Description and Disclaimer: This is a story. My story, in fact. I happen to like it a lot, and I've worked very hard on it, so I'd like it if you liked it, too. :D Most characters -- such as Remus J. Lupin and Sirius Black, as well as James Potter, Lilly Evans, Peter Pettrigrew; even Professor Voldemort, Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, etc. -- are NOT MINE, and I know this all too well. It makes me sad, but I acknowledge it freely. I am not in denial. That is merely a river in Egypt. I am a lonely and pathetic fan-girl, and I have decided to share the product of my loserdom with the world. Silly, huh? HOWEVER, even though these aforementioned characters are not mine, a few of the characters are. Dalila Lupin, Etienne Ibert, Michael Black and some others -- such as Ellen Abbott and Maeve Zabini -- are of my own creation. I made them. They are not yours, nor are they the wonderful J.K. Rowling's. Also, though the main characters of Remus and Sirius are not mine, the PLOT, as well as most of the EVENTS that occur within this story, are also mine. I spent a considerable amount of time thinking up this PLOT, as well as wondering what these EVENTS should be, and I spent an even more considerable amount of time writing this PLOT and these EVENTS. Certain events may not be what J.K. Rowling had planned for her characters and their pasts. Well, who cares. It's my show now. And, if you in any way steal, copy, borrow, or glean vague inspiration from that which is in my show, I'll have to castrate you. If you cannot be sufficiently castrated to my liking, an alternative and equally appropriate punishment will be supplied.
( Whatever. I'm PMSing. For that, I am sorry. )
Thank you, and please enjoy this fic. If you do not READ and REVIEW, I'll sic a grim on you.
P.S.: This fic contains flagrant abuse of my limited knowledge of the French language. For those of you who have even more limited knowledge of the French language that has been employed in this fic, please see the handy translations that are written at the bottom of the prologue.
P.P.S.: Have fun!


Main Characters: Remus J. Lupin, Sirius Black
Subsidiary Characters: James Potter, Lilly Evans, Peter Pettigrew; Professor Voldemort; Etienne Ibert
Couples You Will Find In This Fic (Whether You Like It Or Not): Sirius Black/Remus Lupin; James Potter/Lilly Evans; a hint or two of Lucius Malfoy/Severus Snape
Dedication: This fic is dedicated to Lins, who continually rekindles my joy of SiriusxRemus whenever I am losing it.
This is: a work in progress. Like all my works in progress, it is possible that you will be waiting a very long time between installments, or they could come out daily in a psychotic and rather frightening fashion. Do Not Worry! Just take it as it comes, and feel free to send me demanding fan mail if you feel you've been waiting an egregiously long time. Demanding fan mail is annoying sometimes, but on the whole it makes me feel incredibly cool. And that's what it's all about, right?
C&C: is demanded. Or, you know, desperately longed for, in a rather pathetic sense. Just gimme some of that good ol' fashioned R&R, and let me know you actually do want to see more of my work.


Prologue: C¦urdeloupe

He sat on the comforting plane of his mother's lap, nestled into the perfect dip caused by the curving of her thighs. Her nightdress was made of the most comforting fabric, white and softer than silk. She did not look so pale against the cloth, her delicate, fragile wrists curving as her fingers slipped smoothly through his hair. The slightly too-long, baby-velvet locks were like gold in the firelight, matching the color of his mother's burnished curls. His eyes, deep brown in any other light, could be seen to have flecks of matching gold and silver inside them, cast into their depths by the flickering flames which curled in the hearth, and by the curve of moon which sliced the enveloping blackness of the sky.

She was singing to him, her voice low and husky and warm. In this light, had her husband paused in the doorway while passing, he would have felt the momentary pang of doubt. His son was not his own. His son bore no resemblance to himself. The same delicate build of his wife's body was echoed on a more minute scale by the boy's frame. They shared the same, very slight, snub-nose; their mouths were both small but full, in the same sensitive laughter-lines. Even the color of their hair was the same, too much of a red brown to be gold in the sun, but glimmering like the most precious of filigreed metals in the firelight.

It was their eyes that would have perturbed him most, had he caught the glint in them. They were the deep brown of the earth in the daylight, warm and comforting, if not a bit precocious. But on these nights that the two shared they seemed to snatch up the moonlight inside their veins, and the silver color that echoed from inside their eyes looked inhuman.

