A/N: *peeks out from under covers* Umm…don't kill me please? *blinks innocently* Big apology for the loooooooooonnnnng wait. Thank you all so much for reading this story and sticking with me.
Thank you to my reviewers of chapter 4 - Little-pixie-19, ItachiMer, hardcore-muffins, Ghost, number1sasunarufan, romanisan, Star-Struck Inu, Mystery, EygptianFireFly, Bizerko-Kittykins, Lionel, Isolated Mind, Anon, Lizzy0308, fan girl 666, Remchlomany, LoveForTheKittens, HPJellicleCat, imSiriuslyLupin4you, The Truth's Lie, luck-life.
And also my reviewers of the first three chapters - SleepingBeast, sharlie25, melissaheartsanime, Miss Pessimistic, number1sasunarufan, RacingShadows, .FaSt, fan girl 666, Puffy1505, Alexandra2812, luck-life, wolf2q, anonymous, PrettyPieceOfFlesh, nininha, yayzerzz i can haz squip, Pats, One of the Colorless, hunterofartemis109, Kit21, Twilight4everTDI2, LyssaLaughable, Hepzheba, Padfoot's Blondie, kitty, ONIX-21, Lykanthrope, syron, Kitty Sorceress, Booklover00, GenaAmie, Christina, ALICE, Icywingsoffire, moonbeard, randy13, Kellisina, Jeagerjaques615, KaiiDee23, lady love, BlueTopaz21, Alice.
I hope you are all still reading this.
Chapter 5 - Monster
Without once looking back, Remus fled.
Damn Sirius… for evoking emotions he had sought never to feel again. Damn him and his storm coloured eyes that always looked at him as though they were reading all his secrets…damn him for finding something out that took him years to hide.
The sun was already low in the sky and in the semi-twilight, no one took notice of the figure in black fleeing through the grounds. Remus's feet automatically took him through the path through the whomping willow into the Shrieking Shack.
By the time he crashed through the deceptively small and frail looking entrance of the shack, tears were gathering at the corners of his eyes. His chest felt heavy and his breaths came in harsh pants but it was not because of physical exertion.
Damn Sirius for whirling up things right before the transformation. A wolf's emotions were so much more volatile than a man's, so much harder to control.
Body trembling, he stumbled to a stop, head bowed under the weight of everything that had happened.
Everything that he had kept bottled up inside for so, so long welled up in him like an irrepressible tide and Remus let his knees hit the splintered wooden floor of the shack. His hands slammed on the wood, clenching air, ragged sobs beginning to burst forth from his throat.
How ironic was it that he, who thought he'd mastered himself, who he thought was immune from the childish allure of friendship and love was taken in by the rich, careless brat who he's thought he despised, who had hundreds of broken hearts at his feet and yet, of all people, he pursued this…this wolf-boy who was all the more fragile for everything that he tried to hold together.
The longing that he hadn't allowed his human heart to feel pulsed through him so powerfully that it was painful. Tightly shut eyes remembered Sirius's alluring smile, Sirius's eyes when he'd held his hand, Sirius's face when he laughed, Sirius's lips as they dominated his own…
There was a ripping sound as Remus's back hunched, wolf muscles bunching under his skin. Painful spasms racked his body as everything that he had held bottled up burned through his veins in protest, making the transformation that much more painful.
Lethal fangs elongated out of his mouth and sliced his lips as he tried to keep them closed.
How sad that the boy he was attracted to wanted him too, except he didn't know what he was asking for. Cool, daring Black probably thought being a werewolf was like having an annoying tic once a month. Did he think he was being gallant, letting him know he knew his secret and still wanted him? Whatever he had studied and wherever he had been , Sirius Black had no idea what he was dealing with. No amount of books can ever explain what it's like to have a monster inside of you.
Remus's vision cleared and the world came into sharp focus, everything visible clearly even in the dull, moonlight night. Breathing ragged, the werewolf stared around the hated room that he had found himself every time since Remus had come to this godforsaken school. Before that, it had been a dark basement every bit as confining as this, except for the window, except for the moon that hovered tantalizingly in the sky, calling him with her seductive call.
Remus snarled and launched himself onto the walls, eyes bleeding red at the unfairness of it all, of always having the thing he most wanted dangled before his eyes, making him know he could never have it. The wind blew in, bringing with it, the alluring scent of the forest, of home and all Remus could do was gnash his teeth, and claw at the walls of the shack, fortified with magic to hold a werewolf in. This was why wolves were never meant to have human emotions; because they felt everything- joy and distress – physically. Every last regret that Remus had buried in his heart, every longing, every feeling that he had hidden from himself flowed through the veins of the animal that nature had meant to run freely through the night, without ever being bound.
