"That was really dangerous

"That was really dangerous! Running around in the dark with a werewolf! What if you'd given the others the slip and bitten somebody?"

'A thought that still haunts me," said Lupin heavily. "And there were near misses, many of them…"

But what if one of those misses had been a hit?  And what if the person who was bitten was someone very close to Remus?  Someone who was like a brother? One for the Marauders?  Can the Marauders survive? Or will this tear them apart, forever bitten

"I'm telling you, it works."  Sirius Black insisted to his friends.

"I don't know. It sounds a bit dubious." James Potter frowned.

"Just a wave of the wand and it is prefect, Jamie." Sirius told him. "Remy should do it, though. He's best with DADA."

"Speaking of Remus, where'd he go?" Peter Pettigrew asked.  Sirius and James looked up. Sure enough, their friend and fourth member of the Marauders, was missing.

"Now that is the fifth time this year he's vanished without a trace!"  Sirius groaned. "Where on earth can he be going?  I bet you ten galleons he won't be back till tomorrow night."

"And he'll tell us he got sick or had to visit his mum or something."  James agreed.

"Well, I'm sick of this. Next time, I'm following him."  James frowned. 

"Are you sure about that, Sirius?  I mean, Remus is our friend."

"All the more reason to do it."  Sirius said, firmly.  James sighed, but agreed.

True to Sirius's prediction, Remus Lupin  returned the  next  night at dinner, looking tired, pale, and bruised.  Sirius gave James a look.  Remus didn't miss it as he sat down, but he pushed back his fears.

"Hey guys."

"Hey Remus. Where'd you go this time?" Sirius asked. James kicked him under the table.  Remus frowned.

"I was sick. I told you I wasn't feeling good."  He replied.

"Oh." Sirius   said.  James had had enough.

"Remy,  listen to this great new idea Sirius had."  He nudged Sirius  who grinned and launched into a description of his latest scheme.

A month later, Remus hurried down the hall. He checked to see he wasn't being followed. It'd been harder than ever to get away from his friends. James and Sirius were both becoming more and more   suspicious, Remus could see that.  He was just glad they  had no idea where he really went every full moon.

So far they had  accepted  the excuses of being sick or having  relatives  die or fall ill.  But they wouldn't forever. Besides, he was running out of people to kill off.  He  pulled open the  doors and hurried outside.  He glanced up. The moon was almost up. He was running late. He had to get to the tree before the moon rose or  things were going to get a bit messy.

He picked up a long stick and pressed the knot on the Whomping Willow that both froze it and  opened the passageway.  the first wave of pain  shot through him and Remus dashed into the tunnel.  He hurried as far as he could, before he collapsed.  Wave after wave of pain swept over him, until  he was screaming.

 The transformations were always painful,  so painful as bones  changed and grew, teeth and  nails elongated into razor sharp  canines and claws. Fur grew and the wolf mind  began to take over.

Remus opened his eyes as the changing wolf caught the scent of something,  something new.  The scent was  both familiar and  alien.  Suddenly, a shape moved at the end of the passageway. A light flickered and it was obvious a student had found their way inside. What was left of Remus's mind began to scream, especially  when he recognized the student.  It was Sirius! He tried to warn him, get him out.   Then Remus vanished and the wolf was in charge. And the wolf welcomed Sirius's presence. One thing flew through the wolf's mind as it crept on its new prey. Kill.

"Ow! That hurts!"

"Sorry!"

"Shut up!  This thing isn't sound proof."  James hissed at his friends as they stumbled down the hall after Remus.  They were hidden under James's invisibility cloak.   All three friends were surprised when Remus ventured from the way to the infirmary and  pulled open the doors leading out onto the grounds.

They watched him cross to the Whomping Willow, the one that  had just been planted that year.

"What's he doing?  No one's allowed  near the willow. Especially not after what happened to Davey."  James whispered.   Sirius peered out,  watching Remus prod the knot with a long stick and the tree froze.

"How did he know how to do that?"  Sirius asked. 

"I don't know, but let's go. I don't like it out here. It's full moon." Peter said. 

"I have to find out." Sirius said, slipping out from under the cloak and over to the tree. He picked up the  stick Remus had used and prodded the knot, making the tree freeze. Then he noticed a small passageway in the base of the tree. He leaned over it. 

"Sirius, I don't like this!"  James hissed.

To tell the truth, neither did Sirius.  The moon was giving him chills, it was large and full, just coming up over the horizon.   Sirius bent to look inside the passageway. As he did so, he heard a scream. 

It was loud, long, and full of  pain.  It was coming from down that  passage.  James and Peter had heard it too.

"Okay, Sirius. Let's go. Now!" James hissed, grabbing at Sirius's arm.  The scream  died and was reborn, worse than before.

"But Remus is down there! What if that's him?" Sirius  called over the noise of the dying echoes of the scream.  James faltered.

"Come on, Sirius! Please! Let's go!"  Peter grabbed James's sleeve and dragged him away. Sirius nodded and began to  get up.  Then he tripped over a root sticking out of the ground.  His wand was dropped from his hand and it rolled into the  passageway.

"Oh, man!" He got down on his hands and knees, looking for it.

"Sirius,  we'll get it tomorrow.  Let's go, now."  James  told him.

"It's my wand, James. I'm not leaving without it."  and with that Sirius climbed into the passageway, slipping out of view.  Just then a fresh scream  erupted, but it was different this time. This time it ended in  a long mournful howl.

"Sirius!" James hissed.  He leapt at the  opening. 

"Lumos."  Sirius had found his wand and was looking around him. 

"Wow, James. This goes on forever!"

"Sirius,  we'll explore later, come on, I have a bad feeling about this place."  Sirius nodded. The howl  repeated itself. Sirius glanced back.

"Come on, Siri!" James shouted.  He  slipped his wand into his belt and reached up to take James's hand.    Suddenly, James gave a yell and was shoved out of the way as if by some  giant force.

"James!"  Sirius yelled. He heard James and Peter both cry out in pain. Then the passage way opening slammed shut.  Sirius  pounded on it.

"Open up! Come on!" he groaned.  He  slammed his fist against it and let out a low growl.  Then he realized he wasn't the only one growling.

Slowly, very slowly, heart pounding, he turned around.  There standing in front of him was the largest wolf he'd ever seen.

"Oh my God." He whispered.  The wolf let out a howl. 

Sirius took a retreating step back.  The wolf stepped forward.  Sirius stepped back and the wolf went forward.  Its  mouth was open wide, drool dripping from   three-inch long fangs.  One long strand  dripped to the floor, and Sirius  was sure  the wolf could hear his heart racing in his chest. It was all he could hear, along with the  breathing of the monstrous beast in front of him.  Sirius  took another step back. The wolf seemed to be enjoying driving him back and  Sirius got the idea that it was rather like a cat playing with a mouse or a bird before they strike.

He swallowed long and hard, took another step back and was backed up against a solid wall.  This is what the wolf had wanted. Sirius had nowhere to run, no place to hide.  He was exposed and  as far as the wolf was concerned, free game.

"Nice wolf, good wolf.  You don't want to hurt old Sirius, do you?"  Sirius asked,  smiling  nervously.

At the mention of his name, a look passed over the wolf and  it backed off a moment.  Realization seemed to flash and the light gray of the wolf's eyes  became almost human. Too human. Sirius knew those eyes.

"Remus?" he breathed. "Oh God."  Then the wolf shook his head and the look was gone, replaced with that hungry  animal  look. 

"Oh no."  Sirius moaned, so quiet he almost couldn't hear it.  He could see the wolf preparing to pounce.  Then it attacked.  Sirius ducked and the wolf  hit the wall behind him. Sirius took off,  the wolf in hot pursuit.  Where to go, what to do? His mind raced  as fast as his feet.   There was nowhere to go but forward. 

Suddenly, he felt something cold and  sharp sink into his back.   He shouted in pain and went  down.  He fell on his face.  To his horror, the wolf bounded off him.  Sirius raised himself to his knees,  suddenly  feeling  weaker and a bit woozy.  The wolf snarled, and Sirius felt something cold and wet on his back, almost as if his whole back was soaked. The wolf went after him again and Sirius  raised his  arm to protect his face.   His reward was three long gashes across his  right arm.  He cried out in  pain. The wolf's jaw had attached itself to Sirius's arm.  Sirius yelled and aimed a kick at the wolf's face, sending it   back with a whimper.

