Summary: MMWPP era. What if, when they first went to Hogwarts, Sirius was one of the "popular" ones? Sorted into Gryffindor much to his mother's disgust, he takes solace only in aggravating his classmates, but when it comes to Remus? Things change.
"Alright you two, that's it! I'm splitting you two up! They'll fire me if I don't get enough of you to pass your OWLs." Professor Slughorn bellowed across the classroom, already in a rather bad mood from teaching the intelligent but leaning-towards-hippy Ravenclaw seventh years. All too aware of whom he was talking to, James Potter and Remus Lupin looked up guiltily from their antidote, which was emitting bright, rubbery-smelling, yellow smoke in thick clouds as well as a strange baaing sound.
"Potter, go over there. Give him at least a small chance of getting out of this classroom alive," James almost groaned out loud as the professor gestured to a snivelling, rather rodent-like boy named Peter, but held himself back considering the 4 detentions he'd already received in their first 3 weeks at school.
"And Lupin, go and join Black in the corner. Maybe you can set a good example for a change," Remus nodded, and stood up with his books and ingredients, but exchanged a look with James and rolled his eyes as soon as Slughorn turned away. Resigned to his fate, he dropped his books on the desk next to Sirius, who exchanged a look of his own with his friends and, with a flick of his wand, pulled Remus's chair almost silently backwards, figuring that if he had to work with such a loser, he'd at least get some entertainment out of it.
Remus, with regular-werewolf-transformation-enhanced-hearing, however, simply continued sorting his ingredients out of the mess he'd made of them, before wordlessly turning, retrieving his chair and sitting down. An expectant look at Sirius revealed that the older boy was looking mildly impressed.
"How far have you got?" Remus gestured to the blackboard, figuring that if he had to work with such a poser, he'd at least get a good potions grade out of it.
Sirius arched an eyebrow and looked ironically at his empty cauldron. Remus simply nodded with a patience borne of practice, and began to work, ignoring the regular sniggers from Sirius and his friends. After a few minutes, however, Sirius got a little bored, and handed Remus one of the ingredients as he reached for them. It was a gesture meant to save time, but Remus froze halfway through taking it, his fingertips just touching Sirius's, to give him a searching look. Sirius looked back at him for a moment, his expression carefully neutral, before Remus was satisfied and returned to the potion. As he went to start the next step, however, Sirius handed him exactly what he needed again, earning himself another calculating stare.
After completing the next stage, Remus reached for something else, and once more his hand found Sirius's. Again, the searching look, before Remus withdrew his hand, picked up the right ingredient from the desk and continued as if nothing had happened. He heard James turn laughter into a coughing fit on the other side of the room and smiled slightly, but showed no signs of acknowledging Sirius's stunned look. The other boy, unaware of Remus's werewolf enhanced sense of smell, was staring at him in disbelief, still holding the pouch, and none of this friends, who almost always had something cutting to say, spoke a word. In fact, none of them moved until Remus retrieved his pouch from Sirius's hand and used it in the next step, causing the other boy to lower his arm.
Shortly afterwards, by which time Remus had managed to create a perfect example of the potion with no more of Sirius's 'help', the lesson ended.
"Should have seen the look on his face! Remus, that was fantastic!" James laughed as they left the dungeon for lunch, "I've never seen him that shocked!"
"Well we did only meet him a week ago…" Remus reasoned, although he flushed slightly at the praise.
"Yeah, but still! You're a genius in school uniform," James replied, and was rewarded with a gentle laugh.
"Thanks, James. Just for that, you can have my schoolbooks when I wake up dead tomorrow," Remus said darkly, referring to the fact that he doubted that Sirius, who was in the same house as them and thus shared the same dorm, was unlikely to be above attacking a sleeping opponent.
"Pureblood twat," James muttered as Sirius passed them, alone for a change but still shoving other students out of the way. He froze, however, as he heard James's comment, and turned to look at him, his eyes narrowed.
"What did you just say?" he asked, quietly but with an evidently dangerous tone. James inhaled, ready to reply, but much to his -and Sirius's- surprise, Remus got there first.
"What makes you think we'd waste our breath talking about you?" he said coldly, and James stared at him in surprise. He'd never heard Remus say anything like that before.
Sirius's eyes narrowed for a moment, before he stalked off, and James let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.
"What is with you today?" he asked, looking with concern at his friend, who flushed again, staring at the floor.
"I don't know. He's just so… aggravating! Close-minded, arrogant prick!" Remus's fists clench, and he suppressed the urge to punch something, "I can't stand people like that," he finished, forcing himself to stay calm.
"Given up on becoming popular then?" James grinned, and Remus smiled slightly.
"I think I gave up on that two years ago," he muttered, without thinking.
"What happened two years ago?" James frowned curiously, looking at his friend as they reached the ground floor.
"Oh, I just… realised what a load of crap it was, that's all," Remus shrugged and smiled a little nervously, and although James looked at him curiously for a little longer, he nodded and accepted the answer. Remus sighed. He would have to tell James eventually; he knew that. But he couldn't bring himself to do it just yet. How could he tell his best, and currently only, friend that there was one night a month during which he could kill each and every person he cared about without a second thought?
The next few days passed without event, although Remus noticed that Sirius wasn't quite as high-spirited as usual, and was even seen, on occasion, without the admirers that usually surrounded him.
That wasn't to say, however, that Sirius had forgotten about the humiliation he had suffered at Remus's hands. In fact, he was silently fuming the entire time, trying his best to think of ways to get even. A nighttime attack would only mean his exposure as a coward, and so he had to find another opening, another time during which Remus let his guard down.
