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The transformation had begun...
I heard a groan, but it was a few moments before I realised that it was me.
“Madame Pomfrey!” I heard someone utter urgently, as though something of great importance was happening. “Quickly!”
I couldn’t understand...Where was I? What was that voice? Who did it belong to?
“Remus?” I heard a voice ask urgently. “Madame Pomfrey! He’s awake!”
I sat upright, wincing, and opened my eyes. “Sirius!”
The smile that flew across his face was brilliant. “Remus! You remember me!”
He grabbed me and hugged me so hard that he forced the air from my lungs. “Sirius, let go!” I gasped. “I - can’t - breathe!”
He loosened his grip on me a little but still held onto me. “How are you feeling? Do you know where you are? Do you know who you are?”
I winced as he tightened his arms around me. “Ow...Sirius...you’re hurting me.”
He let go of me as though I’d burned him. “Oh my - sorry Rem. Where does it hurt?”
“That’s quite enough questions, Mr Black. The poor boy is exhausted and he’s been through rather an ordeal. If you can’t sit back I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” Madame Pomfrey said sternly as she hurried into the room. “Remus, dear. How are you feeling?”
I considered for a moment. “Relieved,” I admitted. “And I ache...but no more than usual. I think I’ve hurt my right ankle.”
“Let me have a look,” she said, lifting the bed covers and gently examining my ankle. “It looks swollen...maybe you’ve sprained it. Do you feel up to getting out of bed? I’d like to see if you can walk on it.”
I nodded and eased myself to the edge of the bed. “Sirius, can you help me?”
He came over, put his hands under my armpits and helped me up.
“Ready?” he asked.
I nodded, but when he let go my ankle couldn’t hold my weight and I collapsed back onto the bed. “Oh!” I exclaimed, surprised. “Yes, in that case I’d certainly say you’ve sprained it,” Madame Pomfrey nodded. “Can you get back into bed.”
I did as I was told. “Madame Pomfrey, can we let the others in?” Sirius asked desperately. “They really want to see how Remus is.”
She smiled. “Of course, as long as they’re quiet, Black.”
He hurried out and returned momentarily with Lily, James, Peter and Professor Dumbledore.
“Remus!” Lily squealed. “You’re ok!”
“Yes, we’re all very happy to see that you’re feeling yourself,” Dumbledore smiled genially. “My apologies for not being here when you awoke, Remus. Madame Pomfrey and I decided that it was better not to overwhelm you...and Mr Black was quite determined to be here.”
Sirius smiled embarrassedly. Dumbledore chuckled.
“How are you feeling Rem?” James asked, coming to sit next to me.
I smiled at him tiredly. “I’m so relieved Prongs. I was so scared...”
He put an arm around me and hugged me. “We were scared for you too. Thank goodness’ you’re ok.”
“Yeah, we were really worried, Moony,” Peter chimed in.
I smiled around the room at them all. “Well I’m just as glad that you’re ok as the rest,” Madame Pomfrey cut in, “but Remus needs to sleep. I think you all need to let him get some rest.”
“I don’t suppose there’s any chance I can go back up to the dormitory?” I asked.
She looked at Professor Dumbledore. He shrugged. “I think it’s best you stay here and sleep. At least until this afternoon.”
I sighed and nodded. “Ok guys, I’ll see you later.”
I slept for most of the day, dosed up on sleeping potion and covered in ointments to close the open wounds I’d cut into my skin during the transformation. I awoke just before dinner. Madame Pomfrey came bustling in.
“Remus, how are you feeling?” she asked.
I grimaced. “Not so bad. Can I leave?”
She smiled at my impatience and nodded. “I’ll owl Mr Black to come and collect you. I’ll give you another potion to take tonight for your ankle but it’s slow to work and as you don’t want to wait here overnight you’ll have to use a pair of muggle crutches to walk until it’s completely better.”
I smiled at her. “Thanks Madame Pomfrey.”
After what felt like an age, Sirius appeared in the doorway. “Ready to go, Moony?”
I grinned at his bewildered look as I hitched myself up onto one foot, supported by the muggle crutches I’d been hopping around the room on before he’d arrived. “I’ve got a potion to take before bed tonight to fix my ankle but I don’t want to be stuck here for another couple of days so...um...these are to help me walk.”
