"What you boys pulled at the feast tonight was incredibly disrespectful, not to mention potentially dangerous. I have no choice but to give all four of you detention." Professor Mcgonagall's nostrils flared as she gazed down at the four students who sat before her in her office. "I am extremely disappointed."
"Yes Professor." The boys mumbled.
"Realistically I should deduct points from each of you as well," She went on. "However, I must admit that I am not keen on the idea of losing the house cup for a sixth year in a row. But I am letting all of you off with a warning!"
"Thank you, Professor." Remus said, as the only one not grinning like a fool.
Professor Mcgonagall pursed her lips, "Don't make me regret the decision. You may go. But I will see all four of you every night this week for detention."
They walked back to Gryffindor tower feeling prouder than they had the night before.
"So worth a week of detention!" James declared. "Remus, you really are a complete utter genius."
Remus smiled modestly. "Well it wasn't all me..."
"You pulled it off," Peter said. "It really was mostly you."
"Only because you lot were being watched. I'm just glad I got there in time."
"So how's your mum feeling?" Sirius asked.
"She's alright." Remus answered shortly
"Is she getting any better?"
"I...It's not exactly that simple, Sirius...Cor Fortium." The portrait swung open and they all climbed through.
"Why doesn't your dad just bring her to St. Mungos?" Sirius pried as he dropped down into one of the chairs by the fireplace.
"She's a muggle."
"Then to one of those muggle healers, then-"
"Sirius," Remus snapped angrily, in a way that none of them had ever heard from him before. Sirius stared at him, wide eyed.
Taking a deep breath in, the smaller boy tried to relax himself before addressing his friends again. "I'm very tired, I'm sorry. I'm glad I was able to get back in time to help tonight. I'll see you in the morning." He turned and headed up to the dormitory.
James rounded on Sirius, "Why are you so stuck on this?"
Sirius shrugged. "Dunno. It's just weird, is all...He never mentions his mum until he suddenly needs to go home."
"Maybe he doesn't want to talk about it." James said pointedly as he pushed his glasses up his nose.
"Maybe it's really bad." Peter added. "He gets really upset when you ask him about it."
Sirius looked frustrated. "Yeah, but-"
"Drop it, Sirius." said James sternly.
But Sirius couldn't drop it. Once a month Remus would leave and when he returned, Sirius would pester him about it until James or Peter hit him with a lip locking curse. Most months it didn't last long and eventually Sirius would give up. Until early spring when Remus had to leave twice in one month, returning the second time looking more sickly and weak then ever.
Sirius didn't know exactly why it bothered him so much, but something just didn't sit right with him. It was so persistently on his mind that he could not sleep that night. It was raining hard outside and Sirius lay awake listening to the sound and trying not to think about why Remus wouldn't open up about what happened when he went home every month. They were in their seventh month of school and everyone knew how horrible Sirius' family was. He could not imagine why Remus felt he had to be so secretive about his own. As Remus had told him himself, They all had their demons.
He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate instead on the low rumble of thunder outside, but a noise then caught his attention.
It was very soft, but someone was mumbling in their sleep. It did not take long for Sirius to figure out who it was, and as quickly and quietly as he could he tiptoed across the dorm to Remus' bed and carefully pulled back the curtains.
Remus' eyes were screwed tightly shut and he was making quiet distressed noises. His legs were tangled up in his blanket and his shirt had ridden up leaving his chest and stomach exposed.
Sirius suddenly became very aware of the fact that he had never seen Remus Lupin without a shirt on. And now he could not look away.
The pale boy was covered in scars and bruises in varies sizes and severity. The worst one was a silvery crescent shaped scar that seemed to wrap around his hip. Anger surged through Sirius and his fists clenched, but another soft noise from Remus broke him from his thoughts.
"Remus," Sirius whispered, gently shaking his friend. "Hey! Remus, wake up!"
Remus' eyes snapped open, startling Sirius once again with how they seemed to nearly glow, and he looked around frantically.
"Alright, mate?" Sirius asked.
Breathing heavily still, Remus nodded. He then noticed the way that Sirius' eyes seemed to linger on his chest and stomach and quickly covered up, blushing furiously. "Just a nightmare..." he muttered.
Sirius cocked his head to the side. "Budge over."
"Move your scrawny arse over." Sirius repeated. Remus did and Sirius climbed into bed with him and closed the curtains.
"Regulus use to have nightmares when he was little," Sirius explained. "And he'd come into bed with me and it made him feel better. Do you get them a lot?"
Remus didn't answer. He just stared off into the darkness silently.
"Rem, it's not a big deal." he nudged the boy playfully with his elbow. "I won't tell anyone."
Reluctantly, Remus smiled back at him. "I've gotten them since I was little."
"Wanna talk about it?"
After a moment of silence, save the sound of the thunder and Peter's snoring, Remus sighed. "Would you open that drawer there?"
Sirius opened the bedside drawer and his eyes widened. "Merlin, Remus you have enough chocolate stashed away to feed an army. Expecting a world shortage or something?"
Remus laughed. "It makes me feel better. D'you want some?"
Remus passed him a chocolate frog and they ate silently. After a while Sirius looked at him nervously, biting his lip.
"Can I show you something?"
Remus stared at him, confused. "Er...Sure..."
Sirius got up on his knees facing away from Remus and lifted his t-shirt. He heard Remus gasp softly as he revealed the long, thin scar that crossed over his back diagonally across his spine. Sirius lowered his shirt and turned back around.
"It's from this past Christmas when I went home for the break. Apparently I wasn't sorry enough about not being sorted into Slytherin and betraying my family. Dad's belt." He laughed darkly before meeting Remus' eyes. "You don't need to tell me how you got yours, Remus. And I wont ask you about home anymore. But I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone."