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Michelle -- celticshel@worldnet
crested the steep rise and stood silhouetted on the clifftops against the full
moon.Even against the rising wind, his
howl was loud and mournful, chilling in its agonized clarity.Stark and beautiful, standing powerful and
alone where sky met land and
sea, he howled again.The night seemed
to pause indefinitely, waiting with him for an answer that did not come.Then the wind rose up, wailing around him,
joining its cries to his own.The night
was cold, ruthless, uncaring.The shriek
of wind was icy and emotionless, mocking the wolf, whose deep-throated howls
were as full of pain as the sky was full of stars.The howls went on and on, while the moon
slowly traversed the sky, sinking silently down into the sea.Only when it had gone did the wolf lope away,
as if chased by demonsthat
it alone could see.Only then did the
wolf run, as though chasing something that remained just out of sight,
something elusive but desperately needed.Something it could not truly hope to catch.
moon was over.He slumped in the chair
near the window in his bedroom, exhausted and more weary of spirit that he
could ever remember feeling.He ached
all over, but it wasn't the physical ache that frightened him.That kind of pain had been a constant
companion once a month, since he could remember.It was the mental ache, the emotional hurt
that terrified him.It had been four
months, but the pain had only
intensified with time.
It had been
four months since Sirius had died.Four
months since the last true member of his pack had been torn from him.Four months in which
pain had etched itself so deeply into
his days and nights,he knew it would never truly be erased.Four months in which he had been forced to
realize that some wounds would never heal.Four months since everything he had once believed in had come crumbling
down about him to lie in ruins at his feet.
pack.They hadn't truly been his pack,
not in the strict sense of the word.A
wolf might hunt with other wolves, might play with them, might live near them,
but a wolf was, in essence, a loner.A
predator.Inhuman in its grace and power
and ruthless hunger.They hadn't truly
been his pack.But then, until they were
all gone, he hadn't truly been a wolf.He'd never truly been alone.
ago, his pack, such as it had been, had been destroyed.
ago, he had learned the true meaning of being alone.
ago, he had become a wolf in the true sense of the word.
of the moon gave him back the ability to think, to analyze, to explore his new
never before wished for the full moon.
thoughts, released from their prison as the wildness diminished, slid through
his head relentlessly.His pack.James, Sirius, and Peter.One by one, they had been taken from him,
until he stood alone, a rogue, wild and reckless during the full moon.No longer held back by the strength of their
bond.No longer hiding his true
self.No longer holding it back with
potions that could not cure it, potions that could only mask what he really
He was a
wolf.And he no longer cared whether or not the wildness came through.He hungered for the days when feverish animal
instinct took over, leaving thought and care and pain behind.Nothing else eased the grief, the darkness of
his days.Nothing else erased the icy
cold loneliness of his nights.
James.Tall and wiry and dark-haired.Scent of intense concentration and fun and
healthy sweat. Scent of hope and
optimism, laughter, courage, and love.Later, the scent of responsibility had mingled with the rest to form a
heady, addictively sweet mixture. He'd been the first to share the burden of
knowledge, the first to ease the burden of the full moon with
companionship.He had discovered the
secret.He had discovered the solution.
He had been somehow perfect, despite his flaws; he had been the sun around
which their planets revolved.He had
been the first to become a member of the pack, and the first to be irrevocably
torn from it.
He had been
the first to die.
of the blow had nearly unleashed the
had been others, holding him back.
Peter.Short and round and blond.Scent of desperate hope and frantic need.Scent of fear and insecurity, laughter,
bitterness and failure.Later, the scent
of guilt had mingled with the rest to form a miasma of despair.He'd been the last to learn the secret, the
last to learn to change for the full moon.He had tried to hard to keep up, tried so hard to win a competition that
had, for the others, never existed.He
had been perfect in imperfection; he had never understood that for them, he was
good enough just as he was.He had been the last to become a member of
the pack, and the cause of its slide into destruction.He had, in the end, been too good at hiding
himself for anyone to suspect him.Even
the wolf, who
had smelled desperation on him from their first meeting.
betrayed the pack.He had caused the death
of two of its members.
the truth of it had nearly loosedthe wolf.
had, in the end, been another holding him back.
Sirius.Tall, slim, strong, and black-haired.Scent of loyalty and mischief and fun.Scent of daring and courage, laughter,
dedication and recklessness.Later, the
scent of loneliness and grief had mingled with the rest to form an intoxicating
blend of humanity.He'd been the second
to share the knowledge, the second to ease the full-moon burden, and the first
to embrace the change as a means of proving his loyalty and friendship.He'd shared every smile, every laugh, every
ache.He'd loved fully and without
reservation, and he had gladly taken on the burden.If James had been the sun in their universe, Sirius
had been the moon; strong and wild and shining, he had controlled the tides of
their lives.He'd survived James' death
and Peter's betrayal.When he'd escaped
Azkaban, he had gladly returned to the pack.He had become the pack, with
the same single-minded dedication and loyalty that he had always shown.And he had been ripped away, just as James
had, victim to a chain of events set into motion by Peter.
agonizing truth of that had loosed the wolf.
no one left to hold him back.
Peter.Peter had betrayed the pack.But for Peter, James would have lived.But for Peter, the evil that had taken Sirius
would have stayed in hiding.
Peter, the wolf would have been restrained.
It was only
the finest poetic justice that what Peter had loosed would kill him in the
end.Whether it was Voldemort, or
whether it was the wolf, Peter would die.
would make sure of it.
He sat in
the chair, his head back, his mindbeginning
to drift.His hold on consciousness
started to slip.And the wolf started to
the cause of the pain and rage.Peter
was the cause of the loneliness.Peter
had destroyed the pack, the finest and most precious thing the wolf had ever
known.Peter had betrayed them all.
prey on the air, sharp but imagined.Scent of prey that was nowhere nearby.
prey, remembered as vividly as a splash of crimson on white velvet.
prey, perfectly recalled in all its terrified splendor.
awake, but the wolf had been loosed and he would not fight it.There was no turning back.He knew what he had to do in order to make
things right.In order to bring some
kind of justice to his world.In order
to bring an end to the rage and grief and tearing agony that his days and
nights had become.In order to honor the