A horse eventually accepted a rider, a dog craved a master but a wolf was meant to live solitary, dependent on no one, strong and free. It didn't help that the human trapped inside of him was too frightened to let the wolf take full control of the body, even after the transformation and Remus's fear made rippling muscles rigid, the wolf warring with the human and destroying the fragile body in the process.
The wolf's arms went around his body in a sad parody of a hug and claws that were meant to rend the flesh of its prey left bleeding gashes in their wake.
Remus's breathing slowed a little as the pain centred his attention, helped him focus his tempestuous mind that he sometimes feared he would lose control of entirely. Pain was better than being driven insane by this monster, by losing himself to this wolf that Remus was sure would like nothing more than to destroy everything it chanced upon; it did a very good job of destroying his own body, after all. It was only right that he was kept captive in this shack where it could not hurt others, those he held dear.
Sirius's face flashed into his mind and his breathing quickened again, pain squeezing his heart again.
Sirius Black, with his laughing eyes, was born into a rose tinted world with a silver spoon in his mouth. Eyes like that could never see the pain of someone who fights who they are, every day of their lives.
A long, hair raising howl pierced the night air as the full moon rose slowly in the sky. The people of the Hogsmead village heard it and scurried to shut their windows. A few, more sensitive ones, stopped what they were doing for a moment, wondering why there was something about that sound that made them want to cry.
The wide, red eyes that appeared wild at first glance, flitted around the room, despair beginning to triumph over anger. Thoughts of death, unable to find an outlet, turned inwards and the wolf clenched it's fists, leaving his palms a bloody mess from the strength of his grip.
The pain cleared his mind a little once again and Remus became aware of his body trembling with the strength of his longing.
Unseeing eyes remembered his father's face when he moved to leave the basement late in the evening after leaving is 7 year old son in there; he remembered calling out to his papa because he was afraid of the dark, creepy basement and he remembered his father's knickles clenching on the doorknob as he turned, a look tortured pity and helplessness on his face.
He remembered the sound of the door shutting, leaving him alone with his demons.
Sharp, thick claws on his forearms brought Remus out of his memories. The wolf knew to create smaller wounds to avoid the greater pain…some memories were far more hurtful than any physical wound.
But it wasn't enough. The memories kept coming, like the valve bursting on a flooded dam.
He remembered smiling shyly up at a blond boy, a few days before the night of the full moon, the first boy he'd had a crush on. He remembered the look of horror and disgust on his face as the boy he'd thought was his friend turned and fled. The boy had whispered fag, unknowing that the part-wolf boy had heard.
-The intense, buoying joy he had felt when he'd gotten his acceptance letter from Hogwarts at age 11, the immense relief knowing he was wanted somewhere, that he would be going to the famed wizarding school, just like his daddy-
-His father's despairing face the acceptance letter in hand, telling him as gently as possible that he probably would not be allowed to go once they found out what he was-
-His father nursing him as he lay close to death on the bed in his room after the full moon night that month, having a dangerous amount of blood from his self-inflicted injuries-
-His father sitting him down and telling him the school had refused him-
-three years spent, trying to get used to the idea that he would be a useless, worthless outcast all his life, unworthy of even a basic education as a wizard.-
- On his 14th birthday, his father's shaking hand as he held another letter from Hogwarts, telling him Dumbledore had requested an audience with the both of them-
-Dumbledore's eyes, reading him as easily as if her were a book-
-the letter from the school on his 15th birthday, telling him he'd been accepted-
-learning to keep away from everyone, shunning the friendship he was so desperate for-
-Sirius standing up for him that day in front of the bullies-
-Sirius protecting him-
-Sirius pulling him close and kissing him-
Remus Lupin tore at his body with sharp claws, snarling helplessly at the moon. Tonight, when his most base urges took over, there was nothing to distract him from all the shadows that he pushed back during his human days. Wolves don't have defense mechanisms, after all. Wolves don't need to be able to distract themselves from the yawning despair within themselves that threatened to consume them. Only humans have to do that.
And now, the boy that was neither tried to hold himself together as pain that he could not ignore became overwhelming. A snarl full of anguish tore his throat and the werewolf, that appeared to be savage and wild and unbreakable hunched over, putting his arms around himself, cutting deep into his skin as he tried to hold himself, wishing despairingly, that they were someone else's arms, knowing deep inside that they would never be.
On the dusty wooden floor of the shack, a few inconspicuous drops fell.
Damn Sirius Black, for making a werewolf cry.
