“So why did you want to talk to me?” asked James, closing the classroom door behind him.
Sirius tossed his hair and leant back against the desk. Then, he sprang straight up and tried putting his hands in his pockets. Then, he shook them and paced up and down the classroom.
“You’re scaring me a bit,” James added. Normally, classroom meetings were reserved for only the most devilish of pranks, but now that James was head boy, there had been fewer of those.
Sirius sat down on the desk again. “It’s really difficult to say.”
A pained expression had appeared on both their faces. There was nothing, really, nothing that James and Sirius couldn’t talk about. Until now, clearly. Sirius was pained because it was so embarrassing, and James because if Sirius thought it was embarrassing, then it must be bad. In fact, there were few things he couldn’t tell all the Marauders, he usually shouted out all of his problems in the dorm, including when he got a ‘broom rash’ after a particularly wet Quidditch practise session.
“You can tell me anything,” James said, but there was a hint of apprehension. When Sirius put his head in his hands, James thought it would be best to pat him on the shoulder. “Take your time,” he said as he touched him.
“Don’t touch me!” Sirius shouted, “I’m a freak, you won’t want to. I don’t know what’s happening to me!”
Startled at the outburst, but also knowing Sirius was sometimes a bit of a drama queen, he said,“Do you need to see Madam Pomfrey?”
“Merlin, no! She’d know I was-” he paused, and James squinted at him. “Know I was an animagus. Maybe.”
“Do you have a rash?” James said, wincing.
“Just a question!” He said, thinking back to the broom rash. “So, wait, have you started barking or something?” Maybe asking questions that Sirius could say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to was easier than him saying it outright.
“No, not barking. Although, I can bark now, sort of, but no, it’s something else.” His eyes went wide, he looked maniacal, like he was trying to send the message straight into James’ brain.
“Is it your-” It was something embarrassing, and that usually meant bowel movements. James sighed and put his hand over his face, and said “Is it your poo?”
“Fuck off!” he shouted, chucking an ink bottle towards him. James caught it, quaffle-catcher-extraordinaire that he was, but they were both splattered in black ink. “Do you really think I invited you in here to tell you about my shit? My literal shit?”
“Why are you shouting at me? You’re the one being all-” he gestured at the ink-stained beater, “all weird!”
Emboldened by indignation, Sirius shouted, “It’s another part of- of me.”
Sirius closed his eyes for a long blink and James squinted at him again, but maybe that was the ink in his eyes. He knew. He knew exactly what Sirius was trying to say. Well, not exactly, but there was really only one option left.
“Please don’t tell me it’s your-”
“Because if it’s that then-”
“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!”
“I’m not looking at it.”
“I didn’t ask you to!” Another ink pot soared past James’ ear, this time smashing against the far wall.
Wiping a new coating of ink from his face, James sat down on a chair to think. If there was something different with Sirius’.... Down there , and it wasn’t a rash, then he didn’t really know what it could be, but he knew that it would take more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions to figure it out. He looked up, and realised he was staring straight at the problem , and quickly stood up straight as a board, staring Sirius dead in the eye.
“Hey, Pads, umm, so-” he’d practised having ‘the talk’ in the bathroom mirror, imagining not only that he and Lily were married but had a son. “So, when a boy becomes a man, there are some changes to the body that-”
“I know that, shut it, you moron!” Sirius scrabbled behind him but he had run out of ink pots. “Good Godric! I know about puberty, ugh” he rubbed his hands over his face. “Please never make me say the word ‘puberty’ again.”
James sighed in relief, although he thought he had been doing a good job, all things considered.
Gathering himself, Sirius took a deep breath and said “It’s my-” but he seemed to get stuck.
“Don’t say that.”
Sirius squeezed his eyes shut.
“You’re a knob.”
“Knob it is, then.”
“Fine, it’s my fucking knob. It’s doing something. Weird.”
“Like a morning glory? Because that’s normal, you know.”
Sirius’ eyes grew wide and murderous. “I know that, Prongs. No, it’s like. It’s got a lump. Sometimes. It’s freaking me out a bit, actually.”
James grit his teeth. He knew that if his own knob ever grew a lump he would also be seeking advice from one of his most trusted mates and he’d probably be terrified. “Umm, maybe you should go to see Madam Pomfrey,” he said, more quietly.
Sirius put his head in his hands again and sighed deeply. “Maybe I’ll wait a bit longer. I don’t know if it’s an issue. Like, sometimes it’s there, but sometimes it’s not. Like right now, I know it’s not.” He rubbed his hands against his trouser legs. James felt worried for him. “Sorry if that’s too much information.”
“No, Pads, you know we can talk about anything.”
He gulped and nodded, then said, “It started happening since we learnt to be animagi.” Then his head snapped to James’ and said, “Have you noticed anything?”
“To my penis?”
“Stop saying that!”
“Uh,” he thought about the changes after his first transformation. His ears were more attune to quieter noises, and he had gotten the habit of standing disconcertingly still when asked a question in class, but he’d gotten used to that. Nothing in the way of dramatic physical changes. “Nothing, really. Other than in class, obviously.”
They snorted, remembering that particular incident. Mcgonagall had asked James a question and, with a deer in the headlights expression, he had stared her down until Sirius kicked him and, in his fright, James had bounded out of the classroom, knocking desks and chairs over on the way. Sirius had tried to chase him, but Remus had the foresight to grab his shirt collar, sending him crashing to the floor, where he found Peter, who had hidden under the desk and was quivering. That had been a detention of unanswered questions from their transfiguration teacher. Their animagi had influenced their personalities, or perhaps just emphasized certain traits, but none of them had complained of any physical changes in their human form.
