Hi guys! Thank you all so much for your support and kind comments! They have kept me going and writing this week, even though I had *a lot* to do for uni... I just couldn't stop thinking about this story and sat down to write whenever I could!
So there's finally a hint of plot in this chapter.
Harry's favorite time of the day was when he got to play outside of the cottage after lunch. Remus said that he would not be able to do it for much longer since the winter was coming closer and closer but for now he gets to play until is almost dark. Harry really likes it because it is something the Dursleys would have never let him do, he used to have all kinds of chores and he remembers watching Dudley play outside with his friends and wanting so badly to join them and juts… run around.
Remus usually watches him; he likes to sit on a wooden chair with a book in his hands and a smile for him when he waves. The only time Harry can recall when he had such freedom was during the vacation when he was bitten.
Today, he ran through the garden and the trees for a while. He has had so much energy since coming to live with Remus that sometimes he just can sit still. Harry knows something changed since he came to live with Remus. It is not a change that came from the outside, like finding out that magic is real or getting to leave the Dursleys. No, it is something from with in; something is adjusting inside and out.
Harry really likes Remus, he is kind and patient, he always answers his questions and he offers Harry chocolate all the time. Besides he knew his parents and often tells him stories about them.
Harry now knows that his parents were called James and Lily, that he looks very much like James but has his mother's eyes. He knows his father was funny and a very good friend, and that Lily was very smart and thoughtful. He knows that his parents had a lot of friends (like Peter, Frank, and Alice) but because of the war Remus is the only one left.
He now knows a lot about himself as well. Remus likes to help him figure stuff out. He knows that he's a wizard, like his mum and dad, and professor Dumbledore. But he also knows that he is a werewolf, just like Remus.
Harry is sure this is why he's feeling weird, like something has changed. It started the moment he woke up in the infirmary and realized that he could see very clearly, that he didn't need his glasses anymore. He feels like there's something developing inside him, something that makes him think differently that makes him do things he didn't use to do and like things he didn't use to like.
It is something that's growing in his stomach, an instinct that he cannot ignore. It screams inside of him, it asks him to smell and then tells him what the scents mean. Remus smells like protector, like chocolate, like Harry and like trust. The forest smells of thousands of things and some afternoons Harry would just sit down, close his eyes and smell for hours. He knows that Remus doesn't think it's weird, in fact, Harry has seen him do it once or twice.
His hearing has gotten better too. The first few days after the attack everything was just too loud and Harry had an almost constant headache. It was a relief coming to the cottage where Remus just got it and was very quiet, letting him get used to his new senses.
It had been kind of overwhelming at first, having all his senses just wake up and he got very dizzy, and sick but Madam Pomfrey seemed to know what he was going through and gave him a couple of nasty tasting potions to help him.
Today after three weeks of living with Remus, Harry finally had the courage to ask him about all this changes, and about the thing in his stomach. He came out of the woods and walked slowly towards the older man who heard him, and without even looking up, put his book away and conjured another chair. Harry sat in front of him.
"Are you done yet? It is much sooner than normally…did you have fun?" Remus asked with a smile.
Harry nodded and bit his lip. Remus gave him a thoughtful look, sighed and took out a piece of chocolate. "All right, out with it. What's bothering you?"
"It's just that there's something different about me" he mumbled and didn't look at him in the eye "since that night, right?"
He heard Remus sigh again and he looked up to see him put his hands on his face. "Something is different, something is changing and there is no way to stop it I'm afraid, Harry. You are becoming a werewolf and that implies a transformation that most wizards do not face during their lives."
"I feel something… in my stomach." Remus eyes widened for a moment like he was surprised but then he smiled weakly.
"That would be the wolf, it is like an force that compels you to do certain things, is it not?" Harry nodded. "Well it is the wolf that is hidden inside you and that only comes out one night a month, it is the part of you that is all instinct and it is not bad, it will get stronger and stronger this week because it is closer to the full moon but afterwards it will be weaker."
"So it is normal?" Harry asked.
