Friday, November First, 1974 7:23 A.M.
There had been only one other time during the friendship of Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs that a blue moon had been nuisance enough to grace Moony with a visit, but at the time, Moony had still been hiding the terrible secret of his condition from his three best friends. So in their fourth year at Hogwarts, the morning following the blue moon and Halloween, Sirius awakes, still dressed in his pirate costume, thinking nothing of what horrible complications his second best friend had encountered the night previous. He simply kicks James affectionately in his shoulder, and James stands and stretches, the shirt of his military uniform rising just so that his hipbones sneak momentarily out of his trousers before he stands rightly and they slip back in. Peter, honed to James' body, awakes the instant James does, stands the instant James stands, and stretches less gracefully than James had managed. Peter's hipbones make Sirius think of ham, which makes him hungry. The three of them leave the room to find food, any food, and barely manage their way to the Great Hall without falling down forty-two flights of stairs. James is kind enough to carry Sirius the last three flights after Sirius' whining gets to be too much for him to handle.
Sirius stares at the pitcher of coffee sitting on the table and nurses a mug in both of his hands, willing the coffee to pour itself. James, sensing his wishes, pours the coffee dutifully. Three mugs later, Sirius is awake enough to pour his own. He honors the tradition of eating leftover candy for breakfast the morning after Halloween, but today all he would like is a nice rack of lamb and some garlic mashed potatoes. Instead, he eats a fistful of jellybeans and a chocolate bar that tastes vaguely of spiced rum. This gives him ideas for next Halloween, and he wonders just how many candy bars spiked with rum one would have to eat before getting drunk enough to do the Funky Chicken on the top of the Astronomy Tower. A devious smile plays on his lips, and James grins. Peter is too occupied with his croissant to bother.
Halfway through breakfast, Peter thinks to ask the question that no one else has even considered. "Where's Remus?"
James looks at the seat next to him as if Remus has been there all along. His friend's absence is hardly pressing at the moment. Remus has a habit of taking too long in the showers or tidying up the common room after parties such as last night's. He shrugs easily and steals a green jellybean—his favorite—from the First-Year sitting next to him.
Sirius goes through much of the same process of deduction concerning Remus' absence from the table. If Remus sits next to James every morning, but is not sitting next to James this morning, then Remus is not at breakfast this morning. If Remus is not at breakfast this morning, where is Remus this morning during breakfast? Thinking bores him because he knows that the day will be full of thoughts, although not necessarily thoughts about his lessons, so he sips another mug of coffee before posing the same question.
James frowns at the seat next to him and eats another green jellybean.
"No, but really, where's Remus?" Peter asks again. James throws a jellybean at Peter for no other reason than to occupy himself.
"He said he had to study last night. Did either of you see him come into the dormitory?"
Peter turns a subtle shade of pink as he recalls the entire decanter of Elderflower wine he hoarded for the occasion and shakes his head. "I was feeling sick," he says. Technically, this isn't a lie, he was feeling sick, but that's only because he drank plenty of wine and got gloriously drunk. "Too much candy." Sirius and James look at each other as if to say, "What's new?"
"I didn't see him at the party," Sirius offers.
"He hates parties is why you didn't see him at the party. And you were drunk," James says to Sirius.
Sirius smiles fondly, remembering his own jug of liquor; his weapon of choice was spiced rum. He remembers now why the candy bars tasted of rum and wonders just how many students will show up to class with a slight buzz. He hopes more than a few.
"Not to mention you sneaked into the kitchen and poured spiced rum into the chocolate. I wonder if Dumbledore knows."
Remus is momentarily forgotten as the three boys look up to Dumbledore, who is chewing fondly on truffles. They notice that his eyes are slightly glazed over, and though none of them is a whiz at divination, they see detention in their future. Or possibly a pat on the back..
"McGonagall is eating the chocolate too," Peter says with a groan. There is no doubt now about the detentions.
"So where is Remus?" Sirius asks, focusing more intently upon the seat next to James as if Remus will appear any moment.
"I didn't see him in the library last night when I went to talk to Lily, and I didn't see him at the party. I don't remember him coming to the dorm last night, and he's not at breakfast."
"Did Evans actually let you talk?"
"Well, I did get a 'hello' out before she suddenly remembered that her hair needed washing."
"At least she didn't kick you in the shins this time."
"I would have thought she would have gotten over this whole thing by now."
"You cut her ponytail off, James," Peter reminds him, unhelpful as usual.
"I was eleven at the time!" James shouts around a mouthful of green jellybeans.
"What a coincidence, so was she," Sirius mentions, picking a bit of green jellybean off of his shirt. Peter snickers, but he's not sure at who.