Sirius sighed again, and stood up, pulling out his wand to repair the broken ink bottle. It flew back to the desk. “Thanks for listening, Prongs. I really wondered if you were having similar issues, but even though you’re not I guess at least it’s not trapped inside my own head now.”
“I’m sorry I don’t know anything.” He was going to add that Madam Pomfrey was still, really, the best option, but knew Sirius would come to terms with that eventually. He pulled out his own wand and set about removing the ink from their clothes and returning it to the bottles. “Ever since we turned animagi,” James mumbled. “We could have a look in the library at dog animagi, but there aren’t that many in England, let alone dogs.”
Sirius shrugged. “Nah, forget it. It’s probably all in my head.”
“We could ask Remus, I think he did a lot of reading after we told him our plan.”
“We did a lot of reading, too,” said Sirius. “No, It’s fine, I’ll have a look if it happens again.”
Hello there! This is the chapter where it now explicit and mature material.
It happened again. That same evening. After his chat with James, they had gone to the great hall for dinner, where they met Remus, who could read and partake in conversations at the same time, and Peter, who was eating mash potato with a distant expression. Eventually, Bertha, who Pete had been dating since last year, collected him and they went off for some romantic, evening romp or whatever they did these days.
They’d all gone to the common room, Remus had finished homework whilst the others flicked scrunched up balls of parchment into a ‘goal’ that they decided was Remus’ open bag at his feet. Once Lily, head girl badge shining on her robes, came downstairs from the girl’s dormitory, James had gone with her for evening patrols. “Watch out for Pete snogging behind the greenhouse!” yelled Sirius, and a few people laughed.
“Moony,” said Sirius, climbing onto the sofa. “Moooooony,” he added, sliding his head under the book and onto his lap, looking up at the werewolf. “Just us now, Moons.”
Remus tried to give him a McGonagall-worthy stare, but there was a warm smile underneath and he didn’t kick Sirius off, just continued jotting down notes.
Sirius felt safe around Remus. He was warm and always smelt of books and he was always telling them off for messing around. In fact, tonight, maybe it was the fire (it was a cold September) with its smoky aromas, but Sirius felt especially cosy on Remus’ lap. His head felt light and floaty, beckoning him to close his eyes.
Images of books opening filled Sirius’ dream space, then, he noticed it was Remus’ hands opening them and he was filling the dream with a wonderful scent. Sirius wanted to be enrobed with it more and, knowing what Sirius wanted, Remus opened his shirt too and the warmth and softness became more intense and SIrius had a desire to grab him. The sensation to own, to possess, to keep him safe filled him to his fingertips - no one else should be able to experience this wonderful man. The strength of the desire filled him and he leapt forwards…
And gasped awake, sitting up on the sofa, knocking Remus’ book to the floor.
“Pads? You alright?” said Remus, softly, touching his shoulder. “You’re covered in sweat.”
“I’m just hot,” he said, stupidly, not entirely sure where he was. The sensation had been so strong, the dream so vivid, it scared him. “Gonna. Go.” He stood up without a second glance and ran up to the dormitory, especially not looking back at Remus.
He shut the main door and went straight to the bathroom, locking that door and leant against the sink, breathing heavily. Now that he was more coherent, the dream had been terrifying. He’d wanted to possess Remus, like in a claws and crushing sort of way. The desire and want, something he’d never felt so powerfully in his life. He realised his was gripping the sink until his fingers went white and relaxed them. Maybe he was just tired. He splashed water on his face, and, feeling how wet his hair was with sweat, decided a shower might be in order. Besides, it was a place to think. Something to do while this mad urge washed over him.
He started the stream, not caring about getting his clothes wet, (they were already wet with sweat, anyway) and stripped as the warm water covered him. He realised he was shaking as he undid each button, and that he couldn’t stop thinking about Remus. Was he coming upstairs to see what happened to Sirius? Would he still be reading that book? With a grunt, he tossed his sopping shirt onto the floor and shucked off his trousers. That was when he realised how hard he was, his cock tenting his boxers, and only when he looked did he appreciate the pain. It was intense, magnified at his cock and he buckled a little.
As he removed his boxers, carefully to try not to rub against his skin, a wave of many conflicting emotions surged through him. The lump at the base of his cock was back, and it was swollen and tight and sensitive. It looked, and Sirius was almost too scared for the thought, like another testicle had moved into his penis and was sitting on the base, expanding occasionally. His body wasn’t supposed to do this. And the length, it was maybe a bit longer than usual and definitely thicker but mostly it was more- Sirius was scared to touch himself, it was a horrifying feeling, to be scared of his own body, but it seemed harder. Like it was pulling as much blood away from his body that it could so that it was full and heavy.
Then there was these thoughts of Remus, so vivid, that he slid to the floor, his legs spread, scared to touch his bobbing cock. The water showered over him, giving him another sensation to concentrate on rather than his tight dick. It was almost like arousal, but at some other level, as though arousal had turned to animal desire, like he had a new instinct and it was as hard to stop as breathing. He lay back and panted and whimpered, trying to come to terms with this new body alone.
“Remus,” he mouthed, and his cock twitched against his stomach. “Fuck.” His thoughts went straight to the gold hair and how good it would feel sliding between his fingers. “Remus,” he mouthed again, a slight breath escaping, and he imagined forcing Remus’ head onto his cock and sliding it down his throat, hearing him gag and try to speak but nothing would come out around his enormous cock. “Rem-” he whispered, but tried to stop himself, scared of the aggression of his thoughts that were spiralling out of control, and he tried not to imagine face fucking Remus, but it was sending such powerful waves of pleasure to his cock that he could barely stay upright, and as soon as he let his thoughts go, imagining ramming his cock in his mouth, imagining his amber-flecked eyes looking up at him, pleading, watering, and drool pouring down his mouth as Sirius fucked him, he let out a groan and shot cum all over his torso.
