To be hurt, to feel lost,
to be left out in the dark
to be kicked, when you're down
and feel like you're being pushed around
to be on the edge of breaking down
and no one's there to save you
yeah, you don't know what it's like
Welcome to my life.
- Welcome To My Life by Simple Plan
September 20, 1978
"Remus lifted his eyes from his book to look at her.
Seated beside him, close enough that their thighs brushed against each other's, Hermione had her own nose buried in a book.
"What are you reading?" he asked, smiling as he nudged her.
She lifted the book cover up and showed him.
"The Language of Flowers," he read out loud. "Flower meanings?"
She nodded. "I'm reading about Mayflowers. It means 'Welcome,' and.."
Remus let her ramble on and watched, smiling at her happy expression. Her chestnut curls cascaded down her shoulders, the light from the fireplace giving it an extra glow. Though the rims of her eyes were red and puffy from all her previous crying, her chocolate doe eyes shined like never before in the eyes of Remus. And as Hermione turned to look at him, her soft smile stirred something in him.
Unconsciously, he lifted a hand to her face, caressing her cheeks. Her skin felt like silk, and he reveled in the feeling.
Hermione was more than a little bit surprised, but she couldn't bring herself to pull away at Remus's sudden closeness. His long, calloused fingers were warm, and the way his thumb was sliding against her skin gently was comforting. Her eyes drifted shut, letting Remus's warmth lull her to sleep. She was just so tired from everything that has happened.
Remus's heart thundered in his chest as he gazed longingly at her. Invisible hands seemed to push him towards her, his mind shutting down all of a sudden.
Closing the gap between them, Remus was about to kiss her when he suddenly jerked away, realizing what he was just about to do. Hermione's eyes snapped open at the loss of his warm hand, and gave him a worried look, her cheeks tinging pink in her embarassment.
"Remus? Are you alright?" she asked softly.
"Y-yes," he stammered, trying to calm himself. What was the matter with him? He usually had more control than this.
Scratch that. He shouldn't even be thinking about Hermione in that way.
A deep growling from the back of his mind echoed throughout his thoughts. Knowing where – more precisely who – it came from, Remus kneaded the bridge of his nose in exasperation.
Human, do not interrupt me, growled the wolf side of him, who was currently living shoved down inside his head.
No. I won't let you do anything to this girl, Remus told it calmly, always being the voice of reason. He wondered why Moony, his wolf counter part, was acting this way. The wolf was never like this around any other girls.
Sensing the uncomfortable atmosphere, Hermione stood up gingerly, smoothing out her skirt.
"Remus, I should get going now, it is eleven," she said. She gave him a soft smile before turning to leave.
No! Moony growled. For a second, Remus' hand darted out to reach for Hermione's hand. Remus fought against it, clenching his fingers.
Do not let her leave, human! Moony snarled. Remus could see the amber eyes of his wolf friend burning angrily.
Remus fought it as hard as he can, the beads of sweat gathering on his forehead. He knew that letting Moony take over would mean trouble. Big, big trouble. Moony was the aggressive side of Remus, the one who acted impulsively and rashly. Moony tended to stay quiet, but when the days of the full moon would draw near, he starts to speak up. Usually it was just about minor things, like how he wanted to eat, or how he wanted to bite the leg off of someone that annoyed them both, and stuff like that.
But this was the first time Moony sounded so...desperate.
When Remus heard the door click shut, Moony gave up the fight. Remus's deep breath of relief was cut off when he heard Moony make an unusual sound.
It almost sounded like it was a whimper. But no, Moony didn't whimper. Moony snarled, sneered, snorted, growled, grunted, and occasionally – very very occassionally – laughed. Moony never whimpered.
"What's wrong with you?" Remus asked his wolf aloud.
The human. Granger. Hermione Granger.
"What about her? Look, I absolutely forbid you to hurt her. You demand and want a lot of things, and I've always given them to you, but not this time. Not her. She is not food, nor is she a plaything, Moony. You cannot hurt her."
Hurt her? Moony scowled. I could never hurt her. Never. Never.
It almost sounded like...a plea.
Please human. It has been too long. Too, too long. I have finally found her. We have finally found her. I cannot bear to be away from her.
"W-What are you talking about?"
Moony's answer spent Remus's world spinning. He had fogotten just what it meant to be a werewolf. It was more than just midnight strolls during the full moon, or turning into a furry wolf. No, he forgot the most crucial part to a wolf's life, the part that allowed the wolf to gain more strength, the part that allowed the wolf to be tamed and controlled more properly.
The part that the wolf's scratchy voice just reminded him now.
Human, she is our mate.
Sirius had followed Hermione as she left the prefect's lounge, still hidden under the invisibility cloak James had lent him.
