When I wrote "Mud," about James Potter's friends visiting his home during their first summer holiday from Hogwarts, Moon suggested that she'd like to read about them visiting Remus's home. Although this story stands alone, it is, in essence, a sequel to "Mud," and like its predecessor, is heavily influenced by Moon's story "Cub Scout." Many of the details of Remus's home and family are taken directly from "Cub Scout." Many thanks to Moon for giving me the idea for this story and for generously saying that I could borrow from her story. This story is set during the summer after Remus's second year at Hogwarts.
Disclaimer: Remus, James, and Sirius are the property of J.K. Rowling. The Lupins' home, Remus's mother, and Mousebreath, belong to Moon. (Moon named Remus's mother Diana, but I changed her name to Julia in order to match my other stories.)
Visiting the Werewolf's Den
Remus propped his elbows on the kitchen table and cupped his chin in his hands. He stared at the fireplace, watching intently for the first hint of green flames. Julia Lupin glanced over her shoulder at her son and then returned her attention to the dinner she was preparing for Remus and his friends. He stole a quick look at the clock, "Almost six o'clock," and stared at the fireplace again. The sound of his foot repeatedly kicking the chair leg attracted his mother's attention.
"Nervous, Sweetie?" she asked. He had every reason to be nervous. This would be the first time since he had been bitten by a werewolf eight years ago that he would have a friend set foot in their home, and this weekend would be the first time in his thirteen years that he would have friends stay overnight.
"Why should I be nervous? They're just my friends." Remus wasn't certain if he was trying to assure his mother or himself. The truth was, this was the most nervous he had been since his friends had realized that he was a werewolf. He wasn't too worried about their reactions to the modest size of their four room cottage—he knew his friends weren't shallow enough to care about money—he was more worried about their reactions to the physical proofs that he was indeed a werewolf.
At Hogwarts, he hadn't yet allowed them into the Shrieking Shack, and they were isolated from the realities of what Remus's being a werewolf truly meant. He suspected that to James, Sirius, and Peter, the idea that Remus was a werewolf was still an abstract concept, or that they imagined a cute, cuddly—theoretically dangerous—canine. But in this house, in his room, they would see the damage that the wolf could do. They would also see the shed that his mother had to lock him into in order to be safe from her own son.
As if reading his thoughts, his mother repeated an offer she had made several times since this weekend had been planned. "If I hurry, there's still time for me to transfigure a new door for your bedroom before they arrive."
"No thank you," he answered emphatically. "I knocked it down years ago. I'm used to it by now." As his bedroom was the only room upstairs, he didn't need the door for privacy.
"I just don't want your friends to be afraid of you, Sweetie," she persisted.
"They're Gryffindors; they aren't afraid of me. Sometimes I worry that they aren't afraid enough. I want them to see what I did." Although his mother knew nothing of his friends' plans to become animagi and to keep him company at the full moon, those plans weighed heavily on Remus's mind. He was excited about the possibility, an end to his loneliness and isolation, but before his friends went any further, Remus wanted them to comprehend how dangerous he could be.
Green flames in the fireplace halted the conversation between mother and son. A spinning shape in the center of the flames became a familiar figure who stepped out, ducking his head to fit under the mantle.
"Hi, Remus!" James put down his broomstick and bag and then pulled his glasses out of the pocket where he had put them for safekeeping. "I really hate floo powder. It's too bad my parents won't let me fly this far. Hello, Mrs. Lupin. Thank you for inviting me for the weekend." Now that his glasses were back on, he could see her clearly.
"You're quite welcome, James," she said as she wiped her floury hands off on a blue and white striped towel and then shook James's outstretched hand. "Remus, do you want to take James upstairs and get him settled in your room, or do you two want to wait for Sirius first?"
"Sirius is never on time," James said with smile. "Why don't we run upstairs? We can be back down long before he gets here."
"Alright," Remus replied. He picked up James's broomstick and put it near the backdoor, next to the broomstick that he and his mother shared. They kept it polished and in good repair, so it didn't look shabby beside its younger neighbor. Remus knew, however, that the difference in their ages would be apparent as soon as they took to the air.
