Title: Bad Moon Rising
Author: Tirya King
Summary: At the end of all things, do you really know who your friends are?
Disclaimer: Nope, not mine. JKR's. Too tired to be witty.
A/N: This is for Nuwie who knows why.
Bad Moon Rising
The explosions seemed to come from every side, ripping people from their feet all around him. Something hard hit his stomach as he fell, but he had no time to see what it was before another wave of fire and shrapnel sliced into his arms. It felt as though the very hair on his head was being burned off. He heard screams, but he didn't know who had made them, or if they were alright. Never had he felt such fear and pain all at once before.
But he was alive and that was what mattered.
Distantly he heard someone call his name. He looked up cautiously, gripping tighter to his wand and a curse ready on his lips. But it was only Remus stumbling toward him, and he relaxed. Were his nerves so shot already that he was turning as trigger happy as Mad-Eye?
"Remus," he choked out, ash making his lungs clog painfully. "Remus, I'm here!"
The werewolf caught sight of him through the dissipating smoke and limped faster, knowing their enemies were still close by. "Harry, are you alright?" he asked, voice as haggard as his exhausted appearance. Even as he focused on the hurt young man, half his senses were still scanning their surroundings.
"I think so. I…" he looked down finally to what had hit him during the initial blast. Her long hair covered her face in bloody locks, but he could still recognize his friend. "Her… Hermione?"
She didn't respond.
Remus finally reached his side, gently taking the girl in his arms. With the weight of his friend off, Harry weakly pushed himself to his knees watching the werewolf try to help. Some part of him whispered that it was already too late. "Hermione, wake up," he croaked, dissolving into a dry cough from all the dust he'd inhaled.
"Harry," the werewolf ventured slowly as he checked her vitals. "I'm sorry, but…"
A cold feeling settled into his gut as the 19 year old struggled to breathe. Not Hermione, please not her! Losing Ron and the Weasleys hurt so bad. Don't take her too!
"Harry," Remus lay the dead teen down to face the horrified boy. His grey eyes bored deep into Harry, trying to keep him focused on the task at hand. "Stay with me. I need you with me. Please, Harry!"
"W-what about the others?" Harry finally asked, unable to look at her any longer. He didn't have time to let it sink in. Not yet.
Remus shook his head slowly as he looked around the small glade. Sharp lupine eyes seemed to see what human eyes couldn't. He didn't have to go check them all to know that most, if not all, of them were dead. "I think we're the only ones left."
Harry didn't respond to this but lowered his head to stare at his hands, bleeding slightly from falling on sharp debris. He'd known going in that it would probably be like this. They all knew. But so soon? They hadn't gotten anywhere near their goal yet and they were cut down like they were nothing. Merlin, they weren't even out of the forest yet!
Shouts drifted through the dense smoke and Remus quickly pushed himself to his feet, wand in hand. "It's time to go, Harry. Come on."
The young man looked up, horror and grief printed on his features. "But what about…"
"They'll have died in vain if we don't go. We can't do anything more for them now." Barely waiting for Harry to stand up, the werewolf grabbed his blood and sweat-soaked hand and ran. Harry knew his mentor at times possessed abilities that seemed nearly superhuman. However, those times were few and far between. And never did they come close to what the boy experienced now.
Remus ran with a speed and force that no human could imitate. It was all Harry could do to hold on and not have his arm ripped from its socket. They weaved around trees and leapt over foliage like they were nothing, powered by a werewolf's adrenaline.
The voices behind them quickly faded away as they pushed on toward the old building beyond the forest. It was acting as Voldemort's current hideout and many brave lives had been lost to discover its hidden location. At 19 years old, Harry had been deemed well old enough to do what he was born to do. Hence the mad assault upon the Death Eaters' base. They'd hoped that by approaching through the forest, they could sneak past most of their defenses.
They'd hoped in vain.
Finally they made it to the front pavilion not 40 yards from the main entrance, which was eerily quiet and abandoned. No enchantments blocked or attacked them. Not a single thing, it seemed, to stop them from getting closer. It was here that Remus stopped, panting lightly, while Harry felt as though he might collapse if he had to run like that much longer. The human body was not meant for feats such as that.
"Do you think they'll catch up to us?" the young man gasped out, speaking of the Death Eaters behind them. The run had taken more out of him than he thought, and he hadn't even entered the building yet.