He hadn’t even touched himself. He looked down, and was still coming, so he looked away, not wanting to think about filling Remus up with it too. The lump at the base of his cock swelled and he could feel the muscles contract. Finally, the orgasm stopped, and Sirius could barely move. He whimpered quietly. It had felt so good, he could hardly raise himself off the tiled floor. But, it was as though a wave of reality had washed over him. He felt so out of control. It had never been that bad before. He looked back to his chest and the water was washing everything away, which was fortunate, because he didn’t want to think about how much there had been.
Sirius had crept to the library before anyone else was awake. He hadn’t seen anyone else that evening either, just gone straight to bed, though he had heard James complain about no hot water and Peter shouting ‘you’re a sodding wizard. Figure it out.’ He didn’t want to look at any of them, in fact, he didn’t want to think about any of them. Especially… he shook his head and ploughed on. Yesterday, James had suggested researching his ‘problem’, and it took a lot for Sirius to resort to research, but he only had himself to rely on.
Madam Pince, already up, quickly moved to hide a cup of tea beneath her desk when he came in.
“What’re you doing, Black?” she sneered.
Her suspicions were justified. He had never been in the library, except to cause trouble, and he had never ever been the first person in for the day. “Nice cup of tea, Pince?” he replied.
She glowered, but said nothing. Food and drinks weren’t allowed in the library. Her beady eyes followed his path through the bookshelves, though.
He went to the transfiguration aisle. He had an hour before breakfast, so he could skim read a few things and find some likely candidates. Anything to do with dogs, really. And big, uncontrollable, throbbing erections, although he thought the library was less-likely to stock that. He smirked ruefully at the thought that Knockturn Alley was probably more the sort of place you might go for big, uncontrollable, throbbing erections.
There were some misses; nothing in ‘strange bodily transformations moste foule’ and also little of interest in ‘Madame Jignottle’s weirde compendium of transfigured mysteries.’ Although, there was a strange boar-dressing table hybrid he thought would horrify his mother, so that cheered him up a bit.
Flicking through ‘beasts and sensible sorcery,’ his mind wandered to his problem. The situation in the shower had actually been quite convenient from a cleanup perspective. The first time he had cum that violently, he’d been in bed, eyes watering from the intensity, struggling to muttur the silencing incantation around his bed drapes. Then, he’d cum all over himself and the sheets and in his dismayed stupor, tried mopping it up with the bedclothes, regretting every life choice he’d made ever. He kicked his duvet onto the floor and lay in a fear that only comes in the dark. The next morning, he’d thought he must have been dreaming, but the bedsheets were missing from his bed, though they weren’t on the floor either. The house elves must have taken them, what a thought.
He thought he must have imagined the whole thing, it had been the night after the full moon, and the marauders were all exhausted after their first-ever moonlit night with a werewolf. Perhaps it was a fatigue dream, but it happened again, and that was when he had noticed the lump at the base of his cock.
Shoving ‘Animagi, Animag-you’ back onto the shelf with a huff, he figured it was hopeless. How was he supposed to even know where to start looking? Figuring he would be late for breakfast, he picked up ‘beastly anatomy’ and took it with him, Madam Pince squinting the whole while, and left.
On the way out, he bumped into someone trying to enter the library.
“Sorry, oh, Remus?”
Remus looked like he’d seen a ghost. “Sirius? What are you doing in the library?”
“No need to sound so astonished. I will have you know, that I have discovered that there are a lot of books in here,” he said, crossing his arms.
Remus smiled warmly and raised an eyebrow. “I actually did know that, I was surprised because I’ve never known you to read one.”
They smiled at each other, though Sirius struggled to keep his face from heating up at the guilty memory of last night. Though, he noticed, with intrigue, that Remus didn’t seem to be able to keep eye contact either. In fact, the werewolf looked exhausted and rather pale.
“So, I just have to return this, then we can go?” Remus mumbled, waving a book and slipping past him through the door. Their arms brushed and Sirius quickly put his hand in his pocket, concentrating very hard on things like hinkypunks and melting ice caps, anything except Remus.
As he managed his breathing, Remus came up to him and slipped his arms around Sirius’ elbow and said “Shall we get going, then?”
Sirius was so startled at the familiar gesture that he just stared at Moony, who quickly remembered himself and pulled away with a look of bewilderment. He brushed his hair behind his ears and laughed, though it seemed forced. Sirius gave a weak smile, concentrating on his shoes, the portrait of Gurgis the GnomeRipper, anything but the honey sweet boy in front of him and definitely not the sensation thrilling his groin.
“Breakfast,” he said shortly and they walked in silence to the Great Hall. Remus might have interpreted Sirius’ shortness negatively, he was walking with his head down and there was no attempt at conversation, but Sirius was too distracted with the idea that Remus’ arm around his was exactly what he wanted right now, that, and a hell of a lot more.
As they arrived for breakfast, they had settled on an amicable topic of James’ next quidditch practise, which Remus decreed definitely unsexy. He’d had an awful night after SIrius had left him on the sofa in the common room the night before.
Mating cycles for werewolves were something that he was aware of, but hadn’t needed to cope with until now, that was. When professor Dumbledore had allowed him to attend Hogwarts, he had also discreetly put him in touch with another werewolf during summer. His name was Conan. He was something of a scruffy loner, who was suspicious of the packs and Dumbledore apparently helped him out sometimes. When Remus had first met him as a twelve year old boy, Conan had been quite frightening to him, but he’d grown to realise that he was probably what Remus would have become without Hogwarts, and that was even more frightening. He had no magical education to speak of, so his knowledge on werewolves was purely from experience (not that books were much use anyway), but his experiences meant he could answer a lot of Remus’ questions.
