Disclaimer: I don't own it

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. Sirius Black just demands I write him with shiny Muggle objects every now and then.

Special Thanks to my two lovely betas, hikagi and undercrisis. You both rock!

Note on Timeline: This is set summer between the Marauders 5th and 6th year. I'm assuming that Sirius ran away at the end of the summer and things at Grimmauld Place are building to a head during the period of this fic. Hence where Sirius is for the first part of the fic.

Racing the Summer Moon

sciathan file

Sirius had always admired it – gleaming, sleek lines, made for calling up winds without magic, and transportation without the pinching feel of Apparation. Moreover, it was a secret – not simply a secret either, but one of those ridiculous family secrets that amused him because of its plain absurdity.

Personally, he thought it was brilliant that Uncle Alphard, for all his Black "dignity" – and when he began to talk about that, Sirius managed to not give the perfunctory derisive laugh he always favoured his mother with when such rubbish was brought up and instead just allowed his eyes to politely glaze over – seemed to hide a very minute fascination with Muggle paraphernalia. The most obvious evidence of this was the very sober, very sedate – almost funerary – black sedan that he hidden under a few hundred disillusionment charms, some overly complex wards and, as his uncle was a Black, Sirius had no doubt there might be more than a few blood curses on the garage where the contraption was housed.

It was really a curiosity that he only indulged in for short distances…but oh the right state his mother would work herself into if she knew her brother knew how to drive.

Why Uncle Alphard had mentioned it to Sirius in the first place when it might have even the slightest chance of getting back to "dear, dear Walburga" could only be explained by the large quantities of very heady Fire Whiskey ("An impressive vintage, my boy.") he'd had during the evening, during which he had divulged how, despite his esteemed pedigree, he rather disliked magical methods of traveling…Apparating left him feeling uncomfortably prickly and choked and upset his constitution (that, and he had – although only vast amounts of alcohol could ever lead to such a confession – an absolute gift for splinching himself). Moreover, the Floo Network always mussed his clothing and left an acrid smell of burning that he found quite abhorrent.

However, taking another large swig of his libation, Uncle Alphard had uttered words that would have made Walburga Black silent for almost an entire minute in absolute shock.

"Sirius, my boy," he had slurred, with pleasant candor, "I rather envy those Muggles with their ease of transportation…" and, throwing Sirius a rather over-exaggerated wink that would have caused Sirius' mother to trip over the umbrella stand in the front hall of Grimmauld Place and fall into a dead faint, he added, "If you ever want to find out just how the Muggles outdid us, you're, erm, welcome to, erm….experiment, that is, drive and operate the Muggle mat-sheen-ar-ee…if you like. Provided, of course –" he let out an indelicate hiccup " – provided you don't tell my dear sister, which I can fairly – almost certainly, I'll bet – expect that you won't."

Despite his Uncle's somewhat compromised state (he continued to prattle on about whirlymagigs and gear-ars in increasing slurs for a half an hour afterward), Sirius decided to take his proposition to heart. One more ridiculous wink and a request to use the owl post later, Sirius Black was hammering out the details of one of his infamous plans with an incorrigible grin plastered across his features as he scribbled out a series of notes and, mindful of the owl's sour temper, directed it where to go.

XXX

The entire debacle had begun with a simple letter…the simplest of letters, really. Which, apart from the massive, slightly carnivorous owl that had delivered it, was perfectly in keeping with the usual flood (which later ebbed to a trickle, but he felt pointing this out would be rather selfish) of letters that found their way to his home during the summer holidays.

Remus Lupin had always thought that letter writing was something of a lost art form. He had seen the ones his mother had received by Muggle post and thought that, when set side by side with the wizarding correspondence, the typewritten pages appeared rather sterile and impersonal. Missing was the handwriting – sometimes overly slanted and smudged, showing it had been written in a great hurry, and sometimes rendered in fine, arabesque script that looked like it should be displayed – and in its place was a rather boring set of type. All depersonalized uniform letters and monotony of flimsy paper and surely no art.

Not that the letters he received from his friends might qualify as great works to be collected and read centuries later. But Remus was, many times, simply glad to see the personalities of the other three Marauders spilled all over the pages (literally, at times, in Peter's case).

