I don’t know how long I slept. It could have been hours or days. When I walked out towards the bathroom I saw that Remus was still asleep. The clock in the kitchen read half past three. Despite my growling stomach, I headed straight for the bathroom. I soaked and scrubbed all the dirt off my body, emptying and refilling the tub three times. When I finally emerged and dried off, I inspected myself in the mirror. I still looked the same. I mean, it was definitely me I was looking at, I hadn’t gone wild or savage overnight. Strangely, I had expected that – no, wanted that. To be able to see that I was a monster in addition to knowing it.
My only memories of the night before were of the transformation. The pain. I think I threw up. What else had I done? Was I still a monster if I had no memory of being one?
I could try to remain blissfully ignorant, but the scarring on my leg was a reminder that despite looking human, there was something just as ugly under the surface. Screw inner beauty, that can’t possibly apply anymore.
I took a deep breath and began looking at the raised scratch marks on my body. Slightly pink, they seemed to be mostly on my sides. As I turned and looked over my shoulder, I found even more on my back, along with uglier marks. Bites.
A knock on my door jolted me out of the starring contest I was having with my reflection. I wrapped up in a towel and pulled the door open to become face to bare chest with Remus Lupin. I took a step back, startled.
“You okay?” His voice, though always deep was different, rougher. My voice was similarly hoarse when I tried to reply. I settled on a mere nod instead.
He gestured towards the interior of the bathroom, I responded with a weak, “All yours.”
I looked at him a bit longer before moving out of the way. He seemed puzzled at my silence, especially since I had talked so much more the morning after. “You sure you’re okay, Holly?”
I didn’t answer this time, instead rushing towards my room and slamming the door. I wasn’t okay. I was never going to be okay. I had attempted to come to terms with this while in the tub, but upon seeing him- inspecting him- I realized I may claim I could be okay. But I couldn’t, not when I wasn’t nearly as okay as Remus. Not when Remus didn’t have near the amount of new marks on his body as I did.
Initially when I bumped into him, I noticed just how pervasive the markings were on his body. But they were thin, and white, and old. Just minutes prior, I had been observing the fresh scratches on my body- had Remus woken up from this night with no injuries? Did that mean that my injuries came from him?
A part of me was disgusted that in addition to turning me, Remus had scarred me as well. A tiny competitive part of me was disgusted that I hadn’t made any observable marks upon Remus.
But all me knew that I did not want to get out of bed. I laid there and just stared out the window ignoring Remus when he knocked, when he asked if I was okay through the door, and even when he eventually barged down the door. About which, somewhere in the back of my head, I laughed. He had seemed rather embarrassed when I turned my head and stared at him, with one hand nervously scratching the back of his head he mumbled a sorry and rushed back out into the living area. A bit later I heard him talking with another voice in the room. I didn’t bother to hear who it was or what they were saying. I just needed to sit here and not think.
Not think about what happened last night. Not think anything about what I was. Just to focus on the trees outside the window. The cotton sheet beneath my head.
My door opened again. Remus wasn’t the one barging in this time. I sat up immediately and spread my arms wide, welcoming the gigantic black dog that had run and jumped onto my bed, tail up high and wagging away.
I didn’t realize had been crying until the dog was licking my tears off my cheeks. I was ecstatic. The number one way to cheer anyone up is with a dog. This crazy mongrel was wiggling about wagging his tail and licking my face. I began to laugh and scratch him behind the ears, petting the dog all over until he finally settled down and sat.
It wasn’t long until I started talking to it. The dog panting and shifting around so that I scratched all his favorite spots. “Where did he find you, puppy?” I looked up and saw my door had been shut again. “I didn’t want to talk to anyone at all today- but you don’t count, do you, pooch?” It’s tail thumped as it wagged against my bed, and it hopped up and licked my chin. I moved my face out of the way, laughing and pushing the dog back down. “You’re silly, aren’t you? Silly enough to get me smiling again. Silly enough not to care what I am.” The dog just continued wagging its tail. “I guess I’m one of your cousins now, huh? You’re a big fella, maybe you could join our pack.” Another attack of slobber came and then the dog rolled over onto its back. As I gave a belly rub, I continued talking, telling the dog all about how scared I was, more scared than I was before the full moon, how I was so confused because I didn’t remember anything, and how my skin was mottled with marks and how the one person who I knew was in this with me had given me those marks.
