Disclaimer: HP isn't mine.
Marcella Lupin waited for night - waited and dreaded.
She was sitting on a folding chair in the cellar, hugging a shawl around her shoulders and shivering despite its warmth. It wouldn't be long now...
Merlin, how she hated this.
She waited, and she dreaded.
Then it began.
First came the whimpers, soft and drawn out. Marcella shut her eyes tightly, praying to whatever gods there might be that maybe this time it would be different, that maybe, maybe...
Marcella's senses were painfully heightened. Every rustle, every clink, every cry and groan was as loud as a shout, a scream. She gritted her teeth until her head began to buzz and fiercely willed away the tears gathering in her eyes. Her fingers dug into her palms, leaving her to absently note that, for once, having short nails came in handy.
The moan caught her attention immediately. Her eyes sprang open, and she flinched as if she had been slapped. The sight that met her fearful gaze chilled her.
A small boy, no older than eight, was chained heavily to the cellar wall. He was beautiful, her little Remus, even with tears streaking his face. He was struggling wildly against the chains, more out of pain than desire for freedom. No, he didn't want to get loose. He knew what would happen if he did, and her little boy was far too pure a soul to ever wish his own fate upon another.
"I'm here," she whispered, barely loud enough for Remus to hear. Oh, how she longed to gather him in her arms, to kiss and cuddle his pain away, to rock him like an infant until he fell into a dreamless, painless sleep. Just to hug him...but she didn't dare.
"Hurts..." The word was wrung unwillingly from between Remus' gritted teeth.
"I know, love," Marcella said quietly, blinking back tears. She couldn't cry. She had to stay strong for her little boy.
She could tell he was trying desperately not to scream. Oh, her brave boy! "It'll be okay," Marcella lied, doing what she could to comfort her son. "We made sure the chains wouldn't break this time. It'll all be over before you know it."
And, damn him, he looked at her so trustingly, so lovingly.. Her heart cried out from within her.
She just couldn't take this.
The whimpers were growing louder now, as Remus continued to thrash in agony. Soft, fluffy fur began to grow on his bared skin, spreading like a gray plague over him. His muscles rippled, and he began to...change.
That's when the screaming began.
Marcella couldn't stand to watch, she just couldn't! But she refused to look away. She wouldn't let her son suffer this alone. Not while she had breath in her lungs and blood in her veins.
His limbs shrank and his jaw began to jut and elongate. He was entirely covered by a dense downy gray now, his honey-gold hair gone. His ears slid up his head, prompting howls of pain.
Even when he was fully changed, it didn't end. The newly formed wolf pup, chained to the cold stone wall, growled and whimpered as it scrabbled to be free. Mindless... Nothing of her little boy remained.
He was gone, as surely as snow melts in the summer.
She couldn't hold the tears at bay any longer. Burying her fists in her thick ashy hair, she sobbed like a newborn, the pain overflowing her heart, falling from her eyes. She was lost, so lost...
Strong arms suddenly enveloped her, pulling her towards a broad chest. For a moment she resisted, but gave in almost immediately, burying her face in her husband's neck. "I just can't take this," she whispered.
His arms tightened around her. "We'll pull through," Caesar Lupin assured her, iron in his voice. "He has us and we have him, and we'll get through this."