“It’s too wet,” Sirius pouted from the couch at the sound of the rain drumming against the roof of the Potter-Black household.
“That’s what she-”
“You two are ridiculous,” Lily laughed, bringing tea to the living room as she sat next to Remus. “Sirius? Haven’t you learned not to make open-ended comments when Remus is around?”
“He’s our Moony!” James exclaimed from the kitchen. “He’s innocent- Stop laughing!”
“James, we both know that I’m not the innocent one in this group.”
“But you’re the most… grown up!”
“You mean traumatized?”
“Morbid Moony is back,” Lily grumbles. “Can’t you just, dial it back a bit?”
“I’d be more than happy to never mention anything about my childhood ever again, so yes.”
“You’re an idiot.”
“Yeah, well, you chose me to be your brother,” Remus shrugged. “This is on you.”
“You know, I always had a question for you...” James trailed off, finally making his way into the living room to sit beside Sirius.
“What is it, Prongs?”
“How did you get so morbid?”
“Don’t say trauma!”
“Fair enough,” he nodded. “What do you mean?”
“How did you get so many morbid comments? Like, you get the content from your childhood but where do you get the delivery?”
“I’m being honest, Lily!”
“Get the content from his childhood,” Sirius manages to repeat through his laughter. “The content!”
“Yeah, yeah, it was the wrong wording and I get that!”
“Pads, we could be using our childhood for an income! It’s content, not trauma!”
“We could go on tour together!”
“Be fucking millionaires!”
“Sold out shows for The Couple From Childhood Trauma”
“Don’t look at me,” Lily sighed as he husband gave her a concerned or horrified look at the loud laughter of Remus and Sirius. “You caused this.”
“And I regret it.”
“I regret not using my childhood as content-”
“Sirius!” James exclaimed loudly, hitting his brother with a pillow.
“He has a good point...”
“Remus!” Lily yelled as he hit Remus in the back of the head.
“Can you just answer the question?”
“Sorry, Prongs,” Remus chuckled. “Yeah, I can. What was the question-”
“Delivery method of your content!”
“Thanks, babe,” Remus smirked. “It was an ongoing thing in the hospital with my... uh...”
“We weren’t a gang-”
“You won’t tell me what their names are!”
“And I will continue to never tell you!”
“And we’re back to this argument,” James sighed. “Lily? He’s never going to tell you their names. Remus? You four were a gang, tell us the story. Sirius?”
“I haven’t done anything yet!”
“... stop telling self-deprecating jokes- actually, that goes for both you and Remus! Now tell the damn story.”
“Whatever you say, James. I was always morbid but… it’s how we coped.”
“You and your gang?”
“Me and my gang,” Remus agreed with an eye roll. “It’s how we coped with Umbitch, our families pretending we and our problems didn’t exist, almost anything. We… we found something we could laugh about and we clung to it as tightly as we could.”
“I’m really good at dealing with low points in my life,” Marlene grumbled as she sat around the table with Remus, Dorcas, and Frank, eating her lunch.
“Okay… so what?” Frank spoke with a mouthful of food.
“Gross, Frank! None of us want to see your ABC food. Learn some damn manners!”
“Miss Meadows! Language!” A nurse exclaimed from the nurse’s station.
“Already been chewed,” Remus muttered. “Marls? Continue?”
“I’m really good at dealing with low points in my life,” Marlene repeated, a small smirk forming on her lips. “Which is good because the worst has yet to come.”
“8/10,” Frank nodded slowly, exchanging looks with Remus and Dorcas. “Could have been more depressing.”
“I’ll take it,” Marlene shrugged with a smile. “Very fair assessment.”
“How should I explain this to you all,” nurse Umbridge sighed as she looked at the four teens at the table. “Life… it’s like a puzzle.”
“A puzzle that has no edges and is all white?”
“Mr Lupin, that’s not very positive, now is it?”
“I’m just being honest, ma’am,” he said with a convincing frown. “I’m really trying to understand these life metaphors.”
“And you are doing well,” she smiled. “Shall we try again?”
“Kiss ass,” Marlene muttered under her breath. “8/10.”
“Life is like a box of chocolate. Remus? Do you like chocolate? Do you have a favourite?”
“Oh yes,” he admitted happily. “I love plain milk chocolate or caramel filled ones, but the box of chocolate that life has given me is the fucking-”
“-the disgusting dark chocolates that are filled with orange flavouring and everyone throws in the garbage.”
“9/10,” Frank coughed, trying to hide his laughter with his hand, Marlene and Dorcas also hiding their smiles with their hands.
“You can do better,” Drocase teased quietly.
“Okay,” Umbridge sighed. “We have time to try once more before group therapy is over for the afternoon. Let’s try once more, okay?”
“I don’t think we have a choice...”
