A/N:  Whenever I read the incantations in the HP books, I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to study Latin in high school.  It was many years ago, and I don't remember as much as I should, but there is one phrase I remember: "Cave Canem" (kah-vey kay-nem), which means "Beware of the dog."  Lately, I've been thinking about the phrase in relation to our favorite dog, Padfoot.

And since Remus is in this story too, I've included two other Latin phrases in this story, "Cave Lupum," which means "Beware of the wolf," and "Amamus Lupum," which means "We love the wolf."  Thank you to Blaise for correcting my Latin.

This story is dedicated to Magestra Denise Schon, the teacher who made me love Latin.

Disclaimer:  Lily and all the male characters are not mine; they belong to J.K. Rowling, of course.

Cave Canem

Chapter One: Big Bad Dog

            Sirius Black leaned back against the bar and looked out at the crowded dance floor and then at the small tables around the edges of the room.  Somewhere in this club was someone who could make the evening memorable.  Last night, he had hunted as Padfoot; tonight he hunted as Sirius.  Why not?  He had, of course, been awake all night enjoying the full moon with his friends, but he had slept all day and was now ready for another night of fun. 

Then he saw a woman in a silky pale blue dress.  It was tight enough to show the curves of her breasts and her hips, but just loose enough that he could imagine it slipping down her body to lay in a silky puddle at her feet.  She was standing completely still as dancers all around her writhed to the pounding music.  She gazed at Sirius, a half smile on her lips.  When he smiled back, she lifted her hand and beckoned him with her finger.  Sirius didn't care if he was the hunter or the hunted tonight.  He went to her.

Two hours later and Sirius had danced with no one else.  He still didn't know her name.  The music was too loud for conversation, and they seemed to be getting along just fine without it.  He did need to get to a drink though; dancing made him thirsty.  He took her by the hand and led her toward the bar; he wasn't going to let her slip away while he got their drinks.  When they reached the bar, she looked at her watch and shook her head.  She then slipped a small card into his hand, kissed him, and disappeared into the crowd.  He strained to see her in the mass of dancers, but she had vanished.  He knew one way to beat her to the exit.  He plunged into the crowd himself and disapparated. In a crowd of moving bodies like this one, no one would notice that one person had vanished.  He reappeared in the alley beside the club and walked the short distance around to the front where he waited by the door for his mystery woman to exit. 

After fifteen minutes, he gave up.  She had obviously slipped through the crowd more quickly than he had expected and left before he had gotten outside.  Sirius looked then at the small card she had given him.  He had met enough Muggle women at clubs like this one to be familiar with their business cards and calling cards.  He expected to learn her name and telephone number.  (They always found it strange that he didn't have a telephone himself.)   There was nothing preprinted on this card, but she had written, "Be here three nights from now."

* * * * *

            "What does she look like?" Remus asked.  The music in the club was as loud as it had ever been, but Remus had surreptitiously cast a charm around himself and Sirius to muffle the sound and allow them to speak more easily.

            "Long dark hair, killer body, and a naughty smile," Sirius replied. Remus smiled at this—a female version of Sirius himself.

Sirius was searching the crowd with his eyes. Every time he glimpsed pale blue, he looked closely.  He knew it was pointless.  Women had a silly habit of never being seen wearing the same clothes twice in a row.  He didn't know why.  He himself was wearing tight black jeans and a black tee-shirt just as he had been three nights ago.  They were comfortable (as comfortable as Muggle clothes could be), and he knew that he looked good in them—why mess with success?

"I think I found her," Remus said. "Coming toward us from ten o'clock."  Sirius looked where directed and saw her smiling at him.  Tonight she was wearing black.

"Find a table, Moony.  We'll join you after this song."  Sirius headed into the crowd to meet her.

"After two or three songs," Remus said with a smile.

Two songs later, Sirius and the woman joined Remus at a small table.  Remus had brought over his and Sirius's drinks and had gotten a third.  As Sirius sat down, he heard the volume of the music drop suddenly.  For one brief moment, he thought that the DJ had turned down the volume, and then he looked at Remus in surprise.  Remus didn't usually risk using magic around Muggles.

