Before Harry Potter

Before Harry Potter, Lily, James, Severus, and their friends/enemies existed in what us Potterheads like to call the "Marauder Era". Read to figure out what happened when J.K. Rowling wasn't looking
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or the drawings/Cover art

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10. Friend

And two counterparts circled each other in the body of water that encompassed them, a lake prickling with the cold of the late night summer breeze. They swam in the rays of moonlight just as much as they did the water, paws splayed and slapping at the sessile sheet of blue. And though the memories of that night would subside behind the wolf’s eyes into it’s own reserved memory bank, the residue would be left to the tattered, indistinguishable dreams of Remus Lupin. And in that moment, the black dog hoped that Remus could reserve the beauty of the moon that night, because for some reason, thrashing around in the water, even though the wolf lusted for human flesh and blood, the unconscious mind of Remus Lupin was for once at peace.

***

          A war had begun. Though the signs were imminent, it’d seemed like a far away dream until now. Apparently the false sense of security was not only a quality of adolescents. Even the staff of Hogwarts were beginning to get more ancy, and the students’ suspicions turned to premature accusations only now rather than before. Just that morning, Sage Dickenson and her younger sister had been seen with their frantic looking mother, hauling them from Professor Dumbledore’s office. The two girls had started noticeably as they passed a group of Slytherins on their way from the castle. There was a war, and it made Sirius feel trapped, and angry, and cold, and uneasy. It’d been a few weeks since he’d departed from his parent’s house, and already he’d begun to realise he’d left a smaller cage only to walk into an even bigger, more deadly one.

          None of that mattered at the moment though, because it was Remus on the hospital wing bed at the moment. And though he’d done his best to lick the wounds of the werewolf clean while he settled down onto the jagged floorboards that made up the Shrieking Shack to sleep into the next part of the transformation. It wasn’t as much blood as would be if Remus would’ve been left to his own devices, however a significant amount of new gashes, only a spare few inflicted by the wolf itself, covered his body. Most, Madam Pomfrey would be able to wash away with a few spells and excessive blotting of dittany, but another layer of scars would be vaguely scattered over his body. Remus was so ashamed of those scars, as though the ability to cause such damage on anyone, even himself, was an attribute of a monstrosity. That morning when Sirius awoke next to Remus, his arms wrapped around Moony’s unconscious body, he could hear the clattering of shoes and whispered warnings ascending the rickety wooden stairs. And when the door was flung open with the cautious creaking of rusty hinges, he barely had enough time to throw James’s cloak over himself. He’d watched as Madam Pomfrey levitated Remus onto a stretcher and floated him back to the castle, their presence masked by the thinning darkness.

          He’d missed breakfast as he made his way up to the Hospital Wing, even forgotten to remove James’s cloak. It wasn’t uncommon to stumble over the feet of fellow students whilst under the cloak, who looked around bewildered, as though another mysterious poltergeist was making it’s appearance at Hogwarts known, but this time he was more uncommonly uncautious than usual. As if Peeves wasn’t a menace enough. It was just as a seventh year conveniently exited the Hospital Wing, probably one of the more mature ones studying for their Healer’s permit, that he was able to slip in between the closing wooden doors.

          The only patron there was concealed behind curtains drawn around the occupied bed. After all, it was a bit early for the Marauders infamous antics to land anybody in the hospital yet. He tried to manage it as noiselessly and undetectably as possible, slipping between the curtains just as Madam Pomfrey finished bandaging Remus’s wounds with a paper mache of dittany covered cotton balls and gauze. He didn’t know what to expect, but he was relieved to see that the minor cuts and scratches had all been efficiently healed and altogether removed. Remus would’ve appeared seemingly unscathed if it weren’t for the bulging bandages that protruded from beneath his shirt, around his arms and legs. Unconsciously, Sirius grabbed hold of one of Remus’s hands. He didn’t know whether it was more for his own comfort or Remus’s.

          “Whozzair?” Remus managed to mumble, his eyes fluttering open heavily as he noticed the firm grip around his hand. Though he wasn’t badly injured, the exhaustion of the transformation had taken it’s toll. Sirius flung the cloak off himself with a completely unintentional flourish.

          “It’s me, Moony,” Sirius murmured as quietly as he could. Remus’s eyes flew open, and in a rush of panic that took all of his energy, he scrambled into a sitting position, only to stare wide eyed at Sirius, who sheepishly looked back. He got to his feet defeatedly, and with a hung head muttered “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come,” he stooped to collect the cloak from the floor. James would’ve woken by now and realised his precious heirloom had gone missing. In that way he was sort of jealous of James, with his fancy cloak and enchanted items. The only heirlooms he’d ever been promised was stuffy old cursed jewelry, goblets, gold, and a one way ticket to employment via Death Eaters. As Sirius bent over to gather the cloak, he didn’t realise the bit of fabric on his shirt hiking up to reveal a long, fresh gash that looked as though it’d been mulled over with a series of unsuccessful healing charms. Remus gasped.