But their moment together was unseen, as if by some force of will the boy's father kept himself away. It is what men do. They close their eyes so that they cannot see what will hurt them most. Instead of peering through the doorway at his wife and his son, trying to catch a glimpse of their unfamiliar forms, ethereal in the firelight, he left his wife to her singing and his son to his wife. From the room that he shared with her, he could hear her voice like sunlight on water and honey on bread:

Mon c¦ur s'ouvre a ta voix comme s'ouvrent les fleurs
Aux baisers de l'aurore
Mais, ô mon bienaimé, pour mieux séchers mes pleurs
Que ta voix parle encore!

Dis moi qu'a Dalila tu reviens pour jamais,
Redis a ma tendresse
Les serments d'autre fois ces serments que j'aimais!

Ah! réponds a ma tendresse,
Ver-se-moi, ver-se-moi, l'ivresse!
Réponds a ma tendresse, réponds a ma tendresse
Ah! ver-se-moi, ver-se-moi, l'ivresse

Ainsi qu'on voit des blés les épis onduler
Sous la brise légere,
Ainsi frémit mon c¦ur, prêt a se consoler,
A ta voix qui m'est chere!

La fleche est moins rapide a porter le trépas,
Que ne l'est ton amante a voler dans tes bras!
A voler dans tes bras!

Ah! réponds a ma tendresse,
Ver-se-moi, ver-se-moi, l'ivresse!
Réponds a ma tendresse, réponds a ma tendresse
Ah! ver-se-moi, ver-se-moi, l'ivresse

Samson! Samson! je t'aime!

The village of C¦urdeloupe was a small woods-length from the town of Lourdes, on the river Garonne. The Lupin family had dwelt there since the very first house had been built, and Dalila Lupin, Dalila Ibert since her marriage to Etienne Ibert, was the last surviving child who could have carried on her family's line. Now that she had married, taking her husband's name in the stead of her own, the name of Lupin had, save for the etchings on gray-slab gravestones, faded away.

Etienne Ibert was no fool. He knew the name had not been forgotten.Whenever he looked upon his son, laughing barefoot on the bank of the Garonne, or silhouetted by the verdant forest that crept stealthily to overrun the corners of his garden, he felt a chill that such a practical, grown man as he should not have felt.

When he first visited C¦urdeloupe there had been rumors about Dalila and her family, rumors closely tied with the name of the village and the pull of the full moon. He had brushed them off easily when he first met Dalila. He was in love. Practicality had not yet set in to defend him from believing such things, but the imprudence of blossoming love had served that purpose for him, instead. They had spent long nights in the forest and she had sung to him, arias, with her lush voice seemingly wrought of the same fire and velvet woven throughout her.

They married three months after they met. Etienne was a businessman, and revelled in the recklessness of their affair and sudden, unexpected marriage. He had not anticipated remaining in Courdeloupe but Dalila had refused to live anywhere else, and so they stayed. It was too easy to forgive her everything, as each day he fell in love with her afresh, and therefore he could let her persuade him her trips to the forest on the nights of the full moon were merely glimpses of her capricious eccentricities. She could convince him of anything with her dancing eyes and her familiar smile.

A year after their marriage, their only son had been born on the night of a full moon during an impossibly cold January. There were no doctors and even Etienne himself did not know what was happening behind the closed doors of his wife's room until he heard the howling cry of a newborn baby through the light walls.

She named the boy Remus without consulting Etienne.

From the very beginning, Etienne's son was not his own.

"Maman! Maman! Vois-tu que j'ai decouvert?"

"Un moment, Remus! Je fais des autres choses. Parle a papa!"

"Papa!" The boy ran to him, small hands cupped before him, wide brown eyes fixed in delight upon a mound of earth and snail heaped in his palms.

"Je le vois, Remus." Etienne's pale blue eyes flickered down to the muddy fingers, still padded with baby-fat. They would one day be long and slim and graceful, like his wife's. Now, they were one of the only parts of his son's body that did not seem to him eerily familiar.

"Il est tres petit."

"Oui. Je vois."

"Il est marron, comme la terre."

"Et comme toi. Joue avec ta maman." From her spot in the garden, Dalila straightened and stood, arms opening wide to her son. Behind his glasses, Etienne felt the pang of ancient jealousy, and turned himself to his book once more, shutting out his son's exclamations and his wife's laughter.

