Ooooo-kay, this is going to be a little hard. You all know what Remus' transformation is like, right? Right. Well, I'm going to make it a tad more interesting. It's a bit graphic, what I have in mind but Sirius will be there if it's any consolation. No, it really isn't so this chapter will probably be rated M.

Disclaimer: I don't own HP any more than I own a working wand. Or a Hogwarts letter. Or 'sniffles' Dobby.

Chapter Two: A Wolf's Strength

Albus Dumbledore knew many things. How to break the Unforgivable curses, calm down an angered Weasley and even tame a Hungarian Horntail. He didn't, however, know how to break it to a man with the loyalty of a Hufflepuff and the heart of a Gryffindor that his best friend for years passed away just months after his supposed death. That says little about the fact that he also had to tell a young werewolf who was about to transform in two days that two-thirds of his pack would never be with him on those painful full moons. Albus just didn't know and for the first time since becoming the headmaster of Hogwarts, he was afraid of what he didn't know. After all, Sirius was known for his protectiveness towards every one of his friends and Remus getting upset before his transformation would only anger him further. Merlin, he might actually try to kill Voldemort himself!

Sighing softly as he led the former students into his office, the headmaster found himself asking, "Would you like a lemon drop?"

Sirius opened his mouth to say something but was quickly winded by Remus' elbow appearing to have come into contact with his friend's side. The words turned into a breathy wheeze and instead he hissed, "Easy, mate. At least wait until the full moon to break my bones, or else what will Prongsie have to do?" seeing the sullen look appearing on Remus' face, he added quickly, "S'alright Moony. It didn't even hurt that much. I'm okay." This didn't seem to make him any happier, so Sirius sighed and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. Remus relaxed under the contact and finally looked at Dumbledore.

This was the hard part. Even after days of thinking about it, there was no way they were going to accept what he was about to tell them. Absently placing a muffliato charm on the room, he said softly, "Mr. Black and Mr. Lupin, I'm afraid there's some tragic news you must hear. Fourteen years ago, six months after Harry's birth, You-Know-Who came for the boy who was prophesied to destroy him. As you saw for yourself just hours ago, Harry is alive and well. James and Lily…they did not make it."

Silence reigned as Remus and Sirius took this in. Varying facial expressions made their grief and confusion plain to see, as always with Sirius showing his heart on his sleeve and Remus with a carefully constructed mask that covered all but his eyes. While the disinherited Black turned to fury at what he thought was a vicious lie, the werewolf slumped in his chair and silently started to whimper. Albus was, however, otherwise occupied with a fire-eyed Sirius screaming, "You're lying! James promised he'd keep them safe and Remmie placed the wards all around Godrick's Hollow. We tested them again and again before we started sleeping for cracks and wearing. Where is he, Albus, or I swear t-"

Remus let out a loud howl right in the middle of his infuriated friend's rant. It was full of pain, anguish…he couldn't feel them anymore. Even in human form, the wolf could always know where they were. It felt like there was this great gaping hole where his pack members should have been and it hurt. Sobbing raggedly, he scrambled back into the shadows and hid his face with his hands. Sirius faltered when the realization hit him. If Moony couldn't feel them then maybe…trying not to scream, he fell to his knees beside Remus and tried soothing him every way he could. Sirius pulled him to his chest, stroking his hair and murmuring softly until Remus had exhausted himself and fell into a dark sleep. Swallowing visibly, he whispered shakily, "I-I have to go. Would you show us to our dorm, headmaster?"

Watching the scene was tear-wrenching. Sirius was gripping his friend's back tightly as Remus rested his head against one of his shoulders. Nodding, Dumbledore led them in a grim march to one of the Gryffindor rooms next to Harry's, the only one that was completely empty. Sirius carried his friend all the way there and set him carefully on one of the beds, all the while keeping contact with the grieving werewolf. Knowing that he wasn't needed or wanted, Dumbledore murmured a soft 'goodnight' as he left the two to their silent memorial. They didn't even notice. Sirius slowly placed a silencing spell over the room and wept until he ran out of tears. Then he dragged his bed closer to Remus' and sprawled himself as close as he could without being practically on top of him and fell asleep.

