Wednesday 12th September 1973
“Ugh, go back to bed, Lupin!” Sirius threw a shoe at him from his bed.
“Sorry!” Remus cringed, guiltily, as he quickly pulled the curtains shut, throwing the room back into darkness. It was 5AM, and he was awake. More awake than he’d ever felt in his life.
He crept downstairs, not wanting to disturb anyone else, clutching a shoebox under one arm. With a brand new book to read, Remus set up camp in the most comfortable armchair in the deserted common room. He often came down early, on mornings like this, when his body simply refused to sleep and he had so much energy he thought he could run laps around the castle without breaking a sweat. Remus had never actually tried this – if anything, he tried to push the strange urge away, lock it up and focus on his mind instead.
Still, he struggled to concentrate on his book. He thought about going for a walk, but they weren’t really allowed out of bounds until breakfast began at six. Ugh, he had to try not to think about breakfast, or his stomach would start growling. Never mind that he’d had three helpings of mashed potato with his beef stew last night. Even Peter had looked impressed.
Even if it was time for breakfast, he’d said he would be in the common room for an hour from six thirty onwards. This was the ideal time, he had decided – no one expected you to be up to anything nefarious that early in the morning, and the other marauders typically didn’t get up until seven thirty, even on weekdays. Sirius would stay in bed longer if he possibly could. James sometimes got up for an early morning broom practice, but not usually until after seven.
Remus looked down at the shoebox in his lap. He could cast a quick misdirection charm if James came down sooner than expected, that wouldn’t be too difficult. Mind you, the state his magic was in at the moment he’d better not do it while the box was in his lap – or he ran the risk of vanishing something much more vital. He’d already been to Madam Pomfrey once this term, attempting to grow his hair out in Transfiguration. He’d needed Peter and James to help him carry his rapidly growing locks to the hospital wing – Sirius had been laughing too hard to be of any use at all.
Remus experimented levitating his book, but it shot up to the ceiling, smacking it hard before plummeting towards the floor. He sighed. He could do nothing but sit still and wait, it seemed. He wished he could have the record player on – Sirius had left it in the common room along with his newest albums from Andromeda – Aladdin Sane, and Led Zeppelin IV. Sirius had been listening to ‘Black Dog’ on repeat for weeks now.
Remus opened the shoe box and took a quick inventory, though it was unnecessary; this would be his first sale. If anyone came. He’d spoken to a few fifth years he’d seen smoking the year before, and got them interested. They seemed to be under some impression that ‘muggle fags’ were somehow more potent, or maybe just more exotic than wizarding ones. He did nothing to discourage the idea, and told them to spread the word.
Sirius had once obtained an exhaustive list of all the Hogwarts school rules, suggesting that they attempt to break every one before they reached seventh year. Remus read through it and had found nothing that mentioned tobacco trafficking. Not if you took the language very literally, anyway. Besides, it wasn’t going to be a regular thing – he only had the stuff he’d brought with him.
He had planned to give it all a bit more thought, to wait until after the full moon, but then he found out that their first Hogsmeade weekend was coming up on the 15th and he’d decided he needed to get a move on.
Sirius and James had already planned the trip out in full, without consulting Peter or Remus, who were just happy to trail after them as usual. Honeyduke’s, obviously, and Zonko’s to stock up on dung bombs. Then the shrieking shack, because James’s dad didn’t believe it was haunted, which meant James didn’t either, and Sirius wanted to prove them both wrong. Then they were very keen to have Remus try something called butterbeer.
Remus had his own plans. He was going to tell them that a long-lost aunt had died, and left him a very small amount of money. This would hopefully be enough of an explanation to satisfy James, who was certain to ask where Remus had acquired his newfound wealth. Remus felt sure that petty crime, even in the muggle world, was not something James took lightly. Sirius might shrug it off, having little regard for rules in any setting – but he would probably also try to lend Remus some of his own money, which defeated the whole point.
“Lupin? That you?”
A sixth year had come down the stairs from the boy’s dormitories, still looking bleary eyed, clutching a NEWT textbook.
“Yeah,” Remus sat up straighter in the armchair, roused from his daydream.
“Great, um… did you say five sickles for a pack of twenty?”
“That’s right.” Remus opened his box, quickly, gesturing the sixth year over.