James' were filled with facts and anecdotes about Quidditch and read something along the lines of:

Moony! Been to see Puddlemere United's last three games. Should have seen the way they trounced the Chudley Canons…although I suppose that's not much of an achievement at all. Sirius and I have – here, in spite of himself, Remus gave a small, involuntary sigh as he glossed over whatever vaguely insane thing the two had been doing – I also reckon that if I tell my parents I'm headed off to Peter's I might be able to get out as you-know-what on you-know-when, if you like. Don't strain your eyes reading too much and make sure that you at least bring your books outdoors to brighten up your pasty skin while pursuing your favorite pastimes.

Shuffling through his bound piles of mail, he found Peter's most recent epistle. His letters were always very friendly if – and Remus always felt decidedly ungrateful when he thought this – a bit dull. However, Peter's Muggle father's absolute bafflement with certain elements of the wizarding world – Dad's gotten all scrappy with Mum over the cost of Gnome Repellant…wonders why we have to pay so much to take care of creatures that don't exist. Then, ironically enough, when he was storming out the door, one was waiting on the doorstep and took a big chomp out of his ankle! – echoed Remus' mother's own (more polite) confusion.

He had chuckled, reading over the epic account of the War of the Lawn Gnomes and then wondered if his own mother would have had the same sort of light-hearted banter with his father had she not been forced into a thorough education of her son and husband's world early on. Picking up another letter, he put that thought aside.

Sirius always went the longest without writing – which was rather typical as he was one of the laziest correspondents that anyone could keep. That, and he had a tendency to get wrapped up in his own familial affairs over the summer, which he largely (although unwisely in all of his friends' opinions) often kept to himself. This worrisome trend was all the more evident after the events of the last school year…Again, Remus brushed the thought aside and came back to the letter at hand.

Sirius' letters always had that strange mix of a number of different moods, attitudes, and ironies that were hallmarks of his particular written persona. However, if they didn't manage to make him chuckle at least once in the course of their accounts, Remus knew that something much more serious was occurring with Sirius than he was letting on.

This particular letter had been particularly vulgar and had begun with the off-handed musing: I wonder if our fellow classmates of the female persuasion ever wonder why Prongs is addressed so…we might want to try tossing that moniker around in front of Evans…might go off better than the whole "Catch the Golden Snitches off the Quidditch Pitch" campaign. Of course, maybe those of the gentler sex in our acquaintance think that Padfoot is some sort of disease of the –" Remus had lost interest there, not wanting to know what either Wormtail or even his own epithet might become when subjected to one of Sirius' whims. He had skipped over a few lines before noting that Sirius was planning to skive off to his Uncle Alphard's.

The information was dropped almost carelessly into the sea of vulgarity…so carelessly that it was suspect. Sighing, he got a roll of parchment out and wrote out a note to James to ask what had been transpiring so he knew whether it was wise to keep fragile objects away from Sirius for a while when they returned to Hogwarts. As an afterthought, he also suggested that they both look up counter-jinxes and antidotes to exotic and very old curses as well. Particularly those that had to do with blood.

However, a drought of even Peter's tales of dodgy domesticity had gone on for at least three weeks, leaving Remus time to finish all of his school assignments and do some extra research on bounding and recognition spells. He put his letters away and turned back to a tome that had been given to him by his grandmother for his last birthday and jumped when he heard a very insistent tapping on his windowpane.

Looking up, he was even more surprised to see a large owl with ebony feathers and a disdainful expression looking rather affronted by the fact the window hadn't sprung open for him at a moment's notice.

Remus got up and undid the latch only to have the self-styled feathered lord push his way through the window, nip him rather viciously on the finger, and stick out his leg imperiously. As soon as Remus had plucked the sheet of parchment off – all the while dodging the talons and beak and any other part of the creature capable of doing anything nasty and painful – the bird raised its head disdainfully and exited in much the same way as it had entered.

Mindful of the painful throbbing in his finger, Remus unrolled the parchment and saw, written prior to the actual note as a hasty afterthought: Watch out, like most things my family owns, the owl bites.

Frowning intensely and glancing briefly from the note to his injured hand, he thought that he might have been able to use this warning prior to trying to extract the letter, as it seemed wholly unnecessary now. However, mild annoyance aside, he continued further down to where Sirius' scrawl read:

Moony – Tonight we're going to enjoy your namesake for once in your martyred existence. Already contacted the others. Be at your back window…or better yet, just be outside about five minutes after you read this. Two, if the owl does its bit of puffed-up posturing.

Remus read it over again, thinking that there were about a hundred choice things he wanted to call Sirius at that very moment. Only he would be so completely thoughtless as to go a month without so much as a word and then write a letter demanding his immediate presence. That, and in the most ambiguous terms anyone could possibly manage.