"As much as I like the music," the woman said, "it is nice to hear one's self think."  She smiled at Remus.

"I agree," said Remus as he returned the smile.

She now looked at Sirius with her mischievous half smile.  "Well, you got two dances as your reward for coming tonight, but if you want to dance with me again, you have to say my name."

Sirius was dumbfounded.  He had no idea what her name might be.  If she had told him at their last meeting, and he didn't think she had, he definitely hadn't been able to hear it.  The situation reminded him of a story in the book of Muggle fairy tales that his parents had read to him as a child, but he didn't think "Rumpelstiltskin" would be appropriate.  Maybe he could call her "Cinderella" in honor of the way she escaped from him the last time they had danced.

"I'm sorry," he said with a shrug and with what he hoped was a charming smile.

            "Hello, Gwen," said Remus.

            "Hello, Remus.  Want to dance?"

            Sirius burst into laughter as Gwen took Remus by the hand and led him to the dance floor.  So, Remus already knew this mystery woman.  He watched them dance with only a small pang of jealousy.  He'd give up almost anything or anyone in the world if it meant that Remus could be happy, but he hoped he wouldn't have to give up this particular someone.  Just then, Gwen caught his eye and smiled a dazzling smile.  Sirius smiled too.  He knew then that she'd be coming back to him.

            Sirius pulled out her chair when he saw them returning and left his hand on the back of her chair.  Gwen snuggled back against his arm as she took a sip of her drink.

            "Ooh, it's yummy.  Thank you," she said to Remus.  "What's it called?"

            Sirius thought the drink looked familiar, something Lily and her friends had raved over.  When he saw Remus drop his eyes to his own glass with a slight smile, he knew that he had guessed correctly.

            "Yes, Remus.  Tell the lady what her drink is called," he teased.

            "Sex on the beach," Remus said and then added with a shrug, "Well, Lily likes it."

            "Is Lily your girlfriend?" Gwen asked.  Both Remus and Sirius laughed.

            "She'd better not be," Sirius said as he playfully punched Remus's shoulder with his free hand.

            "She just married our friend James," Remus explained to Gwen.  "Do you remember Lily Evans or James Potter?"

            "He was on your house's Quidditch team, wasn't he?  Glasses and dark hair?"

            "Whoa—wait a minute!" Sirius exclaimed as he pulled away from Gwen to better see her face. "You were at Hogwarts with us?  How on earth do I not remember someone as beautiful as you?"

            "Gwen was a Ravenclaw and two years ahead of us—out of even your league, Sirius," Remus explained.  "I used to study with some of the Ravenclaws in the library, so I remember her more easily than you."

            "Remus is just being kind," Gwen said.  "The truth is, you don't remember me because I didn't look quite the same then as I do now.  Mum calls me 'a late bloomer'."

            "Contact lenses?" Remus asked. 

            Gwen nodded. "And a lot of dieting and dancing.  Speaking of which?"  She looked up at Sirius with the question in her eyes.  Sirius nodded with a grin and led her back to the dance floor.

* * * * *

            "Dinner was delicious," Gwen said with a contented smile.  "Where did you learn to cook so well?"

            "Mostly from my mum, but some from my dad, too."  Sirius carried their plates to the sink and with a flick of his wand started them washing themselves.  Gwen rose from the table and went over to look at the large Muggle-style photograph on the wall—a full moon rising over a forest.  "Dad once told me that he won my mum's heart with breakfast in bed," Sirius said laughing.  "Mum blushed bright red."

            "I'd like to meet your parents.  Your dad sounds a lot like you."  Gwen turned to watch Sirius open a second bottle of wine.

            A shadow seemed to pass over his face and he nodded.  "He was.  He was killed a couple of years ago—Death Eaters—he worked for the ministry."

            "Oh, I'm sorry, Sirius."  Gwen went over to him and wrapped her arms around him, her head against his chest.  "I can't understand the Death Eaters." Her voice was bitter.  "Voldemort I understand.  He's a power hungry sociopath.  But why anyone would follow him, that I can't understand."

            Sirius put a hand under her chin and tipped her face up to his.  "This is for your righteous indignation."  He kissed her cheek.  "This is for having the guts to say 'Voldemort' instead of 'You-Know-Who'."  He kissed her other cheek.  "And this is because you smell so damn good." 