Last summer, Conan had asked Remus if he’d suffered from any sort of libido abnormality, and Remus hadn’t known what to think. In fact, he remembered with guilt, he’s wondered if Conan was coming onto him. He’d just grunted and Conan said to send him an owl if he had any questions. Remus had actually been so taken off guard by the comment that he hadn’t contacted Conan since, but last night confirmed that something weird was happening to him and he needed help.
Last night, after Sirius had woken up and marched off, Remus was going to follow but as he stood up, something wet ran down the inside of his trouser leg and he was certain it came from his ass. In fact, it wasn’t the first time it had happened, and he was extremely worried it was to do with his arousal, but he wanted to wait until the common room was empty before getting up in case anyone else noticed. He felt so ashamed of his body, and had huddled up, trying to make himself small in the sofa, finishing his homework laboriously until the common room was quiet. He even started on next lesson’s reading and when James had come back from patrol with Lily, he’d had to be quite pushy to get him to leave him alone.
That wasn’t the worst of it, he had expected to be able to sneak upstairs and clean up, but once he was in the common room, he was overwhelmed with a throbbing yearning and he leaked even more, feeling so weak he had to fall straight into bed and try to magic away any excess. Not that he could sleep, a deep wanting in his heart kept him with a slightly raised heart rate and shallow breathing the whole night and try as he might, thoughts of his friend doing wonderful but lecherous things to him overwhelmed his thoughts. He’d felt on the edge of tears.
He and Sirius sat opposite Peter and James. Remus poured himself some tea, thinking that he needed to write a letter to Conan as soon as he could. As he reached for the sugar, his hand brushed Sirius’, who was reaching for toast. Remus froze and so did Sirius. There was something electric about his skin, the contact, or something, it was difficult to pin down but touching him felt warm. It was why he had slipped his arm through Sirius’ outside the library. Sirius grabbed his toast and started buttering it as though nothing had happened, leaving Remus holding the sugar bowl, trying to squash down the embarrassment boiling through him. Although he didn’t look up, he could tell James had noticed their odd interaction.
Any further comment was interrupted by Barnaby, James’ horned owl, delivering the morning post. He dropped a prophet and some letter for James, and one for Sirius, who opened it with surprised.
“I guess you’re mum’s favourite son, now,” laughed James, opening his own letter. It had a parcel with a book he had forgotten to bring.
“Ace, Mrs P!” said Sirius, opening his own package which contained some homemade toffees. He popped one in his mouth and left the bag open for the others to try, whilst opening his letter from Mrs Potter.
It was heartwarming to see Sirius smile when he opened letters for a change. Last summer, Sirius had formally moved in with the Potters after a nasty affair at Grimmauld place. Remus still didn’t know all the details, he wasn't even sure that James knew.
Peter picked up the prophet, along with a toffee. “Guys, the prophet’s got more wizarding war updates. Apparently some bridge was destroyed, killed seven muggles.”
“People, Peter. Killed seven people.” James said, shaking his head. “I hate that they specify when it’s a muggle. It’s like ‘oh, seven muggles died, so that’s fine, but if it was a wizard…’” he shook his head again and reached for a toffee. “Oh, I love mum’s sweets.”
“I didn't write it!” Peter said defensively.
James sighed, “I know. I’m sorry. I wasn’t having a go at you.”
“It’s fine,” Peter replied. “Hey, can I look at your potions homework? I just wanted to check a few things.”
They busied themselves with homework comparisons and Remus took a glance at the paper. The bridge was by a town that was only a few miles from his own town. The article also mentioned wizards highly suspected to be more of these new ‘death eaters’, along with the fact that they were suspected of fraternising with werewolf packs. It made Remus shiver. He had to warn Conan.
“James?” Remus said, “Can I borrow Barnaby?”
“Sure,” he said, shortly, pointing out some points to Peter and making some corrections on his own potions essay. “Could you just give him some pellets first? They’re in the owlery.”
“Thanks.” He held out an arm for the owl which flew up to the perch and ruffled its feathers. The talons were large and powerful, and Remus wondered if this was why wizard robes were so thick.
In the owlery, after pouring out some pellets for Barnaby, Remus composed a letter to Conan.
I’m back at school and I was thinking about what you last said to me about-
Remus had no idea how to word it. Should he just be brazen? If Conan didn’t understand him the first time, then it would take even longer to get answers. Remus decided on a scientific and pragmatic approach
-sexuality and I think I am experiencing some of the symptoms beyond the human experience that you alluded to. In particular a certain-
A certain what? How would he delicately explain that he couldn’t get certain people out of his head after a full moon? It took so long to regain control of himself that he worried if the object of his obsession were to reciprocate at a weak moment, he wouldn’t be able to control himself.
-fixatedness on one of my classmates, but beyond the realm of a crush. I have a need for them that overwhelms even my irrational brain and feels like an animal instinct. Also, there is -
Now he was blushing for real. He had to mention the stuff leaking down his trousers. It didn’t seem dirty or odorous. Remus placed a cool hand over his cheeks to try and calm down. It seemed absurd when he tried to describe it to Conan.
He cringed at the word, but powered on, not thinking too much about it.
-Any help you can send me would be greatly appreciated. Until next year,
Without more thought, he rolled up the parchment and attached it to Barnaby, who soared out the window without further encouragement.
“No, wait!” said Remus, walking to the window, but the owl was gone. Remus had just remembered that he’d mentioned nothing about the death eaters. Plus, he was overcome with the worry that his strange discharge was nothing to do with being a werewolf and Conan would be like ‘dude, you need to get that checked out, it might be constipation,’ and that he could never look the only werewolf companion he’d had in the eye ever again. Embarrassed, he pressed his face to the stone wall.