The last two Marauders didn't come down for breakfast that morning. After what he had been told, Harry couldn't believe they were even still in the castle. He and Hermione planned on taking them breakfast as soon as they could drag Ron away from the 'glorious pancakes', which were really rather good unless you had, say, a Godfather who had come down with depression overnight and refused to speak to anyone or even open the door? As it turns out, pancakes aren't the solution to everyday problems to anyone but a certain Weasley. Then again considering the way Ron eats, that's hardly surprising. Seeing as his friend was definitely going to be here a while, Harry groaned and got up to murmur in Hermione's ear, "If they were as close as Dumbledore said then they'll be in the graveyard or their room. Don't bother looking anywhere else."

"Check the map, Harry! Merlin, have you boys learnt nothing?"

Dimly realizing she was right, he gave his friend a hasty goodbye and hurried into the hallway. Checking around, Harry unfolded the Marauder's Map. To his astonishment, he didn't even have to cast the seeking charm on his two Godfathers. They showed up as soon as he said, 'I solemnly swear I am up to no good.' In fact, they showed up with the nicknames printed on the map. "Padfoot and Moony," he breathed in awe. Those two were Marauders, so Prongs must be his father. Wormtail, well, that one was obvious. Peter Pettigrew, the traitor that had all but killed his family. "Come on, 'mione. I have the feeling that we're needed."

Actually, they weren't needed so much as they thought. Sirius still didn't open the door and Remus still didn't talk to them. In fact, the werewolf was puking his guts out in the bathroom while Sirius brewed what he hoped was a potion for stomach sickness. After it turned an unsightly shade of yellow, he sighed and gave up. It was supposed to be bright green. Instead, he knelt beside Remus and patted his friend's heaving back sympathetically. Both he and James had taken turns doing this every full moon until there was nothing to throw up. Mainly when he fell asleep from exhaustion and dehydration. After helping him back to bed, Sirius got ready to shake him out of the nightmares that were just as Adjective Use (consider revising) to the werewolf bite as the puking. Poor Remus wasn't going to be eating much for the next day or so and it wasn't exactly fair to stuff himself when his friend couldn't even look at a biscuit.

Remus was pale, as per usual, but he never became this shade before. Practically transparent, his skin tone was often an indicator of how bad the transformation would be. If held true to tradition, this was going to be the worst since his mom died in sixth year. To put it simply, Remus hadn't been the only one to puke that moon cycle. When the werewolf began to whimper and moan, Sirius quickly nudged him with an elbow. This wasn't always the greatest idea and this was proved when a fist barreled straight into one of his bright grey eyes. Muffling a yelp, he clapped a hand over it and glared at the shakily laughing Remus. While it might have been nice to hear his friend laugh at a time like this, did giving him a black eye have to be the reason?

They heard Harry knocking on the door, just chose not to answer it. He looked so much like James but with his mother's flashing green eyes and it was hard to believe they were truly gone. This pain would last them for many years without restraint or until justice was found, by their hands or Harry's. For such great friends who had died such horrible deaths, there couldn't be another possible ending. Everything felt wrong now and the worst part? They knew things would never be the same again. James was Remus' anchor on the full moon, sitting next to Moony before the change was fully finished. Peter was lookout, which is self explanatory. Maybe they would get used to it just being the two of them eventually, but not now. Wounds need time to heal.

Once they knew the Prongslet was gone, Remus looked at Sirius with fever-bright eyes and whispered, "Go get some food, Padfoot. I can hear your stomach growling from here."

Grinning slightly, Sirius replied, "What, an' your's isn't? I'm fine, Moony. You, on the other hand, need to catch up on sleep for the next two days. So get on with it. And don't snore!"

