Disclaimer: All characters herein and the original plot line of Harry Potter belong to the brilliant J. K. Rowling, not to me.

Warning: This story contains SLASH, or malexmale romance. Consider this a fair warning, and please don't flame me. If you don't like slash, or don't like the idea of Sirius Black and Remus Lupin as a couple, I would suggest that you press the 'Back' button now. If you're still reading this, then I hope you enjoy the story!

Author's Note: This story goes from time period to time period, from the Marauders days to past the end of the fifth book. If I make any mistakes when talking about actual events, people, or things from the actual HP series, please let me know. I've tried to research as thoroughly as possible, but I'm certainly not perfect. Please leave a review if you can to tell me what you think of this. Thank you!

Parallel

Chapter One: Paralogism

Paralogism (pe ral' e' jiz m) n. 1. an argument violating principles of valid reasoning; 2. a conclusion reached through such an argument

Remus J. Lupin felt like dying. His entire body was torn. Bloody tracks were everywhere, on his legs, arms, torso, and even on his face. The wolf had been particularly vicious this time, he noted dimly through the pain. And determined as well. Usually his face escaped such punishment, since it was difficult for a quadruped to reach its head with its own claws.

He didn't even try to get up. It would be worthless. At least now his physical state was more in accord with his mental one. It was good, in a way. His wounds took his mind off of certain things that even the wolf seemed unable to forget.

It was very odd. Very odd indeed. For once, Lupin could remember some of what he had done during the full moon. Although it made sense, somehow, he realized. The wolf had always been brave enough to do what shy, retiring Remus Lupin had not. Last night, it had certainly expressed its grief more adequately than he ever could. It had screamed its loneliness and its hurt in a way that was impossible to misinterpret.

Lupin lay, eyes closed, on the hard, bare floor. He still felt like screaming, but the wolf had howled his throat raw. He couldn't move and he couldn't speak. Even breathing caused him terrible agony. He was a bloody mess, literally.

If he had been thinking more clearly, he would have understood what the animal within him had tried to do. He'd stopped it hunting, by locking himself inside this room, had barred it from the forest. It had lost its friends, its pack, its mate. There was nothing else left for it, and for once, its human self had agreed completely. So the wolf had tried its best to kill itself.

A single tear streaked down Lupin's face. The salt burned in his cuts. He flinched, and immediately regretted it. That tiny bit of motion sent even worse pain through every inch of him. He had thought it unbearable before; now he was feeling the true meaning of the word 'unbearable'.

He couldn't help himself, now. Images of James, Lily, Peter, and...Sirius. They flooded his mind, and there was guilt, blinding, awful guilt, over how he had never suspected. Oh, god help him, he missed Sirius, wanted him there so badly. Remus Lupin was tortured, inside and out, but the mental pain was so much worse. Disregarding the physical completely, he howled his anguish as the wolf had done not more than an hour ago.

Then he passed out. Conveniently enough, he was already on the floor.

When Remus Lupin awoke, the pain of his cuts had faded to a dull ache. Well, dull by comparison. He stood slowly, carefully. He closed his eyes as his muscles protested. When he was finally able to rise completely, he began to take account of all his injuries. His legs were all right; at least no tendons or ligaments had been ripped, and no bones had been broken. His left arm had also escaped severe damage, but his right arm was...he winced as he dared a glance at it. The bone of his forearm was protruding through the skin.

"Damn," he murmured. Then he gasped and barely avoided falling again. His throat felt as though he had drunk some kind of acid. Lupin stood still for a moment, swaying unsteadily, trying to recover. If he could get to the healing potions and his wand, which he'd placed outside the bomb shelter- type building...

A second shock came when he recalled the events of last night. His first reaction, strangely enough, was embarrassment over his loss of control, even though no one had been around to hear or see him. That was one thing he'd always prided himself on, even in his Hogwarts days: his self-control. He had an iron will when it came to his own reactions and emotions, a will he'd trained since he was young. It was understandable, given that he lost any form of restraint he possessed every month. He rarely showed any strong feelings. As he himself had told his friends when queried: "I turn into an unthinking animal during the full moon. I would rather not be one all of the time."

