Tomiko The Muse: Yes, I'd like to think it was the lack thereof that makes Rem cry so much. But here he has a V.V. good reason to cry. Captain Oz: I was going to make it four parts!...but it branched out...RemusLupinRocks: I'd like to think Sirius is just as daft as Harry when it comes to liking people.

IssaLee: Say hello to the co-writers of this and every other fic I've written. At least, they help when they're in town which actually isn't often.

Eelie: We have lives, Lee.

Nikki-chan: Sad as it may seem, it's true. You need to get up and leave!

IssaLee: Thanks SOOOOO much for the support. (Insert sarcasm) But this reminds me, I'm going on vacation (To Vegas!) and this means late chapters for a while, maybe. Sorry!

Disclaimer: It's not mine, but God knows how many times I've wished it to be.

Remus inclined his head slightly as he surveyed his room in the Shrieking Shack. It looked exactly as it had the last time he'd been in it; the furniture ripped and the walls scratched, remnants of his transformation.

The nurse had left a while back, leaving a vial of clear liquid on the armchair. It was still about fifteen until the moon appeared. Remus was to drink it now. (A/N: Remember, the Wolfsbane Potion wasn't invented in Remus' time, but I'd like to think there was another one that could at least keep him from breaking out of the Shack and so on.)

Remus picked up the vial and watched its contents swirl almost ominously. He hated this life; hated it, hated it, hated it. Maybe it would be better if he just died. Maybe that was why Sirius had rejected him. Who'd want a werewolf as a boyfriend? Lover's spats could turn deadly.

"Rem?" He turned, and saw James standing in the doorway. The Invisibility Cloak was knotted loosely around his body, so that some of him was showing, like his front, but others kept swirling out of view.

"James, you shouldn't be here!" Remus said sharply. "I haven't taken my potion yet and you aren't in your Animagus form!" James shrugged nonchalantly.

"You've not hurt me in my Animagus form, and besides the looks, what else has changed in me when I'm a stag?" Then his face became serious. "Listen, Moony, I want to know what's going on. You've been so distant lately, and it's scaring all of us."

Remus bit his lip. "Padfoot doesn't seem so worried. He's been going on just fine with his life," he pointed out. But James shook his head, mussing up his hair as he did so.

"Sirius is weirder than ever. Listen, he hasn't been on a date in almost a month!" When Remus didn't say anything, James smiled. "That's a bad thing, by the way. He's usually always out with one girl or another, and sometimes he doesn't have a girlfriend and just find someone to bring to his bed. But he hasn't even done that!"

Remus felt a flicker of something in his chest; hope, maybe, but he quashed it as quickly as it came. "Maybe he's ill."

James snorted. "Yeah, ill in his head. And did you notice the way he's been acting around you? He was all jumpy for a few weeks, and then afterward he was suddenly glaring at all those people who were congratulating you about that fight with Jackson. Did you guys have a fight about that or something?"

Remus blushed, as he remembered the kiss. "Er—yeah, sort of. But maybe he's just jealous?" James shook his head again.

"I've seen him get jealous. He's as bad as Jackson, then, but now he's just surly and he keeps it from you, Rem." James took a step forward, somewhat uncertainly. "Remus, I've seen the way you look at him—and he looks at you the same way."

"What?" Remus suddenly found it hard to breath, and a pounding headache took over. Air was rushing into his ears. "What, Prongs?"

James threw the Invisibility Cloak about himself. Remus heard the raven-haired boy's voice cut through the air. "I'll be back with the others, they're just outside the Whomping Willow. Think about it, Moony!"

Remus staggered back, clutching at his head. He could feel his ribs moving as they turned into the wolf's; feel the primal instinct to howl. With the last of his human mind, he grasped that he had to take the potion, and reached out for it. A violent spasm made him crumbled, and the vial teetered for a moment on the armchair before falling and breaking with a tiny, crystalline sound.

