Title: Entre Chien et Loup (At Dusk)
Part: 2.5: Un Coup de Foudre
Author: Ryuu-ACey
Archive: Azkaban's Lair, wherever (if you ask, I'll probably say yes)
Summary: Albus Dumbledore revives the Triwizard Tournament in the time of Voldemort's first rising, and sparks fly when werewolf Remus Lupin finds himself snout-to-snout with illegal Animagus Sirius Black, his best friend, and the Tournament itself.
Spoilers: Er...Through GoF, I think, although there might be bits of OotP.
Rating: R (language, mature themes)
Disclaimer: The boys aren't mine. Technically, one of the girls isn't mine. About the only thing in here that's mine are one-and-a-half characters, and the plot. The characters and world belong to JK and Scholastic and...Warner Brothers? I really don't know, but hope they'll be cool about me taking the kids out to play.
Originally posted: Fanfiction dot net.
Notes: This started simpler than even the prologue turned out to be. I was thinking about how I've seen fics where Remus is portrayed as French, for some unfathomable reason, and I thought--so what if he went to Beauxbatons? The next thing I know, I've got Sirius making friends with a shy, trying-to-be-uncaring but really adorable 11-year-old Severus Snape, Remus becoming and Animagus, and, for a reason I still don't quite understand, elves (it's not exactly a glaring thing, I hope; they just snuck in there, because, frankly, elves rock. Even Pratchett's elves, which are freaky). So this is an AU. This is a twist-the-world-on-its-edge AU. I hope. And I hope you enjoy.
About the Title: It's a terrible French pun, because, of course, it literally means "between dog and wolf", but it's an idiom, and I found it irresistible.
Warnings: Language, discussion of mature themes, (possibly) eventual "action" of some sort.
Dedications: samvimes, because Stealing Harry made me love the fandom again, and made me want to do something big again.
Feedback: Always appreciated.

Time passed rapidly; within a week, the students from Durmstrang arrived, in a large boat that Remus felt should have arrived to Wagner. There were a bit more students than from his year at Hogwarts, and he supposed it made sense, as it served most of eastern Europe, as there were still difficulties between the East and West, so the wizards of Russia and the like sent their children to Durmstrang.

The Durmstrang students were staying close to the Slytherin dungeons, while the Beauxbatons students were in a corridor that met with the path to Gryffindor Tower. So Remus didn't have much chance to speak to Severus, and when he found him in a position to speak to the other boy, he was curt and polite and not at all the enthusiastic person who'd spoken to Remus when he first arrived.

He tried to puzzle it out, but had other concerns, namely classes, and the approach of the Triwizard Tournament. Dumbledore was close-mouthed about it for the next three weeks, leaving the visiting students with time in which to become very nervous. What was taking so long? Was Dumbledore just trying to psyche them out?

Finally, at noon on the 27th of September, Dumbledore stood at his place in the Great Hall, flanked by Madam Maxime and Herr Koldunev. He tapped his wand against the table, creating an unnaturally loud noise that brought the Hall to silence.

"Thank you. I would like to announce that tomorrow night, at lunch, we will announce the House champions who will be competing in the Triwizard Tournament. However, I would like to make sure all students are aware of the rules of entry. First, so that there will be no favoritism in the choosing of Champions, we will be eliciting the help of this--" He waved his wand, and a jewel-encrusted chest appeared in front of him. He swung it open, revealing a large goblet. "The Goblet of Fire."

"Shouldn't it be on fire, then?" Solange asked Remus, who only shrugged. They had taken to sitting with the Slytherins, mostly because he'd tried to sit with Severus a few times, and though he'd failed to get the boy to respond to him with anything other than neutral politeness, he'd gotten used to sitting there, and where he went, the blond half-veela, black-haired elf, and, because of the veela, half of the male population of Hogwarts followed.

Sitting with the Slytherins, at least, kept all but the most persistent boys away.

"It's only metaphorical," Sirius Black responded from across the table. "Really, what'd be the point of calling it a Goblet of Fire just because it--"

Dumbledore tapped the edge of the goblet with his wand, causing flickering green flames to leap from its interior. Sirius, who had been spending much of the past three weeks to catch Solange's attention, fell into embarrassed silence, and Solange giggled. Remus tried very hard not to laugh, because at some level it was just cute how hard he was trying. He saw Solange look at Sirius sometimes with a look of longing, something he thought he understood. If only the boy weren't being affected by her charms...

