"And they didn't desert me at all."
Chapter Twenty-One: Finding the Difference between Half-Truths and Lies
James put his trunk down with the others that a select few had chosen to leave by the exit of their common room to convenience them tomorrow. He knew that he had eaten too much at the end of term feast but he couldn't help it; the food was always too good to pass up. He smiled to himself as he thought of the fact that Gryffindor had dominated over the Quidditch Cup. Unfortunately, though, they had lost the inter-House competition to Slytherin. James had wanted to hex Snape so badly, when the headmaster had announced that, just to wipe the smug smile off of the greasy git's face. So, afterwards, Sirius did it for him, a simple hex that would ultimately leave Snape in the bathroom for a good hour or so. James chuckled to himself as he thought of his enemy's fate. With this satisfying feeling, he wandered up to his dormitory, fully intending to go to sleep.
James entered the room only to be greeted by the soft snoring of Peter, Sirius' tossing and turning as he looked for a comfortable position to sleep in, and Remus' replies to Peter's snoring. James frowned slightly at Remus' bed, still knowing that they hadn't done their job yet. He stared at the sleeping boy for a long while before resolving to tell Remus what they knew on the train tomorrow. That way none of them would have any way to get out of it. He smiled slightly at his small plan, seeing no possible flaws in it and quickly got into his pajamas and curled up in his bed. He laid there for a long while staring at the designs in his canopy, like he did almost every night thinking of all the things he would say to Remus when they finally confronted him. Then without any warning to himself he drifted off to sleep.
"James, get up we have to go!" Sirius yelled at James' bed.
James jumped up and noticed that half of the world was out of focus and he couldn't place his surroundings. He quickly adjusted his glasses that he had fallen asleep in, and opened the curtains that surrounded his bed. Instantly, he was greeted with a plate full of food. He took it from Sirius' hands and set it aside so he could put on his clothes.
"Eat fast." Sirius said impatiently.
James didn't even bother to ask why and simply did as he was told. Once he was finished he set the plate on his nightstand and found instantly that he was being ushered out of the room. "What's up?" James asked eagerly.
Sirius just looked down at his watch and groaned slightly obviously finding something that he didn't like. "We have ten minutes to get to the platform." He stated rather calmly considering the situation.
"WHAT!" James yelled and then lowered his voice quickly after realizing how loud it had gotten. "Why didn't you wake me?"
"We tried, but you wouldn't wake up." He stated seriously. "But then we thought that you looked just too peaceful to rouse, so we left you alone." He said with a sarcastic wink. "Your bags have already been taken so you can put these in you're trunk when we get there." Sirius then shoved James' pajamas into his hands.
They then quickly left for Hogsmeade station and arrived in fair time. They boarded the train completely exhausted, since they had to run the entire path that lead from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade and then continue on this way to the station. Once on board they immediately began searching for the rest of their gang knowing that Remus and Peter had gone ahead intending on finding a compartment to save for strictly themselves.
They issued the typical 'excuse me's,' and 'pardon me's' to the people within the cars they had to pass through. Eventually they opened one of the doors that lead to the next car and looked inside only to be greeted by a snarling Snape. The two boys said nothing as they walked through Snape, Avery, and Knott's car, attempting to be civil to them, as they headed for the door leading to the next compartment. As they reached for the handle to slide the door open they heard someone mutter something just barely audible. James and Sirius quickly looked at each other, exchanging brief glances, and then they quickly ducked just in time before they were hit in the head with a potions book. Once the book had hit the floor the two left as quickly as their legs would allow them to. They ran through the compartments as explicit words were sent after them for their rude behavior. Every now and then they would hear something hit a wall, which both boys knew was intended to hit them.
They finally reached the last car and were greeted by a very worried Remus and Peter, who had only seen Sirius and James' mad dash into the compartment and sensed that something must be wrong. Sirius and James smiled weakly at them and then turned around as fast as they could and slammed the door shut. Immediately, they heard a huge thumping sound up against the door just as they locked it with one of the many handy spells they had learned that year. James and Sirius turned back around to face their friends and snickered out loud no longer able to contain their laughter. James smiled at Remus' cocked eyebrow and simply said. "Snape."
Remus nodded to the statement as if everything he had been wondering now made sense. "That all?"