"Lead on, Macduff," James said as he picked up his bag.
"It's not far," Remus said with a slight smile, and he gestured for James to go through the doorway into a small sitting room completely lined with overflowing bookshelves.
"Wow—now I know where you get your love of reading, Remus."
"Yeah, Mum says that she never met a book she didn't like. My dad was the same way." Remus lowered his voice so his mother couldn't overhear. "Fortunately, he left his books behind when he left. I think that you'll find some of his transfiguration books quite useful."
James got his "I'm up to no good" grin. "Really? You think they'll help with our project?"
Remus grinned back. "Uh-huh. At least two of them will be very useful. I've got them up in my room. Mum won't miss them. C'mon."
Remus ran up the stairs with James right on his heels. He paused outside his bedroom and allowed James to enter first. He felt nervous again. His room was so much smaller than James's, and with three beds squeezed in it seemed even smaller.
"Take whichever bed you want. The one on the right and the one under the window have empty drawers underneath them to hold your stuff," Remus said from just inside the doorway as he watched James looking around the tiny room. James dropped his bag onto the bed to the right of the door. James hadn't spoken yet, and in his nervousness, Remus tried to fill the silence. "That bed is usually my dresser. Mum transfigured it for this weekend. The one under the window is usually my desk. There was no way to squeeze in a fourth bed, and with the sloped ceilings, we couldn't do bunk beds like Sirius did when we visited him. That's why I picked a weekend during Peter's trip to Spain with his family. I'll make it up to him some other time."
"I like the sloped ceilings, Moony," James said as he finally turned back to his friend with a smile. "It's like being in a cabin. And leaving Peter out just means that we don't have to listen to him snore."
"True," Remus replied and smiled with relief. He had known that James wouldn't look down on him for having less money, but he was relieved that James didn't seem to pity him either.
The sound of someone running up the stairs announced Sirius's arrival moments before he burst into the room. "Sirius is here; now the fun can begin!" Sirius proclaimed with a wide grin.
"Maybe you should have left Sirius out instead," James said as he rolled his eyes. "Take the bed under the window, Sirius. If you insist on sleeping with the window open, you might as well be the one who's closest to it." James and Remus each sat back on their beds so Sirius could squeeze through the narrow path between them.
"Fine with me," Sirius replied. He threw his bag onto his bed and then kneeled down beside the bag as he leaned in close to the window. Remus thought for a moment that Sirius was looking out the window at the shed, but then Sirius ran his fingers over the windowsill. He realized that Sirius was examining the gouges that the wolf's claws had made.
"Did you do this, Moony?" Sirius asked, his voice full of awe.
"Yeah, the scratches on the walls too." James turned then and looked at claw marks deep in the wood paneling behind him.
"Cool!" Sirius enthused. "You must be strong to have dug into the wood this deeply.
"Actually," said Remus as he smiled nervously, "I did that years ago. I broke down the door when I was eight, so I haven't been locked in here since. There's a metal shed out back where I go."
"You broke down—" James looked with wide eyes at the doorway. Remus saw him take in the missing chunks of wood where the hinges had been ripped out of the doorframe, scars left behind by the wolf's fury.
"Very cool!" exclaimed Sirius. Remus saw James biting his lower lip; he didn't seem to think it was "very cool" at all. He could almost see James's mind racing under the tousled black hair—if Remus could do that at eight, what could he do now?
"Remus?" James tried to hide his uncertainty with a smile. "Are you, I mean, is the wolf fully grown yet?"
"I don't think so, but probably close to it. It's not like Mum can politely ask me to step onto a scale when I'm a wolf, so I don't know how big I am. She hasn't even seen the wolf in years. She doesn't go anywhere near the shed during the full moon. If I smell a human around, I get more violent." Remus saw James glance at Sirius, but Sirius was too busy examining claw marks on the wall to notice. "But judging by the size of the paw prints in the shed, I must be almost fully grown."