He continued to stare at me quizzically, clearly with no idea how to use them, until I demonstrated by beginning to hop around the room on them. He watched me for a moment, before bursting out laughing.
“What - kind - of - crazy - people - came - up - with - this?!” he gasped between giggles, clutching at the bed to hold himself upright.
I watched him for a moment but his laughter was infectious and soon I was laughing just as much. Madame Pomfrey came rushing in.
“What on earth -?!” she began, then looked at me knowledgeably. “The crutches?”
“He’s never seen them before,” I grinned. “C’mon, Sirius. Let’s get going.”
Sirius was still giggling by the time we reached the Great Hall for dinner - the novelty wouldn’t wear off for a while - and as we entered, several people turned to stare.
“Great,” I murmured. “As if I didn’t have enough to worry about, I’m now the only person in the wizarding world on crutches.”
“But they’re so cool!” he protested.
“Well as soon as we get back up to the common room, you can have a go,” I smiled.
He turned to me, his eyes shining like a child’s. “Really?!”
I laughed. “Of course!”
We made our way across the hall and sat down with Lily and James.
“What are those?” James asked, staring.
Lily rolled her eyes. “Did you seriously never listen in muggle studies?” She paused. “Come to think of it, how come you’ve got those Rem? I’d have thought Madame Pomfrey would’ve sorted your ankle in a heartbeat.”
“They’re to help me walk James. And she given me a potion to take but because I spend so much time in the hospital wing anyway this was the alternative. She said it could take a couple of days to be able to walk on it again.”
“Ah, that’s too bad,” Lily replied. “Because...um...you’re gonna have a couple of little boys fighting over who can use them next.”
“You mean...we can have a go with them?!” James asked, almost as excited as Sirius.
I stared from my seat by the fire as first Sirius and then James hopped around the common room as fast as they could. Lily sat in the chair opposite me, trying and failing not to laugh at them. Peter came in just as James stormed past the portrait hole and crashed straight into him.
“Prongs!” Pete fumed. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Woah, Pete,” James said apologetically as Sirius and Lily hurried over to help them up. “Sorry man; I didn’t see you.”
Peter brushed his apology beside, got up and stormed up to the dormitory.
“What’s wrong with him?” James asked, confused.
“Pass me my crutches, I’ll go talk to him,” I called.
Sirius brought them over and I clambered out of the armchair. It took me a while to get up the stairs but I eventually made it!
I knocked on the door and went in. The curtains to Pete’s bed were closed. I opened them cautiously. Peter was sprawled on his front with his face pressed into the pillow. I sat down next to him and put a hand on his shoulder.
“Pete?” I asked gently. “Is...is everything ok?”
He rolled onto his side. His eyes were red; he’d been crying. “She...she cheated on me,” he mumbled.
I stared at him for a moment, confused. “Sorry...who?”
He wiped his eyes. “The - the girl I’ve been s-s-seeing.”
Suddenly I remembered the girl he’d spent the night with in the Room of Requirement a couple of months previously and all the times we’d assumed he was studying in the library. When I asked, he smiled sadly.
“The very same.”
“Pete...why didn’t you tell us about her?”
He blushed. “I...we were supposed to be taking it slow. Now I realise that she was actually seeing someone else too...”
His face crumpled again and he covered his face with his hands. I went over to the bathroom to get some tissues, then rejoined Pete and wiped the tears from his face.
“Dude, I’m really sorry to hear that,” I murmured.
He sat up, looking a little embarrassed. “Man, Remus. I really thought she could be...y’know...the one for me. I guess I was wrong.”
I put my arm around him and hugged him. “That really sucks Pete.”
He sighed. “I just feel so stupid. I was...I was falling for her. But she wouldn’t even meet my friends...or let me tell anyone, come to think of it. How thick can you get?”
“Pete, you shouldn’t feel stupid. It’s not your fault; people make mistakes all the time. We know that as well as anyone.”
He gave me a watery smile. “You’re right, Remus. I just...I wish I’d seen the signs. Not been led on by her.”
I knew better than to ask who it was - or who the other guy had been. Pete would tell us in his own time. “I should go and apologise to James,” he muttered. “I didn’t mean to fly off the handle like that.”