"All students who wish to participate in the Tournament are to submit their names into the Goblet, and at noon tomorrow, it will choose one participant from each school. To prevent students whose education has not yet brought them to an adequate skill level from competing, I will draw an Age Line around the Goblet, to ensure that no one under the age of 17 is able to enter their name into consideration. Now, please, those students above the age of 17 come with me." He rose, trailed by his two fellow heads of school, and left by the main door of the Hall; most of the students in the Great Hall followed, to see what was happening.

Dumbledore led them to the front hall, and finally to a small door at the top of the main staircase. He opened the door, stepped in, and placed the Goblet of Fire on a pedestal in the windowless room's center. As he walked back out, Remus saw his hair rise, as if in a static field, as the man crossed a green line on the floor.

Then Dumbledore closed the door behind him, turned, and rapped his wand against the door three times. There was a flash of gold light, and a loud 'click', like that of a particularly large lock.

He turned back to the students. "There are allegedly only three tasks to the Triwizard Tournament, but both Olympe, Sasha, and I believed this to be an excellent idea. The Goblet of Fire is locked within this room. Only the cleverest and most resourceful will be able to reach the Goblet, and thus earn their chance at the Triwizard Cup. It is, if you will, the Zeroth Task."

There was a stunned silence following the announcement, and Remus, especially found himself worrying. That meant he had...a little less than 8 hours to figure out how to open the door before the moon rose and he had to get out to his "Appropriately Safe Containment Unit", a run-down old house with a large open area in which, if it became necessary, he could tear and bite at himself if the Change was bad.

Remus thought quickly; it still took him ten to twelve hours to recuperate from the change; it always took something out of him, leaving him drained and unable to think straight, much less move. So if he didn't get it by moonrise, he'd lost his chance at the Cup.

Next to him, Yvonne was muttering to herself, trying to think out the problem by talking. Solange was just staring at the door, as if she could force it to open by will alone.

Remus just thought it over in his head. It couldn't be something that would be opened by alohomora, because that's what everyone did. So a more complicated unlocking charm? No, there had to be some trick to it, something that most people wouldn't think of.

"Reducto." The blast ricocheted off of the door, and Solange slumped against the banister. "Well, I'm out of ideas."

"And I'm out of time," Remus muttered. Solange looked up, startled.

"What? It's barely 8 o'...oh." She looked from Remus to the door, frowning. "All right; we'll take this up in the morning--"

"No," Remus said. "You two keep at it. I'm sure if you do, you'll get it. Just tell me when I get back, all right?" He ducked his head and ran for the front door. He knew he wouldn't get into the Tournament. He didn't have the time, anymore. But they should have a chance. Even if it meant...

He'd known the Animagus transformation hadn't fixed his problem. There was something about the moon that made the wolf...more. More energetic. More violent. The presence of other animals-that-were-not-animals seemed to calm a part of him, make the Changes much, much easier.

But the first time he'd Changed without Solange and Yvonne, he'd been shocked. The wolf had torn from him with the brutality it had in the beginning, whether angry at the absence of its pack or for some reason related to its very nature, Remus didn't know. And neither did they. This was his burden, and his alone to bear, no matter how much they wanted to help.

His stomach cramped, and he realized he was running out of time. He darted under the swinging branches of the Whomping Willow, and pressed a certain knot. The tree froze, giving Remus the time to climb through the secret tunnel that led to the Shrieking Shack--an aptly-named place, for what would happen there tonight. Remus winced at the thought of it. Solange and Yvonne hadn't missed a Change at school, and they had no way of knowing what was happening. He only hoped they'd forgive him.

He finally pushed through a trap door, and collapsed, wheezing, onto the floorboards of the Shack's interior. He could feel it. He felt the Moon pulling, calling out his bestial nature, calling out his brutality, his anger. She called; he answered.

With the twisting of bone and muscle, and the screaming of flesh and lung, he began to Change.