After two days of puking, sweating and bad dreams the big night was finally here. The full moon, bright and daunting to anyone who knew what it signified. A loss of humanity, basically everything that there was to hold on to about themselves and turning into complete wolves. Of course, none of this was running through Sirius' mind as he helped his friend past the Whomping Willow and into the passage leading to the Shrieking Shack. Remus was already moaning in pain two hours before the moon's apex, so it was probably best to get him there early. Once in a while, his breathing hitched and they had to stop and wait for the flash of pain to subside. Sirius worried for the only friend he had left which was completely understandable, considering what he looked like after every transformation. Also, words of advice? Don't watch. The first night they were with him James had to leave about twenty times waiting for the gagging to subside.

Sitting with Remus laid out on four-poster bed, Sirius watched the moon slowly rise higher into the sky. Feeling his friend shudder in a barely suppressed whine, he reached back to touch one of his arms, always keeping the moon in sight. A wave went through the muscle he was rubbing and it made him think just what was causing the early change. Turning around, he whispered in the lowest voice he could manage, " Just one more hour, Moony. Relax a bit."

Watching Remus pant with wild golden eyes made it clear he was going to do no such thing. Instead, he arched hi back and gave a crying yip as the bones cracked. Sirius pushed him back down and laid beside him, allowing him to keep constant contact with the werewolf. It was the closest thing he could get to a hug without causing Remus further pain. When he burrowed further into his shoulder, Sirius smirked just a little. Moony seemed to be calming down enough to let Remus rest even for a second. Frowning suddenly, the dog animagus looked to the moon and cursed under his breath. Twenty minutes. Seeming to get what he was thinking, Remus muttered hoarsely, "You'll need the chains, Siri. Better put them on now."

Looking at the ground, he swallowed and pulled the heavy silver chains down from the attic. It took ten minutes to set them up and it looked like Remus was going to need them soon. Face twisted in pain, he was curled up in a ball on the bed. Still, he got up slowly and helped put on his restraints. None too soon, either. Almost before the last link was in place, the moon hit it's apex. Choking, Remus shoved him out of the way and fell to all fours as his spine shot up with a sickening crack. Sirius quickly shifted to a Grimm-like dog and sat as near as he could, whining in distress as he nosed the tears away from Remus' eyes. He didn't even open them. Screaming at the pain, his nails grew thick and black while fangs bit through his curling lips. Cracks and creaks were the only other sound as his bones shifted into those of a ten-foot werewolf. Sirius could do nothing more than watch and whimper while his friend was in absolute agony.

This transformation was different. It was taking too long. As another undulating ripple spread through the tortured body, Remus opened his golden eyes to look straight at Sirius with a pleading gaze. In return, the animagus crawled closer on it's belly until it was right up against the werewolf. Coughing up blood, Remus' spine shot up again with an agonizing snap before settling again. Ribs shifting and moving, limbs lengthening, he could barely moan before his face started to change as well. Another stronger ripple went through him and the changes became permanent. Now, a full-grown werewolf lay snarling and whimpering as the last cracks resounded in the air. Sirius gazed up at him playfully but was promptly ignored. Instead, Moony howled to the threatening moon and tore into his chest. Yipping desperately, Sirius crawled closer and was instantly hurled against a wall. He could only watch as his best friend mutilated himself.

By the time the sun was rising in the east, the werewolf was reduced to nothing more than a pile of blood and muscle on the floor. Sirius quickly shifted back to human when it became apparent that no harm was to come to him. Grimacing and rolling his aching shoulders, he sprinted over to the softly whining werewolf and stroked it's ears while trying to remember a really strong healing spell. Prodding gently at the wounds, he was shocked when the creature actually rolled closer to him instead of trying to tear him open. Blinking didn't help because it was still there when he opened his eyes. "Well, I'll be a hippogriff's uncle…"

Half an hour later, an all-too-human Remus was being levitated out of the shack with gory scratches and bites nearly covering every square inch of his body. Sirius touched an uninjured part of his arm in an effort to comfort him while all but flying towards Hogwarts. Unconscious, he had no idea that Sirius was crying desperately as he bled out onto the forest floor. Remus couldn't see Madame Pomfrey's horror at what had been done by the creature inside of him. In total, he was blissfully unaware that he had caught the eye of one of the most dangerous fugitives in the wizarding world.

Fenrir Grayback had found him.

Okay, so it wasn't really rated M. REVIEW anyways, just for the hell of it.