They made the swap and the sixth year scurried out of the portrait hole, probably off for a morning fag before the library. The little silver coins rattled heavy in Remus’s hand and he grinned to himself. He was selling everything for twice the market rate, but if people were willing to pay…
He made two more sales to some fifth years, and to a seventh year girl who bought a packet of loose tobacco and asked if he had anything ‘more fun’ for sale. He was a bit confused by what she meant. And just repeated that he only had pre-rolled and loose. She shrugged,
“I’ll ask Martha Ebhurst in Hufflepuff, she’s usually got good stuff.”
Remus nodded, still not really sure what she meant. Either way, it appeared that he was not the only student in school with an entrepreneurial mind.
By quarter past seven, Remus’s shoebox was half empty and his pockets jangling. Deeply satisfied, he packed everything away as the common room filled up with students beginning their days.
“Wotcher Remu,” James came bounding down the stairs, broom in hand, just as Remus was heading up them, “You’re up early.”
“Yeah, couldn’t sleep.” Remus replied evasively. Fortunately, James was eager to get out to the quidditch pitch and didn’t pay any attention to the shoebox, or the strange clinking sound Remus’s robes were making.
“See you for lunch?” He called, already hallway across the room,
“Yep.” Remus nodded, hurrying on his way back upstairs.
In the dorm room, Peter was in the shower and Sirius was still asleep, covers thrown over his head, the only part of him visible was his black hair spilling out on the white pillow. Remus crept silently over to his bed and deposited his money and his goods, before collecting together his books for the day.
James had obviously yanked back the curtains before leaving, and – Remus thought with some annoyance – had not received the same rebuke from Sirius that he had. There was enough light for him to neatly sort through his homework and carefully stow it in his bag. He’d done all the work that was due for the next few days, unsure how much time Madam Pomfrey would make him stay off lessons. He hoped not too long – he’d asked James to make a note of the homework for their shared classes, but he’d be missing Care of Magical Creatures and Runes too. He couldn’t very well ask any of the girls to get the right notes for him, not without them asking where he’d be.
His stomach rumbled again. He wondered if James was having breakfast right now. Potter often ate food on the go, always rushing off to one place or another. The bathroom door creaked open and Peter peered around the door, hair still wet and cheeks pink from the shower. He waved, and mouthed ‘morning, Moony’. Remus raised a hand in response.
Peter looked at Sirius – who was still just a lump in the duvet – anxiously, before tiptoeing carefully over to his own bed to fetch his tie. Remus watched with some amusement as Peter attempted to gather his things without making so much as a sound. There was a fine line, Remus thought, between showing respect for your dorm mates sleeping habits, and just being a complete and utter wuss.
It was mean of him, but Remus was feeling particularly wicked, that morning. Blame it on the moon. He pulled his wand slowly from his pocket, and waved it very slightly, whispering under his breath.
In an instant, Peter’s book bag slid off the end of his bed, landing with a heavy thud which reverberated off the bedroom’s stone walls, rattling the window panes. Wide eyed, Peter froze, going pale. He shot a look at Sirius, who was stirring, and practically fled from the room, leaving his tie behind.
Remus wheezed with laughter, having to sit down on his own bed, clutching his stomach. When he opened his eyes, still catching his breath, Sirius was wide awake, still lying in bed, propped up on one elbow, staring at Remus as if he was mad.
“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?”
Remus shrugged and nodded, standing up again and returning to his pile of homework. Sirius threw a pillow at him.
“What? Pete looked like such a prat tiptoeing around you, couldn’t help myself.”
“Not very gallant of you, picking on the weak, Moony,” Sirius yawned and stretched.
“He’s fine,” Remus waved a dismissive hand, “I’ll take him his tie. Anyway, someone had to get you up, c’mon, it’s breakfast.”
Sirius yawned again.
“Bring me something up.”
“James would,” Sirius whined.
“James isn’t here.”
“As we’ve established,” Remus said, hoisting his book bag up onto his shoulder, “Peter’s a coward.”
Sirius groaned and leaned back.
“Fine, I’ll get up. Wait for me?”
“I’m hungry.” Remus complained.
“I won’t take long! Just treat is as penance for waking me up.”
“You threw a shoe at me, this morning.”
“Did I hit you?”
“Well then.” Sirius got out of bed, grabbing his uniform. “Serves you right anyway, getting up at stupid o’clock.”