"And from what I've read—although I've learned not to believe everything I read about werewolves," Sirius said wryly as he sat beside James, "werewolves tend to be a bit larger than real wolves."
"Well," James took a deep breath and pulled back his shoulders. Remus knew this meant that James had made up his mind to do something, and nothing short of being pinned to the wall and held back by his three friends would stop him. "Once we become animagi, we can see for ourselves." Sirius nodded his agreement.
"Just remember," Remus said to them both, "you don't have to do this. If you ever decide it's too risky—"
"Dinner's ready!" Mrs. Lupin called up the stairs.
"We're doing it," Sirius said emphatically as he stood up and went out the door.
"We'll look at those books you found after dinner," James added and followed Sirius. Remus shook his head at his friends' recklessness but couldn't help smiling as he went down the stairs.
During a delicious dinner of ham, warm rolls, and various vegetables from the Lupins' garden, the boys regaled Mrs. Lupin with tales of their tamer adventures at school. She seemed amused that they had once managed to sneak into the Slytherin common room to set off multiple dungbombs during the night. James's invisibility cloak had played a key role in their successful escape, but they didn't mention that.
"No, I'm not telling you where the entrance to the Ravenclaw common room is hidden," she answered Sirius with a laugh. "I still have enough house loyalty not to betray them to the likes of you!"
"Please, Mrs. Lupin," Sirius begged as he gave her his most pitiful look, tipping his head down and looking up with wide, sad eyes through his shaggy hair. James swore that he had learned it by watching his dogs beg for table scraps. "We'll still have to find out the password ourselves."
"And we won't do anything bad," James assured her. "We like the Ravenclaws. Only Slytherin gets dungbombs. We'll just temporarily redecorate in—uh—warmer colors."
"Just so they know we got in," Remus added. "I guarantee they'll get us back."
"No. You'll have to find it yourselves. Do either of you want any more before dessert?" she asked Sirius and James. "Don't be shy. I'm used to Remus having seconds."
"And thirds, and fourths," James teased with a grin. "No thank you, Mrs. Lupin. I'm full."
"Me too," Sirius agreed. "It was all really great, thank you. How about you, Moony? Aren't you going to polish off the rest of the ham?"
"Not tonight, thanks," Remus replied as he began to clear the table.
"True," Sirius said as he and James rose to help. "New moon's this week." Remus saw his mother giving Sirius a strange look, a mixture of worry and puzzlement. She tried to pretend that her son was normal until the full moon made that fiction impossible to maintain. Remus suspected that she didn't know what to make of his friend speaking so casually about the quirks of werewolf behavior.
"You said, 'Dessert,' Mum?" Remus broke into her reverie.
"Oh—yes." She flicked her wand at the dishes in the sink to start them washing themselves and then brought a blue biscuit jar from the counter to the table. "I had to work today, so Remus made these biscuits. If anyone breaks a tooth, blame him." She smiled fondly at her son and ruffled his hair.
"If anyone does a break a tooth, just remember that my mother taught me how to make them," Remus retorted.
"Moony made the biscuits?" Sirius warily eyed the one already in his hand. "Oh well, you only live once." He popped it in his mouth whole. "Mmm." James ate one and seconded the opinion. Most of the contents of the jar soon disappeared in large handfuls.
"Wanna go play cards?" Remus asked his friends.
"O.K.," James said. Sirius merely nodded; his mouth was full.
"Remus, could you stay here for a moment?" his mother asked as they stood to go.
"Sure. You guys go ahead. The cards are in the drawer of the table between the two chairs." Remus glanced around the kitchen wondering what his mother wanted help with. When his mother pulled out her wand and quietly cast a silencing charm at the doorway to block sound from passing between the rooms, he became apprehensive. He must have done something really wrong if she didn't want his friends to overhear what she was about to say. Her brow was knitted with worry when she looked at him again.
"Moony? Sirius calls you 'Moony'?"
