This is kinda different for what i had in mind for this account. Those who follow me know that i said sometime before that this account is for anime fanfics only but really i don't want to make another account for book related fanfics xD and i've been dying to write a Harry Potter fanfiction since i've started reading it.
Some of you know my country has been hit with a disastrous hurricane so while i had no energy, no internet no nothing, i borrowed my sister's collection of harry potter's book and i started reading and finished no less than maybe a week later (i had nothing else to do literally) and well, I love it. and like everything else i end up loving, i become obsessed with and end up needing to write fanfics and buying all the merchandise. So yeah, I'm in the HP fandom now and i love it so far. There's a LOT to read about and the authors are so good (the majority).
Anyways, the characters i love the most is Remus Lupin and Sirius Black (Remus a little bit more than Sirius) among others like Fred and George, Ginny, Bill and Charlie (basically ALL the Weasly), etc. etc. Oh, I started hating Malfoy but now i kinda love him and it may or may not have anything or everything to do with the suit he starts to wear from the fifth move. Maybe. Back to the main topic, it kinda goes without saying that i ship Wolfstar and that this oneshot (this LONG oneshot) is about that ship.
About the oneshot, it's obnoxious long to be considered one but oh well. The idea couldn't really fit to be a story or MAYBE its just that i have this bad habit of writing TOO much.
Before you start to read, i made some tweaks of the original story here; it takes place three years after the Marauders finish Hogwarts. I know around that time, Voldemort's extra ass attacks the Potters, but i moved that incident to a year later. Also, Sirius' mother is DEAD. DEATH TO THAT BITCH.
I digress! Please enjoy my very first Harry Potter fanfic and please pretty please review and let me know what ya'll think. I'm new to the fandom and would very much appreciate the feedback :D
EDIT: Should probably warn ya'll about the Dumbledore and Severus Snape bashing?
NOTE: Rated M for smut at the end.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. All credit goes to J.K Rowling (except a few characters of mines. you'll see)
Love is Might
A Wolfstar oneshot
It has happened. He had worked himself to a frenzy the night before, and now, he was suffering the consequences.
Remus Lupin's monthly transformation never got easier. If anything, they have become more difficult and gorier. Ever since leaving Hogwarts three years ago, the wolf has become more daring. More feral. Uncontrollable. It was humiliating, as if the beast was laughing at him for his cowardice and insecurity.
Because now… now he didn't have friends to support him.
He was alone.
It was horrible, he realized as he laid flat on a puddle of his own blood, to undergo the tragedy alone. It had been so easy, so fun and exhilarating, to have his friends with him during the full moons. They would run to the Forbidden Forest in the dead of night and explore, they would play all sorts of games to keep the wolf entertained from mauling itself, they would comfort Remus, keep him in check and defend him from any other creature they encountered.
For such a dreadful moment, they had fun like none of their best pranks and mischief could ever afford.
Thereof, by lacking such camaraderie, the old wounds and fears were re-opening ever so agonizingly.
Because Remus was alone, and he was dying. Losing blood. So much blood.
I really did it this time, Remus mused ruefully and felt a sting in his eyes that he recognized all too well: tears. He has shed a lot recently.
He thought of James Potter, locked away with his wife and newborn child because of some prophecy Dumbledore heard. It brought a small and weak smile to Remus' mouth to think of him pacing the house, sulking and muttering to himself; James Potter, or Prongs, was a man of action and he was difficult to entertain. Only the Marauders and their mischief could accomplish that. Who knows, maybe Lily Evans has another strategy. She was smart, after all, and James loved her. During the full moons, James transformed into a stag, to herd the wolf if it got out of control. Like the first time they tried their solution to Remus' furry little problem, as they addressed it.
The werewolf—or more accurately, Remus—panicked; it was the first time he could think, the first time he kept his own mind and, more importantly (or gravely), the first time he could see himself in his wolf form. When he saw the claws and the fur, instead of his hands and skin, Remus panicked. If it wasn't for James and his horns, that full moon would have been his worst.
Then Remus thought of Peter Pettigrew, a little uptight and frightened, but a good friend. Peter wasn't smart or brave like the rest of the Marauders, but he was creative and always had a knack for sneaking around and spying on other. He had a talent in the arts: he was the one who drew the Marauder's map, according to James and Sirius' scouting of Hogwarts. Remus did the charms, to keep it concealed from the wrong hands.
Peter was always a little afraid of Remus' furry little problem and he was the most reluctant to participate in their midnight escapades. Yet, he owed Remus: he always helped Peter with his homework, be it essays or spell practicing that were too complex for him to grasp. Or simply to study, to help him understand a subject in which he was most weak, like History of Magic or Charms. The others were easily annoyed, but Remus was patient (You've the patience of a saint, Remus, Wormtail had said once).
Wormtail transformed into a rat and it was particularly easy for him to bypass the Whomping Pillow and hit the knot that froze it to allow the others to pass without danger.
Finally, Remus thought of Sirius Black, also known as Padfoot. Maybe he shouldn't have, because the moment the tallest, most handsome member of the Marauders came to his mind, Remus wept, strangled by a groan of pain from somewhere in his abdomen. He was too weak and hurting to ponder what he'd done to himself this time.
Sirius Black was Remus' closest and deepest friend out of all the Marauder. Out of all in Hogwarts. He, more than anyone else, understood and cared for Remus, maybe even too much. They shared secrets, their deepest and most shameful secrets, that not even Potter or Pettigrew knew of, much less understand.
Remus always considered him overprotective; Sirius would keep an eye on him, no matter what else he was doing, he always visited him first in the hospital, always watched the full moon, and protected him from whoever wanted to hex him. He was attentive, taking mental notes on Remus' appetite before and after the full moon, watched how his body would strain and discolor, and his focus waver. When the timing was right, he was the first one to act and he knew exactly what to do.
And he was always, always there for him. Sirius was the first to accept him unconditionally, despite his dreadful condition. He spent sleepless nights and long hours searching for a solution. When he realized there was none, he searched instead for a way to make it easier, worthwhile. He read countless books, broke into the library to search the Restricted Section, risked himself many times for Remus and ended up in detention in the aftermath.
Some nights, if not most, Remus suffered from nightmares. Of course, the elder Black would notice because he too suffered similar restless nights of haunting nightmares about his mother, or his family in general. So, deftly and quietly, he crawled to Remus' bed and pressed himself close to him and wordlessly comforted each other. Other times, Remus would be the one to crawl to Sirius'.
Remus remembered a particular memory in which the scrawny boy had fetched a few body lotions from the Hospital Wing. At home, whenever he did something unworthy of the name Black, Sirius was severely punished—a secret he only shared with Remus (You understand, don't you? I can't expect James to do it, what with his perfect parents and all...). During summer of their third year, Sirius had been caught receiving missives from Andromeda, who was considered a traitor for eloping with a Muggleborn, and was punished by a whiplash that seared and bruised his back. Discreetly, Remus slipped off from the dormitory and fetched remedies for Sirius, remedies that he needed to apply himself because Sirius was too sore and weak to do it. The werewolf remembered how the boy shivered and moaned in harmony to the moves of his fingers, pressing down gently over the swollen bruises (You're good at this, Remus. Don't stop, y'hear? It's… it feels really good.). It wasn't the only time they did it.
Remus liked to think there was more to their friendship, but he never knew (neither of them acted or said anything on it) and now, he will never know because he was alone. Not even Pomfrey was there to pick him up and stitch him back together.
Closing his eyes, Remus Lupin thought of his friends again. Years after their seventh year in Hogwarts and he still missed them. More than any other, however, Remus missed Sirius. This, he could not deny, and as his life faded away, he thought of nothing but of the rebellious heir of House Black. He wished that he had the courage, at least once in seven years, to tell Sirius how he really felt about him. For all his Gryffindor glory, he didn't have the courage to do that, much less kiss his lips or hold his hands, or ask him to the Yule Ball as his date, not that it mattered: (Going with Marlene. Who's the lucky girl you're taking? If she tries anything funny with you, I'll hex her.)
(N—no one. I'm… I'm not going. I rather stay back in our dormitory and revise for exams, especially Potions.)
(Same old Lupin. Still, I'll be waiting, and I want to see you in your best dress robe, alright?)
As his vision darkened, Remus cried silently, and his tears mingled with his blood that was everywhere. If only he could see him one last time…
Then Remus heard sounds. Odd sounds. Footsteps. Desperate murmurs. Breathless sobs. Did someone came for him?
No, it was impossible. He had to be imagining. Nobody knew of his whereabouts.
Remus couldn't make anything of it. The sounds continued, and he felt himself being seated up, propped against something that felt too much like an arm. Then he was being rocked and he heard sobs again and more murmuring. Right beside his ear.
What was happening?
He was startled, his eyes shooting open, and the sharp gasp he intended to elicit sent waves of pain and nausea across his body instead.
Sirius. But it can't be.
-"Remus… I'm sorry…"
Why was he apologizing?
-"I'm late… so damn late…"
Am I… dead?
His answer was granted when a blurry, round shape hovered over his face. He felt soft fingers trailing up and down his temple in a soothing rhythm. Then something wet sloshed over his cheek.
Tears. And they were real.
-"I'm sorry, Remus,"- Sirius murmured again and now Remus felt his something solid being pressed against his forehead, -"This is all my fault. I should've told you… I should have…"
This Sirius was real and Remus was still alive.
-"I'm sorry, I'm sorry…"- His sobs grew into ragged wails and his tears were cascading down Remus bloodied skin that formed pools of misery and anguish, -"Remus… if only I could tell you… how much I…"
Remus' heart palpitated sharply against his chest and it washed him once again with an aching pain that left him breathless. No matter how much it hurt, however, he had to let Sirius know he was still alive and he was going to fight for it.
The wounded werewolf tried to move. Be it his fingers, his legs or his head, Remus could barely move an inch, enough to at least get his weeping friend's attention, but Sirius was too busy crying all over him to notice anything.
-"S…,"- So he opted to try to speak. His throat stung and clogged and his chest tightened from the effort, but his resolution never wavered, -"Si… ri… us…"
The man in questions stopped his weeping and leaned back to look at the damaged body in his arms, -"Remus…?"- Then, as if struck by an abrupt idea (although it should have been the first thing he did. Remus must truly look mangled for Sirius to assume he was dead on first sight), he pressed two fingers on the side of Remus' neck. When he felt a weak heart-beat, a beat that caused Remus to convulse nevertheless, Sirius gasped and tightened his grip on the body, -"You're… you're alive! Remus! Remus, can you hear me?"
He tried to nod, to give him a sign that he could listen to him, but only a weak groan escaped his bruised lips.
But that was enough for Sirius, -"You can? God, I can't believe—stay put, alright? I'm going to try to… to try to fix you."- His voice trailed off in the end and Remus must truly be in a bad state if Sirius Black was doubting himself and his healing skills.
At once, Remus felt Sirius' warm magic on his skin, soothing and gentle, trailing over his belly and down to his legs. With an embarrassed heat, he remembered that he must be naked, but there was nothing he could do about it. Sirius has seen him naked before many times, yes, but it was never easy for Remus, who felt strong emotions for his friend.
He heard Sirius cursing as his wand wafted through the length of his legs. Something was wrong down there.
-"Remus, I can't… I can't fix this,"- Forced Sirius out of his mouth, -"I can stop the bleeding, at least until I can take you to someone else…"
Unease wanted to thaw out of Remus, but relief won. The magic that Sirius used on him was working, easing his pains and closing most wounds, leaving the rest to stop bleeding for the moment. He sighed and tried to fight the unconscious sleep that his body begged for.
-"Sleep. God knows you need it. Don't worry, I'll take care of you, Moony,"- Sirius voice began to fade to a far murmur, -"Like I've always done…"
Like I've always done…
-"I don't think I ever told you just how much you mean to me, Moony…"
Remus was stirred into consciousness by a hoarse and desperate voice that he recognized as Sirius' again. He tried to open his eyes, to see him, but the lids were stuck, too heavy.
-"I wish I could. I wish I could tell you everything and for you to listen. If only you…,"- Said Sirius, his voice trailing into a distant sob, -"Please... wake up. I need to know you're still…"
The air went still and quiet until Remus felt a warm touch on his lips.
