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Chapter 4 : A Transformation Of Sorts
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A/N: This is totally dedicated to those who have reviewed and favorite-ed it. I really appreciate it.
Tally thought she was going to go crazy.
Ever since her little unwanted flashback a few days earlier, Remus wasn't the only one avoiding someone. She had tried to act nonchalant, but it was a tad obvious that she was freaking out. If she were to enter a room that he was occupying, it was suddenly empty and vice versa. Not to mention, with the full moon around the corner, Remus' hearing was impeccable and he would leave a room if he simply heard her approaching.
It was it was becoming increasingly ridiculous.
At least I have work to look forward to, she thought with a touch of sadness, pulling on the yellow robes that marked her as a Healer. Her position at St. Mungos was quite lucrative, what with her flexible hours, caring boss, and cute coworkers (alright, so it was only one handsome coworker and her boss could be a bit of a tyrant, but she didn't really feel like bringing herself down).
Skipping down the staircase, Tally ran into her – for lack of a better word – roommate on the landing. "Good morning," she whispered uncertainly. Figuring it was a tad early (and that she was short on time) for her to resort back to usual we-really-need-to-talk assault, she just bit her bottom lip and waited.
"Morning," he said, his voice taking the flat, uncaring tone it usually did when speaking with her. He cleared his throat, rolled his shoulders, and pushed past Tally to continue on his way up the stairs.
Shaking her head, she too continued on her way; once outside, she Apparated.
Despite the early hour, the waiting room at St. Mungos Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries was full. Witches and wizards, some looking perfectly normal and others sporting gruesome injuries, were sitting in rickety wooden chairs that lined the walls. Smiling comfortingly at a young boy with puss oozing boils all over his face and arms, Tally pushed her way over to the main desk. Completely ignoring the poor excuse of a secretary, Tally snatched up the schedule from the shelf. The "secretary" popped her indignantly.
Talia Merks, Fourth Floor.
Tally hated the fourth floor. But being the flexible woman that she was, she made her way up the stairs without complaint.
"Hello, Henry," Tally smiled, approaching the middle-aged man that was perched behind a long, oak desk. "Got anything for me yet?" Henry smiled back and handed the young woman a thin manila folder. She flipped it open, scanned the first page, and quickly set off to tend to her first patient.
The room was located right around the corner, so it didn't take long for Tally to get there. Inside, relaxing on one of the many beds was a handsome man that looked to be in his late thirties. His dark hair was cut short and combed in a very professional manner, and he was wearing a grey suit – if it wasn't for the deep gashes across his face and the blood staining his otherwise crisp white shirt, she would have thought him perfect.
"Hex gone wrong I see?" she said lightly, pulling out her wand.
The man smiled, but it quickly turned into a grimace as soon as it reached his many cuts. "Irresponsible brother is more like it."
Grabbing the necessary potions, Tally set to work.
She tried to ignore his large green eyes as she worked on cleaning the wounds, but his stare was quite unnerving. Sighing, she dropped her hands to her sides. "Is there something on my face?" Her tone was defensive, if not slightly rude, but Tally didn't care.
The man flushed lightly. At least he has the decency to look somewhat ashamed, she thought, feeling her annoyance lessen.
"I'm sorry. It's just been so long since I've seen someone as pretty as you." His voice was smooth and unnaturally suave, and it sent heat to her cheeks.
"You will not gain anything by flattering me, seeing as I don't have anything to give. So don't try it." Tally pulled her wand out of pockets and went about mixing a few potions.
"You could go out with me."
Tally almost dropped her wand in shock. "Ex-excuse me," she asked. To her great annoyance, Tally noticed that her voice had gone up a few octaves. Clearing her throat, she tried to regain her composure. "I don't—I don't even know your name!"
The man just chuckled. He downed his potion, made a face (he was cute, even when doing that, Tally thought, feeling much like she was eleven again experiencing her first crush), and stood up. "Mark Johnson, at your service. I work in magical law at the Ministry, I have been engaged but never married, and my favorite color is yellow." He winked at Tally. "Your turn."
She just gaped at him in return, looking like a fish in need of water. Chuckling again, Mark placed his hand under her chin and pushed up, successfully closing her mouth. "Here's my card; feel free to drop by my office whenever you can."
And then he was gone. It took a moment for her shock to wear off but as soon as it had, a large smile lit up her face.
The night of the full moon arrived sooner than Tally would've liked, and it seemed as though the same could've been said for Remus. Of course, she had smacked herself on the forehead as soon as the thought came to mind – why the bloody hell would Remus look forward to the full moon?
When Tally arrived home from work earlier that day, it was to find Remus pacing the length of the living room with no indication that he was going to be stopping anytime soon.
It was now thirty minutes before sundown and Remus was still going strong.