Sirius, more than the others, found comfort in his Animagus form. While stags were noble and cats imperturbable, the form of a dog gave one a great deal more freedom. Freedom to bound about, to make noise and make a nuisance of himself. Severus, however, had made it clear that if Sirius used his new-found freedom to stick his nose in other people's crotches, Severus would snap an anti-Animagus collar on him and get him neutered. By Muggles. Sirius wasn't entirely certain whether or not Severus could overcome his faint distaste at the way Muggles did things to go through with it, but first, he wasn't going to bet his balls on Severus' squeamishness, and secondly...it didn't make it any better if it were done with magic. The end result was equally unpleasant.

In any case, it surprised no one that Sirius enjoyed taking to the Forbidden Forest as a dog more than the others did their own forms. It was something they did, from time to time, but Sirius could be found out there at least three times a week, if not more. He knew every twist and corner of the place, and recognized the scents of all the centaurs, the unicorns (one mated pair of which had just given birth to a foal), and the sundry beasts that lived there when Sirius wasn't about to be in charge of it.

He supposed there were some things you couldn't quench in a Black, and a sense of superiority to one's surroundings was one of them. There were rumors of vampires in the Forest, but Sirius didn't believe it, or if he did, believed that no creature that ruled the night could stand against a Black, known for rising with the sun and commanding the night.

The point was that this was Sirius' forest. He shared it with Prongs and Nightcat, and when Peter came out with their human forms to make mischief, Peter as well. But Sirius was in charge, and when he caught the scent of an unfamiliar beast in his forest, he bristled, angry at the intrusion. Not, of course, that there was another creature in the forest now, but someone was intruding on his domain! Padfoot growled to himself and began examining the scent and the trail it left. The beast had been nearly everywhere, it seemed, except the centaur fields and the unicorn's clearings, and had stopped near one of the larger trees for quite some time. Sirius stopped by that tree, taking his time to learn this scent, figure out what was intruding on his portion of the wilds.

It smelled like dog, only a bit rougher, wilder. There was a moment as Padfoot tried to process this, and Sirius' memory provided the word: wolf.

But wolves didn't live around here, and anyways, wolves didn't wander about by themselves. It was unnatural.

Sirius gave another sniff, a strange, human suspicion forming in his mind.

Of course, he didn't know of any wolves living in the area. But what if one were visiting?

"Elendil." There was a long pause, and Yvonne gave Solange a sharp look. The blond ducked her head, embarrassed. "Sorry; I had to at least try."

"Fine." Yvonne gave the door a speculative kick, but it refused to budge. "I think some kids from Durmstrang got in here during dinner, and they've been by a few times to be smug at us. Um...Hospes." She waved her wand, causing nothing to happen. "Damn it! We'll never get in this way!"

"You certainly won't sitting there just throwing spells at it," a sardonic voice said from behind them. Severus Snape stepped from the darkening hallway, pausing before the door. "This requires a more...subtle approach."

He uncorked a bubbling vial of a deep violet potion, releasing a plume of almost black vapor. He carefully wafted it towards the door, and Solange noticed he was holding his breath.

She swore quietly and tried not to breathe.

The vapor brushed against the door, releasing green sparks that increased in intensity and frequency until suddenly the plume of smoke exploded in a brief flare of violet light.

"Subtle?" Yvonne asked Severus. He glared at her, and then turned the angry stare towards the door. "Well, it was certainly interesting. What was that?"

"Concentrate of gorgon's breath," he said.

"Why do you have a vial of that just lying around?" Solange questioned. "It's not exactly safe."

"Exams," Severus replied, in a voice that neither girl could identify as serious or not. Neither, after all, wanted to ask exactly what he meant, anyway.

"So, do you have any other brilliant plans?" Yvonne asked Severus. The black-haired young man shook his head, looking annoyed, probably at not being able to discover the answer for himself.

Solange watched the man, a frown on her face. So this was the boy who was taken with her Remus? This impatient, smart-alecky boy who had seemed smug that he could out-think two girls, only to sulk when he couldn't? She scowled. She certainly wasn't about to stop Remus from making his own choices, but really...he looked like a brooder, and jealous, and like he might--

Solange stared at him, feeling that there was something wrong. Something subtly incorrect about the way he was acting. He had a thick scroll out, and was consulting it, scribbling notes in the corners, as he examined the sturdy wooden door that had, so far, held against most comers.

