It Doesn't Change a Thing
Author's Note: Okay, this is my first Harry Potter fanfiction. So bear with me, all right? If it is utterly and completely horrid and ersatz, you have my permission to burn it alive (but please allow it to put on it's sunscreen if you will). But I very much hope that it is not.
Disclaimer: I take no credit for anything but the plot, the lovely calico cat Serge and the brownies, fondly nicknamed "Remus Brownies".
"If to be feeling alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large." - William Wilberforce
Lily frowned as she looked at her calendar tacked to the wall beside her bed. She ignored the pair of grey kittens that batted a ball of yarn around in the November picture, a sinking feeling in her heart as she found the date.
"Lily! Are you coming? Classes start in twenty minutes!" Marlene called up the steps from the common room.
"Be right down!" Lily replied, gathering her bag and straightening her robes. She cast a look over her shoulder at the calender as she headed out of the dormitory.
Tonight, she knew, was the night that she would find out the truth.
Sitting next to James, Remus mentioned in passing that he would be leaving before afternoon Charms class with Professor Flitwick.
"Your mum sick again Rem?" James asked sympathetically around a mouthful of eggs. He nodded.
"Mus' be nice 'aving a mum dat cares," Sirius said thickly, his mouth crammed with a disgusting mix of bacon and scones. He cast his plate a dark look before brightening considerably. He swallowed before asking, "Hey, thank your mum for the cookies she sent last time for me, yeah?"
Again, Remus nodded, glad his friends had no inkling of what was really happening. He was surprised, but grateful all the same that they didn't notice his exhausted and pale appearance, or his apparent vow of silence that morning. He pushed his cereal around his bowl absently as Peter accidentally spilled his goblet of pumpkin juice. He was faintly amused as well, seeing as his mother had boundless energy.
He barely even acknowledged Lily as she sat beside him. He didn't even have the energy to be amused at Lily and Jame's ritual morning squabble.
"Hey, Evans, guess what Missy O'Malley from Ravenclaw told me?" James asked, pushing his fingers through his jet black hair.
"Frankly, Potter, I haven't a care what O'Malley said, so would you kindly shut up?" Lily snapped. She turned towards Remus. "You alright Remus? You're looking a bit pale," she asked in concern. Beside him, Remus registered that James was gaping open mouthed at Lily's abrupt change of attitude.
"Yeah, fine," Remus replied, albeit nervously. "Hey, I'm going home to visit my mum this afternoon, could you possibly give Professor Flitwick my Charms essay? James said he'd take notes for me."
"Yes, of course." Lily said with a nod. She looked at him in sympathy. "Tell your mum I said hello, for me?"
Remus nodded tiredly. "No problem." Merlin, was he exhausted. He was surprised he hadn't collapsed. He stood, gripping the table for support. "I need to talk to McGonagall before Transfiguration. See you guys later." The rest of the Marauders nodded, their mouths to full to respond. Lily smiled and waved him off. He breathed an internal sigh of relief, truly surprised and a little hurt that his friends hadn't noticed how cursed awful he looked. An ill wind blew some good, he supposed. He stopped and looked out the window to the clear, cloudless sky. This was going to be one painful full moon.
Lily watched Remus covertly through out the day, noting that as the day wore on, the more pale and drawn he became. She wasn't quite sure how to deal with her suspicions, but it seemed that the closer it got to nightfall, the more solid her assumptions were becoming. Her heart constricted with a series of painful emotions: fear, sympathy, confusion.
So lost in her thoughts she became, that Professor Slughorn rapped hard on her desk, frowning at her inattention.
"Miss Evans, what may I ask, has gotten into you today? Accidentally swallow some day dreaming potion?" he asked jovially, though his eyes crinkled in worry.
"Oh, sorry sir! Just thinking," she said, turning to her cauldron, which was threatening to bubble over. If there was any class not to not pay attention in, this was certainly the one.
"Just mind that it doesn't happen again," Slughorn said kindly. He dropped his voice momentarily, "I trust I'll see you at the Slug Club meeting tomorrow evening?"
"Yes sir," Lily said obediently, restraining herself from wrinkling her nose in dislike. If there was anything she disliked more than the Slug Club, it was only Potter. And a series of unfortunate events and a disgustingly charming Potter landed them sitting beside each other at each meeting that the potions professor held.
She glared at Potter and Black as they fooled around, brandishing the knives they were using to slice their ingredients around like madmen taking part in a pirate reenactment. So immature, she thought. How did quiet, studious Remus put up with those Neanderthals? They were so completely different. Potter arrogant and girl-crazy, Black annoyingly nonchalant with a bad attitude, Peter with his annoying nervous habits and slow reactions.