The two nodded at he question and took their seats across from each other filling in the empty spots beside Remus and Peter. "Did we miss anything?"
"No, you caused it to get interesting." Remus retorted with a smirk.
"Well, I try my best." James laughed and shook his head at Sirius, knowing that if Sirius could he would bow as low as possible just to be a smartass.
The train left the station shortly afterwards and the four of them sat talking for a long while about anything and everything as they typically did when they were left alone for any period of time. Throughout the switching conversations they laughed over certain pranks they had successfully pulled off that year and contemplated ways they could do better next year.
Remus fell silent halfway through as Sirius and James started talking about the new Zonko's supplies they were going to get for next year's excitement. James watched intently as Remus grew quiet and he slowly calculated why Remus would be acting this way. Suddenly Remus spoke up. "I'm hungry. I think I'm going to go and chase down the trolley lady." He quickly got up and unlocked the door and checked for any signs of Snape lingering outside. He didn't find Snape anywhere so he stepped outside their car and disappeared from the three remaining boys view.
"I think he's catching on that we know." Sirius said rather bluntly.
James just gave him a strict look and retorted. "But then why is he acting so scared? Don't you think he'd be happy that we still want to be his friends?"
"Maybe he doesn't know that." Peter offered.
The room fell silent for a while as each boy slipped into their own thoughts and shortly after Remus walked back into the compartment with his arms full of assorted candies. He dropped all of it on top of the table. "I didn't get any Bertie Bott's because I have terrible luck with those things." He said smiling either oblivious to the silence in the room or was just trying to ignore it. The latter seemed more likely. He took his seat and looked at James and smiled as he opened one of the candy bars he had brought. James said nothing and simply watched him quietly, slowly calculating his next move as if this was an important chess match. Then he sighed deeply seeing no other move and said, "We know." He said it as bluntly as he could. He didn't want to keep their secret anymore it needed to come out so he just let it. He noticed that Sirius and Peter's jaws drop open in awe of his brashness and stared at Remus in expectation as the boy's face went ashen.
"Know what?" Remus asked quietly hoping that what they claimed they knew was actually something entirely different than what he thought it was, yet, at the same time, he knew that it wasn't.
"That you're a werewolf." James said levelly, looking Remus straight in the face. He watched as Remus' eyes started to glaze over with tears. Remus turned towards the window bracing himself for the next event that typically followed this revelation. A few moments passed in complete silence as nothing happened, not one word was spoken, not one person moved. A tear escaped from Remus' eyes for waiting for the verdict was much more painful than sentence, and then, not being able to take it anymore, he slowly got up from his seat crying silently to himself in shame of what he was and what it always did to him. "I'll just leave." He claimed in defeat.
He took one step towards the door but James held out his arm to stop him. "You're not going anywhere." James said looking Remus in the eyes. "Please, just sit down."
"We won't hurt you." Sirius offered not really knowing what else to say to the crying boy.
Remus watched all of them closely, trying to find any insincerity on their faces that would prove their words false, but after what seemed to be an eternity he found nothing that would prove a falsity of their words so he sat back down signing his fate with his "friends."
Sirius sighed slightly hurt by the boy's reaction and looked at Remus with a pained expression before he spoke. "Why don't you trust us now that you know we know?"
Remus held back his tears not really wanting to answer their questions. James watched his reaction and gave Sirius a stern look for his words and quickly thought things through in his mind. He smirked slightly and then looked back over at Remus. "How about this... we explain what we know and how we figured it out. Then if you still don't trust us we'll just leave you alone but if you think it's okay then it's your turn to answer our questions. Does that sound a little more fair?" James said still unsure how this would go over.
Remus thought for a second on the words. It certainly couldn't hurt just listening to them, so he nodded his head in reply not knowing what else to do. Immediately, his three friends dove into their story each cutting one another off to get what they wanted to say in. In the end it took the better part of forty-five minutes to get their story out, due to all of the interruptions. They finally ended their tale with a detailed description of their full moon plan involving the Anamagi transformations.
"So what is it?" Remus couldn't lie and say that he wasn't impressed with the thoroughness of their plans so he slowly but surely found himself shaking his head. Then he said, without full consciousness of saying it before it was out in the open. "What do you want to know?"
"Why didn't you trust us?" Sirius said still slightly hurt by Remus' previous reaction.