"What's the Elvish word for 'friend'?" he asked Yvonne. Solange laughed out loud as Yvonne gave him a dark look. He shrugged, looking unconcerned with the glare, and added, "It would be just like Dumbledore to do something like that."

"We've already tried," Solange said. "And either Professor Dumbledore does not have a great love for the works of Tolkein, or it's something very clever we haven't thought of yet."

"It's not clever," Severus replied. "It's something he thinks is funny, and it's going to just aggravate us if we stand here thinking about it. I'm going back to my dorm."

He stormed off into the darkness, leaving the two girls standing in front of the door by themselves. "What do you think would amuse a doddering old man who's running a school for wizards?" Solange finally ventured.

Yvonne walked over to the door and tried to turn the knob. It refused to budge.

"If that had worked, Severus would kill you," Solange said.

"I know," Yvonne said, a slight grin on her face.

Unlike some people he knew, Sirius had spent quite a lot of time working out how to use the skills of his Animagus form to maximum potency. It seemed ridiculous to waste the ability to track someone by scent alone, or be able to hear sounds too high for human ears to detect.

And despite Severus' thoughts on Sirius using the form to get sympathy, he'd found people felt very much at ease around large, friendly dogs, and that was worth something, wasn't it?

So nearly back to the castle, his human nose, still sensitized from his time as a dog, caught the scent of the wolf, who had passed by recently. Sirius Black had never been able to resist the call of his curiosity (James was fond of saying Sirius ought to have been the panther, as opposed to Severus), so he didn't give a second thought to returning to his doggy form and tracking the wolf's trail to...the base of the Whomping Willow.

The dog let out a snort, as if to challenge the tree, and began dodging in and out of the tree's range, joyously watching the branches miss him by mere inches. This was excitement! He'd have to get Snape out here some time, if only to see his friend actually use his feline reflexes. Severus showed very little willingness to profit from his Animagus form; he had, after all, only joined in on the scheme to keep Sirius and James from blowing themselves up (and if Sirius was being honest, it had only been to keep Sirius from blowing himself up), and viewed the entire endeavor with something bordering on mild distaste.

But nevertheless, Sirius, who loved Padfoot and all he represented, ducked under another swinging branch, low enough to dive through a hole at the base of the tree, from which came the wolf's distinct scent.

It was a long haul, mostly with Padfoot crawling on his belly, so Sirius used that distraction as an excuse for not noticing the smell of blood earlier.

When he did, he was just underneath a heavy trap-door, the other side of which seemed to be harboring either a very angry wolf or a very solid ghost. Neither was an attractive option. Luckily, Sirius didn't believe in the old economic fact that as long as the project wasn't complete, you could always back out, take your losses, and not go into the room filled with angry werewolf.

Similarly luckily, the prejudices planted into the mind of a scion of the Black family were overrode by an instinct older than the Blacks, and that was: when faced with an angry werewolf, sod your ancestry and sod your obvious superiority, and do whatever it takes not to get your throat ripped out.

When Padfoot opened the trap-door, the werewolf's snapping jaws nearly took his ear off. But he dodged to the side, collapsed onto his stomach, and whined submissively, making sure that he was staring very firmly at the wolf's feet. The wolf paused, as if confused. When Sirius refused to run from the wolf, or try to kill it, it took a cautious sniff at Sirius. Sirius didn't move, and tried to keep from shaking. What was it they said about dogs smelling fear? He didn't manage to remember that particular piece of advice, because when the wolf sniffed at his rump, he darted forward, startled. Of course he should have expected that, but still, it was surprising to have someone shoving their nose at your--

The wolf snarled, and nipped at Sirius' tail; Sirius let out a sharp yelp, and then fell still again. The wolf gave him a thorough examination, and finally made an assenting 'huff', even giving Padfoot's tail-tip an apologetic lick. Sirius raised himself cautiously from a completely submissive position, even daring to meet the wolf's sharp golden eyes.