Lupin remembered that he probably shouldn't stand there berating himself. He shuffled painfully to the door, and clumsily undid the Muggle-style locks with his left hand. He opened the door slowly, and then stepped outside. He blinked against the sudden, bright sunlight.

The grass felt good on his self-mutilated feet. He let out a shuddering sigh. His mental pain hadn't faded at all, but at least it wasn't so fresh and raw. Now it was just a sense of frustration and helplessness- 'I can do nothing'. Nothing. Three of his best friends were dead. The man he loved was responsible.

Remus Lupin forced himself to think this through calmly, objectively. One part of his mind was crying like a child. He ignored it. I am a sensible man, he told himself firmly. First, I will heal myself. Then, I will go back to my flat. I will continue my life. People continue their lives.

He reasoned that this, his first full moon in years without the companionship of Sirius at least, would be the hardest. Surely it wouldn't be such hell next time. The wolf would deal with it. It had been alone before. He would deal with it, like any rational human being would.

Lupin managed to walk the three steps that would bring him to the potions, and to his wand. The outdoor shelf they were on was at exactly the right height for him to reach them with almost no effort. He twisted off the cork of one of the potion vials as quickly as he could, then gratefully drank it.

The relief was immediate and complete for his throat. His other pains receded to a level that most people could tolerate, even people who didn't have quite as much experience with being hurt as he did. Then he used his wand to heal the more severe damage: his broken arm and some of the deeper cuts.

Lupin thanked his lucky stars that Lily had convinced him to have this place built and well stocked with healing potions, then regretted the thought. "Lily, James, Peter," he whispered. "I'm so sorry." And what lucky star was he thanking? Certainly not the one he'd always thought of before.

He had almost convinced himself, that horrible first day, that Sirius, his Padfoot, was innocent. Surely the laughing, joking boy he'd known at school could not have perpetrated such a heinous crime. Surely the sweet, loving man he'd been living with would not have killed their three best friends, would not have blown Peter apart, would not have betrayed Lily and James, would not have betrayed them all.

It was true, though. There was no other logical explanation. Sirius Black had killed them, as certainly as Voldemort had. Remus J. Lupin abruptly sat down hard on the ground, desperately working to contain himself. His head saw it all in a logical, reasonable manner. His head had already coldly reconciled itself with the truth.

His heart was still screaming.

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Remus Lupin awakened slowly, as he always did after the night of the full moon. Unlike many times during his earlier years, however, he now woke up feeling warm and safe. He blinked his eyes open, smiling as he marveled at the lack of pain. It was still a pleasant shock when he came awake this way.

The warmth was also very nice. It came from the overlarge black dog beside him, who, in a typical fashion, was still asleep. Although Remus had always been a cat person, he liked this dog very much. Careful not to disturb the dog, he stood up.

Remus glanced around the Shrieking Shack, and saw that it was empty except for them. He grinned. James and Peter could be thoughtful when they tried...or rather, James could. Peter was a bit too dense sometimes to be overly thoughtful.

Of course, Remus mused, it could have been an act of self-preservation on their part. Madam Pomfrey had definitely started to get angry the last time they'd all come in past noon from 'fetching him'. She'd called it, 'using poor Remmie's plight to get out of honest work', he remembered.

"Moony?" The black dog had changed back to its real body, that of a handsome, if rather disheveled, sixteen-year-old boy. "You're up already?"

"It's almost eleven, Padfoot," Remus said, as sternly as he could manage.

"Early," Sirius Black groaned, closing his eyes again. "Come back down here, it's bloody cold."

"You're just lucky I'm off school the day after the full moon," Remus informed him affectionately. "And," he added, "lucky that Dumbledore lets all of you take off, too."

"Very lucky," Sirius agreed sleepily. "Now come back and keep me warm, there's a good werewolf."

"I need to go my robes on, Padfoot dear."

Sirius' eyes snapped open and looked him up and down. "No, you don't really."

"Yes, I do," Remus argued. "If we're not back up at the castle soon, Madam Pomfrey will think there's something wrong. She's never trusted you to fetch me, anyway. She'll come up here and find me stark naked, and then what?"

