Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

A/N: This is set during the summer after Half-Blood Prince. This is my first attempt at a Remus/Ginny, so be gentle.

The Beast Within

Chapter 1

I blame it on the beast within—

It helps me with those midnight sins.

"Push and pull and live my way,

Live to fight another day."

It whispers soothingly in my ear

To make me forget my guilt and fear,

"Follow the blood lust,

Grind their bones to dust,

Lap up a crimson lake

And tear their flesh for hunger's sake."

And I pray to be so bold

As to leave this earthly load—

While the beast takes my mind,

To taste silver and leave this hell behind.

Remus blamed it on the beast.

His weary eyes searched the night sky, his throat constricting in fear that washed his features white and helped to add a few more gray hairs to his head. The wolf locked within paced its human cage impatiently. The moon was almost full, missing only a tiny sliver—the line between man and monster. This time tomorrow night it would be him pacing, hidden by animal rage and hunger, but, for now, he could be of some use to the Order, to Harry.

They had disappeared during the last full moon while Remus was locked away and the watch for the evening consisted mainly of a few new members. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny had faded into the night, leaving no clues behind for the Order to follow. Only a simple note was left in Hermione Granger's handwriting. It said that they had things to do and that they were safe. That was not enough for the Order.

After all, they were only kids, out in a dangerous world by themselves. Remus bit his lip, a bitter smile on his pallid face. Perhaps if we had trusted them in the first place, they wouldn't have done this. Perhaps if I had gotten to know them better. . . Remus buried the thought. It was too late to regret. They were gone and had to be found.

Almost a full month had passed since the run away. No leads had appeared, and Remus could not figure out how someone as famous as Harry Potter had remained undetected. He also wondered what it was they were searching for, for surely Dumbledore had left Harry with some bit of information that he had not given the Order. Remus wanted to know, but more so, he wanted conformation that they were still alive and well.

And where else could one go for such knowledge if not Knockturn Alley.

Remus stayed to the shadows, hugging the closed shops and passing the stray witch or wizard without a sound. Half a block away, yellow light glared through a set of dirty windows and seeped through the cracks of the door to The Salamander. Minerva McGonagall had forbid him from contacting any less than honest associates with bribes and offers, and he had followed the order until now, when desperation was at its height.

He reached out for the door handle, and a hand clasped over his shoulder to stop him from entering.

He hadn't heard a soul approach, but his nostrils now took in the ripe, all too familiar scent of blood and perspiration. The wolf howled out to its brother, and the hand on him squeezed down, clasping onto him like a claw.

"Long time, no see, old friend," said a gruff voice.

"Greyback," Remus greeted, slipping his hand down into his robes.

A crude laugh touched his ear, and Remus could smell the other werewolf's breath, rank with rotten meat. His wand was snatched from him before he could lift it. Fenrir turned Remus around and threw him back into the brick outer wall of the bar. A snap later, Remus saw fragments of his wand fall to the stone walk.

"How long did you think you could hide from us? Did you think we would not come for you?" Fenrir growled. "Or were you too busy living out your happy little life, fighting for the good, to remember your old friends?"

Remus opened his mouth to reply and a fist caught him in the chest, knocking the breath from him in one painful burst. He doubled over, falling to the ground. He pushed himself up on his arms, but a foot slammed into his gut, throwing him onto his back and smacking his head against the stone. Fenrir placed the heavy boot over Remus's neck, stepping down ever so slightly.

Remus tried to gasp at the pain, but no sound came from his mouth. He grabbed hold of Fenrir's leg with both hands in a vain attempt to shake him off.

"Weak?" Greyback asked. He grinned down. "That's what happens when you don't let your wolf out to play for so long. He starts to dig his teeth into your insides, killing you slowly. I taught you that much, didn't I?"

Eyes glinting dangerously, Remus coughed, "I. . .will. . .kill. . ."

Fenrir laughed, pushing the toe of his boot down on Remus's windpipe, threatening to crush it with one tip of his weight. "Kill? A weakling such as you couldn't kill a fly. You wouldn't even hunt to save yourself. Tell me, old friend, what are you living for? I heard that there was a pretty young piece in your life now." The werewolf paused, breathing deeply through his nose. "But, I smell no woman on you."