The wolf gave him a long look, and then launched himself at Sirius, knocking the both of them backwards and into a rocking chair. Sirius froze, suddenly realizing how stupid he'd been, going to look at what he knew was a werewolf, during the full moon, and now he'd get his throat torn out, or worse...

When his new playmate refused to fight back, the wolf let out a questioning whine, adding a light nip to Padfoot's neck to emphasize it. Sirius looked up at the wolf--the very attractive wolf, the dog part of his brain insisted--warily, slowly beginning to realize that he was not in any immediate danger of being torn apart, but merely of being forced to tussle with a lonely canine. Sirius, inside the playful animal, grinned, and knocked the wolf off of him, then dashed away from the creature, stopping after a few steps and looking back, partially because he certainly didn't mean to actually escape, and another to make sure the wolf knew he wasn't trying to get away, but playing with the wolf back.

The wolf gave a friendly growl and leapt at Sirius, and bowled him over into a pile of shredded mattresses.

Warm... That was the only thought Remus registered as he drifted from sleep into wakefulness. After last night, he'd collapsed on top of the softest thing he could find and awaited morning, when the school nurse, Madam Pomfrey, would bring him back to the Infirmary to rest. The sun was up, and Remus judged it to be about eight-thirty or so. He snuggled closer to the warmth that pervaded his body. No matter whether Sola and Yvonne were with him during the full moon or not, he always ached afterwards, and had never thought to ask them to let him borrow their body warmth the morning after. It would have felt weird, even after treating them like pack for years, tussling the way pups did--

The dog, poised over the wolf, nipped at his ear, then backed off quickly, just in case. But Moony only rolled over, sprang to his feet, and chased the dog merrily about the room for ten minutes. When the two collapsed in a dusty, tired heap, Moony gave the dog an affectionate lick across the muzzle, then dropped his head over the dog's back.

Remus started, almost managing to sit up before his muscles reminded him that while he may be up to jerking about like a puppet the night after having his body structure rapidly altered, twice, mind you, they were going to lodge a formal protest, one which sent Remus sprawling over the big black dog again.

The dog stirred, turning his head around to glance at Remus. The eyes widened in a comical attempt at getting a dog's face to register a very human sort of shock, and suddenly, Remus was sprawled on top of Sirius Black, who, due to the nature of the Animagus transformation, was clothed, sparing both of them just an ounce of dignity. Sirius scrabbled back, eyes still an amusing width. His mouth was gaping, and that sharp, angled face, which he saw Yvonne staring at, sometimes, looked amusing contorted into an expression of amazement.

"Remus--?" he asked. Remus sighed; he hadn't expected his secret to get out this way. In fact, he'd planned on it not getting out at all. His indiscretion in his first year had turned out well, but he had little faith in the majority of humanity, and, well...the Blacks were a Very Old and Well-Respected Wizarding Family, who probably Didn't Hold With That Sort of Thing.

"I..." Remus tried to find words, tried to find a way to plead with Black, who--

Who was an unregistered Animagus. Black must have seen the surprise in Remus' eyes, because he tightened his jaw, and gave a curt nod. "Yes. For about two years. I...I smelled you, and wanted to find out why there was a wolf in my forest." He flushed. "I don't mind, Remus. Not really. I knew I was with a werewolf, but I hadn't really thought who--I didn't think, really. Given the fact that I followed a werewolf to a small, enclosed space with no windows and expected to survive only proves it." He gave a cocky grin, one that told Remus the other boy was not entirely serious--which of course he was, anyway--and slid closer. "I'm sorry if I surprised you. But you seemed a little lonely up here, and, well...you seemed to take to me." Remus shrugged, trying not to blush. There had been a fierce urging at the back of his mind when the dog--Sirius, had submitted, that Remus had beaten back. "D'you need help? Because I know a few spells that could get us back--"

"Madam Pomfrey will be up in half an hour or so to bring me to the Infirmary," Remus replied, sinking back onto the remains of the mattresses Moony had torn up in the first hour or so. "And you shouldn't be here. If you want to be in the Triwizard Tournament, you'd better get back to that door, unless you've already solved it."

"Oh!" Sirius was up on his feet, moving for the trap-door. "No; I haven't got it. Give us a hint?" he pleaded.

