Chapter 16 : Moonlit Perspectives
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“Moony, what’s wrong?” James asked. The noise caused by the table’s impact had awoken him with a start. “Are you feeling alright?”
“Do you know what day it is?” Remus mumbled into the wood.
“Yeah. Tomorrow’s… well, you know,” James replied. “But you’ve never looked this bad.”
“Thanks for that, Prongs,” Remus muttered dryly. “I’ve just got some things on my mind.”
“Things going okay with Lily?” Sirius asked, joining the conversation.
Remus groaned. Why Padfoot’s interest in Girls was overwhelmed everything else would forever be a mystery to him. “Yes, but I’m thinking maybe it shouldn’t be.”
“Cryptic,” Sirius replied, putting a hand on Remus’s shoulder. “Now would you decipher for us, please?”
“I’m a – a – a YOU KNOW WHAT for godssake! I’m not any good for her!”
Sirius yelped, not expecting the outburst.
Twilight had descended quickly the next night and fled just as fast, leaving its wintry glow to darken into black. Remus had never seen a full moon with his own eyes, at least not since he was very young. Had he been able to see this one, he would’ve been rendered spellbound – it was large in the sky, and had an almost-blue tint to it. A beautiful sight, indeed.
Instead, the wolf consumed him, devoured him inside and out. The stag, the rat, and the dog were unable to help their friend tonight – the thin pale boy laid out of their reach on the dusty hardwood floor of the shack, gasping and crying for someone unknown to the three of them.
It felt as if the beast inside him was ripping his joints apart and crunching him in his powerful jowls. In actuality, it was the burning moonlight rearranging his limbs into the perfect creature: one of power, of stealth, and of success. The moon was a painter; Remus Lupin the canvas. Although, this was a lot more violent and painful than painting.
The last human thing on his lips was a name – a name that would forever haunt his thoughts: Lily.
Remus’s throat became strangled as the name was uttered, and fur began sprouting from his neck. That word, that last human word, transformed with him – once beautiful English into a lupine howl reverberating through the Shack and twisting serpentine-like out into the streets of Hogsmeade, infiltrating the nightmares of children and adults alike.
Sirius whimpered, feeling his friend’s pain. James stomped the floor nervously with his hoof, and Peter scuttled his fat rat-bottom to hide under the torn couch.
The wolf stood up, eyeing the two animals in sight. It seemed that Remus was lost inside it, trapped and unable to control his inner – now outer – demons. Perhaps he didn’t want to, either. Perhaps he just wanted to curl up inside his soul and let go in order to prove the rationale behind his doubts about Lily.
The wolf snarled and raised its tail, a sign of dominance. Sirius stepped forward; this had happened once before, but not since the very first moonlit jaunts.
‘Don’t do this, Remus,’ the look in the shaggy black dog’s eyes seemed to say.
The wolf snapped its jaws menacingly, stepping forward as if to challenge the dog.
Sirius felt his ears flatten against his skull, and he emitted a warning growl…
The wolf took that as an acceptance to his challenge and was about to spring forward onto the opponent…
Sirius yipped; a frightened look came into his eyes that said, ‘Wait! Think this through!’
The yip brought Remus back into focus. The wolf blinked. Its yellow eyes faded into warm brown and confusion stepped in. What just happened?
Remus opened his eyes to hangings of gray fabric and a hushed mumbling. He sat up. It was morning.
Yanking the curtains open, he found a very faint-looking James, a weary Sirius, and a snoring Peter.
“Good morning?” James asked, having not expected to see Remus until afternoon at the earliest.
Remus rubbed his eyes but said nothing.
“Do you remember any of last night?” Sirius asked gravely.
“Bits,” Remus replied.
“You almost bit Padfoot’s head off,” Peter mumbled, coming out of his snooze.
“Not helping,” James said sharply, throwing Peter a glare.
“No… he’s right. Maybe you shouldn’t come with me anymore,” Remus interrupted dejectedly.
“Nonsense. It was just a slip up,” Sirius assured him. “You’re fine; I’m fine…”
“Sure would like to know what caused such a slip up, though,” James said thoughtfully. “Any ideas, Moony?”
“No,” Remus lied.
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