Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
A/N: Thanks to those who reviewed in The Marauders Year 2.
The Marauders Year 3
Chapter 1: Bad Start to a Great Summer
James caught Remus by the arm so he wouldn't hit the hard ground. His friend looked at him with wide eyes and James could do nothing but look at him in sympathy. For over a year Remus made excuses using fake family members to leave for the full moon and now he really was losing his family. All he could do was feel pity for his friend for that. He truly saw how much it hurt now to lose real family and not let it be one of those lies.
"Remus," James said gently as he sat on Remus's trunk with his friend. "Do you want me to leave?"
Remus mutely shook his head.
Nodding his head, James looked at his dad. "Tell mom I'll be home tomorrow."
Charlus agreed. He gave Remus a pat on the back and offered his condolences before Apparating away.
Smiling apologetic at Lena, James grabbed Remus's trunk once more and he and Remus carried it upstairs. Unlike his normal self, Remus just dropped his trunk in the middle of the floor and sat on his bed. James, with tears in his eyes, pulled his foot out from under the trunk and sat on top of it, massaging his foot and looking around Remus's room. His friend's bed was next to the only window in the room, probably so Remus could look out it if he couldn't sleep. In the opposite corner from the bed was a desk piled with a desk lamp, quills, ink, and parchment. Above the desk was a book shelf piled with the first year books and some fiction books. Next to his door was a clock on the wall. His dresser, which had a mirror, was a few feet away from his desk. A comb, some type of thingy with buttons (a phone, though James doesn't know that), keys, a lava lamp, and a Fanged Frisbee and dung bombs sat on his dresser. The trunk sat in the middle of floor where Remus dropped it. From his position, James could see a box sticking out from under the bed. On the walls next to the window were pictures of the Marauders (drawn and real) and of Remus and his family. Boxes lay scattered in one corner of the room, still waiting to be unpacked. A second door in the room probably led to a closet.
James stood up, gave Remus a quick smile, and moved the trunk to the end of the bed then leaned Remus's broom against a wall. He sat on the end of the bed. "What a way to start summer, huh?"
Remus nodded his head in agreement. He wrapped his arms around his legs and stared out his window at the forest. Being on the second floor, they could see a nest with a family of robins in it in the closest tree.
After a few moments of silence, James ventured farther. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"I don't even know what happened. No one even bothered to mail me and tell me that my uncle was dead." Remus whispered.
"They probably didn't want to ruin your last week of school or weren't ready to talk about it." James suggested.
"He's my family as well. They should have told me." Remus retorted.
James shrugged. "People make mistakes."
Remus raised a brow, while James grinned sheepishly. He pulled his mirror out. "Hey Sirius. Need to talk already. That bored, are you?"
"Hahaha." Sirius laughed sarcastically. "Yeah. My lovely mother just finished yelling at me for everything I did wrong this year. Got a pair of lungs, my mother does. She kept saying I shamed the family, called me a bunch of horrible names, yelled at me for all the rule-breaking and detentions I got, and so on and so on and so on. It was so annoying."
"That sucks mate. You didn't say anything back, did you? You need to stay on her good side this month so you can come to my house in August." James reminded.
"I know, I know. I bit my tongue, literally. It hurt like hell. I must have been making some pretty remorseful looks or something because I think my mother thinks I regret everything now." Sirius said thoughtfully.
James grinned. "Keep that up. It should get you on her good side." He looked up at Remus and frowned. "Oh, and say hi to Remus." He shoved the mirror into Remus's hands.
"REMUS!" Sirius shouted in shock. "You two are already hanging out and without me! What is this madness?"
Remus cracked a smile. "Nice to see you too, Sirius."
Sirius grinned. "So what's up? I assume James gave you the mirror for a reason."
James bounced over so he was sitting next to Remus and could get in the mirror. "No, there really wasn't a reason. I just wanted you to say hi. Oh, and I also wanted to rub it in your face that I'm not bored and am hanging with a friend."
Sirius scowled at him. "You're a prat, I hope you know that."