Remus shook his head. "I hadn't got it by moonrise, and...Moony isn't much for thinking. Guess I'm out of the running, now. Too knackered to bring myself over there, much less trying to blast the door open. Seems rude, trying to kick it open without knocking first." Remus seemed slightly loopy, as if he wasn't entirely in control of his own mind. Sirius understood the feeling.

Frowning a little, Sirius opened the trap-door, and vanished. A moment later, his head popped up, and, cheeks a little red, he said, "I had a good time...Moony. I won't tell anyone. But I hope we can do this again sometime." And then he was gone, and the trap-door closed and the only evidence that he had ever been in the room his fading scent.

Remus snuggled into the mattresses, which were still warm, and, to his post-lunar nose, still smelled like Sirius.

Severus, Solange, and Yvonne were all standing at the door when Sirius arrived, the girls looking suspiciously at Severus, who was glaring at them.

Sirius climbed the stairs three at a time, pausing by the door to look between the three students. "What's going on here?"

Neither party answered, so he shrugged, deciding to let it go. "So, anyone figure it out yet?"

"James and Peter just got out," Severus growled, "And refused to tell us how they did it. Probably something showy, just like a Gryffindor."

Showy. Clever. Sirius glanced at the door for a very long moment. Then, feeling very silly, and ready for any amount of mocking if it didn't work, knocked lightly at the door with his fist. "May I come in?" he asked, aware that he was addressing a door and not--

The door swung open, almost smugly.

"I'm going to kill Albus Dumbledore," Solange muttered, stalking through the door. Yvonne, a smirk on her face, followed. Severus followed, his face carefully neutral. Sirius fell in beside him.

"Where were you last night? You never came back to the dorm, and Rosier tried to claim you were with one of the Durmstrang girls in the Astronomy Tower."

Sirius snorted. He may have had a reputation, but he wasn't about to jump in with a girl he'd met less than a month ago. "I went out for a walk."

"By yourself?" Severus demanded, quieter. "You know we agreed it was too dangerous--"

"If there's anything in the forest I can't handle, it wouldn't be any better if either of the two of you, or, god forbid, Peter, was with me." Severus fell silent; partially, this was because it was true. The other part of it was probably he didn't want to get into an argument over the wisdom of wandering the Forbidden Forest in the form of a very large dog with two non-Animagi, girls who probably would be hard to keep silent on the whole illegal spell-casting...thing.

Solange and Yvonne had tossed their papers into the Goblet; the blond girl was staring into it, fascinated by whatever its inner workings were. Severus nudged her aside (as opposed to his usual shove when someone was in his way) and dropped his own name, scribbled on a piece of parchment, into the flaming cup. Sirius stepped up and dropped his own in. The girls were already gone, their interest in the Goblet waning when Severus came, and Severus was halfway out the door when Sirius paused. He looked back at the Goblet, and then at Severus, who raised one eyebrow, wondering what was going on.

"Go on ahead, Snape. I'll just be a moment." Severus shrugged, and left the room, the door closing after him. Sirius turned back to the Goblet, rummaging through his pockets.

Remus sighed as he slumped into a seat at the Slytherin table. Solange, sitting to his right, tugged him sideways so he was leaning on her, but not so that it was noticeable.

"Thanks," he murmured.

"Why are you even here, Moony?" Yvonne asked. "You told us you couldn't get in."

"It's part of the ceremony," Remus said. He glanced up at Dumbledore, who was sitting very neatly behind the Goblet, Madam Maxime to his right and Herr Koldunev to his left. Dumbledore looked down at him, and winked. Remus resisted the urge to growl. If only it hadn't been a full moon, he was sure he'd have figured it out. He wondered if a decision had been made, unofficially, but still there, to keep the werewolf from participating. Madam Maxime wouldn't have stood for it, possibly explaining why he'd even had a shot at being the Beauxbatons champion.

Severus was sitting across from him, Sirius sitting next to him. Sirius was watching Dumbledore, in anticipation of the announcement, black eyes bright. Remus tried not to watch him, but memories of last night kept intruding on his consciousness, and he found himself fascinated with the boy who'd so simply and joyfully joined the werewolf in play, who'd unselfconsciously slept against the wolf, knowing that in the morning, the wolf would be a boy his own age, snuggling against warmth and black fur.