The wolf retreated a step.  Sirius  saw the look was back, the human look. The wolf was looking shocked, if that was possible. He was looking at Sirius, holding his arm, blood pouring from that and his back, and looked horrified.  Sirius  grabbed at his  waist for his wand, but was shocked and dismayed to find it was gone.

Sirius took the opportunity to run like hell. He  scrambled to his feet and   ran as fast as his feet  could  carry him back to the entrance.  He  attacked the  opening.

"James!"  he yelled. "James! Please, open it! James!" then he heard the  pounding tread that could only mean one thing. The wolf was coming. "Oh my god! James!" he was screaming now, banging on the  opening with all his might.  "James! Open it! please! Someone help! Please! Anyone! Help!"

Suddenly the wolf turned a corner  and  saw it's prey. "Help!" Sirius turned and watched it  sped its attack. It was almost as if it was in slow motion.  But just as the wolf  had  leapt, strong arms seized him and  dragged him out.  Sirius grabbed on tight to whoever it was that  had grabbed him and pulled him out and was now carrying him  up the path and into the castle. Everything was swimming and  Sirius felt  his world slipping away. He  wondered if James really was running beside him. But he remembered one thing.

"Remus."

"Shh, don't talk, Sirius. Just wait, we're  almost there."  It was Hagrid.  It made sense. The arms were big and strong and Sirius felt as if he were at least ten feet of the ground.   Hagrid carried him up  several flights up steps.

Then  they entered a brightly lit room.  Sirius  squinted and  hid his face in Hagrid.

"Oh no, what did they do this time?" he heard someone say. It was Madam Pomfrey. No wonder. They were regulars here. She had four beds set-aside for them. 

"Woke up to James here, pounding on my door. Yellin' bout Sirius here. Turns out  he was inside the tree."  He felt someone brush his bangs aside to  lay their hand on his forehead.

"Inside? Dear Lord,  how did you know?"

"Heard him screaming and  pounding  on the door for all he was worth. Got him just before the wolf  pounced."

"Remus."  Sirius  whispered.

"Yes, Remus Lupin." Madam Pomfrey muttered. "Bring him over here."  Hagrid laid Sirius on  one of the beds. As soon as his back touched the mattress, Sirius hissed in pain and  arched his back.  Madam Pomfrey frowned. Then she leaned over to examine his back. " Take off your robe please." Sirius  made no move to comply. " Oh  alright." And she helped him  take it off, very slowly. " Oh no…"  she moaned when she saw the claw marks in Sirius's back. Sirius saw her take the robes and drape it over the chair. The back was covered in blood.

"Oh God…" he heard James  whisper. His back couldn't be a pretty sight.

"Mr. Black, listen to me every carefully." She spoke slowly.  Sirius was having trouble  paying attention. His vision kept  wavering in and out and he felt faint.

"Mr. Black!  This is very important.  Did the wolf either scratch or bite you anywhere?" Sirius nodded.

"I was running, and he jumped at me.  Got me in the back. Then he went for my face, or my throat, couldn't tell.  So I held up my arm and he scratched  it, I dunno if he bite it too."  Sirius mumbled.

"Which arm?" Sirius shrugged. "Mr. Black, this is important.  Left or right?"  Sirius raised his right arm. She took it and examined the scratches and teeth marks.  She sighed. "Hagrid, get Dumbledore."

"There is no need. I'm here."  Dumbledore stepped  into the   room, James and Peter by his side. Peter's  arm was bleeding, just like the cut Sirius now noticed on James's face, above his eye.

"Headmaster, perhaps it would be best if we talked privately." Dumbledore nodded.  He and Hagrid followed Madam Pomfrey to the other side of the room.  James turned to Sirius.

"Sirius, what happened?"

"You went away, James.  I couldn't get to you."  Sirius mumbled.

"Yeah, the tree came alive again.  Hit me and knocked me  clear across the  path, Peter too. By the time we could get up,   there was no way we could have gotten to the tree. We could hear you screaming."

"James wanted to go  try and  dive under the tree,  but I held him back.  He told me to get Dumbledore. So we did." Peter said

"What was down there?"  James asked.

"Remus." Sirius whispered.

"Remus? Remus did this too you?" James asked, disbelieving, pointing to the  marks on Sirius's arm.

"Not Remus. Wasn't Remus."

"Then what was it?"

"Wolf."  James stared at him, horrified.

"Remus?  Remus is a.." he didn't seem to want to say it.

"Werewolf."  Dumbledore  finished.  James spun around.  

"Remus is a werewolf?" Dumbledore nodded. James sat down on the edge of Sirius's bed.

"Oh God, poor Remus!"

"You are not  disgusted?  Not even after what he did to  Sirius?" Dumbledore asked his eyes  watching James intently. Sirius  watched him  feeling that if  only he could sleep, everything  would be alright.  Things were  getting hard to keep track of.

"Professor, as much as I'm worried about Sirius, I no longer have a choice on whether or not I want to be friends  with them.  I am sorry they will have to   be hurt like that. But I can't blame Remus for something he hasn't done.  As much as I may want to blame him, that wasn't Remus. That was a wolf. Not Remus."  Dumbledore smiled.

"I do wish all people had your opinions, James.  To be honest  your friends are  very lucky to have you as a friend." Then he turned to Sirius.

'Sir, I'm so tired. Can't I sleep?" Sirius begged.

Dumbledore glanced at Madam Pomfrey. "I just need to clean those cuts and then he may."

"Sirius, you are in for a long hard night. I doubt you will get much sleep tonight.   I just want you to remember what James says, and try to stay friends with Remus.  You will know soon enough what he goes through." Sirius frowned. 

"What do you mean sir?"

"Sirius, that wolf you saw tonight. That was no ordinary wolf.  That was a werewolf. Do you know what a werewolf is?"  From the look on his face, Dumbledore guessed he knew exactly what a werewolf was.

"Does that mean, I'm a werewolf now too?" certainly the question of the hour, Dumbledore thought and one he'd been avoiding.  Now he saw James, Peter, madam Pomfrey, Hagrid, all watching him, but he concentrated on Sirius.

Sirius, who was now the second werewolf ever to come to Hogwarts. He sighed. "Yes."  Sirius wondered how such one little word a could bring your whole world crashing down. It was suddenly hard to breath.

"I am going to notify your father tonight.  He should be here tomorrow to pick you up."

"You're expelling me?" Sirius asked.  Could this night get any worse?

Dumbledore smiled. "No. Of course not. I dare say you'd like to spend a few days at home recovering before you return."

"But what about Remus?"

'Remus will continue to live as he has, using the Whomping Willow and the Shrieking Shack to   stay during full moons. If you wish to return to school, you may do so also." Sirius nodded.  "Now, I suggest you two get back to your beds. I'll talk to Professor McGonagall in the morning. You will not be in any trouble.  Hagrid, you can go back to bed. Sirius, I suggest you get some rest."  Sirius nodded.  James gave him a sorry glance, but followed Peter out the door. 

"Now let's get these cleaned up." Madam Pomfrey said.   Though she was careful, it still stung and soon his cuts were burning.  Soon, she headed off to bed, leaving him to take his dreamless sleep potion.  Sirius lay on his left side, careful of both his back and arm.  He glanced out the window. 

He was hating the moon already.  Silent tears began to flow and Sirius began to cry.  He cried for a long time, his body racked by silent sobs.  And the moon had almost set before Sirius fell asleep.

He awoke the next morning to voices and a hand brushing his hair.  He frowned and tried to wave it away, but found his arm was bandaged.  Slowly, he opened his eyes. He was in the hospital wing.

"It wasn't a dream then." He whispered.

"Siri?"  Sirius looked up. His father was sitting by his bed, a worried look on his face. Addi was seated next to his, watching him with wide frightened eyes. "Are you alright?"

"Dad?" Sirius asked, finding his voice slightly hoarse.

"Hey kid. We're going home for a while. You think you can get up?" Sirius slowly sat up, ignoring the burning in his back.  To his surprise, his father slipped his arms under his knees and lifted him up.  Sirius hadn't been carried since he was a small child and somehow, wrapped in his father's safe strong arms, things seemed a bit better.  They passed another bed.  Sirius saw James and Peter sitting next to it. Curled up, as far away from them as possible, was Remus.

"Dad, wait."