"We could start snogging," Sirius suggested. "Then she'd leave us alone, I expect."

"Oh, brilliant," Remus laughed. "I think she'd probably hex you, if you started doing that."

"Hex me?" Sirius asked, feigning hurt. "What about you?"

"No, she still thinks of me as 'poor little Remmie'," the blond boy said. "She'll think you're taking advantage of her sweet innocent patient."

"I don't know how you have this much energy," Sirius complained. "Professor said werewolves are supposed to be lethargic after the full moon."

"I am tired," Remus said. "But I have five rolls of parchment due for Muggle Studies tomorrow, and staying up here all day won't get that done."

"Sometimes I wonder who you love better, me or your bloody schoolwork," Sirius grumbled. He yawned and stretched. "Thought you already had that done, Moony."

"Well, it's written," Remus admitted, then frowned playfully. "But I didn't finish checking it over again because someone kept interrupting me in the evenings..."

"Checking it over?" Sirius cried indignantly. "What's more important, reading what you already wrote about toasters-"

"Refrigerators," the other boy corrected gently.

"Whichever," Sirius said, rolling his eyes. "Refrigerators or yours truly?"

"You, of course."

"Well then!" Sirius exclaimed triumphantly. "You can write about refrigerators and toasters any old time, but you can't always snog with me, now can you?"

Remus was tempted to say something about Sirius' overactive hormones, and that his essay was on a bit more of a deadline, but he didn't. He just shook his head. "I'm getting my robes now."

Sirius seemed to realize that Remus was actually going to walk out on him. "Oh, but dear, sweet, darling little Remmie," he began, but it was too late.

"Stop being such a prat!" Remus called, having already gone out the door.

"And I thought a bloke would be easier to deal with," Sirius muttered.

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Remus Lupin woke up, in human form once more. He felt very, very old, even though he wasn't over forty. All he really wanted to do was go back to sleep, and find that this had all been a horrible nightmare. But that wasn't going to happen.

In a way, he'd been expecting something like this. He remembered the days when the wolf within him had been trapped during the full moon. With no prey, nothing to catch its interest, it ripped itself apart. Sirius was like the wolf. He was going mad with boredom, and now he had, figuratively speaking, ripped himself apart.

But you can control the wolf now, with the potion! his inner voice cried out. Why couldn't you control him?

It's not the same, he told himself. Sirius isn't the same person he was. Azkaban changed him. Maybe he needed this. He's free now.

You don't really believe that, his inner voice accused. And an even smaller part of himself snarled like the wolf he became every month: It's that Wormtail's fault. You want to kill him so badly, you'd die to see him suffer.

"No!" he commanded himself aloud. "No. I'm sure Peter is suffering enough now to satisfy anyone."

It wasn't true, of course. Something inside him wanted to give Peter Pettigrew exactly what he deserved...and what he deserved, to that violent part of Lupin's mind, was the worst that he could be given.

Loneliness was something Remus Lupin was used to feeling. For twelve long years, he'd been completely alone, friends either dead, worse than dead, or imprisoned. Now it was different. He had just gotten Sirius back; to lose him again felt like the last straw. He felt desperation creeping up on him like a Dementor, shadowy and untouchable.

Lupin had realized a long time ago that magic could not solve all problems. It was convenient, yes, but that was all. It could not cure his lycanthropy. It could not prove a wrongly accused man innocent. It could not bring the man he loved back from the dead. Lupin understood what no one else did: magic was just another thing man used to hurt his fellow man. He had loved it, when he was a child. He had studied it avidly, passionately, despite the curse laid upon him.

At this point, though, he found he didn't love the magic anymore. Magic just wasn't so magical as he'd supposed. Fairy tales didn't paint an accurate picture, with their 'happily ever after' endings. They didn't speak of real, true love, of terrible, wrenching loss, of pain so excruciating that it eventually just became a dull ache that could never be healed.

Remus J. Lupin had had enough.

Author's Note: This is basically going to be a number of random scenes from Sirius' and Remus' past (as I see them), then a (hopefully) cohesive story that takes place after the fifth book (again, as seen in my imagination). If you'd like to see another chapter, please review and tell me so! Thanks for reading! (