Aria waited anxiously for Sirius to continue speaking. For the fiftieth time since this whole thing started, not even ten minutes ago, the same question kept popping up in her head. Who on earth could have created this much damage to someone? She looked worriedly back at James to see if there was still a rise and fall in his chest. Seeing that he was still fine, she exhaled slowly, closing her eyes before again looking up hesitantly at Sirius, pleading silently for him to answer her.

“Don’t worry, Aria. He will be okay. It just looks worse than it actually is at the moment. I assure you that he will recover,” Sirius responded quietly, looking at Aria and leaning forward to touch her arm comfortingly.

Aria looked down at where Sirius placed his hand on her arm and saw a large bite mark which was still covered in blood. He snatched his hand away once he saw what she was looking at and muttered a spell under his breath to clean away the blood.

Sirius inhaled deeply. “Okay, what I’m about to tell you, you cannot tell a soul. This is really important and I don’t want anyone to get hurt. And when I’m telling you, please keep an open mind. It isn’t really my place to be saying all this but since you have seen this much, I don’t know if I really have a choice anymore. I can’t just pretend as if nothing has happened.”

Aria watched him as he looked back to James soberly and again waited for him to continue. “I’m guessing from your expression that this is not the first time James has come back hurt?”

“No, definitely not the first time, though this is the worst I have seen him hurt. He is usually a lot quicker...” Sirius trailed off, leaning forward to rest his hands on his knees and resting his head in his hands. “Alright, I should probably get this over and done with. There isn’t really any easy way to tell you.”

Aria nodded worriedly. “Okay, go on.”

Sirius pulled his head and up looked at her for a moment before continuing. “Have you ever wondered why Remus gets sick every month, or has to deal with a family issue, or has to go home and make sure his rogue rabbit isn’t wreaking havoc?”

Aria frowned. “Now that you mention it, it does always seem odd. But he does have a fairly weak immune system. He always looks awful when he gets back from home. I just put it all down as stress.”

Sirius smiled forlornly. “Well, yeah, he is a bit stressed but it’s not really to do with anything at home or even his rabbit,” he paused and rubbed at his temples. “Aria, do you know what’s different about tonight than the rest of the month?”

Aria’s frowned deepened as her mind thought hard. She stood up and walked towards the window on the far side of the wall. She stared out into the dark forest and just to the right of it, saw the huge lake shimmering in the light from the moon. It seemed to glow even more this evening. Slowly she looked up towards the moon and realised that it was full. Turning around, she looked at Sirius who had turned around to face her.

“It’s a full moon.”

Sirius nodded. “What happens on a full moon?”

Aria’s mind ticked over slowly as she thought about what Sirius could possibly have meant by that. Obviously the moon was in complete opposition from the sun, not covered at all by Earth. But how would that make any difference? They only studied the moon briefly in class, in Defence Against the Dark Arts, when they were learning werewolves. But it was only creatures and they only transformed on a full moo-
Aria stopped dead. She could feel her face being drained of its colour.

“A werewolf...” Aria whispered across the room, looking up at Sirius.

Sirius nodded sadly.

“He’s a werewolf?” Aria whispered a little more loudly.

“I’m afraid so,” Sirius responded, his hand gesturing her back to sit on the bed in front of him.

Aria wandered over in shock, unaware that her legs were moving. “When? When did it happen?”

“He was five. His father insulted another werewolf by the name of Fenrir Greyback...and, well, yeah, Greyback wasn’t too pleased and took it upon himself to get revenge, thus biting Remus. His parents tried everything to find a cure for him but as you know, there isn’t one.”

“So his furry little problem is...” Aria trailed off.

Sirius chuckled, “Is to do with his lycanthropy, yes.”

“So what does he do every full moon?”

“Well, Dumbledore knows, obviously. He was the one that encouraged Remus’ parents to send him here. He made sure that he would do everything in his power to make sure Remus has a relatively easy transformation and that no one would find out. So he gets taken to the Shrieking Shack every month with Madame Pomfrey and just stays in there. That’s why it got dubbed the Shrieking Shack coz his howls are mistaken for ghosts,” Sirius barked with laughter.