The werewolf turned his head to look at where they came from, far into the forest. His breath was already evening out. "Not in time," was the confident answer.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief, running the back of his right hand across his forehead shakily. Good, that meant less opposition. Voldemort was already going to be difficult enough without adding more Death Eaters to the mix. There were probably dozens more inside anyway.
"Where do you think Voldemort is?" Harry asked, forcing his body to relax and his mind to forget those left behind. He could mourn to his broken heart's content later when this was all over. But now this task required his complete focus. This battle was 18 years in the making, and he would only have one shot at it. He had to be perfect.
"Somewhere safe," Remus replied after a moment of consideration. "He probably knew of our arrival the second we entered the property."
He'd expected as much.
"How do you think we can get in? He must have dozens of spells on the place." And they'd been counting on having more people with them at this point. The two of them would just have to make do with what they ad.
He was surprised to hear a dry rasp from his companion. "Oh Harry," Lupin chuckled sardonically. "Do you honestly believe you'll survive even entering the house?"
"I've got to give it a try anyway," was the stubborn reply. Harry never figured his mentor to be the fatalistic type.
"And if you die trying?" Cool grey eyes stared into confused green.
Harry smiled a little, hoping to ease the mood. "I have you with me, don't I? I won't fail. And besides, I have no intention of dying." He probably would, but it wasn't something he was resigned to. Just prepared.
Remus looked away and smiled wistfully at the ground. "You're so like your father."
He'd always hated the comparison; didn't the werewolf know that by now? Harry was his own person and he doubted that James had any relevance to what he was doing now or what he was going to do. They had to stay focused or they would die. Die without ever reaching their goal.
"Such a foolish human. Both of you." He turned to look over the field again, eyes half-lidded and a lazy smile on his face. He could feel the boy's surprised stare on his back.
"Foolish?" Harry asked him, sounding hurt. His shoulders slumped at the word. Did Remus have so little faith in his pupil?
"You both assumed too much. Sometimes I pity you people, you weak humans." Now he turned his back on the field, his smile growing. Not like the gentle kind ones the young man was used to. But the one of an animal. An animal that knew it was superior to its prey. Like this, it was all too easy to remember that Remus was no more human that Grog or Firenze.
"What are you talking about, Remus?" Harry couldn't help but take a step back, amazed at himself for doing so. What was he doing? This was Remus for Merlin's sake. Moony. His father's last best friend. His mentor ever since he was 13. If he couldn't trust Moony, who could he trust?
Remus took a step forward, closing the gap the young man had made. "What do you think I'm talking about? Come now, Harry, listen to what I'm telling you. I never even told James before he died. I doubt he'd have believed it anyway. No, he was so determined to see the man in the wolf that he totally ignored the wolf in the man. He didn't want to see me for what I was. Now pay close attention to what I'm going to tell you, Harry, because this is important."
The boy nodded dumbly, feeling a sick pit form in his stomach. What was going on?
"The answer to your question is no, Harry, I'm not with you. And yes, you will fail."
Harry couldn't stand for this. He stood up to his full height with barely restrained anger. He would not fail! He could not fail! He needed Remus to be with him on this, now more than ever when everyone else was gone. The werewolf could not be thinking of leaving! "You're backing out? But you can't! We can do this, Remus, we've already come so…"
"Shut up, child!" the werewolf snarled, an amber glint in his eyes. "You're not listening to what I'm telling you. I'm going to make sure you fail. You won't enter that building because I'm not going to let you."
"You won't let me?" the words came out in a dry, stiff manner as though he didn't even know what he was saying. Emerald eyes grew wide and Harry felt as though he needed to sit down. All the anger drained out of him, leaving him feeling as brittle as a dying leaf. Remus couldn't be telling him what he thought he was telling him. "Why not? Remus…"
"Come now, child, if you killed Voldemort, things would go back to the way they were and I'd go back to being a poor little werewolf begging to pick up your garbage."
"That's not true! It would…" but he had no idea what would happen in the aftermath. "You can't honestly think life under Voldemort would be any better?" Remus was talking crazy; surely he could make him think clearly. He was just tired, scared, stressed beyond the point of reason. Harry could sympathize; his nerves were just as frazzled.
But Remus didn't look frazzled. In fact, he looked as calm as he'd ever seen him.