Remus almost screamed in frustration as the liquid immediately disappeared. But he did scream, then, as pain wrought every bone in his body. There was a noise out by the door and he could tell that James was probably bringing the others to a standstill under the cloak. He'd made them promise never to look as he transformed.

Never, ever.

Remus gasped for breath as the pain racked his bones, making his breath hitch every few moments. His vision was fading fast, and as he slid slowly to the brink of unconsciousness, the wolf inside him suddenly let out a growl that found its way to his own lips, followed by a whimper.

"Hang in there, Moony!"

The brown-haired boy struggled to open his eyes, which were now narrowing and turning yellow. He recognized tha voice, and as he lost control and plunged into the darkness that was his solace during these times, he managed a smile for Sirius.

The three Marauders shuffled nervously as James removed the Invisibility Cloak and folded it, then placed it in a crevice in the wall. In a moment, the great stag was standing in his place, pawing at the ground. Sirius took the hint and dropped to all fours, shaking himself, as he became the Grim-like dog. Plot Point—er, Peter scuttled behind the two, twitching already, as he became a rat.

(A/N: Switching here to the nicknames for the Marauders, as it makes a bit more sense when they're in their animal forms.)

Prongs pushed the door open with his antlers, stepping in an arc around the room with the other two behind him. Padfoot broke the line suddenly, rushing forward to nose the wolf that was shivering slightly from its spot on the floor.

Moony raised his eyes, heavy-lidded, and growled softly. He wasn't used to transformations without his potions; he hadn't gone through one in such a long time, it was hard for him to even be a proper werewolf.

The shaggy dog whimpered as he pawed the wolf's body, and the stag approached cautiously, never missing the interactions between the two. Prongs broke the silence with a bugle that obviously said, "Ready for a run?"

Padfoot and Prongs helped Moony up as Wormtail scurried ahead to stop the Whomping Willow killing them. The three made it out safely and as soon as Moony felt the full force of the moon, he lost all inhibitions and let out a loud howl.

Padfoot let out a bark that could have been laughter, and without another word, took off running toward the Forbidden Forest. Moony, now fully in werewolf mode, narrowed his eyes and immediately ran off after him, Prongs keeping a swift pace just far enough so that the werewolf couldn't see.

Wormtail made a little snuffling noise. He couldn't run so fast as to keep up with the others. With a small (but relieved) sigh, he crept away, hoping to find some truffles before had to come back and freeze the willow again.

Padfoot suddenly found himself running much faster than he had intended to, stumbling past roots and trunks and such as the werewolf behind him snapped at his heels. With a few well-placed barks, Padfoot could throw him off, but something was terribly, desperately wrong.

Oh, Gods, Remus. What's going on? Did you—

And suddenly, he remembered the crash they had heard as they stood outside the door. He had looked inside from under the Cloak, and seen the vial and liquid dissipating, but he hadn't managed to make the connection. The dog turned suddenly, took a flying leap over the wolf, and headed for the stag.

Sirius was suddenly standing in front of the magnificent beast, panting. "James, we have a problem. He didn't take his potion!" there was a low growl, and without thinking, Prongs threw himself in front of Sirius. The werewolf's claws ended up scratching at his side instead, just as a great black dog bounded up.

It barked, and Prongs let out a low note as he watched his two best friends twist away through the trees, and transformed back into James. The boy clutched at his side, which was bleeding, and muttered a healing spell. The wounds closed, but fresh pink scars lingered.

"Oh, be careful," he whispered, throwing caution to the winds and stumbling out of the woods.

Padfoot's legs locked and he stopped, his great black eyes watching the form leap above him, then spin and turn, but he was already running, his heart in his throat. He was tired, though, and knew he couldn't keep running for long. Why hadn't Moony taken his potion? What had made him forget such an important thing?

Something knocked the wind from him, and shivering, he saw it was just a stray unicorn foal, blinking steadily at him, its golden hide shining in the moonlight. The foal nudged him, and he felt cool water on his back. Before he could try to lift himself up, the unicorn had pushed him completely in the water, or whatever it was.

