The Sugar Quill
Author: Spife  Story: Over The Moon  Chapter: Default
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Over The Moon

Over The Moon

 

Disclaimer:  It’s all JKR’s. Gained a warm fuzzy feeling, but that's about it.

 

A/N: You can read what you like into this story. I know what I mean. Oh, and although it won't make much sense now, Winter Aconites are also known as wolfs bane.

Dedication: Yeah, thanks to my awesome beta, who despite my fears is really nice and encouraging. Kudos Felina. Also hugs and malleting to Riva, for often beating my stories out of me…ouch…

 

***

 

Silhouetted in the dying light of the warm March sun, four boys with their broomsticks headed back to Hogwarts Castle.

 

“Did you see my capture?” James Potter said, spinning around and reaching out his hand in a reenactment of his earlier glory.

 

“If I play that good in the Cup final, we’re sure to win.”

 

“You must be the greatest seeker in the world!!” Remus said sarcastically.

 

“Oh well, I wouldn’t go that f… Oh you were being sarcastic.”

 

“I think James is the best seeker I’ve ever seen.” Peter said adoringly.

 

Sirius ruffled his hair playfully, “You mustn’t of seen many good seekers then ‘ay?”

 

Peter frowned, “Well, no but I still think James is the best.”

 

Remus and Sirius laughed, James looked annoyed and Peter just looked confused.

 

Remus suddenly frowned, “I've got a bit of a headache, I think I'll go to the hospital wing.” He said, handing Peter his broom. "Don't expect me back before morning, you know how Madam Pomfrey is, she'll have me in bed all night with a suspected brain cold or something." He forced a chuckle to reassure his friends and hurried off hastily away from the pitch.

 

The other three boys watched him go.

 

"Why does he always run off like that?" Sirius pondered as Peter put all their brooms in the broom closet.

 

"What do you mean?" James asked trying to avoid the subject. James had a pretty good idea where Remus went, and he didn't think Sirius would like it if he knew.

 

"He always disappears for a night, faking some excuse about being sick and he comes back the next day beaten and bruised.” Sirius said, almost annoyed, “I think we should find out what he's doing, if he's in some sort of trouble, we have to help."

 

"If Remus needed our help, he'd ask." James replied shortly.

 

"But maybe he can't. Maybe he's trapped under some horrible curse and he can't tell anyone." Sirius said.

 

James grimaced at Sirius's oddly accurate guess.  "Maybe he doesn't want us to know. He doesn't have to tell us everything, Sirius."

 

"James, I think he's in trouble. We have to follow him and find out what's wrong."

 

James looked around desperately for a way out. "Alright, you say we follow him, I say we don't, what does Peter say?" Peter was a scaredy-cat at heart, surely he'd vote with James.

 

"Whatever’s up with Remus, he shouldn't have to bear it alone." Peter said decisively. James cursed silently.  Damn Peter and his nobility!

 

"Alright we'll follow him. But promise me this, whatever we find, Remus is still our friend."

 

Sirius gave James a quizzical look, "Duh, he's our friend! That's why we're doing this." This he said as the three of them set out after their friend, Sirius leading bodily[AJD1] , full of noble intentions. 

 

***

 

Remus sighed in relief as the Whomping Willow stopped flailing its limbs and proceeded to act like a normal tree. He slipped silently into the passage below, hoping no one had seen him. It would have been easier to enter the tunnel unnoticed under the cover of night, but then it would be too late.

 

***

Sirius let out a cry of surprise as Remus approached the Whomping Willow, stilled it’s branches, and suddenly disappeared. He crouched motionless behind a spreading oak. Not sure of how to proceed. James gave a little cough, “I think he pressed the knot on the tree with that stick.” He said, avoiding Sirius’ eyes, “And that’s what stopped it.”

 

Sirius gave James a confused nod, and ventured forwards to the still motionless tree. James and Peter followed as he crept into the hidden tunnel.

 

The three boys snuck along the corridor, keeping Remus in sight but fearful of getting too close. Sirius felt his heart beating faster, danger had always excited him, but it had rarely given him goose bumps before. There was something terribly foreboding about this tunnel.

