The Sugar Quill
Author: Cecilia Morgan  Story: Penitio Lupin  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

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Disclaimer: As always – it belong to JKR, not I

A/N: Thanks to Lallybroch, my beta-reader! J

The Wolf is angry.

I am angry.

I hate myself. I loathe the very specter of my being.

Once I had three great friends. Now, two are dead and one, alive, is dead to me. My years of suffering ended when I found their caring, compassion and understanding. My years of suffering through agony alone ended when they found a way to defeat the danger and comfort me through many moonlit nights. Now, they are gone.

The discomfort that comes with the moon’s journey has been worse this month. The prolonged bouts of inexplicable tingling. I must stop to catch my breath as it comes in rasping, quickening gasps. A sharp pain in my back causes me to stiffen with the knowledge of what is coming, closer and closer, advancing inexorably in measured time, cold, dispassionate and unyielding.

James, Prongs, was a kind, compassionate and understanding boy. He was a gentle, loving, caring husband and father. He was a joker, an occasional prankster, and not very fond of rules, but he was wise nonetheless. He is my friend. He was my friend. A space in my heart where he should be is now a gaping wound. Two weeks ago he died protecting his son and wife. Two weeks ago I lost him.

Peter, Wormtail, was a sweet, thoughtful boy. Though he was often overlooked, he nonetheless found ways to show us he cared. He, whom people thought so weak, was so strong in the end. Little, kind Peter stood up, strong and true, and met death. His kindness has been ripped brutally from me.

Sirius. Padfoot.

It was you that killed my friends. You, my greatest friend of all, who I cared for the most, who I loved the most, it was you that ended my happiness, cutting through my heart with hatred and violence sharp and cold as steel. You, who became the dog to keep me company, to stop me from hurting myself on nights when the Wolf wanted blood, you have now become the Angel of Death. You descended upon those who were your friends, killed them, and laughed as you did. I watched you go, silent, into the shadows. I watched as your eyes, so often filled with light, sparkling joy, receded from view, black as night and filled with I know not what.

I cannot understand it! I cannot understand how you, my friend, my life, have taken all I had from me and left me here in empty darkness. That could not have been you, could it? You would not do such a thing! The Sirius Black of my youth would have died before hurting his friends! Could you truly have changed so much, without my noticing it? Could you possibly have become that which I fear you have? You, my best friend of all? We were so close. At school you were my best friend in the world. After, you remained my friend, you were everything to me, and yet you have killed those you were so close to, those who trusted you. Wouldn’t I have seen? Noticed some change? Did I know you so little? Or was I inattentive? Did I miss something I should have seen? Have I failed you, James? I cannot begin to comprehend it, I cannot believe it, and yet it has happened. You changed, Padfoot. You have been taken now to that place where joy cannot follow, where your heart will be as empty as mine now is. The Sirius Black I knew and loved is dead. Dead.

Something warm is on my cheek. Blood so soon? I have not yet begun to transform – I have not yet begun to hurt myself in the frenzied anguish of the Wolf’s form. I swipe a hand across my face. No, not blood. Tears. Why am I crying? Over him? No, these are tears of anger. They should be. They must be. My anger at him. No. My anger that I failed.

And so, I am left alone. Three friends dead. One, an honest, kind young man. One, a young father and husband, who in death has left a small boy orphaned. One, who wrenched life and love from me, who changed so much from the boy I knew, rots now in a prison that could be death itself. Three friends gone.

It’s getting worse. The pains, the fierce iron that clasps around my chest and makes breathing agony and moving impossible. I watch as I try to dig my fingers into the rough stone of the wall, leaving blood and scrapes along my skin. Every muscle is tense, taut and wound so tightly that another move might cause them to snap. My jaw is clenched tight. Every sensation becomes pain.

Why did I not help them? Why them and not me? Why has a baby been left without parents, and a kind young man been denied the chance to live? Why have I been spared the wrath and violence? I stood by, powerless, as dear Wormtail in his despair died when he had barely begun to live. I alone have survived when two young parents have been denied the chance to care for their boy and watch him grow up, denied the chance to live and grow old together. I, who have nothing, live, while they who had all died. It is a crime. It is a sin. I have done wrong, to live. I, who should have died in their place, breath still. I cannot endure it. It is a fate too harsh, to live when my friends have died. It should have been me. Not a young mother clutching her darling son, not a loyal husband protecting his wife. It should have been me, poor, lonely, worthless Remus, Moony, not even truly human, but part animal, part vicious, fearsome beast. The violence that took them should have come upon me instea d and spared those with so much to live for. It should not have been them. I have failed them. It should have been me.

I throw my head back, near snapping the taut muscles of my neck, the honey-colored hair shifting, strands of knotted silk settling over tightly-shut eyes. In silence, fierce, impenetrable silence, I release a silent scream, a mute expression of anger, hatred, sadness, frustration, agony and betrayal.

And so tonight I do penance for the sin of living, of breathing, of being. I retreat behind bolted doors and into confined spaces, into a world of isolation, so that, much like a medieval monk whipping himself to atone for his sins, I might suffer through the agony of my transformation once more alone, for the first time in years, in sorrow and grief. So that I might atone for all I did not do, all I could not do. I will withdraw to throw myself at walls, claw and scratch myself until rivulets of crimson blood mat down fur. I will have no control over this. The Wolf knows. It knows what I have done and failed to do. It knows anger and self-hatred and violence. It will take control and have me punished by the time the pink ribbons of the dawn dance across the eastern sky. This is my atonement, to you, my friends. To you who died too young. To you who should not have, whose place I gladly would have taken, at the tip of Voldemort’s wand. For you I do penance for the sin of living.

 

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