"Actually the only reason we're together is because James's dad had to take me home and James decided to sleepover." Remus replied.
Sirius blinked. "Huh? I thought Jason was picking you up."
"Something came up." Remus said evasively.
"Remus, James." Lena asked, knocking on the door. "Can I come in?"
James grabbed the mirror and threw it under Remus's pillow. "Yes, you can, Mrs. Lupin."
"OI! It's my room." Remus said, but with a good-natured grin.
Lena pushed the door opened, balancing a tray carefully on her hand, and came into the boy's room. She put the tray down on Remus's trunk. "Snacks for you two. Enjoy." She smiled at her son before looking at James. "It is nice to see you again, James. I hope you know that you are welcomed here anytime. Our home is your home. That goes for your other friends as well, Remus."
"Thanks Mrs. Lupin." James said.
Remus smiled. "Thank mom. I'm sure they would like that."
When Lena was gone, James pulled the mirror out. He was surprised to see Sirius looking surprised, but very happy. "What? Did you think Mrs. Lupin hated you, Sirius?"
"It's just nice to know that I'm not hated by all adults." Sirius said defensively.
"Ooooh, chocolate chip cookies. Mom makes the best sweets." Remus said, grabbing the plate of cookies and putting it on the bed so it was between the boys. He handed a glass of milk to James, who put it on the window sill.
"Lucky." Sirius whined. He whipped around suddenly. "Damn, I have to go. Talk to you guys later."
Remus swallowed the cookie in his mouth. "I hope he'll be okay."
"He's Sirius. He'll be just fine." James replied. "Do you mind if I open the window?"
Remus waved his hand dismissively.
James leaned against the windowsill, letting the warm summer air hit his face, with a cookie in his hand. "What was your uncle like?"
"Head of the Magical Games at the Ministry. He was very strict. He's nothing like Jason. In fact, he is the complete opposite of Jason. He didn't like what we did at the Quidditch World Cup. Actually, he hated it while most people in his department found it amusing." Remus explained with a frown. "I don't even know why I'm so upset over his death. It was because of his fear of werewolves that he and my cousins turned against me for a while. I'm not even sure if he ever got over it completely. It wouldn't surprise me if he didn't."
Frowning, James put his milk down. "Did he hate you?"
"No, at least I don't think so." Remus replied thoughtfully.
"Even if you didn't like him very much, you care that he died because he was your cousins' father and they loved him. You care because you know it is hurting them and that hurts you because you love your cousins." James explained, smiling faintly at his friend's shocked look. "I know some things."
Laughing, Remus took another cookie. "I know you know some things. You have to know something to have been able to figure out my secret."
"I actually felt stupid when I figured it out. It was so plainly obviously and you were a horrible liar then. We should have been able to figure it out sooner." James replied.
Remus scowled and threw a cookie at him, but James caught it and gave his friend a crooked grin. "Quidditch player, remember?" He asked cockily before taking a bite of the cookie and looking out the window again. "I like it here, Remus. Living in a place like this would be really nice. It looks really peaceful and calm. It is the complete opposite of Hogwarts, something that is needed once in a while."
Nodding his head, Remus looked out the window towards the sky to see the stars. "It is nice and peaceful, but it can be boring and lonely since my mom works a lot. Since she has two jobs, it day and night shift both on the same day. I'm here mostly by myself then."
"What about that nearby town?" James asked curiously.
"Never visited it yet. Been busy." Remus replied.
James tsked. "That just won't do. We'll go tomorrow, kay?"
Remus blinked and looked at his friend confused. "Don't you have to go home?"
Waving him off, James collapsed onto his back and stared at the ceiling. "I'll be staying for a few hours tomorrow. Hey, since this was unexpected, I didn't bring anything. Can I borrow some of your clothes tomorrow?" He lifted his head and looked at Remus, scanning him up and down. "We're about the same size."
Blushing, Remus nodded his head. "They….uh….won't be what you are used to."