-"Remus… I need… I need you alive…,"- A comfortable and gentle weight settled on Remus' chest, right over a spot that felt particularly cold and wet. Was it tears? How long has Remus been asleep, unconscious? -"With me."
Once more, Remus fought through his pains and qualms to let Sirius know he was awake, not dying. He tried to open his eyes and they fluttered open midway, weakly and blurry. Mouth next, Remus attempted to speak and comfort his agonized friend, -"I'm… he… here…"- It was what he managed to say—or slur, more like, his tongue too heavy to vocalize anything coherent.
But Sirius understood and his hands flew to Remus' sides, each palm cupping one cheek, -"Oh God, Remus. I thought you—it's just that you've—can you see me?"
Remus responded with a slow nod. He blinked several times, to clear the fogginess that clouded his vision, and the sight of Sirius perfected. His previous assumption was proved correct: Sirius had been crying. His eyes were ruddy, its sockets sunk from sleepless nights and exhaustion, and his skin was rather pale. He also looked thinner, thinner than Remus last saw him. All the same, he thought he looked as handsome as ever.
-"Thank Merlin you're awake. It's been so long, I… I…"- He stopped, pressing his lips together and looking away, a clear tear glistening from the corner of his eye.
-"How… how long…?"- Remus asked, but received no answer, -"Sirius… how… long?"
The other merely shook his head, -"I should probably tell him you're awake…"
He stood, but Remus stopped him, his arm reaching out to grip Sirius' wrist weakly. It was an instinctive act, otherwise he wouldn't have had the strength to do it. As it were, his arm trembled and he was forced to drop it back down, -"Sirius."- He repeated, more firmly.
Sirius was taken aback, -"Forgive me. I'll… I'll tell you everything,"- He sat down again, on a stool placed at the side of the bed where Remus laid. The unease in his eyes never left, -"But please, don't overexert yourself."
Remus placed his elbows against the mattress and tried to sit up. He managed a sitting position with his old friend's help; the pressure on his abdomen knocked the air out of his lungs and left him light-headed. He waited a few minutes to compose himself before turning to the issue at hand. From this perspective, Remus could see his surroundings and he recognized it as Sirius' place: Number 12, Grimmauld. It was his room, dressed in Gryffindor red, just like he remembered.
-"How did I get here?"- It was Remus' question, momentarily forgetting the initial one, -"How long have I been out?"
Sirius pondered his answer, but he sighed at the end, -"You've been out cold for half a week. I was…. I didn't know what to do Remus. This time it was… it was..."
Remus shook his head to cut the last part of Sirius' sentence and prompted the other to answer his other question. He didn't want to know what he had done, not now.
-"As for how you got here, he—no, we—brought you. I wanted to wait until you stopped bleeding. It was too risky to Apparate and I couldn't take you to St. Mungo's either. But… God, you wouldn't stop bleeding everywhere and no matter how much incantations I used, your wounds wouldn't close. I… I had to… Remus, I didn't have another choice."
-"What do you...?"
There was a loud knock on the door that startled Remus, painfully so, and Sirius merely glowered and his expression soured. When a voice spoke from the other side, Remus understood what he meant, -"Black, is it awake yet?"
Severus Snape. If he was there, then so was the Order of Phoenix.
-"Yes, he is, Snivellus,"- Sirius growled, -"But he needs to rest before you—"
But Snape ignored him and slammed the door open, then soared across the room like an overgrown bat to where Remus laid. He loomed above him, his forehead creased disdainfully and his eyes scanned Remus' bandaged form.
-"I see it is."
-"He, Severus,"- Sirius growled again, one hand placed protectively over Remus' chest while the other pointed menacingly at the other in the room, -"He's Remus John Lupin and if you address him as it again, I'll make you rue the day."
Snape was unfazed, however, and turned a blind eye to Sirius' threat—or Sirius in a whole, -"Up."
It took a minute for Remus to realize he was talking to him.
-"He can't, Snape. He needs more time to recover for him to even stand,"- Sirius snapped, -"You saw his leg…"
-"Half a week is more than enough, I am certain."
-"No,"- Sirius bit in again in a surprisingly low and, obviously forced, calm tone and Remus noticed the difficult effort he was putting to restraint himself from being impolite and rude to Snape, -"You don't understand. You don't know what he needs. You've never cared. Never been there, with him, through it."
-"Obviously not, nor do I wish I had,"- Snape retorted with distaste and then exhaled dramatically, -"Gladly, Black, I would allow you to do what you oh so know it's best for this… beast, but unfortunately for both of us, I was given the order to do otherwise. Immediately."
Just this once, Sirius overlooked the foul word, -"What? You mean Dumbledore…?"
-"Yes, precisely,"- Snape muttered, idly looking over Remus again with disbelief, -"He believes Mr. Lupin's role in the Order should not be delayed any further. I cannot, for the life of Merlin, understand what benefits that brings us."
-"The werewolves…"- Sirius mumbled thoughtfully and his face creased with worry.
-"Preposterous, to think that such beasts are capable to comprehend the situation we are in. It is a waste of time, but Dumbledore disagrees,"- He waved a hand, dismissing the subject, and again beckoned at Remus to stand, -"Up, Lupin. I will not repeat myself."
Remus barely flinched at the way he, and his kind, was being regarded. He has heard it so many times before he was immune to it. For the sake of the Order, not Snape, Remus tried to stand, but his left leg wasn't responding. At all. He dug his fingers underneath the thigh but when he attempted to heft it, he elicited a startled yelp of agony and dropped his leg immediately.
Sirius' head whipped towards him, -"Remus!"- He exclaimed and Snape's hateful words towards the werewolves seemed to sink it, -"I told you, he can't stand yet!"- The elder Black stood from the stool and inched closer to Snape in a manner Remus recognized whenever he stepped in to defend him, -"And don't badmouth werewolves in front of me, Severus! They're people, just like you and me, and they do comprehend the situation, more than you think: they've lived it every day, every second!"
They continued to argue, but Remus muted them and tried to stand again. His leg was still unresponsive and too heavy to lift. He edged around, shifting his bottom until he was near the brim of Sirius' twin bed. Then he pulled back, dragging the lumpy leg with the rest of his body. Pain rippled all over him, overriding his senses and sending him to double over. His vision swam, his ears rang, and he might have voiced his agony, but he wasn't heard.
Backstabbing pain hit him, and his joints protested, but Remus managed to get both legs dangling on the side of the bed. It was uncomfortable, he had no one nor anything to lean onto, and he felt bile raising to his throat. He swallowed successfully, yet painfully. His chest was tight. Too tight. Breathe in and out. Steady now, dear, Madam Pomfrey advised many times before.
-"… and I won't tolerate it! This is my house, Severus, and I'll have one of your fingers cut for each time you—!"
-"Enough, both of you!"- Remus shouted.
Both heads snapped towards him, one looking more guilty and worried than the other.
-"Severus, Sirius was right. I can't… I can't stand. My left leg is completely useless, but I managed… this."- He gestured to himself feebly.
-"Hmph,"- Snape harrumphed and strode to him, -"It appears so. Let me examine it."
Remus didn't want to look at it. He thought that if he did, he'd throw up all over Snape and he doesn't want that either. When he felt his cold fingers hooking on the bandages that swatted the leg, Remus looked away and closed his eyes.
Once it was free, Remus felt the breeze waft over it and he shuddered involuntarily. He heard Sirius wincing and mumbling something unintelligible that sounded too miserable. Snape was clicking his tongue, probably shaking his head too.
-"Damn it, Severus!"- Sirius seethed through gritted teeth, -"Stop badmouthing and do something!"
Then Lupin felt magic working over the disastrous injury. The pain ebbed away, and Remus exhaled in relief audibly. He wavered, but before he fell, two hands held him firmly in place. Remus looked up and smiled weakly at Sirius' charming face. He ran his tongue over his dried lips, wordlessly expressing he was thirsty.
-"Drink."- Snape barked, a bottle of potion in his hand.
-"No, he needs water,"- Sirius argued, never looking at Snape but keeping his eyes on Remus, sad and worried but relieved that he was alive, -"He's thirsty."
-"He needs the Blood Replenishing Potion, Black, because as you've seen well, he has lost plenty."
-"After drinking water, yes,"- Without further ado, the summoned a glass and tapped his wand on the fringe, -"Aguamenti!"
Water appeared within the glass and he expertly tipped it into Remus' mouth, murmuring soothing words and caressing the front of Remus' neck with his fingers to ease access. The fallen werewolf hummed in appreciation, feeling Sirius fingers warm and welcoming on his skin.
-"That's it, Moony,"- He whispered, lowering the glass once Remus drank it whole, and looking at him fondly, -"Better?"
Remus nodded, -"Much,"- He smiled again, -"Thank you, Padfoot."
At the display, Snape appeared to want to vomit and make himself scarce. He pushed Sirius aside, making him drop the glass and shatter into small shards. Sirius yelled something, but Snape ignored him and stepped himself between the two, yanked back Remus' head by the hair and forcibly poured the potion into his mouth.
The werewolf had barely swallowed when the next dose slipped inside. He gagged and choked, spraying the contents onto the man before him.
Sirius' cry of wrath left Remus' ears deaf. In the blink of an eye, the elder Black was shooting hex after hex at Snape, who deflected the spells effortlessly. The commotion was heard downstairs; Mundungus Fletcher, bored out of his wits, Apparated to watch the spectacle. Then Alastor and Dorcas Meadowes flew in to stop him from doing anything reckless. It wasn't until Dumbledore intervened that the two finally stopped. The whole room went quiet. Fletcher mysteriously disappeared.
-"By what manner of formality have I told you both to address each other?"- Said Dumbledore, as calm as usual, with hands behind his back, -"I had thought you made the paces. What is the matter now?"
Sirius spoke first, pointing a menacing finger at Snape again, -"He's mistreating Remus, Albus!"- Then he added: -"Sir."
An amused smile played on Dumbledore's lips for a short moment before his expression returned to stoic.
-"I knew I had no options when it happened and I summoned him, Albus, but I talked about this. I told you, and we agreed, that if he even so much as touches his hair, I would—"
Dumbledore rose a hand, -"I remember well, Mr. Black. How could I not?"
-"Then tell him to leave my house. Now. And bring Madam Pomfrey. She knows what to do and will do it properly without mistreating Remus."- Sirius ordered, but Dumbledore stayed still, his eyes somber and distant.
-"I am afraid I cannot do either,"- He replied, gesturing at Snape, who was wearing a smug sneer, -"You see, the Matron has other duties. As I have said, only Snape is available and capable to restore Mr. Lupin."
Sirius shook his head and gaped his mouth to argue, but Remus saw the hopeless look in his eyes that told him Sirius knew he had no power over this, even if this is his house.
-"Furthermore, the Order needs Mr. Lupin in shape as soon as possible to resume his duties. Snape here can see to it,"- Dumbledore continued, preventing Sirius from arguing, -"And you, Snape, agreed to treat Lupin accordingly. Isn't that correct?"
-"Yes, Dumbledore,"- Replied Snape, eyes narrowed to slits on Sirius, -"Only if Black is dismissed. I need to concentrate, after all."
-"Very well,"- Dumbledore turned to Sirius, -"Black?"
-"You can't do this. I won't leave Remus alone with him,"- Panic contorted Sirius' facade as he turned towards Dumbledore, -"Who knows what he'll… you know what he thinks of part-humans, Albus. You… you have to understand."
The bearded man seemed to, but said nothing. Sirius, however, didn't budge from his seat. He crossed his arms over his chest and planted himself on the stool.
-"I'm not going anywhere then,"- He stated and his eyes were firm on the old man, -"You'd best get started, Snivellus."
Dumbledore sighed, -"Mr. Black, I am afraid the situation is grave enough as it is. I promise this: I will have a word with Snape and I'll oversee the treatment myself."
Sirius Black softened at this, his tense body slackening slightly. Untrusting as he is, he couldn't accept yet, -"Let me be with him. Please. I'll… I won't interrupt."
A derisive snort echoed from Snape's mouth, but Sirius and Dumbledore ignored it, -"Snape needs to concentrate and as noble as your intentions are, Mr. Black, I cannot take your word."
The elder Black swallowed thickly and gritted his teeth. Remus saw the corner of his eyes watering again. He hated to see him like this over him. To see him so helpless and agonized. Before he opened his mouth to shout his indignation, Remus reached for the sleeve of his long shirt and tugged for his attention, -"Sirius…"
The called man whipped his head to look at Remus quickly, his hair swishing in every direction.