However, outside was such a sudden rumbling and horrid screeching that Remus re-opened his window and, craning his head to the side to catch a barest glimpse of the road, saw a black car swerve very near his front mailbox before coming to a cacophonous halt, one wheel up the curb.

Knowing better, but hoping nonetheless, he quickly went out down the stairs, mumbling some hurried excuse and apology to his incredulous mother, who was just about to have a glass of tea and turn on the Muggle game show that Dad watched religiously. Barely remembering to grab his robe, Remus darted out onto the front yard.

Sure enough, sitting in a car with an open roof that tapered into a pair of rather strange looking silvery wings, were the usual suspects. Sitting in the passenger's seat was James, who was laughing and, upon noticing Remus, began waving him into the car enthusiastically. Seated behind the driver's seat was Peter, trying to affect a look of happiness despite the delicate shade of green that had infiltrated his features. Completely the impossible picture and grinning far more dangerously than even the time they had been given detention for his inane plan of teaching Professor Slughorn's underpants to sing was Sirius. The look of Sirius lounging behind the wheel of the car and then shouting, "Moony! Time for a bit of a moonlit ride!" was by far the most unnerving part if the whole affair.

Unfortunately, frozen in the middle of his front walk directly between his mother's simple (and gnome-free) rhododendrons, Remus could think of more than a hundred ways – just off the top of his head and without any of his usual effort – that Sirius could turn that car into a four-wheeled death machine.

James, noticing his friend's reticence, heartily thumped the makeshift seat behind him (in Remus' skeptical opinion it looked like a bench strapped on with Sellotape – actually, probably Spellotape, as Sirius was the ringleader of this catastrophe on wheels).

"It is-" hazarded Peter, amidst odd noises and gasps for air "- slightly less dangerous than it looks like."

"That is not encouraging enough to get me into one of Sirius' four-wheeled schemes in process."

The three in the car exchanged knowing glances.

Leaning over the steering wheel and trying to assume a look of seriousness, Sirius chided, "Bugger it, Remus, we aren't going to let you whittle down your life to one night a month."

James, stretched out in a parody of relaxation, and, as was the normal refrain, said "Enjoy your namesake on the other nights, too."

Remus merely frowned and thought - looking upon that grin of Sirius' that always caused problems, James, with his arm slung over the side of the dratted car, a wide grin on his face and his hair in grater disarray than usual, and Peter, happy and grinning despite his greenish tinge – that he should have learned to resist this tableau and understand what it inevitably meant somewhere in second year…

But, one night before the full moon, Remus once again found himself sighing resignedly and giving in to them. Climbing into the back and making sure his wand was handy (he was, in fact, ready to incur the price of thwarting Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery with the same resigned nature with which he broke countless school rules…rationalizing that it was for the sake of his life). Idly, Remus began to wonder just how many laws – Muggle and Wizard alike – they were going to break during the course of the evening.

Fiddling with the gears of the thing, and cursing in a way that Remus did not find reassuring at all, Sirius started up the car again with a whoop. James, his nervous chuckling betraying that perhaps he had about as much confidence in Sirius' driving as Remus himself did, finally explained hurriedly, "The moon was beautiful tonight, so Sirius fixed it with his Uncle Alphard to let us make some temporary modifications to this Muggle contraption-"

"A horrid Black condescended to touch a Muggle article…?" interrupted Remus, attempting to take his mind off the many scenarios for his impending doom and mental images of twisted metal shrapnel with bits of young wizard detritus intermixed.

"Well," explained Sirius, turning a corner with a screech! and making Remus strangely glad that his negligible driving skills had managed to hold at least two wheels on the ground, "Uncle Alphard has escaped the family genes that make him an unsalvageable nutter, apparently, and has inherited some mutant strain that makes him a bit of a Muggle artifect fancier – that is a bit of a welcome obsession, howev – Damn!"

He swerved to avoid a tree, proclaiming that it was one of the ones he had studied in Herbology that roams around at will in order to confuse lost witches and wizards and, in the midst of the modern metropolis, had gotten lost itself. Now, it had wandered into the car's way just out of spite.

"'Specially," said James, grimacing a bit as Sirius narrowly avoided hitting a couple strolling on the sidewalk that was now shouting back several fairly unsavory, but very accurate, appraisals of Sirius' future as a motorist, "When he had a good deal of Fire Whiskey and could no longer tell the difference between me and a Lethifold when I came through the Floo."