Aria was still sitting very still. Her mind was about to explode from the information that had poured out. Never in a thousand years would she have thought that Remus was a werewolf. And why they believed the rabbit story, she would never know.
“Poor Remus. He doesn’t deserve that,” she muttered.

“Yeah, poor bloke. He does alright though. It’s just good that no one has ever found out or gotten hurt. He would kill himself if he hurt someone,” Sirius agreed, standing up.

Aria watched him as he made his way over to the window where she had just been standing previously. His movements were stiff, like he was physically pushing himself to walk. His wiry back had small little scratches all over it and there was still some blood noticeable on some of the larger gashes. His broad shoulders hunched over the sill as he bent down to look out the window.

“But wait, how does this all involve you? Please don’t tell me that you go out there with him every full moon and do this?” Aria shook her head at the thought. Could they be that stupid?

Sirius turned around and sat on the sill looking at Aria with the same look that he had when he first arrived with James slumped over his shoulder. After a second, he coughed and looked away from her, out the window, not meeting her gaze. “Well obviously he is our mate; we have to look out for him. We just got a little too close this time and things went a bit hay-wire.”

Aria scoffed, “So you’re saying to me that every full moon the three of you go out there with him. How is that even possible? Surely one of you should have been bitten by now. Looks like you really came that close this evening.”

Sirius frowned and still refused to make eye contact with her. “It’s not like we’re not careful. We can’t abandon him. What would you do if you were in my position?”

“Well, I wouldn’t be so stupid as to go out with a bleeding werewolf and risk becoming one as well,” Aria trilled, her voice becoming more forceful with each word.

Sirius swung his head back and stared at her, “Right now, Aria, you sound like every other maniac pureblood that refuses to look outside their own type to risk caring for someone different. Remus, in my opinion, is no different from you or I and I will continue to help him in any way I can to make it easier for him each full moon. Even if I do get bittern, at least he will have some company.”

Aria exhaled loudly, “You know that’s not what I meant, Sirius. All I’m saying is that it’s a bit risky. I just don’t know if helping him out is worth you getting hurt. Where is Peter anyway? Is he a madman too?”

Sirius looked away from Aria and glared darkly out the window, his voice dropping low. “Yes, he usually comes, but I don’t know where he is.”

“Sirius, what’s wrong with you? Why are you being so elusive with all of this?”

Sirius pushed up from his position on the sill. “What’s wrong with me? Aria, my best friend just got mauled by a werewolf. Don’t you think you would be a little concerned? And anyway, this isn’t really any of your business. I think you should probably go now. I need to make sure James is alright. I can’t do that when you’re standing here being critical of the way I treat my friends.”

Aria looked at Sirius for a moment before standing up and walking over to the door, opening it quietly. “I didn’t mean to offend you, Sirius.” With that, she walked out and shut the door behind her.

“Well you did a pretty good job of it anyway,” Sirius replied quietly, sighing.


James looked at the clock once more and closed his eyes in frustration. Now was not the time he wanted to go for a walk around the castle to make sure that everyone was doing the right thing. He just wanted to lie in his old bed and forget about everything for the next few hours. Unfortunately, reality was catching up to him. He leaned up on one elbow and looked solemnly towards the clock again. He woke up mid morning in his old dorm with his whole body aching and Sirius asleep next to him on the chair, his mouth hanging wide open. Not wanting to stay, he got up slowly, ignoring the aching in his chest and moved Sirius to the bed and also left him a note to tell him where he went. He then picked up his invisibility cloak and made his way to the head dorm, not really thinking about anything.

He was vaguely aware Peter was on his own bed as he left the room but all he could think about was sleeping. When he finally collapsed on his bed, he was asleep almost instantaneously.

After waking, he pushed himself up and walked over to the bathroom to brush his teeth. Mid-way through brushing, he inhaled sharply, almost choking on toothpaste when he saw his reflection. There was a huge gash over the left side of his face. The skin around it was deep purple and looked like it was about to burst, it was that swollen. He hurriedly did his best to conceal it and tried to straighten his glasses, which still would never sit symmetrical on his crooked nose.