-"I'll be alright. You can trust Dumbledore."
-"I don't trust any—it's not really him, it's…"
-"I know,"- Remus nodded understandingly, -"Trust me then."
Sirius continued to look at him in anguish and the tears that were hanging in the corners of his eyes were threatening to spill.
-"Padfoot…,"- Remus' heart was breaking, more than it already is. He attempted to add humor, but he wasn't really feeling it, -"This is just another full moon among, what, a hundred? I promise I'll be standing and walking before you know it."
One of Sirius' eyes succumbed to the emotion that was whelming him, and the tears slid down his cheeks until the man quickly wiped it away with a sobbed chuckle.
-"Just promise me this,"- He leaned down over the bed until his forehead was touching Remus', his eyes closed and brows creased in concentration, -"That if he hurts you or if you need anything at all that this Slytherin scum can't or won't give you, you'll scream my name and I'll be here for you in a heartbeat… no matter how far I am."
Remus was about to reply that they've made such a promise before and that it was never broken, but he was interrupted by the familiar feel of Sirius' magic on his mouth. It wasn't the usual sensation of his healing spells post transformations; it was strong. So strong that it felt heavy yet comfortable on his lips. He was startled because he had never felt Sirius' magic so concentrated and latent before. What kind of spell was he casting?
-"You'll do that for me?"- Sirius whispered, never parting his touch. His eyes were open now, looking expectantly at Remus', -"You'll say my name if anything happens?"
-"What… kind of spell was that?"- Remus asked, perplexed, -"I've never—"
-"Shh,"- Sirius hushed him, -"Promise?"
-"Yes,"- Remus nodded, though he was still confused, -"Of course I will."
Sirius' smile grew a little, although the ridges remained sad, worried and undeniably tired, -"That's my Moony."
-"Are you quite done?"- Snape snapped from over the threshold, his posture and demeanor clearly expressing disgust over the display, -"I need to start working on mending… him."
Sirius glared at him for the umpteenth time. He said nothing and stood up, giving one last worried and longing look at Remus (and a reproachful one at Snape) before walking up to Dumbledore, who wore an odd, inscrutable expression on his worn face. If he noticed Sirius' spellcasting, he said nothing about it, -"I'm taking your word on this, Albus. See to it that he's treated properly and keep an eye on Snape."
Dumbledore nodded solemnly, -"Of course, Mr. Black."
Sirius blew through his nose in distrust before disappearing from his own room. Not a second later, Severus Snape casted Silencio and Colloportus charms at the door with two swift swishes of his wand. In a short frenzy of panic, Sirius' name was at the tip of his tongue, but Remus swallowed it down.
-"Now that that has been dealt with…"
-"Albus—Dumbledore, sir,"- Remus stuttered awkwardly, -"I'm—forgive Sirius, please. He has always been… rather overprotective of me, especially prior and post a transformation, but he doesn't mean to compromise the Order."
Albus smiled reassuringly, -"I am aware, Mr. John Lupin. I am aware."
-"Shall we get started?"- Snape cut in, obviously biting back some reprimand about Sirius.
-"Yes, yes. Let's,"- Dumbledore nodded, walking to Remus' side and placing a hand on his shoulder, -"As I mentioned, it is of utmost urgency that you return to your duties. For this, I have asked Severus Snape to assist you with… advanced spellcasting to accelerate your recovery. The such that will, undoubtedly, cause you pain. I cannot lie to you, Mr. Lupin. Forgive me."
Remus quickly shook his head, with the distinct impression that he didn't had a choice in the matter, -"No, sir. It's alright. No manner of pain is unfamiliar to me by now."
Dumbledore said nothing to him, but Remus noticed the creases of pity and guilt on his skin as he turned his attention to Snape, -"And Snape, we discussed this. You will not bring any more agony upon Lupin than necessary."
-"Yes."- Replied Snape.
-"Very well. Then I'll leave you to it."- With a clap of his hands, he Disapparated.
There was silence, heavy and deaf, for a long moment. Remus' looked at Severus, who was staring openly at the spot where Dumbledore was a second ago. Something akin to disappointment contorted his sallow expression before it vanished as he turned to Remus. It soured more at the sight of the werewolf, if possible, -"Let us get this over with, Lupin, but I want to make something very clear: I will not be ordered around like some nurse to bring you water every ten seconds or soften your pillow. Now, lean back and lift your leg."
Without a word, Remus did as told with much effort and strain. The part where he was supposed to lift his gorged leg was nearly impossible and when he saw the deep crater of blood and flesh, clotted with dirt and suppuration, Remus' stomach churned, and bile rose to his throat. He turned over his side and barfed before he could stop it. Flitting a hand over his mouth to somehow stem the flow, Remus was washed away with ground shaking shame as the acid slipped through his fingers and sloshed over the lustrous floor of Sirius' room.
-"Get a hold of yourself, beast!"- Bellowed Severus, making a wide sweep with his wand, -"Scourgify!"
The fetid spew vanished from the floor and with it the stench. Remus didn't dare meet Snape's eyes and the man glided through the threshold to set his patient right again with naught the care of Sirius or Pomfrey. When he was finished, Remus felt faint and distant. He was roughly awoken by a slap across his cheek, -"Sleep is out of the question, Lupin,"- A nasty sneer grew in the pale man's lips as he pointed his wand at Remus' leg, -"This will hurt, but no matter how much you scream, you will not be heard. Your precious friend, Sirius Black, will be helpless to do anything but writhe in worry."
Remus didn't have the opportunity to say anything when Snape raised his wand high and cried an incantation that escaped Remus, for when the moment the spell was casted, the fallen werewolf was attacked by an unbearable pain in his leg that rendered him speechless. It was as if the innards in his flesh were being twisted and sewn together, sending ripple after ripple of agony from the tip of his toe to his head and ultimately causing his mind to blacken to the throes of unconsciousness, but the pain was such that he was not allowed that luxury. His body convulsed; his feet and toes coiled, his back arched, his arm flung to his sides where he gripped Sirius' bedsheets, his eyes threatened to pop out of their sockets, and his mouth hung agape so wide his lips numbed. No matter how wide it was, however, no sound escaped. There was no air in his lungs to scream. Thick tears were the only manifestation of his agony.
Promise me that if anything happens, Sirius' words echoed in Remus' mind, you'll scream my name and I'll be there for you in a heartbeat.
The pain was so great, there was nothing he wanted more than to have Sirius at his side, whispering soothing words of comfort and support as he underwent the post trauma of the transformations.
But he couldn't. He said he'd do it, that he'd suffer through any pains for the Order, his duty as a member, and he couldn't cower out it. Dumbledore was counting on him.
After arduous hours of acute agony, the magic on his leg moved elsewhere; somewhere in his left arm, where a tingling sensation almost dulled the throbbing in his leg. Then it moved again, this time to his head which ached and pulsed. When the magic reached his abdomen, Remus' mind was drifting into the craved and needed blackness of the unconscious.
-"Sirius…,"- Remus mumbled in his unsteady sleep, plagued by nightmares of full moons and a blood thirsty monster. A huge black bat soared the air in arbitrary periods, judging from above and watching as the wolf maimed itself, -"S… Sirius…"
There was a crack of Apparition in the room, muting the whimpers that came from Remus' slightly parted lips, and then hasty footsteps closing on his bed. Remus' felt the soft surface of the mattress sinking beside his weak and aching body as a weight settled upon it.
-"Remus,"- A familiar voice whispered, -"Remus, I'm here."
A tender hand came to rest on the crown of Remus' head, smoothing up his hair and stroking his scalp in slow circles.
-"It's over now,"- The voice continued, never stopping the calming ministrations, -"I'm here. You're not alone."
The gentleness of the simple act eased Remus' conscience and his breath returned to a stable rhythm. No whimpers of dismay and dread slipped from his mouth, but low snores of an impending peaceful sleep.
But he wanted to see…
-"No,"- The voice whispered, slightly muted as Remus felt something moist but warm pressing on his temple, -"Sleep, Moony. I'll stay with you. I'll never leave your side again."
Long arms swathed protectively around Remus' torso, accompanied by a close presence that repelled the coldness of the night with warmth. Remus hummed and reveled in it, his mind once more drifting to the dream world undisturbed.
Before he truly did, the voice spoke again, in a tone that yielded worry and reproach, -"Merlin's beard, what have they done to you…?"
Remus' awoke from his deep slumber by voices having a heated argument, -"… come back and see him like that! What do you expect me to think?"
-"When did you returned? And how? Severus locked that door shut."- A hoarse voice asked. Remus recognized it as Alastor's.
-"Is Alohomora not good enough?"- Sirius replied cheekily and Remus knew he was wearing his proud smirk.
-"Not when it's Snape who we're talkin' about."- Someone else replied. Mundungus.
-"That's not important,"- Said Sirius, -"What's important is that Remus was mistreated by that bloody scum and none of you did anything!"
-"Sirius!"- Dorcas' voice was easily distinguishable between the others, sharp and demanding, -"Watch your tongue!"
Sirius ignored her, but before he could speak, another member of the Order cut in, -"No, what matters is that you had a task given by Dumbledore, a task that you abandoned to see Mr. Lupin."- It was Fabian Prewett, his voice authoritative and resonant, yet not judging.
-"It was nothing to lose our marbles over, Prewett. All turned out well in the end, didn't it? Nothing happened."
-"Why the 'ell do you care so much about 'im anyways?"- Mundungus pried.
-"None of your business, Fletcher."
-"Gee, sorry,"- Fletched replied and then spoke to someone else, in a not so disguised tone: -"It's obvious where his priorities lay. Not with the Order, that much is true."
-"Where's Snape?"- Sirius demanded, tone thin of patience.
-"Fulfilling his duties, whatever they are,"- Alastor said, -"Unlike you."
Unintentionally, Remus began to cough uncontrollably. There was an itch in his throat he hadn't noticed was there. He was too distracted by the conversation outside. As he coughed and coughed, his chest tightened, and his airway clogged, causing him to wheeze periodically.
-"Remus!"- Feet scrambled and the knob to the door rattled. Then there was a clicking sound before Sirius shouted, -"Alohomora!"
Nothing. Remus continued to cough. His cheeks felt hot in embarrassment as he tried hard to stop himself. It only made it worse. He felt like such a child.
-"Sod it!"- Sirius cursed and then slammed a fist against the wood, -"Remus, try to say my name!"
-"Stop it, Black. Snape will be back soon."
-"He can't breathe, Moody!"- Sirius yelled and slammed another fist on the door, -"Try again, Remus! You must!"
Try, Remus did, -"Si—"- But he was cut short by another fit.
-"How do you know?"- Fletcher asked, -"I can't 'ear anything."
-"That's because it has a silencing charm, moron."- Replied Alastor.
-"But then why can he—"
-"Remus!"- Sirius yelled again.
The bedded werewolf tried again, taking a careful and an unsteady breath that left his chest hollow, -"Si—Si… rius…"- He let the name off, and with it, his air.
The crack of Apparition was immediate and Sirius appeared right by his bed with a glass of water at the ready, -"Quick, drink."
Remus obeyed. When Sirius expertly lifted him up, he gulped every drop of water his old friend offered, eager and desperate. He exhaled shakily through his nose, closing his eyes to the cool sensation that ran down his parched gullet.
-"Can you breathe properly?"
Remus tried to, but it was arduous. He could only wheeze. When Sirius pointed his wand at his throat and murmured Anapneo, his airway cleared, and he quickly inhaled all the air his lungs lost.
-"Thank you, Padfoot. I thought I'd…"
-"Don't say it."
Sirius planted one hand on Remus' chest, fingers pushing past his robe to touch his skin, while his other hand continued to hold his head up by the back of his neck. Remus' shivered at the gentle touch and watched as Sirius closed his eyes, concentrating to feel for his heart beat. It was erratic, wrought with the remnants of panic, but he was thinking that Sirius' closeness and touch had a hand on it too; his face was so close that a few strands of his long hair was tickling the skin of Remus' face. He could perfect make out the shape of his lips, the lines of his jaw, each hair of his stubble, and the sharpness of his cheekbones. If he could sit up a little, he'd be kissing his friend's lips and the mere prospect made his heart rate accelerate.
