Author’s Note: The world of Harry Potter and its characters belongs to JK Rowling. (I just enjoy playing in it.) Many thanks to Emma
Dalrymple for her enthusiastic encouragement and positively wicked PMs hinting
at the nocturnal activities of a certain werewolf by the pens of others. And many, many thanks to Lady Lupin for my
first fan art in reference to this first vignette:
After dusk, Padfoot found him in Hogsmeade. On the last bend of the High Street as it
disappeared into the fog of the Scottish foothills, there lay a bundle of
clothes curled up into a ball.
Earlier in the day he’d overheard Snape, with his
trademark sneer, tell Minerva McGonagall that Professor Lupin had gone “Muggle
Mad,” tearing through the Great Hall in nothing more than a pair of Muggle
jeans and a white button down shirt—“scandalously unbuttoned” down to the
centre of his chest.
Unobserved from his vantage point in the bustling Entrance Hall, the shaggy
black dog let out a disbelieving snort.
That sort of behaviour was completely unlike the Remus he knew. But he set off in search of the professor
regardless. Truth be told, Sirius was
feeling more than a little guilty.
Remus had been acting a bit odd of late—but no more potty than usual for
Moony, he’d thought. On the other hand,
he himself had been too preoccupied with his clandestine meetings in London and
his budding… (ahem) affair to be duly attentive to his friend’s
As Padfoot made his cautious approach down the High Street, the bundle shifted.
And moaned. Then pitched abruptly to one side and wretched into an adjacent
In mid-transformation, Sirius propelled his own
yet-unsteady legs toward his friend, now crouching and clutching a hand
painfully to his side. Remus’s cropped greying hair stuck out in a disarrayed
mass. Sirius hooked a hand under each of his arms and drew him to standing
position. Teetering, but standing. Nearly.
Remus’s slender frame shuddered as he fought to regain his balance. Sirius involuntarily recalled the Remus he
had known back in their Marauder days, sloshed and slightly swaying on that
very same road alongside himself, James and Peter. Of them all, Remus had been the most susceptible to drink. A couple of pints of diluted Butterbeer had
been enough to coax his friend into unveiling confidences. It had been in their third year by the
Enchanted Tire Swing that Remus had collapsed, succumbing to an inebriated
lethargy and a silly grin as he confessed to a mad crush on Esmerelda
Plofufnik, a first-year Ravenclaw.
Unfortunately, drink had not been enough to dispel his inhibitions about
asking her out until their seventh year.
In the murky recesses of his mind, Sirius was cognitively aware of a selection
of eligible witches who found his friend attractive. But for as long as Sirius had known him, Remus had always been
too mild-mannered, unassuming and gentlemanly to play the playboy. Ah, Remus, my friend, always the
gentleman, never the rogue, he thought, or… are you?
At that moment, Padfoot’s heightened olfactory nerves were picking up-
“Remus, old man, you smell like”-he sniffed again for good measure-“is that…
Chanel No. 5?”
Lupin’s hooded, world-weary brown eyes turned to him with a pained
expression. “It’s Glamourous by
some chap called Rolf—or Ralph—Laurence, something like that, if you must
know,” he bit out, straining to muster as much of his shredded dignity as
possible. Which wasn’t much in his state.
Sirius gasped. “And you’re bleeding!” he exclaimed, pointing at the livid red
streaks on his friend’s mouth and neck.
Remus frowned anxiously, raising a hand to inspect his face. He peered
curiously at his fingers in the hazy moonlight and… blushed.
“Erm… actually, it’s… lipstick.”
Sirius cast him an arched glance, noticing for the first time the trail of
bruises and dainty teeth marks peppering the curve of his friend’s neck.
He snorted. “Out
on the prowl, were we, Moony? –Ooooh, and what do we have here?” Sirius leveled a merciless finger at the
coffee-stained shreds of his friend’s white shirt. “Evidence of a… drinking problem, I’d say.”
Sirius had never been good at suppressing a smirk at his
friend’s expense. But today Remus was
clearly not in the mood for banter. His
sinewy shoulders heaved a great sigh and he drew up his hands with great effort
to support his head.
“Stop mocking me! This is serious!”
“No… I’m Sir—“
The old joke died on his lips when he glimpsed the despair enshrouding Remus’s
Sirius sighed. “Come on,” he said, tugging a reluctant Remus in the direction
of The Three Broomsticks. “I think it’s time we got you something to drink.” He
glanced pointedly again at the large brown blotch on Remus’s shirt. “Maybe
something with a straw.”