 

Sirius suddenly wanted to turn back and run for the Castle, but it was to late now. Remus had reached a door at the very end of the passage. He looked behind him once, but he obviously hadn't expected any one to follow.

 

Sirius shrunk into the shadows. Remus' eyes hovered for a moment on the shadow barely hiding the three boys, but he seemed satisfied. He closed the door with a snap, and Sirius heard several locks being done up.

 

After a short pause, Sirius crept up to the door. He tried the handle, but it was locked.

 

"It's no good," James said turning away, "We'll have to go back."

 

"I could easily kick the door down." Sirius said taking a few steps back.

 

"Go ahead,  frighten Remus half to death, and piss off what ever else is in there. Not to mention breaking school property." It was a long shot but James had to try.

 

"What about that spell we learnt in Charms?” Peter suggested “ Al…Alaiha..."

 

"Alohamora" Sirius whispered. They heard the lock click open, and he turned the knob.

 

Still no luck. Peter scratched his head.

 

"Oh well, I'm sure Remus will-" James began but Peter interrupted him.

 

"Maybe it’s guarded by magic.” 

 

“Of course, Finite Incantatem.” Sirius said, surprised and pleased that Peter had had two good ideas in a row.

 

 The door slid slightly open, squeaking on its rusted hinges, but the squeak was muffled by a much louder and scarier noise.

 

 A single cold, pain filled howl.

 

Sirius leapt forward with a yell, "Remus!"

 

But the dripping fanged mouth that faced him certainly wasn't his best friend.

 

 Or was it?

 

 It was a wolf's muzzle alright, but clinging to the wolf’s body was a ragged Hogwarts uniform that cut into the creature’s[AJD2]  flesh as it struggled to break free. And the eyes, a cool calm blue, quite out of place on the snarling beast, were just like Remus'.

 

The wolf snapped and growled, but it was chained to the floor with a huge metal collar around its waist. It strained and scratched at the chain. From the look of the bending metal, the beast wouldn't be chained much longer.

 

Sirius tried to make sense of the scene in front of him, but all he could think of was a Muggle Children’s story, called Little Red Riding Hood.

 

"He's eaten Remus and put on his clothes!" Sirius cried, wildly, "And now he's going to eat us!" James and Peter grabbed Sirius' violently flailing arms and pulled him out of the room.

 

James yanked the door shut and charmed it closed. Sirius was struggling with all his might to get free of his friends.

 

 "He's eaten Remus, the beast! He's eaten Remus! I'll kill him!"

 

James grabbed Sirius by the shoulders and shook him hard. “That is Remus!” James barked. Sirius stopped struggling.

 

"What?" He asked. Peter looked to the floor, painfully understanding.

 

"Sirius," James sighed, "I had hoped it wasn't true, but this just proves it. Remus is a werewolf."

 

"Oh" Sirius said. Silently, James, lead Sirius back down the corridor and towards Hogwarts Castle, Peter scurrying behind.

 

***

 

James stood leaning against the wall beside the fire in the safety of the Gryffindor common room. Peter sat cross-legged on the floor, a little shaken, but reassured by James's confidence.

 

Sirius was slumped in an armchair, staring at the fire.

 

It all made horrible sense. The private talks Remus and Dumbledore had, the teachers always watching him, the strange disappearances every month. Sirius didn't want to believe it, but there was no other explanation.

 

 Remus was a monster. A danger to himself and to others.

 

Sirius looked up, James was speaking, "He's had prejudice all his life. That's why he didn't want us to know. But like I said, Remus is our friend, whatever shape he's in. He needs us now more than ever. Will you stand by him?"

 

Peter looked wide-eyed and scared at the thought, but he clutched the carpet firmly as if to say he wasn't going to desert Remus. "I’m proud to call him my friend. Seeing him like that only makes me respect him more."

 

James nodded in approval, noting that Peter's stammer had disappeared.

 

"And what about you Sirius?" James asked.

