3 hours earlier
Remus looked out his window and saw Hogwarts coming into view. The school was old and built almost entirely from stone, however it had a warm feeling to it. There were tall trees inside and surrounding it, a nearby forest marking the end of the school grounds. As they drove through the gates, large areas of grass where students sat during breaks and played sports could be seen. A large lake was also in view, row boats tied up at a dock on the opposite side. Remus loved the amount of nature there was at Hogwarts. One of his favourite things to do was go off to read in a tree or practice singing near the forest where students rarely went. He loved his friends with all of his heart, but the peacefulness of being alone was something that he needed every once in a while.
His father pulled up and Remus got out stiffly. The whole car ride had been silent besides the sighs and huffs his father gave every few minutes. Before shutting the door, Remus added “I’ll see you next Summer.”
All he got was a grunt in response. He shut the door and watched as his father drove away. He wouldn’t see him for a whole year. God, he wished it was longer. It was at that moment that he felt someone jump onto him, wrapping their arms around his neck. He lost his balance, almost falling over.
“Lily, stop it.” He managed to say in between laughs, her own filling the air as well.
“Remus oh my god. It’s so good to see you.” Lily’s soft voice rang out, and as he turned around he saw a smile that reached her gemstone green eyes. “My Lord, have you grown taller?”
Remus smiled fondly at her. He hadn’t realised just how much he had missed seeing Lily. She had been friends with him since the second week of first year. They had been made partners in a group project for Science and had been partners ever since. He felt so safe around her, as if he could tell her anything and everything. Well, almost.
“Yeah, I guess I have. My uniform is once again too small, so we have our first mission of the year.” He said, pointing towards his very visible socks.
“Aye aye cap’n.” She saluted, before linking her arm with his and walking in the direction of the front office. “We need to find out our rooms as well.”
“We always end up with the same people though so it doesn’t really matter.” It was true, he had been dorming with Peter since first year and Lily and Mary had always been together as well.
“Well, apparently they change it up for senior years. I don’t know why though, it’d just make sense to put us all in the same dorms.”
Remus stopped in his tracks. Wait. He wouldn’t be with Peter? “You’re joking right?” Shit. Shit. Shit. He couldn’t share with anyone else. What about his scars? He couldn’t let anyone see them. And what if he didn’t really know the person, he would be an awkward mess. No, he couldn’t. He absolutely couldn’t be put with anyone else. It hadn’t even crossed his mind that that was a possibility. He had always been with Peter and thought that would never change.
“Remus?” Lily had stopped too, her arms having been tugged back when he had stopped. “Oh it won’t be that bad. You get along with everyone in the year level. Well, besides the Seekers but they don’t matter at all. I was thinking about it, the school knows that we don’t like each other, so there’s no way they’d put us with any of them. Remus? Remus?”
Remus, who had still been thinking about every possible scenario that could go wrong, had not been listening and snapped out of his thoughts. Lily stared up at him, her red hair appearing more so in the sun. “Look, Remus. There’s no point in stressing about it until we are sure we have changed. I mean, if they’ve kept us with the others for this long, it’s very likely they will do the same now.”
Remus nodded, letting her pull him to walk in the direction of the front office. The rest of the way they spoke about what they were excited to do this year; the subjects they were excited for; the performances they would perform. However, Remus couldn’t shake the worry that had settled in his stomach, causing it to flip and feel uneasy.
Ten minutes later, Remus had just finished putting on a spare uniform. It just fit him heightwise, however was kinda loose on him. The jumper was also slightly too big so he was able to pull the sleeves over his hands, something he often did when nervous or feeling awkward. Which happened to be quite often, so the length of this jumper was much appreciated.
He walked out of the changing rooms, walking up towards the front desk to thank Miss Pomfrey, the nurse and secretary of Hogwarts. “Ah Mr Lupin, now doesn’t that one fit you much better?”
“Yes, Miss. Thank you for letting me borrow another one.”