The next kiss was long and slow and deep.  Gwen lost awareness of anything beyond themselves.  For a few moments there was nothing in the world except the warmth of his mouth and the feel of his strong body pressed against her own.  Then the tiny portion of her brain still capable of thought urged, "Slow down."  She pushed away feebly and Sirius pulled back from her as if he understood.  He kept his arms around her, as they both stood breathing each other's breath and looking into each other's eyes.  The knowing smile on his face made her suspect that the next time he wouldn't allow her to pull back.

Gwen had only known Sirius for a few weeks, and even as wonderful as those weeks had been, she hadn't yet decided that she was ready to sleep with him.  However, another kiss like that one and her body would join her heart in overruling her brain.  She smiled, pulled away from him, and settled on the sofa, one leg tucked beneath her.  Sirius watched her, the knowing smile still on his face, and then refilled their wineglasses.

             "My breakfasts are even better than my dinners," he said as he handed Gwen her glass and sat beside her.  Gwen smiled and looked at the embroidered pillow beside her, stalling for time as she considered her response to his proposition.

            "Cave Canem," she read aloud from the pillow. 

Sirius chuckled softly and said, "Lily gave that to me for Christmas last year."

            "Beware of the dog?  But, you don't have a dog."

            Sirius's laughter rang through the flat.  Gwen loved his laugh but felt at a loss to understand it this time.

            "Think back to astronomy class, darling," he whispered as he began to kiss her neck. Gwen felt a strange ache in the small of her back as he kissed her. "What does 'Sirius' mean?"

            "The Dog Star—oh, I'm supposed to beware of you, aren't I?"

            "Lily thought it only fair," he pulled the dress off her shoulder and began to kiss her collarbone and shoulder as well, "to warn her fellow females about the big bad dog."  He looked into her pale grey eyes.

  "But I'm just a cuddly puppy, don't you think?"

            "No, Sirius," she looked away just long enough to put down her wineglass safely, "you are a big bad dog, but I think I like big bad dogs.  So, I have just two questions." Sirius briefly wondered if he'd be capable of answering them.  The way Gwen's hand was stroking his thigh was very distracting.  "When is your flatmate coming home tonight?  And just how good are your breakfasts?"

            Sirius smiled.  "Remus will be out of town for at least two nights, and you can judge breakfast for yourself."  Smiling, Gwen began to pull his shirt free of the waistband of his jeans.  When Sirius growled at her invitingly, they both laughed.

* * * * *

"Why do they always go to the bathroom in packs?"  Sirius wondered as he watched Lily, Gwen, and Gwen's friend Celia disappear into the crowd of the pub.

"To talk about us, of course," said Remus as he toyed with his glass of beer.  He had been nursing the same glass since they had arrived at the pub, but Sirius and James knew that was just as well.  They had only seen Remus drunk once, and it was an episode none of them wanted to repeat. 

"Just be glad they do.  It gives us a chance to talk about them, too.  Well, Remus?" James peered over the top of his glasses as if to give emphasis to his interrogation.  Remus smiled slightly at this.  He knew that James couldn't see him clearly that way.

"Well, what, James?"

"What do you think of Celia?"  James had raised his chin and was now looking through his glasses at Remus, intent on catching whatever unguarded emotions might show on Remus's face.  Remus thought for a moment about his answer.  Many times he had told Sirius, James, and Lily to stop fixing him up in this manner, but still they persisted.

"I think there is a very good chance that she would run screaming out of here if you told her the truth about me."  Remus looked away from the now frowning James and looked at Sirius.  Sirius was watching for Gwen's return, a smile on his face.  Remus suspected that he hadn't heard a word that had just passed between James and himself.  "James, why don't we just enjoy that fact that you and Lily are blissful newlyweds, and that Sirius has finally found someone to hold his interest for longer than a month.  Nine weeks—it's a record for him.  You don't need to find someone for me, honest."  He took a sip of his beer.  "If you guys really want to play Cupid, find someone for Peter."