"You're going to wear a hole in the carpet," Tally commented dryly from the squishy, tan couch where she had been watching him unblinkingly for the past ten minutes.
A growl erupted from Remus' throat, but he finally stopped. Rounding on the woman that had caused him so much annoyance for the past month or so, he glared. "Tonight, while I am down in the basement, you are to stay upstairs," he began, his tone low and fierce. "Dumbledore himself may have put up the wards, but don't go walking around the house like it's just any ol' night. Truth be told, I would feel a whole lot better if you just left."
Tally jumped to her feet and stared back defiantly. "Remus, I was put in charge of caring for you. I'm going to stay here tonight whether you like it or not, and I will be here in the morning when you need me. Nothing you say will change that!"
"But what if I escape? Huh? What then," Remus had resumed his pacing, throwing his arms around making him look like a madman. "I don't want to hurt you, Tally!"
Tally's expression softened. That was the first time Remus had said her name since that day she arrived at headquarters. And the more she thought about it, the more teary-eyed she got.
Remus still cared.
Clearing her throat and scrubbing her face with her hands, Tally stepped forward and caught Remus' arm. "You can't hurt me, Remus, not any more than you already have," she whispered, shutting her eyes and willing the tears not to fall. She missed the hurt expression that flashed across Remus' scared face. "Now, I think it's time for you head down to the basement and get ready. The moon'll be rising soon."
Nodding dejectedly, Remus did exactly as she said. And as soon as the heavy door shut behind him, Tally collapsed on to the floor in a mess of tears and robes.
The angry howls of a werewolf and the pathetic sobs of a helpless woman filled the moonlit night.
Many times, Tally found herself in front of the basement door, one hand placed gently – if not longingly – upon it with tears still streaming down her face. But then she would remember his warning and dash back up the stairs in hopes of blocking out the horrible sounds and mental images that filled her head.
She wanted to help him, stop the pain and humiliation that came with being a werewolf; but she knew she was useless, and that made her cry even harder.
And the whole process repeated itself until the horizon turned pink and Tally was too exhausted to move. She found herself sitting at the rickety table sipping cold tea and waiting for her signal to go and open the door.
After what felt forever, it came – a soft, feeble knock that caused Tally's spirits to rise dramatically. Jumping from her seat she ran to the door and threw it open, only to scream upon seeing the man on the other side.
Remus looked like he had just come out of a war, and in some aspects one could say he had. Cuts and scratches and bruises covered his naked body and he was visibly shaking. His face was contorted into an expression of pure agony and exhaustion.
Tally grabbed a fluffy blanket from her supplies and wrapped it around his frail body, wiping away his tears as she sat him down on the couch.
"Here are your clothes," she whispered, picking them up and handing them to Remus hesitantly. He took them, wordlessly avoiding Tally's attempts at trying to catch his eye.
Taking the hint, Tally turned around so Remus could get dressed.
"Okay…" his voice was almost inaudible and it took a moment for it register in Tally's brain. Whipping around, she set to work feeding Remus all the potions he needed and casting all the spells he wanted.
"Bloody hell," she exclaimed after fifteen minutes of tense silence. Feeling a curious stare boring into the top of her head, she looked up at Remus and elaborated. "I forgot to get you something to help with your sore muscles."
Remus shrugged and snuggled into farther into the couch. He would never admit it to Tally, but he was actually sorer than he could ever remember.
"No, I won’t accept that." She moved to stand directly in front of him. With a wave of her wand, the couch Remus was sitting on turned into a narrow bed of sorts. "Lay down," she commanded.
And so he did. But apparently he did something wrong because she rolled her eyes and sighed. "No, silly, on your stomach," she chided softly as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, the corners of her mouth twitching.
Once Remus was situated to Tally's liking, she placed her cold hands on his back. Remus visibly stiffened.
"Relax," she breathed into his ear, the ends of her hair tickling his nose. Remus couldn't breathe with her so close.
Tally's hands moved seamless over his rough skin, putting pressure on all the right spots. Remus didn't want to admit it, but he liked it immensely (It's the massage that I like, not the fact that it's her that's giving it to me, he thought repeatedly, trying to convince himself more than anything) and felt like he never wanted to move again for fear of becoming tense once more.
"Where'd you learn to do that," he asked, once she was done.
"I had muggle friends back in France. One of them was a masseuse…" she trailed off once she realized that Remus was talking to her, inquiring about her time away.
Remus seemed to realize it as well, because he sat up suddenly. Clearing his throat, he gave Tally a quick nod and jumped off the table. "Thank you," he said over his shoulder as he left the room.
Tally just sighed and turned the massage table back into the couch.
A/N: I hope the length of this one makes up for the shortness of the last one. :]
Also, some constructive criticism would be amazing. I would really love to hear your views on how you think I could improve.
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