-"You're agitated, Moony. You need to calm down."- Sirius said, his eyes glistening with worry, but Remus thought he saw amusement somewhere behind it.
He could only nod in response. They waited a few moments, for Remus' heart rate to stabilize. Sirius must have noticed he was partly to blame because he kept a bit of his distance and refrained from touching Remus any more than necessary. The only contact they shared was when Sirius cleaned Remus' forehead or checked the rest of his injuries. A few had re-opened due to Remus' episode, but with an easy wave of his wand, Sirius closed them and cleaned the blood with Tergeo.
-"How do you feel?"- Asked Sirius, his eyes distant and thoughtful.
Remus thought of Snape's treatment before answering, -"Tired, but generally better,"- It wasn't a lie. Although the process was very near torture, his leg healed, -"I can move my leg again."- To demonstrate, he raised it in an arch.
Sirius smiled, relieved, and his eyes watered as he rested a palm on Remus' knee, -"That's good, Moony,"- Then he looked away again and his latter expression died to concern and suspicion, -"But… what did he do?"
Remus pondered his response. If he told Sirius what Snape had done, he'll confront the bat-like man and chaos will ensue once again—over him, no less, a broken werewolf that could do nothing for himself. No, he decided. Dumbledore and Snape had closed the door and silenced it for a reason after Sirius had left the room: they didn't want him knowing of his treatment.
-"Just a few spells I've never heard, Padfoot."- Remus said, again refraining from lying. Sirius had a knack for pointing out when Remus tried to pull the wool from under his nose. It was he who first worked around his initial lies and discovered his furry little problem.
Sirius narrowed his eyes slightly, watching Remus intensely, searching for lies. He seemed to be waiting for Remus to continue, finding none.
-"I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt at all, but it was nothing I haven't gone through already,"- Remus said and sighed, looking up at Sirius, with a near begging look, -"Please, you have to believe me."
Sirius' shrewd expression softened and he looked mildly guilty, -"I do. I do believe you. It's just… when you called me last night…"
Sirius nodded. A tender smile brightened the dark hollows of his skin, -"Yes. You said my name last night, while you slept."
Remus raked his brain for such memory.
-"What was it about this time?"- Sirius asked as Remus continued the search, -"The usual?"
-"What do you…?"- At that exact moment, he knew what the other was talking about, and his cheeks and nape warmed at the memory. It really was him then. He was there. It wasn't a dream, -"Oh, the nightmare,"- Sirius smiled knowingly, but ruefully, -"Yes, the usual."- He didn't add the bit about the giant bat, which represented an obvious individual. If he told Sirius, he'd knew right away.
-"You murmured my name in your sleep and I stayed. After that, you calmed down,"- The smile on Sirius' lips grew fondly as he remembered a memory that Remus thought of too, -"Brings back memories, doesn't it? Only then you were just a bed away."
-"Yes,"- Agreed Remus, chuckling and smiling as well while images of their Hogwarts dormitory and their time in the wizarding school surfaced in his mind, -"Yes, it does. Only then we were just children likewise. Now, well… let's just say it's good some things haven't changed."
They laughed for a good moment, with Sirius retelling some of their old pranks and excursions, and Remus telling him off for jokes about McGonagall and Professor Binns, until Sirius' good natured gaiety vanished into woe—and anxiousness, Remus might add, -"Listen, Moony, I want—I need—to tell you… so many things, but you must be starving. Shall I fetch you breakfast? Arabella's cooking."
Remus stomach responded for him, with a vicious grumbling, and Sirius laughed aloud before the former could say anything.
-"Alright. I'll be back in a minute."
He left and came back a minute later by Apparition, curtesy of Remus saying his name since the door was still charmed locked, with a plate filled with fried eggs, bacon and toast, all accompanied by a glass of orange juice. Remus' mouth watered, and he began to eat like a ravenous beast, biting on the bacon first and savoring the meaty juice. Or like a werewolf.
Sirius was watching him, smiling fondly like he always does whenever his appetite was restored after a full moon. Remus met his gaze more than once and his face flushed more every time. The room was filled with amicable chatter and the duo were having a good time.
-"What was it you wanted to tell me, Padfoot?"- Remus asked, with his plate still on his lap. He was curious about it, having remembered meaningful words from his friend while drifting to and fro unconsciousness. His heart gave out hopeful throb; I don't think I ever told you just how much you mean to me, Moony, -"I can listen while I eat, you know. It's not particularly difficult,"- I need you alive… with me, -"And in any case, it's just… you and me in here. No one can hear us."
-"Yes, you and me,"- Sirius repeated, nodding slowly while looking down to his lap, where each hand rested over each knee, -"You're right. You always are."
-"Sirius,"- Remus reached a tentative hand over and placed it atop one of Sirius'. He felt the other's skin cold and… was he shaking? -"What is it? You know you can confide in me."
Sirius smiled wanly and a thin tear leaked from the corner of one eye as he looked into Remus' green orbs, -"I know. I know I can. I always did because you're so understanding, so compassionate and… and so damn selfless and forgiving and I…,"- The words died in his tongue with a strangled sob. He pulled his hand out from under Remus' and the latter thought that that was the end of it, that he wouldn't hear the words he so desperately wanted to hear for years, that he was a fool to think it would ever happen, but then Sirius' hand returned and fell over Remus' instead, gripping it tightly, fingers entangling with the others', -"Remus, I—"
The door to the room slammed open, interrupting Sirius and making him whip his head around in time to see Severus Snape storming inside, fuming and mouthing wrathful curses.
-"Black!"- Bellowed Snape, -"What are you doing in here? How did you managed to get past my charms?"
-"You forgot one bit of detail, Snivellus: this is my house, therefore my room."- Sirius replied with a smug smirk.
Severus seemed to be calculating the information and if the way his eyes twinkled maliciously and zeroed in on Remus were any indication, the pieces in his mind clicked, -"You."
With three long strides of his legs, Snape was at the foot of where Remus laid, but before he could snatch anywhere of Remus' body, Sirius stopped him, gripping him by his forearm. They shared scowls and glares, with Sirius being the deadliest, before the ex-Slytherin student yanked his arm off of Sirius' grip.
-"Are you aware that spell is one of Voldemort's specialty?"- Snape asked vilely, frowning upon Sirius.
-"You would know best, wouldn't you, Snivellus?"- Sirius retorted.
Snape harrumphed and waved him off, -"I will have Dumbledore know about this. Now leave."
But Sirius didn't budge from the same stool he had been sitting on since yesterday.
-"I said leave,"- Snape repeated, -"Now, Black."- His eyes roamed low and he visibly bristled, scowling.
Then Remus realized their hands, Sirius and his', were still intertwined. Neither pulled apart and it seemed to further infuriate Severus.
Just then, Marlene McKinnon tottered into the room, her wand hand full of levitating plates and her hair standing in every direction. A pixie whizzed past her, above her head, snickering as it tried to pull her hair, but the woman ducked. She stomped her foot on the floor, sending a few of the plates flying, -"Blasted things!"- She yelled, -"Oh, please do forgive me, Remus, but there are loose pixies everywhere and I don't know where they came from! I'm betting Mundungus is behind this! I might need to borrow Sirius for a bit."
Severus sneered, and Sirius was about to argue until Remus gave his hand a tight squeeze to get his attention. When he turned to him, Remus spoke, -"Go. I'll be here when you finish. I can't exactly go anywhere yet."
Sirius almost laughed but his eyes turned cold upon Severus again and Remus realized there was something going on that he didn't know of. His old friend sighed and stood, -"I'll be back as soon as I'm done,"- He said to Remus and then added: -"Severus."- He joined Marlene to ease her frenzy and left.
As Severus started to revise his injuries, Remus thought he could wait. For Sirius and for him to say what he was going to say. Or what Remus hoped for. The day dragged on, however, and Sirius didn't return.
-"I see oh dearest Black hasn't paid you a visit,"- Severus teased, having caught Remus staring longingly at the door, -"I believe he said he would return when he was finished with the pixies."
-"Yes,"- Remus answered, more to himself as he continued to stare at the door. He tried not to sound too discouraged, -"He did."
-"I see no more of the blighters,"- Severus commented, opening a series of draughts for Remus with a cacophony of pops, -"Wherever could he be?"
-"Busy, most likely,"- Again, Remus spoke to himself, -"Or something might've happen."
-"Or maybe he thought better of himself and decided not to come at all."
The sentence was spoken so quickly that Remus didn't caught the innuendo behind it. When he realized it, he turned to Snape, -"I know what you're trying to do,"- He said, flatly, staring at the other impassively and keeping his tone calm. It has been the approach he has always taken with Snape, -"It won't work."
James and Sirius used to tyrannize Snape in their Hogwarts years frequently, but Remus never took part in it. They were never friends, but they remained somewhat civil. Snape tried to exploit that by turning Remus against his friends, planting lies and seeds of discord between the Marauders. It never worked and not today either.
Snape grimaced, but said nothing. He shoved one draught after another into his hand and glowered as Remus swallowed them. Feeling lethargic and enervated, Remus' eyelids closed heavily. As his conscious world waned to blackness, the only face he saw was that of Severus Snape's, leering and malicious, instead of Pomfrey's or Sirius'.
The day advanced generally uneventfully. If otherwise, Remus could not know: the silencing charm was still active on the door.
Remus Lupin continued to come in and out of unconsciousness, but he could still feel Severus' rough ministrations on his body. Whenever he was conscious, Remus waited for Sirius and tried to stay awake for as long as he could, but he never came. Once, he almost asked Severus, but thought better of it. Chances were Dumbledore sent him away on a task. If so, Remus prepped himself to stay up until late hours should Sirius return.
He could easily say his name and the man in question will answer straight away, but Remus didn't dare. Whatever business he had abroad, it could not go about interrupted every few hours by a lonely werewolf. He had to wait.
Wait he did. For three long days with nothing but his degrading thoughts. One particular night he was feeling lonesome and restless, he thought of Sirius longingly and wondered if his friend really didn't want to waste his time visiting Remus. Has he finally grown tired of looking after the helpless werewolf, after seven years?
No, Remus thought resolutely. Sirius would never abandon him willingly. Something must have happened and again he had the urge to say his name and bring him here, just to be sure he was alive and safe, but that wasn't an option. If he was abroad for three days for whatever mission, it was important.
It was past noon one day, clear by the window beside the bedpost, and Remus was alone again. He was parched and rather famished, to boot, but Severus refused to satisfy any of his cravings. During midnight, when he couldn't bear it anymore, Remus decided to get out of bed and do it himself.
It was easier said than done.
Moving his legs was simple, that was true, but putting weight on them (specially the one he gorged so horribly), was something else altogether. The moment the rest of his body settled in, his legs swayed and buckled, and Remus stretched his hand quickly to cushion his fall. Luckily, he wasn't far of the wall and he stayed still until the strength returned to his legs.
Ever so slowly and cautiously, like Madam Pomfrey taught him, Remus started to move, focusing on placing one foot in front of the other. He kept his hands stretched before him, ready to reach for anything in case he careened off track. It didn't come to that, prosperously, Remus being as meticulous and calculating as he has always been. In a matter of a few minutes, he reached the base of the stairs and was turning the corner to the kitchen when he felt capable enough to maneuver through the dim room and search for bits and pieces to eat.
Remus had found dinner leftovers when he heard the main door creaking open; very lowly and slowly, as to not disturb other members that were staying, but Remus heard it all the same and rummaged in his pockets for his wand.
Of course, he'd been deprived of his weapon while in bed and no doubt Snape had it.
Muggle style, he decided, when he snatched the first item his eyes set upon. A frying pan. He held it up close as he slinked across, past the long table and over to the doorframe, where he pressed his back firmly against the wall and waited, listening raptly for the intruder.
Heavy laden footsteps caused the floorboards to creak and Remus readied his "weapon" when the sounds grew louder, closer. When he saw a glimpse of a silhouette turning the corner, Remus hefted the pan and aimed at the back of the intruder's head. The following dull clang of skull against metal was slightly sickening. The next yelp of pain very nearly gave him a heart attack.
-"Sirius?"- Remus dropped the pan.
-"Remus?"- Sirius turned, a pained grimace shifting his hollowness as he hissed and rubbed the back of his head, -"What're you doing up this late?"
