Disclaimer: Last time I checked, I didn't own Harry Potter, the books, the movies or the merchandice
The other time of the month
The marauders were in their seventh year and James had just started dating Lilly, the young woman, whom he'd had a crush on since third year, but he'd never admit to that. Lily was a very active and vocal person. Often you could feel her energy and her presence from miles away. This was one of the qualities which attracted James to her in the first place. There was a realness to her, and a confidence which she carried that was unparalleled by any of the marauders, as they each carried with them their own demons – invisible to the outside world, but very visible among each other. Lilly, being new to the marauding group, hadn't really been soiled by their mischief making as yet, so whenever she was around, she shone through the group like a lumos charm gone haywire.
It was the first month of the lunar calendar (second month if you used the solar one) and the air was just starting to defrost in preparation for the coming of Spring. James had come back from his first trip to Hogsmeade with Lilly, which he had been looking forward to for weeks. But the expression on his face told Remus and Sirius that the trip had not gone according to planned. Also, they had returned earlier than had been expected.
They arrived in the Great Hall just in time to grab the last of the lunch meal on the Griffindor table. The uneaten dishes were about to be sent to the kitchens any time now.
"So how did it go?" Sirius asked with a twitch at the corner of his mouth, which suggested that he was trying not to smirk.
"I don't know." Said James, looking utterly confused and hazy.
"Come on. It was your date. You should know." Sirius urged.
"It was different." James admitted.
"How different?" Asked Peter.
"She was… well she was actually saying nice things to me." Said James.
"And that's a bad thing?" Now it was Sirius's turn to look confused.
"Well, normally when we're together, she never stops teasing me." Said James, spoken like a true lover.
One thing that should be mentioned here is that the other things that made Lilly stand out among the marauders, although one that the marauders did not like to draw attention to, was her temper. Usually as sweet as roses but once you set her off, lilly was more terrifying than a time bomb, and in her anger, she had a stubbornness that surpassed Severus's.
"And also, normally she'd snap if I tried putting my arm around her neck but today, she didn't say anything."
"She actually let you manhandle her?" asked Peter.
"Don't be stupid Wormtail." Said Sirius, annoyed at the interruption. "So what do you think is up?"
"I don't know. I hope she still likes me." Said James, looking over across the table to where Lilly was sitting with her girlfriends. Usually more ignorant and self-righteous than the British royal family, this was one of the very few times that James had showed self-doubting tendencies since first year.
"I'm pretty sure that she does." Said Lupin, now standing up. "By this time tomorrow, she'll probably be calling you every name under the sun again."
"Hey, where are you going?" Enquired James.
Remus didn't answer. He headed toward the other end of the table where Lilly and her friends were sitting. They were talking in hushed voices as he approached.
"Lilly, are you alright." Remus asked, concerned.
"I'm fine thanks." She replied. Lilly also had a dazed look in her eyes but it was not for her affection for James.
"You feeling dizzy?" Remus asked.
"I'll be alright." She said.
"Yeah, stop bothering her." Said Amamda, one of Lilly's friends.
"I'll just be a minute longer." Said Remus.
"You will, will you." Tina, who was also with Lilly, stood up, her wand arm reaching into her robes.
Still looking at Remus, Lilly reached out behind her and grabbed Tina's arm, pulling her down to a sitting position.
"Don't mind her." Said Lilly.
"Of course not." Remus replied.
He pulled out a small bottle and handed it to Lilly. "My sister gave it to me earlier today. It's got essence of ginger and cane syrup. It'll help you get better."
"Thank you." Said Lilly. She took a quick look at the bottle and stowed it away before anybody else could see what was happening.
"What did you just give her?" James demanded. By now all the marauders had abandoned their sandwiches and gathered around Lilly's end of the table.
"She's a little ill today. That's why she's not been herself. I just gave her something to help her get better." Remus replied.
"And you would know this because?" James challenged, partly because he was ashamed that he hadn't realised this earlier, and partly because he felt something rise inside him - a new feeling that he had never felt before and it was strange because now felt that he wanted to hurt Remus, without knowing why.
"Because I saw her in the library early this morning and she looked really tired so I decided to keep a close eye on her and I realised that she's a bit ill." Remus replied.
"You were in the library?" Now Tina was surprised.
"Yeah, we had some spare time before leaving for Hogsmeade, so I was trying to finish my essay for Professor Slughorn." Lilly admitted.
"But our Potions assignment isn't due for a fortnight." Said Amanda.
"Not that assignment. This was something different." Lilly explained. "Professor Slughorn said that there was a scholarship I could apply for to study medicine. I want to be a healer but it's so hard to get in. And it's really expensive. We really don't have that kind of money at home."
"Wow, you had the energy to do a five thousand word essay while being ill." Said Tina, looking amazed.
"Well it's due on Tuesday so I had to at least try to finish it so I can get Slughorn to proof read it tomorrow." Said Lilly, looking sheepish.
"We were wondering where you were this morning." Said Amanda.
James was speechless. Lilly had never spoke openly about her hopes and aspirations with him. Now he felt ashamed that he'd never asked. He spent most of the time with her, talking about himself, trying to impress her, and she had kept her dreams and talents hidden.
"Let's give her some air." Said Remus, motioning for his friends to go back with him to their end of the table.
"Remus, how did you figure out what was wrong with her?" Sirius asked as soon as Lilly and her friends were out of hearing range.
"Just more observant I guess." Said Remus, hiding a smirk of his own.
"What was in that jar you gave her?" James asked.
"Medicine." Remus replied.
"For what?" James asked.
"Well if you guys still haven't figured it out by now." Said Remus.
"Come on Remus, I'm her boyfriend. I need to know." Said James impatiently.
"It's just that time of the month." Remus replied.
"Oh no. She's not a…" James mumbled.
"Of course she's not." Said Sirius, suddenly becoming angry. "Don't listen to him James. You can be a real git sometimes you know, Moony."
"But she can't be…" Said James, still looking quite shocked.
"Don't worry, Sirius is right. She's not a werewolf." Remus laughed, unable to hold back any longer.
"Then what's wrong with her?" James was still confused.
"Sleep on it." Said Remus. "I've got to go and speak with Professor McGonagall about something. See you in the common room."
a/n: If you are a member of the female species, you will have gotten the joke long before you got to the end of the story. If you are a guy reading this, well I hope you can appreciate the humour.
The remedy that Remus gives Lilly is a real remedy. Ginger is supposed to help you get better if you get a stomach ache (for want of a better name).
It's implied that because Remus has a sister, he's able to figure out what's wrong with Lilly more quickly than the other guys.
So here's to all of us who have a real 'time of the month' problem to deal with and in all due respect, it's no better than what werewolves have to go through. The only good side is that our syndrome is not contagious.