Summary: The moment has come, the moment that Remus Lupin has always dreaded. Now they knew his mother wasn't sick, there was no emergency back home...his best friends in the world knew what he was: a werewolf. Remus is certain they will turn away from him. But will James and Sirius come up with a plan...?
A/N: My second non-ADMM story. I had this idea earlier, and it's been bothering me for a fair bit, so I decided to write it. The ending's a bit rushed, and it came out differently than I though it would, but that's the way things go! Reviews please, as per usual. Constructive criticism, bad grammar, spelling, all welcomed. Not beta-read, probably never will be. Deal. :P
On with the story!
They were the two words Remus had always dreaded having to say; so much emotion and potential piled up behind those two little syllables, ready to explode with enough force to ruin his life. And now he had said them, they had passed between his lips in quiet utterance, and so he waited for his life to end.
James nodded. 'Yes,' he finally said, his eyes never moving from Remus'. 'Why didn't you tell us?' Sirius was unusually silent at James' side, his joking demeanour absent for once. Peter stood, small and nervous, slightly behind the two, his small watery eyes darting back and forth between the three boys.
'I knew you'd…turn away from me,' Remus whispered, dropping his gaze. 'Nobody wants a… someone like me.' How he desperately wished to leave, to run from his first, and now last, friends. He could not stand to see the looks of revulsion he knew he would be there, could not stand to hear the tone of anger and disgust in their tones.
'Remus,' Sirius began, urgency in his voice as he tried to meet his friend's eyes. 'Remus, it doesn't—.' But Remus couldn't take it, not anymore, and he turned and fled, ran and stumbled and tore his way along corridors and past classrooms, unable to see where he was going through the tears that blurred his vision. He stopped only when he ran into someone and was nearly knocked over.
'Do watch where you're going—Mr Lupin?' It was Professor McGonagall, and the exasperated look upon her face quickly turned to concern as she took note of the tears in her student's eyes, though Remus quickly tried to hide them. 'Mr Lupin, what on earth has happened?'
Remus hastily wiped his eyes, though his heart was still pounding wildly inside him. 'I—it's nothing, Professor. I just—I'm fine, really.' Remus had always been rubbish at lying, and he now found he was unable to meet her gaze as she regarded him over her square-rimmed spectacles. She was silent for a moment. Then;
'Perhaps you ought to come with me, Lupin.' She did not sound angry, but Remus was nonetheless anxious as he followed her into her office. His hands were still shaking slightly from the encounter with his friends—his ex-friends, Remus corrected himself miserably. He sat in the chair opposite Professor McGonagall, in front of her desk.
'Biscuit, Mr Lupin?' she said, carefully filing papers away in the desk drawer. She rolled up the parchment and turned to face him.
'I—what?' Remus said, taken-aback. He could have sworn he saw a small smile on his Head of House's face.
'A biscuit, Mr Lupin,' she said again, indicating a tartan tin lying on the corner of her desk.
'Oh,' Remus said, taken-aback. 'Oh, well, thank you, Professor,' he said as he took a Ginger Newt and munched it, desperately hoping he wouldn't throw it up. Remus glanced involuntarily at the door.
'Lupin,' Professor McGonagall said, peering at him intently over her square-rimmed spectacles. 'Contrary to popular opinion, teachers are neither blind nor deaf, and I most certainly am neither. What has happened?' She did look rather concerned, and Remus realized then that she knew what he was. She did not turn away from him in revulsion. Professor McGonagall and Professor Dumbledore, they did not care if he was a monster, a beast. They should, but they didn't.
But he couldn't tell her that his friends had found out. He couldn't tell her that he'd blown the secret, after all of her work and Dumbledore's work at concealing this most horrible of dangers. And if he couldn't tell her, she couldn't help. Perhaps he was alone, after all.
'It's nothing, Professor,' Remus said at last. 'Nothing.' He could say nothing else, for fear of betraying the misery inside him. Would she insist on knowing the truth, or would she sigh and send him on his way, more alone than before?
She did sigh, though her piercing gaze did not relax as she stood and swept over to the door. Hand on the doorknob, she turned to look at Remus as he stood. There was something unfathomable in her eyes.
'I am a firm believer in loyalty, Mr Lupin,' Professor McGonagall said at last. 'And, I think you will find, most Gryffindors are. People are stronger than they look.' Remus gaped at her. She ushered him gently out the door. 'I also find that friends do wonders for cheering each other up. Good night, Mr Lupin.' And with that, her office door closed, and Remus was left utterly confused, but strangely comforted.
'Remus! Where in Merlin's name have you been? We've been looking everywhere!' James and Sirius came tearing down the front lawn down to the lake, where Remus was sitting under a large tree on the bank. They arrived, slightly out of breath, waiting for him to speak. Peter soon came panting, clutching a stitch in his side. Remus straightened, though his blood turned to ice. He would do this the right way, and live up to the Gryffindor courage he was supposed to have.
'You know what I am,' Remus said, looking first at James, then Sirius, then finally Peter. 'You know I'm…you know I'm a werewolf. I won't hold it against you when you leave me, I promise. I just want to thank you for…for everything.' Remus choked up a bit at the end, and had to turn away to hide the moisture in his eyes.
Suddenly, he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he was turned around to see Sirius' dark eyes staring into his. 'It doesn't matter to us what you are, Remus,' Sirius said. 'You'll always be odd little Remus to us.' Despite his best efforts, Remus felt his heart lifting, though he hardly dared to hope.
'We don't care what you are,' James said sincerely. Remus tried to speak, but found he couldn't. He wanted to tell them how much it meant to him, that they were there, standing next to him, not turning away. So he simply nodded, and tried not to cry. He couldn't tell them, what it meant to him, that they were on his side, not disgusted by what he was.
'We'll keep you company,' James said suddenly, as though an idea had struck him. 'It's got to be pretty lonely, being a werewolf by yourself. We can come.'
'No!' shouted Remus before he knew what he was doing. 'I'd bite you, it'd be awful, I'll kill any human I go near, I'm not in my right mind. Stay as far away as you can!' He couldn't bear to contemplate the horror if he bit or killed one of his friends. It was unimaginable.
There was a pause as Remus' outburst sunk in. Perhaps he should have felt bad for shouting, but he needed them to understand. To understand what could happen…what would happen...if they were anywhere near him during the transformation.
'Fine then,' said Sirius slowly. 'We'll just keep you company a different way.' Peter and Remus were confused, but James grinned at his partner in crime.
'If we can't keep you company as humans, then… we'll just have keep you company as animals instead,' James said, a grin slowly unfurling on his face as a plan formulated itself in his mind.
Peter frowned. 'But James, we're not animals,' he said, in that whining, little-boy's voice that he would have for the rest of his life. James and Sirius grinned.
'A mere technicality,' James said. His eyes were blazing with the determination usually associated with Quidditch. 'Isn't that right, Sirius?'
'Let's get to it, then,' Sirius said with a grin and a nod, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. 'We're going to very busy the next little while. Very busy indeed.'
And so they were.
Another A/N: In case it wasn't as glaringly obvious as I thought, James and Sirius are talking about becoming Animagi. Hence the Prongs, Padfoot, etc., stuff we see later in the series. :)