-"I didn't know it was you,"- Remus admitted, reaching a tentative hand to Sirius' hurting spot, -"I'm sorry. God, I'm such an idiot."
-"No, you're not,"- Sirius inched closer to Remus and tilted his head until the hand that wanted to comfort his sensitive spot reached its destination. He closed his eyes, focusing on the feel of Remus' fingers easing his soreness, -"I could've been a Death Eater."
-"True,"- Remus conceded, still rubbing his finger on the spot he unjustly smacked a moment ago, intent on easing his friend's pain. The two Marauders stared at each other for a while, with Sirius looking ready to doze off, and Remus would've let him if he hadn't any questions, -"Sirius, did something happened? I thought you were…"
-"Abroad? No,"- At the mild crestfallen and glassy-eyed look on Remus, Sirius flared and clenched his fists. Remus detached his hand from Sirius' head, -"What did he made you believe? That I'd abandon you because I thought you weren't worth my time?"
-"No,"- Remus replied, instantly aware of who Sirius talked about, -"He tried, certainly, but it didn't work."
Sirius visibly slacked and relaxed, exhaling through his lips, -"That's good,"- He slid closer to Remus and placed a hand on the crook of his neck. His thumb brushed the hardline of Remus' jaw and the latter shivered at the touch again, -"You know I would never…"
-"I know."- Said Remus quickly, nodding his head. His neck felt hot under Sirius' palm, more so when he noticed the other's eyes gaping openly at his lips.
-"Remus…,"- He paused, closed his eyes and took a deep breath, as if trying not to provoke himself over a particular, unpleasant memory, -"Something did happen. My fault, I suppose. I was spying over some Ministry bastards again when I lost my temper and attacked,"- He spoke, rather evasively, and then added in a low tone: -"Should've strangled them for good measure too."
-"Why?"- Asked Remus, cocking an eyebrow suspiciously. The hand on his neck twitched, -"What did they say?"
No reply. Merely, Sirius' eyes avoided his.
-"Sirius."- Remus insisted, taking his friend's hand and pushing it away, gently.
-"They were being complete and utter arseholes, Moony. Perfectly justified."- Sirius argued with a small pout of his mouth and God forbid it, thought Remus, he sounded and looked just like he did back in their Hogwarts years and poor Remus Lupin was hit with a bout of nostalgia that nearly rendered his mind completely blank.
He had to take a few seconds to compose himself again, shaking his head before asking Sirius again, this time more urgently and placing his hands on his hips, -"What did they say, Sirius?"
His friend shrugged, and his jaw worked soundlessly around something akin to 'nothing' or 'just rubbish'.
-"Sirius…"- Remus pressed.
Finally, the canine Animagus crumbled and sighed, his brow furrowed and morphing his handsome features into apathy, -"Werewolves."
-"Oh, Padfoot… we've talked about this,"- Remus reminded, feeling uselessly guilty that Sirius' mission was hindered mostly over him, -"I warned you."
-"I know. I know. You told me there will always be someone, some bloody git, but I couldn't… I couldn't ignore the vile things they were saying, knowing you…,"- He stopped himself, burying his face in Remus' chest and gripping his sides, -"I couldn't, Remus… I tried, but I couldn't..."
Remus breathed through his nose, flitting a palm to the back of Sirius' head, his finger coiling around his long locks of black hair. He closed his eyes and waited for Sirius, who had turned his head so he could hear the steady beat of Remus' heart and hummed to it, muttering to himself within the lines of he's alive.
Finally, Sirius looked up, with a certain fire sparking the grey irises, -"I don't regret it, you know. I'm supposed to meet Dumbledore now about it, probably to reprimand me, but I don't regret it."
-"You're supposed to…?"- Remus blinked and pushed Sirius gently, -"Sirius, what're you doing here? You shouldn't keep him waiting."
-"Though I'd drop by to check on you,"- Sirius smiled and retreated a step back to observe Remus, up and down, and nodding, -"Looking better—you're walking too. I came here to the kitchen to nick some food for you, but I see the Marauder I knew hasn't died,"- He gestured towards the leftover on the table. Then his amusement died, souring his features, -"Snape hasn't been properly feeding you, has he?"
Two seconds of Remus' silence was enough of an answer for Sirius.
-"Bloody bastard,"- Sirius snarled, slamming a fist on the table, -"I warned that slimy berk and I told Dumbledore to keep an eye on him! Is that too much of a hassle for the lying all mighty?"
-"Hush, Sirius! Or you'll-"
The door to the front perch was heard being pound open and only one of Marauders nearly jumped out of his footing. Sirius' scowl deepened, however, and he gritted his teeth furiously before bolting out of the kitchen.
-"Snape!"- Remus heard Sirius shout, -"You've crossed the line! First mistreating him and now leaving him to starve? How low can you go!?"
-"I knew you would come crawling back to him, Black. Predictable,"- Snape replied distastefully, -"Never mind him. You seem to have forgotten you are expected at—"
-"To hell with Dumbledore and the Order!"- Bellowed Sirius, -"And to hell with you! I know what you're trying to do; telling him lies and sending me off in stupid errands to keep us apart, but it won't work!"
Then something clicked into place in Remus mind. He finally understood. He stepped out of the kitchen to grab Sirius' forearm and pull him into a heartfelt hug, arms locked around his torso.
Sirius was still, speechless, but eventually he returned the embrace, tighter and pressing Remus against him, -"Go,"- He whispered to his ear, -"I'll wait for you, for as long as it takes."
-"No, not you too…"
-"The Order is important, Sirius. You're aware, aren't you?"- Said Remus.
-"Yes, but...,"- Sirius' arms tightened further, his fingers digging into his clothes. Remus felt a watery snake slithering down his neck to his shoulder, -"You're more important, Remus, and they have to understand that I can't help it…"
Just then, there was a crack outside and Dumbledore strode in, his hands at his back.
-"Sirius, please…,"- He begged, looking at Dumbledore equally in the eyes; begging him to allow Sirius another chance, -"I don't want you getting into unnecessary trouble over me."
Sirius chuckled lowly, -"You're worth all the troubles I've ever gotten into, Moony."
-"This is not the same, Padfoot,"- Remus replied and his chest constricted at his own words, -"This is war. Many more lives than mine are in danger. You have to think about the greater good."
Sirius seemed to want to grouch further, but instead he said: -"Alright, I'll go, but only because you insist,"- He bemoaned and detached himself from Remus slightly, putting some space between them so he could look at his eyes. He smiled, -"You still sound like a damn prefect, you know."
-"How ever am I going to lecture you otherwise?"- Remus quipped.
Sirius' smile grew momentarily, his eyes glossy with unshed tears of nostalgia. Then he was looking at Remus, slightly sternly, -"This goes without saying, Remus, but I would never abandon you. I'll be back. Sometime, I swear."
Remus nodded solemnly, -"I know you will."
-"That's my Moony,"- Sirius smiled fondly and rustled Remus hair, something he hadn't done since their seventh year at Hogwarts. Remus didn't cared they were both too old for such a childish gesture; it felt wonderful and after such a difficult moon, it was eagerly welcomed, -"I know better than anyone how tough you are, but… hang on until then, will you?"- Sirius continued, shooting a furtive glance at Snape behind them, -"And say my name if things go south. Don't hesitate."
Remus nodded again.
Sirius held the back of Remus neck, looking at him with profound fondness and a wry smile, before parting and strolling to Dumbledore and Snape.
-"I see the matter has been taken care of without me interfering,"- Dumbledore said, nodding his thanks at Remus, -"Thank you, Mr. John Lupin."
Remus merely smiled and nodded as well and watched a tad sadly as the three of them Disapparated.
He already missed Sirius Black.
The following morning, Remus was startled into awareness by harsh knocks on the door. It was around five in the morning when Severus Snape had soared in like he owned the place, clapped his hands and ridded Remus of the warm sheets of Sirius' bed that were comfortably shrouding his body.
-"Up,"- He barked, his wand ready, -"Let us test your leg. I see no reason why, since you are still leaving, but Dumbledore continued to insist."- A stubborn old man very nearly escaped his pale lips as he pinched the bridge of his crooked nose.
-"Leaving?"- Remus sat up groggily, wiping the stickiness in his eyes with the underside of his palms, -"Where?"
Severus didn't answer, and Remus shouldn't have expected him to. He swept his wand in the air and Remus' trousers rolled up to expose the once crater-like wound above his knee. The bandages came off next and this time, Remus didn't look away or felt nauseous; it wasn't as deep, but it was still vividly red and open. He gulped as Severus bent to critically observe it. Then he straightened and muttered an incantation.
If Remus wasn't thoroughly awake before, he was now.
Every corner of his body was immediately alert when the familiar pain hit his leg. It was intense and mind-numbing. Remus gasped for air, the toes of his foot and the fingers of his hands digging into Sirius' sheets.
The wicked grin on Severus Snape did not escaped Remus, his dark eyes zestfully watching the werewolf squirming, with clear anticipation.
Quickly, Remus bit his dried lips and groaned internally. He gripped the sheets beneath him tighter with resolve; that he will not give Snape the satisfaction of witnessing his weakness. Not again.
The contractions of agonizing pain were difficult, sending Remus into fits of intense tremors where he took deep breaths under a sweating forehead instead of groaning aloud. White became the knuckles of his fingers as his grip tightened further. It was being done. He could feel it acutely; the remaining sinews of his skin were being magically stitched, stretching and connecting.
Thoughts of Sirius aided his trail; he had visited when Remus was asleep, who was worn from overworking his leg before, and Sirius silently took his place beside the werewolf throughout the night, having left again in the morning.
The pain stopped abruptly, and Remus exhaled loudly, panting as he doubled to clutch at his leg; the wound was gone, leaving another scar tissue to his collection. It was a miracle, he thought, for a cursed wound like that to heal in three days. What kind of spell was Severus casting? How far does his knowledge of the Dark Arts go?
Before Remus could ask any of those questions, the collar of his nightshirt was being wrenched forcibly by a pale fist. Under heavy eyelids, Remus looked up and met once again the scrutinizing gaze of Severus, who was analyzing another gouge under Remus' shoulder. It wasn't deep, but it was long and red, starting from his armpit and running all the way down to the middle of his abdomen. Then the gaze shifted, hovering back over the shoulder and, if possible, Severus' countenance softened slightly; the bite from the werewolf that changed Remus' life was still clearly visible.
The moment didn't last long; Severus scoffed before pointing his wand at the gash and resuming his rigorous treatment. Remus was caught unprepared and his head hurtled back as he emitted a strangled gripe. Luckily for him, it didn't last long before Severus moved lower to his belly and then to his sides. The same unknown spell assaulted Remus' nerve fiber, but he never once vociferated his torment or begged the man behind it to stop.
Severus was looking impressed when he finished, though the only tip of it were his eyes and brows, which were slightly stretched. His mouth line was still straight and flat.
-"I have misjudged you, it seems,"- He murmured, lowly so that Remus could barely hear him, -"I was under the impression that you would say that dog's name by now."
-"Sirius Black, Severus."- Remus corrected breathlessly, his body tired and hunched slightly forward.
Finally, Severus lips twitched in antipathy, but said nothing of the matter, -"You are to resume your duty now, Lupin,"- He stated, summoning Remus' old clothing in his hands, neatly folded by the hands of no one other than Arabella Figgs', and dropping them on Remus' lap, -"It has come to Dumbledore's attention that a group… werewolves are frolicking around in London as of now. He needs you to oust them and convince them to join our cause."- Remus noticed the evident difficult in which he forwarded Dumbledore's order in a civilized manner. It was highly amusing, and Remus stifled a chuckle.
-"Frolicking? I see no harm in that. The next full moon's weeks away,"- Said Remus calmly, shifting his legs to bed's edge, -"We too enjoy a drink and idle chit chat with our peers once in a while. I'll convince them to join us. Nothing more."
Snape's jaw tensed in irritation, -"No, Dumbledore's orders—"
-"I don't think that part is Dumbledore's order, Snape,"- Interrupted Remus and the way Severus' nose flared would have sent anyone on the run for their lives. Not Remus. He stood, far easier than last time, and stretched his arms upward, arching his back in the process. His new scars twinged faintly and his body throbbed dully in the aftermath of Severus' treatment, -"Now, if you excuse me."- With a slight bow of his head in Severus direction, he picked his clothes and made way to the bathroom.