James reached his hand out.

"Come on, Siri!" Sirius turned back to him, eyes wide as if he'd seen something and grabbed James's hand.  Suddenly, something  smacked James  hard on the head. He shouted in pain and  fell back. As he did, Sirius's hand slipped from his.

"Sirius!"

"Jam-" Sirius's reply was cut off as the  passageway vanished. 

"Sirius!" James  hurried back to the  place where the opening had been.  He could hear Sirius pounding on it.

"James!" he shouted, "Open  up! Come on! James!"

"I'm trying!" James shouted back,  shoving at the trunk. It didn't work.  Then he heard Sirius stop shouting. Something  hit him again, hard and James was tossed back.  He landed hard on the ground, Peter landed next to him a second later. James groaned when he saw what had happened. The tree had come alive again and the stick they'd used was lying under the trunk, out of reach. 

James got to his feet and made to  dive under a branch and grab it.

"No! James, are you mad?  That thing will kill you!"  Peter held him back.

"Peter, I have too. Sirius is in there."

Suddenly they heard a scream.

"James!"  Sirius's voice. Sirius shouted panicked and desperate.

"Sirius!"

"James! Please, open it! James!"

"Peter, get the head master! Now!"  James roared. Peter turned on his heels and pushed himself into an all out run towards the castle.  James  looked around. Sirius screamed again.

 "James!"  James ran for the nearest  person, Hagrid.

"Hagrid! Please, open up! Please!"  the door was opened a second later by the grounds keeper, and  friend of the Marauders, Hagrid.

"'Lo James. A bit late isn't it?"

"You have to come. Sirius's in trouble! Please!" James managed to drag the   huge man  over to the tree.

"Where is he?" Hagrid asked. Just them Sirius screamed.

 " Please! Anyone! Help!" Hagrid's eyes grew wide and he dashed for the tree, the  whipping branches having no effect on him. he  pushed the knot and the door slid open.  He reached inside and dragged Sirius out.   Sirius grabbed onto him and held tightly.   James  had no time to speak as Hagrid closed the  tree and  all but ran up the steps.

James followed him up to the infirmary.  Madam Pomfrey was  just  closing the door when Hagrid  ran up. 

"Oh no, what did they do now?" she glanced over Sirius huddled in Hagrid's arms, and James, a stream of blood running down the side of his cheek.  

"Woke up to James here, pounding on my door. Yellin' bout Sirius here. Turns out  he was inside the tree."  Madam Pomfrey touched Sirius's forehead.

"Inside? Dear Lord,  how did you know?"

"Heard him screaming and  pounding  on the door for all he was worth. Got him just before the wolf  pounced."

Wolf? James wasn't sure he'd hear. What wolf?  Hagrid went to lay Sirius down on the bed, but Sirius cried out and arched his back as if mere contact with the bed sheet caused him unbearable pain. James winced in sympathy as Sirius's breathing grew ragged,  with little whimpers every time very time he breathed in.

Madam Pomfrey helped him sit up and James saw for the first time, his back,  smeared with blood.  It seemed someone had  taken  a bottle of ink and threw it  at Sirius's back, it was so stained. Madam Pomfrey seemed surprised too.  She leaned over and touched his back. Sirius gave a yelp and jerked out of her reach. She straightened.

"Take off your robe please." Sirius didn't move. His eyes were closed.  Madam Pomfrey sighed. "Alright." She  helped him slip out of the robe.

Once it was gone, James saw the state of Sirius's back was worse without the robe.   Still under all the blood, James could make out  several long  slashes like claw marks. he heard Madam Pomfrey groan. " Oh no…" 

"Oh God…" James heard himself whisper. Sirius  gave him a look that plainly said, please, just leave me alone.

"Mr. Black, listen to me every carefully." Madam Pomfrey  forced Sirius to look at her. His gaze was groggy at best. 

"Mr. Black!  This is very important.  Did the wolf either scratch or bite you anywhere?" Sirius nodded.  "I was running, and he jumped at me.  Got me in the back. Then he went for my face, or my throat, couldn't tell.  So I held up my arm and he scratched it, I dunno if he bit it too."  Sirius mumbled.

"Which arm?" Sirius shrugged. "Mr. Black, this is important.  Left or right?"  Sirius raised his right arm. She took it and examined the scratches and teeth marks.  She sighed. "Hagrid, get Dumbledore."

"There is no need. I'm here."  Dumbledore stepped  into the   room, Peter next to him. James sighed in relief

"Headmaster, perhaps it would be best if we talked privately." Dumbledore nodded.  He and Hagrid followed Madam Pomfrey to the other side of the room.  James turned to Sirius. He had to know.

"Sirius, what happened?"

"You went away, James.  I couldn't get to you."  Sirius mumbled. He sounded so helpless James didn't know what to do.

"Yeah, the tree came alive again.  Hit me and knocked me  clear across the  path. Peter too, by the time we could get up,   there was no way we could have gotten to the tree. We could hear you screaming."

"James wanted to go  try and  dive under the tree,  but I held him back.  He told me to get Dumbledore. So I  did." Peter said

"What was down there?"  James asked. Something in him shouted to shut up, but he didn't listen.

"Remus." Sirius whispered.

"Remus? Remus did this too you?" James asked, disbelieving, pointing to the  marks on Sirius's arm.

"Not Remus. Wasn't Remus."

"Then what was it?"

"Wolf."  James stared at him, horrified.

"Remus?  Remus is a.." No, Remus? He couldn't be. Not Remus. Not sweet gentle Remy who never hurt a fly.

"Werewolf."  Dumbledore  finished.  James spun around. 

"Remus is a werewolf?" Dumbledore nodded. James sat down on the edge of Sirius's bed.

"Oh God, poor Remus!" Dumbledore looked at him strangely.  James frowned.

"You are not  disgusted?  Not even after what he did to  Sirius?" Dumbledore asked his eyes  watching James intently. James  cocked his head.  Of course he wasn't.  Did they really think his opinion of Remus, and now Sirius, was going to be changed  even after he'd known them  all this time?

"Professor, as much as I'm worried about Sirius, I no longer have a choice on whether or not I want to be friends  with them.  I am sorry they will have to be hurt like that. But I can't blame Remus for something he hasn't done.  As much as I may want to blame him, that wasn't Remus. That was a wolf. Not Remus."  He said, honestly. Dumbledore smiled. 

"I do wish all people had your opinions, James.  To be honest  your friends are  very lucky to have you as a friend." Then he turned to Sirius. James wondered just how much of this Sirius had understood.

'Sir, I'm so tired. Can't I sleep?" Sirius begged.

Dumbledore glanced at Madam Pomfrey. "I just need to clean those cuts and then he may."

"Sirius, you are in for a long hard night. I doubt you will get much sleep tonight.   I just want you to remember what James says, and try to stay friends with Remus.  You will know soon enough what he goes through." Sirius frowned. 

"What do you mean sir?" he didn't know yet. James inwardly moaned.

"Sirius, that wolf you saw tonight. That was no ordinary wolf.  That was a werewolf. Do you know what a werewolf is?"  From the look on his face, James guessed he knew exactly what a werewolf was.

"Does that mean, I'm a werewolf now too?" James held his breath. There was no way it couldn't be, no way, but still…

He sighed. "Yes."  Oddly, Sirius's face did not change.  The only reaction he had was to bit his lower lip, the tell tale sign, as James knew by now, that he was scared.

"I am going to notify your father tonight.  He should be here tomorrow to pick you up."

"You're expelling me?" Sirius asked.  James opened his mouth to protest.  Yeah, they'd been out of  bed at night. But didn't he think they'd been punished ten times over?  Now he was expelling Sirius?

Dumbledore smiled. "No. Of course not. I dare say you'd like to spend a few days at home recovering before you return." James let out a sigh of relief. But Sirius wasn't satisfied.

"But what about Remus?"

'Remus will continue to live as he has, using the Whomping Willow and the Shrieking Shack to   stay during full moons. If you wish to return to school, you may do so also." Sirius nodded.  "Now, I suggest you two get back to your beds. I'll talk to Professor McGonagall in the morning. You will not be in any trouble.  Hagrid, you can go back to bed. Sirius, I suggest you get some rest."  Sirius nodded.  James didn't want to leave his best friend, but Peter pushed him out the door.