"Somehow he even stumbled through the counter-incantations for the blood curses."

"Encouraged us to perfect our transfiguration skills and flout the Ministry's law." James smoothed back his hair only to have it blown back again before launching into an impression of a slurring voice, "That's the punch. You coves ought to be able to see the moon in style if that's your aim!"

Sirius gestured back to the cars silver wings, unwisely letting go of the steering wheel in process. The car went into a stomach lurching turn and Sirius' appraisal of his and James's transfiguration skills descended into a few choice swear words.

One he had managed to return the vehicle's course to a slightly less erratic driving pattern, Sirius continued, "Uncle Alphard has always had it in for the Ministry types ever since the Department for the Control of Magical Creatures tried to place more stringent regulations on the breeding of Crups. Thought that the tossers had no right to interfere with his hobbies. You know -"

No one got to find out what they were supposed to know or not, because the car lurched to a very abrupt stop and for a moment Remus thought he would be pitched off his precarious perch. Peter, let out something that was somewhere between a squeak and a moan, and James let out a fairly long string of curses that Remus didn't feel needed repetition.

"Alright, Padfoot, I think I could move this thing better," said James when they were safely parked in the midst of a park's greenbelt, spare meters away from more purportedly wandering trees.

Sirius eyed him. "Don't think a blighter like you could do better, Prongs."

Overly casually, James placed his arms behind his head and, looking slyly to the side remarked, "Two Galleons says I can."

Narrowing his eyes – perhaps more in response to the curious old biddy who was suddenly aware there was an interesting looking motor vehicle parked in a fairly absurd location than James' proposed bet – Sirius opened the door, stepped out, and bowing grandiosely, intoned, "I look forward to taking you for all you are worth, Mr. Potter."

James took the wheel and immediately made all involved wish that Sirius was still (vaguely) in control.

They started out at a halting start-stop motion that made the delicate green tints that lingered around the edges of Peter's face immediately become all the greener. As they surged and came to the stop ("I'm getting a handle of these old ped-alls" chuckled James, disastrously taking his hand off of the wheel to smooth his hair back, as was his nervous tick, leading to a lurching turn which was then over corrected) Remus wrapped both of his legs around the outcropping of his seat and found that his knuckles turning white as he gripped the handholds all the more tensely.

Sirius, however, was half out of his seat, pumping his fist in the air, and whooping in a way that seemed (in Remus' opinion, at least), to be vaguely suicidal.

"Prongs, this was the worst bet you've ever placed!"

With a shout, he lurched himself to the side to avoid being hit by a branch that caught the unfortunate Peter dead on in the face.

Now that they were driving at a break neck speed, halfway on the road and halfway on the sidewalk, Remus shouted into the wind, "I do think - however dubious this may be - Sirius was better at this."

In response, Sirius made the rather idiotic decision to clap the driver on the back. However, after another stomach churning turn and a large thump!, at least they were on the road entirely again. Still on the wrong side, but improvement could not be argued with.

"I –" shouted Peter, immediately covering his mouth after this one foray into speech.

Sirius looked back and saw that his friend's face had now turned a dangerous grade of sea foam and, not thinking very much before doing so, yelled, "STOP!"

Not one to ignore such commands, James ground the entire black mass to a stop, sending up the smell of acrid rubber as he did so.

Showing an impressive display of speed, Peter managed to vault over the side of the car and vomit heartily into an available flowerpot. Sirius was laughing so hard at this that Remus was glad that no lights flickered on in the house they had so noisily come to a stop in front of to see how much their begonias were being…uniquely fertilized.

Amidst Sirius' mirth and James' empathetic horror, Peter drew himself proudly up and marched back to the driver's side door.

"Prongs, get out" he demanded, voice vaguely raspy, "and then give him-" he jerked his thumb at a smirking Sirius "- his two Galleons."

Unaccustomed to being ordered about so, James merely blinked and, at a lost for other protocol, sluggishly complied.

In light of this development, Sirius gleefully began to take his place back in the driver's seat.

"Padfoot," Peter continued on, "Stay."

This produced a chuckle from James, who had assumed Peter's former perch at the vehicle's back.

"I don't see why you have suddenly joined the automobile peerage and are commanding this vehicle," shot Sirius rather sourly at having been denied his former entertainment.

"The fact is," put in Remus, before the jockeying for the driver's seat turned into an all out brawl, "that you invited some of us here to enjoy the moon. I don't really need to pray to survive your therapy as well as my own furry problem."