After Remus had left, James and the others went down to the dungeons for their potion’s class. Remus stumbled through the dungeon doors just as Slughorn wrote the instructions of the day on the board. They were making the first part of a complicated two-class potion to relieve pain. The Marauders already knew how to make it, they had given it a go for Remus after his transformations, although Madam Pomfrey was obviously an expert, it didn’t hurt to have some on hand in the shrieking shack. Peter had saved a space for Remus, and James didn’t need to concentrate too hard, so he had plenty of time to talk to Sirius.
He began simmering the salt water while Sirius chopped willow roots.
“Do you know what’s wrong with Remus?” he asked, keeping his voice down, although with all the bubbling cauldrons and chatter of the NEWT potions class, it probably wasn’t necessary.
Sirius glanced up at James guiltily, which made James wonder if there was a conspiracy, and then looked to Remus who was slowly slicing root. He looked very tired and was barely registering whatever Pete was saying to him.
“Umm, I hadn’t actually noticed. I mean, he looks like he needs a good night’s sleep, poor bugger, but we’ve just had the, you know-” he glanced around. James knew he was going to say ‘full moon.’
“Yeah i know, i know. But, wasn’t he acting weird last night?”
After a trying patrol with Lily, who wasn’t talking to him this year for many reasons, but mostly because she thought he was largely responsible for the fact that Severus hadn’t returned for his final year of Hogwarts, he had returned to the common room and sat with Moony. All of his homework was done, but Moony wasn't in bed yet and James couldn’t figure out why. Plus, he looked rather ill and woozy, but had refused to go upstairs. He had even hissed “James, please leave,” which by Moony standards was positively rude. As soon as he’d gone upstairs, he’d checked the map to see if Moony was waiting for a guest, maybe some midnight romance that he wanted to keep a secret, but no. He’d just waited for everyone to leave, then gone upstairs. James had jumped in the shower, which had been cold, annoyingly, and even nipped down to the common room when everyone else was asleep to see if Moony had left something or performed a spell. But no, nothing.
“Hadn’t noticed anything. Wasn’t he just doing homework?” asked Sirius, guiltily remembering that he had a few problems of his own and hadn't noticed that Remus had been acting strangely.
James told Sirius what had happened and Sirius shrugged. James was a bit annoyed that he didn’t seem more concerned, but as he adjusted the heat on the cauldron, noticed that Sirius glanced at Remus with concern.
“And he used my owl.”
“He’s allowed to send letters.”
“Yes, I know, but he seemed, i don’t know, secretive.”
“Maybe he’s got a secret lover,” James said, curious to see Sirius’ reaction.
“Did he tell you that?” he asked, glaring straight at James, desperate for an answer.
James smirked and shook his head, “but you two had a bit of a hand brush at breakfast this morning.”
Sirius’ face burned red and he said, “we did not!”
“Actually,” murmured James, “where were you two this morning?”
“I was at the library,” hissed Sirius, flicking bits of root at James.
“Well, I know that’s a lie,” he laughed, catching the attention of Slughorn who told them to ‘concentrate.’
“I’m serious. It-” Sirius started, but looked down at his notes with feigned interest, then began grinding up beetles. “I had my problem again. So I went to the library.”
“Oh.” James sprinkled in some nettles he had just ground up and the potion went a pale green. “Did you find anything?”
Sirius sighed. “No, but I’ll let you know if anything comes up.” He slid the beetles over to James and stretched, “how was Lily last night? Is she talking to you yet?”
“No,” sighed James. He glanced at her, working with Mary McDonald. His heart leapt at the sight of her, he couldn't’ help it, she looked so lovely with her fiery red hair and that scowl of concentration. “She thinks I’m the reason Severus left.”
“Oh, ouch.” Sirius glanced up at him. “Do you want me to tell her it was my fault? I can try and slip it in a conversation.”
“No, come on,” said James, tipping in the beetles. The potion went the consistency of milk.
“You’re the reason he’s still alive,” said Sirius. “If she should hate anyone, it’s me.”
“If we hadn’t messed him around so much, maybe he wouldn’t have been so interested in hurting Remus, though,” James said quietly.
Neither of them commented further on that vein, but the silence was at least contemplative. “But class is actually much less claustrophobic without him,” added James. It was nice to brew a potion without his beady eyes staring you down every time you stirred a ladle.
“I bet he rocked up with those death eaters,” grumbled Sirius.
“What?” hissed James. Such an accusation was absurd. They hated Severus, sure, but a wizarding terrorist? He was seventeen for Godrick’s sake.
Sirius shrugged, and leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. “Heard Regulus mention his name over summer.” Sirius didn’t say anything after that, but it was the most James had heard him say on the topic. Sirius had turned up on their doorstep this summer with some nasty scars and a limp and not-enough information about how he’d gotten them.
Remus could almost believe that he was normal again, or, as normal as he’d ever be. As a werewolf, his view on reality was somewhat warped, but the level of work piling on top of them now that NEWTs were in full swing gave him something else to concentrate on. Most nights, he found himself sitting in the library, which was also a comforting haven, pouring over books and homework, with the bonus that his other particular problem hadn’t popped up again. Sometimes, he found his thoughts meandering to the one person in particular that got him hot and bothered. He'd cringe every time he remembered when he'd slipped his arm into Sirius's outside the library. He'd been tired, he'd forgotten himself, it had come so naturally.
