“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.
Peter was fairly pissed off. There was a tension between his friends, but no one was addressing it, he wasn’t sure if anyone else noticed. Sirius was convinced Peter had done some great evil, though what it was, Peter guessed that Sirius had just imagined it. Then there was Remus, though with the full moon that evening, it wasn’t difficult to guess what had him anxious.
James, well, there was nothing wrong with James, as per usual, and that pissed Peter off some. How was it that the rich pure blood was always perfect? It made Peter feel wretched, and then worse because it was such a selfish thought.
Then there was Bertha. She had been boring him. When they first started going out, he thought her giggles and nose-booping was cute, but now it was just annoying. But she was the only girl in Hogwarts he had ever had a chance of going out with. He scanned the great hall on the way out, tailing behind Sirius and James, to the dungeons, looking for a sign of Remus who had run off, and hoping not ot bump into his girlfriend.
He sat at his desk that he shared with Remus. Their recovery potion that had been stewing for a week, but now Remus, his potions partner, hadn’t even bothered showing up to class. It made him mad. How arrogant of Remus to just abandon him. He pulled out his textbook and it fell open on the table. He would finish it himself. Besides, Remus was something of a nuisance in potions anyway, always rubbing his eyes. Peter didn’t know why he hadn’t just given it up, but Remus mentioned how his studying at Hogwarts was unlikely in and of itself, so he had to excel at the most subjects he could because he wanted to change people’s attitudes to werewolves.
It was so noble and that also made Peter miffed.
He ended up brewing the potion just fine, they’d had plenty of practice before. Fortunately, he wasn’t alone during charms but sat between James and Sirius to practise a clever little trick to create a flock of birds with a bang. Of course, they were doing all their magic without incantation now, which made it much harder to talk.
That was until the room was full of twittering, enchanted birds.
“So, usual plan tonight?” asked Peter.
James nodded. “Though I have a scheduled patrol, and I really want to sneak a nap at lunchtime what with early quidditch tomorrow.”
“That might be cutting it fine,” said Peter.
Sirius said “Just try to make it when you can.”
“Did you see the news?” asked James, and Peter shook his head, so did Sirius. “There’s been a spate of werewolf attacks near Remus’ hometown.”
He looked pointedly to them both. Peter tried to look as though he were practising the incantation but was secretly filled with dread. Werewolves scared him. There was no getting around it. Maybe it was because his animagus was a stinking rat, the harbinger of disease. Each time he saw James erupt into a majestic stag he felt as though the universe was trying to cement the fact that his friends were better than him.
Then again, if Remus had been a normal kid, they would never have discovered their animagi. He couldn’t say that out loud though, James would have a go at him for implying that Remus wasn’t ‘normal’.
“We should warn Remus,” said Sirius.
“Why?” asked Peter, thinking that Remus might like some local werewolf friends.
“He might be upset. It might be the sort of thing we should let him know before he randomly reads it on the news,” replied Sirius.
James nodded. “I wanted to mention it at breakfast, but he was rather distracted.”
“Yes, what the hell was that about?” asked Peter, certain that Sirius and James had already discussed it at length in potions.
Sirius shrugged. Then, an explosion of birds twittered from his wand.
They scarfed dinner, Remus was still nowhere to be found. Usually, Sirius would have skipped class to be with Remus, it was as though he was on a leash and that leash was wrapped around Remus’ wrist. But they had been acting strangely recently. Everyone had. Sirius hadn’t even popped back to the dorms to check the map and find out where he’d run off to. Peter wondered if maybe they secretly had been going out and just not told anyone and now maybe they’d broken up.
Watching them the night before, it looked as though they’d been holding each other, and Peter would just be so frustrated if Sirius, insanely hot, pure blood king, effortless wizard and beater gathered up a special relationship with his other friend, Remus. Admittedly, Remus was not hot in the same way Sirius was, partly due to all those scars, but he had a quiet tenderness that the girls went crazy for and he was so clever.
Bertha had mentioned each one of his friends and their unique charms before. Maybe that was what made him so frustrated.
Lily came to collect James for their head boy and girl meeting at the dinner table. She was also gorgeous. If James wasn’t so vocal about her, Peter might have liked to have asked her out himself. At least he wasn’t an obsessive stalker, like James.
He shovelled a last forkful of mash potato and glanced at Sirius, who nodded and together they went to the whomping willow. Whatever problem he’d had with Peter had vanished.
It was already getting dark, so Sirius could hide as the dog in the shadows and Peter transformed into a rat and went to touch the knot on the tree. They had left the invisibility cloak for James who was less discrete than a rat or a black dog in the dark. The branches shivered apart and Sirius ran in, Peter climbed onto his neck so that Sirius could carry him faster.
They arrived at the shack a few minutes later, Sirius scraped a paw against the door and Remus opened it. His face was white and sunken and he was breathing fast. When they entered, he fell backwards and collapsed on one of the sofas. Usually, Peter let Sirius transform and shut the door, but the dog was braced on his haunches, unwilling to transform, transfixed on Remus. Remus’ head was tilted back, his eyes closed, his chest quivering up and down. Peter waited for Sirius to transform. He didn’t like being in human form when the wolf was so close, what if he forgot how to turn back into a rat? But Sirius still wasn’t moving.
“The door,” Remus whispered.
Peter glanced at the dog, who flicked him with his paw towards the door. Peter was forced to transform, a squeak turning into a human sound of indignation, and his fingers shook as he locked the door with an incantation. Then, he took a glance at Remus who was staring straight back at him, his eyes jaundiced and hungry. With a squeak, Peter instinctively transformed, feeling his body squeeze inwards and the ceiling become far away.
Padfoot snorted in a way that sounded like a laugh. Was he laughing at Peter’s terror? It was so rude. A snarl distracted him along with a loud cracking sound and he squeaked again and skidded into a hole in the wall. Remus hated being watched while he transformed. He said it was as though he was dying in front of all his friends every month. Peter didn’t blame him, he looked horrible, the worst was the way his skin stretched and the bones beneath seemed to move.
He wished James were here.
Once the transformation was complete, the wolf seemed more subdued than usual. Padfoot and Moony did their usual canine greeting ritual, it involved a lot of teeth licking. The first time Moony had tried it, Padfoot had yipped and tried to run away, and Moony had scratched him on the muzzle.
After that first ever transformation, Sirius had three big scratches over his face and Remus was so apologetic, he could barely breath for saying sorry, but Sirius wore them with pride Later, Remus had found out that wolves often licked another’s teeth as a sort of friendly greeting, but maybe that wasn’t it and that Sirius maybe shouldn’t come to the transformations. It was a bit weird to suddenly be licking your best friend’s teeth, whatever way you looked at it.
But, Sirius had said he hadn’t gone through the trials of becoming an animagus just to be put off by a bit of teeth licking. It was hysterical at the time, James and Peter could barely stop laughing. Remus was so embarrassed, especially because he couldn’t even remember doing it.
In fact, Peter just remembered, it was around that time that Remus had been using Barnaby for personal messages. Maybe this latest letter was the same person as before! Perhaps it was a wolf expert contact who Remus would send his questions to, though he had been happy to read his mail in front of everyone that time.
So what could the subject be that Moony was so frightened about his friends seeing?
Wormtail’s tail whipped past him. His lithe little body. As long as he knew that the map was safely in the dorm, Peter could root around Remus’ letters without anyone else knowing about it. He glanced up at the wolf.
Pads and Moony were chasing the other’s tail.
Just a bonus scene
(Happens about two years in the past)
“I am,” Remus could barely breath, “so, so sorry.”
The poor guy could barely sit up straight after his full moon transformation, but he was still apologising to Sirius with all the strength he could muster.
“Sirius, don’t say it’s okay because this is not okay.”
Remus reached out to brush the scratch on Sirius’ face. He looked close to tears as he examined the wound the wolf had inflicted- no. The wound he had inflicted.
Sirius brushed his hand away, “don’t get sentimental, Moony, it’s cool!”
“What is you’re infected,” hissed Remus, no hint of a laugh in his voice.
“Then I would have transformed last night, you dimwit,” Sirius said, ruffling Remus’ hair.
Remus collapsed back into the pillows. That last piece of logic seemed to have given him pause for thought.
“It was me though, wasn’t it?” he asked, looking up at Sirius who nodded. Remus pulled the covers up to his chin. Although he was sore this week, he wasn’t nearly as scratched up as usual. Some weeks it had been ghastly. “Tell me what happened?”
“Well,” Sirius tossed his hair back. He did look rather handsome and roguish with the scratch Remus thought, indulgently. “The wolf reacted quite suspiciously at first to the stag and the rat,” Peter and James nodded seriously at this, “But took quite a liking to the dog. Sort of. Except you uh-” Sirius looked like he was trying to express something awkward.
Remus clapped his hands over his mouth. He said in a low voice: “Please don’t tell me I sniffed your butt.”
James snorted and Peter just straight out laughed while Sirius was saying “no no no.”
“It was weirder than that,” Sirius said, as though it was a comfort.
Remus looked mortified, “Weirder than sniffing your butt?”
James guffawed properly and Peter slid off his chair.
“No, you uh, started like,” Sirius smiled what he probably thought was a comforting smile but tinged with an alarming number of teeth that suggested he was quite anxious about what he was going to say next, “you were tonguing me.”
Remus’s mouth dropped open. “I was tonguing your asshole?”
“Oh Godric no!”
Peter beat his fist against the hospital floor, unable to process any sounds through his mouth, Remus strongly suspected he was crying, and James slid on the floor to join him.
“You were tonguing my mouth, Moons. Just my mouth.”
Remus’ hands were both over his face, every exposed bit of face had turned scarlet. “Just. Tonguing. Your. Mouth.”
“Never prelude ‘tonguing my mouth’ with the word ‘just’. It makes it sound like it’s not a big deal.”
