Sirius was a murderer.
A tough title, wasn't it? A macho title. Sirius felt that it fit him beyond anything else. If only his parents could see him now – no longer a weakling in the crowd, a rebel, an alien – that did nothing that he was told and went his own way.
No, no, now he did what he was told.
And his parents were right. It gave him power above any power he had experienced. It was probably just the people that gave him his work in the first place. His work was a very powerful thing.
Sirius Black was a werewolf slayer.
Filthy half-breeds. Vampires, trolls, giants, werewolves, the whole lot of them. Inhuman. Abnormal. Different.
Yes, he had been different before. But he had been able to change that.
This was something that made him feel important. Almost as if he was saving the world. He was never much of a bloodthirsty person, but death had been something that Sirius had constantly been presented with when he was younger. The Black family was a funeral family. They knew too many weak or too powerful people. Which meant a lot of sitting around in black clothing in front of dead people.
It wasn't a particularly pleasant job, but it brought in money. And bloody good money.
James was with him, killing, slaying, murdering with him. And proud.
He had been taught when he was younger to kill parasites for the greater good. For the saving of another species. Because he believed that werewolves were definitely a different species. It was simply evolution. Killing one kind for the preserving of the safe kind. He was doing everyone a favor. It was surviving.
"Ministry turned in more than eight werewolves last night," James said gruffly, throwing a Daily Prophet onto the table, "found them hiding underground somewhere in the outskirts of a forest near the Leaky Cauldron."
Sirius tutted. "We searched that place last week. What can Malfoy and Snape find there that we can't?"
James shrugged, reaching the dark kitchen of Grimmauld Place. "We're out of tea," he complained with a scowl, "but anyway. Snape has a nose like a bloodhound. And… and Malfoy works with him."
Sirius sighed, staring deeply into the empty cup he had drained hours ago.
"The Ministry is going to fire us if we don't bring in any half-breeds in soon." James told Sirius stonily.
"They don't expect anything from us, we except requests from them. If they like Saint Bernard Snape, then fine."
"Har har," James said, rolling his eyes, "I don't want to be eighteen and broke."
"Don't worry," Sirius told his cup, tracing the edge with his finger, "we'll go wolf hunting when it gets dark."
Remus was a werewolf.
It sounded gruesome, murderous, and aggressive. But it was also a strong title. Not exactly a good title to blurt out in front of any wizard that he found lounging in the Leaky Cauldron or in Hogwarts, but to other werewolves, it was a phrase of familiarity. They shared their suffering and pain. Made it… a little easier and a little rougher.
He had been taught when he had been younger by his now non-existent parents that he should never listen to other people. They didn't have any answers, any comfort, any realism, any truth. Wolfish instincts led his way.
Remus hid in an underground hole alone, never with any company or communication. But that was fine.
He was in constant danger of death, murder, or killing. But he was still alive because he was strong, innocent, and seemingly ordinary. Years ago, his family had warned him to act innocent. To be the victim. To act normal.
Even though he wasn't.
James polished his wands with his handkerchief when he saw the sun disappearing outside. Smiling at his shining wand, James grinned at his work and lit it proudly in the dark hallway.
"I see a light, and I sure hope it's a bathroom." Sirius said from the opposite side of the hall, treading up the stairs, and James jumped in surprise – sending the light beam onto Sirius defensively.
"Boo," Sirius said with a slight smirk, "You know, for a killer, you surprise me. You still flinch when you hear a voice in the darkness."
"I didn't know you where there."
"Are you polishing your wand again? You know, you don't need to show off your shiny, sparkly wand every single time we go werewolf hunting. C'mon." he bumped into James' shoulder deliberately, dragging his wrist along to the door.
"Where are we looking for them?" James asked quietly when they closed the creaking door behind them.
"Are you kidding me?" James replied.
"No," Sirius rolled his eyes in sarcasm, "God, James, you wanker, we're not going to candy shops! We're headed to the graveyard by Godric's Hollow."
"The last time we went there," James said, "a headless ghost tried to trip me."
"Correction. A headless ghost did trip you."