Sirius was just something else. Last year, it didn’t hurt to think about now, but last year he had done something so moronically stupid, so hurtful and inconsiderate that Remus had struggled to look him in the eye until after Christmas. He had told Snape the secret to the whomping willow. Although the specifics were unknown to Remus, if he closed his eyes on a dark night, he could see, in the haze of transformation, Severus’ horrified face from the door of the shrieking shack. Particularly chilling because of how Remus had been terrified and confused, but the wolf was delighted . Naturally, Remus had been distraught over Sirius’ actions and, to his own embarrassment, found that if he didn’t talk to anyone during the day, could manage to hold any tears back until he reached the room of requirement. He had done a lot of crying there last year and hated the seventh floor now.
However, after an explosive row, very unusual for Remus, where he finally shared how he really felt, Sirius had said “I’m so sorry,” his face abnormally pale, “I’m so sorry, I put you in a position where you were pleased to see Snape. I knew it was bad Remus, but i didn’t know it was that bad,” and despite himself, Remus had started uncontrollably laughing.
That evening, instead of going straight to the library, Remus went to the dorm room. He was still waiting for a reply from Conan, and the old hurt from Sirius’ betrayal were floating round his head, plus it was the full moon the next day and he couldn’t focus on his schoolwork. He knew what he needed.
“Who are you?” said Pete, looking up from his essay that was rolled across the floor at the foot of his bed, “And what are you doing out of your library?”
“Ha ha. I’m calling an emergency marauder’s meeting,” said Remus.
“Yes!” James leaped off his bed, with a clutter of quills and Padfoot lifted his shaggy head off his pillow and lumbered over.
“Umm. Yes. Messrs, I have a problem.” He looked to them all, rapt in attention. “I’m bored out of my mind!” Remus fell back onto the floor as the others started laughing. “Please oh please! We need a good prank!”
“Moony? I think you’ve gone bonkers!” said Pete.
“Our mischievous Moony,” said James, conspiratorially.
Padfoot’s snout shrank into his head and his skin paled until Sirius was sat in front of them.
“What’s the plan, Moons?”
Remus stared Sirius deep in his grey eyes. He felt that he couldn’t look away. It was the first time he had allowed himself to peer directly at them, as though he might turn to stone if he did. Looking now, he felt as though he had turned to stone.
James elbowed him.
“Oh, right! Well, I wasn’t thinking anything awful. Maybe charming the suits of armour to move, but only when you’re not looking?”
Peter frowned. “That sounds horrifying, honestly.”
“Only if they’re trying to knife you,” said James. “We could make them do the macarena.”
Sirius put his head in his hands, “guys, where has our Marauder inspiration gone? We should be like, filling the great hall with room temperature flames or something.”
Peter shook his head and scowled at James. “It’s all your fault. You and your head boy-ness. All our good ideas have vanished.”
“And all this homewoooooork,” whined Sirius, falling to the floor with a dramatic hair flick.
“I’m feeling the creative pressure too,” admitted Remus.
James looked uncomfortable and finally confessed, “and I have a head boy meeting in ten minutes I really have to go to.”
They all sighed.
James slipped off soon after and the other three marauders watched him go on the map.
“Maybe we could sneak to the kitchens?” suggested Peter, unfolding more of the map.
Remus sighed. He tapped the one eyed witch statue on the map which said ‘dissendium.’ It was a new feature, passwords.
“Perhaps we could make a little treasure hunt,” suggested Remus, thinking about putting little easter eggs into the map.
Sirius perked up. “I like it!”
“We’ll put it on the map. The first clue, that is.”
Peter wasn’t so convinced. “Who is even going to see a treasure hunt on the map?”
“Well, I assume we’re not going to take it with us?” asked Remus, “when we leave, that is. It’s a Hogwarts relic. It must stay within these walls.”
Peter wiggled his lip but Sirius sat bolt upright. “I love it, and we can each create a clue and then hide a big prize somewhere!” He was almost bouncing.
“Sure.” Peter seemed more convinced but stood up anyway and stretched.
“How’s Bertha?” asked Remus, wanting to keep him part of the conversation and, for the first time, uninterested in returning to work.
“Yeah,” said Pete, maybe too fast. “Great”
Sirius was pulling out a new roll of parchment, and grandly titling it ‘PLANS’ with lots of loops.
Remus just kept quiet, hoping that Peter would tell him what was wrong in his own time.
“She just-” he continued, to fill the silence, “I think she’s really thick.”
Sirius snorted and Remus had no idea what to say.
Remus wondered what he could say to that: ‘my condolences’? ‘yeah , well she picked you for a boyfriend’?, ‘that’s rough’? Try as he might, he couldn't pick anything and just started laughing.
Peter almost looked upset but began to laugh too. “She forgot how to spell her own fucking name last week.” Sirius hooted at that and Pete continued, “and she’s always forgetting things. I don’t know, I just feel like I’m looking down on her a lot.” He sighed then. “Not sure it’s working. But also not sure what other bird would want to go out with me.”
“Pete,” said Remus, with a tone of seriousness, “don’t say that. If you and Bertha aren’t working out then it’s not meant to be.”
“I just feel so inadequate next to James and Lily!” He said in frustration.
“They’re not even going out!” exclaimed Sirius, confused.
“I know but,” Peter looked around for the right words; “It’s like, they’re going to get together. You can see it.”
Sirius looked disbelievingly to Remus, but Remus knew Peter was probably right and it must have shown on his face. He was quite good friends with Lily.
Sirius leapt over to Remus and said “Wait, you know they’re going to get together?”
He grasped Remus’ shirt and pulled him close. It was overpowering to feel his hands so near to his skin, his chest felt as though there was an electric current running through it. However, fortunately, Sirius took Remus’ spluttering as him hiding a secret and shook him a little, saying “it’s true, isn’t it!”