Did they know? Did they harbor the same suspicions as she did about Remus? Or where they blissfully ignorant of their friend's problem? Did they know and not care? No, it couldn't be that. Even James Potter and Sirius Black weren't that cruelly heartless. She was snapped out of her reverie as Remus raised his hand, shaking.
"Yes m'boy?" Slughorn asked from his desk where his hands were placed over his wide paunch.
"May I go to the hospital wing? I'm not feeling all that great," Remus said weakly. Indeed, he was shaking and pale, and his caramel colored eyes were bloodshot.
Slughorn raised his brows, then motioned for Lily to escort Remus to the hospital wing as her potion simmered. On her way past Remus and Peter's desk, she grabbed his bag and gathered the parchment he had used to take notes on the progress of his potion and followed him out.
They walked slowly down the corridor, Remus silent as he stuffed his quavering hands deep into his pockets.
"Lucky you're going home for a day isn't it? You'll have time to rest, gain some strength," Lily said conversationally.
"Not really," Remus muttered, though he gave Lily a weak smile. "Didn't help that James and Sirius were up half the night playing exploding snap and eating acid pops as Peter had a panic attack about his non-existent Charms essay."
"I had a feeling it was Potter and Black making all the noise last night," Lily said with a laugh.
"Where you the one who sent the body bind up the stairs at them?" Remus inquired, brushing his sandy blond hair out of his eyes.
"One of them. Marlene sent one, and Alice sent up the water. She was aiming for Peter." Lily replied, shifting the bag from her left shoulder to her right.
Remus nodded seriously. "Remind me to compliment her on her aim." He grinned a bit. "I believe your body-bind hit James."
"Hit my target then," Lily said triumphantly. "Tell me, does he ever shut up? Even in his sleep?"
They entered the infirmary. "No. He snores."
Lily set Remus' bag on a nearby bed as Madam Pomfrey bustled out of her office. "Go figure. I'll see you later Remus."
"Later," Remus said as the nurse prodded him with her wand. "And Lily? Thanks."
Lily nodded as she closed the door behind her. Another concrete piece of evidence about Remus. Madam Pomfrey, the stern old nurse didn't even question Remus' presence. Usually, she would interrogate any student (or teacher, Lily surmised) who stepped foot inside the large vaulted ceiling infirmary.
Lily suffered through the rest of the day, taking sloppy notes for Remus and herself, not trusting Potter's ability to copy down his name correctly, let alone a lecture.
"What are you doing Evans?" James demanded as she knocked on the door frame of the boys dormitory that evening after supper. In her arms were the notes she had taken for Remus. He lay on his bed tossing a ball up and down. "Missed me so much you had to find me?" he asked slyly. Sirius merely rolled his eyes at his best mate's antics. "I'm flattered."
" In your dreams Potter," she said, her voice dripping poison.
"Always," James replied coolly.
"I came to drop off the notes I took for Remus." she said, depositing her armload of parchment on what she presumed was Remus' neatly made bed. It was just Peter, James and Sirius in the dorm at the moment, Frank Longbottom was downstairs studying with Alice. Remus' part of the room was neat, though his chair and bedside table were piled with books from the library. On the nearest pile was a muggle biography of William Wilberforce, carefully marked with a bit of scarlet ribbon.
"I'll be going now," she said, glaring at James in dislike.
"You do that." Sirius said, throwing a dart at the target that was hung on his wall. He missed and hit Frank's poster of the Holly Head Harpies Quidditch team. Obviously it was a regular occurrence, seeing as the seeker's forehead was peppered with tiny pin-like holes.
Lily stomped down the stairs. Once she reached the bottom, she shot a hex up the stairs at the mirror placed on a diagonal. There was a roar of pain, a loud thump as one of the so called Marauders fell on the floor, and muffled swearing.
Lily threw herself into a window seat, fuming. Didn't they notice? Didn't they care? Where they completely and utterly blind to Remus' suffering? She glared out at the starry sky. The stars twinkled dully back at her, teasing and tormenting her. Lost in her fury, she absently stroked Alice's Calico cat Serge. He purred calmingly, rubbing his head against the crook of her elbow.
In the dying sunlight she caught a glimpse of two long shadows walking along the lake. One was obviously Dumbledore, in his pointed violet hat and robes, the other must have been Remus, shoulders slumped, head bowed. She watched in curiosity as Dumbledore waved his wand at the thrashing Whomping Willow (aptly name, she thought absently). To her utter surprise, it froze, its only movement a single falling leaf from its upper branches. Dumbledore seemed to clasp Remus' hand for a second before Remus disappeared behind the huge trunk of the willow. Dumbledore turned towards the castle, face lifted to the Gryffindor tower.