Sirius had been listening, to every word.  "Yeah, I'll ask Gwen if she knows anyone mousy," Sirius said with a grin as he faced his friends again.  James and Remus laughed.  The animal jokes had begun again.

"What I want to know, Padfoot, does Gwen enjoy it doggy…" James abruptly broke off as Lily, Gwen, and Celia drew near.

"James is starting to blush," Lily announced as she slid into her seat.  "What did we miss?"

"Animal jokes," Remus said simply.

"Ah," Lily said with a knowing smile.  Sirius looked into his third glass of beer with an enormous grin.  He seemed to be trying not to speak, and was about to lose the battle.

"Well, dear James," Sirius said as he raised his eyes to James's face, "it keeps one's sex life from getting stagnant."  James and Sirius both burst into peals of laughter.  Lily and Remus smiled at each other and then at the two confused witches.

"Don't worry, Gwen," Lily said. "James and Sirius's most appreciative audience has always been James and Sirius themselves.  You'll get used to it."

"Yes, they leave each other howling with laughter," Remus added with a self-conscious smile.

"Me, howl?  No," James said. "Sirius, absolutely."

* * * * *

            Later that night, Gwen lay beside Sirius, her head on his shoulder, and her bare leg draped over his.

            "I think Celia liked Remus.  Do you think he'll ask her out?" she asked.

            "Doubtful," he said and then sighed.  Gwen frowned in the darkness.

            "He didn't like her?"

            "No, it's not that.  It's just—I don't think he'll dare."  He pulled his arm around her more tightly and kissed the top of her head.  She lifted her head to look at Sirius's face, shadowy in the dark bedroom. 

            "You can't be trying to tell me that Remus lacks self-confidence," she said.  "I remember him at Hogwarts tutoring students in my year, and I heard that by the time you lot graduated, the professor was frequently deferring to Remus's expertise in Defense Against the Dark Arts. You don't put yourself into situations like those if you're insecure."  Sirius laughed at this.  "What's so funny?"  She propped her head up on her hand, her elbow on her pillow.

            "I'm just remembering when we studied werewolves our sixth year," Sirius said.  "Remus started feeding the class misinformation like werewolves being colorblind and being allergic to chocolate, and the professor believed everything he said."  He laughed again.  "I wonder how many Hogwarts graduates still believe the rot he made up that year."  Gwen was suddenly glad that she had already graduated before that prank.

            "But that's my point, Sirius.  He must have appeared confident when he spoke in class.  I know that he was confident in his knowledge and abilities when he tutored people in the library."

            "You're talking about magic; I'm talking about relationships."  Sirius twirled a lock of Gwen's hair around his finger.  "Just because Remus is confident in one doesn't make him confident in the other.  He's so afraid of rejection that he doesn't dare risk falling in love, or even coming close."

            The mischievous half smile reappeared on Gwen's face.  "And you, Sirius?  Do you dare risk falling in love?" 

            Sirius pulled the lock of her hair to his lips and kissed it.  "Lately, I've felt very daring."

            "Good, because my cousin just got engaged—"

            "I'm not feeling that daring," he interrupted.

            "Nor am I," she replied with a laugh.  "As I was saying, my cousin just got engaged, and her parents are having an engagement party.  You'll come with me to the party, won't you?  I'm dying to show you off to all my relatives." With her free hand, she drew designs on Sirius's bare chest.

"Will you let me get dressed first, or do you want to show off all of me?" he asked laughing.

            She laughed as well.  "Dress robes, actually.  My cousin is an only child, so my aunt and uncle are making a very big deal out of this engagement party.  Catered food, flowers, music, champagne…"

            "We can drink champagne and dance to the music—of course I want to be there with you."  Sirius leaned forward and kissed her neck.  "When is the party?"

            "About three weeks from now, on the fourth."  She lay her head down on the pillow, a feeling of warm contentment coming over her.  She almost felt like purring and wondered what the dog equivalent was.

            "Uh-oh," Sirius muttered.  He sat up and placed his left hand over his right, pulled the top hand away, and revealed flames in his right hand.

            "What's wrong?"  Gwen blinked at the sudden brightness in the dark room.