"Yeah. James and Peter do too, but I guess Sirius does it the most. He started it." He wondered why she was so worried. "It's not like it's a dead giveaway or anything. No one's going to figure out that I'm a werewolf just by overhearing them call me 'Moony'. And they do try to say it only when we're alone. I guess he said it in front of you because, well, you already know."
She put her hands on his shoulders and looked intently into his eyes. "Does it bother you? If it does, ask them to stop."
"No, Mum." He laughed and shook his head. "It's their way of saying, 'We know you're a werewolf, and we don't care'." She still looked concerned. "It means they like me."
He nodded. "Um-hm."
"Alright." She kissed his forehead. "Go play cards."
Remus ran into the sitting room and plopped onto the toile-slipcovered loveseat opposite the two overstuffed and threadbare chairs where his friends sat. The sounds of his mother putting things away in the kitchen told him that she had ended the silencing charm. James pushed a small pile of cards across the table to him.
"Is everything O.K., Moony?" James asked.
"Yeah. She just wanted to say that you two devoured those biscuits like a pack of wolves." Remus grinned as his friends laughed.
"No, we're not a pack of wolves," Sirius retorted, "we're a wolf's pack." Remus hoped that his mother had overheard.
* * * * *
Remus wondered what had woken him. It was still quite dark outside, and he didn't hear anything unusual. James and Sirius were both still sound asleep, James frowning as he dreamt. He could see them clearly by the light of the stars and the crescent moon. His night vision was much better when he was a wolf, but even now, it was better than other humans'. A slight breeze was ruffling Sirius's hair, but it was a warm summer breeze—it hadn't woken him. Remus closed his eyes again.
"No! Remus, no!" Remus's eyes snapped open at the sound of James's voice. James was having a nightmare—about him. "Stop, Remus! It's us!" Remus bit his lip but didn't move. He wondered which would be worse for James, the nightmare continuing, or being woken by Remus. "Run, Sirius!" Sirius slept on, too deep in his own dreams to hear James. Remus considered waking Sirius so he could wake up James.
"NO!" James screamed as he sat up. He looked around in confusion, the terror ebbing away as he realized that he was safe.
"What's going on?" Sirius was awake at last.
"James had a nightmare," Remus stated as calmly as he could. He felt tense, but he tried to keep it out of his voice. "Are you O.K., James?"
"Yeah." James rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands. "I'm sorry I woke you guys up."
"It's O.K.," Sirius mumbled in a sleepy voice as he rolled toward the window. He'd undoubtedly be asleep again soon. Remus wasn't as confident about James and himself.
"Is everyone alright?" Remus's mother called up the stairs.
"We're fine, Mum. Just a nightmare. Good night."
"Geez. I woke your mum. How loudly did I yell?" James whispered to Remus.
"You screamed 'no' pretty loudly," Remus admitted. James lay down again, but Remus could see that he was staring at the ceiling. James ran one hand over the gouges in the wall. He probably didn't realize how well Remus could see him in the dark.
"Did I say anything else?" James whispered as he turned toward Remus.
Remus hesitated as he wondered how truthful his answer should be. "Not much." The answer seemed to satisfy James, and he stared at the ceiling again. Remus knew that he was responsible for causing the nightmare and for James lying awake. He had to do something to make things better. "James, would you sleep better if I went downstairs? I could sleep on the sofa."
"Oh shit." James propped himself up on an elbow and looked at Remus. "Whatever I said, I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault."
"I think the door and the claw marks on the wall freaked me out just a little."
"Yeah, I could tell." Remus grabbed his pillow and blanket as he got out of bed.
"Don't you dare, Remus!" James hissed. "I don't want you to leave."
Remus was already halfway out the door. "Really, it's O.K. You'll feel safer if I'm not nearby."
James jumped out of bed and grabbed Remus's arm. "Last time I checked, the next full moon was over two weeks away, so why the hell would I need you to leave the room to feel safe? Now, get back in bed or I'll wake up Sirius and we'll drag you there."