Remus just sighed knowing that Sirius wouldn't let this go until he answered it and still knowing that he didn't fully trust them and didn't want to answer the question. He knew that they had high ambitions about the problem but they didn't understand it. It couldn't be fixed that easily otherwise surely someone would have caught onto it. But then it was nice to think that there was a chance he'd be okay once a month, and his friends would actually stick around. So he clung onto that thought and began. "The last time my 'friends' found out I was a Lycanthrope I was seven. They threw rocks at me and chased me away from them screaming 'half-breed' so that the whole neighborhood knew what I was. The next day my parents and I were thrown out of the town."
The tears began to fall silently down his cheeks as the memories started to flow into his mind and before they even had the chance to ask another question he started to tell them everything he had held inside for as long as he could remember. All the secrets he had never told anyone ever before started to come out and he couldn't try to stop them even if he had wanted to.
"I was five when I was bitten... excuse mauled." He laughed bitterly to himself, as the image came to his mind and his own piercing scream from that cold night surfaced again from the blackened depths of his mind. "It was winter and cold, the coldest I can remember it ever being. It was snowing and I was inside all warm and cozy by the fireplace. My mum was in the kitchen baking cookies for both my cousin and me. My cousin was staying with us for the week because her parents were on vacation. She turned to me and realized that she had left her stuffed dog outside. She asked me to get it for her and at first I said 'no' but she kept asking. She said that he would freeze to death if I didn't go and rescue it. I agreed to get it just to get her to leave me alone.
"So I went outside without my coat on, or anything for warmth on for that matter, and walked outside over towards the edge of the woods where we had been playing earlier that day. I quickly found the toy, picked it up and turned back around to go inside. Before I really knew what had happened I was on the ground bleeding and screaming in fear as this massive beast stood on top of my back ripping bits of my flesh off of every bit of me it could get its mouth on. I could feel my ribs crack under the pressure of its weight just before I passed out from the pain."
The tears he had been trying so hard to keep silent began to flow freely as small sobs began to escape from his weak frame. "Just before I passed out I heard my mum scream my name and then a bright red light filled the area around me, then I passed out. Later, I found out that the red light was the spell my dad had used to fend the werewolf off." Remus whipped the tears from his eyes, ashamed of them, and stopped telling his story and concentrated for a while on trying to subdue his sobs.
"I was in hospital for a month." He started again once he was almost sure that he wouldn't break down again. "The medi-witches even told my parents that they should put me down and do me a favor. But they didn't. After that they had to, still have to, put me in the shed out back to keep other people safe during the full moons. At first I didn't really understand what was going on. But apparently, after a year of this new routine my parents say that they found me in my dad's den looking up werewolves, trying to find answers about my condition that they had tried to hide from me." Remus went quiet and stared out the window not sure what else to say. He'd never told anyone these things before and was now fully petrified of the possible reactions he could get from these disclosures.
James watched Remus grow slightly tenser as his story unfolded and then in the end the silence grew to consume all four of the boys in their own thoughts. James himself didn't really know what to say. He had never expected anything like that to just come out into the open and so he was at a complete loss as to what he could say to comfort his friend. And by the sound of the silence they had fallen into neither Sirius nor Peter knew what to say. After a long while Sirius finally broke the unbearable silence.
"Don't take this the wrong way, but how did you even get into school?"
Remus stared at Sirius hardly believing that he had asked that question but after staring at the boy he found nothing that indicated that he didn't want him there so he answered. "Dumbledore. If it hadn't been for him I wouldn't have gotten into school. Headmaster Dippet certainly wouldn't have let me enroll. But Dumbledore thought that as long as we took the necessary precautions come once a month there shouldn't be any reason I shouldn't get an education. That's why the tree was planted this year. It blocks the tunnel leading to a newly built shack in Hogsmeade."
James smiled wickedly as his mind wandered back to their plan. Sirius noticed the smirk and began to smile to himself too and Peter just sat their confused by the sudden reaction of his two friends to these words. "So how do you get into the tunnel?" James asked with a lopsided smile stating what was on both his and Sirius' minds.
Remus stared at him not sure whether he should answer that question or choose to ignore it. But after turning it over in his mind for a bit he finally decided that it would be okay to tell them. "There's a knot in the tree trunk... you push it in and it'll stop the tree from moving long enough for you to climb through the passage."