“Please speak up, Miss McKinnon. I cannot hear you when you mumble.”
“I said I’m so sad that we only have time for one more,” Marlene smiled fakely.
“Me too, dear. Me too. Let’s try this one, life is like an elevator.”
“My elevatory has broken at rock bottom and I think the mechanics have retired.”
“Mr Lupin! Children, please do not laugh!”
“10/10,” Dorcas managed to stutter through her laughter. “Damnit, Remus!”
“Miss Meadows! Language!”
“Miss Umbridge,” Remus corrected at the same time nurse Umbridge corrected Dorcas.
“This can only help if you try changing your thought process. You need something to cling to, dear,” Umbridge explained passionately. “What can you cling to?”
“Well, I can’t cling to the elevator, that’s still at rock bottom!”
The teens couldn’t hear the explicit words their leader whispered under her breath through their loud laughter. The teens learned very quickly that they would almost never learn anything, except for learning how to not murder someone, when they had group sessions with Umbridge. From the moment they realized, they took the session as a time to laugh and make jokes while still being ‘respectful’ to the nurse. It was so easy and they were depressed teenagers, they needed something to laugh about!
“No dessert for you four tonight!” Umbridge exclaimed with a look of horror on her face. “Just… it’s time for you four to go for your individual homework time. Remember to try to change your way of thinking, Mr Lupin. I cannot help you if you aren’t helping yourself.”
“Thank you, Miss Umbridge...” Remus nodded as the group followed the nurse.
“Say it,” Frank teased quietly to Remus. “We all know you want to...”
“Thanks, Umbitch,” Remus whispered making the four laugh loudly.
“Children, behave yourself!”
“Sorry, Miss Umbridge!”
“It is what it is,” Dorcas shrugged.
“No, it’s not!”
“Marlene, seriously,” Dorcas laughed softly. “Haters are going to hate, I just have to deal with it.”
“But you shouldn’t have to,” Frank whispers harshly. “Why would they bully you? I can go kick their asses!”
“Mr Longbottom, happy words!”
“Sorry, ma’am,” Frank called with a smile to the nurse before turning back to the group and continuing. “We may be stuck in this hellhole, but I can kick their butts when I get out!”
“Seriously, guys! I’m good!”
“Hey, Dorcas? You do know that we are literally in a mental hospital, right?”
“I… fair point, Remus,” Dorcas sighed. “I’m getting homeschooled for this coming year anyway so I’ll be fine.”
“Haters going to hate I guess,” Marlene shrugged. “Good way to view it.”
“Thanks! Haters going to hate and I’m going to show them how it’s done!”
“I’m going to show them how it’s done because I am my own’s biggest hater!”
“Right energy, wrong message,” Remus laughed, shaking his head in amusement. “What do you guys think? 8/10?”
“8.5/10,” Frank disagreed. “It worked perfectly and I mean, pretty accurate as well.”
“8.5,” Marlene agreed.
“I’d fight for nine if I wasn’t trying to figure out why there are police officers at the doors...”
The four teens turned and looked at the entrance of the ward, the smile falling off of Remus’ face when he saw that it was the two police officers that took his statements against Greyback along with his parents.
“Remus?” Frank asked, seeing Remus’ reaction. “What’s going on.”
“Nothing good,” Remus whispered as he stood up from the table. “Don’t mind me, I’m just going to go have an existential crisis, I’ll be back in a bit.”
“I would say 7/10,” Frank began quietly, “but I feel like now is not the time.”
“No shit, Sherlock,” Marlene retorted. “Good luck, Remus.”
“What’s up, dork?”
“Thanks for that,” Dorcas mumbled with an eye roll from her bed. “I’ve got a question for you if that’s okay?”
“Of course,” Marlene immediately replied as she sat up in her bed. “Is it something serious? Are you okay?”
“Oh no, nothing bad!”
“Oh, good. What’s up? And make it quick, we’ve got two minutes until we’re checked on again for the nightly rounds.”
“You’d be a great mob boss,” Dorcas whispered in awe at her friend.
“Someone has to know the nurses’ schedules,” she retorted. “Was that your non-question question?”
“No, sorry. Your skin is just so good looking!”
“I mean, we’re in a mental hospital and you haven’t had a pimple or dry skin at all! What are you using-”
“Sh!” Marlene hushed sternly. “Lay down and pretend to be asleep!”
The two girls laid silently in their beds, listening to the keys of one of the nightshift nurses jingle as they got closer to the door. They kept their eyes shut, sensing the room getting brighter as a flashlight swept the room to make sure they were in bed and not misbehaving. Almost as soon as the flashlight lit up the room, it was gone again.
Dorcas laid silently as she listened to the deep breaths of her friend across the room. Once the keys couldn’t be heard anymore, she spoke up.
“What? What are you talking about?”