The night progressed as slowly as usual, every second seeming like an eternity to the werewolf. The moon had yet to reach the highest peak in the sky but Remus already felt like he had endured a thousand battles. His body was torn and bleeding, trembling from pain, bloodloss and the cold night air. The werewolf tried to breathe, tried to remember that it was just one night, that it would end but the thoughts would not form. All that the wolf knew was now, this small dark room, the ceiling that seemed about to close in on him, the moon beckoning him, the forest he could see in the distance that he knew he would never reach but so, so wanted to. The darkness of the night was endless, just like the thoughts and feelings churning around in the wolf's head that did not belong to him, that did not fit into his mind, that were driving him insane.
If only Remus were a little less sensitive and a little closer to his base, animal self, but he wasn't. It would probably be easier on both his mind and his body to just let go, to not think so much, to allow things to take their course, to allow himself to forget and move forward in life but that was not Remus.
In his saner moments, Remus wondered why he always clung to memories and feelings that hurt him that made him incapable of going where life wanted to take him, instead of where he wanted to go. When did he become this person who could accept nothing more or less than what he had expected, what he had "planned" even when he knew he would never have it, when he knew there was a big, fat obstacle in the way of all those best laid plans called werewolf?
But right now, Remus was not sane enough to think. The pain from the cuts and gashes on his body registered in the wolf's brain as nothing more than a light sting. Blood and injuries, a wolf could deal with. It was part of survival to get injured. His brain would not be alarmed as long as the injuries were not in a dangerous place, so long as there was no danger of them being fatal.
But the pain in his mind was not as easily dealt with. With no escape from the memories echoing in his own head, burning the blood in his veins unpleasantly, the werewolf wondered why his usual remedy – physical pain – was not helping him any. Generally, physical injury –a known sensation, something he could deal with – kept away any thoughts and feelings he was not ready to deal with. It was just as well that there was no one in the room because otherwise, all the injuries the werewolf had inflicted on himself would be inflicted on whoever was unfortunate enough to cross his path. Pain, confusion and fear would take the form of rage, to be unleashed on his prey. It would be less painful, less debilitating for the wolf but not for whatever victim he happened upon.
So far, the werewolf had never caused any injuries that were life-threatening – but then, he had never felt this constant, crushing pain in his chest as if his heart were being squeezed painfully. The wolf did not understand this vague, insistent pain, not caused by a fight or a wound from an enemy but just as painful. Sharp claws landed lightly on his own chest, wondering what would be enough to make it stop. The werewolf stopping this vague phusical pain that seemed to be pulled its claws back and snarled, prepared to tear into his own chest if it meant the end of this strange agony.
Then a dark, heavy something pounced on him, sending him crashing to the floor. Remus snarled, pushing the creature back but it was heavy. In a flurry of limbs, they fought on the creaking wooden floor. The aggression trapped under the werewolf's skin leapt at the chance to take it out on someone else, on something that did not result in pain to itself. The agony and turmoil in his mind were pushed back as the wolf concentrated on doing something it knew, something that it was familiar with – fighting.
The aggressor and the wolf rolled around on the floor, filling the old shack with renewed creaks and moans and snarls. The magic protecting the shack was, fortunately strong enough to hold the both of them, even though there was never meant to be another wild animal in there with a werewolf.
The struggle ended when Remus was pinned on the floor under the aggressor. Teeth bared, Remus looked up at the creature.
Storm grey eyes looked down at him.
Remus lost his breath for a moment, then fought with renewed energy at this creature that dared mock him.
Remus! The black, dog-like creature growled, Remus, it's me!
The werewolf stopped struggling. Was his mind playing tricks on him? Could that happen with werewolves?
But the stormy grey eyes above him were not a trick and neither were the far too strong arms pinning him down. Despite the myths to the contrary, a werewolf was actually not much stronger than a normal wolf, except its bite was far deadlier. But animals that could take on a wolf, could take on a werewolf as well. That said, though, wolves were fierce fighters who would fight with everything they had, not allowing themselves to be dominated, sometimes at the cost of their lives.
But Remus's instincts were telling him this wasn't an enemy. The animal's aura was strong and calm and without fear or anxiety, which was entirely wrong if it was just a stray animal that had somehow ended up in the shack. Animals usually stayed away from werewolves. Something that was neither one of them, nor a human was unknown and a little frightening. It was instinctual for animals to keep their distance from something they couldn't judge in terms of strength and intent.
But this – this dog was staring down at him with a rather pleased look in his eyes. Energy now spent, Remus stared up at the creature that had him in its grasp, that could probably kill him if he chose but was just holding him down instead.