When I was most upset, my hands happened upon that magic spot that makes a dogs hind leg rapidly kick. I laughed while the dog squirmed then rolled over and pounced on me. I wasn’t crying anymore and had cheered up considerably. “Hey pup, you should stay here. I’ll convince Remus to keep you since he killed my other dog.” The dogs ears shot up and he stared at me, I realized what I said and corrected myself a bit, “well, he didn’t mean to, and we’d make sure you were safe of course. I wouldn’t let anything happen to you, puppy.”
I didn’t feel silly at all talking to this dog. He made me feel so much better and eventually I was back to being silent, petting the dog and sitting up on my bed. Just smiling as the dog licked my other hand.
I fell asleep that way, finally relaxed and especially exhausted after crying. I woke up when I felt the bed move. I didn’t want the dog to leave. There’s something about a pet that just gives you sanity. I needed it.
I opened my eyes to see not big, fuzzy black dog, but a smiling Sirius sitting cross legged where the dog had just been.
“Sirius! When did you get here? Where’d you put the dog? What are you doing on my bed?”
He burst out laughing and I found myself smiling too. It was hard not to join Sirius in happiness.
“I came to see how you were,Holly. Moony was worried sick. Said you wouldn’t answer him and were practically catatonic so I came over to cheer you up.”
I sat up a little straighter, trying to overcome my embarrassment. “If you bring back that dog Remus let in here. That’ll cheer me up.”
Sirius laughed again, “Really?” he asked. I nodded and he winked.
Then, before my eyes, Sirius’ form shifted from that of a teenage boy to the enormous black dog I had been with earlier.
The dog’s tail wagging furiously behind it, and it whined a little as it cocked its head to the side, looking me in the eye the entire time. I spazzed out. A mixture of shock at the magic that happened right in front of me and the fact that his eyes were the same dark grey, and when I really thought about it, his hair and the dogs fur were the same as well. I guess I should have known. I’d never formally met Padfoot but I did know that Sirius had that nickname for a reason.
I laughed again and went to pet Sirius behind the ears right as he went to go on a licking spree again. We bonked heads and he started sneezing, “You got the sniffles, puppy?” I asked, rubbing the dog’s- Sirius’- snout.
He changed back and laid back on my bed. “Hope you aren’t pissed that I didn’t stop you from blabbering all that stuff to me earlier but I know how much a dog can cheer someone up.”
“You helped for sure, I’m just curious about one thing…” I leaned over and Sirius looked up at me, one eyebrow arched. “… do you have that same tickle spot?”
I lunged over and reached for his side but he blocked me. In an instant, he had both my wrists clamped in one of his hands, the other shaking a finger in my face, “Tsk, tsk, Holly my dear, that is for me to know, and you to never find out.”
I stood up now, ready to face everything again. Or at least just ready to eat. “Come on, you hound dog, let’s get something to eat.” I went towards the door and Sirius stopped me again, with a hand on my shoulder he turned me to face him.
“One thing first.”
And with that Sirius Black drew me into a tight hug. I wrapped my arms around him in a delayed and somewhat shocked response. It was the first hug I had had since being here, and possibly the closest contact I’ve had with any of these new characters in my life, and it felt so good. With a final squeeze, Sirius released me and walked me to the table where Remus sat.
“Hey.” I said as I sat down, not sure what to say at all. The old me would have said sorry, but something in me had changed.
Remus smiled in response and handed me the front page of the Daily Prophet. I began to scan the headlines, “Hey Remus, where’d you find that dog from earlier? Before you made Sirius wake me up? Cause he was great, we should totally keep him.”
He peered over his part of the newspaper, “Really? I was worried he might have fleas.”
