Can you crawl out of asking

the origin of sorrow, now, through the grass,
in the animal moment,

HIVE, Dana Levin

His face was distinctively angular, lines without sharp edges that managed to come together in such a fashion to make Ron think that the boy was cunning - devious, planning something, and definitely cunning.

The boy had wild, thickly tossed hair that stuck up a little in the back and on the sides. As if he had been sleeping..?

There was an old yellow coat worn over that small frame. Even smaller than Harry, which was saying something. The coat was worn without being frayed, such an ugly color that all he could think of was dried mud. The boy's eyes stayed on Ron, watching..

Ron shivered, and turned his attention to the commotion rebounding through the room. His mother, tall in her convictions - her voice burned against the walls. Those eyes, they didn't feel human.

Lupin, fading, falling into himself. He looked short standing over the Weasely head. Sirius drawn up beside him, grinning. Somewhere Ron had lost track of the conversation, and the flames in the hearth grew green behind the two men as the Floo System activated.

As one, they turned to the source of sudden green light, and stepped to either side.

Those eyes ..

He came to himself half sprawled out against the grass and dusty, dry-dew of the ground. His foot slipped in mud and Remus nearly fell from his perch of arms, elbows, and knees.

He staggered to his feet, the harsh light of dawn pounding against his head.

A sharp crack rang out. Behind him-!

He spun, slowly, dizzy with fatigue, and almost pitched backwards for the effort. As his eyes trailed from the sky to the great hulking bushes tangled on either side in an effort to focus his vision, spinning up down sideways..

There. There in front of him. A boy? A ..?

That was nothing, if not fur he just saw sliding away into a human face. The boy didn't look nearly as ragged as he did, but the simple thought of not being alone in the transformation that night (he couldn't remember!), most especially with a young boy he'd never seen, left a queasy feeling sinking into his stomach.

He lurched forward, part walking, mostly stumbling as he redrew his bearings around him.

Where you there..?

He took off the coat to run.

What a foolish, stupid thing to do. Yet, no one could have said that Naruto was the wisest one out there. Of course, Naruto hadn't really known anyone long enough for them to say that to him, but it was true all the same.

Naruto set down the hulking mass of fur that remained of his father's coat - now a true coat unto itself with sleeves - over what he was sure was the massive, tangled root he had been lingering the day away yesterday. Practicing with fire..

But then the fire burned in his lungs and his legs and he had to run. To be free and feel the wind, the air, roaring through his ears, sliding over his back. His paws pounding against the dirt, tossing it up in his mad rush. The delirious joy of movement.

He took the coat off, and set it here. It was here, wasn't it? It had to be!

What a stupid thing. What a foolish, foolish thing to do. Without the coat, his 'human' fingers were still too long and boney, his nails too sharp. His ears stuck out into corners that shouldn't be and his eyes..

.. slitted with red, he stared back at Remus. Blinking slowly.


Should he kill to keep his secret?

Dumbledore, that was the name. He swept like a broom - stood like an ornament - all billowing fabric and flowing hair. His eyes moved without moving, and light gathered in odd fashions over the sharp color of his irises.

Dumbledore - why didn't something that old smell of death? - smiled without showing his teeth, and stretched out an arm to Naruto. His palm slightly raised, his fingers barely curled. The sleeves of his robe open enough that from such a height Naruto could see straight through them to the elbow.

Naruto stared at the hand, wrinkling his nose.

He glanced up at the human, with hard glares and narrowing of the eyes. His teeth curled back in a soundless snarl, his fangs threatening to slip over the cover of his lip.

Dumbledore, the withering human, so old with flesh that should have reaked of decay, eyes that should have been murky and unclear. So old that his beard brushed the tops of his shoes, but why didn't he smell it?

Remus counted the numbers against the knuckles of his hand - the days, the amount, the money.

Three galleons a day, or was it two? Bread, milk, eggs. He had five days. His new job was in a library on the opposite end of a small village. He could do without the eggs, but he would need ham. Meat, meat of any kind. Five days and counting..

He was in the Muggle world, renting out a small room with walls that only looked clean. The moon was coming. He could smell it, riding through his head. The musty sweat of age and poor sealing leaked through the walls and into his veins. It itched at him.

They thought him a scoundrel, possibly a vagrant druggie from the nearby cities. (Dealing or selling..?) The hair on the back of his neck stood on end as he felt - saw - their lingering stares. The fear was a thing Lupin could taste. It rode on the bottom of his spoon, into every scrape against his bowl, into his heart.

Five days until the full moon, and he would howl and howl and howl..