            "I may have a conflict on the fourth.  Let me check my calendar," Sirius said as he pulled open the drawer of the bedside table. Gwen ran her fingers down his back as she waited for the verdict.  The room suddenly plunged into darkness again and she heard the drawer close.  Sirius lay down and wrapped his arms around her.

            "I'm so sorry, Gwen.  I can't go that night, but I'll make it up to you another night, I promise."

            "Can't you get out of whatever it is?  Or change it to another night?" she pleaded.

            "Change it to another night?" he laughed softly at this thought.  "No, I can't do that."  He kissed her forehead.  "I'm really sorry."

            "At least tell me what pressing business outranks spending the evening dancing with me."  He didn't answer.  "Sirius?"

            "I'm sorry, Gwen.  I'll make it up to you, I promise."

* * * * *

            Gwen awoke to find herself alone in Sirius's bedroom.  From beyond the closed bedroom door came the muffled sounds of two male voices, laughter, and the metallic clang of a heavy pan being put atop the stove.  If Sirius and Remus wanted to make her breakfast, who was she to object?  They really were quite good at it.  She sat up and raised her arms above her head, fingers entwined, and performed a very cat-like stretch.  She swung her legs over the edge of the bed and reached down to the floor to retrieve her bra and blouse.  One sleeve was inside out, and as she corrected it, she found herself staring at the bedside table.

            Gwen hated to snoop—at least she told herself that she did—but she was filled with curiosity about Sirius's previous commitment on the fourth. She put on the bra and was about to put on her blouse.  The temptation was too strong.  She lay the blouse aside, pulled open the drawer, and began looking for an appointment book.  Nothing of the sort was in the drawer.  The only written materials were a few loose papers.  Gwen wasn't sure what to think.  Had Sirius taken the appointment book out of the drawer this morning?  Had he made up the story about a previous commitment because he didn't really want to go to the party?  She had just begun to close the drawer when she realized what the uppermost paper in the drawer was—a chart or calendar of the phases of the moon.  Sirius had said that he was checking a "calendar"; he had been checking this.

            She looked at November fourth, hoping it wouldn't show what she suddenly knew it must.  The full moon—the fourth was the night of the full moon.  And just last week, a coworker had given her two tickets to a play.  Sirius had said that he was doing something with his friends and begged off.  Gwen had taken Celia instead.  According to the chart, that night had been the full moon too.

            Suddenly, so many clues became glaringly obvious in a way they hadn't been just minutes ago.  The incessant jokes about dogs and wolves that Sirius and his friends were always telling.  Sirius's mercurial temperament.  The photograph in the flat's sitting room of the full moon.  Sirius's friend spreading misinformation about werewolves at Hogwarts to Sirius's delight.  Even the pillow that said "Cave Canem" because "Cave Lupum" would have been just too obvious.  Sirius was a werewolf.

            Gwen was horrified.  "He—it—is a monster, a beast, an animal."  Her cheeks burned hot with shame as she remembered touching him, caressing him, kissing him.  "An animal!  I had sex with an animal!"  Anger replaced shame almost instantly.  "He tricked me.  He deceived me.  He lied to me.  If I had known, I would never, ever—"

She had to get out of the flat, and she felt too rattled to apparate safely.  She dressed as quickly as she could and ran out of the bedroom, hoping she could get out of the flat without Sirius trying to stop her.  Luck wasn't with her; he was heading back toward the bedroom.

            "Good morning, Darling.  Breakfast is—wait, what's your hurry?"  He grabbed her arm as she tried to push past him.

            "Don't touch me—don't you ever touch me again," she hissed and pulled her arm free.  Sirius was stunned.  He stared in surprise for a moment as she ran out of the flat, and then he started after her.

            "Gwen, wait!"

            "Clothes, Padfoot!"  Remus called from the kitchen doorway.

            "Damn!"  He couldn't run into the street in a tee-shirt and boxers.  He ran into his bedroom and hastily pulled on clothes and shoes.  Then he went after Gwen, hoping to catch up with her before she got too far or decided to apparate.

            It took him just four blocks to catch up to her.  He could have caught up more quickly if he had dared to transform into Padfoot, but he knew that was too big a risk.

            "Gwen—Gwen, wait—please—at least tell me what I did," Sirius begged as he planted himself in her path.