“Well, it was the wolf doing it!”
James resurfaced from the foot of the bed to wipe his tears on the blankets.
“Anyway, your wolfy face started sticking its tongue in my mouth, in a friendly way, mind, and I just was a bit surprised and your breath smelt really uh- well, not awful, per se, anyway, I yelped and scooted back a bit and I think you took that as a challenge or maybe you were offended and you swiped a paw at me.” Then, Sirius pointed at his scratch and shrugged.
Remus had pulled the covers over his head. “Sirius, I’m so sorry.”
He chuckled and ruffled Moony’s hair that was just sticking out from under the covers. “But look how great you are today, Moons! Barely a scratch on you. You’ll never keep us away from the shack now.”
“What is all this racket?” Madam Pomfrey cried as she walked through the door. “I pop out for five minutes!” James and Peter sprang from the floor, still chuckling, as Madam Pomfrey whisked them all out.
Remus peeped out to look at Sirius who winked and said: “later, Moons.”
As he tried to get past madam Pomfrey, she said “And what happened to your face, Mr Black? Get back here!”
But he danced around her and then he was gone with the other Marauders. Remus was mortified at what had happened, but he felt almost ready to join them, racing down the corridors again. He just needed a quick nap first. Although that particular conversation had been awful, he was almost excited for his next transformation.
In fact, after scarfing down the breakfast that Madam Pomfrey had bought him, he’d begged to be let out early and she’d reluctantly consented. Then, he’d rushed to the first place he could think of since classes had already started and he had another plan in mind. The library. He could feel hypothetical Sirius’ eyes rolling at the thought that the first place he’d go to was the library.
There was a book he vaguely remembered seeing that might answer his wolf pack problems. He nodded to Madam Pince who nearly cracked a smile at the sight of him, and he went to the section where transfiguration blended with care of magical creatures. He found the copy of ‘beastly anatomies’ and flicked to the section on wolves. It stated that wolves often licked each other's teeth by way of a greeting. Remus nodded in recollection, he had actually read this book before when he’d first arrived at Hogwarts. There was a startling small range on werewolf literature, and most of it was filled with propaganda that he wished he could tell eleven year old Remus was all bullshit. He’d had a week where he hated reading after reading through a particularly horrible book talking about wolf burnings.
It was total crap really that the most reliable information regarding werewolves he could find was just information about regular wolves.
When Remus opened his human eyes the next morning, he felt awful. Shivery, weak, even opening his eyelids was a struggle. He stunk of dog and stag and shack. James ran over, holding one of the recovery potions they’d cooked up before and Remus struggled to even gulp it down. It felt heavy on his tongue.
“Mate, you alright?” he asked, concerned.
Remus sat up a little and saw Peter dozing lightly on one of the chairs. He couldn’t see Sirius though.
“I’m fine,” he murmured.
But James’ expression was doubtful. “I’m so sorry, i’ve got to go, quidditch practise, but I’ll wake Peter up-”
Remus grabbed him with all his strength, “No, don’t wake him, he needs a rest before class.”
James frowned again. “He should just go back to sleep as a rat, though. In case Madam Pomfrey comes in.”
He could tell James didn’t want to leave his post but was drawn by the quidditch practise so Remus waved him off and he sprinted away, giving a last wave at the door. There was no sign of Sirius, he'd probably gone straight to quidditch. That stung, but remus couldn't expect his friends to tend to his every fancy after they'd stayed up all night. It was with a feeling of pitifulness that remus still wished sirius had said good morning.
Remus shifted on the bed. Although, it was more of a mattress on the floor now, the marauders had cleared away the splintered bedframe. They’d at least covered him with a blanket. When the Marauders had first started joining him on the full moon, he had felt almost energised the next day, but maybe the transformations were taking their toll again because he could barely lift himself from the mattress. It was as though he couldn’t access his muscles.
And he felt anxious, like something was missing. He glanced around, searching for someone.
With horror, he remembered Conan’s letter. It had said he would be searching for an alpha wolf. Remus’ eyes slid onto Peter. He grimaced. Pete snored.
No, definitely not him.
If what Conan said was going to happen was going to happen, then Remus needed to get somewhere safe soon. Not that he believed him, but he was weak and there was a building yearning inside him and the more he focussed on the emotion, the more it was building. He was also becoming intensely aware of the weight of the blanket.
“Pete,” he said, though his voice was strained. “Wormy,”
Peter stood up and said “i’m awake,” rubbing his hair. He noticed Moony and said “oh Moony, you’re up, good. Good sleep? Ah, your clothes!” He went to the panel by the door and retrieved his clothes and tossed them to Remus.
He pulled on his underwear and trousers, though it felt itchy. He pulled himself to sitting and fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, but his hands kept slipping.
“Pete, i’m so sorry, i need your help with-” he failed once again to get a button through the hole.why didn't he just wear a t-shirt last night?
Peter nodded and came to help him, with a satisfied smile on his face. Moony unlaced his shoes in the meantime to distract himself from being dressed. It wasn’t the worst position any of the Marauders had seen him in but he was so grateful to them.
“Pete, I feel awful, but i don’t want to go to the hospital wing. Please help me back to the dorm room.”
“Sure thing, mate.”
Remus tried to stand but his legs had gone all wobbly. Peter held out his hand and did most of the pulling, and Remus leant heavily into his shoulder as they walked across the grounds. James had kindly left the cloak so they could go unnoticed.
“So, mate,” said Peter, though Remus barely felt he could talk right now. “Who-uh, you don’t have to answer of course, I’m prying, but who was your letter from?”
It was a more exhausting question than Peter could even know. He just sighed deeply, partly from the effort of getting to the gryffindor common room. It wasn’t the first time he’d wished he’d been in slytherin, at least then he could slide down the stairs.
“Old friend,” said Remus.
“You seemed pretty upset, though,” Peter pressed.
Remus rolled his eyes. He didn’t want to think about that now. “Yeah.” He said, simply, wanting to leave it at that.
Peter stayed quiet, hoping that Remus would fill the silence, maybe, but Remus stayed quiet.
“Hinkypunk,” said Peter, ripping off the cloak as they reached the fat lady.
“Well I never!” She cried, “Where on earth did you two come from? And out so early!”
“Hinkypunk,” repeated Remus and she swung open.
“Well, it was just a question!” she said, but swung open.
Together, they climbed the dorm room tower and Remus nearly collapsed into the bed. Peter collapsed onto his own bed. The sun was rising later now, but he would be able to catch thirty minutes or so sleep before class. Besides, a house elf would be by soon with some food. The Maruaders had arranged it that they would get some breakfast delivered that they could eat on the way to class after full moons.
Remus fell asleep. It was a fitful nap hardly restful, full of him chasing a giggling person down endless Hogwarts corridors, and he knew they were a werewolf but in human form. Eventually he bumped into them on the rooftop and he fell onto the other’s body, like a cheesy movie. To his amazement, it was Sirius, who began to lick him on the mouth. Remus, who was enraptured and suddenly grossed out, backed away and tumbled over the side of the castle.
He jolted awake. It was light outside and his curtains were open. There was some food left out for him on his bedside table. He downed a cup of coffee, though it was cold, and scarfed up a slice of toast. He felt dazed, like he couldn’t quite wake up and, as he shoved another slice of toast into his mouth, he realised he was still in his school uniform. As that realisation struck, the next was that he was extremely hot and then uncomfortable. He touched his hair and it was stuck to his brow with sweat.
He tore off his clothes, bothered by them, and stumbled to the shower. The water felt intense on his skin, as though he could feel each droplet. In fact, it was overwhelming, and the heat and warmth made him giddy. Then, he felt a familiar sensation that scared him. He was leaking again.
Last time it had happened, he was too scared to even touch himself. This time, though, he felt compelled to reach for his ass and slide his finger over his hole. It was soft and slick and, surprisingly, felt good. In fact, it felt right.
If he slid his finger in and enjoyed it, though, would that be proving Conan right? The thought prevented him from pressing further, but he circled the opening of his ass for a while, just breathing and feeling his cock responding. The water kept pounding his skin. He decided that he was not some alpha wolf prize to be won, he was Remus, who had fought for everything that he had and had been grateful for every help he’d been given. He was not some sex-hungry omega, or whatever fucked title Conan gave it. He wasn’t a fuck toy.
His finger slipped into his asshole, he didn’t even mean it to, he was so wet.
He emitted a lengthy moan. The ring of muscles tightened around his finger and it felt incredible. Despite not wanting to believe he needed a fucking, he tried to pull his finger out but ended up pushing it back in again, just to check.
It felt so good.
“No,” whispered Remus, leaning his head against the tiled wall, pumping his finger into himself and feeling his cock twitch and swell. “No, please no.”
The pounding water was becoming too much, like all of Remus’ senses were blossoming into their full potential and even the light was too bright. He stepped out of the shower, pulling his finger out of his ass and whining at the loss of stimulation and groaning at his loss of control.
With a towel draped around his shoulders, he fumbled through his dresser for his pyjamas. He found a band tshirt of Sirius’s that he had borrowed for some common room party and pulled it on. It smelt incredible, he bunched up the cloth into his face and breathed it in, huffing on the exhale. Another stream of slick ran down his inside leg.
He whimpered, letting the tshirt drop, and pulling on a pair of old sweats. There was a hole in the knees and they were a bit too short, but if he was leaking from his ass he didn’t want to wear anything he cared about.
When he turned around to sit on his bed, he noticed someone else was in the dorm room with him.
“Sirius-” he couldn’t say any more.
Sirius gulped. He didn’t look embarrassed, and he wasn’t laughing. He looked… big, like he was blocking the door. And intense.
“When did you come in?” he asked weakly.
Sirius took a step towards him and Remus felt himself shift back on the bed. Sirius was powerful. Another stream of slick escaped him.
