Yeah! Another one! Oh, I was proofreading my last chapter, and in the letter to Tonks, it should be, "…ten of those where children, ten have now disappeared…" because how would they know there were ten if all had disappeared? They mysteriously disappeared during their first full moon, to put it better.
Chapter 4: The First Moon"I'm so tired…"
"So go to bed, dear!"
"I can't, Molly…I…you don't understand."
"Tonks, don't worry about it, everything will go perfectly…"
"It's not that." Tonks muttered, slumped forward on the table in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, "I don't think I can stand…knowing…"
Mrs. Weasley thrust a mug of coffee into Tonks' hands, then put a reassuring arm around her shoulders. Tonks drew in a shaky breath.
"Just tell me, one thing," she began, staring at the swirling smoke rising from the drink, "why must the most innocent man be condemned to a fate so evil that he will never be trusted? Why must the best person who deserves peace and prosperity be given hell? Because it's unfair, all of it. I just can't bear the fact…"
She broke off, a tear trickling down her face. Mrs. Weasley drew closer, squeezing her shoulders lightly. "Dear, it is only because of fear that werewolves like Remus are not trusted. It all comes down to whether or not we trust the person; because werewolves have the tendency to lash out at others, we naturally will feel very uncomfortable around them, knowing our lives may very well be in danger. I trust Remus very well, and Sirius has always trusted him. Things like what you said just…happen."
Before Tonks could respond, a great black dog bounded into the kitchen, and a second later Sirius stood at the door, panting heavily.
"I did it, Molly," he said, "Goodness, he was tough today. I swear his 'other' side has gotten stronger in the last month. Oh, hello, Tonks," he added, only just spotting her. He plunked into a chair next to her, and ran his hand through his hair wearily. Only then did it register that Tonks' face was panic stricken as she stared at him.
"Tonks?" he asked, bewildered, "What's up?" But she only shook her head, and turned away. Mrs. Weasley, looking worried, asked Sirius, "Is everything alright, then?"
"Yup," said Sirius, still looking curiously at Tonks. "Well, I guess I'll retire. And if you ask me, you need some sleep too, Nymph."
Tonks didn't even have the strength to go and kick him in the shins. She let the name slid past her, her mind elsewhere. Instead, she gave a great shuddering yawn, and drained her coffee cup, ignoring the hot fluid scorching her throat.
"Yeah," she murmured, and made to follow Sirius. Mrs. Weasley patted her arm as she got up. "Remus will be perfectly all right, Tonks. Trust me."
Tonks only half-nodded, and left the room as quickly as possible. As she climbed the stairs, it seemed unnaturally quiet. Don't worry about him. She thought sternly to herself. He can take care of himself. And with that thought in her mind, although not remotely comforting, she drifted off to sleep.
A soft whining woke Tonks up with a start. She stared around her dark bedroom, looking for the source of the noise. After a few moments the whining stopped, but Tonks sat erect in her bed nevertheless. Her years in Auror training had taught her not to relax in the silence, for something much worse was expected to come. Her had clenched her wand, which was stowed under her pillow as she waited.
As she had predicted, a low howl replaced the silence. Gradually it increased volume and pitch. A sudden calm stole over Tonks as she listened to the music, the music of the wild. Yet the song was eerie, quite unnatural, and it appeared to be coming from above her.
Next minute, her heart had shot up into her throat. A wild scream filled her room, and she leapt up, wincing horribly at the painful sound, her hand shaking slightly as she pointed her wand at the ceiling.
But her wand rendered useless to her. As the cries sliced through the peaceful night, the wand fell from her slackened grip. Horrified she stared above her, the moonlight of a full moon gleaming on her face.
And then she remembered. Screaming just as loudly as Remus now was, she bolted for the door, and stumbled into the hall. The werewolf stopped screaming abruptly. Dazed and confused, Tonks leaned against the wall, noticing, as she did, that the door to the attic was triple-bolted shut, and the faint outline of a protective charm crossed over the opening. Tonks stepped back into her room.
Remus suddenly continued to yell, although the shouts sounded so much more human than before. Tonks could only guess that he was transforming back into himself. Her face was covered in cold sweat, as she attempted to block out the sound of her friend, but it was nearly impossible. She moved back into the hallway.
And Remus stopped again. Someone must have put a silencing charm on the hallway, but the silencing charm in her room had quickly expired. She had heard of them doing that sometimes. Tonks slumped down to the floor, shaking.
Those children. Those innocent children, she thought desperately. Are they suffering just like Remus? A dark shadow crossed over her blue eyes as she remembered the report she was to finish for the "higher up" Aurors. She will have to find Fenrir's hideout. She will have to do this, alone.
Remus had finished his transformation when Tonks felt it safe to enter her room again. In fact, he was being very unnaturally silent. Hiccuping slightly, Tonks wiped her eyes with the back of her hand, and fell into bed.