Scowling, James kicked Remus in the side. "How many times, Remus? I don't care that you are poor. It's not something you can help. I actually feel bad about coming from such a rich family when you are so bad off."
"I don't mind. It's nothing new for me to be around people with more money than me." Remus replied, a little annoyed.
James smiled sadly at Remus. "It's been a long day. Why don't we just sleep?"
Remus shoes went flying off. James laughed. "I'll take that as a yes. Tired, are you?"
"I guess, but mostly, sleeping is a way to forget all my troubles for the day." Remus explained as he jumped off his bed and invaded his dresser with James following him. Clothes were thrown in his face by Remus.
"Thank buddy." James mumbled, shredding his shirt, jacket, and pants to pull on the sweatpants that Remus gave him. "At least Sirius isn't here this time to take another picture."
Laughing, Remus nodded his head in agreement. "Which means we don't have to suffer more embarrassment at school."
James threw his clothes into a pile next to the closet door. He jumped onto the bed and watched Remus change. Ever since they found out about him, he began to slowly start to change in front of his friends but still didn't like when they watched him. So the boys tried not to stare when he changed. When his friend took his shirt off, James winced at all the white scars he saw there. A few were a pinkish color seeing as Remus just got them a week ago they weren't fully healed yet. His eyes particularly traveled to Remus's arm where his werewolf bite was.
Pulling his shirt over his head, Remus looked at James with a tired smile. He had known that James was staring at his torso. "You should be used to it by now."
"Sorry mate." James said, crawling under the blanket on Remus's bed.
"How many times are we going to share a bed before someone starts to think something is going one?" Remus asked abruptly as he turned the light off and went over to his bed.
James laughed. "What? They going to think we're gay and together?"
James shot up from the bed. "What was that? You okay, Remus?"
A groan came then a laugh. "Just tripped over my shoe."
"Oh, honestly, Rems. You're so clumsy." James said, amusement lacing his voice.
Remus jumped on the bed next to James, pulling one of the pillows to himself. "As to your question earlier, yes, I think they would think that."
Sighing, James shook his head. "I can't see people believing that."
"Oh?" Remus asked.
"Yes. They should all know that I would go for someone much cuter than you." James teased.
"Oi! I'm not sure if that is an insult or compliment." Remus replied, whacking James with a pillow.
James laughed, blocking his face from the pillow. "Take it as a compliment. You really don't want someone to call you cute. You're a boy." He pulled the covers over himself and curled into a ball for protection.
Twenty minutes later, James and Remus dropped onto the ground where their pillow fight had been moved to when James had kicked out at Remus to get him to stop. In shock, Remus grabbed the blanket and pulled James down with him who tried to stop himself by grabbing his own pillow. They both collapsed with their pillows and blanket surrounding them.
The next morning when Lena walked into her son's room, she couldn't help but smile and to grab the wizard camera that Auva always used. She took a quick picture of her son and James. Remus and James were curled around each other, limbs thrown on each other in a tangled mess (from what Lena saw, Remus and his friends were unusually affectionate and made contact a lot with each other). One of the pillows was being used by both James and Remus. The other pillow was being hugged to James's chest with his arm that wasn't thrown over Remus. The duvet was under the boys, all wrinkled and wrapped in a circle.
Scrunching his eyes and letting out a moan, James tried to stretch his limbs but didn't seem to be able to move. Opening his eyes, he found the position he and Remus were in and laughed. His laugh caused Remus to open his eyes. Remus's eyes moved up and down to see their position. "Why does this always happened to us?" He asked with a sigh.
James whacked Remus with his pillow and untangled his legs. "Well, sorry, Remus. I should have probably told you this a while ago so you could be prepared when we sleep in the same bed. I have a tendency to hug things when I sleep. You just seem to always get in my way when my arms are flailing for something to grab."
"My bad." Remus replied, rolling his eyes.
Remus grabbed his duvet and threw it back on his bed and tucked it in. While he was doing that, James grabbed the pillows and threw them back on the bed, fluffing them as he did. When he was done, the pale boy went over to his dresser, grabbed some clothes, and tossed them to James before leaving to go brush his teeth and get dressed.
