Because I can't ever write a paper, basically.
Everything you see belongs to me. I make money off this. That is why I am posting it here for free. And live in this fantastic mansion. Except none of those things are true...
For those who'd do anything for me.
Remus Lupin awoke the morning after the full moon, as he always did sooner or later, and laid with closed eyes assessing his injuries. On this particular morning he found no broken bones. No deep, burning wounds. Just the most basic of aches and bruises, and a few shallow scratches detectable by the sting and odor of Pomfrey's special salve. Probably not a single cut that would leave a scar. This had been a good moon. No, he corrected himself; this moon had not been merely good; it had been, relatively speaking, bloody fantastic.
He opened his eyes.
"Well?" Sirius asked, leaning over the bed with far more energy and excitement than was usually warranted by visits to the hospital wing. "How'd it go?"
"Fine," Remus said absently, pushing himself upright and not even feeling the tug of a scratch at the back of his neck surrounded by a ring of deep bruises even as he raised a lightly bandaged hand to touch it. "What happened to your face?"
Sirius shrugged in his typically infuriating cavalier way. "Pranks, you know, James and Peter get bored without you reminding them to do homework, I had to keep them busy somehow. Evans's got a mad left hook."
Remus's brow furrowed. This wasn't quite right. "Where are James and Peter?" It was unusual for Sirius to be here alone when he woke; it was usually all four or, after especially bad nights, none at all, of the Marauders who came to sit at his bedside.
"Still asleep, the wankers." Sirius dismissed the question with a wave of his hand. "It's early still. Breakfast hasn't even started yet."
Odd. Remus could sometimes sleep straight through to afternoon after full moon nights. Today he was worn out, sure, but he could have stood up if he'd wanted badly enough. Often the day after the full moon he was too exhausted to do anything other than lie in pain, drifting in and out of sleep in time with the healing potions Pomfrey shoved down his throat. Sometimes it was as many as three days before he was well enough to attend classes. At this rate, he could be back on his feet by this afternoon, pale and sore and perhaps a bit droopy but little the worse for wear.
Sirius's eyes were twinkling above him like the boy had just enacted the greatest scheme of his young life.
"Oh, Merlin," Remus whispered, his stomach twisting to practically nothing. "What have you done?"
Sirius shifted, grinning widely. "Listen, Moony-"
Unfortunately, Pomfrey chose this exact moment to come check in on him. Drat it all.
"Mister Lupin," she said, not without a note of surprise. "You're awake early. How are you feeling this morning?"
"Quite well, really," Remus answered, almost honestly. In response to her raised eyebrow he continued. "A bit tired I suppose, and sore. But much better than I'd expected." Much better than was normal.
As Sirius moved away to allow the nurse her examination, Remus caught sight of a livid red mark on his wrist. Almost like… claw marks. But as soon as he'd seen it, it was gone again, underneath a pulled-down sleeve. Sirius would not make eye contact.
Pomfrey frowned, obviously mistrusting his assessment. "No major injuries this month," she reluctantly agreed. "You let me know if you need anything. And Mister Black, no tiring him with your shenanigans. I expect you out of here in an hour." She shot Sirius's black eye a disapproving glare before retreating to her office.
Her disapproving glare had nothing on Remus's. "What were you up to last night?" His voice had a cold edge. It was one of the rare times that a listener might have believed he was capable of monstrosities once a month.
Sirius turned his head away. "Just, you know, the usual. You know how Jamie and I get when left alone…"
"Sirius. I saw the claw marks on your arm. You were with me last night, weren't you?"
"Do you know what you were risking, doing that? I could've killed you. Worse, I could've…" Remus broke off, choked. Wide-eyed, Sirius poured him a glass of water from the pitcher next to the bed.
"Shh, Moony, no. First of all, that isn't you on those moon nights. That is the wolf. And second, I wasn't in any danger. James or Peter either."
"You brought James and Peter with you?" Remus snapped, color draining from his face even more, which Sirius had not thought possible.
"Keep your voice down," Sirius hissed. "Pomfrey'll hear. And let me finish. You couldn't have turned us into werewolves. It doesn't work on animals."
"Animals?" Remus repeated faintly. "I'm afraid I don't…"
Sirius grinned again. He glittered all over. "We did it, Moony. We mastered the Animagus charms. Now we've got animal forms. To help you, full moon nights. James is a stag. Peter's a rat, so he can reach the knot. And I'm a dog, all familiar to the wolf and able to keep him in line." He licked his lips. "We thought it'd make it easier on you, if you had a pack, you know, to be with you. And it did, look, you're barely hurt at all." He beamed. "It's ace, isn't it?"
"But it's… that's really advanced magic, how'd you ever…?"
"Lots of practice. It was my idea. Was real work hiding it from you, believe me." Sirius nodded. "James wanted to tell you. But I didn't want you to know. Didn't want you to get your hopes up in case we couldn't do it."
"Didn't want me to say no," Remus smiled wryly.
"So you're okay, then?"
"Well, no, of course I'm not, it's really dangerous and you could have been hurt or caught in about a hundred different ways and you really ought to get those cuts looked at, they look a bit nasty, but you've done it now so I suppose there's nothing I can do about it and-"
Sirius laughed. "Moony, mate calm down, seriously, you look like you're going to pass out or something."
Remus took a deep breath. "Yeah. I mean, no. I mean…"
Pomfrey re-entered. "All right, Mister Lupin? Now drink this," she said, pushing one of the usual potions into his hand. It was a thick, green, foul-tasting thing, and he drank it as quickly as possible.
She took the goblet back from him without comment, and strode from the room once more.
"You all right, Moony? You look a bit green." Sirius asked with a small smile.
Remus shook his head. "I'm fine. Just the potion. Leaves a nasty taste, always makes me feel a bit ill after."
"Well, I've just the thing for that," Sirius said, pulling something from his pocket. "The last of the chocolate from my birthday. I know it makes you feel better, after the moon."
Remus flushed. "You don't have to-"
"Please, take it."
Remus did. "Thank you, then." He unwrapped it and took a bite, closing his eyes as the taste sent relaxation spreading through his aching body. "For everything." He smiled, not knowing or caring that it stretched a cut on his cheek.