“Of course Remus. Try not to grow so much next time huh?” She gave him a gentle smile, which he returned. She had always had a soft spot for him. Remus was sure it was just pity because his mother had passed away when he was young, but he appreciated it nonetheless. As he walked out of the room, she quickly called out, “Oh Mr Lupin. Your dorm assignment slip is here.”
He came back, thanking her for it, before walking outside. He saw Lily and Mary talking to each other, waiting underneath a tree for him. Remus noticed how Mary’s hair had grown longer than before, and how she had bleached two front sections. He walked up to them, Mary jumping up to hug him when he had gotten closer. He embraced her tightly, having missed her so much over the break.
“My Lord, did I miss you.” He said as he pulled back, smiling down at her.
“Same to you Lupin.” Mary gave a charming smile and wink, before pulling him to sit down where she and Lily had been sitting.
“Well, are you with Pete still?” Lily asked, nervously looking at the slip in his hands.
Oh. He had forgotten about that. “I haven’t checked yet.” He looked down at the slip, that sick feeling returning to his stomach. He added, “What about you and Mary? Together still?”
Lily looked at Mary disappointedly. “No, we both got someone else.”
“What?” Remus burst out, unable to stop himself. Shit. Shit. Shit. No, he couldn't do this. If they were separated, then he and Peter would definitely not be together. He felt himself growing sweaty and felt his breathing pick up.
“Remus calm down. It’ll be okay. We don’t mind being with other people and if you are with someone else, I’m sure it’ll be better than you think. It’s not like we won’t see each other as often as we usually do. We’ll hang out all the time, okay? Remus, can you hear me?”
Remus could hear Mary, but she sounded far away. His vision became more blurred and all he was aware of fully was the tight feeling in his chest as he tried to breathe. He felt arms grab onto his shoulder softly as Lily tried to console him.
“Remus, it’s okay. You’re going to be okay, alright? We all are. We’re all gonna be together, okay? And we can do performances together. That’ll be fun. We wanted to perform some of our new songs that we wrote last year as well. And we can meet up to write some more when the term picks up a bit. But right now, everything is going to be okay and we are all safe. Okay?”
Remus felt himself becoming more grounded as he continued to listen to Lily’s words. He focused on what she was saying, imagining himself and the rest of the Snitches performing on stage. He had so many ideas for new songs to write, and had even been writing stuff over the break. Although, he had had to hide the sheets from his father just in case he decided to throw them out. His breathing slowed down to a more natural rate and his vision cleared up, allowing him to see Mary and Lily both kneeled next to him with worried expressions.
He nodded at them slowly to let them know he was okay and they sat back, giving him some space to calm down. He had had many panic attacks at Hogwarts and so all of his friends were well-accustomed to helping him through them. They knew that they needed to ground him, and the best way to do that was to talk about performing.
“Thanks.” He said quietly, his voice still kinda breathy.
He smiled up at them slightly as Mary said, “Don’t thank us. As long as you’re okay.”
“Yeah, I am. Just still a little on edge from being at home I guess.” He laughed when he said it, meaning it somewhat as a joke, but he felt the shift in the mood once he had said it. He didn’t speak much about his relationship with his father and hadn’t told them everything that had happened at home, however they were aware that it wasn’t good. He added quickly, “That was a joke.”
Just as the two girls sat there, awkwardly looking at each other for a second, apparently unsure of whether or not they should laugh, someone shouted out behind him, “Remus! I’m dorming with Frank Longbottom!”
Remus felt his heart drop as he turned around to see Peter standing behind him, face full of worry. In his hand was a slip. Remus looked down towards the slip he too held, taking a deep breath before opening it up himself. The words that he read took a full five seconds to process. Sirius Black And Remus Lupin. Rm 71.
“Who is it, Remus?” Peter had come over and sat down next to the girls, still looking shocked by his own slip.
“Remus?” Mary repeated, clear concern in her voice.
Remus looked up at his three closest friends, a feeling of shock and anger bubbling up inside him. His fists clenched, scrunching up the slip in his hand, as he spat out, “Sirius. Black.”