Of all the pleasures in his life, Remus enjoyed most the long walks he and his mother took along the edge of the forest, down to the place where the trees met the water. Past that was the grove where his mother showed him the wind-scoured stones with half-familiar words engraved on them. It was a cold place, where the earth was so dark and so soft. It scared him, sometimes, how his mother would kneel for hours by the somber gray markings, her long fingers tracing the lines of the words.

"Tu es mon Remus?" she would ask.

"Oui, maman."

"Tu es Remus Lupin," she would whisper.

"Loo-panne," he would echo, until he learned it better. "Lupin."

As he grew older she taught him about the gravestones. They weren't just old rocks planted like petrified flowers in the moist dirt that carried names and dates, but memories of people that had lived there by the Garonne in C¦urdeloupe many years before. Remus had never met them and could only listen, breathless, as Dalila wove through his memories the tales of his ancestors with her rich voice.

His own name was on one of the gravestones, chiselled long ago into the pocked, scarred stone.

Remus Lupin
Les C¦urs des Loupes-Garoux Sont A Toi
Vois-tu Les Loupes D'une Autre Fois?

"Il n'est pas toi," Dalila explained to her son. "Tu as son nom, c'est vrai, mai il n'est pas toi. Tu es mon Remus."

Remus regarded that gravestone warily. It was one thing to see those unfamiliar names engraved along the rows of rock and quite another to see your own name spoken to you among them. Each time he saw it he got the shivers, goosebumps standing out on his forearms, until his mother came up behind him and wrapped him tight in her arms to take him home.

"Ou vas-tu, maman?" Remus was curled by the fireside, reading a book Etienne had given him for his last birthday for the fourth time. The sun would be setting in a few hours on the windy day. Dalila was pulling on an oddly-styled coat in the doorway, settling her hair back over her shoulders. Etienne sat in an armchair reading the evening paper, watching them both over the edge of the newsprint and the edge of his glasses.

"Laisse ta maman seule," he murmured to the boy, sounding at the most half interested.

"Je veux faire une promenade."

"Puis-je aller avec toi?" Remus shut his book, wanting to run to his mother and bury his face in the cotton of her coat or the soft silk of her skirt. Something glittered in Dalila's eyes and Etienne's fingers tightened on the newspaper.

"Laisse ta maman seule," Etienne repeated, voice warning. "Vois-tu la lune?" That wild look in his mother's eyes faded, and her lips curved into an understanding smile.

"Bientôt, mon petit Remus," she murmured soothingly, before she slipped out. Moments later Etienne stood and locked the door behind her, and slid into place a familiar silver bolt.

"C'est l'heure d'aller au lit, Remus."

"Oui, papa." The shutters were drawn, and the boy could not see his mother leave, golden in the dusk outside the windows.

Late into the night, as Remus lay awake in his bed, he heard the sound of a solitary wolf howling throughout the vast, dark forest, and he felt small and frightened and alone.

"Bon anniversaire, Remus."

Etienne's boy was nine years old, or would be, once the sun set and the full moon rose high in the air. He held out to him a box of books wrapped in plain paper. Remus loved to read -- it was the one aspect of the boy he could understand.

Like any normal child, Remus tore into the wrapping with a gasp of delight and the look on his face as he revealed the thick books was pleased enough to touch a spot deep inside Etienne's chest. He was not entirely like his mother, Remus Ibert, Remus Lupin.

"Aime-tu les mots, Remus?" he asked him, carefully guarded from behind his spectacles.

"Oui! J'aime les mots, papa!"

"Mais tu aimes aussi les arbres, n'est-ce pas, Remus?" Dalila came up behind the boy, kneeling down to wind her arms around him, from the back.

"Oui. J'aime aussi les arbres," he complied, hugging the books to his chest as his mother hugged him.

"Les mots sont pour les hommes," Etienne said, softly, but there was a gravelly steel quality of his voice that made both the boy and the woman lift their eyes to him. In Dalila's face he saw a twist of animal anger. Had he known her secrets when he first met her he would not have sought to plumb them, and he would not have fallen in love with her.

"Et les arbres sont pour les loupes," Dalila murmured, loud enough for her husband to hear, but meant for her child's ears alone.

"J'aime les deux," Remus said, wriggling free of Dalila's embrace. "J'adore les deux! Merci, papa." The sound of his footsteps faded away on the wood floor, leaving Etienne to watch his wife.

"Il aime les deux, Dalila."