          “Sirius, what is that?” he asked nervously. It took a moment for Sirius to lose the puzzled look and realise what Remus was referring to.

          “Oh, it’s nothing really,” he replied a bit too quickly, stuffing his untucked shirt back into his trousers. “James and I were just messing about with some spells and-”

          “-Sirius, where were you last night?” Remus asked, his voice growing cold and serious. It darkened Sirius’s face and that falsely hewn smile slid right off. Of course Remus didn’t believe him. He could smell bullshit from a mile away, and Sirius was constantly full of it.

          “I-With you,” he muttered. And that very response set Remus off.

          “I knew it,” he exclaimed, and he slammed his hand into the mattress in anger. Sirius jumped backwards, as Remus revelled in self inflicted agony mingled with frustration. He ran his fingers through his hair in the way he often did when he was stressed out or disappointed in himself. “Why did you come, Pads, why?” he implored, with a broken looking expression, his eyes doused in regret and self loathing.

          “I had to! You would’ve killed yourself out there if I didn’t!”

          “That doesn’t matter, Sirius! The whole point of being in the Shrieking Shack on a full moon is to keep the students safe! Look what I’ve done. I could’ve killed Snape that night, and I could’ve killed you too if I’d have made the wrong move,” Remus said, running his shaking fingers through his hair. Sirius dropped the cloak and moved towards Remus, taking the shoulder of his pajamas in hand. He tried to angle his face so that he was looking into Remus’s eyes, but it was difficult with Remus’s hands clasped tightly around his own head in horror.

          “It does matter! You matter, Moony. It’s only a scratch and it couldn’t have been helped. You couldn’t have helped it, and it isn’t your fault! You have to stop beating yourself up about these things. Letting Snape in was a stupid and careless on my part, not yours. And if being there for you every damned full moon is daft, then so be it,” he said, shaking Remus lightly by the shoulder. Remus looked up.

          “I’m so sorry, Sirius,” he said with finality, and Sirius’s blood seemed to rush from his limbs to where he felt numb everywhere, except for the little pit of rage that began to boil in his gut.

          “Remus, you’re not listening to what I’m saying!” he exclaimed in frustration. “You matter! And I’ll risk my bloody safety for yours and the other students here if it means you don’t have to go through this alone. Prongs, Wormtail, and I settled on that years ago,” Sirius assured him. There was a moment of uncomfortable silence that permeated the air, only occupied by the look of aghast petrification on Remus’s face. It shocked him when Remus leaned into his chest, his head pressed against his uniform. Then he remembered the exhaustion. Sirius wrapped his arms around Remus, and held him softly against his body. Even though in the past year, Remus had surpassed Sirius in height, it didn’t remedy the vulnerability nestled beneath the calm exterior.

          “I’m so sorry, Sirius,” Remus said, as he extracted himself from Sirius’s embrace. He held his hand to his mouth, as if he were suppressing an onslaught of burgeoning tears. Sirius said nothing, merely watched as he lowered his hand from his face, and sighed audibly, putting away the feelings until they’d emerge a month from now along with the guilt and mergence into silent self loathing. Maybe that’s why Sirius did it. Maybe it was his misguided way of trying to comfort a friend. Perhaps it was for his own selfish reasons, maybe he wanted to. Maybe it was because in that moment Remus was broken, and he couldn’t fix him with anything else so he flew to the last resort. But he’d thought about it for weeks after it happened, and he figured he did it because it felt right, as though it’d been destined to happen, yet never did until that point. Like his whole friendship with Remus had led up to this. Sirius lent forward and placed a chaste kiss on his lips, stringing his hand behind his neck and through Remus’s tawny hair. And he was pleased when Remus didn’t push him away, and he subconsciously hoped it wasn’t because he was too tired. They only broke apart when Madam Pomfrey pushed back the curtains and dropped the bottle of Dittany, which shattered in an array of silver shards, sizzling potion, and cold, contagious surprise.

          “BLACK!” she managed to yell in outrage. “What are you doing here, you-you- you buffoon! OUT!” she ushered him out with a look of surprise akin to the one on Remus’s face. He remained sitting upright on the bed, his limbs locked in place, staring placidly at the rippling curtains, his mind obscured by the scene flashing through again and again.

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