He picked up his cloak, stuffed it in his pocket and made his way out of his dorm. Again, not really looking about where he was going, he swerved to miss someone with long, black hair who was at the bottom of the stairs as he came rushing down.

“James! I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to hi-jack you! I was wondering if you were okay. I have been worried about you,” exclaimed Aria.

James opened his mouth but then stopped himself when he realised he wasn’t meant to tell people he had an invisibility cloak. “I must have had my drapes drawn. So, uh, why did you want to see me?”

Aria gestured over to the side of the common room. “Well,” she lowered her voice and moved her head closer to his, “I was there when Sirius brought you back last night.”

“Oh. I see. How much did he tell you?” James returned quietly, bringing his hand up to his face to rub his jaw anxiously.

Aria frowned, “Just about Remus and how you guys go out there every time to be with him.”

James inclined his head sharply. “Padfoot told you that we go out there with him?”

“Well, what else was I meant to deduce from your injuries last night after he told me what Remus is? I might add that I think you’re all completely stupid to be out there. Humans and werewolves don’t mesh well and I mean that only when he is transformed,” Aria replied quickly, emphasizing humans.

James exhaled slowly. Thank Merlin Sirius was smart and knew not to tell Aria the truth about them. He personally didn’t mind much about telling others as long as he knew he could trust them. The thing he had the issue with was with Lily being in the dark. He needed to tell her first. It was something that he had always promised himself. Even though they have never really been on the best of terms, he respected her so much and he could never let her find out that about him through someone else. He wanted it to come directly from him.

“Yeah, it is kind of stupid but Aria, he is our friend and we have been perfectly fine up until now. We’ve been doing this for years. We know what we’ve got ourselves into and we understand the risks. But the fact of the matter is we aren’t going to leave Remus to suffer by himself every month. He is our friend and we chose to help him out in the way that we do. You’re just going to have to accept that.”

“I’ll accept it even though I imagine I’m going to have extreme psyche issues because of this little piece of information you decided to drop on me. I’m going to be a wreck every full moon now!” Aria said, shooting him a withered stare.

James smiled and gave her a comforting pat on the shoulder. “By the way, have you seen Sirius today? Do you know if he is still asleep? I should probably go check that he is also still alive.”

Aria looked down, refusing to meet his gaze. “Uh, I haven’t seen him actually.”

“Did I miss something?”

“It’s nothing. I was probably a little too judgemental with him last night. It will work itself out eventually,” Aria paused and took a breath, shaking off the unresolved feeling that was lingering. She hated leaving it the way she did with Sirius. “Oh and that reminds me about what I’ve been meaning to tell you throughout this whole drama. I got a letter back from my parents. They said they caught up with yours not long ago and mentioned that they might have to go on an unexpected trip and they were supposed to send something to you if that were the case. But you know my parents; the bloody romantics that they are forgot to send an owl. I’m so sorry, James.”

James exhaled thankfully and sat down in the armchair closest to him and put his hands in his head. Thank Merlin that they were safe. With all the dark stuff going round at the moment, he was beginning to give up hope that they were ever coming back. His parents were definitely not the youngest chaps around and he worried constantly that their age might have got the best of them. He felt her come sit on the arm of the sofa and place a hand on his shoulder for comfort.

“I’m glad they’re okay, James. I’ll make sure that next time they actually get the message through to the correct person,” Aria chuckled and pulled herself off the arm on the chair and began to move toward to the portrait hole. “I hate to run on you, but I said I would meet Ella in the library ten minutes ago so I should probably go. No one wants to deal with the wrath of Ella Rodgers.”

James chuckled and pulled himself off the chair. “Thanks, Aria. Oh and there is a Quidditch practice on tomorrow night for the game on Saturday. Make sure you’re practicing. I don’t want any slacking off. There better be some good catches of that snitch tomorrow.”