Sirius inhaled uncomfortably. Could he tell?
“Sirius, you need to leave,” he said weakly, wanting him to stay so badly.
He nodded jerkily. But he didn’t move.
Remus tried to stand up to draw the curtains on his bed, but stumbled, distracted under the intensity of his gaze.
Sirius ran to catch him, though Remus supported himself on the bed. Two hands slid around Remus’ body and they were warm and strong. Remus looked up at him. Sirius licked his lips. Remus could feel his own lips trembling, suddenly very cold after not drying off from his shower, and he tucked his hands into his body, as though to keep warm, but he also wanted SIirus to hold him close and protect him.
Which he did. Sirius grabbed him with such intensity that Remus would have believed that he would never let go. Remus could feel his defined chest muscles from quidditch under his school shirt and how warm he was, he pressed his nose to his chest and breathed in his scent and felt safe.
Sirius kept rearranging his hands, as though to get the best grip on Remus, and then buried his nose into his hair. Remus could feel the breath on his scalp.
“Remus,” he said, voice low and husky, and suddenly Remus was petrified.
“Let go of me,” he whispered, but maybe Sirius didn’t hear him. He pushed again and said, “let go, Sirius!” and pushed away. Sirius’s hands slid away but Remus could tell that he was struggling to control himself. “I’m my own person,” he said, his instincts wanting him to look at the floor, but forcing himself to look at Sirius. To his surprise, Sirius looked hurt. Or confused. Remus didn’t have time to figure it out, he had to get away from him.
But Sirius spoke first, “Remus, I’ll.” He shook his head and walked straight towards Remus, who flinched, but Sirius kept going into the bathroom and locked the door.
Remus sank onto the bed. He couldn’t be here when Sirius came out. Now was going to be the easiest it would be to escape this situation. He pulled on his robe to hide his day clothes and ran from the dorm room.
As soon as he had left the threshold, he felt he could breathe again. There were a few people he passed but no one gave him too much scrutiny which was fortunate because he was worried he was about to cry. He had barely slept, could have some more food, he was skipping classes, and this terrible yearning was probably the need for sex. It was awful.
He ran up to the seventh floor, to the portrait of Barnabus the Barmy trying to teach trolls ballet, and thought “I need somewhere safe where no one can find me. I need somewhere I can hide away from everyone until this urge goes away. Somewhere I can rest. Somewhere to get rid of this yearning-’ he hadn’t meant to express a desire to actively get rid of the gnawing in his groin, but he didn’t think too hard as the door for the room of requirement materialised and he yanked it open and slid it shut.
Fortunately, although Remus was certain no one else would come in, there was a large padlock for him to slide shut. Perhaps the room had installed it for peace of mind.
He slid to his knees, forehead resting against the door to catch his breath. At least in here, hidden from the world, he didn’t have to keep up pretences, we was free to act however he needed. He glanced to his left and there was a table right by the door with a plate of sandwiches. With a weak smile, he grabbed one and shovelled it in his mouth. Cream cheese and cucumber. He wondered how the room would cater his need for a distraction? He was imagining a squashy couch with a pile of books.
He glanced over his shoulder and twisted round to face the room in his horror. There was a fluffy, low bed in the centre of the room, but that wasn’t the issue. It was the shelves lined with rows and rows of- Remus gulped and closed his eyes, unable to stop the water leaking from his eyelids.
It was filled with sex toys. He cowered in the doorframe, unable to process the reality the room had made for him. How humiliating it was to have your own body strip you of your own impulses. Remus’ body had been betraying him since he was six years old. He screwed his fists up in frustrations, hadn’t he been through enough? He could feel he was sitting in wetness and screamed in frustration. He would not submit to some genetic whim. He, Remus, who walked both the paths of beast and man, had given the wolf enough free reign. He fell forwards, onto his hands and pressed his head against the floor. It was cool against his forehead, he hoped it would soothe his aching thoughts.
It wasn’t long before he realised that he had subconsciously taken up a submissive position, on all fours, ass in the air, his body shaking. His hole tightened in anticipation which made his cock twitch and filled Remus with such pleasure that he felt himself tumbling out of this position to the bed. He ripped off his trousers to use to mop up the slick, he didn’t want the bed to get dirty. It had a white sheet for him to lie under, feather light.
He looked down at his body, the slightly translucent fabric gave suggestions of his form beneath. Remus grabbed a pillow and hugged it to himself, re-pressing the folded up sweatpants to his ass. His groin was burning to be touched. He squeezed the pillow tighter, tucking his head in, and got a whiff of Sirius.
There was a response in his cock and Remus moaned, pulling up his tshirt and taking a full breath of Sirius. He smelt heavenly. Remus shuddered as his hand found his cock and stroked it, taking another breath, bunching the slogan t shirt up to his mouth and nose.
He didn’t know who had said it, but it must have been him. The imprint of Sirius’ hands holding onto his shirt seared his chest and he pulled up the shirt to remember their touch, his heart beating wildly beneath and his other hand stroking his cock indulgently.
“Sirius,” it was quieter this time as his erection built. There was a flash of panic as he remembered Conan’s letter but he pulled up the t shirt again to distract himself.
He could feel the embrace they shared just now before he’d run away. How strong Sirius’ chest was holding him, pulling him close with powerful hands, one solid rip away from tearing his clothes off and taking him on his bed. He had acted like Sirius needed Remus too. That thought was the end for Remus.
He cried out an unintelligible moan as he came, eyes shut, Sirius’ body filling his mind. If he was sticky, he didn’t feel it, because it wasn’t enough. Even as he sputtered to the end of his orgasm, the desire to be fucked was still mounting.
He moaned in despair, feeling raw and delicate, turning onto his front so his face was pressed into the pillow, lifting himself onto his knees almost instinctually. His fingers ran down his body, over his hips and buttocks to finger his ass and he plunged them in, hating himself. Immediately, his body responded with a heavenly shiver. It was what Remus’ instincts needed him to do. His finger was covered in slick as he pulled it in and out, teasing the ring of muscles at his opening and he could feel another orgasm building.
But it wasn’t enough, he tried inserting a second finger, which he accommodated easily, but he couldn’t get deep enough, still didn’t feel full. Guiltily, his thoughts roamed to Sirius and all the comforts he might provide right now. Remus’ ass was primed for Sirius to slide right in and fuck him raw.
He looked to his side and caught sight of a black dildo and gasped. It was flumed at the end so that it couldn’t fall in. It looked perfect and a trail of drool leaked out of Remus’ mouth.
He wiped it on the pillow, fingers still working his ass, and tried to forget the sight. He would not use it. He did not need it. Remus would ride out whatever this lust was without resorting to humiliating toys.
Exciting. They were exciting toys.
Not looking directly at it, as though that would make what he was about to do less true, he stumbled to the shelf and grabbed it. It was soft silicon, but still firm. He tried not to focus too much, letting his instincts take over as he poked the tip into his ass and, near effortlessly, slid the entire thing up to the hilt where it widened. It was perfect. His knees buckled as it brushed the skin deep inside him, stimulating the parts of him that were burning with desire. He knelt on the floor, able to hold the dildo in one place and bounce up and down on it, fucking himself properly, as his cock become hard again.
As he got into a rhythm, he thought again of Sirius, holding him with his hands that couldn’t stay still, roaming over Remus’ body, taking Remus from behind, forcing him down on his cock like the fuck toy he was designed to be. Remus moaned at his traitorous thoughts but kept fucking himself.
He was so close. There was something missing.
His finger slid over a button on the base of the dildo and something began inflating in his ass, locking the dildo in place. Remus cried out, terrified it would never come out, and as he tried to pull it out, the tension on his asshole intensified and he came hard. This time, he blacked out as pleasure rolled through him each time he pulled against the dildo. Cum spurted across the stone floor and he fell against it, still tugging against the silicone.
The euphoria lingered, and Remus felt dizzy, lolling on the floor, barely able to move his limbs. He looked to the bed, realising that must be why it was so low on the ground. Still, he couldn’t make it before his eyes drooped closed. His last thought was to remove the dildo, but it was still stuck, and the force made him yelp before he passed out on the floor.
James hadn’t seen Remus since the willow, it was only just before the Marauders left for breakfast the next morning that he returned to the common room looking exhausted and sheepish. James didn’t want to pry, but felt sympathy for his friend; transformations made Remus feel weak. He just wished that Remus felt like he could talk to his friends about it instead of hiding away by himself.
At breakfast, Remus ran off again with James’ owl, carrying a stack of toast with him. James didn’t feel like Remus should be running around by himself, but couldn’t stop him. Peter had stayed in the dorm room, saying he wanted thirty minutes more sleep. They were all exhausted.
But, while James had Sirius to himself for a change, he thought he might get some updates from his friend.
“So, how is your problem?” James asked, trying to be nonchalant.
Sirius glared at him. Then, he pulled out his wand and encanted muffliato. Then, he glared at James again.
He looked severe, but that broke to worry and he bit his lip, trying to find the words.
“Is it getting worse?” James suggested.
All James really knew was that Sirius had a lump on his cock, but only sometimes, he hadn’t been forthcoming about specifics. If it was getting worse, then Sirius was probably really anxious.
“Did that book you got help?”
“Haven’t read it.”
“I just got freaked out whenever i look at it.”
“Have you thought any more about going to see-”
“If you say ‘Madam Pomfrey’, I’ll hex you.” Sirius devoured an entire triangle of toast without even noticing. “It’s like. Well, there’s more to it. Okay, have you ever-” he said, then shook his head and tried again. “Can you, okay, this is really weird, but have you ever orgasmed without touching yourself?”
James’ eyebrows flew into his hairline. He had not been expecting that. “Can’t honestly say I have.” It was not a piece of information he had ever thought he would need to think about, let alone share.