"Of course," James sighed. He waited until Remus got back in bed before getting into his own bed again. "Five more years in the dormitory. If you run off to sleep in the common room every time one of us whimpers in our sleep, you'd better invest in sexy pajamas that will impress the girls."
"Sexy pajamas is an oxymoron," Sirius proclaimed as he turned back from the window. "If you want to impress the girls, Moony, sleep starkers. Now, will you two shut up and let me sleep?"
* * * * *
Remus awoke again, but this time sunlight was streaming through the window. Remus smiled at the way Sirius had his arm over his eyes to block out the light. He looked over to see if James was awake and saw that his bed was empty. "Probably in the bathroom." Remus closed his eyes to enjoy feeling lazy. Sirius began to stir a few minutes later, and Remus realized that he felt ready to get out of bed. He sat up and watched Sirius toss and turn as he fought against fully waking up. Remus did the only sensible thing—he threw his pillow at Sirius and then grabbed James's pillow to prepare for retaliation.
Sirius's confusion at his rude awakening lasted only a few seconds before he realized that he had a tactical advantage, two pillows against one. He grabbed one in each hand and leapt out of bed with a wicked grin. Remus was ready. He had only one pillow, but he could swing it with both hands, and he was stronger. He blocked Sirius's first swing and let the second hit him with a glancing blow. Then he hit Sirius so hard that he was knocked backward into his bed.
"Watch out!" Remus yelled as one of Sirius's pillows hit the bookshelves on the left side of window. The unit of three shelves was jarred loose from the wall and came down directly on Sirius. Just in time, Sirius threw his hands over his head, still clinging to the pillows. Books, a glass terrarium, and several smaller objects bounced off the pillows and landed on the beds or on the floor. The terrarium hit the floor and smashed into shards of glass mixed with soil and leaves.
"Oh God, Remus, I'm sorry," Sirius said as he scrambled onto the floor and began looking under the beds. "What was in there?"
"No, it's my fault. Get off the floor before you cut yourself," Remus said as he crawled over his bed onto Sirius's and rehung the shelves. Sirius continued to look under the beds for the former tenant of the terrarium. "Don't worry. It was empty. I had an imp in there for a few days last week, but I let him go. I don't like to cage things for long."
"What is going on?" The boys turned to see Remus's mother standing in the doorway looking quite cross.
"I'm sorry, Mum," Remus said as he did his best imitation of Sirius's sad puppy look. "We had a brief pillow fight, and the shelves lost."
She smiled slightly, pulled her wand from her pocket to point at the soil and shards of glass, and said, "Reparo." The terrarium reassembled itself as it flew through the air and returned to its shelf. "Now, I trust you two can clean up the rest before you come down to breakfast. James is already outside."
"Yes, ma'am," Sirius said with a grateful smile. She smiled and went back down the stairs. "Wow, my mum would've been tempted to kill me. Why's your mum so cool?"
"I guess she's just happy to see me acting like a normal kid," Remus mused as he returned various objects: a stone with runes carved upon it, an interesting shell from a day at the seaside, a dragon's tooth, and a box of famous witch and wizard cards to their rightful places on the shelves. Sirius handed him the books.
"Hey, The Call of the Wild, I love this one," Sirius said. "Dog learns to survive in the wild and joins a wolf pack."
"I prefer White Fang," Remus replied. "Wolf learns to survive in civilization."
"You would. Romanian-English Dictionary? Why do you have that?"
Remus looked away from Sirius and muttered, "I found it at a second-hand bookshop. It was kind of an impulse buy." Remus put the last book on the shelf and went back to his own bed to pull clothes out of a drawer. Sirius began to dress as well, but he wouldn't let the subject be changed so easily. "But why the impulse, Remus? Why do you want to learn Romanian?"
"I don't." He pulled on a pair of jeans and started to put on his shirt. "Just drop it, Sirius."
Sirius sighed, took the paperback dictionary off the shelf, walked over to Remus, and very deliberately dropped the book on his foot. Remus glared at Sirius just briefly before sitting down on the bed to pull on his socks.
"I meant drop the subject," Remus grumbled.