"Il n'y a pas de choix."


"Mon homme." Dalila unfolded herself from the floor, wisps of hair tugging free of her loose bun. "Tu ne comprends pas la nuit!" Etienne watched in stony silence as his wife left the room to follow the boy. He did not understand her. In most ways, he did not understand his son, either. But he knew there was a chance for the boy. He would not let the moon or his wife claim him. Il n'y a pas de choix. There had not been a choice for Dalila, but he would provide his son with what his wife had not been given.

"Ou vas-tu, maman?" Dalila was buttoning up her coat in Remus's bedroom by the boy's window. He liked the way her fingers made the buttons slip so easily into the buttonholes.

"Je veux faire une promenade. Veux-tu aller avec moi, Remus?"

"Oui! Puis-je?"

"Bien sûr. Mets ton manteau." He scurried to do as she said, pulling his jacket down from the hook by the door and slipping himself into it. The book Etienne had given him lay open on his bed.

"J'aime ce livre, maman! C'est Les Trois--"

"Vite, vite, Remus! La lune et la nuit approchent!" Remus closed his mouth, his fingers fumbling with the zipper before he slipped the two parts together and pulled them up over the zig-zagging metal. "Bien, mon petit Remus."

"Ou allons-nous, maman?" Dalila took her son's smaller hand in her own. The smell of the forest was creeping up to the window. With her free hand she threw open the shutters and breathed in deeply the scent of grass and earth. The quivering knowledge of the small forest creatures was ingrained into her. The way a pair of rabbits lifted their front paws and twitched their noses and tensed with fear as they caught her musk on the air was inebriating.

"A la forêt."

"Mais papa--"

"A la forêt, Remus!" There was something terrible in her eyes. Remus shrank back from the brightness in her face and the grayness of the world outside at dusk. Dalila held her son's hand tight. "Tu iras avec moi!" She took Remus up in her arms and carried him with her as she leapt out the window, landing crouched on the ground below in the middle of Etienne's violets.

Everything smelled very sharp to his nose. The flowers all around him seemed to reach up and clutch at his body. He did not want to press himself closer against his mother's breast but he was forced to in order to pull farther away from the surge of nature like the rip-tide around them both.

The sun was sinking lower in the sky.

Dalila took off running, her feet slapping the ground with rhythmic, long strides. The spaces between the sounds were abnormally long. In her arms, Remus felt as if he was floating, or riding some great mythical beast up into the sky. The forest drew closer to them, and though he had always thought of it as being comfortably close, now the seconds drew by lethargically, leaving Remus in an agony of anticipation.

He could hear a night owl kuu-whoo, kuu-whoo into the leaves. He could hear his mother's heart beat in that same rhythm. There was no wind but the thick air rushed past his face.

Then, they were in the forest.

It was like being dragged down into the rushing waters of the Garonne. His eyes could barely focus on the colorless foliage rushing past and his nose could not breathe for the smells that filled it suddenly and without warning. This was the forest Etienne hated. This was the forest Remus had never known, secrets hidden in the gravestones at the Lupin burial ground. Something swished by them -- an owl swooping down to catch a woodmouse who hid, terrified, in the leaves. Remus felt the flash of pain and fear as talons dug into the small creature's fur.

He felt naked. He felt alone. He felt terrified.

He had once fallen into the Garonne while playing in a makeshift boat. He had opened his mouth over and over to scream out for help and his lungs had filled with the freezing, choking water. Remus kept his mouth clamped shut, feeling his teeth grind together.

Dalila ran for a long time, her hair torn from its bun and caught on the branches that reached out, clutching at them. At any moment, she could have dropped her son, but she kept her vise-like hold around his small form. Remus did not feel comforted. He felt like the mouse, half-alive for the irrational pounding in his heart, drunk on the sudden acute senses that flooded him. He liked the trees. He liked the trees. He liked the trees. But he did not like the forest at night.

Remus felt the stop before it happened. The muscles throughout Dalila's body tensed to a halt and her bones creaked as she dug her heels into the moist, dark earth. Her chest rose once, twice, three times as she took in great, heaving breaths. She was still after that, her lips smiling inhumanly in the unforgiving dark.

