Here and Now
Remus J. Lupin
M.O.M Classification: XXXXX
Current Age: 17
Execution Date: November 29th
Remus Lupin woke up to a tap on his window. He rolled over onto his side and stumbled to the window where a large, tawny owl was waiting for him. He opened the sash and the bird flew in, heading straight for the glass of water resting on Remus' bedside table. Sleepily, Remus ambled over to the owl and untied the letter attatched to its leg. He gave the bird a pat on the head and opened the letter.
It was tied with black string and sealed with the wax initials; M.O.M DEPARTMENT OF MAGIZOOLOGY. Remus' brows furrowed and he closed his eyes. He took a deep breathe and opened the parcel.
Quickly, his eyes scanned the letter.
His blood ran cold.
Sirius Black ran towards the train at full speed, bags and broom in tow. "Shite, shite, shite," he muttered under his breath, barely boarding the train on time. He plowed through a gaggle of second years and down to the last compartment on the train: the compartment they'd shared since the very first year. He hadn't come with James because he'd wanted to pick up something at Diagon Alley before they left for Hogwarts and had agreed to meet James at the station. He hadn't anticipated the walk to the station to take so long. "Hey, sorry I'm late--what's wrong?"
Remus looked as if someone had killed his mother. James and Peter were looking on worriedly at the boy with ashen skin and deep shadows under his eyes. "'Lo Sirius. Good to see you," he said, trying to sound chipper, and evidentially failing. "Nothing's wrong. How was your summer?"
"Good," he said carefully. He sat down next to Peter and right across from Remus. "It wasn't a full moon last night, was it?"
"No," Remus looked confused. "Why would you say that?"
"Because you look like shite," Peter said unhelpfully.
Remus blinked. "Well, you've never been a looker yourself, Peter..." he said wryly. He managed to get a chuckle out of James.
Sirius didn't laugh. His eyes were focused on the gray streaks that ran through Remus' hair. Remus had always been prematurely gray, an attribute that he always found attractive on Moony, but the gray seemed to occupy more space than it had before. His eyes flickered down over the rest of Remus. No new scars or gashes. Other than his deep circles, ashen skin, and gray hair, he looked fine.
"You sure you're okay, mate?"
Remus nodded, "Never been better, Padfoot. Never better."
James beamed at Remus and pounded him on the back. "Good show. Now, I know that Lily has been writing you letters over the summer; what did she say? how is she doing? anything about me?"
Remus smiled dryly. "Something comparing you to a billywig, yes."
Sirius' eyes never left Remus' form.
That night Sirius watched Remus out of the corner of his eye as he got undressed. He lied in bed, pretending to be asleep but really watching Remus through the narrow of his eyes. What he saw was sad and slightly disturbing:
Over the summer, Remus had lost some weight. A lot of weight, actually. His ribs protruded from his chest and his stomach was just one, smooth concave. Under his robes no one could notice the twig-like arms and legs, the hallow that was his chest and stomach. Remus had never been very bulky, but he had had some wirey muscle and meat to him. Now he looked to be nothing but skin and bones.
In all, he looked sick.
Sirius attempted to recall the letters that they had sent to each other over the summer, if any of them seemed more grim than usual. But Remus was so impassive, so congenial, it was hard to tell.
There was one letter, one that came just before Sirius' last letter, that was a bit concerning, but nothing that suggested Remus was ill. Just a brief note about having to visit the Ministry of Magic for a regular check-up. He crawled to his trunk and pulled out a box of letters from James, Peter, and Remus. He shuffled through it until he found one marked August 30th
Things are fine. All is going smoothly at my house and I'm almost finished with the summer reading and assignments. Have you even started, Padfoot? And no, I will not let you copy mine. You need to do your own work. Yes, I am being an annoying prat. Get on it, Padfoot.
I'm glad to hear that things are going well in the Potter household. Do tell James that--for the last time--I will not forward Lily's letters to him. She asked me not to and I will obey her wishes. Apologies if he whignes to you, which I'm sure he is bound to do.
Hmm, the only thing that's worrying me lately is that I've an appointment with the M.O.M. Nothing to worry about, Sirius. Just the regular check-up to make sure that I haven't raped and pillaged any villages lately. I shouldn't be complaining to you about this, but I do detest being under the influence of veritaserum, so I'm not nessecarily looking forward to this appointment.
Anyways, I've got to go. More studying to do.
Sirius read the letter over again and a crease formed between his eyebrows. He had never remembered Remus having to report for a check-up at the Ministry of Magic before, why now? He was still puzzling over the letter when he fell asleep.