A/N: The last chapter is finally up! Thank you for everyone who favorited and commented on this series of mini one-shots. I really appreciate your kindness :)
I hope everyone enjoys this last story. Please feel free to let me know what you think :D
Yeh, it's sad, believe me, Missy,
When you're born to be a sissy
Without the vim and verve.
But I could show my prowess, be a lion not a mou-ess
If I only had the nerve.
"If I Only Had the Nerve" - The Wizard of Oz
The Nerve: Remus Lupin
Gryffindor Common Room buzzed with the usual excitement that followed the first Hogsmeade visit of the year. Third years sat around in big groups, trading Honeydukes sweets, Zonko's proudcts, and stories about who got how close to the now infamous Shrieking Shack. Older students gathered in more secluded parties, gossiping about who was spotted at Madam Puddifoot's together and who would gather up the courage to make a move on Madam Rosmerta.
Amongst the happy students sat the four Marauders, splayed out in their favorite seats right in front of the fireplace. Sirius Black and James Potter sat with their heads together, staring at a most peculiar map with the names and locations of every person within the Hogwarts grounds. They spoke in hushed voices, implying that, as usual, their discussion would lead to nothing but trouble. Peter Pettigrew sat beside them, wanting desperately to be included in the planning of James and Sirius's latest scheme.
A little apart from the other three sat Remus Lupin, reading by the light of the fire. The book hid his face which sported now fading scars and scratches. The position in which he sat gave anyone who looked in his direction a perfect view of the shiny prefect's badge pinned to the front of shabby black robes. Though most who knew Remus would not consider him pretentious, strangers might think that he wore the badge with pride and had no problem whatsoever flaunting his newly instated authority.
But then again, everyone knows that appearances are often a bit deceiving.
"No, James!" Sirius suddenly exclaimed loudly. A couple of nearby first years jumped in fright at the outburst. "Dungbombs would take way too long to get in, plus we'd never get them past Filch!"
Remus snuck a peek at his friend over the top of his book. The shadows and contours brought out on Sirius's face from the fire made him look like a madman.
"But what else can we use? We already ruled out stink pellets and I know you remember what happened last time we tried the Butterbeer Contraption. There's no other way for this plan to work!" James shot back, his voice a bit quieter but filled with just as much frustration and exasperation as Sirius's.
"Guys, is this something I should be worrying about?" Remus asked warily.
Sirius looked at his friend, confused. "Worried about? Why would you be worried? We've set up a very simple Switching Spell Scenario for you. It's something that you've done like a million times - shouldn't give you much trouble."
Remus rolled his eyes. "Not that kind of worried, Padfoot. I mean are you guys doing something you're not supposed to? I'm pretty sure I got chosen as prefect so I can prevent you two from doing things which are potentially illegal."
"Hey, we're staying away from potentially illegal after what happened at The Three Broomsticks last year. If there's anything not worth repeating, it's the aftermath of The Great Goat-napping."
"And plus, what are you gonna do even if we are doing something doing something we're not supposed to? Give us detention?" James's lopsided smile spread across his face as Sirius gave a little snicker.
"And what if I do give you a detention?" Remus countered. His face was calm though the corners of his lips lifted slightly over his teeth in a rather wolf-like sign of anger. He felt insulted that his friends were so blatantly undermining his authority.
This time Sirius rolled his eyes. "Oh come on Moony, you're not giving us a detention. You can't do something like that."
Remus felt a familiar sense of infuriation inside of him at Sirius's words. It was the feeling he got whenever his friends were not giving him the respect that he deserved. James and Sirius constantly made rude comments about his high grades or enjoyment of reading or more recently, his newly acquired prefect's badge. Remus knew it was all in good fun, but he didn't enjoy being one of James and Sirius's targets.
Not only that, but it was really only once a month that Remus let out his anger and frustration at his friends. Only once a month was he able to free himself from all of his complicated and contradicting human emotions and let the wolf within take control.
And really, it was only in that wolf form that Remus could let go of his feelings. He would never loose his cool over something like James and Sirius's constant teasing. He always tried as hard as he could to keep himself in check. Remus didn't want to do anything that would result in the loss of his friends. He was afraid to lose the three people in his life who hung out with him despite his, "furry little problem".
As usual, the anger died down quickly and Remus sighed. Sirius was right; Remus would never give his friends detention (even though he knew he should).
"Whatever Padfoot," Remus finally grumbled. "Just try not to get caught this time, alright? I sorta like this badge. I'd rather not have it taken away because I don't have the nerve to put you and Prongs in detention. Just keep in mind that I totally would if it wasn't for the fact that I'm scared crapless of what you would do to me afterwards."