It didn't help that Moony seemed quite taken with the dog that was Sirius' other half. At least the wolf had the propriety to be a little embarrassed about it, but only because Sirius was a dog, and not a proper wolf, or even a pretend-wolf, like Yvonne.

Finally, Dumbledore stood, and the hall fell silent, students watching him with eagerness in their eyes. This was the beginning of a year-long event that, according to Hogwarts, a History, had the potential to be fraught with danger. Never underestimate the appeal of something that's fraught, Remus thought, amused.

"Now had come the time when the Goblet will choose our champions. I would like you all to understand that the qualities sought in a champion were decided centuries ago, and the Goblet, immune to all tampering, has decided the appropriate students among the candidates independently of any outside influence. So, if we will begin..." The Goblet began sputtering, and after a few seconds of this, spat a piece of parchment into the air. Herr Koldunev snaked his hand out to catch it.

He peered at the parchment for a moment, and the looked up at the assembled students. "For Durmstrang: Igor Karkaroff." Severus sat up straight, eyes darting around the Great Hall. Sirius looked at the boy next to him, almost grinning. Then the Goblet sputtered again, and this time, Dumbledore caught the parchment.

"For Hogwarts: Sirius Black." Remus didn't try to hide his grin; a man who'd mastered the Animagus transformation before leaving school must have the talent to trounce the competition. He wondered if that meant Solange or Yvonne would be the Beauxbatons champion. The Goblet began sputtering again, but the sparks leapt from its rim for a much longer time before it let out a distinctly unsatisfied 'splurt', and spat a piece of paper out onto the table in front of Madam Maxime.

She looked down at the paper, and Remus could see a strange combination of shock and joy wash over her face. She lifted it up, waving it about like a pennant. "Pour Beauxbatons: Remus Lupin."

Remus' mouth dropped open as Solange elbowed him sharply in the side, muttering that if he hadn't wanted to help them, he could've said. He hadn't gotten to the door in time; he'd barely gotten to lunch on time. And that could only mean someone else must have submitted his name. Someone who knew that he hadn't the time.

He turned his gaze down, away from the High Table, to meet Sirius' brilliant grin. Sirius' grin, if possible, grew a little wider, and he gave Remus a small wave.

That...Remus' mind failed him, as it rarely did, finding no appropriate word to describe what had just happened.

"Remus? Remus; they're sending the Champions to have their wands inspected by Ollivander." Remus glanced at Yvonne, who was giving him a concerned look. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," he managed to murmur, as he stumbled up the stage, to be crowded into a small room after Sirius, who looked inordinately pleased with himself, and Remus was warring between the urge to kiss him and punch him.

The wolf, for whom playful fighting was a form of affection, could care one way or the other, as long as Remus did something.

He settled for fainting, collapsing on the floor of a room containing, thankfully, only three other people. Before he slipped into unconsciousness, he heard someone, probably himself, say, "Oh, bugger."

Author's Notes: Not much to say, except to half-bitch that I've added another original character without meaning to. Also, you will note the rating has changed. This is because I view some of the topics of discussion are bordering on more than just "teen" stuff. Also, I have plans that may or may not necessitate having an 'M' rating in the future, and would like to be in the habit now. Also, you can probably expect the next part no earlier than the 23rd, for the same reason most of you aren't going to be reading fanfiction this weekend. Anyhoo...

To my readers:
Dagger IX1: Thanks for the input; I really did try to make things believable, so I'm glad it comes across well.
Boredom is my middle name: It's hard not to have a crush on Remus, eh?
dedetomkiewicz: Really, giving away something like that? I can tell you, though, I am cross-posting it on the SBRL mailing list, so there's a strong bias (but no guarantee; all I have to do to post something there is to make sure it's mostly about the puppies and their interactions, even if there's another pairing). So you could make a guess, and I'm not telling whether you're right or wrong.
embersandenvelopes: Glad you're enjoying it, and very happy I have the time to work on it.
Tsuki no lomelinde: Thanks and glad people are willing to look around for it.

Anyway, will see you next time! (And don't be shocked if the next part does get out earlier; I'm not the best judge of how long my projects take).