James looked at the clothes that Remus gave him. The pants were old with holes in them and the color was beginning to fade. And the shirt was black with a picture of a moon and a wolf howling at it on the back of it. Smiling in amusement, James quickly pulled the clothes on and grabbed his shoes and socks from the floor. He was just tying his shoe when Remus came back in black jeans with holes where the knees were and a red t-shirt with flames on the bottom of the shirt and black lettering saying, "King of Pranking." When he entered the closet to grab something, he saw that the back of his shirt said, "Raising Hell."
"Since when are you the king?" James objected.
Laughing, Remus emerged from the closet with some old sneakers. "My mom found it at a store in town and gave it to me for Christmas. It amused her and made her think of the pranks dad used to play on her."
James and Remus ran down the stairs, the former sliding down the railing, and went to the kitchen where Lena was finishing making breakfast. "Morning boys." She said without turning around. She put the eggs and bacon on plates and put them on the table. "What do you plan to do today?"
"I plan to go to the town nearby with Remus later." James answered as Remus was already digging into his food. "We want to explore it."
"Sounds fun." Lena replied. She tapped Remus's hand to get him to stop eating. "I have to work both jobs today so I won't be back until very late. You'll have to fend for yourself."
Sighing, Remus put his fork down. "I know, mom."
James lowered his glass of orange juice with a frown. Now that he was looking, he saw the dark circles under Mrs. Lupin eyes and heard the tiredness in her voice. She really was working too hard to be able to take care of Remus. He looked around the kitchen. Dishes piled high in the sink, some chips in the glasses, the floor was dusty and the table and chairs looked to be rather old and rickety. James gnawed on his lip. Now he felt even worse about his family's money. Life has always been really easy for him. No problems whatsoever in his life.
But Remus, since he was a little kid, has faced a lot of horrors. His mother struggled to pay the bills and keep food on the table. And yet she still found money to buy Remus some things. This was so not fair. No one as nice as Remus deserved this. All he ever wanted to do was help people and make others happy. What did he do to deserve this?
"Something wrong, James?" Lena asked kindly.
James almost winced. He now knew where Remus got that, that thing where he always has to ask if someone else is okay when he obviously isn't okay. He got it from his mother. Damn it, why did the Lupins have to be so nice. "Yeah, I'm fine, Mrs. Lupin. Thanks for the food. It's really good."
Lean smiled at him before grabbing her purse from the counter. "I have to get to work. You two behave when you head to the town." She leaned down and kissed Remus on the cheek then kissed James, who looked at her shocked. Laughing, she ruffled James hair and gave him a hug then her son and left.
Remus put the last piece of bacon in his mouth, looking at James with a raised a brow. "What's up?" He said around his food.
"You…and your mother!" James exclaimed, putting his plate in the sink. He turned the faucet on and put some soap in the sink. "You guys are just so kind."
"What are you doing, James? I thought we were going to the town." Remus said confused as James grabbed the glasses and plate from him.
James dropped them in the sink and grabbed a washcloth from the counter. "We are, but I'm cleaning this first."
"You don't have to. I'll do it later." Remus objected, pushing James out of the way. "You're a guest."
James grabbed Remus's arm to stop him from draining the sick. "Look, Remus, your mother just hugged and kissed me. She loves me like her own child. I didn't ask for that and she let me stay here without one complaint. She cooked for me and you. I feel I owe her so I'm going to help clean the house. Didn't you notice that-"
"She looks exhausted? Yes, I know. She's my mother." Remus finished. "But you're my friend. I can't ask you to clean my house or any of this."
"You didn't ask. I'm doing it whether you like it or not." James argued as he started to wash a plate.
Remus took a step back and blinked. This didn't seem like James. Willingly cleaning? Really, he knows he cares but to willingly do something like this without having to be told. One would think that growing up rich and with house-elves to do everything for him that he wouldn't want to do something like this.
"You don't owe anything." Remus grumbled.