They walked slowly to their rooms.  James  sighed and ran a hand through his messy hair. Two of his best friends in the whole world were werewolves.  He wondered how Sirius would  take it when he saw Remus, or worse, how would Remus react when he found out?

He hoped Sirius would be quick to forgive Remus.

Sirius was always like that with his friends.  For Sirius, his friends were his life.  Unlike Remus whose friends were his lifelines.  Sirius was fiercely loyal, ready to defend any of them against the slightest of dangers.  He wondered what to tell Lily, or even worse, Erin. Erin White, Lily Evans's best friend and one of the female Marauders.   She was smart, quiet, and pretty. And she had a definite crush on Sirius Black.  Luckily for her, the feelings were reciprocated full.

"I can't believe it.  Both of them?" Peter mumbled interrupting James's thoughts. .

"What are you thinking, Pete?" James asked.

"I don't know, James. I don't know if I can do it."

"Do what?"  he hoped Peter was talking about what he thought he was. 

"Be friends with them!" he was.

"Oh come on, Peter!  You're going to dump them when they need you the most? All because of a curse?"

"Because they're monsters, James!  That's what werewolves are! Monsters!"

"They are not monsters!" James felt himself go  hard and cold. "They are our friends! Did you ever fear  Remus or Sirius before? You know them! that is who they are! Not  something they become once a month! They need us, Pete! They need us more than anything right now! How can you even think of abandoning them?" He growled at Peter and stormed off, flinging himself onto his bed.

He heard Peter come in and go to bed a minute later, but he said nothing. What was there to say?

James didn't get much sleep that night.  He was up before the sun,  slipping down to sit  on the steps.

A few minutes after the sun rose, Remus crawled out of the  tree.  He stumbled up to the steps, and froze when he saw James there.  James  gave him a small smile.

"Hey Remy."

Remus moaned as he uncurled himself. The transformation was over.  Last night had been horrible. He remembered only   bits and pieces, not to mention it had been one where he'd had those dreams.  The horrible, frightening dreams when he murdered his best friends.

Sirius had entered the passage way and Remus had attacked him, ripped out his throat.  But thank God, it was nothing more than a dream.

He slowly, got to his feet, stumbling along the passageway. Had he spent the whole night here?  No wonder, he was so sore. But the wolf seemed oddly calm, as if it were satisfied with itself.

Suddenly, he kicked something. It looked like a stick, but as he leaned down and picked it up, his eyes widened.  It was Sirius's wand.  He'd know it anywhere.  Phoenix Feather, Redwood, 8 3/4 inches. Sirius had   cracked him over the head with it two days ago for some girl comment.  Remus wanted to smile at the memory, but the fact was Sirius never went anywhere without his wand.  Which meant that Sirius had been here, last night. Oh god!

Remus stumbled up the passage way and onto the grounds.  To his dismay and surprise, James Potter was seated on the steps leading up to the Great Hall.

"Hey Remy."  He said.

"James." Remus replied. He knew he must look horrible. He noticed James watching him with a pained expression.

"Madam Pomfrey wanted me to go get you.  She was kind of busy." Remus nodded, and James slipped an arm under his shoulders, helping him.

They made their way up to the infirmary. Not too many students got up at first light and so they encountered no one. James helped Remus lay back.

"Where are Siri and Pete?"  Remus asked.

"Next to you." James told him. Remus glanced over. James pushed the curtains back a bit so Remus could see.  Fear pounded in his body as he saw Sirius laid out on the bed, on his side, arms and back bandaged.  Peter was seated in the chair next to him, watching him with a strange expression on his face. Remus noticed his chair was pushed back from the bed a bit, while James's, obviously just vacated because he sat down in it again, was pushed right up to the bed. Only this time, he pulled it out from behind the curtain and sat next to Remus.

"What happened to him?" Remus asked, his throat suddenly dry.  He noticed James too had a bandage over his eye, signifying a cut.  Well, at least he knew they all did something.  Maybe they went exploring without him.   Sirius was the one with the worst luck when it came to injuries.

"Remus, this is going to be very hard for you.  But we want you to know that none of us blame you in the least. Dumbledore knows and he says you can stay and keep doing what you're doing.   Peter and I don't care and I'm sure Sirius won't either. You can ask him whenever he   comes back."

"Comes back from where?"

"He's going home for a while."  Remus swallowed hard.

"Why?" Remus's voice was almost a whisper.

"Remus.  Last night we decided to follow you.  We saw where you went.  We were going to go back, but Sirius dropped his wand in the tunnel.  He climbed down to get it, but the tree came alive and we couldn't get to him.  We got Hagrid and Dumbledore and they pulled him out. But he was injured.  The wolf bit him, Remus. He's like you now." Remus wasn't sure he'd heard right.

"What?"

"He's like you.  A werewolf."  James whispered.

"Oh god, no!" Remus moaned. He'd done it. He'd done the thing he'd been so so worried about. He'd bitten someone. And not just anyone.  Sirius!  James nodded, but his gaze was not hating or disgusted.  It was apologetic and worried.

"What, what did Sirius say? When he was told?" Remus asked. James sighed.

"Not much. He asked about you though."

"Me?"

"He asked what would happen to you. When Dumbledore told him nothing, he looked relieved.  But remember, he was really out of it, groggy and really tired."  Remus nodded.

"So was I, when I got bit."

"How old were you?" James asked, daring Remus to remember.

"Six."  Remus said. James looked horrified.

"Six?  God, you were six years old?  Now that's not fair!" 

Just then Dumbledore entered the infirmary.  A tall thin man with reddish brown hair and worried green eyes accompanied him. He was frowning. A young girl, looking about their age, with the same hair and eyes as the same, followed, with large eyes.

"He's just here, Orion."  Dumbledore led him to Sirius's bed.

"That must be his dad." James whispered.  Remus let out a little whimper. His friendship with Sirius was over. He knew that.  His father would never let him be friends with the boy who'd turned his son into a monster.

 Peter left the bed of Sirius and sat next to Remus, still keeping his chair further back than James's, Remus noticed.  He caught the girls' eye. She stopped and  stared at Remus as if  she'd never seen anything quite  like him before. Remus felt a small chill run down his back as he met her gaze.

A voice at the back of his mind wondered if this is what James felt  any time he looked at Lily. Even though he was only twelve years old, it was clear James Potter was head over heels for Lily Evans.  And this girl  struck him as beautiful, though Remus wasn't sure  what exactly that meant. 

A few minutes later, the man exited the curtained area, Sirius in his arms.  Remus saw Sirius was awake.  Their eyes met.

"Dad, wait."  Sirius said.  The man, Mr. Black, stopped and let Sirius down.  Sirius approached the bed, wincing with every step. He tried not to show it.  Good old Sirius, Remus thought, trying to be strong.  Remus watched him, looking for any signs of angry or hate.  The  waning wolf in him picked up a scent and it jumped inside of him. The wolf recognized  one of it's kind. Remus realized Sirius smelled different.  Not like he used to, more familiar, more  like a wolf.

"Hey Remy." He said softly, using the nickname he'd thought up on the train.

"Hey, Siri."  Remus returned.

"I'm going home for a while." Remus nodded. "When's the next one?" he asked, obvious in what he meant.

"The twenty-third."  Remus whispered.   Sirius nodded and Remus saw him swallow hard.  He took a deep breath.

"I'll see you when I get back then." Then to Remus's surprise, he grinned. "I have some great ideas for messing with Snape."   Then he allowed his father to pick him up again and led him out, the girl giving him one last glance before she too left. Remus closed his eyes and smiled.  Sirius still wanted to be his friend.

Orion sighed. The house was quiet, so quiet. Ten years of Sirius and Addi running around, causing God knows what, made quiet a rare thing in the Black household. Now with both away at school, Orion was free to do whatever he wished.

Unfortunately that included making his own dinner. Black men were not gifted in the preparation of food, though his wife, Fiona had been an excellent cook.  Addi had inherited it from her and was usually the one who made dinner, refusing to let her brother help; no matter how much he tired. 

"You'll blow up the kitchen." She told him.  Which was probably true. Sirius had a knack for causing trouble. A knack, which was becoming worse by every letter that Orion received.  He glanced at the one still on the table from the night before.

Dear Mr. Black,

Your son, Sirius, has been found planting dungbombs in the Slytherin common room with several other students. Hope you are well.