 

Sirius considered the question. Could he stand by Remus? Could he forget that his best friend turned fangs and fur at the full moon? Could he accept that Remus was different and love him any way? Could he look at Remus again, and not see the Big Bad Wolf?

 

Something deep inside said yes, but his mind said no. Remus was a beast, not a man. He was wild and brutal and dangerous. It didn't matter what he wanted to be, the undeniable fact was that he was a wolf. A wild animal. James wouldn’t expect Sirius to be friends with a wild bear. How was this any different?

 

Sirius' didn’t reply. He stared blankly at the fire for a long time. James waited for an answer, first patiently, but with a  growing anxious fear. “Sirius!” James snapped, “Don’t just sit there! Say something!”

 

Sirius looked up, but he didn’t answer. James’ usual dominating confidence melted away, to be replaced by fear. “What do you want me to say?” Sirius whispered.

 

James gave a disgusted sigh, and hung his head. “I want you to say[AJD3]  that Remus is our friend, and nothing would ever make you feel differently.” He said, almost pleadingly.

 

No one said anything for a long time, until Sirius suddenly hopped to his feet and headed towards the Portrait Hole “I’m going out.” He said.

 

Peter ran towards Sirius, “Please don’t do this!” He wailed, but the portrait swung closed in his face. Sirius was gone. He[AJD4]  had only gone five meters when an incredible tiredness swept over him. He slumped to the ground, his back to the wall, and his head in his hands. He took a raged breath, and let a sob escape his lips.

 

Time passed. Sirius couldn’t tell how much, nor did he care. He half expected James too come out, and talk to him. But James didn’t appear. After a while, Sirius closed his eyes. And when he opened them, morning had come.

 

The sound of footsteps brought Sirius to his feet. Probably a professor, he’d be in trouble for being out of bed so early. Sirius headed towards the portrait hole, when it suddenly swung open, and James and Peter stepped out. James looked at Sirius, Sirius looked at James. Peter looked down the hall, the footsteps stopped. “Remus.” Peter breathed.

 

He was bloody and his robes looked like they had been mangled by a wild dog. Which, Sirius was painfully reminded, they had.

 

"I…Guys…What..." Remus looked at his friends, lost for words. His human mind remembering the wolfish sight of his friends terrified faces.

 

"It's alright Remus. We understand, and we still want to be your friend." James said. Peter nodded.

 

Remus sighed in relief, his eyes filling with tears. "Thank you. I don't know what I'd do-"

 

“I’m going to breakfast Peter.” Sirius said as he stalked off in the opposite direction to the Great Hall. “I might see you later.” Remus gave a ragged sigh, and James looked towards his feet.

 

“The Great Hall’s the other way Sirius.” Peter muttered, but he was already gone.

 

 

***

 

Sirius couldn't even bare to look at Remus. For the day following his encounter with 'the wolf' they avoided each other, which was fairly difficult considering they had all their classes together and they slept in the same dorm. Remus almost talked to Sirius once, while in Charms, but Sirius brushed him off. That night, Sirius decided to sleep in the common room in an armchair in front of the fire.

 

"What's going on?" a Hufflepuff, called Jasper Brown, asked Peter nervously, as Sirius purposely knocked into Remus, quills and parchment spilling out of his arms. "Why are they acting like that?"

 

Peter sighed, and intoned in his wisest voice "Sirius is afraid of the moon."

 

***

 

In Herbology, Sirius and Remus were forced to share a tray. Sirius only spoke once, when he asked Remus to pass the clippers, with which he proceeded to vigorously over-prune his Winter Aconite. At the end of the lesson, he threw the tattered remains in the compost, his plant now a massacred twig. 

 

All through his lessons, he saw the snarling face of the wolf, Remus' face. Werewolves were not people. It was simple. Remus was not a person, and he never would be. Yes, you can teach a wild beast things, you can command it, even respect it. But it is, and always will be, a beast.

 

James and Peter made it clear that while they remained 'impartial', they were not going to justify Sirius's behaviour, and they did not approve of it.