Sirius sank gratefully into the darkest corner of the pub. It being a Wednesday, the usual crowd of Hogsmeade
night owls wouldn’t begin their booze-fest until the next night at least. Only a handful of geriatric regulars propped
up the bar, sipping their Firewhisky or Bubotuber Brandy, gossiping with
Rosmerta and otherwise keeping to themselves.
Across the table, sticky with spilled Butterbeer, Remus ignored his half-shot
of Old Ogden’s, instead clutching his fraying grey hair into deranged-looking
“Sirius,” he intoned darkly, “it’s bad. You’ve got to help me.” Remus threw him a dramatically haunted look.
“No one believes me. Not even Dumbledore.”
Sirius frowned quizzically. “Er… believes you about what?”
Remus took a deep breath.
“I’m under Imperius!”
Sirius’s brows shot up in surprise.
“What?! Right now, you mean?”
“Yes… No… I don’t know… I mean, I must be.”
Remus heaved a despairing sigh, his brown eyes blinking in
confusion. “In theory, yes. But it’s
tough to tell. I only hear the voices… usually only moments before they make me
“They?” whispered Sirus incredulously.
“As in the plural? Who’s got you under Imperius—or, wait… can’t you tell
Sirius was worried.
In Azkaban, he had learned the hard way what the wrong end of Imperius
felt like. The Dementors might not have had a sense of humour, but a few of the
more sadistic gaolers had. Enough to
make him do silly pet tricks, standing on his head or balancing a Quaffle on
his nose like some bloody seal. Oh, he knew. But he’d never been cursed by more than one
wizard at a time.
“Who are they?” he repeated. “Death Eaters? Malfoy and his pals? Voldemort’s
Remus shook his head. “I… I don’t think so. They were women. Mostly.”
“Women.” Sirius frowned
thoughtfully. “How many?”
Remus closed his eyes as if pained. “Ten or so, maybe. Possibly more. Hard to
tell… They… looked like Muggles.”
At Sirius’ exclamation, a few heads swiveled sharply in
their direction and he lowered his voice.
“Muggles!” he hissed. “How can that be?
They’re not even supposed to know what
to do with wands.”
“No… no wands.” Remus downed his
Firewhisky in one shot, swallowing hard as Sirius stared at him wide-eyed.
“That’s right,” he said hoarsely. “Caught me in my room. No wands… Well, at
first I thought they were wands, but they were short and looked terribly
“Pens.” Sirius echoed flatly. “Muggle writing instruments? What, you mean they
Remus nodded and shrugged.
“And what did they want you to do? Kill Dumbledore?” Sirius gripped the table and leaned forward, his face twisted in
Remus shook his head again.
For a brief instant, Sirius’s face brightened hopefully.
Remus chuckled despite himself, but immediately sobered. Then, quite suddenly, a red embarrassed flush
crept across his drawn face.
“They wanted me to… to…”
“What?” Sirius leaned forward
Remus glanced edgily across the room at Rosmerta’s aged clientele and hastily
whispered a summary of his most recent Imperius misdeeds into Sirius’s
ear. All of which seemed shockingly out of character for the
mild-mannered Remus Lupin he called his best friend.
So it was no surprise that Sirius himself had trouble
keeping his reactions in check, exclaiming periodically:
“—What? On the Kitchen Floor? That only happens in Muggle movies!”
“… and she-she-wanted you to what with the whipping cream?! —Er, no pun intended, of course”; and
“Gods! I thought that was illegal in most countries!”
“But that’s not the worst of it,” sighed Remus, looking more haunted by the
Sirius knew he ought to feel sorry for his friend, but found it hard to
suppress a grin, musing that what everyone had said about werewolf stamina must
indeed be true.
“Come on, Remus. Who could be worse to snog than, well… Snape?” Sirius manufactured a quite authentic
Furiously flushing more than ever, Remus avoided his eye. His reply barely registered above a whisper.
Remus looked alarmed and worried. Mortified even.
But Sirius snorted. He was grasping at
his sides, gasping in fits of hilarity and hiccoughs as if hit by a Tickling
Charm. “Oh, gods! I can’t take it anymore! hic! I can’t! hic! It’s
too funny! hic! hic!”
“Sirius!” Remus pounded an angry fist on the table. “BE SERIOUS! Don’t you
understand? I’m more of a danger to people now than when I was just a
Suddenly sober, Sirius tipped back the remains of his glass and set it down
thoughtfully. He looked up to meet Remus’s expectant, pleading stare. He felt
for Remus. He really did. This was a big problem. As his best friend, he was obligated to say something.
“Well, look on the bright side,” he said cheerfully. “At least you’re not a