"But would it honestly be any worse?" he reasoned logically. "Don't be stupid, of course I know that the Dark Lord is lying to me and my people when he offers us equal rights." Remus shifted his shoulders as though he were loosening his joints. "How many times did Snape warn you about the nature of werewolves? We are Dark Creatures, Harry, and you, like your father, chose not to see it. You are so determined to hate Snape that you refuse to listen to anything he says."
Remus. His friend and mentor and support for so long…
Chuckling, Moony shook his head, a fond twinkle in his eyes. "And poor stupid Wormtail too. On the same side for so long and he still has no idea. I'm sure his expression will be nearly as good as yours." Now he mocked the look of raw horror so obvious on the young man's face.
"Then all this time…"
"Of course all this time," the werewolf snapped, thoroughly out of once inexhaustible patience. The amused expression faded to an irritated scowl. "Since before you were born. Did you never wonder why I knew all that I knew? It wasn't just scholarly experience that taught me so much about the Dark Arts. Did you never wonder how I knew exactly how to get us all in tonight? Who was so sure that the Death Eaters couldn't possibly be expecting an attack from the forest?"
"It was a trap," tears sprang to Harry's eyes and he clenched his wand tighter. "All those people back there, and Hermione…"
"And the Weasleys we mustn't forget. Died on a full moon, didn't they?"
"Monster," Harry whispered in horror, face gone slack. "You're a monster." Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Fred, George, George, Percy, Bill, Ron, Ginny…
Remus smiled, grey eyes glittering. The amused expression was back; he was clearly enjoying every moment of the boy's reaction. "I am a werewolf, Harry. Of course I'm a monster."
"So then back there in the forest," Harry chose bitter sarcasm rather than tears and pleading. "I suppose those weren't Death Eaters, were they? You didn't want any Aurors coming, did you?"
"Oh no," Remus shook his head. "They were Death Eaters alright. But I didn't want anyone else to have you. You're my prey. My kill."
"Voldemort won't be happy with you, you know," the young man tried to buy himself some time. "He wants me all to himself. You won't be able to enjoy your little paradise if he kills you."
"I wouldn't worry about him too much, my boy," his former mentor shook his head patronizingly. "Did you not know? The Dark Lord has been keeping up with your progress through the years and he knows just how much of a threat you are to him. So be proud of that at least, that you frighten him enough for him to drop his vendetta. Orders are to kill you on sight; he doesn't want you any closer to him that you have to be. I imagine I'll be received with full honors. A werewolf killing the hero of the world who persecutes my kind… It's almost poetic."
The boy couldn't stay here anymore, talking to the man who had been his friend and mentor. Who was the murderer of so many innocents. He backed up as though to run. He was no match for Remus physically. And he doubted he could beat a former Marauder at magic.
Smiling in the way he did when sharing an inside joke with Sirius, Remus shook his head. "Oh Harry," he tsked softly, soothingly. "Where's your bravery? You'll take on Lord Voldemort at the age of 11, but you'll run from me? Come now," amber flashed again in his steady gaze. "It's only one werewolf."
Harry grit his teeth against Remus'… the monster's taunting. Where was his bravery? Gripping his wand so tight that his fingers went numb, Harry prepared himself. Every sense in his body screamed at him to stop this. This was Remus! Moony! His old mentor who had taught him so much. Perhaps he was only Confunded or under the Imperious…
No, his eyes narrowed, he had to stop thinking like this. Remus was too strong and clever to let anyone alter his mind. This wasn't any friend of his. This was a monster, a murderous creature with no remorse. He'd fought worse than this and lived. After all, this was just one werewolf. The true threat lay inside. This should be no problem for him.
This was just one werewolf.
Moony sighed in mock disappointment. "Not going to run, Harry? But that just makes it so much more fun. Very well then." He slowly brought up his wand and the taunting smile faded. His dueling pose was perfect, he left no clear openings. Greyish amber eyes narrowed into dangerous slits. "Wand at the ready, Harry."
A/N1: So who wins at the end? Well, that's up to you. Nothing against anyone, but it is hard to come up with an idea that hasn't been used to death. I hope you found this original or, at the very least, fun. I know I had a lot of fun making Remus evil. Once again, this is dedicated to Nuwie because during a conversation of ours we got on to the topic of villains and I thought how cool it would be if Remus was evil. Of course she wouldn't hear of such a thing, so here it is!
A/N2: For those of you who are waiting on 'Across the Water,' don't worry, I'm still working on it. Can't say it'll be up in the very near future, but know that I never abandon anything : )