Lily cursed, and bowed her head, appearing to be completely engrossed in her book.
Dumbledore, turning to look at Gryffindor tower, spotted a small form in the window seat. The firelight flickered through the window, illuminating bright red hair. Miss Evans, he thought as he turned and walked along. A bright young witch. Certainly clever. He trusted that the young Gryffindor wouldn't say anything about Remus to anyone. She was a trustworthy young lady, and a good friend to Remus he knew.
It wouldn't hurt that someone knew of his condition either, Dumbledore mused. Not at all.
Lily dozed at the window seat, lulled to sleep by Serge's comforting purr. Someone had covered her with a knitted scarlet and gold blanket. She woke with a start as she heard a blood curdling howl. Looking out the window, she saw that the moon had risen, cruelly orange. A dark cloud covered it partially, but it's glow shone through the mass. Another howl, this time more pained.
The sound stabbed at Lily's heart like shards of ice. So it was true. Remus was what she thought him to be. Serge hissed, digging his sharp claws into her arms. He leaped and skittered up the stairs to the 2nd year girls dorm, presumably to hide under Alice's bed. The howls continued, growing more fierce with each passing time.
Lily paced in front of the dying embers of the fire. The glow it cast was eery, the shadows it created mocking. She suffered along with Remus. Finally, in an attempt to get her mind off of her friend's howls, she accioed Remus' William Wilberforce book (called William Wilberforce: Greatest Works, she found and it apparently included various excerpts from other writings) down from his bedside table. Settling on the couch, still wincing with every sound he made, she engrossed herself in the biography, reading until the moon had hidden itself, replaced by the early darkness that came before the sun.
As dawn broke, Lily found herself gazing out the window at the willow again. Someone, Madame Pomfrey, as it seemed, came to fetch Remus. She breathed a sigh of relief as Remus walked, although he looked wane, up to the castle. With a yawn, she climbed the stairs to her dormitory and collapsed in bed.
She woke hours later, tangled in the robes she had not taken off. She opened her eyes and shrieked, and scrambled off the bed. She lay on the floor, breathing heavily. There was a rustle of blankets, and a round head with bat-like ears appeared over the edge of her bed. The creature had long spindly fingers, and large green eyes. It looked frightened as it stared at Lily.
"Dolly is sorry if she scared Miz Evans!" the creature squeaked.
"What?" Lily asked, blinking.
"Dolly is sorry if she scared Miz Evans," it repeated.
"EVANS?" Potter's voice rang up the stair well. She heard someone barreling up the stairs. "Are you alright?!" Potter appeared, covered in mud and grass, his broom over his shoulder. He had apparently just come from the first Slytherin-Gryffindor game of the season.
Lily recovered quickly. "Yes Potter?" she spat, standing up and brushing off her robes.
James' worried expression quickly changed to that of anger. "Forgive me for thinking someone was murdering you up here, Evans. Next time I'll just ignore your screams."
"You ignore enough already. Don't add that to your list!" Lily hissed, Jame's tone angering her.
"What do you mean, I 'ignore enough'? What are you on about?!" James demanded, hazel eyes blazing.
"If you don't know, I'm not going to be the one to inform you!" Lily retorted.
"Oh, so you're playing it that way then Evans?" he growled.
"Dolly has something for Miz Evans!" Dolly squealed over the raised voices that had erupted after James' accusation.
"What?" Lily and James asked simultaneously, looking at Dolly. The creature shoved a rolled up parchment into Lily's hand.
"What is a house-elf doing in your dorm, Evans?" James asked, raising his brows.
Lily was too occupied reading the note to answer properly.
I trust you slept in after your late night. Dolly will escort you to the kitchens for something to eat, as you have missed both breakfast and lunch. Have a good day,
PS- I suggest the scones, they are positively delicious.
"Dolly will show you where the kitchens is, Miz Evans," Dolly said, her green eyes widening. "Is Miz Evans ready?"
"Erm, one minute Dolly," Lily said absently, grabbing a clean set of clothes. "Potter, will you please get out of my dorm?" James made no move to go, he was busy studying the note Lily had placed on her bedside table. Dolly frowned at James before grasping his hand and disappearing with a small pop!.
She heard a muffled, 'Hey!' before Dolly reappeared, looking quite pleased with herself. "Miz Evans can get ready now," she said a smile stretching across her tennis ball like head. Lily quickly changed into a clean pair of jeans and a sweater, glad it was Saturday and she needn't wear her uniform.