James smiled and watched as she turned around and stuck her tongue out. He followed shortly after, feeling much less pessimistic than he did before. At least his parents were alive. He didn’t really have anything to complain about in comparison to some of the other families that had already lost some of their family members. He was mid thought when he heard his name being called from down the corridor.

“Hey, James. James!”

James turned around slowly and saw Chloe running down the hall towards him. He stopped and ran his hand through his hair anxiously. He had to admit he was avoiding her lately. The last time he saw her was at dinner a couple of nights ago where she came over and wrapped her hands around him and talked incredibly loudly about the celebrations they should have for their two month anniversary. Apart from the fact that he hated over the top, public displays of affection, he didn’t even know that they were in a relationship in the first place. As she came closer, he saw that she looked different from her normal ‘done up’ self. She was wearing jeans and a shirt, her hair was pulled back at her nape; however her makeup still seemed to be painted on perfectly.

James cleared his throat when she stopped in front of him. “Hi Chloe,” he said stiffly, looking slightly to his right to see if there was a quick exit if things got too out of control. “What are you up to?”

She smiled. “Well, I hadn’t seen you since dinner the other night and I just wanted to find you and see if you’re still keen to do dinner tomorrow night. I’ve realised that I have been a little over the top but it’s only because I find you incredibly attractive.”

James stared at her. He couldn’t work out if she was being genuine or not. Her clothes and her hair were so far out of the ordinary but she was still acting relatively like the normal Chloe. It was a little confronting to see her like this, especially because there was no one else around that could help him if she tried to jump him again. After her little display at dinner, he was planning on ending it with her but he knew what it was like to be rejected when you’re just trying to impress someone. It was far too easy to do something stupid. “Chloe, is all you see in me the physical attraction?”

Chloe shook her head. “No, of course not.”

“Well, I suppose we could start again. As long as you promise me that you won’t go into full crazy person mode again. You were beginning to freak me out.” James smiled and rubbed the left side of his face absently, immediately regretting when the left side of his face started pounding.

“Yeah, I am sorry about that. I realised after the other night at dinner that I wasn’t really impressing you. Oh and I don’t know if you like the whole beaten up look, but it’s not doing much for you at the moment,” she said, pointing to the gashes on his face and arms.

“Well, I’m not deliberately trying to hurt myself. Anyway, I can’t do tomorrow night, I have training but how about we do lunch instead? I have the afternoon off. Just as friends for now though, right?”

“I guess we can start off as friends. Well, I better get going. I’m not sure if I want too many people too see me like this out and about,” she gestured to her outfit. “I’ll guess I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

Chloe turned around and wandered off down the corridor, waving over her shoulder as she rounded the corner. James frowned and wondered what kind of alternate world he stepped into when he was talking to her for the last five minutes. He still couldn’t work out whether that was an act or not. He shook his head and looked at his battered watch on his left arm and swore quietly under his breath when he saw how late he was for rounds with Lily. He certainly wasn’t doing himself any favours by being late.
As he came down the last flight of stairs to the pre-arranged meeting place, he saw her sitting down with her back up against the wall and a book placed up against her knees. Her long red hair was, unusually, let down tonight and it kept falling in her eyes as she lowered her head to read. He cleared his throat when he approached and she looked up quickly, frightened by the sudden noise.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” James said as he consciously stopped himself from running his hand through his hair.

“It’s fine. I was probably a little too engrossed anyway.” She snapped her book shut and began to push it into her bag that was nearby her on the floor.

James moved closer and stuck his hand out quickly to help her up. Lily looked at it for a moment before placing her hand in his and pulling herself up off the floor. She muttered a small ‘thank you’ and briefly looked up at him, flinching at his appearance. His left side of his face looked like one huge bruise. It was plum in colour and there were small scratches all over his face and neck too. She wasn’t sure why she was this startled, it wasn’t an uncommon thing for James to turn up with bruises all over his face. She just wished she knew who the hell kept doing it to him.

“Are you alright?” She asked, observing his face carefully.

James nodded and turned away slightly, trying to pull down the sleeves of his school shirt to cover the other gashes on his arms. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just had a little accident with the Marauders is all. Nothing out of the ordinary.”