His observation of the other boy, however, meant that he could hardly fail to notice his steadily deteriorating appearance. Although he usually looked a little peaky, the previous few days had seen him getting progressively worse. He was handing in P level assignments where usually he would have got at least an E; failed to concentrate in class and had racked up even more detentions than Sirius that week. Sirius didn't mention it to any of his friends, since they were still obstinately under the impression that he wanted to face an equal, rather than a handicapped opponent, but it bothered him most of the time. What was wrong with Remus? Was he sick? Did he have some sort of pre-teen separation anxiety?
So, on the third fourth night after the potions lesson, when Remus made his way out of the common room, James conspicuous in his absence, Sirius knew that he had to follow him. He had no invisibility cloak, or spell, but years of living in a pureblood household in which he was forced to sneak downstairs in the dead of night to steal food, meant that he might as well have done.
Considering the situation, Sirius was unsurprised, if a little disappointed, when Remus, glancing around nervously and making it horribly obvious that he knew he shouldn't be there, stopped at the hospital wing and went inside. Sirius, sure that he was about to solve the mystery, edged closer to listen at the door, but sprang back and hid as it opened and the matron peered around, before walking swiftly in the direction of the Entrance hall, seemingly alone. Sirius, however, noticed the way that the door closer a moment later than it should have done, and recognised the disillusionment charm she'd obviously placed on Remus. Squinting into the darkness, Sirius searched for a shadow- the simplest way to find someone who had been disillusioned- but found none in the almost darkness of the corridor and was forced to simply wait until he thought Remus had rounded the corner. Thankfully, the Entrance hall was brightly lit, and although it hindered Sirius's movement, he at least knew where his target was.
And a good thing it was too. Remus, despite his senses being dulled somewhat by lack of sleep and a distinct feeling of dread, stopped dead in the middle of the hall, positive that he had heard someone move behind him. He only had time for a few seconds pause, however, since the matron was already getting further ahead of him than he liked, so put the noise down to one of the portraits and hurried off, Sirius in hot pursuit. Much to his surprise, they started a long trek across the grounds, but the small amount of remaining sunlight allowed Sirius to follow Remus's shadow instead of being left in the dark- in both senses of the term.
He felt no closer to finding an answer, however, as they reached what could only be the tree that they had all been warned about on their first day. The branches swayed, even though there was no breeze, and as the matron neared it, it seemed to lean towards her. A flick of her wand and an unspoken phrase, however, froze it and she made her way inside, followed by the two teens. Sirius's eyes widened; he doubted that even the seventh years knew about that passageway. And here, he was, clambering inside on his way to find out what would almost certainly be the blackmail evidence of the century. He'd show Lupin what happened when he messed with a 'pureblood twat'!
The passageway led a short way down, before levelling out and continuing for an indefinite distance. Sirius frowned; although the light was almost nonexistent and he was thus unlikely to be seen, a long straight passageway meant that he had nowhere to hide, and he ran a very high risk of being seen if the only exit was the entrance. Thankfully, as a creaking noise overhead indicated that the immobilisation spell had worn off, Sirius spotted what looked like an attempt at a branching tunnel. Smiling once more, due to his under a tree/branching passageway pun, he slipped silently into the alcove and waited for the footsteps of his oblivious companions to fade. As they did so, he paused for a moment before beginning to make his way after them. He had hardly taken a step, however, when the swishing of a cloak alerted him to the matron's return, and he was forced to hide again.
He held his breath, eyes screwed shut as he prayed to every God he could think of. The matron, seeming to be in quite a hurry, left without looking back, muttering another spell as she clambered out of the tree trunk and into the steadily falling night. Sirius, feeling incredibly relieved and even more curious than ever, thanked his lucky stars for her inattention and began to make his way stealthily along the passage. It didn't take him long to realise that it was a lot longer than it had looked and sounded, due to the echoes and the almost pitch blackness that surrounded him.
Just as he stubbed his toe on the uneven floor for the third time and was about to bring out his wand to do the lumos charm, however, he reached the end, and emerged into what had evidently once been a fine wine cellar. Watching and listening carefully for any sign of movement, he made his way up the stairs and into the kitchen, where a quick glance around told him that nobody had used it in at least a year. Aside from the thick layer of dust covering everything, the fridge door was open slightly, with what looked like purple tentacles protruding from it. Sirius skirted around it, aware that anything that had been in an empty house for that long would be hungry, and continued into the dining room, where he froze at a sound from the adjacent room; a long-deserted lounge. He peered around the doorframe, scanned the room, and finally focused on a figure huddled in the middle of the room, shaking uncontrollably.
With a start, Sirius realised it was Remus, curled up on the floor with his arms wrapped around his legs and his face buried in his knees, violently sobbing without any awareness of the other boy's presence.
As Sirius watched, however, the last trace of sunlight disappeared from the gaps in the boarded up window, and Remus tensed, his breath coming in shorter and shorter gasps and he struggled to keep control, before he simply gave up and howled.
That one noise made Sirius want to start screaming himself- the intensity of the pain and suffering of the boy in front of him was overwhelming in a way he'd never experienced before. It took him a little while to figure out exactly what was happening, but even as Remus's fully transformed body lay panting heavily on the floor, Sirius could do nothing but stare transfixed. It was so raw, so... horrifying, that he just couldn't help himself.
As it got up, however, one thought pushed itself to the front of his mind.
He had to get out of there.
Well, that's enough for now, methinks. I've got work to do and House to watch. Let me know if you like it, I've got almost another chapter to put up and I can get it up pretty soon if you want.
Thanks for those of you who let me know just when it was that Remus got bitten. Have a cookie on me.