Okay, James didn't really "lend" it to him – Sirius had knicked it from his trunk. To be fair, he did holler something like "James, I'm borrowing the cloak;" but he had done so in an empty room.
Holding his breath, he followed Hermione until she entered the Gryffindor Common Room. Due to the late hour, nobody was up and about. Sirius was expecting Hermione to go straight up to her dorm; and since Sirius can't enter the girls' dorm (no thanks to the magical staircase that conveniently – not – turned into a slide when in the presence of males), he planned to retire to his own room as well.
That was the plan, until Hermione surprised him. Instead of doing as he expected, she flopped down rather ungracefully in one of the couches by the hearth. She sat cross-legged, cradling one of the fluffy velvet pillows against her as she rested her chin on it. She took in an audible breath, and sighed loudly.
"Happy birthday, Hermione," she said to herself.
Even though he was staring at the back of her head, he could feel the sadness in her voice. Sirius couldn't help but feel his heart reach out to the her. He knew what it was like to have no one to celebrate your birthday with – his whole childhood before James and the other Marauders was filled with year after year of neglected birthdays. His family regretted the day he was born; why would they celebrate it every year? They didn't enjoy having a non-blood puritist in their midst.
He shrugged off the cloak and draped it over one of the chairs before giving an audible cough. Hermione jerked in surprise, whipped around, and stood in alert, her wand drawn.
"Woah there, kitten. I'm not gonna bite," Sirius grinned at her, palms out in a gesture of surrender.
She let her wand drop to her side and gave him a look that plainly said, "Oh, it's just you." She didn't say anything else and just sat back down, gazing into the fireplace.
Sirius trounced up to her, heaving himself over the back of the couch and settling beside her. "Why so depressed, birthday girl?"
She turned to look at him, suspicious. "How long have you been standing there? I didn't notice you when I got in."
Hoping to change the subject and at the same time divert the conversation to the topic he wanted to discuss, he said, "And where have you been, exactly? It's too late for a pretty bird like you to be wandering about on her own."
She quirked a brow at him, amused at his choice of words. "First you refer to me as 'kitten,' and now I'm a 'bird.' Make up your mind, will you?" she teased, laughing. She knew it was a weak attempt, but she was trying to change the subject, anyway.
Sirius saw through it, though. He shrugged nonchalantly and just grinned at her. "I like animals – so judge me. And you're not getting away with it: where were you?"
"I don't see why I have to tell you where I've been," she said indignantly, turning away from him.
Sirius smirked. He had her now. "And I don't see why you have to hide that particular information. It's as if you're guilty of something," he replied in his own indignant tone.
Hermione snapped, letting the frustration and weariness of the day break through. "I was with Remus, spending some time with him, because someone here," she emphasized, glaring at him, "wouldn't even give him the time of day, and instead just takes advantage of his kindness."
Sirius, having a short fuse and a nasty habit of arguing and defending himself brashly, snapped back. "You're the one taking advantage of his kindness! Remus and I have been perfectly fine until you came along. And now, with just a few tears from the damsel in distress, he's all whipped. Disgusting how you throw yourself at him like that-"
"Excuse me?" Hermione interrupted, outraged. "Have you been eavesdropping on us?"
"And what if I have?" Sirius sniffed nonchalantly.
"Aside from the fact that you just violated our privacy, you've just proved yourself a world-class jerk," she glared at him. She just couldn't understand how this insufferable Sirius Black turned into the man she had come to admire and Harry's Godfather.
And then she remembered the hurt and pain that Sirius will have to go through when James died. Hurt and suffering really did change people, and it seemed like it will do a great deal of damage on Sirius Black.
"So I'm a jerk for trying to protect someone that's important to me?" he said, narrowing his eyes at her.
"And who is it that you're trying to protect, anyway? Because if it's Remus, you're doing a rather horrible job – you're just hurting him," she said hotly.
"I was afraid, alright!" Sirius shouted. "I didn't..I don't.." he broke off, burying his face in his hands.
Sirius knew he had been awful to Remus – that was his intention, after all. He had hoped that his being awful to Remus would bring Remus to hate him. Not completely hate him, but just enough to make those..confessed feelings of his go away. Even if it hurt for Sirius to do so, he did it for the well-being of Remus. Remus deserved someone much more better than him. He didn't know all the bad sides of Sirius, didn't know how much of a mess he is and how years ago when they first met, Sirius had been using Remus.