James felt her x-ray, green eyes study him for a moment longer before nodding and pulling her bag in front of her to pull out some flyers.

“I got these ready this afternoon so we could hang them up while we were doing rounds. They are for the Hogsmeade weekend coming up. McGonagall wants events properly advertised this year. Some new idea she had that she wanted to try out.”

James smiled. “Gotta love Minnie and her ideas. Here let me take them for you, I don’t have anything to hold and you have a bag.”

Lily chuckled. “It’s hardly an issue, James. I’m not exerting any more energy. But how about I give you half?”

James flinched when he heard his name. He was still not used to Lily calling him by his first name. It happened very irregularly, but still, it was hugely different than her usual, 'Potter'. It was almost like it was too sensitive for his ears. She handed him some and they began to set off down the sixth-floor corridor, sticking up flyers and making polite small talk. They had reached the last floor when James ran into one of the statues that Peeves frequently booby trapped, intending people to fall over. He doubled over and clutched his stomach, groaning at the stabbing pain he felt. He didn’t look at his chest when he got up this morning but it must not have looked pretty. Sirius obviously did some intense work to fix him up last night for him not to have felt anything yet. The flyers slipped out of his hand and fell to the ground, fluttering all along the corridor. He felt a hand rest on his shoulder.

“Whoa, James, are you alright?” Lily said softly, bending down. “Here, sit down over here.”

She led him to the side of the corridor where there was a bucket sitting on a stool catching water from the peeling ceiling. Pulling her wand out of her robes, she levitated the bucket to move out of the way and helped him sit down on the stool slowly. She left her hand on his shoulder and studied his face for a moment. “James, answer me, are you okay? Do you need to go to the hospital wing?”

James shook his head quickly, figuring his voice would probably give him away if he spoke.

Lily nodded after another moment of looking at him before sighing. “As long as you’re sure.” She stood up and began picking up some of the flyers that were scattered along the floor, only pausing to tell him to stay where he was and not move when he tried to get up and help. When she had finished, she placed the rest in her bag and began to move back over to where James was resting on the stool, his head back against the wall and a small smile on his face.

“I don’t meant to pry, but you seem a lot less stressed than you have been recently. You weren’t talking to anyone for a while there.” Lily asked, her eyes frowning curiously at him.

“Yeah, well I hadn’t heard from my parents since before the start of term. They weren’t responding to any of my letters and I was beginning to think the worst. But Aria just told me today that her parents had seen them and they had to leave pretty quickly on a trip and wouldn’t be in contact for a while.”

“Oh, I see. I’m sorry. I didn’t know. That would have been awful. But I am glad they are okay,” Lily said softly. She had no idea what it must be like to be an only child and have your parents away for a lot of the year. It had to be why James was so independent most of the time, looking after himself from such a young age.

“It’s fine, really. You didn’t know,” James brushed it off and then hurled himself up off the stool, wincing at the pain in his stomach. “Hey, I hate to be rude but since we're pretty much done with all the flyers, I better go and find Sirius. I haven’t seen him all day and I think he may be wondering where I am. I’ll see you tomorrow in class.”

Lily nodded and smiled and watched him walk away slowly up the corridor. 

Woah guys.. .I'm so sorry! It's been sooooo long. I have quite a few chapters planned ahead of this so I'm hoping the next one doesn't take four months! 
This one is more of a filler, but I'm hoping you like it anyway. 

Sooo what do you think about the argument between Sirius and Aria and the small change in Chloe? What are you most looking forward to in this story [if anything]? :)
Looking forward to hearing from you!

UPDATE: 11/10/11 - Wow. It has been such a long time since I have been on here! I'm appalled at my lack of committment to this story. However, I am back with a vengeance! I plan to read my entire story again, and then start planning for the entirity of the book. This may take a while, but I plan to have chapter 14 up soon. I'm not sure when soon is, but know that I am trying so very hard to finish this story. It has always been in the back of my mind that I havent finished, so here I go! Please be patient.
Thanks all for reviewing in the last year and a half. I appreciate it! 

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