Within minutes she was following Dolly out of the portrait hole and through the corridors. Upon reaching a painting of a bowl of fruit, Dolly reached up and tickled the green pear. It promptly turned into a large doorknob. Opening the door, Lily was greeted by a bustle of house elves and the clang of various pots and pans. A host of elves rushed forward, half escorting Lily to a small table, the other hurrying to find her something to eat. Seconds later a plate filled with delicious food was placed before her, and she was urged to eat.
After she had had her fill, she pushed the plate back. Dolly looked at her expectantly. "Does Miz Evans need anything else?" she asked.
Lily was about to shake her head when she got an idea. "Actually..."
Dinner time found Remus in a small room off the main infirmary, waking to the fading sunlight streaming through the grand windows. Rolling over with a painful groan, he found a covered plate on the chair beside his bed. Squinting at the chair, he shook his head. Pulling himself into a sitting position, he picked up the plate.
Under it's careful wrappings was a huge pile of soft chocolate brownies, studded with walnuts and huge chunks of Honeydukes chocolate. Taped to the bottom of the plate was a note. Curiously, he opened the envelope and pulled out the sheet of folded parchment.
I saw that you had a rough night last evening, and figured you could use a pick-me-up. I've found that chocolate works on almost anything. It's my mum's recipe, but my first time making it on my own. So if it comes out horrible, I hope you understand. Quite possibly, it could be fit for nothing but the Giant Squid, but I hope not. I added some Honeydukes to sweeten it up some. Hope that you like it,
PS- I left your notes on your bed, but I can't guarantee their condition, as Black was playing darts as I left.
PPS- Your secret is safe with me.
Remus was momentarily in shock. Lily knew? He had been so careful, covering all clues, making sure he made no mention of the lunar phases...how could she have found out? But his more important question was how she could know and stand it. Why was she not frightened, treating him like the monster he so clearly was?
Remus was knocked out of his reverie by Madame Pomfrey bustling in, a bottle of Pepper-Up potion in her hands. "Ah, Mr. Lupin, you're awake. I see you found the sweets that Miss Evans left for you." Remus merely nodded as the matronly nurse poured out a dose of the potion. He looked at the note in his hands in shock.
Madame Pomfrey noticed the look of fear that seemed to be permanently stuck to Remus' face. She put the potion aside and stood with her hands on her hips, looking at her young patient. "You have a good friend in Miss Evans. Surely you knew that?"
Remus shrugged, frowning at the plate of brownies in his lap.
"You thought she would be terrified of you if she knew, didn't you," it wasn't a question. He nodded. "Remus, if this girl can look past your problem, surely you can count her as your friend. She seemed utterly worried for you when she brought these in. Not in the least bit scared. If fact she asked if I could ask you if she could borrow your biography on...William Wilbart, was it?"
Remus met the nurse's gaze. "William Wilberforce."
"Ah, that's it." the nurse nodded. "Perhaps you should consider it Remus. Let her in. She wants to help you, to understand, not shun you or despise you."
Remus bit his lip. "Thanks."
"Of course." Then the nurse abruptly returned to her old, stern self. "Take your potion, and then rest. I have to go take care of another Slytherin bludger case. Your friend Mr. Black was the culprit, I presume. It's quite a surprise he hasn't killed anyone yet."
She left Remus alone with his thoughts. At some length, Remus bit into one of the brownies. He chewed in silence.
"It's not that horrible, is it?" a voice asked. Lily stood in the doorframe, smiling shyly.
"The best I've had," Remus said nervously after swallowing.
"That's good. I had hoped you would like them. My mum always said chocolate cured everything." Lily said, walking towards the bed.
"It does," Remus said with a smile. His heart thumped wildly in his chest in anticipation and fear.
"I've always thought so." Lily replied, pulling up a chair to his bedside. She busied herself searching for something in her bag.
"Lily?" Remus said after a moment.
"Thanks." Remus looked at the white blankets of a nearby bed.
"No problem." She appeared from her bag with a book in her hand. "Now this Wilberforce fellow..."
Remus knew at that moment that he had a friend for life. And a newly reintroduced love of brownies and muggle history.
Truth be told, it's not as good as I had hoped. The references to William Wilberforce kinda just appeared in there, most likely because I've been reading one of his biographies which is simply brilliant. Please review, constructive critisism is greatly appreciated as always.
And if anyone is wondering, William Wilberforce was one of the main driving abolition forces that ended the slave trade in Great Britain, along with his friends and comrades known as the "Clapham Group" or the "Clapham Sect."
Final Word Count: 3,411