What follows is somewhat of a ritual. James punches Sirius. Sirius manages to get James in a headlock. James starts undoing Sirius' trousers so that he may properly de-trouser him in front of his adoring fans. Sirius makes a very rude comment and sweeps James' feet out from underneath him. James pulls Sirius pants down around his ankles. Sirius sits on James' head while looking around nonchalantly. James bites his ass, and Sirius jumps up with a screech. Peter's laughter is boisterous and unattractive as usual. The only part of the ritual missing is Remus, who should be sitting beside them with his nose in a book because of course he's much too mature to condone such horseplay.
"Okay, really, where is Remus?"
Monday, November 4th, 1974 12:35 A.M.
Sirius strokes the cursive R engraved into the leather cover of Remus' journal. James is curled up at his feet and drools into the couch cushion. Peter lies hunched over in the armchair nearest the hearth where the flames still rage enthusiastically. With enough light to read by, he opens the journal and reads the entry for the 31 of October, 1974:
"I suppose I'm not so much worried about changing twice in one month; I've done it before. Really, it's nothing monumental. It's just that since the onset of puberty the changes have been a bit more violent. I now pose a threat. It is now a competition between us to see who can catch the best tail. I am not saying that my thoughts are like this when I am in human flesh, but the minute I change I become a furball of hormones that are far out of my control. I never believed all of those myths that werewolves reach their sexual peak earlier than human males. It always seemed so outrageous for a boy of ten or eleven to be so ready for sex. I am just rambling. I guess I wish I had a choice in the matter. Just when I've become comfortable with who I am my lycanthropy gets in the way. Perhaps I'll someday find a cure for this affliction, but those that I've talked to seem to think that the only likely cure will ever be death. What optimists!"
Sirius is almost embarassed by how intimate the entry is. Puberty is one of the unutterable words among boys; Sirius can scarcely hear the word "sex" without breaking into childish giggles. Even now he wants to laugh at Remus for making sex seem like some dire task, like cutting off the head of Hydra or Argus.
The portrait hole swings open just as Sirius' small laughs fade. He looks up hopefully and sees Remus standing in the entranceway looking bedraggled and bloody and bruised, his head bent so that his chin touches his naked chest. What looks like a claw mark extends from Remus' shoulder to his stomach. Remus falls to his knees and begins sobbing in great spasms. Sirius forgets the journal, leaps to his feet, and hurries over to him, not caring that he kicks James' head or trips over Peter's foot on the way. Remus looks smaller than ever, and he is the only person that Sirius cares for in that moment.
Sirius catalogs the scratches and bruises, noting with grim satisfaction that they all seem to be well on their way to healing. Except, that is, for the two large slashes across Remus' face.
He knows Remus has never been a vain person, but he understands now why Remus has been hiding his face. Remus knows that James and Sirius are vain people, always fussing over hair and clothes and looks, and the embarassment in Remus' eyes is obvious.
Then Remus is talking too quickly, explaining that the madness drove him to run nearly twenty miles away where he encountered a pack of werewolves who took an immediate disliking to him, the outsider, always the outsider, and one of them began slashing at him while another pushed him into a machinery shed belonging to a nearby farm. Remus is fumbling over syllables, trying to relay all of this information to a bewildered Sirius. And Remus says that he fought well, like a Gryffindor would, and he understands why he's in Gryffindor now, and he keeps saying "and". Sirius struggles to keep up, and finally tells Remus to shut up. Remus doesn't shut up, however. He keeps talking, says it took him three days to get back because he kept falling unsconcious in the most inconvenient places. When Sirius tells him to shut up again, Remus obeys.
He leads Remus to the couch, knowing very well that Remus could not make it up anymore stairs after that dilemma. Remus nods appreciatively and falls onto the sofa with his feet by James' head and his face pressed into the accomodating cushions. Sirius lays down next to him, intimately close. He pulls the gold and maroon afghan off of the back of the couch and tucks Remus in tightly before nuzzling his shoulder. "Sleep." Again, Remus obeys.
Monday, November 4th, 1974 7:04 A.M.
Gryffindors, both those who know James Potter, Sirius Black, and Remus Lupin and thosewho do not, those who know that Remus Lupin has been missing for three days without so much as a mention of him from his friends or Dumbledore and those who know only that he is the best student in their year, come into the common room to find the three huddled together on the large couch in front of the glowing hearth. They cringe when they see Lupin's face and wonder aloud what happened to him, where has he been, why is he cuddling the two Boyest Boys that ever lived?
Some of them have the grace to be jealous, while others politely smile and wish that they were in the Boyest Boys club. One of the young Gryffindors remarks to his friends that if Peter Pettigrew can be considered a Boyest Boy then he has no understanding of why he cannot be one. His friend, a rather smart one at that, explains that someone within the group has got to be the designated Worshipper of the Boyest Boys, and they all nod and say "hmm" in a satisfied way.