30 Words or Less challenge - 30 words or less for each prompt.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
These are all Remus-centric, and all pre-James' and Lily's deaths. No pairings, really, though I guess you could read it Remus/Sirius if you were so inclined.
"Growing Up Werewolf"
1. Reality Check
Being bitten, that was his reality check. That was his warning: he's not living in a fairy tale world any longer. He was, but that's over now. Reality time.
2. Absolutely Alone
This curse, it means that no matter how many people say they understand, they don't. They think they do. They don't. They try to. They don't. He is absolutely alone.
3. Prince Charming
He can never be Prince Charming, he knows. He's too tainted. He hates Greyback for this. He can never be what they want.
His parents scream at each other. The next morning they whisper, place blame. "You should've performed a silencing charm. Protect his virgin ears." He's not as naïve as they think.
5. Good Question
He has so many questions. "The other kids, will they accept me? Accept this?"
"That's a good question."
That good question goes unanswered by his mother.
6. Can you Hear Me?
"Can you hear me? Can anyone hear me?" He feels like he's drowning, alone. Unheard. Nobody understands. Nobody cares enough to listen.
7. I'm Telling
It's the telling that he's afraid of. He can't bear to hear those words. "I'm telling." The childish phrase haunts his dreams, because with the telling comes the hatred.
8. Out of Control
His life has been out of his control forever. He hasn't been in control since that night. The only difference is on full moons is he can't control his body either.
9. I Love You
She never says I love you anymore. His mother. She fakes it so well, he almost forgets sometimes. That she hates what he's become. But she can't say the words.
Does anyone ever ask for this? Is anyone ever bitten with willingness? If they are, he can't imagine it. How insane they'd have to be.
He doesn't do drunk. No matter how much he wants to forget sometimes, he doesn't go there. He's too afraid he'll never come back.
This is going to be a disaster, he just knows it. What was he thinking? What was Dumbledore thinking, letting a monster like him into Hogwarts? With normal people?
13. Turned Off
He really wishes this disease had an off switch sometimes. Then he laughs at his own absurdity. Lycanthropy, have an off switch? Able to be turned off? He's insane.
14. Past, Present, Future
He can't remember not being a werewolf; it's been a part of his life for so long. Past, present, future. This is all he's got. And honestly, that sucks.
He still can't believe his luck sometimes, finding the Marauders. They're like the most dysfunctional family to ever walk the earth. What did he do to deserve this?
17. Behind My Back
The words "behind my back" have such negative connotations. Still, he loves them. The best thing anyone's ever done for him – the Animagus Transformation – was performed behind his back.
18. Study Sessions
They call them "study sessions", but they aren't, not really. These sessions are the Marauders, cracking jokes and chucking pillows at each other and just being boys.
19. Cut It Out
"Cut it out."
That's the only reprimand Sirius gets for being so stupid, for "The Prank." Remus can't bear anything more.
"Just stop being so damn impulsive."
And Remus walks away.
He thought the next morning, that it was something he'd dreamt. Surely Sirius wasn't that much of an idiot? Surely he hadn't actually sworn?
Memories make or break a person, he thinks. It's all in how one chooses to view them. He sees the glass as it is, both have empty and half full.
22. Finish This
He finishes everything. Essays (that aren't even his), chess games, tests. His favorite threat – not that he's used it (except that once...) – is 'Let's finish this'. He laughs, saying it.
He can't enjoy light like he used to, being now forever nocturnal. The soft, perfect sunlight falling on his pale skin used to be one of his favorite things.
He loves the dark. The darkest, moonless night is the only time that he can maybe kinda sorta forget that his life is not his own.
25. Rule Breaking
He's not a rule breaker, naturally. It's James and Sirius that encourage the rule breaking. He goes along with it because he's too afraid of losing them.
26. Holding Hands
It's not romantic. He's sitting in the Quidditch stands, hoping James is going to live – they're only twelve, please, God, Merlin, anyone – and killing Sirius' circulation with his death grip.
He's so sick of being fearful. It's not even right when a person is afraid of himself. But then, is Moony really him? Either way, he's sick of being afraid.
"How would you want to die?" Sirius asks one day, because he's Sirius. "I'd want to go out fighting."
"I'd want to die with honor," he says. Sirius doesn't understand.
"What is that?"
"It's my new mode of transportation! Isn't she beautiful?"
Beautiful is not the word he'd have used for the motorbike. Horrific. Deathtrap, maybe. Not beautiful.
30. Going in Circles
His entire life is going in circles. Round and round and round. Every month, the same morbid circle. Round and round and round he goes, where he stops, nobody knows.
He's crazy. He's absolutely certifiably psychotic, because there is absolutely no way he just heard what he thinks he did. Lily can't have said yes to James.
Starting Hogwarts, he feels so fake. He's pretending to be something he's not: normal. Ordinary. Normal boys don't have violent trees planted for them and violent beasts in their minds.