            "Drop the act, Sirius.  I know what you are.  All those damn dog jokes—they weren't because of your name, were they?"  She moved to go around him, but he grabbed her arm again.  "Don't touch me!"  She pointed her wand at Sirius and the look in her eyes told him that she meant it.  He let go of her arm and took a step back.  He felt confused.  How had she figured out that he was an animagus?  And why did it upset her so much?

            "How did you find out?" he asked blankly as he stared at her beautiful face transformed by anger and hatred.

            "I saw the moon phase chart in your room.  How many times did you think you could avoid me at the full moon before I'd figure it out?"  Sirius understood then.  Gwen believed he was a werewolf.  He was still surprised by the intensity of her anger.

            "What if I am a werewolf, Gwen?  I'm still the same person I've been since you met me.  Does it really matter so much?"  He hoped desperately that she would realize that it didn't matter, but he knew he was hoping in vain.  He saw her grey eyes narrow with hatred.

            "The same person?" she asked, her voice full of venom.  "You aren't a person; you're a monster."

            He had sensed that the word was coming, but it was a blow all the same.  No one called his friend a "monster."  As calmly as he could, he said, "At least I'm not a bigot.  Good-bye, Gwen."

            Sirius slowly made his way back to the flat.  A weird mix of emotions filled him: anger, sadness, regret for what might have been, and some he couldn't, or wouldn't, identify.  As he entered the flat, he heard Remus in the kitchen.  He wasn't ready to face Remus yet.  He headed toward his bedroom, but paused in the doorway when he saw the unmade bed.  Just last night they had been so happy together in that bed.  He turned away from it and went into Remus's room instead, flopping down into the upholstered chair by the window.  The pillow behind his back was uncomfortable, so he pulled it out intending to throw it on the bed.  "Cave Lupum" it read.  Sirius stared at it for a moment, hugged it to his chest, and gazed out the window at the morning sky.  He sensed Remus in the doorway, but Remus left him alone.

            Remus watched Sirius for only a moment or two before retreating from the doorway.  It was clear that his friend's heart was broken.  Remus didn't want to intrude before Sirius was ready to talk.  He just hoped that he could be of some comfort when Sirius was ready.  He saw the unmade bed in Sirius's room and decided to strip the bed and remake it with clean sheets.  The last thing Sirius needed was to smell Gwen's perfume in his bed.

            As Remus pulled off the top sheet, a piece of paper fluttered to the floor.  He picked it up—a moon phase chart.  Remus then noticed that the bedside table drawer was open.  He looked at the chart again and sank down onto the bed.  Gwen had been looking at this in the moment she chose to leave.  She had figured out his secret.  It was his fault that Sirius's heart was broken.  He went to his bedroom and sat on the corner of the bed nearest to Sirius.


            "Please go away, Moony.  I don't want to talk now."

            "I was going to make your bed, and I found this on top of it."  Remus held out the moon chart.  Sirius glanced at it and looked out the window again.  "It's why she left, isn't it?  She figured it out."  Sirius made no sign that Remus was correct, nor did he deny it.  "Damn it, Padfoot.  I don't want you to lose her because of me.  If she's uncomfortable with me around, I'll move out."

            Sirius laughed humorlessly.  "What good would that do?  She doesn't suspect you.  She thinks I'm a werewolf." 

Remus blinked in surprise. He hadn't expected this.  "Didn't she believe you when you told her it's me, not you?"

"Why would I tell her that?" Sirius asked as he finally turned to face his friend.

Remus shook his head ruefully.  "God, you're infuriating sometimes.  I know that you're my friend.  You don't have to pretend you're a werewolf and suffer just to prove it."

Sirius threw the pillow at Remus.  "This isn't about you, Moony.  It's about Gwen.  If she's willing to break up with me over this, I don't want to date her.  She broke up with me because she thinks I'm a werewolf, and I broke up with her because I now know she's a bigot."

Remus sighed and headed for the door.  He knew Sirius well enough to know that there was no point in arguing further.  He paused in the doorway and looked back at his friend.  Sirius was looking out the window again, his chin in his hand.



"Now that you've experienced the world of dating as a werewolf, will you stop trying to fix me up?"

