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Full Moon, February

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Breath hangs foggy and dense in the air before the night wind shatters the small, white clouds. The moon is high up on the sky and so large and clear that the strange craters and hills on the surface of it stand shadowy and dark against the cream-white light. The snow is crunching; crisp little sounds as heavy black boots press the frost snow against the frozen earth. A small dusting of snow hovers in the air as the boots suddenly stop. Snowflakes cover the boots' noses with a white sprinkle that is kicked off with an almost angry movement.

Severus pulls his cloak tight. The wind is icy and the fur lining feels thin and inadequate. He melts into the darkness; only his pale face catches the light and reveals his presence. He is quiet, listening to the sound of the frost-covered boughs in the wind. They are silent too. Suddenly, the northern wind grabs the hem of the black cloak and places snowy kisses on his legs. He shivers and sighs. It is too cold to be outside tonight. The wind howls: a soft, sad cry that echoes against the snow-white mountains and hills.

Huffing against the wind that threatens to leave him breathless, he turns his face towards the moon. Its soft light makes him able to see far. The sour, tense expression leaves his face as he watches black shadows move fast over the snow. For a moment, one of the dark creatures stops and let out yet another howl, so outdrawn and longing that Severus takes a step forward before he regrets it and steps back, hesitantly.

The pack takes off again; lightning fast. The dark shadows catch the moonlight. Shadows turn to fur; darkness changes from black to silver. Next to an old oak, they circle. Two wolves bark and leave the rest of them; the bigger of the wolves proudly staring at the other pack members, as if to tell them not to come closer. The smaller wolf shakes it head. It carries something, a dead rabbit or a fox, in its mouth. The wolf jumps playfully around, throwing the rabbit (or fox) into the air and catches it again, white fangs glistening, as if the beast was laughing.

Severus smiles. It has been some time since he could excuse himself by letting his mouth curl upwards inadvertently. No, he turns in the moonlight, smiling because he is happy. He raises a gloved hand and pushes the door to their small cottage open. His smile widens as he brushes off the frame of snow that covers the brass plate on the door. "Lupin & Snape" it says, and Severus can't get tired of looking at it. The house is old and draughty and poor, but it doesn't matter.

He leaves the door ajar as he pulls off his boots and hangs his cloak on a peg. The door is pushed open. 'The rabbit is not getting in here,' he sneers, unable to sound really angry.

The bigger wolf shakes itself before it steps in. Its tongue is lolling and the golden eyes are intelligent and warm.

'Did you have fun?' Severus asks and the wolf lets out a short bark as it follows him into the kitchen.

'Did you see, Severus?' a clear voice asks. Teddy Lupin stands naked on the floor. 'I caught a rabbit!' He turns and wraps his arms around Moony. 'You think Severus is going to make us cocoa?' the boy says and laughs.

Severus looks down at the boy and his father. 'I will. But maybe you should try to concentrate a bit, young Mr Lupin. If you expect to be taken seriously.'

Ted looks over his shoulder and wags his tail - the only part of him that is still wolf. 'Why? You seem to like my father's... tail.'

'Out!' Severus points at the door to the living room. 'Out of my kitchen!'

Both boy and wolf know it is probably wise to do as they're told and they disappear before Severus gets worked up. He usually has one or two things to say about werewolves and their offspring.

Severus sighs. He hates children and wolves. Sometimes he really wonders what went wrong in his life. He looks out the window at the moon and slowly, as he finds milk and cocoa, his smile returns. Outside the wind howls sadly, sending icy whiffs through the holes in the rotting window frame. Severus turns with a tray in his hands and steps into the warm living room, closing the door to the wind and the wilderness outside.