Sirius spat out his juice, “I absolutely do not have fleas!”
I saw very little of the Marauders and Lily over the next few days. I decided that I needed to pick up a hobby, or learn a new skill. Braiding my hair was absolutely failing, since I inevitably would forget which strand I should pull over and then restart. The vegetable patch behind the cabin was flourishing, but there was no need to take up canning since the Marauders ate like Hungry Hungry Hippos.
Out of all of my new friends, Peter was the one who noticed I was bored and tried to help. He brought me over seedlings to start growing raspberry and blueberry bushes along the side of the house. I unnecessarily tend to them multiple times a day. After he realized that the garden didn’t busy me all day, he showed up with a large cardboard box patterned with bright orange, pink, and yellow flowers. He dropped it off on the couch and wiping his hands off on each other, he announced, “I found this and a bunch more while cleaning out my great aunts stuff from our basement. Now, I don’t know if you sew or not, but if you’re interested, there’s tons more fabric where this came from. And my mum doesn’t bother with much at all anymore since my dad passed, so I’m sure I can get you a machine and some instruction books if you’d like…”
I had never sewn before, or even shown interest. But Peter’s effort made me want to try. It was all so sweet I pulled him into a quick hug before he could finish his ramble. “It’s wonderful, Pete! Once I figure out what I’m doing, you’ll be the first person I make something for. I promise! Even if it is just a tie or shoe laces, it’ll be yours!”
I spent the next few days picking out patterns and fabrics, cutting the pieces just to size, and then staring at the sewing machine Pete had dropped off that morning. He had set it down on the table where we normally ate, then wiping his hands off on each other told me, “I have no clue how it works, but my mother did use it to adjust all my school robes to fit me each year, so it definitely can function. I just don’t know how,” He tiddled his fingers about the side of the machine, “I think that the thread goes in here then you use your foot with this thing to make it go.”
He rambled on, trying to come up with some instructions for me until James showed up and shooed Peter out saying they needed a sneakier set of ears somewhere. As soon as Pete heard he was needed, he forgot entirely about our conversation, and began patting his pockets – in a way I could tell that he was making sure he was ready to go whilst also trying to remember what exactly he was doing previously. With another thank you I handed him and James two rolls I had made the night before and waved them out of the door.
When I had no more excuses to postpone it, I approached the sewing machine and sat before it. It was so small but so imposing, how was I supposed to thread it? I found a spool of thread that matched the brown in the fabric and went to put it on the small dock at the top of the machine but before I could place it there, it shot back at me and the sewing machine started up.
I definitely did not push the pedal and I don’t think that if I had, the machine would be bouncing about the way it was. Whoever had owned it before- Peter’s mother, right?- had bewitched it. She had made it a spool shooting demon. I jumped up and fled the room, hiding in my bedroom as I could hear the thumping of the machine against the table.
I did my best to ignore the sounds of the crazed sewing machine as I read in bed. Eventually it stopped but a steady humming let me know that wherever it was, it was ready to attack. If I felt silly for being scared of a sewing machine before, I did not anymore. This cabin was filled with things I would never believed before, werewolves, wizards, Sirius turning into a dog and back again, and I’m pretty sure that all of those books on the shelves contained what I would have thought nonsense before.
That evening, the door to the cabin opened and the sewing machine’s hum grew louder as it thumped around towards its new victim. A few more sounds followed this: a shout of surprise, a clammer of the sewing machine advancing forward, a spell, an explosion, and the sound of small metal parts scattered about the floor.
I peeked out my door and saw Remus looking terribly confused, wand drawn- looking from me to the mess on the floor and back again.
“My hero!” I called out jokingly and ran to him for a hug. “I’ve been hiding from this beast all day because it tried to slay me.” I overdramatically fell back onto the couch, the back of my hand on my forehead.
He laughed a little and waved his wand again to send the pieces zooming off into the waste bin. “So I take it you’ve given up sewing?”
I nodded vigorously and he burst out laughing once more.
A/N: It's been a month since I've updated! Shame on me! Hope this long-ish chapter makes up for it.