Remus's expression softened and Fenrir cocked his head with a mocking frown. "Did you think a nice girl would want a beast like you? She couldn't handle it, could she? That's what you get for trying to be with someone who is not our kind."

Fenrir looked over his shoulder suddenly. "They're on their way. I sent Ulf to fetch them when I spotted you. You were a fool for leaving the comfort of your home, Remus. Were it up to me, I would give you some honor. In reflection, you are almost a son, so I would gladly slit your throat and let the pack lick up your blood. But, alas, I promised you to them. They get to use you first."

Pops sounded from around the two, but Greyback was still staring down at Remus. "Keep hope. When they are finally finished with you, they have sworn that the pack will be given the privilege of taking your life."

Fenrir stepped back, releasing a gasping Remus.

Rolling himself onto his side, Remus's sight blurred at the sudden movement and lack of oxygen, but he would still make out the forms of three Death Eaters. He expected pain. He expected questions. Instead, the center figure raised a wand and ropes shot forth, wrapping around Remus's arms. One of the others stepped forward, grabbing hold of him.

Remus felt his senses leave him as he apparated with the Death Eater. He opened his eyes, not realizing that they had been shut. He was in a dark corridor. The Death Eater kicked at his legs, and Remus lifted himself up onto his feet.

Two more pops sounded as the others arrived, pushing him forward from behind. Remus was too weak to give a decent fight. Instead, he stumbled along, bouncing off the corridor walls and the Death Eater at his side holding his sleeve to keep him balanced. But the wolf was wide awake, snapping at the attackers. The wolf perked its ears, hearing the sound of water, the sounds of earth far below. Wherever they had taken him, he was above tree level, though the hallway carried the musty scent of the underground.

Remus spotted what lay at the hall's end, a cell of sorts, its front enclosure consisting of bars tightly netted in diagonals. Through the small, diamond-shaped openings, he could see what appeared to be a prison cell. He could also see moonlight. The ceiling was missing over the cell, replaced with the netted bars. The open sky confused him for a moment until he spotted what lay on the cell's plank bed, the thin, covered form of a female.

He spotted a tussle of red hair peaking out from beneath the raggedy blanket, and Remus's eyes widened in sudden realization. The girl moved, uncovering her face and confused blue eyes confirming his fears.

"No. . ." he breathed in terror.

He watched Ginny Weasley's eyes brim with tears as he was pulled to a stop in front of the cell. The door opened for him, and the Death Eater at his side pushed him slightly, trying to get him to budge.

"Go," the Death Eater said.

Remus turned away from the cell for a moment, eyes trailing over the Death Eater's mask as he was pushed through the opening. He had recognized that voice. It was one he knew well. It was one he had never wanted to hear again.

"Severus," Remus stated.

The Death Eater paused. "Get inside, Lupin," he hissed.

Remus let a slight, aspirated laugh escape as he stumbled in, the door slamming behind him. He turned to the bars, staring through them. "Was this your plan?"

The Death Eater looked away, gesturing for the other two to leave. "Does it really matter, Lupin?" asked Snape.

"Bastard," Remus hissed. "Of course, what more could I expect from someone who betrayed the only man who ever gave a shit for him. I can't believe we ever trusted you—I guess James and Sirius were right all along."

"And look where that knowledge got them," Snape replied. He walked away, following the other two Death Eaters.

Remus stared after them for a moment before he turned his attention back to his surroundings. Ginny Weasley was still watching him, though the tears were now gone, replayed with something akin to comfort.

They didn't speak for a moment, each gathering the strength.

"Professor," Ginny finally said. "I'm sorry. I ran. . ."

Remus wanted to assure her that there was nothing to be sorry for, but he couldn't. He wanted to step forward and hold the girl, to tell her that all would be well, but for the moment, he was powerless. His own hope, what little he had, fled. With all of his heart, he knew that she was not aware of their situation.

So he looked to the sky, to the glaring moonlight. From the corner of his eye, he saw her look up as well. Suddenly her mouth dropped open, what little color remained on her face gone as realization dawned on her.

"Oh, Merlin," she sighed. "How long?"

Remus's body tightened as the wolf danced in anticipation. "The change will come tomorrow. We have less than a day."

Remus had reason to blame the beast.

End Notes: Yup, that was short. I hope you liked this alright. Review and tell me what you think, or I'll have to sic my werewolf after you.