"It is perfectly normal" Remus answered. It was not normal, not for his age. Werewolves couldn't really feel their inner wolves until they presented, long after puberty. Remus had not felt his until he was seventeen.
Remus had had suspicions about Greyback and his reasons to attack Harry. He definitely had a lot of research to do, but it would have to wait until after the moon for it was very nearly there and he didn't want to leave Harry alone, not even for a few hours that week.
For a werewolf the moon never truly leaves, she's always there in the sky, looking upon her children, affecting them differently through her phases.
The first two days after the full she isn't kind; she doesn't like giving away her sons. She's still there, but not calling to them, they are very much still wolf and not all men, and they hurt, they are lost and confused. This is when Remus' very bones hurt, when he's still wounded, when he wakes in the middle of the night, when he feels the sudden desire to howl miserably at the moon.
The days after that, when she's getting smaller and smaller, are frustrating for her children. Their senses get dulled slowly, they feel her calling getting further and further away. This one is the easiest to ignore.
The new moon is when she is furthest away from them, when they feel most human, but she is still there, a presence in the back of their minds, all instinct, demanding to be felt, always. This is when all werewolves feel itchy, irritable, in constant need of movement, of distraction, very much aware that she's too far away for comfort. This is when Remus eats the most chocolate, when he can't read for very long, when his fingers are constantly twitching.
Then she slowly appears on the night sky, calming her children, growing every night. This is when Remus feels secure, when he can read for hours, when whatever he is studying makes the most sense. When his senses start to get stronger, slowly growing, like the moon, until he can hear every car, every step in the city surrounding his tiny apartment, when he can hear every twitch in the forest around the cottage. When he can smell every ingredient separately while cooking, when Harry smells like Lily and like James and like him, when he knows where Harry is at every moment. This is when Remus feels most energetic, when his body is getting ready for the change.
Nobody has studied this (nobody cares enough about them to study it properly) yet Remus knows this all too well, he has seen himself going through the phases. Harry doesn't know yet, but he's going through them as well and Remus sees and doesn't say anything. Not when Harry can't sleep on the night of the new moon, not when he's demanding to smell everything that passes trough his little hands, not when he finds him outside at night looking at the moon like a lost lover. He just sits by him and looks at her as well.
Two days before the moon Remus sits Harry down and explains, again, what is going to happen to both of them, the calling of the moon. He takes Harry to the basement, to show him where they will spend that night and calms him when he's scared. His heart breaks.
Harry starts to feel uneasy that night, Remus gives him a calming potion.
It doesn't work.
Remus reads to him all night.
They both nap for hours the next day.
The night before the full Harry gets feverish, he feels cool to Remus' touch but that's only because he's feverish as well. He says he's cold and Remus feels so very cold too, they snuggle together in Remus bigger bed for the first time and fall into an uneasy and un-restful sleep.
The day of the full moon, Harry cannot stomach any food, he throws up twice, Remus holds him and feels like throwing up himself, he remembers he used to get very sick just before the moon when he was little.
He gives Harry a bath and the boy cries in frustration, he feels ill like he's hurting all over.
"We transform completely, everything changes, every little part of you, Harry" says Remus, his voice is rough "that is why we feel it all the way to our bones."
Remus carries him to the basement when the sun starts to go down.
He locks the door with a spell and puts Harry on the mattress he has on the floor, the small boy complains with a little whimper, that destroys something inside Remus, he gives him a kiss on the top of his head and wishes him good luck.
Then he chains himself to the wall. It is a very strong chain, approved by Dumbledore himself, it is magically attached to one of his feet, so the wolf will be able to move a little bit but not nearly enough to touch, to reach Harry. The wolf hates being chained and it is so close to the surface that Remus cannot suppress a growl at the sight of it.
Little Harry growls a little puppy growl in return from the mattress.
Remus vanishes their clothes (no use in destroying them) leaving them only in their underwear and puts his wand away in a compartment designed to open only for his human hand so he can access it tomorrow.
Then he waits.