Padfoot gasped, opening his mouth to let the water in. He tried to swim upward, but he found he couldn't move his paws. The foal was still staring at him from above water, and he bared his teeth at it.

The creature flicked its ears, then disappeared. Padfoot, feeling a sudden surge of anger, kicked with all his might and suddenly found himself at the surface of the water. Gasping and choking, he transformed back into Sirius and crawled onto shore.

Sirius glanced a look at the sky, and was rewarded with only a sliver of moon. It was setting, but only seconds ago, it had been dusk! Remus would be close to the point of being normal by now.

Sirius sighed and began to wring out his clothes, when he heard twigs cracking behind him. "Oh, you stupid beast," he said, expecting to see the unicorn as he turned. Instead, he found himself facing a growling wolf, its eyes shining brightly but with a bloodlust that scared all hell out of Sirius.

"Moony! Remmie, stop it!" The wolf placed both of its paws against Sirius' chest, pushing him down against the water. With a low moan, Sirius closed his eyes.

"Remus…" He whispered. The wolf actually stopped growling, and cocked its head to the side. Moony lowered his head towards Sirius, eyes wide. The cold nose of the wolf was touching the slightly wet one of the boy, and there was a sudden darkness in the forest. The last of the moon disappeared, but Sirius didn't notice it.

Not until something wet fell onto his eye.

Sirius opened his eyes, and found a shivering Remus staring back at him. The brown-haired boy was crying openly, and he lifted a shaking hand to stroke Sirius' cheek. "Oh, Gods. I almost killed you!"

Sirius sat up, taking Remus with him and holding him in his arms. "Hey, but you stopped, didn't you?" But Remus only cried harder, and with a sudden determination, Sirius lifted up the boy and started walking. No protests came, and when he reached the edge of the forest, there was James, tapping his foot impatiently as he consulted a watch. Peter was perched on the rock next to him, not looking particularly upset.

When James saw them, he rushed forward and immediately started off on a babble of questions. Sirius answered them as quickly as he could, but then he refused point-blank to answer any more.

"We need to get him to rest. He's had a long night, and I'm sure someone will be in to check on him this morning and heal any of his wounds." James nodded somewhat reluctantly, and they trudged back to the Whomping Willow. Peter transformed, slipped in, and they followed.

Sirius laid Remus in the chair, who was still shaking although he had stopped crying a while back. James sensed something big was happening, and poked Peter.

"Wormtail, let's go keep watch," he said quietly.

"But why?" Peter whined. "Sirius isn't coming! And we've never, ever had to keep watch before! Why now? Are you—OW!" James grabbed Peter by the ear and dragged the boy outside, where they could hear him berating the boy.

Remus shook his head and spoke, his voice hoarse. "What friends I have." He looked down at his hands. "If you're still my friend, that is."

Sirius let out a laugh. "Please, Re. There's nothing you could do short of telling me you don't want to be friends with me that would make me stop being friends with you."

"But I almost killed you!" Remus' voice was strained. "And Siri, if I had, I don't know if I could have gone on. I don't want to lose you, Padders."

Sirius studied his friend for a moment. The brown hair ad been curly once, he was sure of it. But now, it was only slightly wavy and limp in some places, evidence of Remus' monthly struggle.

"Hey," he said suddenly. Remus looked up. "Are you sure you're not a girl, Rem? I'm getting suspicious every time James asks you if it's that time of month again. PMS—Post-Moon Syndrome."

There was a long pause, before Remus suddenly bit half of his bottom lip (Sirius couldn't help thinking that this looked very much adorable) and then burst out in laughter. James peeked around the door, surprised at the sudden change of mood, but shrugged it off as he saw Sirius grinning widely and Remus laughing.

If there was anyone—anyone at all who could make Remus feel as normal as they thought him, it was Sirius Black.