Sirius looked pained. James would have thought, under normal circumstances - well, if they were talking about ‘normal circumstances’ then they wouldn't be talking about orgasming without stimulation, but Marauders could converse into any territory, and under ‘normal circumstances’, such a skill would be considered an achievement. Maybe a round of high fives would be in order. Then a frantic round of hand-washing.
“It’s like I can’t even control it,” he whispered. “After the full moon. I don’t even want to masturbate, my body just goes into overdrive. And my biggest worry,” He leaned in closer, a flush painting his cheeks from the embarrassment, but said,” I swear, if anyone walked in on me, I might not be able to control myself.”
James tried to take it seriously. They were all horny, teenage boys, but this sounded like that on a firewhiskey.
Rape was heading straight into dark territory and it scared James to think that his friend might be struggling to control himself. Even suggesting that it was a possibility frightened him, but, thinking of something and doing it were completely separate. Besides, hadn’t he just been wishing that Remus would share the burden of his problems with the group? Sirius was doing exactly that, and his confession was fairly heavy. James looked up at him, Sirius’ eyes were guarded. When James nodded that he was taking him seriously, he relaxed a little, though his expression looked no less severe.
“It almost sounds like you’re cursed,” he suggested. They had all been cursed at some time or another, just a risk of being part of the Marauders. “If you’re certain that it’s not ‘you’ that is. This is really serious.”
“Yeah, no shit,” he hissed, then closed his eyes, pained. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to- I’m stressed. I’m scared of myself.”
“I get it.”
“And like, i can’t get someone out of my head, it’s like they’ve clawed their way in there and it’s taking over my thoughts, but not like.” He looked over at Mary Macdonald, who he had dated for a time in third year. “It’s not like with my past girlfriends. Like, you like them, but you can concentrate on other things. This feels like it’s animal. Like the dog’s taken over.”
“Do we need to find a way of retraining you as well?” James asked.
He was referring to the werewolf.
Sirius leant back and looked up at the ceiling. James looked up too; It was grey and overcast. James had always wondered why the great hall ceiling was enchanted to look like the sky outside. Why not just use glass?
“Maybe,” said Sirius. He was still looking at the ceiling.
“Between you and Remus,” James said, trying to joke that he needed to lock up each of his friends each month, but it fell flat. Sirius ducked his head forwards.
“Have you noticed anything weird about him recently?” Sirius asked.
James nodded. Remus had been tired, more so than usual, and flighty and he had been sneaking around sending letters. Not that sending letters was inherently bad, but he’d been writing and reading them with a conspicuous secrecy.
“He didn’t come back to the dorm room last night, didn’t you notice?”
Sirius’ mouth pressed to a line and he nodded slowly.
“Peter and I even checked the map,” said James, “to see if he had gone to the medical ward, but it said he wasn’t anywhere.”
“You don’t think he went back to the shack, do you?” said Sirius, sounding anxious. James agreed that Remus thinking that the shack was his only place of shelter was terribly upsetting.
James shrugged. “Where else would he have gone to?”
Salut, lucky readers, there are two new chapters, yay :)
At that moment, the fifth year quidditch keeper for Gryffindor came up to James to ask him about the training schedule. Sirius leant back and stretched feeling tired like he normally did the day after the full moon. It was Friday, they’d have a full weekend now. Except that James had booked them in for quidditch drills for their first match with Hufflepuff. Out of the corner of his eyes, just leaving the hall, he spotted Lily’s red hair swish out of the door.
Possessed by some mad intention, Sirius grabbed his bag and went to follow her. James was still distracted with the kid so didn’t call to ask where Sirius was going.
“Lily,” he said, slowing down to catch up with her. She was with Marlene who looked between them inquisitively.
Lily looked questioningly at him, wondering what he could want her for.
“If you’ve got a love note from James, then burn it. It will save me having to do it myself,” she quipped, but with a laugh that seemed approachable.
“No, I was going to-” he glanced at Marlene who raised her palms and walked off, but not without a wink at Lily.
Tossing her red hair across her shoulder, Lily faced him. She had an expression that made Sirius think he had a time limit.
“Look, it’s about Severus-”
She scoffed and said, “would you two just lay off him?” but there was hurt in her face that was complicated.
“Please, hear me out. I just wanted you to know that I’m the idiot who told him about the willow.”
Lily’s jaw dropped. “You told him about Remus?”
“Not specifically, I told him about where Remus would be. It wasn’t James.”
“You betrayed Remus?”
An old hurt stabbed his chest. “Yes. Yes, i let my pride win out over my friendship.” It hurt to admit how much of an idiot he had been, but it was less painful to confess to his stupidity than to try to gloss over the pain he had caused Remus. And all of the Marauders.
Lily looked as though she genuinely didn’t know the full story. Although her and Remus studied together a lot, it was possible that Remus hadn’t been very talkative at that time. In fact, he had disappeared quite a lot those months.
“I’m just surprised. I thought it must have been James because of the levicorpus prank. Well,” she looked him up and down, “and because I thought you would rather drain the blood from your body than betray Remus. I always thought you cared for him the most.”
It hurt when she put it like that. Sirius didn’t really know what he was feeling for Remus, other than that there was a lot of this feeling, but to hear that Lily thought so too was injuring.
“And James?” she asked, leaving Sirius to fill in the blanks. She sounded hopeful.
“He saved Severus’ life,” confessed Sirius. “Ran straight to the shrieking shack. He pulled Severus out of the room just as Remus turned. It was awful for everyone. Remus thought he was going to eat him.”
Lily’s face had gone rather red but whether she was angry or not was questionable. “You sound far too calm. Severus could have been killed-” she stopped herself and took a deep breath. Her eyes were shining but she did not look at though she was going to cry. “You are such a moron.”
“And a dullard.”
“I accept my status.”
“And a blockhead.”
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far-”
She glared at him.
“I mean,” he bowed, “Even ‘blockhead’ is too noble a status for what I am.”
She tapped him on the head with her textbook.
“Am I now knighted ‘blockhead’?”
“You’re right, it is too good for you.” She giggled but it was strained. Then she shook her head, looking aside, thinking. “Severus was home for the summer for a week or two, but he vanished. I haven’t seen him for months now.”
Sirius straightened his shirt but didn't say anything. What could he say? That Severus might have joined the death eaters?
“I keep thinking maybe he’ll write. I don’t know. He wasn’t perfect, but who can say that they are? He was always so different at school than with Petunia and me.” She sighed. “I always thought if I was kind to him that he would see that Slytherin or not-Slytherin or pure blood or whatever didn’t matter, but-” she trailed off again.
“Lily, I overheard-” he started, but stopped himself. The person that he had overheard was his own brother. Lily frowned at him.
“If this is some stupid hate thing against Severus then I don’t want to hear it.”
“What’s nothing?” James had just left the great hall.
“Nothing’s nothing,” said lily, grimacing at him and following Marlene to their next class. They both took arithmancy, nutters.
“Did you see that?” hissed James. “What did you say to her? She just smiled at me.”
Sirius was fairly certain that the face Lily had just made was not a smile, but it was certainly an improvement.
Hello lucky reader, there are two chapters in this update - so if you jumped straight to the end (for those with bookmarks) then just go back one chapter to avoid confusion :)
Remus decided he would have to face his fears. As much as he loathed to admit it, Conan was right. Probably. There were still some aspects where he could be lying, but why would Conan lie to him?
To rape you
Remus rubbed his head. If only there was some other source where he could confirm what Conan was saying. But, considering, he was the best chance he had at figuring this out.
He gave Barnaby, (only James would give an owl a name like ‘Barnaby’), some pellets and began to compose his next letter.
Your last letter distressed me, but I am convinced of some of the things you described. I am sorry I was short with you in the summer, it was appalling on my part: I hope you can forgive me.
Please do not come to Hogwarts. I have found what I need. Something I was confused about though, was the-
Again, Remus powered through his embarrassment. He needed answers. Conan had them. Dubious or not. And he was the only person Remus could talk to.
-need to be filled, but to an alarming extent. I don’t know if this is normal?
Also, and I apologise for not mentioning this last time, but there have been claims of an evil wizard group called the ‘death eaters’ in your area. If you encounter them, try to get away as fast as possible. They murder muggles and any wizard who are not pure blood. I imagine they will not take kindly to werewolves.
Learning from last letter’s mistakes, Remus reread this one and, although cringing, added a P.S. saying thank you for the information and that, although Remus was scared, he was grateful to have a confidante.
Just as he attached the letter to Barnaby, his old astronomy walked into the owlery holding a letter of her own. She looked tired, possibly because her lessons had to be at night yet she still insisted on being at breakfast ‘like all my students.’ Setting a good example took its toll. Remus could relate to that.
“Oh, Remus,” she said pleasantly.
“Good morning Miss Celeste,” he said.
She hummed and found her owl. Remus checked over his shoulder at Barnaby who was a grey dot over the lake. When he turned back, the teacher had a despondent expression, tying a letter to an owl.
Remus wondered whether he should ask what was wrong, thinking about student teacher boundaries, but then he also figured that she could just say ‘oh i was just up late. Part of the job.’
Trying to be considerate, he asked, “are you okay, professor?”
She sighed deeply, watching her owl fly away. ”I am worried. Intensely worried about this looming war.” She shook her head and said quietly, “why do we still say ‘looming’, it is here. I swear, it is here.” When she turned back to him, her face was grave. “There has been a spate of werewolf attacks recently and, although not near my sister, they are closing in. I am worried for her, and my niece.” When she glanced at Remus, who’s face had gone icy white, she said “they’re muggles you see.”
“Where was that-?”
But the professor was distracted again, saying “And you see, Dumbledore has put the paranoia of an astrologer in me. I shouldn’t even have told you i have a sister, let alone one who lives near Surrey, and especially not that she is a muggle.” She sat down on a beam, ignoring any possible owl droppings, seemingly too exhausted to think properly.