"Nous sommes ici," she whispered, kneeling down to settle her son into the dirt. "Deshabille-toi, Remus." She lifted her hands to the buttons again, undoing them smoothly and slowly. Remus's hands fumbled with his zipper, an upleasant knot inside him. His coat dropped to the wet earth as Dalila pulled her sweater off and moved on to the complicated hooks of her brassiere. "Continue!" His hands shook as his t-shirt fell beside the gravestone of Margritte Lupin. As Dalila stepped out of her skirt Remus kicked off his pants. "Comme ça," his mother said.

He stood on the ground, naked and cold and confused. "Comme ça?" Dalila nodded. "Mais, apres ça--" She shook her head and he closed his mouth, breathing heavily, as if he had been running, and not she. He wanted to ask what they were doing. Not swimming, certainly. Not now. He wanted to ask where his father was. He wanted to ask what it was he felt in his feet, and why it tingled so as it crept up his ankles. He wanted also to ask what that accompanying, unpleasant grinding in his bones was, as if he were a plant in the earth shooting up suddenly to the sky.

Comme Jack and the Beanstalk, he thought, half terrified and half curious.

"Maintenent," Dalila murmured, throwing up her hands to the sky, "nous attendons la lune!"

Nothing happened. Remus took in another few choppy breaths and felt that turning and writhing beneath the casing of his skin. The sun spread over the horizon as if, as Etienne had once described it, it melted in order to hang onto that dimming line for as long as possible.

The last lights held on moments more, then dipped out of sight. The world, in one moment, was darkened. The trees lurched. Beneath his feet, the ground shook and shifted. His sight went blurry and his ears felt, rather than heard, the sound of his mother's body changing.

Moments later the wolf body was launched at him, teeth bared. She was a russet-brown beast, wild with the smell of her son and the smell of man in her flared nostrils. He stumbled backwards, clawing at the air for a second before the impact knocked him breathless, and he fell.

He could smell her fur and the dark ground. His mother did not smell the same. She was someone else, something different. In the same way wolves could sense danger, he could sense this. The link between the boy and his mother was strong, running deeper than the roots of the sturdy oak trees by their cottage. What he sensed was too much to comprehend. It surged through him, leaving him dizzy.

A mere moment later he felt the breath come back to him, only to leave his body once more as those teeth sank into his stomach, ripping at his flesh. He was soft and the wolf had gone for his tender underbelly. It tasted sweet, and it was baby-soft. He lifted his hands to the fur and clung to it, while trying to shove that heavy bulk off his smaller body.

"Mon fils!"

The wolf turned, blood on her muzzle, eyes glinting a terrifying gold. Remus wrapped his arms around himself and took advantage of the distraction to drag himself away. Things hurt inside him in places that had previously not existed. "Papa," he whimpered softly, a dogged whine in his voice.

"Et ma femme." Etienne stood, a shotgun held to his chest. The grip looked familiar to him. He was comfortable with it. The wolf could sense the danger immediately as she smelled the metal and snarled out a challenging, guttural growl. Her hackles had risen. Remus could barely see. His vision had gone red.

"Papa," he begged the dirt. "Papa. Papa. Papa."

Etienne raised the gun, hoisting it against his shoulder. His finger slipped against the trigger, his jaw set in a tensed, fierce line. The wolf curled its black lips, huffing and snorting into the cold air. The wolf was daring the man to do it. The wolf was reckless.

"Pour mon fils," Etienne said. "Pour mon fils."

The shot was loud enough to make the dauntless owls flutter upwards through the leaves like pigeons. Remus took in a breath that sounded painful even to himself. He could feel the wolf's shock, and then came her pain. He could feel the ground ululate in despair as she lifted her muzzle to the sky and howled for the moon to save her. The moon gave no reply, impassive and pregnant amidst the flickering stars.

Finding no solace from the moon, her great body crumpled to the forest floor. There was a surge of sound. Remus's nose began to bleed. Then all went silent. The world was no longer a living creature beneath him. He could no longer hear the rushing of the Garonne as if he were drowning in it. As Etienne moved towards him, Remus could not feel the earth yield beneath his father's human feet, nor could he sense the earthworms burrowing deeper into the safety of the wet dirt to escape those footsteps.

"Remus," his father was saying, "Remus."

"Papa," he whispered back.

"Remus." Etienne took his son into his arms for the first time without feeling maladroit. He eased Remus's arms away from the great hole in his stomach to inspect it. He had come too late. Perhaps, a few moments before, and his son would have been spared. His son could have been given the choice.

