Fear

Remus knew a lot about fear. It was what his parents eyes showed every time they looked at him. It was in the lines of Madam Pomfrey's face as she treated his wounds after the moon. He could smell it in waves off of his teachers most days, especially close to the full.

And now, now he could feel that fear coming from the other three Marauders, as they'd named themselves.

It had been subtle at first, and he wouldn't have noticed it at all had they been in class. But as he'd handed a piece of chocolate to the then-sick Peter, and watched in surprise when he flinched back a bit, he'd noticed. And that instance was only the beginning.

They avoided him at almost every turn. If he went to the dorm to read, they'd wander out to get snacks from the kitchens, and not reappear for several hours. Should he appear in the Common Room, they'd go to the dorm to plot pranks in private, calling that he could finish his work before heading up, because he was so school-oriented. When he finished and went to join them, no matter how short the time was, they'd inevitably be finished with their plans already.

They'd stop talking when he walked in, switching the topic to school or Quidditch when the silence became too obvious, or immerse themselves in homework when he'd like to prank.

Really, it was quite obvious that they were terrified. And Remus could only blame the moon for it. He didn't know of anything but lycanthropy that could cause such a reaction from his normally fearless roommates. Especially from him; he'd been told he was about as threatening as a teddy bear.

So, after another attempt to talk to them, only to be blown off for Quidditch practice, he stopped altogether. Stayed in the library whenever he could, and when the stares from the other students got to be too much, he ran on the grounds. It was cold out now, nearly enough for snow, really, so he could be uninterrupted as he tried desperately to burn off the lonely cloud that washed over him.

The teachers had noticed the change; the four trouble makers became three, and the small boy in class was silent, not even raising a hand to questions they knew he could answer. The other three stayed away, barely sparing a glance at their former friend.

Other students could see it as well. Especially Slytherins, who hadn't appreciated their pranks, and were glad to take revenge now that it was only one little halfblood, instead of three with Pureblood connections. Remus avoided them too, but it was harder to avoid people actively looking for you then people that were avoiding in turn.

He limped into the Shrieking Shack, utterly exhausted already, and feeling terribly alone. He knew that was ridiculous; his… friends wouldn't have been here anyway, there was no point to feeling like something was missing.

In the end, he welcomed the forced shift of body and mind to the wolf. He fell quietly into the darkness of his mind, and knew no more.