“Crap,” said Pete, falling face first onto his bed.
Sirius grinned, but had not let go of Remus’ shirt. The tension in the fabric was gone and Sirius’ hands pressed the shirt against Remus’ chest. Remus could feel them each time he took a breath. Along with a feeling of safeness and rightness. They hadn’t broken eye contact.
“For cripes sake, people are gonna start thinking you’re dating,” yelled Peter, looking at them, bored. Sirius shot up like a bolt and shook out his hair.
“And what would be so wrong with that?” he shouted, unusually red and flustered for SIrius.
Peter sat up in surprise as Sirius went into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. Remus thought it would be weird to follow him, but wanted to make sure he was alright. He stayed where he was.
“What was that about?” asked Peter.
“You two aren’t going out, are you?”
“No!” Remus said, standing up and leaping into his bed. “No, goodness.” He rolled over, pulling out a book and pretending to read it. “Why would. No.”
As his chest rose up and down, he felt his handprints there, like they were seared into his skin.
The next morning, Sirius felt like his body was tense. There was an aggression in his veins as James and he got ready for quidditch practise and, though he was sour to James all the way to practise, his beating was so powerful that James said he didn’t mind at all, he could throw abuse at James as much as he wanted if he would beat like that every game. It made SIrius more mad somehow.
Last night, he had held Remus like he was some physical manifestation of his own beating heart. Like he was the piece of Sirius that he never knew he had been missing. Instead of letting him enjoy it, his new body had responded inconsiderately and then Peter had interrupted him and he was overcome with the need to do something.
James and Sirius reached the breakfast hall after washing in the showers. Peter and Remus were already there. Peter glanced at Sirius then sternly looked back to his bacon and eggs.
“Well what the f-” Sirius began to say until James jabbed him in the ribs. Sirius looked over, distracted from his frustration, at James making a face like ‘dude, what is your problem?’ Sirius grit his teeth and sat down next to Peter, that way he wouldn’t have to look at him.
Why was he so pissed off? Remus always said he never took any time to reflect on himself. It was one of his biggest weaknesses. Sirius had replied that if Remus stopped reflecting then he might be able to do something for a change instead of hiding. That had been a pig-headed thing to say and Sirius felt awful, but Remus had just rolled his eyes as if to say ‘you see what i mean?’ Then Sirius had gone and told Snape about the willow. Gah, he hated when Remus was right.
He glanced at Remus who was drinking tea and re-reading an essay they’d got back from the defense against the dark arts lesson: He was reflecting on his own knowledge. Sirius huffed into his own cup of coffee and thought back to last night.
Peter had said ‘are you two a couple?’ or something like that, maybe ‘wait, don’t tell me you’re a couple?’ And it was true, Sirius and Remus were most definitely not a couple. So why was he so pissed off? Was it that Peter had interrupted his embrace with Remus?
He glanced at Remus’ shirt. Probably a clean one.
Why was he looking at Remus? His thoughts about him had been tumbling out of control, especially since they had rekindled their friendship. It was as though Sirius had realised what a precious thing he had almost lost. He never wanted to let him go.
Cutting that train of thought loose, he decided it was Peter’s tone. Peter had asked the question as though the idea of Remus and Sirius going out was impossible, even disgusting. Sirius had tangled thoughts on Remus, but he knew that he would punch anyone who suggested that Sirius Black couldn’t go out with whoever the fuck he chose. Except that sounded a bit non-consensual, but the more he thought about it, the more absurd it seemed that Sirius and Remus could never go out. They were both a bit rough around the edges, Remus was booky where Sirius had brawns, they would be a hot couple, Remus kept Sirius in line and Sirius kept Remus is mischief. They were the moon and stars.
The moon and stars.
The morning post interrupted that thought. Sirius glanced at a newspaper that plopped in front of him, which James snatched up and began reading. Peter had a letter from his family by the looks of it which he ripped open idly. Barnaby swooped onto Remus’ shoulder and stuck out his foot.
Sirius tried to imagine that he wasn’t obsessing over Remus, because that last train of thought had scared him, but Remus looked rather panicked to get the letter from Barnaby before anyone else saw. Sirius only got a moment to look at the handwriting, which was rough and scrawly. Who on earth would be personally mailing Remus with such bad handwriting?
Remus caught him staring. Before Sirius could ask him anything, he put the letter under the table and out of sight.
“What’s that?” asked peter, mouth full of eggs.
“It’s not nothing, it’s a letter. Who wrote you?” Peter chucked his letter on the table, as though indicating he had nothing to hide. It was from his parents.
James looked over at Remus and down to the letter. “You not gonna open it?”
Remus slid it into his bag and reached for his coffee.
“S’a love letter,” grinned Peter. “Please let us read it, I’ll put on a high pitched voice.”
Remus placed his cup down and stood up and nearly ran out of the great hall.
Peter looked flabbergasted. “I was only joking, what’s up with him?”
James looked confused too. “I mean, it was a bit of an overreaction, even by Remus standards.”
“It was an overreaction by Sirius standards!” said Peter.
Sirius felt that little spike of anger through him, and then was silentvbecause to react would prove Peter right.
“I told you he was sending sneaky letters,” whispered James.
“When?” said Peter.
“To Sirius, in potions.”
“He’s never run off with a letter before,” said Sirius.
They all looked at each other, thinking the same thing but knowing it was too terrible to even mention. Should they sneak a look at the letter? Remus valued his privacy more than anyone. Sirius suddenly felt a surge of protectiveness.
“Just leave him to his business.”
“Yeah, but,” started Peter, and Sirius nearly growled at him, “but Remus never tells us when he’s in shit. We’ve always had to pry it out of him.”