Sincerely

Minvera McGonagall

Head of Gryffindor House

Sirius, Sirius, Sirius. He thought.  There was a tapping on the window. Oh no, not again, can't you take a break from mischief making? Orion wondered as he opened the window and let the owl drop off the letter. He sighed and opened it, wondering what his son had done this time. But this time was different

He recognized the handwriting. It was Dumbledore's.

Dear Orion,

I hope this letter finds you well. For it is grave news I have to report.  I know you well, I have for many years. And I hope you will accept this news  bravely for Sirius needs your love and  support now more than ever

Last night he and several other students decided to follow  one of their friends, who had been disappearing  every so often.  The boys were curious as boys are.  They found a secret passage way and Sirius dropped his wand into it, as I am told.

What they did not know, was that inside was their friend.  Only he is a werewolf.  I admitted Remus Lupin , knowing full what he was and making preparations for his monthly transformations. 

To make a long story short, Sirius was attacked by the wolf.  Though his wounds are light, there is the fact that lycanthropy  is transmitted through a bite or scratch. Therefore,  though it is unbearably hard to write these words, I must inform you that your son  is now a werewolf.

I suggest you come and retrieve him now.  It would be best that he have a few days to recover and to   understand exactly what has happened.  He will, by no means, be forced to leave school, unless by his own admission. I would  suggest you allow him to remain as I believe it will still do him a world of good.

I am deeply sorry.

Yours truly,

Albus Dumbledore

p.s.  I hope you remember how to use the platform 9 and ¾.  The Hogwarts Express will be waiting for you. 

Orion dropped the letter.  He took a deep breath.  What kind of monster would attack his only son?  He closed his eyes, but the images wouldn't stop coming.

He opened his eyes. First things first.  He should get Addi.

He climbed onto his motorbike.  He frowned as it put up a bit of a fuss to start.  It wouldn't take long, only an hour or two, to reach her school. He could decide to go from there. Hogwarts was a long way off from their home in Devonshire.  One of the very reasons Orion had picked it after the death of his wife.

He barely noticed as he arrived at his old school, Clearglen Academy, in north Wiltshire.  He climbed off his bike and knocked don the door. It was opened a few moments later by an aging woman who smiled at him.

"Orion Black, my has it really been twenty years?"  she asked, ushering him inside.

"Aye, Mrs. Gladstone. It has, indeed."  She smiled.

"Well, I'm glad you decided to visit.  It's never been the same with out you and your friends  running around causing mischief." She smiled fondly.

"It  would run in the family, it seems." Orion said, grinning, "My son, Sirius, he causes no end of trouble at his school. I'm forever getting, ow- er, letters home." He grinned.  She shook her head.

"Now why didn't  your son come here? I mean, we're glad to have Adhara, but he is her twin, after all."

"Well, Sirius found he fit in better at  his mothers school." The thought of Sirius brought back his reasons for coming here.

"And where is it?" she asked.

"Oh, up in Scotland." He  said, distractedly. "which brings me to my reason for coming. I need to take Addi home for a sort of family emergency."  She frowned.

"Oh dear, I hope it's nothing serious." He flinched. Maybe he shouldn't have named his son that.

"Unfortunately, it is."

"Oh dear! What happened?"  she opened the door and called for one of the girls to fetch Adhara Black."

"Sirius has fallen ill." Best leave it at that, he thought. She looked worried, though he wondered  what she would say if he told her his son had fallen in with lycanthropy.  Probably laugh at him. She was a muggle, after all. But then so was he.  If it wasn't for Fiona, he'd never have known about the magic world that existed inside their own.

It was then that the door was opened and a young girl with his red hair and green eyes entered. She smiled at her father.

"Dad!" he hugged her.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"I'll tell you later." He whispered.  Then he took her hand and thanking his old  teacher, he left.  Addi climbed onto the back of the bike after him and   Orion headed off towards Kings Cross Station in London.

They reached it that night and he took a deep breath.

"Alright, Addi? Listen close.  We're going to go straight through that barrier, okay?  Just walk  right through it."  she  frowned.

"Dad, it's a wall."

"Remember how Sirius did it?" she nodded. "Well, that's what we need to do, alright?" she  shook her head.

"It's still a wall."  He groaned, then holding her hand, they walked though the barrier.  She turned and looked back. "Still a wall." She mumbled, as they climbed aboard the train.

As the train pulled out Orion informed his daughter about her brother's  sudden and unexpected illness.  She took the news well,  better than Orion had thought, but then Addi had accepted her brother's magic in much the same manner.  They arrived at Hogsmeade station and Orion was bombarded with memories.

He forced them back and smiled weakly at Dumbledore who was waiting for them.

"Glad you could make it, Orion."   Orion smiled.

"Thank you for sending for us right away. How is he?"  Dumbledore sighed.

"He was sleeping the last time I checked."  He motioned to a carriage. "Come along."  Orion   beckoned for Addi to follow them and they climbed into it. 

No one spoke on the long journey to the castle. Each was consumed by their own thoughts.   When they reached the castle, Dumbledore climbed out and Orion and Addi followed him up the steps to the huge doors, which opened on their own.  Addi stared in awe, but Orion quickly pulled her through. Dumbledore led them through the hall, where students were beginning to gather for lunch.  They watched in awe, and Addi looked back, as fascinated by the witches and wizards in their black cloaks and hats as they were with her without them.  Dumbledore showed them to the infirmary, where he pushed the doors open.

Orion barely noticed the group of boys clustered around the bed, as much as he saw his own son.  He strode to the bed, and sat down next to Sirius.  Sirius was fast asleep, his long bangs falling into his face, and shivering in his sleep.  Orion could see, even though the blankets were pulled up to his arms, the bandages wrapped around Sirius's back and right arm. He growled low. What kind of monster would do that to his son, his little boy?  They had to be inhuman, had to be. 

But Addi had not accompanied her father behind Sirius's curtain. Her attention was focused solely on the boy in the bed next to him.  The boy with reddish hair, much like hers, and bright green eyes, now wet with tears that was returning her gaze, full.

His gaze shook her to her core, making her wonder if he was truly there.  Something in her just wanted to crawl into bed next to him and hold him close, whispering that everything would be alright.

Orin saw Sirius frown in his sleep and move his arm as if to wave away a fly. He opened his eyes and saw his father.

"Hey, kid." He said, softly. Sirius smiled.

"You ready to go home?" Sirius nodded and Orion slipped his arms under Sirius and lifted him up. His heart ached as Sirius snuggled closer in his arms, something he'd not done since he was a small child.  Orion   held him tighter and stood up.

He had made it half way across the room when Sirius tugged on his shirt.

"Dad, wait."  Orion stopped, and in answer to Sirius's unspoken question, he let him down.

As Sirius walked shakily to the bed where the three boys sat, Dumbledore approached him.

"He's taking it better than I thought."

"Sirius?" Orion asked, he did seem to be calmer than usual.

"I meant Remus."  Dumbledore said, smiling softly.  He motioned to the small, pale, frightened looking boy who was in the bed.

"Remus?  You mean, he's the one,"

"The  one who bit your son? Yes." The hate Orion had formally held for the monster faded at the sight of the scared boy who seemed so happy Sirius was simply speaking to him. How could anyone hate him, he wondered.  He also wondered if Sirius was going to be reduced to that, that fear the boy  so visibly had.

"That's him?  Dear, God." Orion whispered.  Then he stepped forward. Sirius closed his eyes and Orion  picked him up again. He  caught hold of his father's  collar and held tight.  Orion  nodded to the boys who  nodded back, then he led Addi out the door.

They made their way back down to the train, and after a bit,  they were on their way home.

Sirius would barely remember the ride home, either on the train or on his father's motorcycle, afterwards.  His father had only just laid him on his bed when he fell asleep.

Orion watched him as he slept, not knowing it would be the last peaceful night Sirius would have.

 Sirius woke up the next morning, feeling tired, and slightly ill. He sat in his own bed, staring at the ceiling. The previous day and night all seemed like a dream, a horrible, terrible dream. He took a shuddering breath. He lifted his hand, his still bandaged right hand, and stared at it, moving it slowly back and forth in front of his face, turning it over. It looked normal, human. But it wasn't. He wasn't. Not anymore.  He unwrapped the  white  bandage, letting it fall where it dropped.  The  cuts were gone, healed without a trace, but the  scar from the bite was visible. Very visible.  It stood out against the  deep tan of his skin,  milky white, harsh and  brilliant, like the full moon.