"Probably not.  I don't like seeing you lonely."

"I'm not lonely—I have friends."

An hour later, Sirius looked at the empty doorway as if just realizing he was alone.  His eyes fell on the pillow from Lily, "Cave Lupum."  She had meant well, but Sirius suspected that the joke made Remus uncomfortable.  He pulled out his wand and, after several attempts, transfigured the embroidery to his satisfaction, "Amamus Lupum."  Now he felt ready to leave the room.  It was time to pretend that everything was all right.  He didn't want Remus blaming himself for this fiasco.

"Hey, Moony!  Let's send an owl to Peter and tell him that we're taking him out tonight."  He found Remus reading in the main room of the flat.

"What about James?" Remus asked.

"Nah.  Lily'd kill me if I took her husband where I'm planning to go."  His wicked grin was back—a bit forced, yes, but back.

Remus shook his head with a smile and said, "You really are a dog, Padfoot."

"Cave canem, ladies.  Cave canem."

* * * * *

            "Hello, Gwen."

            Gwen held the door open wide enough that she could talk to Remus, but not so wide that he might think she wanted him to come in. 

            "I'm sorry, Remus, but you can tell Sirius—"

            "Sirius doesn't know I'm here."

            "Then why are you here?"

            "I'm here because my best friend has a broken heart, and I'd like to talk to you." Gwen paused for a moment, considering, then she opened the door wider and gestured for Remus to enter. "Thank you."  He sat in a chair not far from the door.  He knew that when he had said what he was there to say, she would probably want him to leave quickly.  Gwen sat on the sofa near him.

            "Let me make this easy for you, Remus.  I do not want to see Sirius ever again, and I don't think there is anything you can say to change my mind."  Her voice was calm, but she hugged a throw pillow to her chest as if she wanted to protect herself.  Remus suppressed a smile.  Just three days ago, Sirius had sat in Remus's room hugging a pillow to his chest in the same way.

            "That works out well," he replied, "as Sirius doesn't ever want to see you again either."  Gwen frowned at this and her cheeks flushed slightly.  Remus guessed that she was angry at the idea of Remus treating them as equally wronged in this break up.

            "I'll ask again," she said in a sharper tone.  "Why are you here, Remus?"

            "I need to know, did you break up with Sirius because he is a werewolf, or because he lied to you about it?" As he spoke, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a handkerchief, and unwrapped it to reveal a single coin, a silver Sickle.

            "What difference does it make?"  The anger in her voice was clear now.  Remus placed the coin on the flat of his palm and left it there

            "It might make all the difference in the world."  Remus's voice was very calm.  He wasn't willing to show his temper in front of Gwen.  He was going to show her just how "civilized" a werewolf could be. "Because if you're just angry about him lying to you, I have to ask you to forgive him.  He didn't feel that it was his secret to reveal."              "That doesn't make any sense," Gwen said with a shake of her head.

            "But if you broke up with him because he's a werewolf, I know he won't be interested in getting back together."

            "He wouldn't be interested!" Gwen was incensed.  "He's a bloody monster—a bloodthirsty monster—and I'm supposed to want him back?  You've got some nerve!"

            "I guess you answered my question," Remus said as he dropped the coin back into the handkerchief and returned them to his pocket.  "I told you earlier that Sirius didn't think it was his secret to tell.  That's because you guessed incorrectly.  Sirius isn't a werewolf; he is the friend of one."  Remus held up his hand, showing Gwen the round burn that the silver coin had made.  She stared in horror as he calmly walked out of her flat.

Please review!  Your comments and constructive criticism are most welcome!  Yes, "Sex on the beach" is a real drink.  My sister-in-law and her college friends proclaimed it "yummy" but that's all I know about it (as I don't drink—yuck!).  And since no story of mine would be complete without "borrowing" from someone else's story, I stole the idea of Remus spreading misinformation in DADA about werewolves (specifically colorblindness) from "Call of the Wild" by the Wolfie Twins.  (It's my all-time favorite piece of fanfiction!)—July 2002

This story was originally meant to be just one chapter, but then it took an unexpected turn and began to grow.  Take a look! —September 2002