James looked between Sirius and Peter, as though evaluating each of their sides.
“We’ll keep an eye on him. Report back this evening.”
“It’s the full moon this evening,” said Sirius.
“Shit, I scheduled quidditch practise tomorrow morning.”
Remus tore from the great hall. He wasn’t in the mood to create an excuse. He was achy and desperate for answers and he might have them in his hand. These weren’t things the Marauders needed to discover with him. These were his concerns.
He ran to a nearby tapestry to read uninterrupted.
As he lit his wand, he looked at the letter. It said ‘Remus’ is an untidy scrawl. Remus smiled knowing it must be from Conan; the handwriting was in biro. A wonderful muggle invention that he wished wizards would catch onto.
He slid his finger through the envelope and pulled out the ruled paper - it was cheap but Remus assumed that Conan probably didn’t have a lot of parchment to spare. Guiltily, he thought that if he replied then he should send some extra parchment for Conan to write on.
Good to hear from you, Wondered if i’d spooked you, pup. Guess you understand what i was asking you about now that it’s happened. Wolf mating cycles are freaky as anything. But, if it’s a comfort at all, what you experiencing is normal.-
Remus squinted. He felt a little embarrassed that Conan had noticed how badly he had responded to his questions about sex last summer. Then again, it seemed that Conan also understood that it probably wasn’t something Remus would have even believed until it had happened. If only there was a book on this! Then he could read up on it and everyone, teachers and students, could avoid a lot of embarrassment.
-So there’s three types of wolf: betas are your normal wolf. They just kind of hang around and obey the leader. Leaders are usually what’s called an ‘alpha’ - they’re bigger than the other wolves and have lots of aggression hormones.-
Remus was reading but none of this sounded like it was about him. He wasn’t submissive to some leader. Maybe he was an alpha, although that made him feel nauseous. Having power over other wolves to force them to submit. His body stiffened in his crouch as he concentrated on the letter.
-Then there’s an omega, that’s what you are.-
Remus didn’t like the sound of that. Omega was the last letter of the Greek alphabet. He looked at his thin fingers. They were shaking. For the first time in his life, Remus didn’t want to keep reading.
He sat down properly. Already the concept of a three tiered wolf hierarchy was quite a stretch for the imagination. What would he really be scared of? This was all hearsay from a homeless loner werewolf. What did Conan even know about pack dynamics? He rubbed a hand over his forehead and only then realised he was sweating.
He was worried about being trapped, more than he was already. Then again, Remus had many years experience in cages, of being told his fate was beyond his control, but look at where he was now! He looked around.
In a hole in the wall behind a tapestry, hiding like a coward.
He took a deep breath and shook himself. He was training to be a wizard at Hogwarts, against the odds, and he had great friends and happiness all around him.
He picked up the letter again.
- Now, being an omega is not the best thing if i’m honest, being beta myself, so i don’t know for sure, but there is a time when an omega expresses a physical need for an alpha.-
Remus scowled at the paper. A physical need? For another wolf?
-If you already got someone in your head, then they might also be a wolf, but they’ll only be an alpha.-
Sirius was not a werewolf. Conan clearly had no idea what he was talking about. He almost wanted to throw the letter away in frustration but that was moronic. It was the pre moon blues talking. Remus didn’t throw away writing, even if it was wrong, there were lessons in wrong writing, he just needed to find out what.
-So that discharge your talking about, it’s called ‘slick’ and it means that you’re ready to be mated by an alpha. After your full moon, when your brain is mentally weakest and your body the most pliable, you will have a lot of slick and an overwhelming desire to be fucked.-
Remus put the letter down again. Conan clearly was some kind of sex pest. How could anyone get away sending this kind of messed up drivel to a minor? Despite himself, he read on.
-So if there’s no one around to sort it out for you, find something else to help you. Or, and this isn’t something i write lightly pup, but betas can’t bond with omegas, so if you need discrete help, let me know where your school is and i can come over and help you-
Remus scrunched up the letter and shoved it into the bottom of his bag. Then, unexpectedly, tears poured down his face. He wiped them away fiercely trying to stay quiet. Students outside were moving to their lessons and he could not be caught like this. He performed a quick sticking charm to the canvas so no one could accidently tug it aside.
He had trusted Conan. Why? Why did Remus decide to trust him again after he had tried to come onto him over the summer? Clearly he was just grooming Remus so that he could- Remus covered his mouth as a sob came out, - could just take advantage of him. Did he really think that Remus was gullible enough to believe what he was saying? What was worse, is that some other werewolf might be dumb enough to believe him. He thought about all the werewolves who, unlike him, had not been given an education and taught critical thinking and how to question things. They might be bright enough, but naive, and would believe that a lonely, desperate old man could save them by fucking them in the ass.
It was the stigma. Plain and clear. By people who weren’t werewolves and were scared. Innocent people were being manipulated and groomed, malleable by their ignorance and vulnerable because there was no official help for them. There was no information anywhere.
It was then and there that Remus vowed to write a book on it. He would find people to sneak it into libraries and maybe even find a way of finding new werewolves, like Hogwarts finds new wizards and sends letters to them. Maybe he could get a secret job undercover in the ministry, say that he was eliminating werewolves but secretly he’d take them somewhere safe and send teachers and learning material to them.
Then he realised that he had no real information. That disheartened him a little, but he could learn. Go into the field and meet other wolves, find out what they did know and what they didn’t.
He sighed. It was hopelessly optimistic and probably naive.
He decided not to go to class. Instead, he went to the dorm room and lay down in bed, plucking a book from his bedside table and once again pretending to read it. Occasionally, he would curse himself for being such a coward, but then he reasoned that his transformation was nearly upon him and his friends always told him to be kinder to himself.