S-Sirius? Remus growled, unused to communicating with another creature. He had not even known that he could communicate with others, but unless he had completely lost his mind, this creature had just said his name,
The one and only, the dog replied and the werewolf relaxed subtly on the floor where it was pinned. That proved it then. No other creature could match that level of arrogance.
A werewolf, the dog whispered, still staring. I've never seen one before. You look…
When he trailed off, the werewolf turned its head away, unable to meet Sirius's eyes any longer. He had never expected to be accepted after anyone learnt his secret but then, he had never expected to be caught in this form either. He knew he was terrifying. He knew he was a monster. But that didn't mean it didn't hurt to be ridiculed, especially by this particular person. Taunts about his thin, ungainly frame, his haggard, almost old looks – he had prepared himself to be teased about these things. But this…he didn't think he could bear to look into Sirius Black's eyes and see fear and disgust.
Then a long, wet tongue licked along the side of his face.
The werewolf's eyes widened and he turned hesitant, vulnerable eyes to the dog above him.
The dog was grinning down at him.
Sirius, Remus began, a little startled to hear a growl in the place of his usual voice. Wh-what…how-
Later, Sirius growled back, loosening his grip on the wolf. Are you going to attack me again if I let you go?
Remus looked up at him like he was crazy. Will you believe me if I say I won't?
Yes, Sirius told him, turning his head to rub his nose absently on his furry shoulder.
Remus snarled softly up at him, baring his teeth in a weak attempt to remind him that this was a werewolf he had pinned under him, not some sort of mischievous puppy.
Sirius snarled back in response taking it to mean he wouldn't, and moved off him, allowing the wolf to roll over and get to his feet. The werewolf stood awkwardly, legs and hands not co-operating with him immediately after the wounds he had inflicted upon himself. He glanced over his body to see what damage Sirius had caused and was stunned to realise it was nothing more than a few bruises that would heal in no time.
He raised his head to the dog standing in front of him, looking calmly at him. It felt bizzare to stand next to another living creature and not feel the urge to cut it to pieces. Not to mention he had never expected to be looked at in this for with anything other than fear or hatred.
So, Sirius began, What do we do now?
Remus looked at him uncertainly, shuffling his front paws awkwardly, feeling ridiculously big and weird.
D-do? He stammered. What do you mean?
Sirius raised a paw and began to lick the dirt off of it, putting Remus in mind of a cat more than a dog. You know, for the rest of the night. What do you do?
Remus stared. 'I claw at my skin and throw myself at the walls till the sun rises' sounded remarkably silly even in his head. The dog did not seem to think twice about the various injuries covering his body and Remus was grateful for that. He did not think he could stand to feel guilt or any of the other roiling emotions that had plagued him the whole night.
I…don't know, he answered, glancing around the room nervously. The walls and ceiling no longer seemed like they were closing in on him.
Sirius snorted in response, pattering towards the window, exploring every aspect of the room curiously.
Aren't you…afraid of me? Remus asked hesitantly as Sirius sniffed in a corner, then turned away with a grimace as the dust scattered because of his breath and tickled his nose.
Sirius glanced at him coolly, an arrogant look on his shaggy face. Afraid of you? Who would be afraid of you?
Remus felt a little spark of anger at the statement. Most people wouldn't be stupid enough to come close to a werewolf, Remus snapped moodily.
I figured you must be bored. So I thought I'd keep you company, Sirius replied, turning towards him, his tail swishing happily.
Remus snarled, eyes flashing red at the dog's irritating attitude and raised his claws up to Sirius's eyelevel. You realize I can slice you into little pieces with these…?
Sirius glanced at them coolly, with smirking eyes. You couldn't scratch a kitten with those if you tried.
The next thing he knew, Remus had launched itself at him with a roar and they were once again rolling around on the floor snarling and growling but this time, there was no malice in either of their attacks. He could not have said why exactly, but even though he had seen that the dog was far stronger than him, it wouldn't hurt him. Sirius's scent was all over and around him now, from rolling around the floor together and it made him feel safe.
It dimly registered at the back of Remus's mind that the tornado of emotions that had whirled in his mind all night was now quite calm and he felt more at peace with himself, attempting to throw the large dog off of him, than he ever remembered feeling in his life.
Remus slowly opened his eyes, blinking at the glaring sunlight coming in from the window of his usual bed in the hospital wing. He tried to raise his arms to shade his eyes but found he could not lift them; they were as heavy as lead. Looking down, he saw they were bandaged tightly, blood still seeping from the wounds turning the once white bandages reddish brown.