He figured he wasn't allowed the time to properly bathe, but he considered it was just, and very needed too, and stepped in after ridding himself of the present robes. The hot water felt wonderful on his tired body and worn skin and Remus' relaxed into the sensation for a moment, closing his eyes and focusing on how each droplet of water eased his soreness. If only Sirius were…
He breathed through his nose as a shiver ran down his spine at the thought of Sirius. At that moment, he craved his friend's expert massages. They would sit closely together on one of their beds and give each of other massages, Remus' cause being the prior and post transformation soreness and ache, and Sirius' cause being the end of his mother's wrath. Other times, when Remus was too weakened to do things by himself, Sirius would help him undress and bathe too—which ended up with the latter undressing and joining him in the tub.
Sirius' name was at the tip of tongue again, but Remus shook his head and proceeded to rub himself clean of any grime with soap. His calloused fingers were nothing compared to Sirius', but he'll have to make do. He must be in the middle of an assignment, either given by Snape or Dumbledore, he did not know. Sirius' idea of Severus trying to keep them apart seemed absurd. What would he gain from it? And yet…
Aware that his musings will not be answered, not at the moment, Remus stepped out from the shower, feeling positively reinvigorated, after washing his hair and giving himself one last thorough scrubbing on his body; his neck, behind his ears, his legs, under his knees, between his toes, and lastly, his scars.
It never gets easier, he thought, absentmindedly tracing the length of the tissue with his fingers until he pulled his dress shirt over his head as he stood in front of the mirror. He combed his hair as neatly as he could before leaving the bathroom. He packed his belongings in a small suitcase and walked out of Sirius' bedroom, giving it one long and longing look before heading down the stairs.
Arabella was arguing with Mundungus, as per usual, something about having seen him prowling the house when he thought no one was looking, and Fetcher was laughing it off as the ravings of an old woman, all the while sweating down his temple. The discussion ceased when Remus walked into the kitchen; the Squib was over the stove, preparing breakfast, while Alice helped her and her husband, Frank Longbottom, sat reading the Daily Prophet, -"Oh, Remus!"- Arabella beamed when she noticed him, crossing the threshold to hug the werewolf, -"It's been such a long time! How do you feel? You look awfully worn. Why don't you have a seat? Breakfast is nearly ready."
-"Leave 'im be, Figgy. You're badgerin' 'im,"- Fletcher protested, -"Bet all my fair gold that Snape gave 'im a rough time."
-"Piss off, Fletcher!"- Arabella snapped and turned to him, hands on hips, -"Snape wouldn't do such a thing, would he?"- She looked to Remus for reassurance.
-"I'm alright, Miss Figgs. You needn't worry,"- Remus smiled wanly. A seat and breakfast sounded like a very good idea indeed, -"I'd love to stay, but I have to get going."
-"So soon?"- Alice asked, who was serving the breakfast with her wand.
-"I thought you needed five days or so,"- Frank said, closing the newspaper and putting it aside to pick at his plate of eggs and toast, -"I heard Sirius."
-"We all hear 'im, Frankie, didn't we?"- Fletcher corrected, quickly digging into his plate, -"Nearly turned the place upside down too if Dumbledore hadn't stopped him. Bang out of order, tha' one."
-"Did he really…?"- Remus could imagine Sirius causing a ruckus over him. He has done it countless times before in Hogwarts, for even the most trifle of reasons would provoke Sirius; Slytherins who often enjoyed picking on Remus, professors who spoke to him roughly (Slughorn making comments about his poor potions was one), or fellow classmates who obliviously made insensitive remarks about werewolves. His notebook was hexed once into magically writing offensive comments about Remus' sickly appearance. Sirius mounted a long chain of vendetta against the culprits—and a chain of detention in consequence, but he was never too bothered with that because as he had said recently: you're worth all the troubles I've ever gotten into, Moony.
-"He did made an awful lot of fuss, but he was just worried."- Added Arabella.
-"You should've seen him, Remus,"- Alice said, sitting beside her husband, -"I've never seen him like that, so sad and angry and worried at the same time."
-"I thought he was having a breakdown of sorts."- Frank commented.
-"Do you know where he is, by any chance?"- The answer was obvious, but Remus tried anyways.
-"Out on a job, I'd say. He's been comin' in and out a lot lately. Not that I miss 'im, 'course,"- Mundungus replied disinterestedly. He was better off without Sirius in the house, anyways, -"No rest for the wicked, amirite? And Sirius is wicked out of his marbles."
-"I think he's spying on a potential Death Eater in the Ministry, Remus. Dumbledore must've give him another chance."
Remus smiled at that, grateful at Dumbledore for heeding his wish, -"Yes, he must have,"- Then he glanced at his watch and sighed, -"I shall be leaving now then. I'm fairly late…"
-"Not without your breakfast you won't, young man,"- Said Arabella, walking towards him with a wrapped plastic plate on her hands, -"Here, eat it when you have time."
Remus tucked his wand inside his pocket to take the plate, -"Thank you, Arabella."- Then he waved his co-workers goodbye and left the kitchen.
He hadn't made it to the door when he heard two familiar voices arguing outside.
-"I did what I was told, Severus! What more do you want?"- It was Sirius. Remus's heart leapt at his voice and his legs froze, -"No, send someone else. I've done enough work for the Order."
Severus said something in response, but Remus didn't understand.
-"You'll not keep me away from him this time, Severus, and I'll stay to look after him from now on so you can resign for all I care,"- The doorknob turned and in came a seething Sirius with Severus looming behind, looking frustrated, -"I'll treat him properly; I'll feed him with anything he wants—chocolate, no doubt—I'll bring him water, soften his pillow, and—"- His angry face vanished, replaced by a fond and avid smile as he spoke, happy at the prospect of finally being able to spend time with Remus. He stopped, however, when his eyes landed on said man. Slowly, the smile withered and Remus felt a pang of guilt, -"Remus? What are you—where are you going?"
Remus closed his eyes and breathed heavily, -"London. Dumbledore—"
-"Dumbledore what?"- Sirius howled and whipped around to face Snape. Arabella and the others peeked their heads from the kitchen to watch, -"This is not what we agreed! I asked Dumbledore not to dispatch him until—"
-"Until what, he's fully recovered? Look at him."- Severus pointed at Remus.
Sirius looked over his shoulder, observing Remus up and down with that familiar critical look that he always gave Remus after a full moon. Remus returned the gaze apologetically.
-"He is perfectly fit and capable of executing this task,"- Severus said off-handedly, looking hurried, -"Now run along, Black."- He began to reach for Sirius' shoulder to shove him aside.
-"But I asked him and he promised…,"- Sirius looked defeated for a split second before slapping Severus' hand away brusquely and prodding a menacing finger on his chest, -"This is all your doing, you bloody son of a bitch!"
Piteously clicking his tongue, Severus swatted Sirius fingers away with a look of victory and contempt, -"Aw, poor pampered Sirius Black didn't got his frivolous wish this time. It must feel horrible, to know that there are more bigger and important assets than you and your pathetic desires,"- Severus jeered, his sallow face contorting in disgust once more, -"Your little… affectionate reunion will have to be cancelled. Such a pity."
Sirius seemed heartbroken, hopeless, but when he caught Remus' gaze, he was revitalized with burning resolve, -"No."- In the blink of an eye, Sirius had marched towards Remus in two long strides. Before Remus could say anything, Sirius cupped the back of his neck with one hand and placed the other over his cheek. Then he leaned in and kissed him in the mouth.
No shame, right in the center of many eyes.
The world spun in the eyes of Remus Lupin as he felt Sirius' warm lips pressing on his. It was abrupt and definitely took him off guard, but it was sensational. Marvelous. Slowly, his wide eyes closed as he melted into the kiss each passing second of bliss. He didn't care that the members of the Order were watching. He didn't care that Snape was watching either; he didn't care that the man looked very repulsed and fled, his black cloak billowing behind him.
Because this… this is what he wanted for years. This is what he wanted the most and even if it was short and hasty, used to deliver a message, it was perfect, and Remus loved every second of it. He didn't want it to end.
Sirius continued to kiss him, draping his lips over Remus in the most enticing way, and Remus kissed back. He felt his friend's lips curl up into a smirk before he parted with a wet buss. Sirius' hold on his head didn't falter, however, and he rested his forehead against the other, smiling pleasantly, -"Be careful, Remus, and come back safe. Please. I need you, alive. We… have a lot to talk about."
Remus nodded, -"We do, don't we?"
The elder Black chuckled and then sighed, looking a bit more serious, -"Promise me, Remus."
-"I promise,"- Remus vowed, -"You kept yours and now it's my turn."
-"I'll be waiting."- Sirius gave him one last chaste kiss before finally retreating, clearly reluctantly.
Heart hammering wildly in his chest, Remus left Number 12. He heard Sirius asking "what are you all looking at? Go on about your own damn business then!", like nothing out of the ordinary had happened, before he Disapparated, touching his lips with the tips of his fingers.
Finding the werewolves Severus mentioned wasn't too difficult. Remus knew where to look and the qualities that classify a werewolf. They were holed up in a dingy bar, five of them quietly enjoying their drinks and meals. He approached them, still hot under his collar and running his tongue over his lips, and was vastly relieved to see a familiar face; it made the job drastically easier.
-"You made it,"- His acquaintance, Maurice Morris, gestured at him to the others, -"Everyone, Remus John Lupin. The man I've been speaking about for a while now."
The others nodded at him. A pale woman with indigo hair and teal eyes stood, offering her hand, -"Isabella Reyes. Pleasure to meet you,"- She then gestured at a bearded man with thick black eyebrows and amber eyes, slightly hidden by the cap he sported. He eyed Remus suspiciously, -"My husband, Ruben, and my son…,"- Her eyes saddened when she gestured next at a boy, no more than ten years old, who looked somber and morose. He looked a lot like his father, but had the teal eyes of his mother, -"Otto. Say hi, sweetheart."
The boy looked reluctant and apprehensive, like his father, -"Hey."- If Remus hadn't been paying him extra attention, he wouldn't have heard him.
-"He's really… shy and quiet. We've… been through a lot,"- Isabella explained, sighing, -"You understand."
Remus nodded solemnly, smiling at the boy that mirrored him, -"I do,"- He said, -"He quite reminds me of myself."
Isabella chuckled, -"We've known Maurice for a few months now and he told us about you. I asked that we schedule a meeting with you, but he was having trouble contacting you. He said to wait for you here, in London, that you'd soon come by and I'm relieved it worked."
-"I see. Forgive me then. The last moon was… difficult."- He said very quietly.
They tensed; Ruben clutched the cup in hand tighter and Otto shrunk into his chair. Isabella was the only one willingly to respond, -"We know."
Remus noticed the fifth member of the group when he coughed subtly, trying not to let himself be heard. It didn't work; Otto flinched and moved closer to his father, who threw an arm around the boy protectively, -"And you, sir?"- Remus asked.
The figure looked up to reveal a very haggard old man, hiding under many layers of clothes, -"Oh, don't mind me. I'm just an old stray wolf…"- His voice trailed away into a distant sigh.
-"He wouldn't tell us his name or maybe he doesn't remember,"- Isabella murmured to Remus, -"He asked for company during the moons. He's been traveling with us since."
-"That's very generous of you,"- Remus commented, -"It's not easy, generally, but more so if you're alone. You have your family, but others…"
She looked at him curiously and then beckoned him to sit, -"Take a seat, please. Food and drink are on me."
-"There's no need."- Remus replied, showing her his plate of toast and eggs from Arabella.
He sat down and began to eat, idly chatting with Maurice about the Order. Before him was Ruben, giving him a hard look before turning to his wife with worry and alarm, -"Isabella…"- He murmured, but Remus could still hear him.
-"No, Ruben. We need to do it. I want Otto to understand that he's not alone. That there are others like him—like us."- She argued, not sparing a look to her husband or bothering to keep her voice down.
-"We can't trust anyone…"
-"Yes we can and we will."- She insisted.
Maurice spoke up, -"Remus is very trustworthy, like I said. I vouch for him and I recommend you give him a chance."
Ruben's stoic expression softened a little. He seemed to trust Maurice's judgement.