Having the good sense to feel the slightest bit guilty, Sirius resorted to glowering as Peter nestled into the driver's seat and began adjusting the mirrors for his shorter frame.

"Besides," continued Remus more mildly, "I hear driving actually improves motion sickness."

Peter started the vehicle up and expertly began maneuvering it. Remus thought that it was a bit of a novelty to be moving at sane speeds, keeping one's seat as corners were turned, and being soundly on the road and, moreover, on the correct side of it. Finally arriving at a quiet, out of the way lane, and traveling down it at a brisk speed, Remus actually was able to begin enjoying the little jaunt without fear for his life.

Observing incredulously, both Sirius and James were struck by this sudden development, as Peter had never excelled more than them at anything save potions (and they told themselves that this was because Peter probably paid attention to old Sluggy). Sirius, still smiting from his demotion to the navigator's chair, merely waggled his eyebrows, thinking for a way to pose his surprise until, giving up all tact, he exclaimed, "Bugger it all, how can you drive this thing without making it wander all about the road?"

Peter grinned toothily and responded, "Nick the car all the time from my father at night when he's pissed. Mum just pretends not to notice. Dad didn't even notice at all when I accidentally backed in into a fence." He affected a look of innocence, "I told him the lawn gnomes must have gotten at it."

James scoffed, "Lawn gnomes?"

"He was not particularly fond of them just then."

Remus could not help laughing at this, to the utter confusion of their other two friends. They drove on without great vehicular mishap for a long time.

Finally, feeling the self-created wind and more than a bit of amusement at James and Sirius' fascination with the stories regarding what Muggle school children did with cows for fun, Remus relaxed and appreciated the world as it was bathed in the light of an almost full moon and drenched in the sound of his friends' happy voices.

It made the time when he went back to Hogwarts – away from his parents' worries, hopes about cures for lycanthropy, and spotty correspondence – seem nearer.

His reverie was interrupted when Sirius, noting that their companion in the back seat had not spoken in a very long time, remarked loudly, "Bugger it, look at that oh so rare example of Moony being relaxed. Mark it, that is a first and last."

Remus merely smiled and said, "Until tomorrow I can at least appreciate the moon aesthetically."

XXX

The day after the ride, Remus lost his appreciation as the palpable tension of the Lupin household settled in on the day of the full moon.

As was the routine, his mother took his arm and led him down the steps and into the basement, where she had spread out an old towel and a freshly blooded side of beef from the butcher.

She patted him on the shoulder and, long ago having run out of well-worn empty comforts, smiled at him sadly and climbed back up the stairs. She turned the light switch at the top out, leaving her only son sitting in the dark.

Concentrating on the dark, familiar shapes and waiting for the telltale glimmer of white light in the high window frame, Remus tried to distract himself by thinking about what his fellow Marauders might be doing at that moment…

XXX

His father brought out the beat up leather satchel that had been in the family since the druids had been perfecting the use of wands. With a grin he set it upright and undid the clasps.

"Well, James, the moon is bright enough, how 'bout a go?"

The family Quidditch supplies out and his father's once top-of-the-line, but well cared-for, Nimbus 500 at the ready, James went inside to grab his own broom.

Mussing his son's hair in an overly friendly way for a competitor, James' father looked up at the moon, almost entranced by it, and remarked, "A night match will make this more sporting than usual."

XXX

Sometimes Peter hated family dinners. His father, tired from his day of work and primed to start on a fine whiskey that almost never failed to make a nightly appearance, always took that time to go over the household accounts.

He never failed to slip in a comment that said that any expense on an item that did not directly relate to the tangible world was frivolous. Tonight's item of contention was cauldrons.

"Why does the boy need new ones?"

His mother merely stirred the pot by hand, eschewing any magic that might make the conversation more difficult. At a length, she answered succinctly, "He burnt through the last set."

"How do you burn through iron? How has he managed it?"

Peter had increasingly begun to feel as if his presence during the summer would never register.

"Well dear, you've never mixed a Pepper-Me-Up potion, so I think it would be a bit pointless for me to tell you about the properties of-"

"Lad," his father said, turning his eyes to Peter at last, "I've enough trouble keeping gnomes and pixies and leprechauns out of my life without having to buy you fifteen sets of cauldrons a year for such nonsense."

Peter simply answered, "Yes sir" but kept his eyes fixated on the window over his shoulder, where the full moon was etching the trees outside the in silver.