He has a love/hate relationship with his life. At times, he's so ridiculously unlucky that it's not even right. Other times, his life is just amazing.
34. Tattered Edges
The tattered edges of the well-worn photograph only show how much he cares about them. Every summer, every day, he looks at the picture of the four of them.
He's not a hero. That's James's job. James is the one who saves lives, who patches hearts. Remus can't be the hero. Not when he's already the villain, the beast.
36. In Love
Love is James's job, too. James has been in love with his pretty redhead since he first met her. Remus wishes it were that easy for him.
37. Let Me Out
"Let me out!" the beast inside him cries. "Let me out!"
The sound's pitiful, but Remus can't find it in himself to pity the creature that is ruining his life.
They think that lycanthropy is a sickness, a disease. They think it can be cured, if only they're smart enough. Remus knows they're wrong. Tamed? Maybe. Cured? Not so much.
He hates rainbows. It's weird, he knows. There's just something about a rainbow that makes him feel even more like he's tainted, like he doesn't belong.
40. Dead Tired
Every morning after a full moon, he wakes up dead tired and aching everywhere. Every morning after a full moon, his friends are there, helping him to the Hospital Wing.
41. Wish Upon a Star
He doesn't believe in wishes anymore. They stopped working for him too long ago. His friends wish upon a star, and Remus stares up at the sky, hating the moon.
He knows it's cheating, really. Letting them copy his work. He knows it's wrong. If it were anyone else, he'd care. But it isn't, so he doesn't.
His favorite word is lurking, but he hates the act. It's because of lurking, namely the lurking of one Severus Snape, that anyone (excluding Marauders) knows his secret at all.
He hates the sunset. It sounds wrong, but he hates it. It's only a foreboding warning that night is coming, and despite being instinctively nocturnal, he hates the night.
He wonders, sometimes, if he's delusional. Every time, actually. Every time he wakes up the morning after with friends around his bed.
46. Damsel in Distress
Sirius has called him that several times. Damsel in Distress. He rather hates it. Just because they're always helping him, doesn't mean… It doesn't mean he can't do it himself.
47. Never Too Late
It's a good thing James is never too late for the important things. If he was, Remus would probably be dead. Snape too. Remus ought to thank him for that.
48. To Save a Life
James says it's nothing, to save a life. He says it's not as big of a deal as people make it out to be. But Remus knows it matters.
49. With All My Heart
"You mean that?"
"With all my heart."
And he can't understand. He can't understand that anyone could really not care that he's a monster. He can't understand.
50. Help Me
The night he was bitten, writhing on the cold forest floor, he couldn't scream. He simply murmured the words over and over in a pained whisper.
"Help me. Help me."
51. Not Thinking
He spends the day after his first full moon not thinking. Not thinking about how his life will never be the same. Not thinking about the beast within. Not thinking.
52. Fine Line
It's a fine line he's walking, trying to keep this a secret. He feels like every lie sends him closer to the edge. He knows his dorm mates are suspicious.
"It's not a disease," his mother murmurs. "It's just bad luck. We can fix this."
He's more realistic. "No, mom. We can't. But it's okay. I'm okay." It's a lie.
54. Quitting You
He feels crazy, talking to his curse. "I'm quitting you." But his mom stands hopefully aside, and the doctor says it will work.
It doesn't. It never does.
It's not in his nature to be so violent, so angry. Yet Moony is. He hates that this curse is turning him into someone else. Only sometimes, but still.
It doesn't surprise him when his parents get a divorce. They say it's because his dad was unfaithful. He knows it's because his dad can't handle him. It's his fault.
He hates attention. He's always blended into the background so well, unobtrusive. It's James and Sirius that are the obvious ones, and he likes it that way.
58. Missing Out
He's missing out on being normal. Peter says there's not much to miss. Sirius says he tried normal once, but it was totally overrated. James never once bothered with normal.
He loses a piece of himself every transformation. Something of himself is left behind, and he's left bruised and broken. And he can't ever get it back. He's forever broken.
60. Why Not
It's how they get him to agree every time.
"You'll earn them back."
"Dumbles likes us too much. Come on, Rem!"
And he caves.
Sirius and James both pull of dress robes so easily. They're used to feeling high-society, classy. Remus just feels like he's pretending to be somebody he isn't.
He can't pull of suave and confident like they do, either. Sure, he's confident and comfortable with them, but he can't be confident when he's pretending.
At age seven, he doesn't understand the implications of the bite. It's all so confusing. He doesn't realize until his first transformation that nothing's ever going to be the same.
He goes to doctor after doctor, Healer after Healer, no complaints, for his mother. He knows that being controlling is her way of trying to deal with this.
65. Don't Leave Me
It's a moment of weakness. Pomfrey's told the boys to go. James and Peter have.
He's hurting more than usual.
"Don't leave me," he whimpers hoarsely. And Sirius stays.
He will always be different from them. No matter how much they are similar, he will always be different, set apart. Alone. But they care about him all the same.