"Shut up," James snapped, pocketing his wand and drawing his cloak around himself further.
"I'm not going by broom," Sirius said, shrugging, "apparition?"
"Yeah." James agreed, and in three seconds, both figures had been replaced by simple blackness.
Remus hadn't eaten in two days. Not a real meal, at least. He's eaten old berries and nuts that had rolled into his hole, and he'd drunken water from the creek nearby, but he hadn't had dinner in days. It felt like years to Remus.
It was like being stuck in an elevator shaft. Forever. As long as he would have this curse on him. The curse the full moon – turning destructive once every month. Being a werewolf. A lycanthrope. Being abnormal.
Remus chucked dirt angrily against the hard rock wall, and slumped into his bed of leaves, sighing. The fire he had built nearby was growing small and silent, and cold drafts were already wafting their way into Remus' home. He shivered, curled himself nearer to the fire, and threw another log to the flames to keep them going.
Sirius jabbed his wand into James' ribcage. "Shh!" he hissed irritably, knocking his knee against the other man's.
"There's a twig in my shoe!"
"Stop making so much noise!"
"You're the one who started making all the noise!"
"The werewolves are probably all perking up now because of you, James, shut up!"
"You shut up! And eat the twig in my shoe too!"
"Lame, Potter! Get your hand away from my nose!"
"Is that a challenge, Black?!"
"Dear lord, if the Ministry would see us now–"
"They would fire you!"
"Just get the damn twig out of your shoe so we can keep moving!"
James growled furiously, pulling the small piece of undergrowth out of his shoe before sending Sirius a murderous look.
"I hear a noise."
"That's your nasal nose, Sirius." James said scoffingly, rolling his eyes. Sirius shushed him again.
"It's coming from over there." the other man said quietly, and tip toed silently along the dirt, before kneeling by a distinctive hole in the soil big enough for a person or two to fit through.
"Did you find a vampire hole?"
"No," Sirius said silently, shaking his head, "Even better. Werewolf hole. You can tell by the claw marks around the opening."
"Bingo." James said, slapping Sirius on the shoulder as praise. "You first? Or should we call 'em out?"
"We'll bring the fight to them," he said. "There's only one or two."
"Excellent," James said back quietly, smiling wickedly, "I haven't had a real fight in years."
"Nonsense," Sirius scoffed, "we single-handedly fought that vampire a week ago."
The other man pushed his glasses back up onto his nose before gently crawling into the small hole made of damp soil.
"Let's go." James mouthed to his friend, before he slid in entirely but still keeping his footsteps slow and as quiet as a wasp walking on a windowpane.
"Do you hear something?" Sirius hissed cautiously into James' ear silently.
James shook his head. "Must be sleeping," he replied. "Good, I guess. Easier." He slipped further down the tunnel, before he stopped suddenly with his arm out alertfully to signal to Sirius to stop as well.
"He's asleep," James said as a warning, before smiling at the young werewolf curled up on the hard dirt floor. "Get the rope, Sirius."
Sirius nodded and reached into his back pocket to retrieve a strong rope. Kneeling down, he carefully grabbed the scarred wrist of the werewolf and brought the rope to it hurriedly.
However, he had not been careful enough, as the man woke with a start and at the sight of the two men kneeling by his dying fire, he backed up into the wall with wide eyes.
"H-How did you find me?" he stuttered, his voice hoarse and croaky.
"You're kind is not hard to find," Sirius said coldly, still holding the rope at the ready, while James drew his wand, "getting old-fashioned. Holes in the middle of graveyards? Where are the rest of them?"
The other man trembled slightly before shaking his head. "Rest of who?"
"Werewolves!" Sirius said loudly, "where are you hiding them?"
"I don't know any w-werewolves," he said, the man's tawny and somewhat dirty hair falling into his forehead messily.
"Paralyze him." Sirius ordered, cocking his head over to James.
The werewolf whimpered in fear, before holding his hand out defenselessly to stop James and Sirius.
"Please," he said desperately, "you've made a mistake."