Minutes past slowly as Tonks stared at the ceiling, whispering Remus' name over and over to herself. Was he okay? Why was he so quiet? For once in her life, silence disturbed her. Finally she could take it no longer. She jumped out of bed and back into the dark hall, this time carrying her wand with her.
As quietly as possible she undid the charms on the attic door, and revealed a wooden staircase. Nothing stirred. She climbed up.
"Remus?" she said softly, her heart battering against her ribs. There was no response. She moved deeper into the attic. "Remus? Are you okay?"
She had reached the end of the attic, and faced a bare stretch of wall. She stared at it for a few seconds, and then something stirred to her right.
It was Remus. He was huddled in the corner, a ripped and dirty blanket the only thing covering him. He was unconscious; she had just seen his head slip down the wall a couple inches as he lay in a most uncomfortable position. Rushing towards him, she put an arm around his shoulders, and wrapped the cloth more securely around him, taking deep calming breaths as she took a look at the deep bleeding cuts on his neck and face.
"Rennervate," she whispered. Remus' eyelids fluttered for a moment, but he did not awaken. She repeated the spell, a little more confidently. This time Remus groaned weakly and struggled for a better sitting position.
"Don't move," she said quietly, and began to move her wand over his cuts and bruises, stopping the flow of blood. It was the best she could do for him then. She stepped back.
"Well," she attempted a smile. "looks like you had a rough night. Isn't there a way to stop you from hurting yourself?" Even as she said these words, she remembered Remus telling her way back when in the closet, how he hurt himself to protect others. She elapsed into silence. Remus' face was very white as he slowly lifted his head to look at Tonks. It did not seem to register to him that he was completely naked but for a threadbare blanket and being looked upon by a woman.
Tonks was at a loss of what to do. He looked too weak to stand; ought she to have just let him sleep? She looked at the floor below through the ceiling door. Maybe it would be better if she called Sirius, and ask him to fix Remus up. He must have done that quite a lot of times back at school.
She began to move toward the ladder, but suddenly heard a low growl from behind her.
Whirling around, she saw Remus staring at her, pure hatred and anger etched on his face. His blue-gray eyes were flecked with gold, and baring his teeth. Terrified, Tonks turned from his intense glare, and flew down the ladder.
"Sirius!" she cried moments later, banging on his door. It sprung open almost immediately. Sirius stood there, his wand aloft. Seeing it was only Tonks, he retorted with a nasty swear word and made to close the door. Tonks flitted into his room before he could shut her out.
"Sirius, something's wrong with Remus," she began. Sirius rolled his eyes.
"Of course, he told you he was a werewolf…"
"No, it's not that," she said, perching herself on his bed, "he's out of order. I went to check how he was doing because he was being unnaturally quiet, it disturbed me…"
"You went into the attic?" asked Sirius incredulously, "You're such a moron, Tonks. No one's supposed to go up there until eight hours are up!"
"Eight?" said Tonks, bewildered, "it's four! The full moon last four hours!"
"Well, yeah," said Sirius, "but for Remus to calm down, it takes about eight. I expect he attempted to bite you in human form?'
"Well, yes." Tonks felt embarrassed at her stupidity, "Actually, he just stared at me and growled," she added defensively. Sirius shook his head wearily.
"You really are a moron, Tonks. Did you at least close the door behind you?"
This brought Tonks up short. No, she did nothing of the sort. "Er—" she replied. Sirius' head snapped up.
"You didn't? Oh my gosh, Tonks! You just put us all in mortal danger!"
He ran to the door and wrenched it open, dashing up the stairs, Tonks at his heels.
"Sirius, he could barely move! I'm sure he hasn't gone anywhere!" she said hurriedly. Sirius turned to face her in the hall.
"Haven't you ever heard?" he said, "A regular wolf can run up to three whole days nonstop, without water or food. A werewolf…well they'll run six on a scent for food. I doubt very much he's still in the attic."
Tonks eyes widened with fear, as they approached the attic door. Very much open, it swung to and fro eerily, occasionally bumping into the ladder that was very much still on the ground. Sirius put his foot on the rung.
"You stay here. I'll go check." Swiftly he moved up into the attic. Tonks, shivering, pulled her wand out and began to search her room for Remus. Many times she thought she could see eyes shining through the darkness, staring at her, but it was only her imagination.
"Well, he's nowhere to be seen," a voice said behind her. Sirius had returned. He was looking at her, clearly very irritated. Tonks looked away, angry with herself.
"Now what?" she asked, still not looking at him.
Sirius sighed, "We go looking for him. I'll take off the silencing charms. Then we'll be able to hear when he has met his prey."
Tonks flicked a half-smile his direction and raised her wand, ready to face the risk.
A/N: So Remus is on the loose. And just for those sick-minded people out there, yes, he's naked. Next chapter in a few weeks (or days if I get round to it) will be the turn out on chasing Remus, and Tonks will have a little talk with Kingsley about Fenrir and his adopted wolf pups.