AN: Wow, chapter 50 already... When I started writing this I was just messing around with some ideas and I had no intentions on continuing this story for so long or even uploading it to the site. I'm glad I decided to share. 40 followers and 34 favorites! Wow. I'm still in shock that all of you are really enjoying this story, and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all the kind words and all support you have given me.
Just in case anyone goes looking for the missing The Truth Behind Animagi by Rowan Kingly, Remus and Sirius stash it in the Room of Requirements. That way it won't be found up in their dorm room if professors start asking questions.
To none of their surprise Remus has read the entire Animagus book in a week.
"That was probably the most complected thing I've ever read," Remus admits as soon as he reads the last sentence. He puts the book down on the coffee table between the two couches and leans away from it, not wanting to look at it again for awhile. He, Sirius, and Peter are all waiting in the Room of Requirement for James to get back from Quidditch practice. The practice is running late, Gryffindor won their second match against Ravenclaw, meaning they will be playing for the Quidditch cup in two weeks. Ramsay has made the practices an hour longer each night because of this.
Sirius and Peter both look up from their Potions assignment.
"You still think we can do it though, right?" Sirius asks.
"I do, but it'll take a lot of hard work," Remus says. "Things could go really wrong too."
"How wrong?" Peter squeaks.
"Bad wrong. Saint Mungos wrong." Remus doesn't feel like elaborating at the moment. He struggled reading through the part about witches and wizards who have died while attempting to become Animagus. Another section was about those who got stuck as animals, resulting in loss of limbs or sanity by time they finally got themselves transformed back.
Peter looks like he could be sick, but swallows it back, "Should we really be doing this?"
Remus wants to admit they are all way in over their heads, but he also knows nothing will stop Sirius and James. Remus doesn't dare say no, because they'd try to do it behind his back.
"That's up to you, Peter," Remus says. Peter nods and leans back in his chair, trying to make up his mind on what to do. The door opens just then, and James steps inside. He carries his Nimbus 1500 and is soaking wet.
"Is it raining?" Sirius asks.
"No I decided to take a swim around the lake," James says sarcastically. "Ah, Remus. You've put the book down, did you finish it?"
"No I decided to give up on the entire plan," Remus says, matching James sarcasm.
"Remus here was actually just telling us about how bad things could go," Sirius says.
"Bad?" James asks, he walks over to Sirius and shakes his head like a dog, letting water fly down onto his friend. Sirius laughs and attempts to push James away with his foot. Once James is finished he turns back to Remus. "Not death bad, right?"
"Well..." Remus says, scrunching up his face.
"You never said anything about death!" Peter squeaks. "You just said Saint Mungos."
"Oh that place is great." James takes a seat in a beanbag because none of his friends want to share a couch with him soaking wet. "If I were to get seriously injured make sure they ship me there and not some half-ass place."
"It's not funny, James," Peter says.
"Oh come on. We're doing this, aren't we? Might as well have a sense of humor about the stuff that could go wrong."
"The three of you need to read the book," Remus says. "Make up your minds afterwards. It's not something simple like one of our pranks, this is hard work. And it won't be easy to hide what we're doing. We'll loose a lot of time doing this because it takes a lot of practice."
It takes the other three Marauders longer to read the Animagus book, but after reading it themselves Peter is a nervous wreck. They move around the dorm room getting ready to go to sleep, and all Peter can talk about is possibly dying.
"We won't die, Peter," James says casually. He makes himself comfortable on the edge of Sirius's bed.
"Y-you don't know that for sure," Peter stutters.
"Cross my heart," James says. To show he means it he moves a finger over his heart in an X form.
"And hope to die," Sirius chuckles. James elbows him hard in the ribs.
"Shush," James says simply before directing his attention back to Peter. "Just remember we're doing this for Remus." Peter nobs but that doesn't stop him from being nervous. James points out the window at the rising moon then points at Remus, who is asleep in his bed. "Tomorrow night is the next full moon, and look how sick Remus already is. Tomorrow night is going to be torture for him, the least we can do to help him is this."