“Surrey,” said Remus with a gulp.
He glanced back at the owl. He couldn’t even see Barnaby. There was no chance of stopping that letter.
“I’m from there,” he said.
She eyeballed him and returned to her slump. “I’m sorry, Remus. You’re right to be scared, though. Werewolves are vicious, especially the ones who were bitten as children. When you’re not allowed in a school, though, and ostracized from every aspect of society, what do you expect?”
Remus was rooted to the spot. He put his hands in his pockets to ground himself and felt them shake against his legs. Clearly not all of the professors knew about his condition, apparently it wasn’t safe.
“But maybe if they could go to school, they’d turn out okay,” he said quietly.
Miss Celeste scratched her ear in thought. That was a good sign. She would at least think about her opinions. “But it’s difficult to know which aspect of their ferocity is nature or nurture. Once you are imbued with the heart of a dark creature, can you still be kind?”
Remus stiffened. He should leave, really. Any more questions might seem suspicious. But he couldn’t help himself, “What about the new werewolves attacks, though?”
She glanced at him, questioningly.
“I mean, they will have made new werewolves. There might even be children. If a werewolf bites someone else, that’s evil, but those children, they’re innocent!”
She closed her eyes and nodded. “I suppose. But they were probably kidnapped.”
“What-” he could feel his lip trembling.
“I’m sorry, Remus, I’m talking about terribly upsetting things. You can see why I want my sister to take every precaution. Maybe you should consider sending your parents a letter?”
Remus nodded loosely, hoping that his fear looked like fear for his parents and not fear for himself.
Excusing himself, he went to get some more parchment and maybe the latest copy of the prophet, if James had left his lying around.
Peter checked the map;. Sirius and James were by the great hall, Remus was heading to the owlery again.
Now was his moment to check that letter.
It wasn’t the first time he had thought about rooting through his friend’s things, but it was the first time he had done it. Remus left his drapes open, though the bed wasn’t made, which was unusual for him.
The letter, the letter the letter. Peter looked in remus’ trunk but was disheartened nearly immediately. Even if he found a letter, how did he know that it was the letter? He lifted up a stack of t shirts and placed them back. Maybe this was stupid.
He checked the map again. Remus was still in the owlery and Sirius had left the great hall. He checked it again, he seemed to be having a conversation with- Lily? That was odd.
Giving up on the trunk, he looked through the bedside table drawers. Library books, parchment, socks, an unopened chocolate bar - Peter never understood people who could keep chocolate sitting around for years. Why keep it instead of eat it?
He slid the drawer shut and huffed. What was he doing? Sneaking around his friend’s stuff. He checked the map again, Remus was in the owlery with the astronomy professor. That would delay him at least half an hour, those two got on like a house on fire, Remus being so knowledgeable about the moon phases and such. James and Sirius were now heading towards defense against the dark arts. At least, Peter watched until they were outside the classroom.
Peter hadn’t been able to take DADA since he hadn’t achieved O in his OWLs. It made him mad. And Remus was also running out of the owlery to join them, probably realising he was late.
Sirius invaded Remus’ chocolate stash all the time. The thought perked him up, maybe any disturbed t shirts would just be blamed on Sirius looking for chocolate. And Remus took Sirius’ t shirts.
Peter shrank until he was in rat form. His twitchy nose interpreted scents differently. Maybe he could smell something different and follow that. He caught a whiff of an earthy scent, dirty and feral, wolf-like but not Remus’ contained-wolf, it was something more wild. He scurried under the bed and found a crumpled roll of parchment.
Transforming back to human, lying on his belly under the bed, he uncrinkled it. The writing was appalling, and in a scrawly, spidery ink.
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.-
Peter’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. Wolf mating cycles? It sounded disgusting. There was some strange hierarchy that this… (Peter checked the sender) Conan was describing. Was ‘Conan’ also a werewolf?
When he got to the part about Remus being an ‘omega’ and that not being so good, Peter nearly laughed. Remus was so clever, he could handle being at the bottom of some werewolf hierarchy. He was experiencing a strong sense of schadenfreude.
Peter had to stop reading when he read about the discharge. He rolled over, looking at the wooden slats under Remus’ mattress. Discharge? Peter shuddered. Coming from where? His dick… his mouth, his ears? His arse?
He put the letter over his eyes. This was better than anything Peter could have ever imagined in his wildest dreams. It was hysterical, in fact, it was so outrageously inventive that it was nearing unbelievable. He couldn’t even take the effort to imagine what it would be like to receive such a letter what with all the shock he was experiencing, but he imagined it would make anyone fairly grumpy to receive a letter saying they were a low status.
He glanced at the next paragraph and this ‘Conan’ had offered to come to Hogwarts and fuck Remus. Peter grimaced. Remus had better not have invited this pervert to Hogwarts.
The final paragraph read:
-Since omegas are the breeding wolves they are highly prized. But since your a man you cant have pups, so that puts you in a really dangerous position: male omegas have low status and are considered property. It’s dumb, but you have to be careful.
You should bond as soon as you can. Then, no bad types can claim you.
Otherwise, keep safe.
Other than the appalling grammar, Peter had no idea what to make of it. He crumpled up the paper and tossed it back in the corner and lay under the bed, processing it all. Apparently, there was an intricate wolf-hierarchy that no one was aware of. Apparently, Remus was some needy little bitch who needed his ass fucked after every full moon. Peter wiped his hands against his t shirt, remembering how he had supported Moony back to bed after the last full moon. Gross. How could Remus had let anyone touch him if he was super charged with sex hormones? Was Remus into Peter? The thought made him feel weird.
He thought back to their last interactions, where Remus had begged Peter to button up his shirt and carry him to bed. Was Remus hitting on him? Maybe he thought that Peter was vulnerable because his relationship with Bertha wasn’t going so well. Well, in that case, Peter would double his efforts with Bertha. It was better than a sexed-up werewolf perving on him.
The door to their dorm room opened and Peter, almost by instinct, shrank to rat size. Looking at the shoes, it was Remus - curses! Peter hadn’t checked that Remus was heading to DADA, he had just assumed that he would be since he was such a goody two-shoes, but clearly he was planning on being late to class.
Peter figured that he would hide until he left, but then remembered he left the marauder’s map open on the floor. This was bad. Remus might see the Peter was hidden under his bed and then-
Peter screwed up his courage and waited. Remus opened his trunk, and, hoping the trunk lid obscured Peter, he scampered to the bathroom.
“Oh, what is this?” he heard Remus say. “Peter?”
He had seen the map. Peter had escaped just in time.
“What?” Peter replied. Shit. What would he say he was doing in the bathroom? He looked around and did the only thing he could think of. The best lies are the ones were you look bad. He took down his pants and sat on the toilet.
“What are you- oh wow.” Remus had wandered into the bathroom and, upon seeing Peter upon the porcelain throne, averted his eyes and left instantly.
“Really?” said Peter, as though he had been caught.
“You’re the one who left the door open!” said Remus.
“You’re supposed to be in class!”
“But- but why would you leave the door open?”
“I like to exercise my right to leave the door open sometimes, and during my free period, when i know you tossers are in defense, seems like the perfect time!”
“Oh good godric, well-”
“Why are you still talking to me?”
“Good point. Yes. See you at lunch.”
With a hurried closing of the dormitory door, Peter put his head in his hands. That had been nearly too close.
He wondered if Remus had noticed the slight edge of hostility in his voice. By all means, Remus seemed still perfectly normal, but Peter knew otherwise. It would be hard to act as though he had no idea though.
He groaned, realising that his first effort to dissuade the werewolf from hitting on him was to pull down his trousers. Real smart, Peter, real fucking smart.
That weekend was a much needed lie-in. None of them even tried to get out of bed before 9am, then an attempt was made by Remus at 10am and even after that their efforts weren’t successful for at least another hour.
“Last one up has to get us all breakfast,” said Sirius, shuffling himself to the edge of the bed, ready to fall out if there was a flurry of movement at this suggestion.
“As if,” said James. “Surely it should be the first one out of bed.”
“But then none of us have incentive to get out of bed,” said Peter, pulling back his curtains a little.
“Well, it changes the stakes. The weakest will rise first and their punishment will be to serve the laziest of the Marauders.”
Peter leaned over his bedside table and pulled out a pastry, as though to prove a point.
“Hey! That’s not fair! Peter’s got provisions!”
“Not my fault you’re ill-prepared,” he said, through a pastry-flaked grin.
They lazed for a bit longer, until James broke the silence with a suggestionof productivity, and Sirius was both agast that James was thinking and in awe of his ever-working brain.
“So, I was thinking about my marauders map clue, for our treasure hunt, and I thought that mine could be in the quidditch pitch. That would make sense, right?” said James.
“I want mine to be in the forest,” said Peter.
“That’s too dangerous,” said Remus, flicking absently through a book.
“What, because there are werewolves?” he said, half joking, half something-else.
Sirius didn’t like the look on Peter’s face as he said that, especially since Remus wasn’t paying attention. But, before he could say anything, James got out of bed and stretched.
“It’s fine, my groovy dudes,” he said. Remus snorted since ‘groovy dudes’ had been something of a joke between them. Remus, having muggle parentage, taught James the word groovy who in turn thought it was the best phrase he'd ever heard. “I’ll get us breakfast, I need to get quite a lot done today anyway.”
“Ah, James, you’re so boring now that you’re an adult,” said Sirius, lolling over, bunching the sheets beneath him.
He dozed again and was roused by James waving a pastry under his nose. Sirius instinctively took a bite and the other Marauders started laughing. The pastry was soft and sugary and blew little flakes into the air as he tried to suppress his giggles. “Shuddup,” he said nearly choking on the crumbs and they all laughed harder.