Attempting to move other parts of his body yielded similar results and Remus turned his head, wincing slightly at his stiff, sore neck, to gauge what time it was. The sun was quite high in the sky so it was safe to presume it was late morning at best. He rested his head back on the pillow and closed his eyes, trying to figure out why, for the first time, he felt relaxed and rested instead of exhausted and drained.
Vague memories came back to him, of pain and confusion and Sirius's eyes and wrestling with a dog. He opened his eyes and frowned, and glancing down at his hands. That couldn't be right. Had he been dreaming?
He glanced away, out the window, feeling a strange pang, as if he'd lost something very important.
Then a solid gift wrapped bag landed squarely on his stomach and he grunted with pain, glancing around in surprise. Madame Pomfrey was usually more gently.
"Hi," Sirius greeted, plopping down on the side of his bed casually as if he had every right to be there.
"H-how – what're you doing here?" Remus asked, gazing nervously at him. If he had been dreaming, his dream had been remarkable realistic. Sirius's eyes…they really were a very unique colour…
"I brought you here," Sirius told him, "After you passed out in the shack after sunrise."
With a jolt, Remus realized it wasn't a dream, that he – that Sirius had really been there, Sirius had really seen him…like that…
"Y-you really - the dog…that was…how-"
Sirius nodded. "I'm an animagus."
Remus's eyebrows shot up in his hair. "A registered animagus at this age? But the ministry doesn't-"
"Not registered, no," Sirius cut him off. "And I would appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone."
Remus nodded hesitantly. "But why – why did you come…"
Sirius shrugged and looked away. "Like I said, I thought you might be bored."
He glanced casually at his bandaged body. "And good thing I did too. Seems like you almost clawed yourself to death."
Remus lowered his eyes, confused at the flat, unfeeling tone of the other boy's voice. "It's no big deal," Remus said softly, staring resolutely at a spot on the white bedsheets. "Happens every time, so nothing I can do about it."
Then his face was caught in a strong, long-fingered grip, forcing him to raise his head. Sirius's face was suddenly too close, stormy eyes filled with such anguish that it made Remus gasp.
"You will never," Sirius whispered, the concerned look in his eyes becoming possessive, "do that to yourself again."
"I-I c-can't hel-help it," Remus stuttered, eyes flickering helplessly to the soft red lips so close to his face.
Sirius's grip tightened. "I will be there to make sure you don't."
Remus's breathing had quickened. "B-but this is…every month. You can't – not every time-"
"Every time," Sirius assured him quietly and then his lips were locked over Remus's and the exhausted boy melted against his touch, going boneless as Sirius leaned over him and grasped him behind the head to pull his mouth even closer.
Remus could feel something inside him unclench, and when Sirius pulled back, he gazed at the boy with heavy lidded, slightly dazed eyes.
Sirius smiled, looking beautiful and carelessly handsome in the morning sunlight and brushed a thumb over his mouth. "I like this look on your face," he said softly and Remus blushed, unable to tear his eyes away.
"YOU BOYS BETTER BE DECENT, I'M COMING IN!" came Madame Pomfrey's voice and Sirius grinned, pulling away but grasping Remus's hand tightly.
The door opened and Madame Pomfrey entered, hands on her hips.
"What is that?" she demanded, pointing one imperious finger at the parcel on Remus's stomach.
"I-I don't know," Remus stammered, subtly attempting to pull his hand away from Sirius's, then turning a brighter shade of red when the boy refused to let go.
"I don't want any-" she began sternly but broke off when Sirius suddenly stepped close to her and whispered something in her ear. A light blush adorned her cheeks and she beamed at him and nodded. Without another word, she opened the door and left, closing it behind her.
Remus glanced at him questioningly. What was in the parcel anyway? There weren't many things Madame Pomfrey would be so pleased about her patients having while in the hospital.
"I've gotta go," Sirius told him, stepping close to the bed and jerking his thumb at the door, indicating the formidably healer. "But I'll be back soon. Till then get some rest-" he leaned in low and whispered in Remus's ear "- Moony."
Remus gasped in outrage but Sirius had disappeared out the door before he could say a word, leaving him with a flushed face and a strange, warm and gooey feeling in his chest.
With fumbling fingers, he pulled the ribbon that tied the parcel, a silly smile on his face.
When he opened the box, for a moment, he stared uncomprehendingly at the contents. Then, a moment later, his smile trembled as his eyes filled with tears.
It was the huge parcel full of every kind of chocolate that he had seen Sirius purchase in Honeydukes.
A/N: Reviews are to me what chocolates are to Remus ^.^