He wondered if he should hate Remus for what he'd done.  He wondered if that was fair. He knew he should, he should hate him forever and ever. But somehow, deep inside he knew. He knew he couldn't, wouldn't.

You don't hate your kind.  Where had that thought come from?  His kind?  Was he really starting to think like a wolf now?  He'd only been bitten two days ago.  He let his hand drop, and sighed.

He didn't want to think about the coming weeks, or going back to school. What if people found out? So far, everyone had been  understanding and sympathetic, but he knew that couldn't last. If it did, Remus would have told them. then Sirius  wouldn't have followed him and he wouldn't be lying here right now,  trying to absorb and understand his new and strange predicament.   Realizing that, Sirius bit his lip and began to understand.  And it scared him.

A timid knock on his door and Addi stuck her head in. "Siri? You awake?" he said nothing, not moving.

She slipped in and closed the door.  Then she sat on the edge of his bed. "Siri?" he said nothing, staring at the ceiling.

"Sirius, are you alright?"  he finally turned to look at her.

"Of course I'm alright. Why wouldn't I be?" It came out more bitterly than he'd planned. Almost like a growl.  Addi looked away, uncomfortable with the boy who'd been attached to her, hand and foot, since they were born. The boy who had helped her with her study for a test, then  failed it on purpose to make her feel better when they were eight years old.  The boy who knew her fears and her joys, what made her cry and what made her laugh. Her brother, her twin. 

Something had changed him, turned him,  taken away her brother. She could see that.  There was something much more animalistic in Sirius's black eyes.

"I was just trying to help." She told him. He bared his teeth at her.

"You can help me by leaving me alone." He growled. " I'm a monster now.  You should be scared of me." Addi stood, glaring at her brother.

"I'll never be scared of you, Sirius. Never. But if you want to be left alone, I'll go."  She got up and left, closing the door behind her.

Sirius glared. He hadn't meant to  growl, or  bare his teeth. He was grateful in a way. but these urges, these impulses were growing stronger.  It was as if there was something else in his head, something much stronger than his eleven-year-old  mind.  Something that told him how to tear, and rip, and kill.

Slowly, he crawled out of bed,  slipping on a pair of  jeans and a shirt. And he made his way downstairs to the kitchen. He was suddenly ravenous.

His father and sister looked up when he entered the kitchen.  They stopped talking and Sirius  felt  the air become thick with  tension.

"Hello, Sirius."  His father said, smiling. But Sirius  just  glared at him. He never called him Sirius. It was always, Siri, or kid, or sport, never Sirius.

Orion seemed uneasy  as his son  paced  to the fridge and yanked it open, causing the  things on the door to rattle. Sirius didn't seem to care.

 He glanced for  any type of food, and settled for some  leftover roast beef,  seizing it and wolfing it down right there.

"Hungry, son?" his father asked. Sirius nodded and  went hunting for something else.  The tension in the Black kitchen remained high while Sirius   went through the entire contents of the fried, eating whatever he could find.

"Siri, if there's anything,"  his father spoke up, " anything you need, don't hesitate to ask. I don't want things to change in this family because of  this, do you two understand?" Addi nodded, but Sirius  gave him a long stare.

"A bit late for that, isn't it"  he asked quietly.  Then he  turned and left the door,  pulling the front door open and walking into the afternoon sun.

He  wandered the moor that day, trying desperately not to think. Trying to ignore the urge to chase that rabbit or  howl at that neighboring dog. Trying to pretend he was still human.

As the next two weeks passed, Sirius felt the urges fade,  and he no longer  growled at his father or bared his teeth at his sister, who went back to school after those two weeks. He felt more like  his old self, more human.  And he felt it was time to go back. His father took him to the  train station and  he put his hands on Sirius's shoulders.

"Siri, please, remember I'm here  for you and no matter what, I still love you." Sirius stood still as his father hugged him, giving him a tight squeeze in return, then climbing aboard the empty train and beginning his journey to his new life.

He wondered how Remus and James and Peter and the girls were, if they knew, what they would say when he returned.  Part of him was dreading seeing Remus again, and another part, the part that remained of the boy he'd been, was  begging to  question Remus until he knew everything about werewolves.  But the wolf part,  for he now knew what it was that controlled him,  was excited to see another of its kind. Luckily, Sirius thought, the wolf waned with the moon.

 When he reached the castle, no one was there to see him. he bit his lip when  a voice called out, "Black!" he turned to see Professor McGonagall.  She  approached him and  stared down at him.

"Did you have a good trip?" she asked  Sirius nodded, slowly.  She turned to go, but then she stopped. She watched him for a moment,   peering at him over her spectacles. Sirius wondered if it was just him, or did her eyes seem a bit misty?

"Mr. Black, if there is anything I can do, please do not hesitate to ask." Sirius nodded.

"Thank you, Professor."  She  gave a short nod, then ushered him into a carriage.

As they went, she explained to him the situation.  "The teachers have all been notified, and  you are excused for the work you missed.  None of the students know, of course, and you are free to tell whoever you wish. When the full moon comes, you will go with Remus Lupin to the Shrieking Shack.  Is that understood?" Sirius nodded.  The rest of the trip was spent in silence.

When they reached the castle, Sirius climbed out and stood for a moment, staring up at the castle, looming above him. he bit his lip. Then he felt a hand on his shoulder and he glanced up. McGonagall was looking at him.  Sirius pulled away and began to walk up the  flight of steps. Never, he thought, had  a flight of stairs seemed to  be so  long.

He reached the top after what seemed like hours, and  trudged through the front doors.  He could hear kids  talking, laughing, and shouting in the Great Hall to his left. He debated going up to his dorm, but decided against it. He was hungry, and besides, he didn't know the password. So he turned and went into the Great Hall.

The school was in the middle of  dinner.  He could see his friends, sitting in their customary seats.  His was empty.  He made his way slowly to the table, ignoring the whispers and stares that followed him from all four tables.

He slid into his seat, pretending not to notice his friends, suddenly ending their conversations and watching him. He glanced around at the food. He was hungry.

"Hello, Sirius." James said to his friend, now seated on his left, flashing him a grin. Sirius  smiled back, though his heart wasn't in it.

"How was your holiday?" Lily asked, from across James.

"It was alright." 

"And you? Are you alright?" Erin asked, from her place  next to Lily and across from him.  Sirius hesitated, then nodded.  He glanced around.

"Where's Peter?"

"Infirmary."  James told him. " Snape  turned his skin green." Sirius   raised and eyebrow and helped himself to  the kidney pie.  He tried to forget the way his friends were watching him.  The chatter   soon returned as James began to regale Sirius with the story of how Snape tripped over his own feet and fell head first down the stairs, one week ago.

But in the middle of James's story, Sirius  raised his head suddenly and  glanced around.

"What?"  Lily asked.  Sirius sniffed the air.  Then they realized what was happening.

Remus had entered and was wearing an expression much the same as Sirius's.  He crossed the room and sat down, turning to realize the source of the strange new smell was right next to him.  The two stared at each other for a long time. Sirius  tried to restrain the wolf, growling in his mind, especially when he realized he was growling out loud too.  Remus wasn't faring much better.  Each wolf sensed a new wolf, and neither was willing to back down. Each was determined to prove to the other that he was not afraid, he was not going to run.

Then a voice broke through. "  Mates! What are you doing? Stop it!"  James  shoved Sirius who felt himself be knocked into Remus.  It was as if a spell had broken.  Sirius shook his head and glanced at Remus, who gazed back, almost startled.

Sirius wondered if Remus felt bad about what he'd done. True, he'd looked horrible in the infirmary that day, and he'd looked so relieved when Sirius had made it clear he didn't blame him. But here, now, Sirius was faced with, not just his friend, but also another wolf.   The wolf that'd changed him, and he wasn't  sure about  that.

" Sirius?  God, I'm sorry." Remus  whispered.  Sirius glanced at him,  and nodded. Then he turned back to his food.

That night, as they climbed into bed, James gave Sirius a grin.

"I'm glad you're back, Siri. I really am. Remy is too."

"I doubt that," Sirius said, "  I know I wouldn't like it if another wolf  came into my territory."