They think it's modesty, when he brushes off everything cool he's ever done. It's not. It just doesn't mean anything to him. It's worthless, compared to what he is.
They say that home is where the heart is. His home is at Hogwarts. With the Marauders. Because they don't care what he is. They don't try to fix him.
69. Believe Me
"I never meant to hurt you, believe me! I just didn't think!"
"That's the problem! You never think! He could have died."
Six months later, they finally fight over the Prank.
It's not words he's afraid of. He's used to derogatory words. He's afraid of the looks, if they find out what he is. He doesn't want their fear, their pity.
71. Anger Welling
There's been anger welling up inside him for thirteen years when he meets Greyback for the second time. It's only Sirius that stops Remus from killing him.
"You'd regret it."
He sees the judgement in their eyes. He's imagining it, he knows. They don't know. They can't know what he is. He still sees it.
He never once expected this sort of easy companionship, being what he is. He thought even with those who could tolerate him, it wouldn't be easy like this.
74. Left Out
Others think he feels left out. He never does, though. He doesn't need to be a part of "Sirius and James." He's a part of "The Marauders," and that's enough.
75. My Life
He screams at his mum.
"It's my life! Stop trying to fix me!"
He's almost crying. When she tries to fix him, that's the only time he feels broken.
76. Testing the Limits
James and Sirius are always testing the limits of how far they can go, how far they can push teachers. Remus is in the background, content to toe the line.
Relief washes through Remus at the words. No one has died tonight. He's okay, and Remus's secret is safe. Snape is alive.
He's never really been overtly emotional. Still, he cries at the funeral of the father he barely knew and hasn't cared for in years. He's not sure why.
He's stubborn, obstinate, and a right pain in the butt. Remus often wonders why Sirius is his best friend. And then Sirius does something like this, and Remus remembers.
80. Around the Corner
He always feels like something better is just around the corner, waiting for him to discover it, if only he could catch up. He's never fast enough.
81. I Remember
"I don't know if you-"
"You...? Oh. I… Well." Regulus stutters, as though there's something he wants to say, but can't. He doesn't. He walks away, instead.
He's so sick of waking up with self-inflicted cuts, but that's what Moony does, because he's bored. And Remus suffers for it: suffers the pain, the scars.
The wound aches as though fresh every month. The real wound, yes, the bite, but the mental wound, too. It hurts all over again.
84. Train of Thought
He often loses his train of thought, not because he's not paying attention, because he is, but that's the problem. He's paying attention to too much at once.
85. The Truth
He hates the truth, because it makes him feel guilty. Often, he doesn't tell the truth, he hides things. Despite good reason, he feels as though he's done something wrong.
He's no stranger to pain. He's had enough to last him a lifetime. He often feels like pain is the one constant in his life.
Still, after pain comes recovery, and that's a constant too. Always, eventually, the pain lessens. The resilience of the human body amazes him continually.
He thinks maybe he has a skewed sense of beauty. He should probably be ashamed of his scars. He's not. They're beautiful. They're a mark of how far he's come.
He doesn't belief in grief. It does no good. He learned that when he was seven and he spent two months mourning his old life. It brought nothing back.
He's content to always reside in the background. He doesn't want or need the attention. He's happier going unnoticed.
91. Small World
He resides in a small world, consisting of Hogwarts and home, for years, until he can finally convince his mother to let him go outside.
92. Go The Distance
There are only three people he will really go the distance for, and none of them are blood relatives. Blood doesn't mean anything to him.
93. Run Away
When Sirius chose to run away, Remus was glad. That house was a house of horror for him, a thrill park attraction, a house of nightmares.
The Black Lake is more shallow than it looks. Remus once found this out the hard way. He blames Sirius. After all, it was his dare.
The four of them lay on the grounds, after hours, and Remus should disapprove but he doesn't care. Sirius, the Dog Star, shines brightly. Sirius points this out repeatedly.
"Reach! Just a little bit further!"
He's not entirely sure how all four of them ended up trapped in the same trip stair. He's reaching desperately for his wand.
97. For You
"We did it for you."
And Remus doesn't know what to say, because no one's ever done anything so stupid and reckless and idiotic and thoughtful for him before.
98. Pinky Promise
"I made him a pinky promise that I'd protect him."
Remus resists the urge to laugh, because it isn't funny. Sirius is crushed. Regulus just walked away from him forever.
99. Squeaky Clean
Remus isn't quite as squeaky clean as people think. He's just way better at getting away with things than the rest of them.
"May I have this dance?"
And Sirius grins that cocky grin that Remus can't say no to, so they dance at James' wedding, and it's not romantic, it's right.
It's not really until James' wedding that he realizes that they aren't boys anymore. At some point, in the midst of war and terror and chaos, they've become men.
(How many of you actually noticed 16 was missing? I felt it fit very well at the end. It's kind of chronologically last, and it's kind of the end of the era that all of these fit in, so I put it last.)