"Je suis--"

"Shh, mon fils. Je suis ici."

"Papa. Papa. Papa." Etienne set his son down again on the cold ground. He picked up his gun from where he had dropped it and tucked it under one arm, then returned to Remus's side. The boy was whimpering incoherently now, as if he'd forgotten all words, or as if words were not expressive enough to convey his misery. Etienne was silent as he held the gun with one arm and his son with the other. Remus had always been a small boy. It seemed as if he barely weighed anything.

"Nous allons quitter la forêt, Remus," he said, placing one foot in front of the other. They were leaving the body of the wolf behind, wolf-blood spattering the ground and the gravestone of Remus Lupin. They were leaving the forest behind, the pulsing thrum of the most curious rabbits ringing in Remus's ears. Soon, they would creep up to warily inspect the body of the dead wolf. Then, they would leave that form to rot against the earth, Dalila Lupin forgotten. "C'etait un cauchemar. C'etait un cauchemar."

"J'aime les mots," Remus clung to his father's shirt with small fingers. "Je n'aime pas la forêt. Je n'aime pas les arbres."

"Ce n'est pas important."

"J'aime les mots," Remus insisted, voice pleading. "J'aime les mots. J'aime les mots comme les hommes, je n'aime pas les arbres comme les loupes, j'aime les mots - comme les hommes -- comme toi!"

Etienne's son went limp a moment later. The man held the boy to his chest and passed through the darkened, unfamiliar and unforgiving forest, towards the light he had left burning in the window to guide them both home. "Pardonne-moi," he said, to comfort himself and not his son. "Pardonne-moi, mon fils. Je suis trop tard pour toi. Trop tard. Trop tard."

They were leaving Courdeloupe. They were leaving Lourdes. They were leaving France. Etienne had promised Remus a train ride cross-country, and a trip on a boat which would traverse the channel, after that. Once, his son's eyes would have lit up with whimsical delight at the prospect. Now, they were dulled, like unpolished copper, and registered no excitement, nor any pain. It worried Etienne.

Perhaps, Etienne had thought, leaving the country would do him more good than any words could.

With his son's small hand in his own, they walked down the platform in the crisp, clear air.

Still, he did not know what to make of his son. The boy had been silent when he woke in his bed, cleaned and bandaged. He had been silent as Etienne told him to pack his suitcase. He had been silent as they drove to Lourdes in the car and he had watched on impassively as Etienne sold the vehicle to a dealer who gave him only half what it was worth. As they bought the train tickets, Remus was still silent, staring straight ahead as if he could see through the most solid objects. It rendered everything around the boy transparent. The look in his eyes was unsettling.

He looked like the refugee of a great war, clutching his suitcase to his body, clinging to his father's hand.

It would be all right, soon. The train was due in ten minutes. Etienne let the boy sit on his larger suitcase and kept a hand on his shoulder to steady him.

"Nous irons a l'Angleterre," Etienne told his son. "Nous allons voir la mer."

Etienne bought a two bedroom apartment in Canterbury with the remainder of the car money. For the first few nights, he and Remus slept together on the sagging mattress and the unsteady metal bed-frame that came with the apartment, until Etienne pawned his wedding ring with no intention of buying it back. He bought them a better mattress and enough food to last them both a week with the money he got for the ring.

Two days after that, he got a job as an accountant at a small bank a few blocks from the apartment. He had once co-run a bank in Provence, until he'd met Dalila in Courdeloupe. He was more than qualified for the job.

Remus stayed at home during the day, while Etienne worked. When Etienne returned home they got carry-out from a fish and chips store down the street, and they ate their dinner over a French-to-English dictionary Etienne had bought at a bookstore by the train station.

A month passed since Remus's birthday. The moon waxed in the sky. Remus watched its growth with a fascinated sort of dread. Some part of him understood instinctively what it meant. Other parts of him just knew by the pull of that somber white shape in the sky. Etienne watched his son watch the moon, and bought a dog cage in time for the first night of the full moon.

"Papa," Remus said, "C'est étrange--"

"In English, Remus."

"It is strange," Remus corrected himself. "I feel strange."

The cage felt safe to him as he crawled into it. The bars were planted firmly between him and the rest of the world. It was comforting to know both that he could be kept in, and the world could be kept out. Etienne sat on the floor of the room by the cage as the sun set, and wept silently as his son's bones melted and reformed to the sound of first his screams and then his howls.