"Territory? Sirius, this is our room."  James said, looking confused.  Sirius  knew James wouldn't, couldn't understand.  He hadn't, not before this.  James didn't know how things changed, how sharing a room was now sharing territory, how  you  didn't show fear to one of our kind, how tempting it was to howl at the moon. The moon, already half way to full. He didn't know. And he would never know.

Sirius shook his head and climbed into his bed.  Well, if there was one thing he was glad of, it was the brand new sense of smell.  He could smell that both Remus and James were wake. He could smell Peter asleep, and he could smell the fear on James.  He wondered just what James was so scared of. He wondered if it was he.

Refusing to give in to the urge to whimper, Sirius curled up into a ball and tried in vain to fall asleep, unknowing that one bed over, Remus was having the same doubts.

Remus closed his eyes, fighting desperately to fall asleep.  That was all he wanted. The past two weeks had been a living hell for him.  Every time he was reminded of Sirius, his guilty conscious began it's low whispering, "It's your fault, you're a monster, not human, and now you've condemned Sirius, your best friend, to this same fate. You've killed your best friend.  You've killed his humanity."

"NO!" Remus moaned, attacking the pillow.  He hadn't. Sirius was just as human as before, he tried to tell himself.

"Oh, really?" the voice asked, a sneer evident," If he's so human, than what happened at dinner? He's a wolf. You know it, the wolf knows it, and he knows it." Remus buried his head in the pillow and closed his eyes.

Over the next few weeks, the changes in Sirius became more and more evident. As the full moon drew closer, Sirius's newfound instincts roared to life. He found himself with a sudden burst of new smells and sounds.  Human ears were deaf compared to his newfound sense. He could hear the girls giggling in the dorm next door. He could hear a rat scurrying across the floor, even with the noise of the common room. He could hear the rain even in the dungeons. And the smells! Oh the smells! That lump of flesh on their faces shouldn't be called a nose!  Why, they couldn't even smell what someone had for breakfast their first lesson. Sirius now found he could tell what James had had for breakfast, lunch and dinner two days ago.

Also, he found his strength, agility, and speed had improved. He found that running, jumping, even climbing came much easier.  To his surprise, he found that his grip was much stronger. He realized it when he almost broke James's arm, wrestling, and later when he punched Snape and almost sent him through the wall.

 On more than one occasion, he found himself growling at Snape, or Malfoy, and even once at Beaker, the Potions master.  That resulted in a detention. 

The day was three days before the full moon. Sirius's wolf was very much in charge now, though it was obvious to his friends that he was fighting it.  Remus would wince in sympathy when Sirius tore his quill to shreds in History, trying to ignore Snape.

He knew the impulses running through Sirius right now were hard, almost impossible not to give into. He knew Sirius was fighting it, just as he was and had been for five years now.  Still, his wolf knew him, knew that here, now, Remus was in charge. And once the full moon came out, Remus would let him out. The wolf knew that, and so the wolf was patient.

Sirius's wolf was new. His wolf knew nothing of the boundaries between humanity and the full moon.  And he was fighting to be released.  But Sirius was doing a good job of holding him back.   His grip on his  desk was hard, and Remus wondered if he was going to break it.  But he didn't.

Remus wondered just how much Sirius  knew about the wolf. Sirius avoided all  conversation  in which it was brought up. Not even the girls, Lily or Erin, who'd been told by both James and Remus, could get him to talk about it. Not even James, his very best friend in the whole world, could get him to talk about the wolf. It was as if Sirius was denying the wolf inside  him. Remus hoped not, because that was a very dangerous thing.

The teachers seemed to understand, and most did not punish Sirius if he growled at them, or stomped out of the classroom. He knew if he did the same thing, they would leave him a lone as well.  All the teachers but Beaker that was.

The Potions master hated the Marauders, he always had.  Sirius the most. For some reason, he made it his life's goal to make Sirius's as miserable as possible while in his class.

If it made things better, the Marauders hated him just as much.  Remus didn't trust him, smells wrong, moves wrong, he'd think.  Later they found his fears to be very justified.

However, that day in Potions, Beaker, the aging, Gryffindor-hating, Potions master, looked unusually happy that morning as they   took their seats in the dungeon.

"Uh oh," James muttered to his friends, "Beaker's in a good mood. That can only mean one thing."

"We have detention." Sirius whispered back.  Remus grinned. He leaned over to  whisper something to Sirius, when Beaker  cleared his throat.

"None of that, Lupin. Class has started."

"Sorry, sir."  Remus muttered,  blushing, as the Slytherins on the other side of the room  sneered. Sirius  narrowed his eyes, but James laid a restraining hand on his shoulder. Beaker strode up to his desk and  opened his book.

"You will all turn to page 324. Today we will be discussing the Argenlupum potion. It is a very simple potion, once used by werewolf hunters, to subdue and kill werewolves in their human form."

Remus glanced at Sirius, and saw him  frowning back.

"Is he allowed to do that?"  Sirius whispered.  Remus shrugged.

"Black!"  Sirius sat up.  Beaker strode over to his desk. "Did I not tell you three times last class that  I do not permit talking  in during the lesson?"  Sirius glared.

"To be honest, sir, I don't remember."  He growled. 

Beaker's eyes  flared and he leaned over Sirius's desk. Speaking low in a voice that couldn't help but rebound off of the classroom walls, he whispered, " Alright then. If you are so confident, then you may  be the one to try your house's potion at the end of the lesson."  Sirius's jaw dropped.   He'd just said that the potion was used to kill and subdue werewolves! Was he mad?

"But- but, sir! I can't-"

"You can't?  And why can't you?"  Sirius saw what he was doing.  To fully explain why he couldn't take it, Sirius would have to admit to the whole class, Gryffindors and Slytherins, that he was himself, a werewolf. 

Sirius wondered if he could lie his way out of it. Beaker would know, of course, it was obvious he already did.  But if Sirius could just avoid the  potion, it would be alright. Maybe he could fake being sick.

"I have an allergy to silver Ore." He said.

"Silver ore?  Who said anything about that?"  Beaker asked. Sirius pointed to the recipe in the book. Sure enough, silver ore was listed as an ingredient.

Beaker glared at him, but refused to back down.

"It won't kill you.  You will test your houses potion at the end of the lesson and that's that."

"Didn't you hear him?"  James asked. " He said he was allergic. What are you trying to do, kill him?"

"Ten points from Gryffindor.  Do not speak during the lesson, Potter." James looked like he wanted to run at Beaker, but Remus  yanked him back into his seat. 

"It's alright. We can just leave out the silver when we make it."  he whispered to James, who nodded and Sirius looked a bit relieved.  The word passed around the rest of the Gryffindors, who all agreed readily.  Sirius stood next to the cauldron, glaring at it, along with the rest of the class.  They all hated Beaker, that was for sure. But they'd never seen him pointy ignore something like that.

The end of the lesson couldn't come faster for Sirius.  He stared at the potion swirling in the cauldron.  Beaker was crowing over the Slytherin's potion.

"Now, Black, come here." Sirius took a small step forward, but then James pulled him back.

"How come we have to get our tested and the Slyerthins don't?"  Beaker looked amused.

"Fine then.  Snape, come here."  Snape looked a bit surprised, but he did as he was told. The two boys stood at his desk. Beaker held out two goblets, one filled with the Gryffindor potion and the other, Slytherins.  Then with a sickening grin, he handed the Gryffindor potion to Snape and the Slytherin's to Sirius. 

"But that's Slytherin's. You said I'd have to drink my own houses." Beaker couldn't have looked more pleased if they told him Sirius was dead.

"I lied. Drink."  Then he turned back to the class. " If done properly, it should take effect instantly.  It will have no effect on a non-wolf, but instead, will have a slight berry taste."  Snape shrugged and downed the drink, smacking his lips.

"Quite good."  He grinned at the Gryffindors. Sirius was still staring at his goblet, debating whether to throw it at Beaker as is, or dump the contents first.

"Drink it, Black."  Sirius swallowed hard.  " Drink it. No one in this room will leave till you do."  Sirius glanced around. His housemates seemed more annoyed at Beaker than him, but the Slytherins were currently giving him death glares.  He glanced at the swirling drink in front of him.  He glanced up and saw Remus whispering franticly to James.  Beaker followed his gaze.