Remus had looked so pitiful, then – the epitome of loneliness and weakness. The moment the 11 year-old Remus entered James and Sirius' compartment, shyly asking if he could come in and share the compartment with them since nowhere else was available, Sirius had already known that Remus was probably a lot more miserable than he was. Remus' face had tiny white scars on them, his shoulder were slumped like he just lost everything he had, and his eyes – his eyes drew Sirius to him like a moth to a fire. He felt something in him then, something that pushed him forward to take Remus in, stand from his seat, and drape an arm around the awkward boy.
Sirius, until now, still couldn't quite put a finger to what that feeling was. His number one candidate was that it was pity, and that's one of the reasons he tried to push Remus away. He was selfish, that he knew. He was probably just using Remus, keeping him around because he pitied the wolf. When Sirius found out that Remus was a werewolf, something in him was slightly happy.
Happy, because for once in his life someone was much more miserable than he was. Happy, because Remus needed him.
It was Sirius' idea to learn how to be an animagus; he was the first one to successfully turn into one, as well. All because the feeling of being needed made Sirius feel better.
Sirius dug his fingernails into his hair, digging in painfully.
I am the most selfish bastard in the world, he thought. He was just so messed up.
"Sirius," a soft voice called.
He didn't answer.
A warm, delicate hand placed itself on his back. "Sirius, you don't have to be afraid. Remus..he really wants to help you."
He lifted his face from his hands to look at Hermione. "Help me from what?" he asked softly.
Her brown eyes looked into his. "Yourself," she said, matching the soft tone of his voice.
He tensed up, and his walls of protection triggered. His mouth seemed to quirk and move on its own as he felt himself smirking. He leaned against the couch and propped a foot on his knee. "Who says I need saving?" he said, in an arrogant tone.
Hermione shook her head. "Remus knows you do. He knows you much more than you think he does."
"Well, you're wrong. Both of you. No one knows me," Sirius stated simply. Then, in a much lower tone that could have been missed, he muttered, "I don't even know me."
"I know that you're a nice person, deep down," Hermione stated matter-of-factly. "Both Remus and I know that. You've just been..hurt and abandoned so many times that you're afraid of letting people in. You've got all these walls pushing people out." She hesitated a bit before continuing, "Remus wants to tear those walls down; he wants to help you. But if you won't let him, then he can't."
Sirius knew she was right. But for some weird, insane, unexplainable reason, his protection wall kicked up again, and his mind decided on its own that he had to push her away, too, now that she knew too much and seemed to see right through him. In a blink of an eye, she was on her back as he towered a few inches from her, a hand on either side of her head.
"And what makes you think I'm a nice person?" he said darkly.
He knew he shouldn't be doing this. But at the same time, he was scared. Scared of how she managed to read him so easily. He had to push her out.
He leaned in closer to her, placing his mouth right beside her ear. "Welcome to my life," he whispered in a low tone.
Hermione's eyes grew wide, and she couldn't help but be a little afraid of the one on top of her. His ocean blue eyes seemed to glow, as his dark voice sent shivers up her spine.
She closed her eyes, taking deep breaths, when suddenly the weight on top of her vanished. She snapped her eyes open the same time a loud thud echoed through the room.
"Remus!" she said, surprised and horrified.
Remus was pinning Sirius to the wall, his hands fisting Sirius' robes.
Sirius' head throbbed from the impact, and he stared at Remus in confusion. It all happened so fast that he didn't even know he was lifted off of Hermione until now. Why was Remus even acting this-
Oh fuck, Sirius thought. His eyes.
Remus' eyes, where it would normally be a beautiful gold, was now a flashing yellow with a black slit running right in the middle in exchange for the usual pupils.
"Moony," Sirius breathed.
Remus' mouth curled into a growl.
"Do not touch my mate, human."
A/N: And the plot thickens.
I am SO SO SO SORRY for the late update. Just when I promised, too. Yes, I'm sorry: stone me to death now. I've been trying to write and re-write this chappie again and again, and I must say that I STILL am not satisfied with it. But..as this is a birthday gift to one of my real-life friends, I'm going to have to stick with this.
SO beautiful people, thank him, because if it wasn't his birthday tomorrow I wouldn't be updating. :)) The occasion pushed me to write :))
Review and show me some love, because your reviews inspire me the right way ;)
I apologize in advance if this chapter didn't meet your expectations.
And I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of me. :) I'm sorry I haven't been able to reply to your reviews.
So, Ezra: Happy birthday! (advanced; still 9 hours to go) There are just so many things I want and need to say, that my mind hurts just even trying to list them all down. But one thing's for sure, and one thing that probably summarizes everything:
No matter what happens, no matter where life takes us, I'll always be a Sirius and you'll always be my Remus.
As the story progresses, I hope you continue to remember that, and then you'll understand what it is I mean as the chapters go on. But really, if there's one character in all my stories that you resemble, it's Remus. Happy birthday, again :)