"I know." Sirius sat down next to Remus and put on his own socks and shoes. "Just remember how persistent I can be when I think you're hiding something." Remus could hardly forget.
"Never should have gotten the stupid thing," he thought. "C'mon. James is waiting for us."
They found Remus's mother curled up in one corner of the loveseat reading a well-thumbed copy of Pride and Prejudice.
"Breakfast is on the kitchen table, and James went out back just before you two got destructive."
"Sorry," Remus and Sirius said simultaneously.
"No harm done," she replied as she returned to her reading.
The boys went into the kitchen were they found platters of eggs, bacon, and toast, all enchanted to stay warm. Remus offered a piece of bacon to a sleepy-looking owl perched near the backdoor.
"How was the hunting last night, Mousebreath?" The owl took just a small nibble of bacon, as if to be polite. "That good, huh? Sweet dreams, Mousebreath."
They ate ravenously at first, thinking only of the food, but when Sirius helped himself to a second helping of eggs, Remus began to wonder what James was doing outside.
"James's broom is still here, so he isn't flying," Remus thought aloud.
"Probably in the shed," Sirius mumbled as he ate a mouthful of toast. Remus inhaled sharply and almost choked on his own piece of toast.
"Yeah, he said last night that he wanted to go see it." Sirius looked confused. "Oh—that was while you were in the bathroom getting ready for bed."
Remus frowned and quickly finished his breakfast. "Last night's werewolf nightmare wasn't enough, I guess. He's going to give himself another one tonight." Sirius didn't seem to know what to say, so he followed Remus's lead and finished his breakfast.
As they stepped outside, Remus saw that the door of the shed was closed. He hoped it meant that James was elsewhere, and he glanced around looking for him. Sirius, however, headed straight for the shed.
"Oi, James! Are you in there?" Sirius called out.
"Yeah!" James opened the door and held up a hand to shield his eyes from the sunlight. "About time you two got up."
"Moony decided to wake me up with a pillow fight, and then we had to clean up the mess we made," Sirius explained.
James stepped back into the shed and Sirius followed. Remus stood in the doorway. This was his least favorite place in the world, and he really didn't want to go in. He watched Sirius wander around the perimeter of the six by ten foot space, examining the shiny claw marks scratched on the dull metal walls, the dents where he had thrown himself against the walls trying to break out, and the one tiny window, small enough that the wolf could fit little more than his muzzle through. James sat on the bare metal floor, leaning against one wall and hugging his knees to his chest.
"There's not much to see," Remus said hesitantly. "Aren't you ready to leave, James?"
"I was just trying to imagine what it would be like to be locked in here all night," James replied. "It's so small; it must be awful."
"You aren't getting the full effect," Remus said as he sat down beside the open door. "You're obviously not claustrophobic."
"I didn't know you were claustrophobic, Moony," Sirius said as he sat down opposite his two friends.
"Well, not in the traditional sense." Remus thought about how to explain it. "I don't mind small spaces as long as I know I can get out. It's feeling trapped that drives me crazy. I don't like being locked in, and the closer to the full moon we get, the stronger the feeling gets."
"It must be so hard for you to walk into here the day of the full moon," James said sadly.
Remus nodded. "I think the only reason I can do it is because I'm more afraid of hurting someone if I'm not locked in." Remus stared down at the floor, unwilling to meet his friends' eyes while he confessed his fears. "One of these days, maybe I won't walk in here. The wolf really, really wants to run free; he wants to hunt. It scares me how much I—" There were several seconds of silence. Remus closed his eyes in shame. "Now they know what a monster I am."
"Paw prints," Sirius said. "Last night, you said something about paw prints in the shed, but the floor is metal. How do you leave paw prints without dirt or mud?" Remus was grateful for a new topic of conversation, but he didn't think Sirius would like his answer.
"We really, really have to figure out how to transform," James said resolutely. "You shouldn't have to go through this alone. Do you think you'd still hurt yourself if we were with you?"
"I don't know," Remus replied. "I hope not."