“You know,” said Remus, “I’d quite like a lion-themed clue. I was thinking like ‘making the roar of lion’s den’ or something. Just because this was the first place where I really felt at home, not just with myself but with friends as well." Everyone was silent in awe of his sensitive honesty, much better than because I like quidditch. "You can make a roar with those sweets from honeydukes.”
James nodded in approval and Sirius was also impressed. “That’s pretty cool,” he said and Remus looked over to him under his eyelashes. It was endearing.
Sirius felt acutely aware of his face and its positioning and that he seemed unable to move it in a way that expressed how endeared he was without also worrying about freaking remus out. Everything had calmed down a bit since the last full moon, after some proper rest, but the ferocity of Sirius’ want for Remus was still loud in his mind.
He was ashamed of how he had reacted to remus after the transformation, in the dormitory. He'd gone with James to quidditch but had felt the need to check on remus. he convinced himself it was because he hadn’t made sure that he was safe because he’d had to go to quidditch, but that implied that he didn’t trust Peter could keep Remus safe. He’d gone to see him anyway and Remus had looked so innocent and distraught in the dorm - just out of the shower, shivering and weak, so different to the quietly confident boy sitting in the bed now. All Sirius had wanted to do was grab him and hold him, and when Remus stumbled like he was going to fall, even fate itself couldn’t stop Sirius from rushing to him, even though it looked as though Remus wasn’t going to stumble in the end.
Remus might have been into it, but then he lashed out at Sirius and told him he was ‘his own person’. Sirius still didn’t know what that meant, but the rejection stung, but when he thought about it, he didn’t know which part of him was rejected. Sirius, or this darkness growing within him? Then Remus had run away until the next morning. James and Peter had noticed he was gone but Sirius felt so guilty he hadn’t tried to find him. He was already toeing the boundaries of Remus’s privacy and tracking him down felt like one more invasion.
He needed to apologise. He'd smothered Remus. Sirius looked down at his hands and pulled the covers over his head, blotting out the dorm room. He felt like as ass. How could he have done something so out of control? He never wanted to hurt Remus, especially when he was physically weakened, the thought sickened him.
“Get up you lump,” said James, who was poking him with the end of his broom handle through the sheet. “Quidditch.”
“Get off!” he yelled, kicking off the covers. “Actually, I could hit something.”
“I guess Peter and I can get started on the first clue,” said Remus, smiling at Peter. “We don’t even have to leave the dorm.”
Instead of looking enthused at spending an afternoon with Remus, Peter tried to pretend he hadn’t heard the suggestion as he stumbled into the bathroom. James caught Sirius’ eye and shrugged.
“Peter?” yelled Sirius, but all he got in response was the sound of the shower turning on.
After a gruelling quidditch practise, where Sirius gained a perfectly spherical shiner around his eye from a stray bludger, he felt energised. Even James’ insistence that he get the swelling reduced at the infirmary couldn’t bring down his adrenaline high. They traipsed back to the dorm room, full of discussion on how they would have the edge over the Hufflepuffs next week, Sirius with a soaked flannel over one eye.
Remus sat on the floor in the centre of the room, the map open in front of him. He had a pleased smile on his face and several books open around him, Peter was nowhere to be seen. Remus had brushed it off but there was a tinge of sadness and Sirius felt guilty for leaving him alone for the day. Plus, the whole thing had been a marauders idea and Remus had sat here doing it all by himself, that wasn’t Marauder’s spirit.
Sirius promised Remus that they would all go to Hogsmeade the next day to get some of the sweets so that they could test if the map worked the next day. Plus, they all looked like they could use a carefree day.
But Peter was still acting prickly, and it made Sirius itch. To take his mind off it, Sirius decided that he would actually open the book that he had been putting off for the last few weeks. There was probably some sort of fine associated with how long he’d kept it.
“So, I am spending the day with Bertha,” he said, after a long time shut up in the bathroom.
“I thought you didn’t like her anymore?” asked Sirius, confused. He had ‘beastly anatomies’ on his knees as he leant against the headboard.
“I never said that."
“You said you thought she was thick-”
“Have you got a problem with her?” he snapped.
“It’s fine, Pads,” said Remus. “Pete, have fun.”
“Peter, are you avoiding us?” said Sirius, suddenly pissed off.
“Why would I be avoiding you?” he said, in the most passive aggressive tone staring pointedly at Remus, whose expression was so hurt and innocent that Sirius just lost it.
He pulled out his wand to fire something at Peter, but his wand flew from his hand before he could even think of anything. Remus had his wand pointed to Sirius, clearly expelliarmused the wand away before Sirius could do something stupid.
“Leave it,” he said in the voice of someone who has survived from walking away from fights.
“You were gonna hex me?” said Peter, outraged. He laughed the most forced laugh that Sirius had ever heard. “Oh, that’s nice-”
“You know what,” said Sirius, his voice dark, “you were the only one who had a problem with Remus being a werewolf when we first found out. Seems like some of the old Peter has come back.”
Remus flinched but didn’t say anything.
“Well, it’s not as though I go around carrying disgusting secrets,” hissed Peter, before turning around and leaving.
“Fucking coward!” yelled Sirius, moving to get off the bed and follow him.
“What is wrong with him?” said James, stepping towards the door first, disbelief painting his voice. “Why would he suddenly hate Remus?”
The werewolf himself didn’t look nearly as angry as Sirius felt (and probably looked). He had a regal expression of one wronged but who could push the hurt aside and try to see something, make sense of something in the mulch of those hateful words. It was so unlike the first time Peter had spouted abuse at him, fear responding to fear. This time, Remus looked in control, and dangerous.
“I’ll- I’ll go talk to him,” said James. “Anyone want to give me any context?” he asked, turning back in the doorframe to look at them.
Sirius shrugged and threw himself back on the bed and Remus barely moved, there was such an intensity in his gaze. James’ expression pleaded with Remus for something to go on, but when he eventually blinked, he shook his head and he just seemed like Remus again.
Remus sat on Sirius’ bed and frowned at the door that peter had just vacated. Peter had been acting strangely.
“So, birds?” said Remus.
Sirius gaped at him, a little appalled that the first thing he’d brought up was the subject of women
“For the treasure map?” clarified Remus, smiling.
“Right,” the avis charm, “of course. Yeah.” He chucked his book down to chat to Remus.
Then, Remus caught sight of the book. It was Beastly Anatomies. The werewolf placed a delicate hand over the front cover, and mumbled to whispered, “I remember this book.” He ran his finger over the cover, lost in a memory. Then his eyes widened and his body froze. He glanced up at Sirius, then looked back at the book again.
“What?” said Sirius, but remus turned away from him. “What is it?”
Sirius grabbed his hand and Remus turned to face him but he was blushing.
“You’re blushing, Moons.”
If Remus had read this book then maybe Remus had connected the dots and figured out that Sirius had some new anatomies. The thought was scintillating, thrilling, but terrifying. The grip between their hands was warm and lingering, Remus’s hands were pale and strong, and, as his eyes roamed up the arm to the neck and then the face, he came to a new realisation.
Sirius broke his concentration with a breath.
“Do you also-” he stopped himself, realising he had said too much.
Remus pulled his hand away. “Also?” he said hesitantly, eyeing the book and Sirius and making his calculating face which meant a conclusion was rarely far behind. The blush deepened as his eyes went wide and he gasped, pulling away.
“Don’t!” said Sirius, standing up. The only person he could talk about this to was about to run away. “Don’t leave. Please, tell me this is normal, please tell me i’m not dying.”
Remus cowered by the bedpost, partly hidden by the curtain, shivering a little as he glanced up at Sirius and away again. He seemed on the verge of speaking but was too afraid to say anything.
Sirius grabbed his hand and held it to his own beating heart. “Remus. You know. You know what’s happened to me. Please, I should have asked you I realise now, but I am freaking out and not thinking straight.” Remus had closed his eyes and leant into the heartbeat. The pressure gave Sirius courage. “You know why I’m reading that.”
“Sirius, none of this is what you think.” He slid onto the floor. “I don’t even know how to begin to tell you, other than that it is nothing that I could ever prepare you for and I don’t even entirely believe it myself, other than I have experienced it and so it must be true.” He glanced back at the book. “And, if that book says what i remember it saying-” he trailed off.
He looked Sirius right in the eyes, who slid down at the end of the bed to join him, the bed frame pushing against his back.
“Sirius, something’s happened to me. Has something happened to you?”
“Yes,” he almost hissed it he was so anxious to be free of the secret.
Remus nodded. Their fingers roamed the carpet between them and found the other’s, holding on to their secret. Remus opened his mouth as though about to speak, then closed it again. He repeated this a few more times, and Sirius wondered if he was putting too much of a burden on Remus. Maybe it would be better to ask him yes or no questions.
“That book, do you know what part i’m talking about?” said Sirius.
“Yes,” he said eventually.
“I get it sometimes. In human form.”
Remus’ eyes flicked to his in thought, then nodded. “From being animagus, probably.”
“But werewolves just have it anyway?” Sirius assumed that Remus would have a lot of experience with this, especially being turned at such a young age.
Remus nibbled his bottom lip. “It’s- It’s a bit more complicated. For werewolves, anyway. But yes. Sort of. Well, no, not really.”
Sirius pulled his hand away wondering if Remus had lulled him into a false sense of camaraderie, but Remus’ hand found his again.
“It’s actually worse for me,” he said quietly. “There are pack dynamics. I’m not really in a pack, until you three transformed, of course. But I think I’m gaining instincts that encourage me into a pack.” He rubbed his face with his free hand and slumped further to the floor. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently.”
“You’re worried you’re going to leave us?” said Sirius, looping their arms together. He’d never want Remus to feel that he had to leave them.
Remus tried a lot of different answers, but settled on “yeah.” Sirius squeezed their arms close as though this was the last time he would see Remus. “Not because I want to, per se, but because the wolf does.”