 

Sirius didn't care what they did. He didn’t much care what any one thought. At lunch, Sirius sat alone, and growled dismissively when any one approached.

 

"Remus wants to talk to you." James said, coming over. Sirius looked sideways down the Gryffindor table at Remus.

 

"No he doesn't."

 

"What if he did? What if he wanted to come over here and explain everything, and ask if you could still be friends? What would you say?"

 

"But he doesn't want to do that, does he." Sirius said, by way of an answer

 

"Sirius, he doesn't want to talk to you, because you won't listen." James cried, infuriated by Sirius' stubbornness.

 

"No," Sirius replied, "I won't listen to a beast. Nothing he can say would change my mind."

 

"Maybe it would. Maybe if you could lose your prejudice and listen to your friend you'd feel differently. But you're too scared to listen." James spat, "You just want to push the problem away and ignore it. Your friend needs you, and you sit here and call him a beast."

 

Sirius didn't even flinch.

 

 "Who's the beast, Sirius?" James asked, turning to go, "A man in fur, or a boy who's too stubborn to admit he's afraid?"

 

***

 

The moon hung dull, obstructed by clouds, in the early evening sky. It was thinner now than it had been two nights ago, when the beast had reared its ugly head.

 

Sirius sat hunched over by the lake, tossing stones into the dark water. Splosh! And they sunk. Simple.

 

He was avoiding James and his accusing words. Avoiding Peter and his simplistic views. Avoiding Remus, the wolf.

 

 There was a crunch behind him, as some one came closer towards him along the bank.

 

 "You know, I've never seen a full moon." Remus said, standing behind Sirius and looking at the sky.

 

"Yes, you have." Sirius spat, "But I guess you’re always too busy foaming at the fangs to notice."

 

Remus sighed, "That's not me. That's a wolf that steals my body, not me." There was a silence. Sirius screwed up his eyes and blocked the words out. Remus was the beast.

 

"When I was young, before I was bitten, I guess I saw the moon. But that was so long ago. Every night, I look up at the moon, and try and think what it would look like if it was full. But I can't. All I see is the fear of what will happen."

 

Sirius felt tears of pity and self-loathing run down his face. Remus was so brave, he had to see himself turn into a horrible beast, see the destruction and havoc he wrought, and Sirius couldn't even accept him.

 

 James was right, there was a beast. And it wasn't Remus. "The moon isn't that great."

 

Remus sighed and sat down beside Sirius. "No, maybe not to you. But, when you can't have something, it just makes you want it more."

 

"Remus," Sirius said, turning to look at his friend. "I'm sorry. I saw the wolf, and I didn't want it to be you. And when I knew it was, I wanted to block it out. I couldn't deal with it. I was being childish and I'm sorry."

 

Remus chuckled, "Was that Sirius Black apologising?"

 

Sirius smiled too, "Don't you go telling everybody[AJD5]  about it. Or they’ll all be wanting one."

 

Remus picked up a stone and tossed it into the water. For a long time neither of them spoke. It was so much easier to just forget. But eventually Remus tentatively broke the silence.

 

"And what of the moon?" Remus asked, not daring to ask his real question.

 

Sirius understood, and he replied in his gruff voice, "I'm over the moon."

 

Remus felt that if he wanted to right now, he could imagine the full moon, without pain or fear, just the moon. But he didn't want to see it. Some things in life where just so much sweeter.

 

So he smiled, and looked out across the lake at the cloud-covered moon. "Yeah, me too."

 


 [AJD1]Is “bodily” the word you mean?  It isn’t wrong, just a little odd.  Do you maybe mean “boldly”?

 [AJD2]‘wolf” and ‘creature’ both needed to be possessive.

 [AJD3]Don’t need the comma.

 [AJD4]Clarify here that this is Sirius now, because the reader could easily think that it’s Peter.  Maybe do this by starting a new paragraph with this sentence and changing “He” to “On the other side of the portrait hole, Sirius had only gone five meters…..”

 [AJD5]Should be one word, rather than “every body”

//
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