as he was prone
to. They brought the book out again, and stared dully at the pictures.
Sirius went down to the kitchens for a midnight raid, and Peter went
too, anxious to find out where the secret entrance was. James stayed
behind and stared out the window.
"I think we should go and meet him."
"Think of it James! The suns almost up anyway! We
go down to the Willow with the invisibility
cloak, and we talk to him... you know, let him know
we're all right with it. Otherwise we won't see him again 'till tonight
"We could go visit him in the infirm-"
"How do we know he's there? We've never visited
him there before."
"How do we know he's not still a wolf?"
"Peter, you know very well what the book says."
"Actually, I agree with Sirius. We have the invisibility
cloak... we've stayed up all night anyway,
I want to get this settled."
Peter bit his lower lip and looked at each boy in
turn. Then he surprised them by nodding his consent. "Me too. I agree
too. I'll go too." Again they slipped the
invisibility cloak over their heads, again they crept
silently through the halls, down many hours of sleep, but wide awake on
adrenaline. Peter was being remarkably good about it, quiet and concentrated.
Finally they reached the Willow, and pulled off the cloak. Sirius started
forward, then stopped when the Willow gestured threateningly. He looked
back at James.
"I don't know; a branch or something."
Sirius darted in quickly and grabbed a long-ish
looking branch. He whacked desperately at
the knot they had seen Madam Pomfrey press, and the
Willow stopped. And they were in.
The path was taking forever. It obviously led away
from the grounds, and Sirius said it led right
into Hogsmeade with the authority of someone
who knew what he was talking about. Finally, it led right into...
"A house? We're in a house." A boarded up house,
Well, that was good. But something was wrong here.
Something felt off.
"Remus?" Sirius was calling out. He went into one
of the other rooms.
"Remus?" James started searching corners too, while
Peter stood there very rigidly with half-closed
"Remus? Re-" James stopped short. It took his mind
a couple of seconds to process the sight in
front of him. Then a couple more seconds.
In the meantime, Sirius rushed over to stand next
to him. Peter held
back for a moment, then skulked over silently. And
Remus kept lying on the ground. Naked. Scarred. Bloody. Bloody as if he
had been mauled by- by a terrible animal. And conscious. Alert enough
to notice his three closest- only?- friends
here, staring at him. The idea that they had come here
to comfort Remus, to be with him and assure him they were okay with the
fact that he was a werewolf buzzed at the surface of James' mind, just
out of reach as he took in Remus' expression. Hurt. Shock.
Anguish... and shame. This was what it meant to
be a werewolf. This blood. Those marks. This was in no book. He hadn't
thought...He hadn't thought, and this was
all his fault. It was his fault he shared
the secret. His fault they confronted him. His fault they followed
him. His fault for coming here. And his fault for not being able to move
or to say anything as Remus moved his closed his eyes and turned his
All of the sudden, there was a noise behind them,
and James found himself able to move again. "Quick!"
They all managed to struggle under the cloak and
fit themselves in a corner before Madam Pomfrey came in. She had a cloak
with her, and used it to cover Remus while checking him over. She mummered
a few spells under her breath, and Remus was able to sit up, though he
still looked semi-conscious and injured.
"Oh no. It was particularly bad this time, wasn't
He made no reply, just simply stared at the floor.
After a few more minor spells, the nurse put
a charm on him, helped him up, and supported him
as they walked out the door and started the long trip back to Hogwarts.
The cloak came off, and the room was silent once
They all agreed they were going to be as gentle
and supportive of Remus as they possibly could,
though they had no idea what they could say. James
mentally rehearsed a lot, wanting to get it exactly perfect. He didn't
return to the dorms that night, which was semi-unusual, but not extraordinarily
so. But when night fell the second day, they went from simple
fretting to distressed. They finally decided to pay a visit to the
hospital wing, though just to make sure he was physically alright-
James didn't want to go barging in there to force
a confrontation again. But when they got there,
the news they received did not put their minds
at ease. According to Madam Pomfrey, Remus had been released back to his
dorm over an hour ago. After assuring her they had just come from the
library, not the dorms, and, yes, the reason they were checking was because
Remus himself told them he wasn't feeling well, they dashed back to the
dorm to regroup.
James knew of course where he must have gone, despite
Peter's stutterings about checking the library
or someplace. And forced confrontations aside, it was suddenly the most
important thing in the world that the three of them get to him as soon
He was in the same room as before, but in the corner,
huddled, wand out casually in one hand, eyes
fixed on the large stain in the middle of the
"Remus?" It came out more tentative and hoarse than
anything James had ever said before in his
entire life. Sirius walked past him and set himself
next to Remus against the wall, keeping his eyes on the stain also.
James tried again.
And the tears started. He finally looked up at James,
eyes full of them (but not a single one more than Sirius, right next to
him) with such a look of begging and quiet desperation in his eyes that
it hit James like a two ton weight.
In the end, none of James' rehearsed speeches were
used. None needed to be. Acceptance and support
were most effectively communicated without words.
This might have been where it ended. But though
James saw one problem solved- the only fighting
going on in the dorm now was the usual, between
Sirius and himself, and Remus lost a bit of his haunted look, another
problem still loomed large in his mind. Remus hadn't been very forthcoming
with details, and no one wanted to pressure him, but James of course
had a clear idea of what went on once a month. And he just couldn't
accept that Remus had to go through that, that torture at all, much less
so often. Did that happen to all werewolves?
James knew that their kind had been around for thousands
of years, and that he was just a twelve year
old wizard, but he just couldn't get the idea
out of his head. Remus was his friend. There had to be a way to make
things all right. He would do whatever it took.
Continued in Four Sins 1...