“That’s how I look so good,” Marlene replied with a tone of amusement in her voice. “I use my own tears as moisturizer when I cry myself to sleep each night.”
“You’re an idiot,” Dorcas laughed lightly. “9/10.”
“Using the formula “y=mx+b,” I can calculate the slope at which my life is going downhill!”
“9/10, Frank. 10/10 if you can calculate Remus, Marlene, and mine as well.”
“I can do that... Good news!” Frank laughed loudly. “They are all going to hit rock bottom any day now.”
“Wait, you used to dance?!”
“It was torture,” Marlene groaned. “So much ballet and stupid pointe shoes.”
“Do you think that you’ll ever do dancing again?” Dorcas asked as she tried to copy the twirl Marlene demonstrated on the grass, Remus and Frank laughing at the two of them from the picnic table.
“Maybe in a club one day,” she shrugged. “I’d probably make a great pole dancer.”
“You totally would!” Remus encouraged, earning him weird looks from his friends. “I’m saying this as a gay guy, not a creepy perv. She’s got the ass for it!”
“Mr Lupin, language! Please...”
“Sorry, ma’am!” he called to the tired nurse. “Seriously though, you’ve got the ass and moves to be a pole dancer, you’d make bank!”
“Drop it like it’s hot,” Marlene nodded with a wink. “Thanks, Remus.”
“Drop it like it’s hot,” Remus repeated. “Just like my hopes, dreams, and mental health.”
“10/10 because you said I have a great ass!”
“Miss McKinnon… children, please...”
“Do you guys believe in demons and angels?”
“Angels yes,” Dorcas nodded.
“Yes. After all, I’m an angel myself.”
“A fallen angel,” Remus mumbled.
“I don’t,” Marlene shrugged. “I can’t really think of things being around us that we can’t see or feel.”
“Like a will to live? Self-esteem?”
“Ah,” Remus grinned. “Depression talk Frank is back! What do you think? Demons and angels?”
“I think demons exist, but at this point, I’m more just hoping that they exist because I sleep with my foot off the bed so that maybe one day a demon will drag me to hell because I’m already living in hell every day.”
“10/10,” Marlene laughed. “That was creative as fuck!”
“Miss McKinnon and group! You have lost dessert privileges for tonight, we have warned you many times today already!”
“Damn… but it’s ice cream night!”
“Sticks and stones may break my bones,” Marlene sighs, reading the paper the four teens were given in group therapy. “But-”
“But hurtful words can't reach me anymore because anything mean you say to me, I've definitely said it to myself at some point in my life,” Dorcas finished.
“I mean, she’s not wrong,” Frank shrugs as he saw the look of horror on Umbridge’s face.
“I agree with her as well,” Remus added.
“You all need some serious help...”
“Is that not why we are in a mental hospital, Miss Umbridge?”
“I... I mean, yes...”
“Perfect,” Marlene smiles. “Then I guess we’re all in the right place!”
“Dorcas? 9.5/10,” Frank whispered.
“You four seemed to do well with each other,” James commented when he saw the almost invisible smile on Remus’ face when he had finished talking.
“I probably wouldn’t have made it through the hospital without them,” Remus whispered quietly, hoping that no heard. “But it is what it is. We had some good conversations but that part is… over. We had each other for some time and that time came to an end. We had to move on...”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that we found ways to laugh and we have memories of each other, but it’s in the past,” Remus shrugged as he stood from the couch. “I’m going to refill my tea, would anyone like a refill while I’m up?”
“We’re good, love,” Lily smiled, watching her brother leave the living room.
“He always leaves the room after his gang is brought up,” James whispers to his brother and wife. “Why?”
“He doesn’t want to talk about them often,” Lily shrugged sadly. “For as long as I can remember, he has always left the room after they are brought up. Maybe to compose himself?”
“I wish he would talk to us about them… He’s usually smiling when he’s talking about them, it’s… rare? Not to see him smile! I mean-”
“Rare to see him smile like that when he’s talking about his childhood,” Sirius finished, the three of them nodding in agreement. “We don’t talk about them much either, I’m not going to push him in that area.”
“But you could, you’re his boyfriend.”
“I’m well aware of that, Prongs,” he laughed, “but it’s a sore subject that he will bring up if he wants to.”
“You’re good to him.”
“I mean, he’s my boyfriend so I’d like to think I’m good for him! What am I going to do? Give him drugs and encourage him to take them?”
“And we’re apparently talking about drugs,” Remus laughed as he entered the living room again. “Man, I would love to snort some-”
“Remus, no!” The three Marauders exclaimed loudly in horror.
“-good mental health...”
“You need some serious help, Rem...”
“I’d need the help of Jesus, Orpah, and Dr Phil if there was any hope for me being normal.”
“It’s a good thing we love you just the way you are,” James laughed. “Morbid Moony and all.”