Remus leant into Sirius who looped an arm around his shoulder, which was grasped by the werewolf’s other hand, like he was clinging on for support.
“I’m really scared, sirius.”
His arms around Remus, he could feel him relax as they shared that burden. The animagus and the werewolf. Sirius could smell Remus hair and watch it ruffle the slightest bit when he breathed over it. Lost in the beauty of it, the scent suddenly reminded him of the last time he had embraced Remus in such an intimate way.
“Remus-” he said suddenly. The boy in his arms twisted around to see what had startled him. “I have to apologise.” Sirius said it faster than he’d intended, but he had to say it. “For before. I-” he let his arms drop as Remus’ innocently confused face tore into his heart. “When, it was after the full moon and I held you and it was too tight and you were- I overwhelmed you and it wasn’t what I wanted and sometimes I’m impulsive and I won’t do it again and I’m really sorry if i hurt you. I never want to hurt you.”
Remus nodded slowly, remembering the incident. He reached out to trace a line over Sirius’ face, one that he remembered was where the werewolf had scratched him. It seemed they were both good at hurting each other.
“I know, Pads. I never want to hurt you. We will, though. But that’s okay as long as we’re trying not to.”
“And we say sorry.”
“And fix it.”
“I’m sorry i didn’t say anything earlier.”
Before he could stop himself, Sirius placed his hand over Remus’ and turned to kiss the inside of his palm. It was a promise of sorts. He dropped his hand immediately, allowing Remus to leave if he wanted, he always wanted Remus to be able to leave if he needed, but there Remus’ hand stayed and there was a gentle smile on his face.
“Sirius, I’ve got a lot of secrets. I think there’s one i want to share with you, though.” He stood up and went to his bed, reaching underneath it to a dusty corner and pulling out a crumpled piece of paper. He stooped over the crumpled paper for a moment, before drawing himself to his full height, contemplating on it, his expression darkening. Then, his eyes flicked towards the door, to the paper, then to Siirus.
“Will you read this?”
“What the fuck.”
Remus, sat at the foot of the bed, shrugged.
“Whaaaaaaat the fuuuuuck,” Sirius said again, as he read through the letter.
Remus rolled his eyes.
“Who the fuck does this guy think he is?”
“Sirius, you have to understand, he was the only person I could trust for a while.”
He gaped at the letter, open-mouthed, then looked up at Remus, then back down again. It was rather endearing, really. He hadn’t thought how Sirius would react, he hadn’t really thought that Sirius would ever read the letter, but then he’d also thought he was alone in this as well. He wasn’t. Sirius wasn’t the most level-headed of thinkers, but sometimes Remus needed someone who listened to their emotions to help.
“You’ve got us,” he said in disbelief.
“Before I knew you guys. Professor Dumbledore introduced us before I came to Hogwarts.”
Sirius nodded. At least he hadn’t recoiled from Remus in fear, but it also sounded like Sirius had been experiencing some problems too.
“So, umm, this problem-”
“I’d really rather not discuss it with anyone. Ever,” said Remus.
“I completely understand,” said Sirius with gravity. “I’ve been having some uh-” he looked at Remus straight in the eyes. “I mean, okay, I shouldn’t be embarrassed, because you just shared all this with me, but I am.”
Remus nodded. He was curious about exactly what ailment Sirius was suffering, he’d alluded to it in beastly anatomies and Remus was fairly sure he knew what that meant. Perhaps he was even excited, but he pushed that feeling down. He was surprised at the tenderness they could share where he had never expected any, forgetting his earlier anger. Although his secrets were being laid bare, he didn’t feel uncomfortable.
“Remus, I know you’ve known this guy longer than any of us, but are you sure you can trust him?”
Remus shrugged. “I don’t know. I have been going back and forth on that one myself.”
“He seems a bit- I don’t know. Have you uh-” he didn’t meet Remus’ eye. “Have you had sex with him-”
“Dude, no, what?”
“Just a question!”
Remus felt a little betrayed by the sentiment.
“Because, if you two had- you know, then this would make more sense; offering to come to your school and- well you know. But if you haven’t, then that kind of changes the tone a bit. I just wanted context.”
“Why would you think that I was having sex with old men?” A question Remus never thought he would have the confidence to ask.
“I don’t!” Sirius looked distressed, and Remus thought it looked quite cute. “I just- context!”
Remus flopped shortways over the bed, his head hanging over the side. Everything in his life was pretty much already turned upside down, his vision might as well be too. Peter hadn’t returned, neither had James. There was no response from his parents. He was a werewolf. Werewolves had intricate sexual hierarchies unknown to any outsiders. He was a wizard. “Fuuuuuuuck,” he said as a breath.
“Peter read this.” Sirius said it suddenly. The air seemed to go quite still.
“I suspect as much,” hummed Remus.
Remus turned to look at upside-down Sirius. “Did you just make that conclusion now?”
Sirius nodded. “It would make sense. This would weird anyone out, no offense.”
“It weirded me out.”
“Right, and Peter has clearly picked up some new thorn in his side and he thinks you put it there. And he feels he can’t say exactly what it is because he knows he did something wrong.” He put the letter down to look out of the window. It was always endearingly obvious when Sirius was thinking. “You know, he actually suggested we look at your letter after you got it- i assume this is the one you got when you ran off at breakfast.”
“It was-” said Remus carefully. “You all noticed that, then.”
Sirius nodded. “Can’t believe he actually did it.”
“I guess that will teach me to properly dispose of my letters.”
Sirius kept ranting. “He’s such a judgemental prick - i’d hate to see him if his life ever included an actual problem. He’d fall apart under his own judgement.”
Remus laced his fingers. “Well, his problem at the moment is that he has no respect for his girlfriend but feels that society will judge him unless he has one. She is not deserving of someone who thinks of her that way. Bertha is extremely sweet.”
He finally sat up, blinking hard as the blood left his head and saw Sirius staring at him with the strangest combination of emotions on his face.
“I don’t know how you do it, Remy, you’ve already dealt with more burdens than anyone could ever imagine.”
“I’m sure the universe will ease my burdens soon, Sirius. The load can’t get much heavier than this.”
Peter hadn’t returned until late in the night when the others were asleep, or so Sirius presumed, and had left before breakfast. Sirius, James and Remus went to breakfast without him, though he encompassed much of the conversation before they arrived at the great hall.
“I don’t think that he should just turn up in potions and work with Remus like everything’s normal,” said Sirius. “But not without apologising at least, and at this rate, it looks like he’s not even going to show up and that’s a load of-”
“Sirius,” he said, massaging his forehead, “please.”
He looked wounded at that, not that Remus didn’t appreciate the sentiment, but he was exhausted. The first term of Hogwarts was draining him already, he was just focussed on eating some food and then the school day could come crashing down on him.
“Sorry,” Sirius muttered.
“I actually appreciate it,” said Remus, “someone sticking up for me. It’s just-”
“You’re tired. No, I, you’re right.”
James had found Peter the night before but hadn’t been able to talk to him - he’d gone to hide in the library and James didn’t want to be hounding him down. Although Sirius had suggested Remus show James the letter, Remus hadn’t felt ready, but promised he would at some point.
They couldn’t see Peter at breakfast, Remus guessed he must have taken it away or gone to the kitchens, not that he really minded. He didn’t really want to think about it, preferring to pour a cup of tea with all the trimmings and take a hefty spoonful of porridge. He’d sprinkled brown sugar over the top with his spoon and dug in, enjoying how the first bite was a bit crunchy with sugar crystals, when the postal service arrived. People on other tables were opening newspapers and receiving mail as Remus idly wondered if he was due a response to his last letter. It seemed a lifetime ago since he’d sent it, so much had changed.
Across the tables, other students were tucking into their breakfast and opening copies of the prophetess, but they were too far away to see the front cover properly, though today it seemed to be a photograph of a man holding a sign of some sort. Barnaby, James' owl, swooped in with a prophet and, Remus’ heart clenched, a letter.
Without looking at the name, James chucked the letter Remus’ direction. It was a folded piece of parchment, but Remus didn’t open it straight away, as much as he itched to read it, he was much more distracted by the prophet.
The picture on the front, the mugshot, was a photo of the ragged, lone wandering wolf who had helped Remus prepare himself before going to school. Conan glanced at him, as though they’d made eye contact, then turned away, holding a mugshot sign. His hair was matted though his beard had been shaved and it made him look even thinner than Remus remembered.
“Wh-what’s that story?” he stammered, then caught himself, gulping porridge hard.
Sirius glanced at him before he and James turned their attentions to the newspaper.
James read the headlines as though it was casual reading “Ah, it’s a recent capture of a man considered to be a death eater, woah, after an attack in Surrey-” he glanced up at Remus. “Oh man, Remus, I’m sorry. Should I keep going?”
Remus felt like the blood was being drawn away from his body but he nodded. “Man called Conan, oh jeez, he’s a werewolf.” James put the prophet down, as though he was trying to be sensitive.
It was pointless. Remus already felt like he was going to faint. He could barely look at Sirius’ face which was plastered with concerned recognition and James was looking between them and quickly realising that there was something more going on. He was observant.
“Did you know him?” he said in the quietest voice.
Remus tried to nod, but was too caught up in what that picture and all the text meant. His longest confidante. Was he really a death eater? Remus couldn't believe it. Then again, maybe that was why he wanted to know where Hogwarts was. It was so hard, this sodding war, it was so hard to know who was your friend and who wasn’t. Even Peter seemed to be slipping from their clutches. He steadied himself on the table, vowing to bring him back into the Marauders; their friendship could be strong enough to get them all through this.
His thoughts were distracted by a rustle of paper under his hands.
The letter. Conan’s last letter. Remus considered it, brushing the top. What if he knew that the death eaters were closing in? Did he try to run? Maybe these would be the last free words he had said, and what a pitiful imitation of freedom it had been, snooping out of bins and wandering wild with only a few other outcasts to call ‘friend’, including a ten year old boy.
