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Hogwarts welcomed her back with a delectable feast and smiling faces. Snow coated the paths in between buildings like paint, and all Christmas decorations had disappeared as if they'd never been there before. Though hardly anyone talked of their vacation from school. The biggest subject of gossip was the upcoming Quidditch match between the school's biggest rivalry — Slytherin and Gryffindor.

There had been no sign of Remus during or after the train ride to school, but Freya assumed his absence was due to the same prefect meeting that had Lily tied up most of the journey.

The sleeve of her sweater was stretched slightly more than normal due to her constant nervous tugs. Marlene had pointed it out but Freya found herself subconsciously doing it again as they ventured into the Great Hall. Remus arrived late and without so much as a glance at her. She noticed from afar how ragged, tired and miserable he appeared — was the full moon already nearing? She certainly hoped not.

At least James sent her a small smile as he entered the hall, but no other greeting was offered to her by any one of the Marauders. Confusion swept over her as the four boys leaned close together. Their whispers were unable to graze her ear, but Peter's obvious side glances were a dead giveaway. Her friends were speaking about her.

"They're just weird," Lily glared over at the boys, "I doubt they're talking about you, Frey. They're probably planning another dumbass prank."

This attempt at reassurance did not aid the blonde one bit. It was difficult to enjoy the hearty foods that were laid out before her. Her parents talked about her constantly, and it definitely left its rightful scars. Her friends, who had accepted her for every flaw, talking about her stung differently.

"Just go speak to him," Marlene whispered lowly and grabbed an uneaten cookie from Freya's plate. Lily nodded in agreement as the four girls turned to peer at the Marauders.

Freya looked directly at Lily, sending her a look that she hoped would read I-know-Remus's-secret, but the only response she was given from the redhead was a series of confused signals back. Finally, Mary and Marlene engaged themselves in a conversation about Quidditch, giving Freya a perfect opportunity to lowly whisper, "I know."

"Then go talk to him," Lily responded simply, scooping pudding onto her plate as if that solved the conversation once and for all.

"I don't know what to say," Freya bit her lip in a debating manner before letting out a loud huff that blew the strands of stray hair away from her cheeks, "Fine."

Before she actually realized what she was doing or how to go about her next actions, her legs swung over the bench and she stood. The four boys all glimpsed up before she even began walking, their whispers becoming more and more frantic. When she neared, their conversation stopped altogether, as if it were a weak candle and she was a small gust of unwelcome wind.

"Remus, may I speak to you?" Freya asked. She didn't even notice that her fingers were anxiously picking at the sleeve of her sweater.

"Now isn't a good time, Freya," Remus replied, sympathy filling his eyes as he tiredly turned back toward his untouched food, fork stabbing at random but not bringing anything back to his lips.

Part of her desired nothing more than to slip a snarky comment back, but the state of Remus ceased the words before they even fully formed and she stiffly nodded. Her response came out in a rather gloomy tone, "Okay."

Freya sat back in front of her plate, ignoring the stares from the other girls. In fact, she did not glance up from her pie again until something in the corner of her eye suddenly caught her attention. Remus, James, Sirius and Peter had all disappeared from their seats, quickly maneuvering past students and away from the Hall.

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