“Couldn’t sleep.” Remus said, “I think it’s the moon.”
Sirius stopped outside the bathroom door. He looked at Remus with something a bit like pity – if Sirius Black even had it in him to feel sorry for anyone but himself. Remus regretted saying anything – he didn’t want pity, he rarely brought up the full moon for exactly that reason.
“Sorry, Lupin.” Sirius said, “Is it… I mean, do you worry about it?”
“No, it’s not like that,” Remus said, hurriedly, “I just get restless. Hungry too, so hurry up.” He laughed, lightly, to show that everything was fine. Sirius smirked, disappearing into the bathroom.
“You ought to be grateful, Moony,” he called from inside, turning on the shower, “Not many Gryffindor’s would be able to lie-in when they know they’re sharing a room with a restless werewolf.”
“Wanker.” Remus called back.
* * *
Thursday 13th September 1973
He woke up upstairs, which was unusual. There were mice in the house, he knew that because he often saw them before he transformed. Perhaps once he turned he chased them, but he didn’t think he ever caught any. Three of his fingers were broken, but at least his shoulders hadn’t dislocated – that had already happened twice this year.
Before moving, Remus made a series of mental checks from top to toe. What hurt? How much did it hurt? Was he numb anywhere? Did all his limbs move when he wanted them too? No, it seemed all right. A few scratches, none too deep. He’d got off easily. Perhaps the wolf was happy to be back at Hogwarts too.
He got up from the floor and limped over to the window. Sometimes his knees got a bit out of joint, but this morning they were only sore. He tried to squint through the gaps in the boards, but it was no good. The house was sealed up tight.
“Remus, dear?” Madam Pomfrey’s voice drifted up the stairs,
“Coming,” he croaked back, hoarsely. His clothes were downstairs, so he ripped an old blanket from the bed with his good hand and wrapped it around himself. It smelled of mildew and dead things.
* * *
“What have I told you boys? He can’t have visitors on the first day!” Madam Pomfrey’s scolding interrupted his dreams. Remus blinked, yawning. The hospital was dimly lit, curtains drawn. It must be evening already. His stomach grumbled. He wondered if he’d eaten anything yet, or if the nurse had let him sleep instead. He lost so much time, after a transformation – like his bones, nothing seemed to fit together quite right.
“It’s been almost a day,” Peter’s voice now. “We brought him chocolate.”
“Well that’s very nice of you, dear,” Madam Pomfrey’s voice softened a little. She wasn’t a natural disciplinarian. “But Mr Lupin is sleep—”
“I’d love some chocolate,” he called out, hoping they could hear him. His throat felt raw.
The curtain whipped back to reveal Peter, James and Sirius standing there, looking triumphant.
“Hiya, Moony!” James and Sirius chorused, plonking themselves down at the end of the bed, either side of his ankles.
“Here you go,” Peter dropped three chocolate frogs into his lap.
“Well if you’re up anyway,” Madam Pomfrey sighed, “I’ll go and fetch you some proper food. Half an hour, boys, that’s all.”
“Here’s your homework, you big weirdo.” James pulled some parchment from his bag, handing it over,
“Thanks James, you’re a lifesaver.” Remus put it on his bedside table for later.
“And here’s the rest of it,” Sirius handed him some more. “I had to wait outside your Care of Magical Creatures class for half of lunch, so you’d better get top marks on that.”
“You did?!” Remus stared at Sirius, amazed. Sirius nodded, imperiously,
“I did. Got to say, too, bit jealous of you. Looks like a really interesting subject, wish I wasn’t stuck doing Divination.”
“But what about me?!” James said, gasping dramatically.
“I see plenty of you.” Sirius retorted, giving him a shove.
“Such a fickle heart.” James sighed, making large eyes at Sirius, so that Peter began to giggle uncontrollably. Sirius shoved James again, and James leapt at him, pulling him into a headlock and tussling Sirius’s hair.
“Oi, Moony,” Peter said, suddenly, “Arbella Fenchurch gave me this for you,” he set down a handful of sickles. “She said you knew what it was for?”
“Er… yeah, cheers Pete.” Remus hurriedly tried to gather up the coins and hide them under his pillow. “I um… I had this chocolate frog card she really wanted. Aglaonike of Thessaly.”
“Oh I wanted that one!” Peter looked hurt. Remus shrugged,
“Sorry mate. Money talks.”