The Sugar Quill
Author: zzzFF Potions Princess  Story: Wolf's Bane  Chapter: Default
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Untitled Document The Wolf's Bane

When the urge came Remus didn't fight it; he left his rooms to the Castle's darkness and began to walk. His mind, generally orderly and reliable was as overgrown and wild as the Forest to which he fled. The Wolfsbane Potion ensured that he would not transform physically but it could not completely quell the rising of the wolf.

Feet flew across the well kept lawn, robes billowing behind as the harvest moon gave sharp relief to the looming forest ahead. Further inward the trees thinned to a clearing; here Remus sought succor. He would not enter at other times but now this fear was merely a distant tang. At last he reached the spot he sought and threw back his head and howled. The creatures which shared the Forest knew their own and did not interfere.

Remus Lupin no longer hunted this Forest but it was his home when the moon was full.

A lone wolf prowled on two legs until just before sunrise and then loped back to the castle, his robes more tattered. Remus was making a decent wage again now that the Ministry had seen fit to lift the ban on non-humans holding down positions. Dumbledore had been quick to hire him back to his former teaching post but he still had the air of someone to whom galleons were unfamiliar. With the waning of the moon he would care more.

Returning to his rooms Remus slept for a few hours, appearing for breakfast in the Great Hall. Most of the teachers would be going to Hogsmeade to keep watch on the students but he planned to return to the forest, ostensibly to gather ingredients for potions. Most knew what he was but assumed that with the aid of the elixir that he led a normal life. At times it seemed a half-life. Never human. Always on guard for the time when the potion failed and he would have to be chained up like a rabid dog.

The children came to see him before they left, they were solicitous and he did appreciate it. He and his lost friend's son shared a look of unspoken acknowledgment of the other's grief. He waved them away and sought refuge. While he didn't transform, his senses were keener than usual during this time; he could sense someone was there long before he could discern the figure. It was female, human and wholly familiar. His hunger stirred and with effort was stilled. Until he saw her.

Anger flowed over and around him. She stood, unconscious of his presence, her features contorted in concentration as hair sprouted from her face. She looked like a Muggle drawing, a sort of she-wolf hybrid with facial hair and an elongated snout. Remus was familiar with the Muggle lore and their imagery of what he was. He'd made it his business to be aware of the prejudices and misconceptions. It had never bothered him until now.

His movements were silent and she didn't hear him approach, yet like the creature she parodied she sensed that she was no longer alone. When he saw her tense, Remus moved out to be seen. The look of horror on her face was worthy of the still photographs he'd seen of humans encountering his ilk.

Remus turned on his heels.

With effort Nymphadora Tonks resumed her normal countenance. For a split second the hair on her face took on the same pink hue as the spiked hair adorning her head then faded away. She caught up with him on the Forest's edge, knowing he could have far outstripped her pace if he'd wished. She tugged at a tattered sleeve. "Remus."

"Nymphadora." She winced at his use of every syllable but she didn't pull away and her eyes focused on his. They were wounded and wary.

"It's not what you think."

"No? Are you an unregistered animagus or just trying on animals for fit?" He'd seen her watching, wondering if he would turn, if he was safe. He didn't feel safe. His lips parted to reveal human teeth in a lupine grin.

Fighting the impulse to take a step back, she moved closer instead. "You used to have friends to share these times with you."

Remus made a sound low in his throat; he'd watched her too. Watched her while they were at Grimmauld Place, the first time she walked into the staff room, upsetting the tea things and drenching Snape in scalding Earl Grey; watched as she blithely apologized, the glower of the Potions Master seemingly lost upon her. Watched her. "I can see how being one would hold great appeal. Especially the part where you get to lock me in a cage for my own good."

"Remus."

He'd been ready to pull away and return to the castle but the tone of her voice, very un-Tonks like in its softness held him in place. Slowly he raised a hand and touched her now smooth cheek. His fingertip swept away the glistening tear. His eyes were no longer wary but questing.

"Remus, let me."

In a moment he held her, pink hair tickling his nostrils. "Wolves mate for life, you know."

"Yes. I know."

Finis

A/N: Thanks to MA and Therese for their kind but ruthless editing.

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