However, when Sirius turned him around and roped his hands together, he did not try to struggle or bite like other werewolves did. He stayed calm and collected, if not desperately hopeful about not being taken away.
"Let's go." James commanded, lighting his wand and shining it out of the hole.
Remus had decided to stayed silent during his depart from his home.
Black and Potter had him by the wrists.
Thick ropes were digging into his skin, and he didn't bother to try to remove them. It would only waste his strength on trying to get immovable ropes to miraculously let go of their strong purchase on his palms. No. He was brave, and he would sit it out. He was innocent.
But Black and Potter probably didn't think so. They were murmuring away in icy tones behind him, being all discreet and quiet.
They weren't so great after all.
All of his life, Remus had heard of werewolf slayers. That they were supposed to rid the world of Evil Things. But it made sense to him now; the slayers were the ones who should be classified as Evil Things. They had no emotion. A heart of ice, stone, never melting or giving way. Never giving a damn about who they were even slaying. Brushing away all the murders they had made, a mistake or not. Remus thought that anyone who was so incredibly bloodthirsty and hungry for death was certainly not a very good person. They weren't such heroes after all.
Remus shivered subconsciously in the cool and chilly night air.
When he had been seventeen and parent-less, the danger started settling in. He lived with tough packs of other werewolves, who weren't comforting or soothing, just rough and at least like him. They understood his pain, and that was better than some consoling that didn't mean anything.
Living in underground holes and fearing nothing but being killed in your sleep by werewolf hunters or waking up chained to a chair with wands up your throat was a tough life. And when he was almost eighteen, he had heard of Black and Potter.
Hand-picked by the Ministry, top-notch, best in their class in Defense Against the Dark Arts, they were employed as vampire, werewolf, giant, and troll killers. Murderers.
Remus would never like such a burden of being a killer weighing on his shoulders.
But at least they didn't have to look over their shoulders every other second like he did in paranoia.
"Where are you taking me?" Remus managed to croak out hoarsely.
"Somewhere where you can't harm anyone anymore," Black answered coldly, "tell us. It'll make this entire thing easier. Who have you been killing?"
Remus bit down on his lip and swallowed. "I haven't killed anyone."
"Quiet." Potter hissed, and his wand was suddenly threatingly near Remus' chest.
Remus was surprising himself. How incredibly calm he was here, perhaps taking his last few steps and walking to his deathbed. And he knew it. Potter and Black were notorious for only one thing, and that was killing. Murdering. Slaying. And he was a werewolf. And Black and Potter killed werewolves. And yet here he was, not taking advantage of his wolf-qualities and giving Black a snipe across the neck with his teeth or even wrenching out of their grip with his powerful werewolf strength to slap Potter across the shin; scarring the other men for life.
Black grabbed hold of Remus' wrist tightly, and the tawny-haired man prepared himself for side-along-apparition.
Sirius threw the werewolf into a particularly creaky dining room chair when they had apparated into Grimmauld Place.
"All right now," Sirius said with a smirk, "let's make this simple. What's your name?"
"Lupin." the tawny-haired man responded.
"Lupin?" Sirius asked surprisingly, "like lupine?" he walked forward carefully and started scrutinizingly into his amber eyes. "like a canine. You really aren't human, aren't you?"
"I'm not a werewolf." Lupin replied.
"Liar," James spoke up loudly, "there were wolf claws all outside of your hole."
"And," Sirius said accusingly, and in one swipe he had ripped open Lupin's shirt. He pointed at his scars as the buttons flew off and ricocheted off the walls. Lupin winced. "these scars. Purely werewolf scars. I've seen these for years now, Lupin."
"A werewolf attacked me!" Lupin said, still struggling slightly against his bonds.
"Yet you live in a hole." James said sharply, flicking the ropes onto the chair tightly with his wand.
The werewolf seemed to have run out of excuses. He sighed.
"You're a werewolf." Sirius accused, narrowing his eyes.
"And you kill werewolves," the man retorted calmly, leaning against the back of the chair.
James tilted his head to the side. "Yes," he said, furrowing his brows, "how do you know?"