James exchanged glances with Sirius and took out a sheet of paper and started writing on it. Once he had gotten done he looked up at them and gave both Sirius and Peter a copy of the Anamagi book list he had just made. Then he started to talk about how they were going to do this and how it would open up a million new adventures for them. By the time the train had reached its destination the four boys had thought of every detail they could for their plans. Beginning with what kind of mad things they would be able to do when they eventually pulled off the transformations and what they would likely turn into, knowing that the animals they could change into were already preordained by their genetic make-up and personality rather than their own wishes.
When the train finally stopped they collected their things as the continued to talk among themselves about the possible ways they could get away with their plans. They slowly made their way off of the train as Sirius started telling mad tales that were hardly possible just to postpone meeting his parents. All of them knew that's why he was just talking about everything and anything and none of them minded in the least.
James felt fairly confident that Remus was okay with everything that they had planned as he watched his friend laugh at a fairly lame joke cracked by Sirius as they stepped onto platform nine and three quarters. James knew that even though Remus had helped make up the majority of the plans for their illegal activities he could still have some doubts about the friendship considering the things he had been through in the past. But now as he began to share one of his own jokes with Sirius he showed no such signs of doubt. This put James at ease.
James heard Sirius groan loudly as he looked up at the crowd after Remus had finished his joke, which had been surprisingly good, as Sirius' eyes fell upon what could only be his family. James followed his gaze and sure enough Mr. and Mrs. Black stood towards the side by the exit, away from the rest of the families that were busy greeting their children. Sirius quickly grumbled some obscenities about his relatives and then told James and the rest of his friends a quick goodbye without moving his lips so his parents would have no reason to scold him. James replied in the same way not wanting to get the boy in trouble and watched as Sirius went to join his parents. As soon as the boy had reached them James noticed that he was greeted with nothing but a glare as if he was filth and then Sirius also had to scurry out after them dragging his own trunk behind him. James sighed at the despicable treatment of his friend knowing that he couldn't change it even if he wanted to. James then turned back towards Peter and bid him farewell also. Peter left quickly barely remembering to say bye himself and ran off to his parents' side leaving James alone with Remus.
James smiled at Remus and hugged him tightly before he said anything to him. He let go of his friend and smiled brightly at the boy who just looked at him slightly shocked by the gesture. James ignored the shocked _expression. "I'll see you next year." James said quickly as his mother called after him telling him to come over to them. James ignored her and continued on. "I'll write you, okay?" Remus just nodded and said goodbye not really knowing what else to say. He hadn't expected that.
James gave one last smile to the boy and then waved goodbye before he walked over to his own parents. He smiled at them and hugged his mum. His father grabbed his trunk and they slowly walked off of the platform into King's Cross Station towards the parking lot where a very expensive ministry car sat waiting for them. James climbed inside the vehicle and slowly they made their way downtown London in the direction of their house.
"So did you have an interesting year?" James' father inquired as he stared back at his son through the rear view mirror.
James laughed slightly to himself as he watched the people pass each other on the street. Thoughts of his year filtered into his head and he turned his attention back to his father who was waiting patiently for an answer. "You could say that." James stated with a smirk. He knew in his heart of hearts that next year would bring new twists and turns in his life that would surely be more interesting than this year's events. And he knew that he was definitely ready for that.
A/N: That's it... until I get the new story up which shouldn't take to long. Oh and if you're worried that I'm wrong about the whole Anamagus transformation thing you can go to mugglenet and find the like and find out for yourself. It's actually really interesting... it's the chat transcription for JKR during the World Book Day chat. If you've read it already then you know what I'm talking about if you haven't I suggest you read it cuzz it's cool. What else... Ah yes... THANK YOU PEOPLES: Kara Black for being the coolest friend, StormMistress for being my most faithful reader, Fiery Wordess you're just cool and my beta reader so I have probably the most thanks to you, er... undomiel, Mystic Rouge, Marauder Phoenix, and because I've reached laziness I'm not going to list anymore names. Anyone I didn't mentions there is just as much thanks to you people cuzz without you I probably would have stopped writing this. This is honestly the first story I have ever finished because I knew that people liked it. So thanks a bundle and I hope you continue to read my fics. Thanks.