While the others continued to discuss, Remus noticed the difficulty in which Otto was picking his food. Upon further inspection, he found the source of the problem: the poor boy had a deep gash between his thumb and index finger, where he generally holds the cutlery. He kept switching and switching between fingers, and even hands, but it was uncomfortable, and his food spilled.
-"Here,"- Remus reached out for him, but the boy recoiled, -"Will you let me help? Look,"- He tried again, pulling the cuffs of his long-sleeved shirt to expose the scattered scars on his hands; between the fingers, over and under his palm, -"I know how struggling it is, but there are remedies. I can help you."
The boy's teal eyes widened at the sheer number of Remus' marks and his mind seemed to be overworking over the idea of so many injuries. He swallowed and offered his hand. Remus took it in his and retrieved his wand, pointing at the cut and muttering: -"Vulnera Sanetur,"- To close the wound and then,-"Ferula."- To splint it.
Otto watched with amazement.
-"Go on, try moving your fingers,"- And the fingers flicked. The small chuckle that slipped the boy's mouth made Remus feel accomplished, -"The scar will remain, sadly. Cursed wounds cannot heal completely, as I'm sure you know."
He nodded and hesitated before asking more questions surrounding werewolves and the Dark Art, all the while eating his food with ease. Soon, they entered a deep conversation that reminded Remus of young Sirius, who had read many books and asked many question in account for Remus.
-"You… you know a lot,"- Otto said and he fidgeted with his shirt, pondering on whether or not he should ask the next question, -"How… how old were you?"
-"When I was bitten? Four."
-"F—four?!"- He exclaimed and even Ruben seemed aghast, -"But how did you do it? What happened?"
-"I made the grave mistake of walking outside under a sky lit by a full moon. I was young and ignorant, and I paid the price. I continue to do so,"- Narrated Remus, excluding the bit about his father, -"Since, I was locked in a cellar until I was grown enough to look after myself."
-"Maurice told us that you enrolled Hogwarts,"- Ruben inquired and Remus was surprised, -"Werewolves aren't allowed to study in there. How did you do that?"
And thus, began Remus' recount of his years at Hogwarts and it was enough to gain the werewolves' favor. Then, they were open to discuss other matters regarding the Order.
Like he had told Severus, Remus didn't shooed them from London, but only spoke to them of the Order's plans and ideals. They weren't too fascinated or keen on joining, but Remus managed to persuade them that Voldemort's Death Eaters were no better. They decided to think about his offer, but to gain their trust, Remus was asked to spend the next full moon with them. He accepted and together, after sharing a few drinks, they departed to an isolated woodland, banned for humans, where they would not be heard or seen.
The journey and preparation for the incoming full moon were long and tedious and Remus thought of nothing but Sirius Black and the kiss as the weeks went by. He wanted to go back, to return to his arms and kiss him more, but he had a mission he needed to complete. He promised Otto he'd spend the full moon with them.
On the awaited month and day, the group casted a few spells for safety measures before settling down, naked bodies aching and shuddering from the cold. They built a campfire and sat around it, quietly waiting for the moon to arise.
-"I've never met a woman being a werewolf in my life,"- Remus said, hugging himself and cozying up to the fire. Even though it wasn't the first time he has transformed with others, he still felt a little self-aware and uneasy being naked among others, -"Much less a Muggle, at the same time. I'm curious, how did it happen?"
Isabella had Otto in her arms, who rested his head on her chest and looked more calm with Remus there, -"Ruben. He was a werewolf when we had Otto. We… we took all the necessary precautions and the chances of our baby contracting lycanthropy were slim. But… but still he…,"- She breathed through her mouth, hugging the boy closer, -"I was bitten on his first moon. I was careless. Ruben had warned me, but I didn't want to… to leave him…"- She buried her face in her son's hair and wept, her shoulders hitching and shaking.
Remus wanted to comfort her but the violent spasms began and as his body began to transform on the moist grass, Remus thought of Sirius; of his happy smile when he entered Number 12, of his glossy grey eyes and his red lips.
Then he thought of the kiss.
Screams of agony echoed in the dark around him, but Remus' resisted, strengthened by Sirius' image. He will not let the wolf hinder him, he will not let it thwart his reunion with Sirius, and he will not let it ruin this month that had turned out to be perfect.
And as he howled into the dark sky… Remus continued to think of Sirius.
Dewy grass tickled his back as Remus' roused from his slumber. He sat up and the easiness in which he moved surprised him—a wave of vertigo washed him for a moment, but nothing more. He looked down to his naked body and found himself clean, minus the pre-existing scars of course, and a few scratches here and there. Self-pride was winning out over the usual post-transformation misery; he touched himself and nearly emitted a squeal of joy when he found no bumps or bruises. There was always the dull ache of his bones, but it was nothing a good night's rest could amend.
Everything was turning out well until he heard sobs and cries nearby. Then Remus remember that he didn't transformed alone.
He stood and trotted as far as his legs could take him to the group of werewolves he had transformed with. Two of them were clustered around an unmoving figure on the grass and when Remus approached, his heart sunk at the sight.
It was Otto, bloodied and naked, maimed by his own hands.
-"Do something, Ruben!"- Isabella was shouting, bent over the boy. His head was tucked in her lap, -"He's bleeding… everywhere!"
-"I… I can't…,"- Ruben whined, his body looking as nearly cleaned as Remus', excluding his left arm; it was fractured, -"My… my wand hand… I can't move it…"
-"He'll die if we don't do something!"- Isabela yelled again, -"Oh God, Otto…"
-"Allow me,"- Remus knelt between them and placed two fingers on the boy's neck. There was a heartbeat, but it was weak. He looked at the woman, keeping his fingers steady on the boy, -"Isabella, can you fetch my possessions? I need my wand. Fast."
She nodded vigorously and returned moments later with Remus' wand; they had left their possessions somewhere out of reach from the wolves and from the time she took, Remus deduced they must have wandered far. Quickly, he began his spellcasting, but the wounds were so deep he needed another hand, -"Where's Maurice?"
-"Chased after the old man,"- Replied Ruben, wincing, and taking his place beside his son and holding his hand with his good arm, -"What… what happened?"
-"We wandered far from the agreed location. It's no one's fault,"- Said Remus between incantations, -"Vulnera Sanetur, Vulnera Sanetur…,"- He closed wound by wound as best as he could, -"Ferula, Ferula…"- And then bandaged them up to stop the bleeding.
-"Otto, he… he seemed excited, started running and disappeared. He must have panicked when he got lost and… and…"
-"Brackium Emendo! Episkey!"- Remus casted, mending the broken bones of the boy's arms and healing bruises and scratches, and wrapping them with bandages, -"I can heal most of his injuries, but he'll have to be taken to the hospital,"- Another heartbeat. Slow breathing, -"Otto, can you hear me?"
The boy opened his eyes slowly and Isabella wept, -"Otto, sweetheart!"
-"Mom, it… it hurts…"
-"I know, sweetheart, but it'll be alright,"- She reassured him, wiping his sodden hair from his forehead, -"Remus healed the worst."
Said man was searching for a Calming Draught in his suitcase, -"Here. Try to sit him up,"- Isabella complied, lifting her son so Remus could pour the potion down his mouth. Otto swallowed, aided by Remus gentle ministrations, -"That's good. You're doing great, Otto."
After giving the young boy a few finishing touches, Remus turned to Ruben and tapped the man's shoulder with his wand, muttering the same incantation. The bones clicked, and Ruben griped, clutching it firmly.
-"This should be enough to Apparate at St. Mungo's, if Maurice doesn't return."- Said Remus.
Just then, Maurice appeared through the bushes, fully dressed and stained with blood that wasn't his and looking very forlorn. Before anyone could ask, -"He's… dead. I—I tried to… but I…"
-"Where is he?"- Isabella asked.
-"Buried him. Seemed the right thing,"- His eyes scanned the others and noticed Otto, -"The boy! Is he…?"
-"He's alright, Maurice,"- Replied Isabella with a smile on her face, -"Thanks to Remus."
The defeated man looked at Remus and his gloomy countenance brightened a bit, -"Remus…"
-"Maurice, can you take them to St. Mungo's? Otto needs a professional."- Remus pleaded.
-"You're the nearest to a professional we can get."- Commented Ruben, and for the for time since they met, he smiled gratefully at him.
-"I—" – Remus was flattered, feeling his ears hot, -"But he needs—"
-"Yes, Remus. We know."- Isabella chuckled, amused at his fluster.
-"I'll take them. Don't worry. Just… look after yourself now."- Maurice said, taking his wand out and touching both wife and husband, while they held their son's hands.
-"I'm alright."- Remus replied, standing up on wobbly legs. All the magic he casted seemed to have taken a toll on him. Then he realized he was naked and flushed more as the others observed him.
Maurice didn't agree, -"You look… unscathed, but you should lie down. I'll come back for you once I drop them at the hospital."
-"No, that won't be necessary,"- He dressed up with his guarded clothes after pulling them out of his suit, -"I need to go back to the Order. Dumbledore's expecting my report and…,"- He paused and smiled fondly at the thought of returning to Sirius, -"There's someone important waiting for me."
He dusted himself flimsily and before he could raise his wand to Disapparate, Ruben called him, -"You can tell this Dumbledore you succeeded,"- He smiled at Remus again, -"We're in."
Remus nodded, feeling a wave of pride blossoming in his chest, -"Thank you."- He turned, gripped his wand tightly and swallowed. He focused all his thoughts on Number 12, on Sirius' handsome face, wrung with distraught and worry, and exhaled. He raised his wand high and Disapparated.
Number 12, Grimmauld Place swirled into reality before Remus eyes and he found himself in the living room. He looked around and found the place as tidy as it was before he left. There was only one difference; in the silky couch laid Sirius Black, snoring lowly with his head resting on the armrest, his body curled and swathed with a deep velvet sheet.
He was mumbling in his sleep, many incomprehensively, except…, -"Remus…"
Remus considered not waking him up for a moment, but Sirius wouldn't want that. He also couldn't waste this opportunity, when the other members of the Order were asleep, and it was just them.
-"I'm here, Sirius."- Remus made to kneel in front of the couch and his friend, but his legs quaked in exhaustion and gave in. He fell, but it was cushioned by the soft surface of the couch.
The disruption caused Sirius to awaken with a startle. Grey eyes widened with alarm until he registered Remus, -"Remus? You're here,"- He murmured and his palm flitted over Remus' cheek, -"Is it… really you?"
-"Yes, it's me,"- Remus exhaled, closing his eyes and weighting his heavy head to the touch of Sirius, -"I'm back."
Sirius traced Remus' lips with his thumb, -"Hmm, let me see…,"- Inching his head forward, Sirius Black closed the space between them to meet Remus' lips with his in a short, chaste kiss. He hummed approvingly before pulling back, smiling, -"It is you. Are you alright? How was it?"
-"Care to elaborate, Padfoot?"
Sirius chuckled, his thumb caressing Remus' lips again, -"The moon, Moony."
Remus nibbled on his bottom lips, flushing hotly under his collar, and mustered enough courage to say the first line that came to his mind, -"Don't you want to find out, by yourself?"- He wasn't a flirt, but he thought it was a pretty good try.
And Sirius' response was exactly what he was hoping for. The man's cheeks reddened and a broad, suggestive smirk bloomed on his handsome face, -"Oh Remus, I always knew there was a naughty little flirt somewhere inside you,"- Then he took Remus' face in his hands, -"I was hoping you'd say that, you know."- He pulled Remus for another kiss, this one a little more deeper and passionate.
Before Remus could kiss back, Sirius stood and hefted the werewolf in his stout arms, like a recently married couple and with an ease that surpassed Remus.
-"S—Sirius!"- Remus stammered, flummoxed and flustered at Sirius' unsurprising audacity, trying fruitlessly to push himself off, -"What are you—?"
-"Shh. It's just us, finally, but you wouldn't want the others to wake up, do you?"- Sirius whispered, his grip on Remus legs tightening for emphasis.
-"Good, because I don't want this moment to go to waste,"- Said Sirius, scuttling up the stairs to his room, -"I've been waiting for this… for too long."
Sirius dropped Remus before turning and closing the door, locking it shut with a wave of his wand. He returned his attention to Remus and crossed the distance between them to peel open Remus' clothing.