Lupin laughed. "Black and Potter! Everyone knows who you are," he spat, "the famous slayers of evil things. But you know what? You're the evil ones. You're a murderer."
"I'll make sure to put those brave words on your tombstone when you die."
Lupin scowled. "You see yourself as some sort of humanitarian, don't you? A person who seems to do good… maybe even mean well… but with every murder, you kill part of your heart."
Sirius whipped his wand out and held it right under Lupin's chin. "Another word out of you," he murmured, "and I'll fire."
Lupin quieted slightly, moving back against the wand pressing into his skin. "Fine," he said, "kill me."
Sirius had never heard such willingness from a werewolf to die. They fight, snarl, bite, and rip apart the ropes that were holding their wrists together. But here, Lupin was, simply closing his eyes and waiting for the kill.
No. Sirius wouldn't kill him. He would hand him into the Ministry, and they would take care of it.
"Get the Ministry, James," he muttered.
James promptly and silently left the scene, but Lupin called out one last plea.
"Please!" he shouted desperately, "how can I help it? How can you kill someone just because they're different? I didn't choose this! Just because they don't fit in, or because they don't have control over their bodies once a month, or because they don't look like you! This is genocide!"
Sirius staggered slightly in his steps, and felt a pang of guiltiness settling in his heart for the first time in a long time. It hadn't been recent that he felt guilty or ashamed for killing werewolf.
Sirius swallowed and closed his eyes.
"Get your wand, James," he said quietly, who nodded and flicked out his wand deftly.
"No!" Lupin screamed, finally fighting. He hadn't fought this entire time, but when the wand was finally down his chest and onto his heart, he fought like a real wolf did. Except that he was using his words.
James impatiently stopped and stared at the tawny-haired man.
"I'm still human!"
Sirius turned to face him. "No," he said, "no, you're not. You're a different kind. A different species. You're not a human."
"All werewolves are born human," Lupin retorted stubbornly.
"I'm not so sure about that."
"How about I bite you right now?" Lupin threatened, snarling and showing his teeth, "how would you explain to the Ministry that you're actually one of them yourself? You were human, weren't you?"
"Enough of this," Sirius said impatiently, and elbowed James in the ribcage to make him fire a killing curse, "you don't get the talkative werewolves very often."
"I'm harmless!" he said desperately, and strained fruitlessly against his bonds, "Please!"
"Sorry," James said coldly, and raised his wand.
Lupin closed his eyes, preparing himself for the wand that was going to blast his heart to a stop.
"Wait," he said suddenly, and then opened his eyes, "if… if I made you an offer, would you let me be?"
"Too late for offers!"
"I'll tell you where they are!" Lupin shouted. "They heard that slayers were coming, so they left our hole. I didn't want to come along."
Sirius lowered his wand slightly, eyebrows knitted together contemplatively. "If we let you live, you tell us where the other werewolves are?"
Lupin nodded. "All nine of them."
Nine werewolves. A feast for the Ministry. Sirius and James would make the front cover of the Daily Prophet the next morning for being such strong, brave, heroes. No one would have to know that they were hiding Lupin. Lupin would be killed by Sirius himself one night when he wouldn't be prepared. No more offers after this. Sirius was going to spare his life over Lupin's.
"No," Sirius said, shaking his head firmly, "you'll kill again. You're a werewolf, I'm a slayer, and I kill you. We don't work together."
"Wait, Sirius," James said sharply, and pushed down Sirius' wrist, "nine werewolves are better than one."
"Only if we kill them all!" the other man said loudly, his eyes wide, "Lupin is going to bring danger into our lives if we let him live."
James shook his head. "We spared his life. He'll spare us ours."
Sirius took a glance at Lupin, his eyes watering in hopefulness, and looked back at James. "This is my house, James. You can't keep… keep a wild animal in here."
"We'll kill him later," the bespectacled boy told him quietly.
Every second was like a painful pound in his heart. This was not the time to be a killer. To think like a murderer. Spare a life. Spare a werewolf.
No. Sirius was not that cold.
"Fine," he said and turned to face Lupin, "he lives today, but that's only for now."