"No, you wouldn't," Sirius said confidently. "We wouldn't let you." Remus grinned at his friend's confidence.
"Yeah, Sirius the bunny rabbit is going to stop me," he teased.
"I am not going to be a bunny rabbit," Sirius insisted. "I'm going to be something big enough to kick your ass, Mr. Big Bad Wolf."
"Let's go flying," James changed the subject abruptly. "Remus is always saying he lives in the middle of nowhere, and I want to take advantage of it."
* * * * *
"This isn't going to be easy," James murmured as he read about the animagus transformation in one of the books that Remus had found.
"We knew that," Sirius retorted. "If it was easy, animagi wouldn't be so rare, would they?" He lay on his stomach on his bed, flipping through the pages of another of the books.
"Here, Sirius, another gnarly picture of a transformation gone wrong," Remus said as he handed Sirius the book he had been reading. "I know how much you enjoy them."
"Ick!" Sirius sounded very impressed. "Look, James, half human and half fly."
Remus sighed and lay back on his own bed. "I don't ever want to see you guys in the 'Don't let this happen to you' photos."
"You won't; we'll be careful," James assured him. "Stop looking at the disaster photos, Sirius. It's probably not a good idea to dwell on those."
Sirius closed the book with a snap and sat up. Remus watched warily as Sirius pulled the Romanian-English Dictionary off the shelf and began to flip through it.
"Just throw it in the dustbin, Sirius," Remus said. "It was stupid of me to buy it."
"Wolf is lup," Sirius read. "That makes sense; Romanian is based on Latin."
"What's that?" James asked as looked up from his own book but marked his place with a finger. Sirius held up the dictionary so James could see the title.
"Magic is magie—that's easy to remember," Sirius continued. Remus sat up and grabbed one of the transfiguration books back from Sirius's bed. He opened to a random page and pretended to read. "Let's see. Persistent is…persistent. Well, you can't get easier than that." Remus flipped through the book trying to ignore Sirius. "Stubborn is…can't pronounce that one. Tenacious is…tenace. Wizard is…vraci or vrajitor. Wait a second, what was that other word for magic…vraja. Too bad they never put swear words in these things. Now that would be educational."
"Why do you have that, Remus?" James asked.
"That's what I'm trying to find out," Sirius said. "Should I read the entire book to you, Remus, or will you tell me?"
Remus glared at Sirius. "If we were any closer to the full moon, I'd growl at him," Remus thought fiercely. "Great idea—give James another nightmare for sure."
"Dog is…caine. Cat is…"
"You are so stubborn," Remus groaned.
"I prefer tenace," Sirius said with a wicked grin. He knew that he had won.
"It's no big deal," Remus sighed and stared down at the book in his lap. "I just bought it because I think my dad might live in Romania. At least, I know that he moved in with a witch he met there. He used to go there trying to find potions that might treat me." He turned a page of the transfiguration book and listened to his friends' silence. "Stupid of him, really. He wants to get away from his freak son, the werewolf, and he moves to a country that's thick with werewolves." He heard Sirius shift slightly on his bed and slide the dictionary back onto the shelf. "I don't know why I bought it. He's never gotten in touch with me, and I wouldn't want to hear from him if he did. Happy now, Sirius?" Sirius got off his bed and sat beside Remus, wrapping his arms around him in an almost bone-crushing embrace.
"Yes, actually," Sirius said quietly. Remus didn't know which surprised him more, Sirius's answer or the hug. Sirius sat with one arm around Remus's shoulders and looked down sheepishly at his feet. "I was afraid you wanted to move there," Sirius admitted. "You know, because it's 'thick with werewolves'."
James sat on Remus's other side and put his arm around him as well. "You won't leave us, will you, Moony?"
Remus shook his head. "You're my pack," he thought. "I'll never leave you."
Please, please review! I really love to read what you like/dislike. Constructive criticism is always appreciated (and sometimes acted upon). And, as an added incentive, you should know that I make a point of reading/reviewing the work of my reviewers!