Padfoot doesn't understand why he has to wait here.

Here is dingy and cold and smells wrong and Moony's not paying attention. It's different when the moon is full but afterwards it's always the same.

It is not like Azkaban. They aren't here and he's free to roam through the dusty rooms and darkened passageways. He snaps at doxies or runs round and round the house for hours, tattered curtains billowing in semblance of life as he passes, but eventually he tires of the game and the house returns to waiting, he doesn't know what for, and boredom swallows him.

But it's not like before either because now Moony is taking no notice at all. Something vital is missing or else undone. Exhausted by a feeling that isn't quite hunger he howls his misery and loneliness. He doesn't expect comfort. He'd never have believed that he'd welcome abuse but it seems that even his mother's lost interest. When Moony drops a teacup in front of her portrait, the painted canvas plays dead. Padfoot lies on the cracked marble floor where dirty sunlight trickles in through the fanlight, tongue lolling and tail thumping hopefully, watching as Moony dons his ragged coat and goes out into the street. He would follow but he can't. He knows that. As colours crawl and fade across the walls he waits.

He doesn't understand why he has to wait here remembering that there had once been another place. Smaller, warmer and smelling wonderful - just him and Moony - it had welcomed him and held him safe for a time.

One dull afternoon, when a sudden pressure change within the house tells him that the front door has been opened, he trots out onto the landing and peers down through the banisters to find that, incredibly, Prongs is standing just inside the hallway. Moony has come up from the kitchen to let him in and Padfoot tumbles down the stairs to bound round and round them, in and out of the curtains, chasing his tail and barking joyfully.

He doesn't understand why they won't play.

Disheartened and disappointed, when night falls Padfoot curls up in a corner and his mind drifts back to memories of deep, dark water; stars wheeling through deadly night. He tucks his nose under his tail and whimpers softly. Dreams find him gelidly stumbling as numbed feet make contact with ground that rises unsteadily beneath a swirling, tumbling sea or, in a stinking, rubbish strewn culvert, licking bloody paws with the pads worn off them.

It had been such a very long way.

He recognises that it isn't Prongs after all; it's Harry and Harry isn't talking. Days pass and the moon grows fuller. Still he watches and waits. The others are caught in some sort of standoff, growing steadily angrier at one another over something that the dog can't understand until one night, fearing the wolf will attack the boy, he growls a warning.

Later he finds Moony in a corner of the bedroom floor, dead to the world with his arms wrapped around his head, and lies down to sleep beside him. Padfoot twitches as, in a sunny spot, out of the wind amongst the Quiddich benches, a great black hound scratches itself, half dreaming. Too soon the sun is sinking and the sky's turning overcast. The slumbering dog whimpers apprehensively but calms to whispered words of comfort from a man who has been more than a brother and still talks in his sleep.

Early in the morning the wolf circles the boy carefully, and leans to fill his teacup. 'It will never go away, you know,' he murmurs apologetically, hand gentle on Harry's back. He pulls back immediately as if burnt but it's been enough or perhaps too much. From outside the house, something that has been struggling to get in has found an opening. As curtains stream blackly in a brutal, unfelt wind, Sirius is whispering close in Remus ear. 'Hold him'. Remus puts down the teapot, wraps his arms around Harry and, when Harry doesn't pull away, rests his eyes on the boy's bony shoulder. 'Hold him,' the wind insists. 'Don't you let go.'


Author's note: 'Black Dog' : depression or melancholy.

The idea is to rewritea fic from an assigned author, someone else who has signed up to the Remix, and to have one ofone's own fics rewritten. I found myself writing about Sirius and Remus, The original fic was 'My life Closed Twice Before It Closed' by Bow. (URL of Remix Archive in Profile).

Something different anyway.