"Now," his father mumbled, mostly to himself, "there has to be a cheaper substitute for this gnome repellant…But we can't have them attacking the car again…"

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw his mother stiffen amidst her stirring. But after a moment she went on, just as she always did.

Peter sighed and counted the months until he would be back at Hogwarts, sitting at the long tables, arguing with Sirius over who got the last pumpkin pasty. But until then he contented himself with looking at the moonlight outside his window.

XXX

An entire day after he had taken it, driving haphazardly back as the sun set, Sirius finally returned the borrowed car to Uncle Alphard's house, having taken a detour out into the country for a day…just to escape. Upon finding his uncle snoring and oblivious to the world at large, he left him a note that he should replace his blood curses on the garage and found a bottle of Agrippa's Anti-Headache Draught ("For all but actual skull-crushers!") and put it next to his near empty bottle of Fire Whiskey (a far less impressive vintage than last night's merriment. With a twinge of guilt, Sirius wondered if the combined lack of both his car and his nephew might have something to do with this particular stupor).

On the mantle, next to the Floo Powder canister was a note that simply said, "Do NOT tell your mother…if you've made it back alive."

Sirius then added an addendum to his note that, if any other member of the family were to ever find out about the car, he would deliberately transfer to Slytherin because such an action would prove he belonged there. He then took the last swig from the bottle before resignedly going through the Floo to Grimmauld Place.

Unfortunately, the first being he encountered upon emerging from the fireplace was Kreacher who mumbled, "Oh Mistress will be most saddened that dirty mudblood-loving Master has ever decided to come back…" Well, at least he knew that his hasty exit to Uncle Alphard's was not unnoticed.

As quietly as possible – which was a bit of a waste, really, because Kreacher was doing his level best to make noise by deciding to "clean" the noisier portraits, who objected to being awoken at such an inopportune time of the day – Sirius made his way up the stairs to his room.

He managed to arrive without incident (surely to Kreacher's dismay) and flopped moodily on the bed, eyeing the picture of him and his other friends until he heard the door crack open with a degree of discretion that would be utterly lacking if it were his mother or father.

Sirius turned and saw Regulus come in and silently close the door behind him. Without so much of a word of greeting, Sirius stood up and went to sit on the windowsill while Regulus took his place on the bed.

"She's raving, you know."

Sirius knew there was no need to ask for a definition of that pronoun.

Regulus went on, telling him about the crazy dinner with all of its pureblooded stars and Bellatrix's imminent engagement to some bloody bloke with better blood than brains. After he had gotten to the second course's events he asked, "Are you even listening?"

Sirius wasn't. He could care less, in fact. He said so. Regulus stood up and, unconsciously affecting a favorite gesture of their mother's – brushing off his robes as if he had been near something unclean – mumbled something to the effect of "Maybe she's right…" and, hesitating for a moment at the threshold, left as silently as he had come.

Moodily, Sirius slipped off the windowsill, conscious of the fullness of the moon outside as he did so, and moved to his desk.

Pulling out a quill and some parchment he began "Dear Moony" – because, for all James was like a brother to him, Remus seemed like the only person to whom he could write what he wanted to write. However, after the salutation, it inevitably boiled down to a letter that refused to be written.

XXX

His mother exited the basement, whispering to his father as she left "He looks better today, John. I wonder what those friends of his did. He looks happier, John – perhaps –" the worried whispered words were silenced as the door closed. Remus knew, from here, his father would cast the protective charm that kept the door from breaking. That guarded his parents from their son. Absently, he wondered if they put a silencing charm on it as well. It was all an old routine.

As the white fingers of moonlight finally made their appearance, Remus used the last vestiges of his human mind to try to make himself unafraid of the moon. He felt its opal rays and, instead of feeling his bones distort and his mind submerge itself into the Wolf, he felt a warm breeze blowing through his hair, accompanied by peals of familiar laughter.

His very last human thought was of him and three other boys, together, racing the summer moon.

Fin

A/N: So I wanted to write more of a character piece with convertibles thrown in for fun. It was supposed to be happier, but took an unexpected serious turn at the end. I kinda wanted to explore that complex set of dynamics Harry reads into the picture in Sirius' room in DH, but through their lives outside of Hogwarts (because, really, how often do we get a glimpse of the Marauders outside of the cheery confines of our favorite magical school?). And, by the way, I unexpectedly love Uncle Alphard (he channels Bertie Wooster when he's really drunk, apparently. Props to those of you who know who Bertie Wooster is.). It was fun speculating about his bond with Sirius. Okay, I've rambled enough.