-"Now, let me see…,"- His fingers were shaking. Remus could feel them, anxiously popping button after button, but after undressing his torso and seeing it unscathed, save by a few scratches, Sirius' worry vanished, replaced by glossy eyes and a bright, relieved smile, -"Remus, you… you did good. I'm… God, I'm so glad. How did you do it?"
Remus face warmed and a simper suffused his otherwise tired outlook, -"I just… I thought of you, all the time."
Sirius exhaled through his nose, biting his lower lip, as if trying to hold himself back, -"Remus, you're so…"- He couldn't finish, driven by a burning desire as lunged forward for another kiss. This one was longer, more passionate and systematic, and Remus reveled in it, matching Sirius' pace on his lips. The werewolf felt Sirius' pushing his robes off his shoulder to touch his scarred skin. Remus would've felt uncomfortable and restless if it were another person fondling his skin, but Sirius was different. His touch was loving and caring as he felt every imperfection; every married piece of tissue and ridges Sirius knew so well after seven years of careful tending and protection.
While touching, Sirius came upon the few scratches on Remus' body, causing the werewolf to hiss and grimace. Sirius broke the kiss with a happy twinkle in his grey eyes, -"I see you still need me."- He said excitedly.
He didn't wait for Remus to reply and pulled him down to his bed, beckoning him to sit in front of him. Remus crossed his legs and watched Sirius taking a seat in front of him. Instead of reaching for his wand, Remus saw his old friend placing two steady hands on his shoulders, -"You're not going to use your wand?"- He asked, perplexed.
Sirius shook his head and his smile grew, -"No,"- Slowly, he pursed his lips and leaned down to dab at the nearest reddish scratch under Remus' collarbone, -"Love should be enough."
Remus shivered at the contact and then relaxed as he felt Sirius' familiar magic coursing his body and healing his wounds. It was miraculous, he thought, for Sirius to perform magic without a wand and using instead a strong emotion to cast his spells.
Dumbledore was right: love is the most powerful source of magic.
One by one, the lacerations on Remus body closed as Sirius moved his lips. They were warm on Remus' skin, pleasant, and he felt an overflowing surge of passion and affection in his chest that threatened to explode, making his heart beat faster and faster. He came to the realization that, when he underwent the transformation last night, it was love which aided him, kept him strong and held the wolf away.
Love for Sirius.
He loved Sirius.
Soon, Sirius' lips were on his (although there were no scratches there), and they were kissing fervently, with an ardor so intense that they lost control of themselves; Sirius pushed Remus on his back and Remus stripped Sirius of his clothes and was reciprocating his friend's previous devoted touches. Lips bruised, and steamy moans permeated the air as the kiss intensified. Sirius was ravishing Remus' mouth with his long tongue, teeth clanking and electrifying their bodies. Remus bit back on the other's bottom lip, causing him to emit a guttural groan. They parted, breathless and sweating.
-"I love you, Remus,"- Sirius spoke between pants, holding Remus' face and caressing his jaw fondly with his thumb, -"I love you, so damn much, and I regret not realizing it and telling you sooner. I should've realized that all my overprotectiveness and possessiveness towards you wasn't because you were my best and closest friend with a hapless furry little problem…,"- He paused, giving Remus a long sentimental look, -"… it was because I loved you."
Remus smiled, feeling complete and the happiest man alive after hearing those words; words he had wanted to hear for many years, -"I always thought you and I had something more than just a friendly relationship."
-"Really?"- Sirius was mildly surprised and relieved at the same time, -"I thought so too."
-"It took us quite some time, huh?"
-"Yes, sadly,"- Sirius nodded and, for a short moment, looked guilty, -"I'm to blame for that too, leading you on and then snogging some girl in a corner."
Remus sighed, -"Sirius, don't—"
-"I was… scared. I've never felt so strong about someone before, much less a bloke—and you weren't any bloke either: you were Remus Lupin,"- Long fingers continued to caress Remus' jaw, his index and middle finger grazing lovingly the room behind Remus' ear, -"I felt murderous, Remus. I swear, I wanted to kill whoever laid a finger on your hair. I was scared of that, afraid that I would end up hurting you instead of protecting you. I didn't want that, so I… I tried to ignore how I felt about you and that included snogging chicks,"- Sirius laughed and it was sunny and genuine, -"Didn't help much, did it?"
Remus laughed in return, -"No, I don't think it did."
-"You're everything to me, Remus,"- Sirius continued after sharing a laugh, more sternly, -"I haven't changed much, you know. I still want to murder Severus for smirching you unjustly."
-"I was afraid you would, in fact,"- Remus replied and placed his palm over Sirius, -"Sirius, I… I was scared too—of the things you would do for me and how far you'd go to protect me from harm. I wanted to believe you thought more of me than a friend, and I lived with the fantasy all those years, because I love you too and without you, I'm… I'm nothing. I—I owe you, so much."
Sirius shook his head vehemently, -"You don't owe me a thing, Moony,"- Then he stopped and grinned seductively, -"Well, maybe a kiss or two, wouldn't you say?"
-"Whatever you want, Padfoot."- Remus replied huskily, hitching his head to kiss Sirius lips once more.
They kissed, and kissed, and kissed, until they became too aroused to resist rubbing their middles and moaning in unison to the sweet sensation of friction. Then they rubbed, and rubbed, and rubbed, all the while touching their bodies thoroughly, until Sirius stopped and looked at his lover with an intense fire in his eyes. His erection was pocking wantonly against Remus' own hardness, -"Remus,"- The canine Animagus croaked, -"Can you give me more? I want you. Bad."
Remus could only nod as his mouth was too occupied groaning openly to the feel of Sirius' phallus on him. He was distracted, looking up to the Gryffindor red paint of the room, but he could hear Sirius unfastening the shackles of his pants and then feel his own being pulled down until he was laid bare. The breeze cooled his skin, but warmed when Sirius' palms slid up and down the length of his legs. Every time he reached up, his lover would stroke his member, causing Remus to vibrate violently. He bucked his hips, urging Sirius to indulge him, and the other was keen to comply.
Without further ado, Sirius spread Remus' legs, gripped his stiff shaft and pushed into his tight pucker. The moment Remus felt the invasion, his body quivered and arched slightly. He winced, growing louder the more of Sirius he swallowed. Sirius was gentle, but he didn't stop; he continued to push in until he hilted, and then halted, giving his lover time to adjust. As he did, Sirius bent to kiss and lick Remus' ear, biting his lobe and sucking it between his teeth. Then, their mouths rejoined, kissing messily between breathless gasps, until Remus disengaged to announce that he was ready.
-"I'll try not to go too hard on you, Moony, considering you're still fresh from the full-moon,"- Sirius confessed, looking a little apologetic. Or trying to, buttering up by caressing Remus' chin, -"But forgive me if I don't. I've been waiting for this for too long and I can't resist—I might even lose control of myself. I'll make it up for you in the morning. Promise."
Remus chuckled and clung his arm around his beloved's shoulder, -"Try me. I might surprise you."
-"You always did."
Sirius began his motions, steady and light, and Remus had to bite his lips to prevent himself from whimpering too loudly, momentarily forgetting that they were not alone in Grimmauld Place, but Sirius pressed a thumb between them, forcing them apart.
-"No,"- He said, still moving his hips, -"I want to hear you. Relax, I've charmed the door."
The werewolf did relax and gaped his mouth to openly whine, like Sirius desired, at the heat building in his belly; intensifying when Sirius started to move faster. Instinctively, Remus walls tightened around Sirius' shaft and this one groaned clamorously. Spurred by the reaction, Remus moved too, easing Sirius' efforts by grinding himself on his rod. It was much appreciated, he realized, when Sirius' gripped his hips and thrusted more frantically. Now, his manhood would emerge with a wet pop and then Sirius would shove it back inside with more energy and avidity, hitting Remus' prostate each time. In and out, in and out, and Remus' body was wagging as he clung to Sirius and moaned vociferously, his nails digging in his skin. The bed creaked, shrilling, and the sounds (including the lovers' grunts and moans) inundated the room in a perverse way, but neither cared enough to slow down, much less stop.
Although his sore body was protesting, Remus felt heavenly bliss each time Sirius slammed himself home; the heat was growing, boiling his insides with incoming release, and with it, the peak of pleasure.
-"Sirius…,"- Remus panted, feeling pleasantly suffocated by the hot and sweat-musty air, -"Merlin, Padfoot…"
-"Close?"- Sirius slurred, never ceasing his penetrating raid, and by the twitch of his shaft, Remus knew he was close too.
Remus only nodded weakly, mouth rendered useless by another assault on his prostrate as he moaned again. In the next second, his mind numbed as a hot wave of pleasure overwhelmed his senses; his body trembled and heaved with ripples of thrills and he released his white spurt all over Sirius' chest, who helped him ride the orgasm with the a few last insertions before he too reached his limit, stuffing Remus inside completely.
They slumped over the bed, dead tired but satisfied at having their lust satiated.
-"That was brilliant,"- Sirius stated, licking his lips hungrily as he looked down upon his beloved, -"But I'm in the mood for more. We still got a couple of hours before morning. What do you say?"
Remus sighed, and although sleep was very much needed, he nodded, unable to resist the puppy eyes Sirius was giving him, -"Yes."
The next morning was lazy, and even though Sirius and Remus very well heard the noises downstairs, neither left the comfort of their shared bed.
It was too strenuous to leave, Remus bemoaned, as the softness of the surface nearly swallowed his heavy and worn body. He was somnolent, having stayed up late last night to the rough but passionate (or too passionate) ministrations of Sirius Black. Merlin's beard, he could not fathom the scope of Sirius' stamina. He had been warned, by none other than Sirius himself, that he may not be able to control himself and, after hours and hours of shagging seamlessly, Remus thought Sirius lost control more than once. His abused, throbbing backdoor was proof enough, even though Remus wasn't always the bottom. Oh yes, he penetrated Sirius as well, but his lover didn't tire as he did.
In any case, Remus was glad to have a moment of recess, surprisingly undisturbed by other members. As the saying goes, however, all good things come to an end and Remus sat up, causing Sirius' arm to fall loosely from where it was once snuggled between Remus'. The werewolf stretched, his tense muscles spasming and jerking; Remus winced and caught Sirius' attention.
Alarmed and deeply guilty, Sirius sat up too and positioned himself behind his boyfriend. He buried his chin in the crook of the other's neck and quickly started to give Remus his expert massages, along with pecks of his lips, -"I'm sorry,"- He murmured in his ear, his naked body pressing behind while his hands worked on Remus' shoulders, -"Please forgive me, Moony. I'm sorry."
Remus merely sighed in delight, closing his eyes and listening to Sirius unending apologies. He had missed the rubdown too.
-"I'm so sorry. I said I wouldn't be able to control myself, and I tried, but seeing you like that…,"- He continued, now rubbing and pressing his thumbs on Remus' shoulder blades, and further down his spine, -"You have to forgive me. I didn't—"
-"Enough, Padfoot,"- Remus interrupted, lifting a hand to place atop Sirius', who was now hugging him, -"You warned me and you asked me if I was willing for more. I accepted, knowing the consequences. And in any case, I endured pretty well, didn't I?"
Sirius chortled, tightening his lock on Remus, -"You're right, of course,"- He kissed Remus' neck, -"And yes, you did held on brilliantly. I admit, I was surprised,"- Then he sighed and, if possible, held Remus closer to him, as if he'd drift away if he let go, -"I want to apologize, nevertheless. Aside from wanting you, badly, I wanted to relish the moment for as long as I could. I'm… I'm worried, Remus, with the war and Voldemort. With the werewolves and the spying,"- His voice crackled next, -"I don't—God, Remus, I don't want to lose you. I can't lose you."
Remus understood then that it was more than just a sexual desire what drove Sirius last night, -"Sirius, listen to me,"- He turned around to face his anxious lover, taking his face into his hands and wiping a few tears, -"I know it doesn't look good. I'm scared too, but if we stay together, everything will be alright, because love… love is might. It's more powerful than anything else, is it not? Voldemort doesn't have that. We do."
Sirius smiled tenderly and nodded, seemingly less worried and more positive, -"Yes. Yes, it is. You're right again,"- He kissed Remus' lips, -"And I love you. Nothing will break that."
Remus kissed back, -"Together, then?"
That was lovely wasn it. tears.
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