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Remus sat down heavily on the mattress, picking at the fraying ends of the sheet. He soon stopped, clenching his hands. Contributing to the disaster that surrounded him was not helping him, especially not when the disaster was caused by the monster he would soon become. He hung his head, not wanting to see his surroundings: the ripped curtains, the bitten legs of the stool, the scratched floor, all reminders of what he was.

Madame Pomfrey had already left him, not wanting to cut it close so soon to the rising of the full moon. She trusted him to know the routine after so many years.

Years. Remus scoffed. How could James,Sirius and Peter pretend to know what he was going through?

Remus fell back onto the mattress, staring at what was visible of the sky through a tiny crack in the boards. He wasn't mad at them, just … severely annoyed.They could be as sympathetic as possible, as understanding and caring as they acted, but it didn't help to alleviate the pain and the suffering he had to go through each full moon.

He loved them, he truly did, but he couldn't share everything with them. There would always be a part of him that was kept separate from them, for their safety and his peace of mind. That couldn't change and usually it was fine with him. Or he'd forced his irritation down like he hid his wolf. The thought crossed his mind only once before it too was forced away.

A tremor ran through his body. It was starting.

Remus grit his teeth together, even though he knew it wouldn't help with the pain or stop the screaming. The first of the changes was upon him, popping his ears like he'd just risen too fast from deep underwater, changing the shape of his ears as well as the sensitivity of his hearing.

Thump.

Remus wanted to freeze, but he couldn't. There was someone on the stairs. There was someone on the stairs as he transformed into a werewolf. This could not be happening! How could this be happening? He could already see the blood on his hands, the fright on their face and feel the guilt in his heart. He closed his eyes, trying desperately to contain the wolf that had been growing excited at the presence of prey.

His canine teeth, too large for his human jaw, grew, piercing his lips and drawing blood. Remus could feel the painful and unnatural lengthening of his bones starting and arched his back in pain.

He could hear the door opening.

His fingernails started to lengthen and he opened his eyes with a gasp to see … nothing.But he could smell humans in the room; humans that he knew very well. He began to growl. How could they be so stupid?

"Reckon we should've gotten here sooner, mate." The familiar brash voice of Sirius Black hurt Remus' ears. He sounded unconcerned that there was going to be a full-grown werewolf in the room in a matter of moments.

"Well, we would've if you hadn't complained so much about leaving your warm and cozy bed all the way down here."James sounded exasperated.

"Um, guys?" Peter, the last of the Marauders, said, "We should probably change now. The full moon's risen."

James and Sirius immediately stopped their bickering to look at Remus. Their eyes filled with sorrow at the sight of Remus' transformation. Remus just growled, the werewolf taking over his consciousness.

He didn't want to hurt them even though they were so stupid and idiotic and impulsive. This whole friendship was a mistake and he was going to pay for it. He was too dangerous. He should have known their friendship was too good to last. He should have known their curious natures would eventually override their common sense. He should have known.

That was the last thing Remus thought before he was swept away in a river of pain.

~*~
When he awoke the next morning, in a pristine Hospital bed, panic filled his entire body immediately. Had he killed them? What had he done under the influence of full moon? Had he murdered his best friends?

Then, just as suddenly, a sense of calmness permeated his being and he allowed himself to sink back into the pillows.

If he had killed them, then he wouldn't be in this bed. No, he'd be in a holding cell at the Ministry,awaiting trial and charges before being herded off to Azkaban.

But, then, what had happened?

~*~
It was only a day before Remus knew the truth, but it was one of the longest days of his life.

Once he found out, he couldn't—and didn't want to—stop the smile that spread across his face. They had become animagi for him. They had watched him transform and they hadn't fled or petrified. They'd played with a werewolf all night because it was their friend. Because it was him, Remus. They'd come as close as they could to sharing his full moon experience—they'd worked hard for years to come to this point, and Remus wasn't going to ask for more. This was enough.

Their friendship would last, because they knew.

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