"You're right," Peter says. "I just don't want to get hurt or die."
"I won't let that happen," Sirius says simply.
The next night Remus bids farewell to his friends then leaves to go to the shack off the school grounds. The Marauders wait until nightfall, and as they see the moon rising outside their window they throw on the Invisibility Cloak and go downstairs to the statue of Gregory the Smarmy. James twist the ear then one by one they slide down into the tunnel with their wands lit. When Sirius opens the trapdoor at the end of the tunnel they can already hear the racket coming from the shack.
James flinches as he gets to his feet and looks over in the direction of the shack. They can't quite see it from here, but a few steps farther down the hill and it comes into view. Peter is shaking from the noise they hear, and James knows now why the locals think it's haunted.
"Are we sure that's Remus?" Sirius asks as they look down on the shack. A loud shrieking noise echos around the trees they stand in and all three boys shutter.
James nods. "I'm guessing the sleeping potion didn't put him to sleep." A long awful howl makes the hairs on the back of James neck stand up, and despite knowing Remus can't get to them he takes a cautious step back. "We're doing this right? Becoming Animagi?"
"Definitely," Sirius says through a sad grimace, he can't peel his eyes away from the shack. "Peter?"
"Y-yes," Peter stutters. "Can we go back now?"
The three boys turn on their heels. As they climb back down into the tunnel they all feel slightly guilty for leaving Remus behind.
Up in the hospital wing the next morning Madam Pomfrey tends to Remus's wounds. His arms and waist bare awful scratches. Remus grimaces as she touches different gels and potions to the wounds. She gives him a special relaxant to drink so his muscles don't feel so tight after a few minutes. It was one of his worse nights yet, the wolf turned on itself, resulting in Remus coming too with blood covering his arms and side. He rushed up to the Hospital Wing as quickly as he could, and was glad to see that everyone else was in class so they wouldn't stare at him in the hallways.
"You need to stay the night, Remus," Madam Pomfrey says. "I want to monitor these wounds and make sure they don't reopen." She's managed to seal the cuts, but Remus is sure the one on his waist will scar.
"Can I go to my dorm and get my schoolbooks?" Remus asks. Madam Pomfrey gives him an hour to gather his things for the night. Remus climbs the stairs up to the Gryffindor Tower. It's busier now, because it's nearing lunch and other students are out of classes. In the Common Room a couple older Gryffindors glance at Remus, he's still in his day clothes and not his uniform. He ignores the curious stares and rushes up to his dorm. Peter is there digging through his trunk, at the sound of the door closes he looks up and grins.
"Hi, Remus. How are you feeling?"
"Alright," Remus shrugs. "I'm staying the night at the Hospital Wing. Madam Pomfrey wants to monitor these." He lifts his shirt up enough to show the newly sealed wound on his waist. Peter flinches and Remus drops his shirt. "It doesn't hurt anymore," Remus adds.
"That's good," Peter says. He turns back to his trunk. "I'll let Sirius and James know where you are."
"Are they already downstairs eating?" Remus asks as he starts to gather his things.
"I think James is busy following Evans around," Peter says. "She and Snape were talking and James didn't like it."
"Typical," Remus chuckles.
Peter turns to Remus and opens his mouth to speak, but closes it again, feeling awkward. Remus notices.
"What's wrong?" He asks.
"Nothing," Peter mumbles.
"Peter. You can tell me."
"We... we took the Gregory the Smarmy tunnel into Hogsmeade l-last night," Peter stutters. Remus frowns and looks down at the books in his hands to avoid eye contact with Peter. He tries to think over what possible things his friends could have heard. Peter continues, "I decided I-I want to do it. Become an Animagus."
"You don't have too, not if you're worried about it," Remus says. He looks back up at Peter.
"I am. But the Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor... he said m-maybe it'll help me find the bravery inside me. I want to be brave, Remus."