Definition of a Wolf

Disclaimer: **Points at J.K. Rowling** She did it!

Summary: Remus is lonely. Sirius gets tangled up with his own past and present.

Rating: This is tricky. Right now I'd say probably general, but it won't last. There's just something about Remus and Sirius which makes one long to jack up the rating. They're lovely.

A/N: This is just the introduction, really. Kind of setting the scene. Pretend Lupin got his job back. Don't question it - humour me. I'd love feedback, and may give up writing the Holy Grail fic if I don't get it ;)

***

The moon hung low over the village and the Castle. Remus Lupin watched it with an illegible expression. It was very early full. Two days at the most until his next change. And he would be facing it alone again.

Sirius Black was gone from his life once more, and he wasn't even sure why. Some errand for Professor Dumbledore. Some pointless errand which, nevertheless, was incredibly important. They were always the same. Sirius was at the headmaster's beck and call. If Dumbledore shouted "Fetch!" or "Heel!" Sirius would fetch or heel. He would leave Remus all alone, all alone at full moon, for some menial task on which the fate of the world may or may not rest.

It was very dark indeed. Too dark for such a bright moon in the sky. Remus could not sleep, did not want to sleep either. Usually he could hear Sirius' breathing coming from the next room, but tonight it was too dark and too silent. He was restless, the wolf was stirring in him. Sometimes Sirius would come and sit on the bed with him before full moon, just to be there. He was the only person left who understood, since Remus' wife had died. The only one left who could placate the wolf. Remus would have wished Sirius was there if he hadn't given up wishing long ago.

Outside, something howled. There were uncontrollable werewolves in the forests, creatures who no longer turned from a human being into a wolf at full moon, but who had become lost en route from one form to the other, some time ago. Creatures with wolfish bodies, but the evil and cruelty of spirit which only humans could know. A wolf would not commit murder. A human could not bite through steel. Remus did not consider this to be a coincidence.

He sighed and got out of bed. No point being there.

The small kitchen in his living quarters in Hogwarts was chilly and dark. Remus lit a lamp with a wave of his wand, and tried to find anything edible, but he'd send Sirius off with plenty of supplies; most of his food, in actual fact. There was nothing there except a few biscuits, so he gathered them up, wandered into the next room, and ate them silently, staring unseeing at the piles of paperwork on his desk. Harry's essay was in there somewhere, awaiting his attention, as were Ron's and Hermione's. They would wait until morning.

The photo of Sirius on Remus' desk caught his eye. It was a typical wizard photo; Sirius was sitting in Remus' garden, laughing at something, occasionally running a hand through his thick, black hair. Remus liked Sirius' hair a lot. He would play with it sometimes, and if Sirius noticed anything suggestive in this he had never mentioned it. That was just like Sirius. He gave so much to Remus, supporting him with his condition, even after all he had been through himself, but when Remus tried to . . . oh, he didn't know what he was trying to do. Whatever it was, it sometimes felt a though it wasn't worth it. Sirius was busy, important, a vital cog in the running of the wizarding world and a dread weapon against Lord Voldemort. Remus should have been grateful merely to have known Sirius since childhood, he had no right to hope for . . . whatever it was.

Remus sighed and stood up, biscuits finished. He caught sight of his reflection in the mirror. His hair was becoming wildly unruly, and a thick streak of grey ran down one side. His amber eyes seemed darker, even to himself. He felt old. Sirius, barely five months younger than him, was in his prime, but Remus could not hold out against the wolf. It gnawed at him, clawed at his brain, howled out deep inside him. Hold it at bay, Remus. Use it, don't let it use you. That's what Sirius would say. Tell it to sit, roll over, beg. If it doesn't obey, take a rolled-up newspaper to its nose. Don't let it use you. Never let it use you.

Remus watched as his own face twitched, his ears lengthened, his teeth sharpened. He shook himself.

"Not tonight," he said firmly to his reflection. He heard the wolf whimper, complain. It was feral, didn't understand that it had to wait one more night. It wanted to hunt *now*

"No!" Remus nearly shouted. He shook his head vigorously, fighting down the burning desire to sink his teeth into something, anything. He would win this. It was not yet full moon. Not even Sirius could fight against the moon.

*** Several hundred miles away, a large, black, shaggy dog stopped being a large, black, shaggy dog, and almost un-noticeably became a slender, dark- haired man, crouching down on his haunches behind a wall.

Sirius Black ran his hands over the brick-work. Oh, yes, this was very familiar. This house, this garden, this wall. This brought back memories . . .

There were voices now. Sirius glanced up and caught sight of the bulging moon high above.

"Remus," he whispered, almost inaudibly, "I'm doing this for you, old friend."

To Be Continued . . . ?