“Is that-” said Sirius.
James, quick-witted, pointed to Conan on the front page and Sirius nodded. He let out a low whistle.
“Do you want us to go?” asked James, again, very quietly.
Remus shook his head. He was done with these secrets. His friends had his back.
There was no recipient on the front of the letter.
A leg brushed his under the table and Remus looked up to see Sirius nod.
He opened it, it might just be a mistake, maybe someone at the prophet had left a lose thing of paper on the press.
It’s been a long time, Remus.
His breakfast churned in his stomach and he groaned, leaning over the table.
Remus came to gazing up at the overcast ceiling of the great hall with a pounding in his head. He tried to sit up but the room swayed beneath him and he had to lie back down again. The floor beneath him was hard and cold, and he surmised that he must have fallen off his bench. Sirius was crouched over him, folding something soft underneath his head and Remus vaguely caught the sound of rustling paper.
“Don’t let-” he tried to say, sitting up but Sirius pushed him down gently.
“James is on it. No one will see.”
Remus wished he could say he was relieved but he felt a fear overcome his entire senses, as though he had just fallen into ice water.
“Moons? You awake?” said Sirius.
“This is the third day he’s been in the infirmary” whispered James.
Remus was tucked into the bed like a cocoon and was curled in on himself so only his hair poked out the top of the duvet.
“Moooony,” said Sirius.
“Maybe we should leave him,” said James.
“Actually,” said the brisk voice of Madam Pomfrey as she bustled in, (how was it that she always bustled? Sirius wondered. She always looked busy,) “I was thinking that maybe the best thing for him is a romp around the grounds. The cool air will do him some good.”
Remus burrowed deeper into his bedcovers and Sirius placed what he hoped was a comforting hand on what he hoped was his shoulder. Moony didn’t flinch, but had he even felt it?
“Remus, Remus we brought you your homework,” he whispered.
The bedcovers snorted. There was hope.
Once they got him up, Sirius was appalled at how skinny and tiny he looked. He could barely focus on one thing, his eyes falling to the floor mostly, and there was a mild tremor about him.
“Take him around the grounds. There is nothing wrong with you, Lupin. Except that you have not eaten enough. Take it easy and come back tomorrow for a pick me up potion.” They led Remus out of the medical wing, as Madam Pomfrey said “And what you boys consider to be ‘subtle’ these days. I mean, ‘Moony?’ Honestly?”
Peter was waiting outside the ward and paled at Remus’ state. “Dude,” he said, but Remus was so trancelike that it was possible he hadn’t heard. They walked to the dorm room in silence, waiting for Remus to say something.
The letter, of course the Marauders had all read it, was chilling in its simplicity. Sirius had only learnt about an ‘omega’ a few days ago and had barely processed the real implications of that letter. James, of course, had no clue. Though, he did know that Greyback was the wolf who’d bitten Remus, and knew there was likely a quagmire of trauma around that event for a young boy.
Sirius was certain that Peter knew what it meant, James insisted on showing Peter when Remus didn’t go to bed, and Sirius had been on the lookout for any reaction in Peter but he hadn’t reacted. Probably because to do so would implicate him.
“Have you all read it?” Remus finally asked.
“Yeah,” said James with a cautious tone. “Didn’t really understand it, mate.”
“But the other letter? Has James read the first letter?”
“No,” said Sirius. “Didn’t know what you wanted.”
“He has to read it.”
James looked to Sirius in confusion. Then he said, “there’s another letter?”
Sirius nodded. “A lot of answers in that letter. But you should go in prepared, James; the things in it are Remus’ reality. And they’re a bit fucked up. No offense-”
“They are seriously fucked up,” Remus confirmed.
James nodded seriously. Then he looked to Peter. “Will Pete read it?”
“He’s already read it,” said Remus in a quiet, but piercing voice, walking ahead of them.
Peter gulped and looked to James. “I haven’t-”
“Oh save it,” said Sirius. “The situation’s bigger than your pride now.”
That shut him up, and Sirius didn’t have the energy to indulge coaxing an apology out of him. But James at least had a soured expression.
Once in the dorm room, Remus hovered over his bed. Sirius wanted nothing more than to take Remus into his arms but he didn’t even seem like Remus. No one knew what to do, until, surprisingly, Peter spoke up.
“Right, well, I guess now’s as good a time as any.” He looked each one of them in the eye in a rare display of bravery, though his face flushed red. “I read your letter, Remus. And I’ll apologise, if and only if, you can prove you are not in allegiance with these death eaters.”
There was a confused silence.
“You what?” said James, whose face resembled Sirius’s: confused, slack-jawed and with the expression of someone trying to connect two arbitrary points. Although Sirius was also appalled.
“How could you think Remus was a death eater?” He said, rounding on Peter, but Pete, to his credit, stood his ground.
“Conan,” said Remus quietly. He was now leaning against the bedpost, but his brain was still whirring.
James looked at Sirius, they had talked about Conan being imprisoned and also being Remus’ only confidante for a long time. Sirius nodded and James mouthed ‘right.’
“It’s a time of war, Remus,” said Peter, gaining momentum. “We have to change the boundaries of what’s acceptable and proper.”
Sirius’ blood was boiling, it sounded like he had rehearsed that speech. “What, like reading everyone’s mail?”
“No, Wormtail. It was not acceptable,” said Remus.
“You’re only pulling these excuses out of your arse after the bloody fact!” Continued Sirius.
“Would someone show me this bloody letter?” said James, unable to contribute.
“Okay,” said James.
It was the only word that he’d said for a while. In an impressive variation of tone and emotion. Peter was still standing, pacing the room, but Sirius had transformed into Padfoot and had nudged Remus into bed and curled up at his feet. His nose was pointed towards Peter and occasionally he would flick his tail. Remus hated shouting and Sirius felt a lot like shouting, so this was the best solution for Remus. Plus, the need to protect hurt less in dog form.
“Oh-okay.” James coughed. Put the letter down. Coughed again. “Okay.”
“Do you need a drink?” said Remus.
James rubbed his face, looked at Remus, looked at the letter again. “Okay.”
To Sirius’ utmost surprise, Remus pulled out a bottle of daisyroot draught from his bedside table, from what seemed to be a disguised compartment. It was unopened. “I stole this from Hogsmeade last summer. After exams. It was a dumb choice. Who wants some?” And he produced a few glasses, also in the same compartment.
“Full of surprises,” said James, trying to put on his joking tone but sounding like a parched man.
James passed the first glass to Peter, then swallowed the second. Remus poured one for Sirius and placed it between his paws.
“You can’t give a dog alcohol!” James said.
“He’s not a dog.”
“He… he is!”
Padfoot whined, and Remus shrugged, downing his own glass.
“Do what you want,” said James, passing his over for a refill. “This stuff tastes like garbage.”
“Like pixie-toe sweat,” agreed Remus.
“Thanks,” muttured Peter.
Remus shrugged and handed the bottle to James so he could be in charge of refills and Sirius lapped his glass. It did have a sweetness, an earthiness, but mostly, an alcoholy-ness.
“Okay! So this guy who is now captured by the ministry not only knows your name but also your age, where you live, not only that you are a werewolf, but also that you are somehow a highly sought-after slave-status werewolf. Is that about right?”
“Summed it up, Jamie,” said Remus, leaning heavily into the pillows.
“And you?” he gestured with his glass, that sloshed a little, towards Sirius. Padfoot knew he was referring to his ‘knob’ problems, and he yipped. James took a sip, but missed his mouth and wetted his shoulder. He didn’t even seem to notice. “Cripes.”
“And you!” He gesticulated again, but this time to Peter, who was now slumped on the floor at the foot of his bed. “What. The. Fuck!” He jabbed his glass with each exclamation. “Sneaking through the mail! Is no letter sacred!”
He flopped backwards onto his bed and Padfoot wondered if he’d passed out.
“Quidditch!” He finally said, and Padfoot was certain he had cracked. In times of crisis, James reroutes right back to the safe haven in his heart. “Quidditch, my boys! No time for drama! It’s like you’re all,” he swirled the glass round while he thought of the word, “stirring up all this shit while i’m on my broom.”
“He’s gone,” said Peter.
Remus placed his hands on Padfoot’s back and scritched the fur, and Sirius felt a warm fuzzy feeling that made him want to wag his tail.
“What does this mean!?” said James. “Now Greyback has messaged you.” He sat up to look right at Remus and shuddered. “It’s horrible. Is he coming to Hogwarts?”
Padfoot felt the finger in his fur tense, and he stood up to move closer to Remus, resting his nose on his belly.
“If he read my letters to Conan,” Remus put his hands to his face. “Which he must have done, because I sent some extra parchment for Conan to write on and that’s what Greyback used. I didn’t even use an alias. I’m such an idiot.”
Padfoot whined and Remus placed a hand back on his fur.
“I can’t stop shaking,” he said eventually.
“What will we do this full moon?” said Peter. The question sliced the air, not just because of who said it, but also the implications. That Peter was thinking ahead to protecting Remus.
“I don’t know,” Remus said with an audible tremble in his jaw. “What if the wolf knows and tries to escape?” His hands clenched in Padfoot's fur. “What if I wake up somewhere in the forest and he’s there-” he gasped and tears leaked from his eyes which he mopped up, as though the others hadn’t seen.
Sirius couldn’t stand his fear and transformed into a man, taking his sleeve to dab on Remus’ eyes.
“Remus, we’re your guardians,” he said, with as much confidence as he could muster. Remus reached for his hand and held it in both of his. “This is why we learnt to transform. We will, under no circumstances, let you leave.” Remus squeezed his hand. “No one is going to take your freedom from you.” Sirius pressed a kiss into the werewolf’s fist, trying to sear his promise into Remus’ conscience “We love you so much.”