Sighing, James put the clean put on a towel and turned to his friend. "It's not about owing. Remus, I want to do this because it is a nice thing to do." Remus snorted so James glared at him. "I can do nice things once in a while. It will help her."
Remus snatched the plate and towel off the counter. He dried the plate and glasses that James already cleaned and put them away quickly, slamming the cabinet door shut before James could even look in it. "Look, it's my house and you're a guest. I'll do this. You just go and wait-"
Before Remus could finish, his black haired friend, pushed him out of the way and opened the cabinet door, ignoring all protests from the pale boy. When he opened it, he saw a lot of old mugs and glasses, all chipped. In the next cabinet, he took out some of the plates. The design on them was beginning to come off and some of them were badly chipped. From what James saw, it was obvious that whenever guests were over, Mrs. Lupin and Remus used the nicest of the dishes they had.
James closed the cabinet door and faced Remus with a frown. The pale boy gnawed at his lip and looked away from his friend, shuffling his feet nervously. He turned back to the sink and continued washing the dishes, while Remus dried them and put them away. They continued this work in silence; Remus was refusing to look at his friend, while James was frowning thoughtfully and looking all around the kitchen and through the kitchen entrance to the living room. When the dishes were finished, James cleaned the counter while Remus swept the floor. They finished quickly and left the house.
"Tell me." James said when the boys were walking down the road that led to the nearby town.
"What?" Remus asked confused.
James looked at him out of the corner of his eyes. "When you told us your story of how you became a werewolf, I think you left something out. Tell me now."
"Oh? And where did you get that idea?" Remus growled, kicking at a stone hard enough to send it flying through the trees.
"I've been thinking about it for a while actually. Looking around your house today, I feel confident that I was right in my thinking." James replied calmly, hands clasped behind his back as he continued to watch Remus out of the corner of his eyes. "Research, my dear friend, is actually pretty good. The Lupin name came up quite a few times in the records and old newspapers. Remus, to be honest, when you told us the truth of how you were bit, I think you gave us a false story or not the whole truth."
Remus froze and looked into the forest. "James…"
"We just found out your darkest secret. You were scared and were a competent liar at that point. You didn't know if you could trust us completely. You never open up to use freely. It makes perfect sense that you would lie to us about what happened." James whispered.
Violently shaking his head, Remus cast his friend one more look before running into the forest. He heard James yell in frustration, then the sound of feet slamming on the ground and rustling leaves and snaps of branches as his friend followed him. James jumped over a log, feet crunching on a branch. Ahead of him he could just make out Remus's red shirt and light brown hair waving in the wind.
Suddenly, Remus came to a halt, shoulders shaking from breathing heavily. James skidded to a stop behind his friend. His eyes took in the area that he stopped in. It was a small clearing with a small creek that was running down a hill and through the forest. Remus dropped down onto a log and motioned for James to join him.
The boys sat in silence for a few moments. James was watching Remus patiently while the pale boy was watching the water in the creek flow down the hill. A thoughtful look on his face. Many thoughts were passing through his mind as he bit down on his thumb. Within a few minutes, Remus was frowning and left James alone on the log. James looked ready to follow him but Remus only kneeled next to the creek and put his hand in the water, letting the cool liquid run over his hand.
"Remus?" James asked carefully.
"The story I gave you wasn't completely a lie, but it wasn't the complete truth." Remus whispered. He pushed himself to his feet, drying his hand on his pants.
"What I don't understand is why? We didn't ask for your story. We accepted you without it. Why did you give us the story if you weren't going to tell the whole truth?" James asked confused.
"You would have wanted to know eventually. No secrets amongst Marauders? We're friends and friends tell each other secrets. You weren't going to ask that day but sooner or later your curiosity would get the better of you. I just wanted it out of the way." Remus explained, brushing his hair back. "I never thought you would realize that it was false."
James nodded his head. "You should realize that when it comes to our friends, the marauders aren't blind to them. We will see anything that is wrong and work on it. Tell me the true story."
A/N: Please Review!