"Lupin! That is it. Get over here this instant!" Remus got to his feet, and walked to the front of the class, face red and eyes downcast

"Perhaps you would like to enlighten us as to what is so interesting you feel the need to discuss it during my lesson."  Remus shook his head. "Then perhaps you would like to try the potion instead of Black."  Remus and Sirius shared a look.   How could Beaker really be doing this?

Then James stood up. "I'll do it, sir!"  Beaker glared at him. Then Peter joined James.

"So will I!"  Sirius grinned and stepped forward, Remus's hand oh so casually reaching out and knocking the goblet from Sirius's loose fingers.  The two boys watched as it fell to the ground and shattered.

"Oops…" Sirius said.   Just then the bell rang.  Sirius, Remus James, and Peter were out the door before Beaker could assign detention.

The four friends ran down the hall, laughing and gasping for breath, and for a moment, it was as if nothing had happened.  The four boys were the same as usual, running around, causing mischief and mayhem wherever they went. It was as if they were still innocent in the cruelties of fate, and other humans. It was as if, but it was not.

They were reminded of the truth all too soon, when that evening, Remus noticed the homework assigned for Defense Against the Dark Arts.

"Summarize the chapter on were-creatures, and list in detail three ways to recognize and kill them."  Sirius's fist clenched and James had to save his favorite quill from being crushed in Sirius's now abnormally strong grip.

Then the next night, the full moon arrived.  Sirius was as nervous as a cat, pacing up and down the common room, glancing at the sun, until James forced him to sit down and start his homework. Sirius sighed, picked up his quill, and began to work.

 After a while, he noticed a slight ache in his muscles.  He shifted, trying to ease the tension in his back, but it only increased. He winced as a flame of pain shot up his back.

"Sirius!" Remus's voice broke through the haze of pain. Sirius wrenched his eyes opened and glanced at the window.  To his horror, he realized the sun was setting!  He was changing, right here in the common room!  Unable to comprehend, he sat, motionless as the pain ran up and down his spine. Then he was yanked to his feet and shoved out the portrait hole by several pairs of hands.

 James and Remus were on either side of his as they hurried as fast as they could down to he tree. Sirius felt Remus begin to   shake too.  James let them go at the entrance, and watched as they vanished into the tree.

 Sirius stumbled, crying out for the first time. Remus looped his arm under his friend and pulled him to his feet.  Trying desperately to stay upright, Remus managed to get them both inside the shack.  Then he tumbled to the floor.

Sirius curled into the smallest ball imaginable, crying out as his bones shifted and changed shape. Remus was lost in his own world of pain to do much for Sirius. 

Sirius reached out and grabbed on to Remus's hand, holding for all he was worth.   He opened his eyes and watched in terror as his body changes, his nose elongated into a snout, and black hair sprouted all over him.  His robes were now tattered remains, as Sirius lost his grip on his mind and slipped into darkness.

He awoke to another haze of pain. His body ached everywhere.  Moaning, he uncurled himself from the ball he'd been in. Slowly opening his eyes, he winced at the sight of his body, covered with scratches, cuts, and bruises.  He heard a groan and, looked up. Remus was laying on the other side of the room, in much the same condition.

He glanced up at the room. He hadn't seen much of it the night before, but the room had been torn to pieces.  Sirius wondered just what had happened. He racked his brain, but found he could remember nothing.

Slowly, so very slowly, he got up.  He stretched and gasped as his arm burned.  He saw there was a horrible cut from his wrist to his elbow.  He gave a small whimper as Remus crawled up to him. He glanced over Sirius's wound, and then sighed.

"It happens."  Suddenly, something flooded Sirius's mind. He growled at Remus, holding his arm tenderly.  Something in Sirius snapped. He was too much the wolf, too unsure of where the wolf end and he began, so angry, so scared, so destroyed.

"It happens? It happens?  What happens, Remus?  You attack me? Huh? Did you do this or did I?"  Sirius pointed to his arm, and then to the room, which was beyond all repairs.

"I, I don't know.  We both did, I think. It's never this bad."

"I don't care.  I don't care because this is horrible!  How- how-" he was looking, trying to find the words, then they spilled out, " How could you do this to me?"

The look on Remus's face was devastating.  Even as the words left his mouth, Sirius regretted them. But his pride, his foolish pride refused to let him back down and so he glared at Remus, daring him to answer.

Remus said nothing, staring at Sirius as if he were the monster.  Then the door opened and Madam Pomfrey appeared. She hustled them back to the infirmary, tending to tear cuts and bruises.  James, Peter, Lily, and Erin were waiting. They smiled when they saw them.  Once they were settled, Remus turned to Sirius and smiled. His grin was like a wolfs, so crafty and sly.

"You know why I did this? I did it so I wouldn't have to anymore."

"What?" Sirius asked.

"Didn't you know?" James asked. " Once a werewolf transfers its bite, it's no longer a werewolf. It's free."  Sirius gasped, looking from Remus to James, Lily, and Erin, even Peter. They all wore looks of disgust, aimed at him.

"But- but, I'm your friend! Why would you do that to me?" Sirius begged.  Remus laughed, a hard cruel sound.

"Why wouldn't I? You were foolish enough to follow me.  It's your own fault, you know."

"He's right, Sirius."  Lily said. Erin nodded

Erin said. " It's your own stupid fault.  If you hadn't had been so dumb as to go into the tunnel, you never would have gotten bitten." 

"But Erin!" Sirius pleaded. "  You still like me! I mean, you don't hate me now, do you?"  She looked disgusted.

"How could I like something like you?'  Then she turned to Remus and smiled.  James looped an arm under Remus and they headed for the door.

"Don't bother coming back to the dorm, Sirius. We've moved your stuff out." James called over his shoulder. 

"James?"  Sirius called.  James ignored him, grinning at something Remus had just said.  They walked out, leaving him all alone.  The room suddenly seemed very dark and cold.

"James!" Sirius screamed. "  Please! Don't leave! Remus! James! NO! "

Then he sat up in bed, breathing hard. His curtains were ripped aside on both sides as James, Remus, and Peter were out of bed in an instant.

"Siri! Are you alright?"  James asked, his face worried. In a sweet rush of relief, Sirius realized.

"It was dream.  It was all just a dream."

"Must have been a pretty horrible dream." Remus said.  

"Yeah, to wake us all up. You even woke up Remy, and we all know how hard that is."  Peter said, grinning.  Sirius smiled.  Then he turned to Remus.

"Remy, I am so sorry."  Remus titled his head.

"What for?"  Sirius shook his head.

"I never knew. I never realized just how much you go through every month."  Remus's eyes widened.  Then he smiled a bit sadly.

"I never expected you to. It's alright. The only way you could know is if, well," he looked a bit uncomfortable.

"If we were bitten too." James finished for him.

"But I was!" Sirius insisted.  They looked at him. "At least, I dreamed I was."  Remus stared at him.  "I dreamed we were in first year again, and we didn't know. And we followed you. We found the passageway under the tree, and I dropped my wand in there. When I went in to get it, the tree came alive and shut me off. And you were down there. I dreamed," he paused. " I dreamed you attacked me. And I was a werewolf.  Everything up until right after the first full moon. Then the day after, you weren't a werewolf anymore, and I was.  You all, you left me alone. You said you didn't want to be friends with a monster."  Sirius chanced a look up and saw with relief, Remus and James looking at him with disbelief.

"We'd never think that, Padfoot." James assured him.  Sirius grinned back and relaxed. 

Remus glanced out the window at the rising sun. "Well, we might as well get up. We've got half an hour till breakfast." 

"That's half an hour more to go booby-trap the Slytherin bathrooms" Sirius grinned, leaping out of bed.  James, Remus, and Peter shook their heads but began to get dressed and go through their trunks for dumgbombs and fireworks.

"Hey Siri?" Peter asked and they finished getting dressed.

"What is it, Pete?"  Sirius asked, pulling his pajama top over his head. 

"What'd you do?" he pointed to Sirius's arm.  Sirius glanced at his right arm, and then promptly dropped the shirt he'd been holding. 

There, engraved on his skin, as pale as the moon, was a small crescent moon shaped scar. Exactly where the werewolf had bitten him.  James took his arm and looked at it.

"What happened?" he asked. "I've never seen that one before." Sirius shook his head, unable to trust his voice.  Remus stared in shock. Then, slowly, he pulled his collar back so his friends could see the milky white scar on his collarbone, pale, though not as distinct against his lighter skin, and shaped like a crescent moon.