The wolf was small, just a pup. He threw himself against the bars and snarled for freedom. He was not a beast meant for a cage. The forest was where he belonged, and even across the ocean, he could still feel the song of Courdeloupe calling to him. He whined and snarled and growled and whined again, desperate to be set free. Etienne turned his eyes away. The wolf-pup began to throw himself against the bars once more, and then to tear at his own flesh with teeth and claws in a frenzy of despair.

The first night was the longest one. In the morning, Etienne took his unconscious son out of the cage to clean and bandage the cuts that marred his body, then put him to bed and readied himself for work. Remus slept the day through, completed exhausted.

The next full moon came and went in much the same way as the first. The next was just like the other two. The next, no better. Remus adapted to it, resigned himself to the full moon that ruled him and tortured him so. Etienne and his son grew not close but contiguous, like two trees planted side by side, not conversing and not acknowledging each other, but with roots so intertwined that killing one would be like killing the other.

Two years passed in this way. As the change from boy to wolf to boy came and came again, Remus grew thin and stayed small, his bones confused by the strains put upon them. Where Dalila had been bright and vibrant, like a spirit of the woods, the flame inside the boy dimmed lower and lower until finally it flickered out. Dalila and the woods were put behind them, but not forgotten. Sometimes, just before or just after the full moon, Etienne could hear his son humming softly to himself from his room, book forgotten and half open on the bed beside him. If he strained hard enough, he could make out the familiar words hushed on his son's lips:

Printemps qui commence, portant l'espérance
Aux c¦urs amoureux
Ton souffle qui passe de la terre efface
Les jours malheureux

Tout brûle en notre âme, et ta douce flam
Un vient sécher nos pleurs
Tu rends a la terre, par un doux mystere
Les fruits et les fleurs

En vain je suis belle!
Mon c¦ur plein d'amour,
Pleurant l'infidele
Attend son retour!

Vivant d'espérance
Mon c¦ur désolé
Garde souvenance
Du bonheur passé!

A la nuit tombante j'irai, triste amante
M'asseoir au torent, l'attendre pleurant!
Chassant ma tristesse, s'il revient un jour,
A lui ma tendresse et la douce ivresse
Qu'un brulant amour

Garde a son retour.
Chassant ma tristesse,
S'il revient un jour
A lui ma tendresse

A lui ma tendresse et la douce ivresse
Qu'un brulant amour
Garde a son retour!



Mama! Mama! Have you seen what I found?
One moment, Remus! I'm doing other things. Talk to your father!
I see him, Remus.
He's very little.
Yes. I see.
He's brown, like the earth.
Like you. Play with your mother.

Are you my Remus?
Yes, mama.
You are Remus Lupin.

"The hearts of the werewolves are yours
Do you see the wolves of another time?"
He is not you. You have his name, it's true, but he is not you. You are my Remus.

Where are you going, mama?
Leave your mother alone.
I want to take a walk.
Can I go with you?
Leave your mother alone. Do you see the moon?
Soon, my little Remus.
It's time for bed, Remus.
Yes, papa.

Happy birthday, Remus.
Do you like words, Remus?
Yes! I love words, papa.
But you also like the trees, isn't that so, Remus?
Yes. I also love the trees.
Words are for men.
And the trees are for the wolves!
I love them both. I love them both! Thank you, papa.
He loves them both, Dalila.
There isn't a choice.
I forbid it.
My man. You don't understand the night!

Where are you going, mama?
I want to take a walk. Do you want to come with me, Remus?
Yes! Can I?
Of course. Put on your coat.
I like this book, mama. It's 'The Three-'
Hurry, hurry, Remus! The moon and the night approach. Good, my little Remus.
Where are we going, mama?
To the forest.
But papa--
To the forest, Remus! You will go with me!
We are here. Get undressed, Remus. Continue. Like that.
Like Jack and the Beanstalk.
Now, we wait for the moon!
My son!
And my wife.
For my son. For my son.
I am--
Shh, my son. I'm here.
We are going to leave the forest, Remus. It's a nightmare. It's a nightmare.
I love words, I don't love the forest. I don't love the trees.
It's not important.
I love words. I love words. I love words like men, I don't love the trees like the wolves, I love words -- like men -- like you!
Forgive me. Forgive me, my son. I'm too late for you. Too late. Too late.

We're going to England. We're going to see the sea.

It's strange--